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Windmill Viewing

photo: beer group of the week

A group of beers stands in for the 'Group of the Week.'.

Bring Your Own Bottle

Paris:– Thursday, 26. August 2004:– Am I supposed to take this weather seriously? There's no heatwave in sight, no new hurricanes, it never snows in August – crossing my fingers! – and we don't have true blue skies with sunbeams in them.

There is just, according to this morning's Le Parisien and tonight's TV–weather news, just a sort of blah in the air to look forward to for the next couple of days. How exciting can I make blah?

I mean, sometimes, the weather is exciting. The last two club meetings were treated to wonderful downpours while we were sitting all snugly in the La Corona's clubroom. There was some splash with a dash!

But tomorrow? In the morning a bit of sun and a lot of clouds and in the afternoon a lot of clouds and maybe a bit of sun. The weather in Lyon will probably be nicer. But if you like clouds better, get up to the Channel where there'll be a lot of them to enjoy. Meanwhile here the high temperature should be – hey now! – 24 blazing degrees.

The TV weatherman was standing in front of Saturday's map at the wrong time, so Sunday's outlook varies from mostly cloudy to possibly a bit sunny in the afternoon. Again all of this is drifting down on us from the Channel. The high will be one degree more than Saturday, at a predicted 22 degrees.

After watching a half–dozen commercials Saturday's weather showed up on another channel. It wasn't worth the wait, with a forecast for cloudy all day, and sunshine in Lyon again. Around here the temperature won't be more than 21 degrees, in case anyone cares.

The First Club Report of the Week

I don't know what is worse. Having a summer of beautiful weather that is almost over or having had a summerphoto: nancy macklin of some pretty crummy weather that is almost over. Either way the idea of trudging to today's club meeting and knowing I will pass no bright blue sails fluttering in the breezes along the Seine, is not uplifting.

Nancy wants to see London's zoo.

Walking through the 'on holiday' closed and shuttered Quartier Latin is another downer. We are marking time here waiting for August to drift into the past without really having much of an idea of what September has in store. Mind you, old hands do agree that September has nice weather.

A bicyclist flags me down to ask the way to the Porte d'Orléans. He can, I tell him, try the big hill on the Rue Saint–Jacques or take the long, slow climb up the Rue de Rennes and turn left on the Avenue du Maine. When we part I'm not sure he'll be able to find either.

While crossing the Pont des Arts I see all the sky over the right bank and it looks like it may just open up and dump a lot of water on the city's northern half. At the Quai du Louvre end, I feel the first drops, but very tiny ones.

At the café La Corona there are no large crowds on its terraces or in the bar or in the 'grande salle' where meetings are held. Everything and everybody seems to have dropped into a doze. But in the club's area the tables are tidy, so it is easy to sit down without getting overworked.

I write the meeting number and the date in the club's booklets. If I multiply the number of meetings by two hours, I calculate that I've been at 500 hours' worth of meetings. I think of airplane drivers who have run up airtime, looking and clouds and sky, and think I'd rather be at a club meeting, especially of there's any members present.

As a reward, Tony Hall presents himself for membership. Tony comes from Fort Lauderdale in Florida and this becomes the 'City of the Week,' filling a sore lack of necessary club lore. You would think Fort Lauderdale would already be a 'City of the Week,' but only one other member has admitted coming from there.

Tony has, he says, been on his way to the club since 15. July. He interrupted his journey to drive a sailboat out of Marbella on day trips, and to take in the Tour de France up in the Alps around Grenoble. In between, or maybe it was during this month, he delivered a yacht from someplace to someplace else.

It all started 20 years ago when he rewarded himself for losing a job by sailing off to New Zealand. Now he mainlyphoto: wine of the week teaches other people how to do it, or how to drive boats with motors. Other than being recently in Grenoble or Marbella, Tony has been riding around on TGVs and fat–tired bicycles.

About here Nancy Macklin arrives for her second meeting of the year after the one she attended in January. Nancy is from Belleville, Illinois. She says she doesn't know why it's called 'Belleville.' I lived in the Bellevue part of Meudon for several years and nobody there knew why it was called that either.

Look closely for this wine's 'leggs.'

The two members decide to order a drink. They discuss it a bit to fast for me to make a wine suggestion for Tony, so they decide to try 'light' beer. I don't think there is any, other than the regular yellow kind, and the 'Waiter of the Week' says there is no Stella, so they settle for Gold.

Since Gold is not brown like Pelforth I guess it is a 'light' beer. They tap glasses, to give the club its 'Group Photo of the Week.' Nancy absorbs the information about quantity – that she's trying a 'demi,' which is a quarter–litre.

There is no particular 'lore' to learn about this. It's just something that was made up in the land where metricphoto: tony wall volumes were invented, with 'exceptions' of course. Neither say whether they like the beer, but recall beers had elsewhere they did like.

Nancy says she will not be at the next meeting because she's taking the Eurostar to get to Bath. She also says she is not jetlagged.

Tony considers dangers of invisible stone fish.

Tony asks if she has a preferred carrier. Nancy says that she used to live across the street, almost, from TWA and she used to like it a lot. The beer must work okay because the two of them do a 'tour de horizon' which touches several subjects in a very few minutes.

They both agree that windjammer tours in the Caribbean are great. Tony mentions a Spanish taxi driver with an accent and writing a book about boats and another one about brewing in America. Nancy and I chip in with tips about windmill viewing on Montmartre, and Nancy says the Baron Bouge sells wine from barrels and empty bottles for take–away.

"They'll fill your bottle while you wait," she says, adding, "I've never paid more the 4€ a litre." Tony is very interested to hear about the soup kitchen in the basement of the Madeleine.

Tony writes a note on the back of a print–out of 'About the Club.' The 'Waiter of the Week' has served him a balloon of rouge and he twirls it around and remarks, "This wine has leggs."

Nancy plugs Auvers–sur–Oise. "You can stand in the room in the auberge where Van Gogh died," she says and tosses in, "And see his grave."

Tony says he been to see the oldest department store in Paris, the Bon Marché. Nancy says she doesn't shop for clothes, but does look for vinegar. Then Tony is filled in on the other fine shopping to be found around the Madeleine.

He looks, he says, "For bus drivers' tea." He says there is a 'pink elephant' brand called 'Pamplemousse.' He thinks he should be able to find it in all fine groceries.

"Red wine dehydrates you so much that you need to have a glass of water," Tony says, without asking the waiter for a glass of water.

Nancy agrees and adds, "It's the French paradox – 1.5 ounces per day!" Tony of course has read as well as written parts of the heart book, and fully agrees.

When Tony mentions having participated in the 'Havana Cup' races between St. Petersburg and Havanaphoto: nancy, beer in the '90s, I have a disconnect until I hear him say, "This is not a rational world," and then name the book titled – 'Cannibals, Guns, Pirates and Other Myths.'

Thinking, I guess, about visiting Bath soon, Nancy says, "I've never been to the zoo in London."

Tony, who really doesn't have the look, says, "I did the pubs along the Thames tour. It was about 20 pubs." When I asked how many pints of damage this totalled, he says, "About ten."

Nancy aids photo with light shield.

Or, I think, maybe it was 20 'demis.' With this I decide to forget the dire warning about the invisible stone fish, 'more dangerous' than cannibals and pirates.

If you think, from what is written here or from the photos, that we got sloshed, you are mistaken. The bill was for two beers, one wine 'with leggs,' and one double–espresso. Cheers !

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This dense 'report' about today's club's meeting is a mere sketch of what happened today. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has some other details,photo: cafe of the week but you can skip it and not miss much. The easiest way to find out all you want to know about the club is by joining it on any week beginning with a Thursday.

The secretary's only 'Café of the Week.'

You can become a real lifetime member of this online magazine's real, live, and free club by becoming a member in a couple of minutes by signing–in yourself any of its meetings in Paris if you happen to be here on a Thursday. Getting something to drink is easily arranged, as you can well imagine from this report.

The club's 'rules' were pulverized by the club's own members some time ago, much to their collective satisfaction. The club's other meager distinction is that it is the only club related to an Internet magazine that still has no newsletter.

How, Where, What, Why Not, When, Who?

The weekly club meetings start about 15:00, on Thursday afternoons. Meetings end about 17:00, also on Thursday afternoons in the western European Time zone – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'typically crummy' although it sometimes is – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Club meetings are held in Paris. If the secretary gets any other better offer, club meetings will be held there.

Doing something clever at a meeting – like turning up for one – is considered the opposite of not being in another town. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' having a much greater 'clever' value than 'first,' especially if a red wine is involved. 'First' is perfectly acceptable too, especially if it's an honestly 'true.'

Heed one note of caution – you may have any one or two personal reasons for not wanting to be traceable via the Web. If so, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be '404 – not found' by Web search engines before becoming 'found' in one of these club reports.graphic: club location map

Former 'rules' remain 'former' week after everlasting week and have been purged from the club's gigantic volumes of archives except for all the originals still online buried deep in the cool salt mines of the chronicles.

Talking to other club members at meetings is an encouraged activity rather than merely optional. If there's an empty chair, sit – also optional – wherever you like, or haul one over from another part of the café. What you say may be honestly appreciated by other members present if they are listening, and there usually are some – and if it should chance to be written here, as a bit of it is, sometimes.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because member Willy the Bird failed to show the slightest tail feather today.

The café's location is:

Café–Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny – or – 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre–Rivoli, Pont–Neuf or Châtelet.
Every Thursday from 15:00 to 17:00.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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Waldo Bini