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What's In a Civet?

photo, group, bob, kate, heather, claire, priscilla

Partial 'Group of the Week' – from left, Bob, Kate,
Heather, Claire and Priscilla.

The 'Book of the Week' Club

Paris:– Thursday, 28. October 2004:– All the crummy weather we were supposed to get wasn't so crummy. The weather maps make out all this horror stuff, the winds blow a bit and then the sun shines and it's not so bad. Even the low temperatures are upstaged.

This isn't the reason I forgot to get Le Parisien today. I flat forgot after reminding myself not to. For this weather forecast I've used the maps in last Friday's edition, and liberally scribbled all over them.

In fact I did tomorrow twice. Now I can't figure out the scribbles on top of scribbles. It looks messy, which I guess is tomorrow's forecast. The low is twirling around over Dublin and touching Brittany, and there's the foregoing mess over in eastern France.

In the middle there's supposed to be some blue, some clouds and sometimes sunny periods. On Saturday the muck is still hanging over Brittany, there are sun balls peeping out of clouds to the north and south, and one cloud is over Paris, apparently raining. Still, it might be semi–sunny.

Kind of the same thing is foreseen for Sunday. My notes say 'semi–sunny, cloudy.' The high temperature for all three days was forecast tonight as being 15 degrees, which is exactly normal for this time of year, and so often isn't.

The 'Famous People' Club Report of the Week

After a dim morning the sun is mostly shining merrily this afternoon when I leave my humble garretphoto, jif peanut butter and set off for the Métro station at Raspail. The road that cuts through the cemetery has been completely ruined with no–parking posts placed along its sidewalks, and parking is now allowed on one side.

It used to be like a quiet road out in the country, lined with great plane trees, which are dropping yellow leaves like petals of gold. They are still doing this, and the line of tin and chrome on one side reduces the bucolic aspect to nothing.

One member's 'Peanut Butter of the Week.' Creamy. Yum!

Leaving the Métro at Saint–Germain–de–Prés allows me to stroll through the arty Quartier Latin, which I do a bit faster than usual because I'm behind time. The Pont des Arts is its usual landing spot for birds to be idle in the middle of the city in the middle of the river – a sort of year–round Paris Plage.

In the café La Corona's 'grande salle' there are two ladies who aren't together, sitting in the club's area. One, I am surprised to learn, is Claire Waddington, club member number nine. Claire has been to a few meetings since joining in 1999, but not for a long time.

Claire is waiting for Heather Stimmler–Hall. So is the other lady, who is Robin Watson. Robin, for obscure reasons, is not really here today, except to meet Heather – who hasn't explained how anybody coming within five metres of a club meeting might get dragged into it.

Nevertheless I duly note a home town of Upper Brookville, Long Island. Claire's home town is Wellington, New Zealand. Isn't it a small world? Both ladies live in Paris though – a still small world.

New member Kate Irwin arrives carrying a medium–sized sack. Kate is in Paris for the school year, to write her dissertation in Francophone literature. Although Kate is doing this for the University of California at Irvine, she gives the home town of Missoula, Montana, which becomes the club's 'City of the Week.'

Then the stray Heather does arrive, also with a sack. She says the management of Planet Hollywood was dubious about her being there on election night next week. "Do they think I'm too young to vote, or too young to be a young Democrat?" she wonders.

The events magazine Zurban has written about the 'straw vote' at Harry's New York Bar. Heather explains what this is to Claire. I don't hear about the 'straw' part and I'm sorry I missed it.

Heather is pretty high because she received four copies of her book in the mail today. She is high partlyphoto, glasses, drinks from extracting them from her little mailbox slot. The brand new 'Adventure Guide to Paris and the Ile de France' is like a 450–page brick, almost as thick as the Paris Yellow Pages.

Several members' 'Glasses and Bottles of the Week.'

And so it has to be because the first 30 pages are all introduction. If you get Heather's book you can forget going to the Alliance Française for the historio–culturo–philo stuff. It won't fit in a pocket, but you'll only need one book. But it's too much to read now, so back to the meeting.

Well maybe not. There is a political discussion going on. At one point Claire is saying something about having come across some 'Republicans for Kerry.'

I'm not against political discussions, but I can't keep my mind on this one. I daydream about having a café instead. I take photos of the drinks and of the ladies. Robin says she isn't at the meeting because she hates photos. I take a good photo of her. She will love it after it is fixed up a bit.

I take a photo of the drinks but it gets lost. I think the camera doesn't remember some of the photos it takes. Maybe it was a photo last week.

I know it seems as if we've just started, but Claire says she has to leave. This makes it 'Group Photo of the Week' time. Robin offers to take the photo to avoid being in it. The tricky shutter release is explained – it takes years to get used to.

The 'Group Photo of the Week' contains Kate, Heather and Claire. Two of these are in the box – and one escapes! – and then there are two more members present. Bob Symonds scoots in at one end and Priscilla Pointer inserts herself at the other end.

This produces another terrific club 'first' &ndah; two almost identical 'Group Photos of the Week,' ones lacking one member and another member who is 'not here.' photo, podometre

Continued on page 2...
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