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More Hats

photo, group, heather, don, helen

The week's 'Group of the Week,' from left, with Heather,
Don and Helen..

Of the Week

Paris:– Thursday, 6. January 2005:– As if it were a birthday or we had won the Loto tonight's TV–weather news lady announced that Paris is benefitting from a high–pressure anticyclone.

However the satellite weather animation showed that this situation has its exceptions, to the extent that this part of the countryside will be covered by clouds that will prevent sunbeams from reaching our foreheads.

Don't ask me if the winds scooting up the Channel at 70 or 80 kph have anything to do with tomorrow's forecast. A situation that is all cloudy in the morning, maybe with a bit of rain, might become partly sunny in the afternoon, if we are good kids.

Friday's forecast high of 12 degrees is 4 to 5 degrees more than we deserve, but we'll accept it if that's what we get. On Saturday the same mysterious wind will be whistling up the Channel, but will have no effect of the cloudy skies over our heads. Clouds that may be raining on us. But warm, at 11 degrees, all the same.

The winds continue on Sunday, so don't lurk around the Channel unless you like them. Around Paris it might be partly sunny for part of the time and will most likely be partly cloudy for most of the time. And the high is forecast to be 10 degrees, which is only 2 or 3 degrees more than normal for the time of year.

First 'Hat Day of the Year' Report

The temperatures have been mild but some times when I get outside I find that there is a sneaky rain falling. Onphoto, lunch of the week certain streets this is no problem, unless there is an exposure to southerly breezes. Then it can be wet. By 'sneaky,' I mean this rain is very quiet, even when you are outside and it is falling all around.

Today's 'Lunch of the Week.' Yummy for the tummy!

So I am surprised that it is not raining at all when I set off for the Métro at Raspail. It is not raining when I get there either. I get on a near empty wagon and ride to Saint–Germain and get out to walk. I do not see anybody I know in the Quartier Latin so I do not loiter about, and pretty soon I have crossed the Pont des Arts and find myself arriving early at the club's café, La Corona.

I step back out to see if there's any photo opportunities – such as red–nosed bunnies or bears. Alas, it seems as if this fantasy season is over for another year, with nothing but big red hearts on the horizon of February.

In the café's 'grande salle' a civilian couple are sitting smack dab in the secretary's place. Sunlight is cutting through the room so I take a spot close to the shade of a wall and enter the meeting's details in the club's booklets. Then I get out Le Parisien and look at the photo on the front page. Member number one Heather Stimmler–Hall arrives and asks me why I'm reading the paper.

I show her the photo of the 'reconstruction' in Asia. The photo shows new concrete blocks laid on sand and a couple of frail sticks that are meant to hold up a straw roof. A couple of Joes are mixing cement in a plastic bucket – not even waiting for the four or five billion bucks of aid donations to arrive. The caption says 'experts' think it'll take five to ten years for the rebuilding.

Another headline laments that some 1998 World Cup champions are unemployed these days, and that 35 is the right age to begin cosmetic surgery. I give up the rest of the news without regret.

"I'm going to eat something," Heather declares. She scans the menu for typical French dishes and settles on 'Francfort–frites' because the price is right, at 9.20€.

Then she tells me about her holiday adventures, which mostly consisted of telling her in–laws that she wasn't being ill just because they were visiting. Her symptoms were more terrifying than what she actually had for two days, so I'm really glad to see her still alive.

A chipper lady threads he way through the café's 'grande salle' on a beeline to the club's abbreviated area, so we guess that she intends to join the club, which turns out to be an accurate assessment.

Helen Handelsman comes from the Marina,photo, helen handelsman, hat not the Laguna, area of San Francisco, and the club has been recommended to her by member Alvin Stilman who joined last 15. January. Helen also knows club member Dennis Moyer, but everybody else in San Francisco seems to, too.

Helen's and her 'Hat of the Week.'

As Helen begins to fill in her members' details she waives the 'warning' and other club blah–blah and folklore. "I've read 'About the Club' already," she says.

She asks if she can write 'Because I love Paris!' in answer to the questionnaire's item 2, 'What is your primary reason for visiting?' For question 4 she writes, 'too expensive,' for what she likes least.

While we all know that Paris is expensive – thimbles of café for 1.10€ – we discover that many everyday items are unobtainable anywhere else – so they are worth whatever they cost.

"Three weeks aren't enough," Helen then observes. She gasps at Heather's nine years of residence, which Heather reduces by mentioning that three or four of them were on the Riviera – "Boring!"

Then some lunatic, most likely in a stalled car outside on the Quai du Louvre, leans on his horn and doesn't get off it. It goes on so long that other drivers start honking at the horn honker. Bedlam!

Perfect for the entrance of Don Smith, who sits down while saying, "I'm really busy." If I understand him correctly, he comes to club meeting when Nelly has to work – possibly because his grumbling disturbs her concentration.

Don was out in the wild outback of the Bretagne for the holidays. "They jump, they sing, they make a lot of noise," he says, adding just in time, "For days! They never stop."

About the visit, he says the highlight was meeting 'Monsieur Oyster of 2001.' He admits that he wasphoto, don smith, hat offered a glass of Champagne in the oyster barn, but nobody coughed up a free oyster. I think you have to go to Champagne to get free oysters.

Don also mentions that the Bretagne is a long trip, if you come back by road. "It only took three hours to get there on the TGV," he says.

Don and his eternal 'Hat of the Week.'

Heather, also known as 'Paris Secrets,' has her usual grabbag of tips. On hotels – "Check the promotions online," she advises. "You can stay in an average hotel for 150€, but often for only 50€ more you can stay in one of the 'palaces' for a weekend."

About the 'Soldes d'Hiver' – "Some start at midnight!" Sort of like something to do after a night of clubbing – get new shoes! Heather tells us about the new glasses she's going to get. She says she'll be 'Heather version 2005' when we see her next.

While the members discuss TV shows I'll never see, I sit looking at the camera's batteries. I am looking at the onesphoto, wine of the week that were in the camera and the replacement ones and wondering which are which. Don suggests that I put some in and if nothing happens, then it's probably the others. There are random bangs in the café that disturb my concentration.

Another useful tip from Heather – "Don't go to the flea market on New Years Day." This is a clue to why Heather is known as 'Secrets of Paris,' in case you were wondering.

This can only be the 'Wine of the Week.'

Next week – who says this? – the notes say something like 'Geeks in the Gobi desert' and 'ground whole peas and garlic,' possibly about some 'secret' recipe.

And we learn Heather's own incredible secret. Heather has never eaten an oyster in her whole life. Her excuse, that she lived on the Riviera, hardly holds water. We all chime in with ideas of where she can remedy her situation.

A 'starter' tip – find an oyster bar and order six mediums and a glass of Sancerre. Heather says she doesn't like Sancerre. No doubt she's had too much of that Riviera rosé.

Support Member's Books, Dept.

photo, book, adventure guide, parisHeather's big news is about her book's official launch in Paris. This will happen on Wednesday, 19. January, at 20:00, at the Abbey Bookshop. This is in the 5th arrondissement at 29. Rue de la Parcheminerie, just off the Rue Saint– Jacques. Go early and buy a dozen copies so that there's room enough to stand inside the place.

Shopping & Soldes d'Hiver Alert VII

Beyond Monoprix, the official word is that the coming Soldes d'Hiver will begin on Wednesday, 12. January and continue for a bit more than five weeks until Tuesday, 22. February. Credit terms will be easy but cash is better.

More About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report,' without any 'City of the Week' again, at least had a mention of oysters. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has a passel of legible small print, but you can skip it all and not miss anything important. If you do decide to skip absolutely everything, you need no more than to know that the club can be joined by anyone so long as it's a Thursday.

You can become a lifetime member for ever of this online magazine's real, live, and free club by becomingphoto, heather stimmler hall, hat a member super–flasho on a Thursday blah blah etc etc etc., and–so–on, and–so– forth etc. If you've skip this paragraph, read the proceeding one.

Far from least, Heather and her 'Hat of the Week.'

The club's 'rules' evolved into obscure legends, created by the club's members 389 years ago. The club's other distinction is that it is the only club related to an Internet magazine that subsists with no forms to fill out, no newsletter, regardless of how many requests there are for one. To unsubscribe, unhook or disconnect, stay cool.

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

The club's meetings begin about 15:00 on the hour, on Thursday afternoons and break off around 17:00, about the hour, on the same Thursday afternoon in the western European Time zone – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'ZOIC' although it sometimes is – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. The club's secretary never gets any offer from San Francisco, but hopes, so far, vainly.

Be fiendishly clever at a meeting – like being at one – and become somewhat famous for a day or two if it is your fondest desire. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' having approximately the same Francfort–frites value as 'Food of the Week,' especially if mustard is concerned. 'True' is perfectly acceptable too, if it is an outlandish type of 'first.'

Note of Caution – you may have any one or more personal reasons for remaining unfindable 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. Google yourself if in doubt.graphic: club location map

Former 'rules' continue to be 'former' week after week after week, month after month, year after endless year, and have been eliminated forever from the club's hyper–texts of archives except for all the original texts still online buried in the deep and dark cellars of the outer Gobi desert.

Talking to other club members at meetings is warmly encouraged rather than optional if there aren't any. If there's a free chair, sit – wherever you like, or haul one over from another part of the café. Bring your own if you want. Whatever you say will be much appreciated by other members present if there are any that are listening, and there usually are some – and if it should chance to be written here, as oodles of it is, profusely.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because this week's meeting was the first to be one week before 'Heather version 2005' appears.

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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Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini