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With Sunshine

photo, group, bill, connie, larry, tomoko

Bill, Connie, Larry and Tomoko, the 'Group of the Week.'

But Without Scorpions

Paris:– Thursday, 17. March 2005:– All the gloom that was here the week before last and last week, is gone gone gone. We are smashed on spring. It broke out a couple of days ago when the sky got blue and the temperatures shot up, to above 'normal' for the time of year. And not a moment too soon!

Due entirely to some technical reason, like the earth titled towards the sun, high pressure, or winds from hell, spring suddenly popped out a few days early but long after we'd given up hope of ever seeing some winter sunshine, cool as it might be but welcome all the same.

While Paris takes it off, and takes off time from shivering by lolling around in a relaxed state of ga–ga on every available café terrace in town, while... – well, we wait with impatience for the skimpy spring textiles to appear, for something to ogle.

Meanwhile, here's the prediction. Deep, deep, blue skies have been forecast but they haven't shown up. The sky is blue and mostly cloudless but the ultra–deep blue has not quite made it. Its arrival is now scheduled for Sunday. Or is it supposed to be tomorrow?

Nevermatter! Friday will start with insignificant mini–clouds which will evaporate at noonphoto, water turtle of the week sharp. Thereafter only blue skies in our airspace until nightfall around 19:00. And from noon to 17:00, a high temperature of 22 degrees is on the cards.

Saturday is supposed to be mainly ditto with a high of 21 degrees. Sunday, officially the first day of spring, will probably be a bit cloudier regardless of what's written above – but it's just as likely to be just as sunny as Saturday. In any case, the temperature forecast is for 21 degrees again.

Fighting water turtles in action at the Marco Polo.

Easter has chosen to happen exactly one week after spring's start. This may upset the schedule for the usual cold snap that allows Italian visitors at Easter to wear their winter clothes for one final time. This year they may be gone already, leaving us to brave it without distractions.

The 'Piano' Report of the Week

At 14:00 the temperature outside is about three times what it was last week at the same time so I leave for the club at 13:45 on foot and when I pass the Métro station at Raspail I stay on foot. I cross the street, glance at the Passage d'Enfer, and on the Boulevard Montparnasse I amble east to Port Royal and the reward of seeing the Marco Polo fountain's turtles winning a water fight with prancing iron horses.

Further on down, the Luxembourg is full of students from the Sorbonne who are parked on the grass and on some of the free chairs that are spread around the big pool in front of Marie'sphoto, water of the week place. The rest of the chairs are occupied by professors and the folks who work in the Quartier Latin's editorial houses, and other layabouts.

The Senat's great garden crew is skimming around in tractors, hastily playing catch–up with the plants bursting into bloom. Um, it reads okay, but the fact is, it looks like they got caught with bare dirt showing in the flower beds. They'll probably fix it up with a few night shifts – assuming they are the ones who want to 'make more by working more.'

The 'Water–water of the Week.'

The Odéon is still in construction when I pass but when I get to Buci I am proud to see that no terrace chair is left unoccupied. Even the seats in shade are taken. It's a good turnout for a Thursday afternoon and I doubt if it has anything much to do with the horrendous unemployment rate.

For a change I switch from Dauphine to Mazarine and follow it down to the rear side of the Institut de France and then zip through the arched passage and cross the street to the bridge, which is covered with sun worshippers. So are the Seine quays on the right bank. The water glints with dancing diamonds.

The café La Corona's large terraces are nearly full of right–bank layabouts and the waiters flit back and forth with trays of sustaining drinks. Totally glorious, including the thirst–crazed drivers in their sweltering mobiles of all descriptions.

Nearly needless to say the café's 'grande salle' is nearly deserted but the doors and windows are open and the fronds are waving about as if the café fronts on – dare I say it? Paris–plage?

Down to business of the meeting numbers and the date and the temperature. Then I whip out Le Parisien and begin to read about the battle against graffiti. This is a new battle that wasn't being fought yesterday. Actual news begins on page 7 but before I get to it member Larry Frame is sitting down.

Almost before we can tell each other 'how we are,' Tomoko Yokomitsu arrives and says, "When are we going for a Japanese lunch?" This is for Larry, I assume, because Tomoko has never mentioned a Japanese lunch to me. "It's not cold now!" she says, perhaps in reference to having Sushi.

Before Larry can react, Tomoko asks, "Do you want to buy a piano?" Actually, Larry might be in the market for one except that he doesn't play. She says it is nearly new and has nine years' worth of insurance.

"Spring is bizarre!" Tomoko then says. "Two weeks since we had snow, Easter in 10 days and the school holidays..."photo, river water of the week

But it's a ruse, to get me to confess not going to her Beatles Story concert a week ago Wednesday. My aunt, an elderly nun from Arizona was in town with a cold, I start to say, then give up and confess. I didn't go to see Tomoko not singing like Yoko Ono.

The 'Quay–side Water of the Week.'

The next chance I will get to not do this will be on the Fête de la Musique, on Tuesday, 21. June, when they will be performing out at Courbevoie. In penance I agree to include the photo of the members of the Beatles Story on the balcony of the Château Beatles in Compiègne, with guest of honor, Lizzie II.

When I return to this club meeting Tomoko is touting cheesecake, in the Rue des Rosiers, exactly where I had a fallafel on Wednesday. I never knew they had chick pea balls in them – I thought they were supposed to be full of roast goat.

Suddenly it's 'New Members of the Week' time, coinciding with the arrival of Connie and Bill Fuller, from Hillsboro, Oregon. I know the town slightly, having once gotten that far on an excursion to see the Pacific Ocean. This ocean is still in my date book.

Connie and Bill are not jetlagged today but they've come straight to the club meeting after a lunch meetingphoto, island in water of the week at the Musée du Vin. This is one of the few Paris museums that doubles as a wine bar, and wine restaurant, and wine caves, of course. "We had a really nice lunch," Connie says.

The 'Island in the Seine Water of the Week.'

The Fullers come often to Paris. Bill was in the wine business in California and in Oregon, and he still keeps his hand in – by giving courses to budding waiters, teaching them that wine comes in different colors, and how to pour it without turning a tablecloth pink.

Since Larry comes from the Pacific Northwest too, Tomoko and I listen to amusing stories about 120 mph Pacific winds and hear the latest about the Mount Saint Helens pop–off. "I saw it blow sky high while driving along," Bill says.

This is compared to the Paris windstorm in December of 1999. I remember sleeping through it well. When asked, Bill says he likes it here, because there are 'more decadent choices in Paris.'

Alright, it's out of context, but it's a real quote that I wrote down. Using it here is as good a place as any. Actually, Connie says they are excited because their dog – uh oh – where's its name? I've got the quote but not the dog's name.

I missed it because Connie says it is a 'Papillon.' "It's called that because they were bred to entertain French royalty," Connie explains.

Yes! Connie and Bill's dog is going to appear in Kurt Weil's opera 'Street Scenes.' "We're doing the dress rehearsals next week," Connie says. Bill tells me the dog is about 10 pounds overweigh but shouldn't have any trouble handling the part with aplomb. I believe every word. However Bill does not have a photo of this family member when I ask to see it.

And on we go with animal stories. On we go to Florida – Connie worked there for a time and Larry spent some time growing up there. Apparently, if you do not live on a coast that is completely paved so that you do not get sand in your shoes at malls, the rest of Florida is infested with deadly snakes and hungry alligators.

Connie and Bill tell horror stories about alligators, that 'chomped on the hands that fed them.' Larry mentions batting Cottonmouths back into the swamps with a paddle. "We were kids," he says, "Absolutely fearless."

This is as good a spot as any to close this report, with an agreement between members. All agree – exceptphoto, chateau beatles, compiegne Tomoko – that nobody has to worry about earthquakes, volcanos, rattlesnakes, alligators or scorpions, in Paris.

Tomoko says, "My computer is Japanese."

Tomoko's exclusive photo, without water, of the band at the Château Beatles.

And before I forget, and because I do not harbor any hard feelings, let it be known that Hillsboro is the club's 'City of the Week.' This town possesses a wonderful emergency ward, and a terrific ambulance service too.

Strike of the Week Note

Despite many requests for a replay of last week's colorful street demonstrations, there are few 'Strikes of the Week' programmed for this week or next.

About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report,' with a modest attendance about average, lacked anything edible and just about as little to drink. The engrossing 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has several nifty photos, but you can skip them all entirely and miss nothing other than lots of words. If you do skip them, the club can be joined any 'Thursday of the Week.'

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

Club meetings begin about 15:00 in the afternoon, on Thursday and shuts down about 17:00 or after on the same afternoon in the western European Time zone – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'sTZZ' although it sometimes is – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Around somewhere else is not where meetings are held, so come here instead.

Be devilishly clever at a meeting – by being at one or more – and become comfortable for a hour or two especially if you have had the time for it. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' having more added value than 'first' regardless if 'first' is perfectly believable too, and if it is an acceptable form of 'true' but especially on Thursdays.

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.graphic: club location map Throw your name into Google if in doubt.

Former 'rules' continue to be 'former' week after week after week, month after month, year after everlasting year, blah–blah, blah–blah, blahh–blahh, blahh– bla, blahhhhhhhhhh, etc. etc.

Talking to other club members at meetings is encouraged rather than optional if there aren't any. There are usually free chairs, so sit – wherever you like, or stand up. Whatever you say will be greatly 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.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because the club's secretary walked to the club in the spring sunshine instead of riding the Métro like a mole.

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