horz line

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.


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