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photo, sugar lump for cafe

One member provides a lump for 'Sugar of the Week.'

Put It In Words

Paris:– Thursday, 31. March 2005:– Writing a weather forecast on Monday and then not putting it online, was, if you ask me, a smooth move. Here is what you missed:–

"Regular readers will probably rejoice upon hearing that the weather here has returned to its normal program of partly sunny, partly cloudy, a little bit of rain, some light breezes, low temperatures around 8 degrees with highs in the mid–teens, plus an extra hour of daylight in the evening due to weird 'summer' time that started at 03:00 yesterday. All that pre–spring good weather stuff is over, at least for the coming week."

On Monday the good weather lady said our future was to be 'unstable.' So it has been, but it isn't going to last all week. For tomorrow, according to tonight's different weather lady, Friday will be mostly sunny and the high predicted for the day is 18 degrees. It could be true.

Then on Saturday we are supposed to have the best of the week with a day that – according to the TV–weather map – will be very sunny. Yes! TV showed one big sunball for all of France except for some obscure regions way out west far from here. And along with the brightness, a high temperature forecast to be 19 degrees. How's that?

Sunday is not expected to be quite so glorious, with flimsy clouds blocking out the direct sunshine, causing the temperature to dip to 17 degrees. But one sunny day in a week that began as 'unstable' is nothing to sneeze at, so I won't, although Le Parisien headlines the day as 'pas de chipolata!' I wonder what it means?

The 'Word of the Week' Report of the Week

Unlike many other club days there doesn't seem to be anything special about this one. The sky is not sunnyphoto, tomoko x 3 and it is not raining either, there are no winds worth making any remarks about, and the strike of the week seems to have been called off for lack of a burning subject or grievance.

Tomoko, eventualy drinks weak café.

Therefore I arm myself with today's Le Parisien and set off for the club, fetching up at the Métro at Raspail where the train is a bit slow to arrive. Once on it, it creeps along while oncoming trains flash by hell–bent for the Porte d'Orléans.

The train glides through the Saint–Placide station without stopping. On account of renovations no trains will stop here for months, somewhat to the surprise of the mayor of the 6th arrondissement, who found out about it from angry merchants and Métro users, rather than from the RATP. They say their letter probably got lost.

I am still dithering about where to get off when the train leaves Saint–Germain so I get ready to jump at Odéon. For a change I take the stairs and make a mental note never to do it again. There are altogether too many of them. Many Parisians consider stairs to be a form of free exercise. I prefer to let them get on with it in peace.

Pedestrians are risking their necks in the Rue de l'Ancienne Comédie where a cement truck is blocking the roadway beside a construction site that is blocking the sidewalk. It's been like this for months but is worse than usual with traffic and pedestrians in a jumble, going every which way.

The rest of the way to the bridge is normal except for the people jammed up on the sidewalk that is too narrow. After it, the Pont Neuf is a relief, except for the part that is being rebuilt. I shouldn't complain because it is always like this – walking in Paris is often like trench warfare, and we're supposed to be used to it.

At the café La Corona there is nothing remarkable to note. The 'grande salle' is more empty than anything else. The Easter crowds were here briefly and now they are gone for another year. It feels like the end of a season rather than the beginning of one.

On gaining the club's area I enter the meeting's statistics in the club's notebooks. There being no immediate members to also note, I turn to Le Parisien. Its front page has a bland photo of a TV set with snow on the screen and 'TNT' written on the snow in red.

'TNT' stands for 'Télévision Numérique Terrestre.' It is another way of sayingphoto, tomoko x 2 digital–TV, from the Tour Eiffel. Today, this afternoon actually, the state TV launches new channels and the traditional channels, up from five to 14 – with digital sound and images, all 'free.'

The 'sleep pinch,' as shown by Tomoko.

Private broadcasters use cable or satellites than can be accessed via subscription, but this digital business will be broadcast like the analogue signals, so we are supposed to be able to pick them up with our old antennas. Maybe.

One way, the only way, to find out about these new 'free' channels is to buy a decoder, for at least 80€, or for as much as 500€. Or, ha ha, sign up for TV via DSL, which is not 'free' – but which may sidestep the fact that the old antenna has seen better days.

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