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A Smell of Frites

photo, group, dan, olga, jeremy, rosemary, heather, bert, april, blake, pont, bill

This week's 'Group of the Week' is not the same as last
week's 'Group of the Week.'

Shower Curtain–free Zone

Paris:– Thursday, 5. May 2005:– I am not proud of the marks I've put on the weather maps in today's Le Parisien. I watched the TV–weather news twice and the result has been to make me less certain of the weather than when I miss the TV–news entirely.

It probably won't matter because the predicted weather is not supposed to be very good or very bad. There will be no heatwave and no hurricane for example. Okay, now to details. The part where I scribbled the wavy lines meaning passing clouds, is past Paris tomorrow, so you can forget it.

Behind the scribble there will be some clouds, getting sunnier in the afternoon, increasing to maybe half sunny by the time I get up. The good news is that the temperature should be a couple of degrees more than today, say 18. That's not too shabby.

On Saturday the scribbled area of the map is in the north. Somewhere below a horizontal line running through Roissy it may be partly sunny and the further south you go the sunnier it will get, according to the forecast. Only the temperature will be less than nifty, hangingphoto, heather, dogs up at 16 degrees, that's all.

By Sunday the scribbled area will have swung like a barn door, to lie up against the Alps, a long way away. Behind there will be a new invasion of clouds from the west, but this may only be noticed in the western parts of France.

Here in the boring middle we might have mixed cloudy skies interspersed with sunny skies – in general, it's supposed to be sunnier – but the temperature may not do better than match Saturday's 16 degrees.

Clipped out of the photo above – the member dogs.

I think the weather lady said something about rain too, on one of these days, but my TV antenna isn't the greatest so I couldn't see the image too well. It may have been the lines on the screen flickering instead of rain.

The 'Shower Curtain–free Zone' Report of the Week

There was a huge splash of rain last night. It was coming down like it was a rehearsal for a monsoon, with each drop holding about a half–litre of water. Hitting all the fresh new leaves it made a considerable racket too. I only add this here so that if you think I leave rain out of the 'weather reports,' above, you'll know that it does rain here, even if it's not official.

After all, without rain where would the French umbrella industry be? Out on the street if there's a bit of faint mist, pop! out come the umbrellas as if by magic. All the people you see walking around here in their tight tops and huggie jeans – all these people are carrying hidden umbrellas.

Obviously the great question is always, "Why have they got umbrellas and I have none?" Evenphoto, icecream, wine when I am wearing my winter coat there's no place to hide a hidden umbrella in it. So where do they hide them? What are they concealing?

Better in Paris – ice cream and wine.

I would have been thinking hard about this today but it wasn't raining, so I walked to the club meeting. Even the Marco Polo fountain near Port Royal was dry, its water–jet turtles cocked and ready to fire at the prancing horses, but no aqua nada.

Instead the little kids were sailing their rental boats on the big round pond in from of the Luxembourg palace, under this year's waving palms. The pool's little fountain in the middle was spitting up a column of water about one metre in the air, hardly high enough to fall back into the pool in proper drops.

Down by Odéon all the café terraces were packed. This reminds me that I forgot to mention that today is a holiday when I mentioned today's saints on Monday. Maybe it is the reason for there being two saints today. Maybe it is the reason it is not raining today. Whichever, a lot of Parisians are away in order to take part in the traffic jams programmed for roads around France – it's the only long weekend during this year's version of May.

What with one thing and another I am a bit late crossing the Pont Neuf, but I do notice a smell of frites on the Quai du Louvre. It must be outdoor frites season again. Or maybe it is because the riverside speedway is closed, and all the drivers in traffic jams on the quay have their radios tuned to 'Frites FM.'

As I move into the club's area I am instantly joined by Olga and Dan Ciupitu from Sydney, Australia. Before they went there 20 years ago they started out in Bucharest – or Bucuresti, Romania. Sydney has had it, so Bucharest gets the coveted 'City of the Week' distinction.

Olga and Dan have 'no real reason' for being in Paris, except they "Come to Europe to escape the daily routine," as Dan says. In fact, in Australia, if you put up with the 'dailyphoto, bill's flags, wch routine' for 20 years, you get to have a two– month paid vacation.

While I am trying to find out if there are any shortcuts Jeremy Stahl arrives from New York City and Herndon, Virginia, looking for Heather Stimmler–Hall. Jeremy becomes a club member without pain, because Heather shows up fairly quickly, with her two tiny dogs that have names I've forgotten again.

Bill Hall's initials on his sleeve – W.C.H.

Hot on her heels Pont and Bill Hall arrive, from Monkton, Maryland. They have been directed to this very club in this particular café by member Dana Shaw, Bill's cousin. Ah, 2nd cousin this is, upon reflection that requires the service of a couple of fingers to figure out. Pont says Jan and Dana are alive and well in Florida, which I'm sure other members will be glad to hear.

I have this half–digested when April and Blake Page, from Dallas, Texas, arrive from Rotterdam or Amsterdam or one of those Dutch places up north. Blke says, "It's the first time we've done boom, boom – it's too much!" Blake means they are on one of these 'five–countries–in–10 days' trips, and he adds it'll probably be the last time.

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