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'Does It Sound Like Gin'

photo, group, sheila, fran, herb, tomoko

The 'Group of the Week,' with Sheila, Fran, Herb and Tomoko.

Last Major Sin

Paris:– Thursday, 13. October 2005:– The forecast for today in Le Parisien is fantastic. It shows Paris under a black cloud, surrounded on three sides by other black clouds and on three other sides by black clouds that are raining.

When I looked out my window this morning all I could see were blue skies. Admittedly I could only see three sides but I looked out my bathroom window and saw more blue sky on 1.5 sides and figured the other 1.5 would probably be blue too.

Of course Le Parisien could have been beside the plaque on account of being printed at night, but it was sunny yesterday and as it got dark no change was in sight. The good news is that the weather has turned out to be consistently better than the forecasts – giving us lots of sunny, warm days instead of cold and rain.

So, I think you should find Le Parisien at fault if it does rain, and give three cheers to my forecasts if it doesn't. Now, tomorrow looks like being a bit tricky. Up along the Channel expectphoto, beer of the week clouds, and murky weather will be in the south too. This will leave this part to have sunshine again, along with a right warm temperature of 23 degrees. TV–news said this is 'above normal,' etc. etc.

Saturday should be simple. It should be sunny all day and the temperature should be 21, so I say it will be 23 degrees again.

A club exclusive – the 'Beer of the Week.'

In return for simple, Sunday looks like being complicated. This is the story – there will be a vertical band of crummy weather sweeping across France from top to bottom or vice versa. In the morning this will be in the west and in the afternoon it will still be in the west, but it will reach here. Besides a temperature forecast to be 21, there will be sun in Brittany and in Alsace, which hardly concerns us. If, between now and Sunday, this band picks up speed, it will not be here and it will be there instead.

The 'Does It Sound Like Gin of the Week' Report

I read somewhere that a 'golden October' is bad for getting essential things done because one can fall into this season which lasts one day at a time. By 'falling in' I mean chucking everything to go out for the 'last day' to be under blue skies and shuffle through the fallen leaves and waste time sitting around in the Luxembourg.

Even if I am not giving into this temptation I am still conscious of how pleasant it is to be out in brightness and warmth as I traipse past the cemetery, noting autumn colors, on the way to the Métro at Raspail.

The Métro is all business. There is no 'golden October' underground, you find it only where the Métro isphoto, schweppes of the week elevated. But going up the escalator at Odéon the golden starts again at the top and continues in patches through the Quartier Latin down to the Seine where it is pretty intense beside the river and on the island and along the right bank.

As usual on a day like this Paris seems to be full of people who are either unemployed, taking a day off, playing hookey, or they are visiting dentists with nothing better to do than hang out on the Pont Neuf.

Formerly known as the 'Green Drink of the Week.'

On the right bank in the Quai du Louvre there seem to be many more bad tempered motorists than usual. The city has this situation well in hand with a small platoon of police acting like lion tamers, using shrill whistles instead of whips.

Visitors are looking for dirty postcards at the newspaper kiosque where I get a Parisien but do not get any posters worth capturing. Further on the terraces are peopled with the faint and hungry but the Corona's is near empty. The wind, which seems to be from the southeast, has blown them around the corner, illustrating the wisdom of having two terraces.

The café's 'grande salle' is deserted. But the room is bright and puffs of wind are blowing in the door. It seems like a promising begin for the day's meeting, the 311th, the last in the club's sixth year.

I take care of the usual because it is nearly routine by now and turn to the paper. The French football team snatched a last–chance victory away from Cyprus last night, to sew up a spot for the World Cup next year. In addition to the front page, Le Parisien runs this story over the first four inside pages. Merci Zizou!

I am about to read about Internet dating in France when member Herb Finch arrives. Herb is from San Francisco but he has been visiting Europe, Slovenia and Italy, before getting to Paris. Herb decides to remind me of his other visits, like sticking his nose into volcanos in Sicily, or escaping from wild sheep in the Falkland Islands. Wherever it is, Herb has been there, including Mongolia.

Which makes him a perfect club member. With Herb around I don't have to invent geographical stories. I am itching to hear about the volcanos, but it is the turn of Ljubljana. Herb says it is a great town even if it is not very big. I agree, having slept in a park therephoto, coke of the week one night 41 years ago.

So, he was also walking around in the Julian Alps with six ladies from Scotland who were there to get away from their husbands. "Rain, rain," he says about the climate, and then he was in Trieste to visit James Joyce's house.

Herb is telling me about the one 24 year–old lady dentist from Hong Kong who was with their group when Sheila Archer arrives, followed within a couple of minutes by Fran Griffin and two minutes later by Tomoko Yokomitsu. Everybody probably remembers that their home towns are Brooklyn, Neptune and Paris.

Still known as the 'Coke of the Week.'

The 'Waiter of the Week' is summoned and given orders for refreshments and he goes off to fetch them. Herb, required to reveal his former profession by two–thirds of the members, says, "I didn't like being a lawyer for 30–odd years."

I am unable to make Herb feel better by saying that the club has several members who are lawyers, because the ladies edge me out to cross–examine him, trying to find out if he is a rich ex–lawyer, or an interesting one, and Herb cries out that he did taxes fo corporations.


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