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Not Only Heard of It

photo, david, jerry, sue, maureen, terry, priscilla, jeremy

The only 'Group of Seven of the Week' on this Thursday.

Know Where It Is

Paris:– Thursday, 24. November 2005:– A good part of today's club meeting consisted of the secretary claiming that it never snows in Paris, unless the weather is doing something very exceptional. It snows in the Alps, he said, and the Alps are not in and around here someplace.

So tonight I am sitting in front of my TV set and here comes the weather and they start off with an 'Orange Alert,' beep beep beep, '14 departments, from two to 15 centimetres of snow, starting tonight.' It just goes to show that if the secretary says 'never' then you better make sure your snowshoes are oiled and ready for use.

I was so startled that I watched the TV–weather news forecast twice – partly to make sure the 'Orange Alert' hadn't expanded to include the Ile–de–France too. There I was squinting at the tube, and dang if I don't think I see the animation for rain, or snow, most likely sleet – falling in and around downtown Paris. Gazooks!

Okay, let's be calm here. After we get over an overnight low of 1 degree, the high may creep up to 3 degrees. Thenphoto, coke of the week there will be a northwest wind, hitting the Channel coast at about 50 kph, and here it will be cloudy with rain, sleet, snow, all three, yuk! horrible, terrible. But, hand on heart, no 'Orange Alert.'

Near the Alps as I write this an army is loading up with sand and salt, renting big trucks, testing the blades they put on other ones this afternoon, and the traffic control centres are wiping off their camera lenses, and the blue twirl–lights are rolling. France is going to war against snow.

A classic 'Cocktail of the Week.'

I think the TV–weather ran out of animations for their Saturday and Sunday forecasts. The high for both days was given as 4 degrees, there was no difference in the total cloud cover – so even if there is no sleet, freezing rain or snow, it will be as rotten as November ever gets. Just remember – it never snows in the Métro. Never before now, this is.

The 'We've Been There Too' Report of the Week

Since I have been amiss putting together the seasonal version of Metropole's events listing, I forsake my usual easy waltz through the Quartier Latin on the way to the clubhouse and ride the underground train all the way to good old Châtelet, which I haven't done for a long time.

The idea is to take a glance at the Rue de Rivoli and see if it has its holiday feathers on. Did I say it was a gray day today, about 5 flipping degrees? Well, this is what it was on the Rue de Rivoli, afterphoto, cafe, tab of the week I haven't seen it for so long. Making not the slightest effort to be fashionable or cosmopolitan, just flat gray, with red flags down by the Hôtel de Ville in the foggy distance.

A classic empty 'Café of the Week,' plus tab.

There are big stores and they have little people in the windows dressing them up, but the big brick of Samaritaine is locked up, dark, lonely, and even litter stays away from it. It looks like a big pile of elegant depression.

And the kiosk lady who is supposed to have my Thursday copy of Le Parisien, why, she sold it to somebody else. I take a couple of poster shots in a hurry and scoot along the Quai du Louvre to the club's café where 85 empty chairs are staring at the passing cars, scooters, buses and usual convoys of police going to arrest the Ile de la Cité.

In the café's 'grande salle' there are a few huddled folks, gathering their fists around jars of hot wine, plates of frites, and other hot whatnots. It is an oasis of yellow décor and fake leather red banquettes, with a plaster virgin surrounded by fake green fronds. The bizarre clubhouse of the Café Metropole Club, in a word.

Since I have no paper to read club members Sue and Jerry Marterer from Jacksonville, Florida, show up right away. I remember them but I don't, so Jerry says, "I explained this to you before."

What he means is the location of Jacksonville, which I always forget. Jerry knows this so he tells me something I can remember, to wit – "Jacksonville is the most western coastal city on the east coast of the United States."

This is something I have no desire to forget. To pin it down I ask Jerry if it might be on the same latitudephoto, mascots of the week as the Canaries, or maybe Mauritania? Oops. Jerry isn't sure whether north Florida wants to be compared to Africa. It almost puts Miami on a level with Timbuktu.

Two 'Mascots of the Week' for the price of one.

Then member David Pitt arrives, and I of course think he lives in Port Marly, but he looks confused because he lives near Porte Mayo and doesn't even know where Port Marly is. I'm sure there's one club member living in Port Marly, or is it Le Pecq? I could look it up.

But the conversation is chugging merrily along, with the explanation that rice balls for breakfast are common in Hong Kong. This is what I learned after I took a wild guess about noodles for breakfast, and everybody agrees it was chilly last night.

Sue notes that there 'aren't many folks around.' The Marterers went to see the Willy Ronis exhibition at the Hôtel de Ville and the line wasn't long – like it was the last time I was by there. Dvid says he saw some sculpture, but I neglected to write the note.

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