Pétanque, Bring Balls

photo, Partial group of David, Judith and Kathy.

Weather, Drinks, Sports

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 11. May 2006:– Monday's forecast was kind of gloomy. Tuesday is gone from my memory but yesterday wasn't bad at all. It was brighter, warmer – a bit humid – but it wasn't terrible at all. Too bad I was inside all day fooling with hair–pulling sodware.

Today has been right fine. Mostly sunny, bright, warm, not windy, but a bit humid again. The best day for weather since last week. Not that I remember last week. Uh, oh yeah, last Thursday was sunny when Yoko and I went to see IVY's art in the church. I left before the exciting fire, and long before the 500 guests showed up. Suzanne didn't think there would be more than 350 so some had to share plastic wine cups.

On tonight's TV–weather news they said that today's weather will continue tomorrow, with sunny in the morning and sunny in the afternoon and the local storms showing up near Bordeaux, which is not near here. Okay, so there will be clouds up near the Channel too, but that's not near here either. Expect a high of 23 degrees, which is expected to be higher than in the south.

photo, sunny cafe terrace Paris weather today.

On Saturday a huge wave of dismal will sweep across the country but if you are not near here out in Brittany, it will return to being sunny. Sunny it will be on the Riviera too of course. But here, no. And a cool high of 19 is forecast. Weather fit for staying home and shining shoes.

For Sunday we are not supposed to expect a temperature change but the météo folks think that it will be mostly sunny here and in the south half of France it will be very sunny, with a very blue sky, including the Riviera, of course. All in all it's not too shabby for May, just so long as you compare it to near here.

The 'Pétanque, Bring Balls' Report

How great it is to look out my dirty windows and see blue sky, puffy white clouds sailing along in it, and go out into warm air and set off down the sidewalk with a spring in my stride, on account of these shoes I have, now worn in after three years of stumbling and tripping over the slightest bits of trashy surfaces.

Everything works so well that I am past the cemetery almost before I – that thought doesn't belong in a club report! This is upbeat. This is tango roger fox trot, which it truly is, and here is the Métro entry at Raspail, in order again, and my very own private train howling into the station and offering a whole booth of seats just for me. This bonheur lasts until Odéon, lasts through the Quartier Latin and down Dauphine, sidestepping the narrow sidewalk, and the oncoming buses in the street.

photo, red water, drink of the week Popular 'Drink of the Week,' red water.

There are a lot of people on the Pont Neuf, gazing at the sights, lolling in the little park, boarding the bateaux mouches, and taking part in some sort of pedestrian rallye. It seems like holiday time, and it may well be because it is May, the European month of long weekends.

At the club's café, La Corona, the terrace has a lot of folks at ease on it, the parasols are up and the awnings are in place, and the world is as it should be – excepting the traffic on the Quai du Louvre which is into as much nonsense as usual.

In the Grande Salle there is no one, but the terrace door is open and all is just right. I occupy one spot on the club's banquette, enter the meeting stats and turn to Le Parisien.. The big headline on the front page says, "Jeux vidéo: c'est la folie so I turn to page two and see that whatever it is, it is going to make me fous.

Somehow I don't think so but I get no further because member David Pitt is sitting down and we are talking about how he likes to go for walks in the north 16th arrondissement or in Neuilly. You remember David had the book store in Yosemite and lived in the small town of Oakhurst.

Yes, he walked there, and says that he's surprised that he doesn't mind living in this city – except that he doesn't have his dog along, a big Malamute, "Like a big Husky, but much more beautiful!" he exclaims. Lucky for the anarchist postman in Neuilly, I think.

photo, doug fuss Doug asks how to print.

"It's too nice a day to stay in," David says, although it is unnecessary to have a reason to come to a club meeting. Then member Kathy Garrison, from Pittsburgh, is joining us. She reminds me of her last attended meeting in September, and vents a bit about her portable phone. It required a new card, or chip, or whatever they are, those things.

We all add our two cents to the phone anti–rant. Apparently a lot of people have them because other people have them and if they phone you – from the bathroom, from a busstop, from anywhere – they get annoyed if you don't have a phone.

All the people who don't have phones, or don't want them, should be able to leave messages in outer space, so the people with phones could have somebody to talk to. It's a public service idea, but I guess it still needs a bit of work.

Long before we can spend much of the meeting on this, Judith Mericans arrives to join the club, from Los Angeles, California. And long before much other time passes Judith has signed the member's booklet, settled in, ordered a drink – a café – and has become a member, wanting to know the club rules and other arcane lore.

But before getting to any depth – there are no club 'rules' – Judith is telling us about the Pétanque action in the Luxembourg. Judith plays in LA, specifically with the Los Angeles Pétanque Club – check it out, especially for the upcoming Panache Doublette – Cinco de Mayo, to be disputed next Saturday.

photo, susan fussAnd Susan says we are... 'mature.'

This is another true 'first' for the club! And it reminds me to insert the URL here for Metropole's partner, Pétanque America, for Judith says she didn't bring her own pétanque boules with her. "They're too heavy," she says.

And then she answers some of our questions. For example, Pétanque is not played with any old metal balls. For example, dropping in on the Pétanque guys in the Luxembourg does not get anybody an automatic invitation to join the play. "Women players are rare," Judith says. Plus she mentions that players bet a lot on the games they are playing. Nobody wants to win guests' money.

And then Judith mentions that she started her Pétanque life in Oakhurst, David's old home town. Well, this causes a big natter about Pétanque locales there.

But David is getting ready to go so we get into a modified 'Group Photo of the Week' mode, before learning a great deal about Judith's former life as an attorney in the movie business – meeting Roman Polanski at the studios in Boulogne – and other tasty scraps and tidbits of filmville lore.

In between the secretary even gets another geography lesson, regarding the location of west LA. Apparently it is not the same place as West Hollywood, nor is it Santa Monica. If you ask me Los Angeles sounds like it is bigger and more complicated than Luxembourg, the country.

Then exit David and exit Judith, which makes way for the arrival of long–standing members Susan and Doug Fuss from Savannah, and then Kathy exits too just as Patrick the 'Waiter of the Week' brings red waters for Susan and Doug and a fake orange juice for me. Remember – the real thing is orange pressé, squeezed right on the spot in the café.

Doug wants to know about printing Metropole pages. When he says the 'print' function always uses two extra sheets of paper, I am at a loss. My printer works but I never use it. My suggestion – in the browser open the page you want to print, select 'save as...text only,' and save. Then open it with a text–editor and do 'print.' It won't be fancy, without styles or photos, but it will be compact.

photo, batobus, pont des arts Missed chance – a Batobus cruise.

Then we discuss the mysteries of portable phones. These are handy for travellers because they are supposed to work anywhere. But, on visits here, you often need some local chip, card, thingee. Whatever it is, it costs 30€. Tip: in the Forum des Halles find the Orange shop and tell them what you want to do – use the phone! – and they will know what's needed, install it and test it for you.

Finally, we find that we agree about the huge scam the world is playing on all people who have somehow managed to live to the ripe old age of 60. All those 'half price' or 'age–discounts' you were told you would be entitled to, are phoney. They used to exist but now that so many folks are eligible, they have vaporized. Gone. Poof. Welcome to full–price!

What with increasingly frequent 'senior moments' this is a bitter pill indeed. Susan says, "At least we are mature." Yes, obviously – except for club members everybody else under 60 is immature.

Try David's Free Da Vinci Quizzes

Club member David Pitt has been reading recent club reports and noted that Yoko was reading 'The Da Vinci Code,' in anticipation of the movie based on the book, which is being immensely ballyhooed in anticipation of its showing during the Cannes Film Festival.

photo, fresh strawberries The fresh 'Strawberries of the Week.'

Starting a week or two ago, David's Tricolors Web site has a daily quiz located in a section called 'Common Denominator.' This will continue throughout May and June. For 'Da Vinci Code' related tidbits take a look at David's 'Cowboy In Paris' pages. You can test your knowledge now or wait for a French version from Orange, to be online after the Cannes Festival.

Important Moon Note

In today's Le Parisien the moon is shown as rising at 19:44 and setting at 05:10, and it is a quarter–moon. Just now, at 01:08, from my bathroom window, the moon is full, complete, round as a bright silver disk in the night sky. As good a reason as any to include a photo of juicy strawberries, shot at the marché earlier today.

About the Café Metropole Club

Hardly credible, but if this wreck of a club meeting 'report' leaves you perplexed, help yourself to a look at the fabulated explanation on the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page, for its many titles, sentences, paragraphs, graphics, scribbles and photos.

When, What, Who, Why, Where, How?

Club meetings as these events are called begin at 15:00 every Thursday and continue until 17:00. These times, chiseled in granite, are equivalent to 3 pm to 5 pm. Around somewhere else is not where the next meeting will be.

graphic: club location map

Take off a hour or two, kick off your shoes and waste a whole two hours with other club members pretty much like yourself. True 'firsts' are welcome and real stories will get a sympathetic hearing. Other stories will depend on your skill. Whatever you say will be truly appreciated by the other members present if there are any listening, and sometimes there are but not always – and if it should by true chance be written here.*

Caution – should you have the personal mission of remaining unfindable via the Web, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be '404 – not found' by Web search engines before becoming 'found' tangoing in one of these musicalical club reports.

The 'ex–rules' that the club once had are still 'ex.' Talking to other club members during meetings is perfectly fine rather than otherwise. There are always some empty chairs, so sit. Lounging is fine too. Attend as many free club meetings as you are free to.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of the discontinuation of age discounts for many club members, except for the club itself which has discounted its membership fee 100 percent for all members from zero to 107.

The café's location is:

Café–Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny – or – 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre–Rivoli, Pont–Neuf or Châtelet.
Every Thursday, from 15:00 to 17:00.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
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Waldo Bini