Dining Under the Sky

photo, friday picnic, ile st louis The Friday night picnic on the Ile St Louis.

No Parasol Needed

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 19. June 2006:–  Let me just step out on this thin limb here, arms windmilling to keep balance and annoy the pigeons – to give you the inside story on the weather, as seen from this low vantage point overlooking the Montparnasse cemetery.

It is quite possible to have some very fine days in late May and early June, and have them followed by some very grim days that are reminders of winter, with cold and rain and nowhere to get comfortable. We have had, in fact, a few of these days. But now it seems as if when there is a chance for the season to flop on its face, it recovers nicely and returns to pleasant temperatures and sunny skies. It would not be wise to say this is a trend, but while it's happening it may as well be acknowledged – good weather is here.

photo, boat race Racing before the sundown.

For example, tomorrow around here is supposed to be mainly mostly sunny with just a mild 60 kph breeze zipping up the Channel, which is not really near here. Add a predicted high of 27 degrees and it's impossible to say it is not summer, which it will be on Wednesday anyway.

So, for Wednesday, there are clouds lining up along the northwest coast and there's that breeze in the Channel again, but it should stay sunny here even if the temperature slides quite a bit, to 23 degrees, 'summer' oblige.

Then on Thursday that cloud thing to the west is off the map, the offshore wind has switched slightly to westerly, the temperature stays the same at 23 and the sky should remain clear all day. This is all too good to be a true trend but it has been happening with some frequency lately. Good enough for the forecast but not good enough for a prediction. The limb is too thin.

Alberto Stiffs Fête des Papas

Encore by popular demand direct from ex–urban Pommeland, Météo Jim writes, in his own hand:–

cartoon, mini 2cv toon

Tropical Storm Alberto passed to the south of Pommeland on Wednesday, kicking off some showers and a few gusts of wind. Today, the third Sunday in June, is La Fête des Papas, not only in Pommeland but all over the US. The weather in Pommeland, however, is expected to reach the mid 90's a–grad, the first such reading since September of last year. As for the rest of the week, a cooler – not really cool, just cooler than the current weather – front should arrive on Monday. Temperatures will drop to the mid and upper 80's for the rest of the week along with the chance of thunderboomers in the afternoon.

Wednesday, June 21, celebrates the arrival of summer at 8:26 in the Greater Pommeland Time Zone. Mark your sundials to receive a free text message. This day is also known in Anglo Lands as Mid Summer's Day. The night that follows is called, naturally enough, Mid Summer's Night. On that night, dream the dream that will carry you through the rest of the year.

Café Life

Dining Under the Sky

Some may go to the opera, others to theatres, clubs, jazz palaces, hiphop bars, literary nights, and considering it was Bloomsday on Friday, some should have been at Shakespeare & Co for the readings...

photo, diners on peniche Barge dining in style.

"...and the Spanish girls laughing in their shawls and their tall combs and the auctions in the morning the Greeks and the Jews and the Arabs and the devil knows who else from all the ends of Europe and Duke street and the fowl market all clucking outside Larby Sharons and the poor donkeys slipping half asleep and the vague fellows in the cloaks asleep in the shade on the steps and the big wheels of the carts and the bulls and the old castle thousands of years old yes and those handsome Moors all in white and turbans like kings asking you to sit down in their little bit of a shop and Ronda with the old windows of the psadas glancing eyes a lattice hid for her lover to kiss the iron and the wineshops half open at night and the castanets and the night we missed the boat at Algeciras the watchman going about serene with his lamp and O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessaline and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes."

photo, fastfood falaffel Between Africa and pizza.

But nobody was there for Joyce. They were across the street beside the Seine sitting on the stone quays, waiting for a boat, and the boats were racing through the channel between the Left Bank and Cité with the last tongues of sun chasing them through the bridge arches. Everywhere you looked they were on the granite quays and the guard was herding them out of the Notre Dame park and they were watching the rollers on the little bridge curving between the cones, and walking down the stone stairs to the quays beside the water, by the gutter with the cathedral hanging overhead and across the river on Saint–Louis, lining up for ice cream and gathering below the Tour d'Argent with its lighthouse outlook. On the other side facing west and the Hôtel de Ville, the usual gathering having a picnic, splashed occasionally by lights from passing bateaux mouches, but otherwise in no hurry for the streetlights.

Meanwhile it had become darker and most of the pilgrims had their fill of the insanity of Notre Dame and some of them crossed to the south and had been sucked into the gaudy Huchette or the next one where there are no hairdressers just restaurants edge to edge and the sweepers were out looking for the swept and plenty had been gathered, and there was a smell of frites and warm cheese, beer and wine, all together all over just like the people in shorts with their phones and cameras and bags and excitement, aided by neons and many yellow lights shining on the blackboards with the fixed–price menus for pizza, frites, salads, fish, sausages, green peppers and even authentic cuisine. Compared to the quays it wasn't Paris but it's been there a long time, because tourists were invented for Paris by Paris and it's a well–worn hustle, like an old shoe.

photo, tour d'argent Above, below, beside the Seine.

Some News That Wasn't

The TV–news generally lasts 40 minutes non–stop in the evenings and it's the same on Sundays. The politicos visit their fans on Sundays and there can be a lot of sports, so there is usually a lot of news. Luckily France hadn't had its World Cup match yet – hadn't had its Korea angst before newstime – so were spared some of that.

However I had seen a partial clip of the 24 Heures du Mans race on France–3 so I was looking forward to seeing a complete report on France–2. I sat through the politicians, the latest medical wonders, the homage to Coluche, the fearful angst from the French football camp in Germany – saw them jogging, jogging again! – and on to the bitter end, including a lifetime roundup for just–expired comedian Raymond Davos. But no car racing news.

photo, sign, dr pez

Nowhere in the program guide did I see any mention about having to watch France–3 carefully for the motor racing because there's none on France–2. A quarter million folks went down to Le Mans for the weekend to experience a 24–hour full–bore race and it was won for the first time in the history of the horseless carriage by a car with a diesel motor – an oli–burner! Yeah, keep on trucking! The kind of motor some of the French are filling up with sunflower oil. Fastest. Endurance. That's not news? And a Corvette came in fifth, I think. Bravo!

The 'Not Pizza' Café Metropole Club 'Report'

The most recent Club Meeting of the Week last Thursday occurred with one member present, which was one more than the club's secretary often expects. Update yourself with the 'report' of this significant meeting, which, without a load of hearty hyperbole, was headlined, 'Yoko Ate Raw Fish, Not the Pizza Boom.'

photo, rue harpe Looking for a well–lit place.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will fall on the day after the night of the Fête de la Musique, a 'Thursday of the Week' again. The coming 'Saint of the Week' will be Saint–Alban, who began his sainthood as simple Alban de Verulamium. He ran afoul of the Emperor Diocletian and legend says he converted his executioner not quite soon enough in 287, which might have resulted in Alban being the first Christian martyr, the very one who started this saints' business.

The somewhat more recent legend of the club is on a page inexplicably called the 'About the Club' page. Unleash your curiosity and spend a view on the club's original and hand–made membership card, before its eventual replacement, threatened for many months but still imminent.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 10.24 – 13. June 2004 – this issue's Café Metropole column was headlined, '50–Cent Tour – Exactly Half of the 'Dollar Tour.' The Au Bistro column's title was, 'Taps for Samaritaine – 50¢ Tour Continues.' Again the 'Feature of the Week' was absent so readers were left with two Scène columns, with the titles 'Lights In the Night' and 'Summer Is Near.' The update for the 16. June meeting of the Café Metropole Club was titled the "France Is Out of Order!" report. A week later on 23. June the club 'report' was summed up with 'Honolulu 'First' At Last.' There were four impressive 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's weekly cartoon was direct from Toulouse with the caption, 'Welcome Airbus and Zeppelin.'

photo, sign, place des cinq martyrs du lycee buffon

This Was Metropole Four Years Ago

Issue 7.25 – 17. June 2002 – the Café Metropole column was bang–on topical with, 'Grilling Like Sardines.' The 'Feature of the Week' was titled 'Anything for a Photo – the Non–Feature of the Week.' The 'Hotel VW' was the title of an email from Jim Auman, Metropole's Pommeland weather voyant. The Scène column was headlined 'Huge Hugo Marathon. The report for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 20. June was hailed by the secretary as the 'Forgotten Tab' report. There were four kind of wonderful 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was extra 'scientific' with 'Chute de Météorites.'

Café Life Lite 1O1

photo, fiat 500 The Fiat 500 of the week.

Pataphysical Baseball

There are a pile of 195 days left of this year, which means there are hardly any complete months until the begin of the Soldes d'Eté next week. This is exactly the same number of 'days left,' as at this time in 1846 when the first game of baseball was played according to semi–modern rules, and the honor went to Hoboken, New Jersey.. This was based, loosely, on the rules first printed in Paris in 1810 with the title of Les Jeux des Jeunes Garçons.

This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 170 days, the same number that 1885 had when La Liberté éclairant le monde, sculpted by Frédéric Bartholdi and paid for by a subscription in France, arrived in New York City. It was inaugurated a year later by President Cleveland, on the occasion of the United States' first centennial.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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