A Nine–sided Wonder

photo, group, terrie,alex, mark, marie, george, pam, rita, yoko, linda This group of the week nearly becomes the group of the year!

How Many Cafés Did I Have?

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 26. October:–  During today's meeting George Broadhead asked about the big wind on Monday night. The warning was given on the TV–news and I included it in Metropole's edition of Monday, but it was pretty late getting online and if you were in Paris checking on the weather here, your hat was already blown away.

Tonight there is no such warning. This part of France continues to be caressed by warm currents from the south, and many people – the unemployed, out–of–step folks and the stupidly carefree – were basking in summer climes down where you would expect them to be – on the Riviera, the lucky wretches.

photo, bike name, surly A bike named Surly.

Yup, France is setting records for heat. Today's Le Parisien says, "C'est cool! C'est super! C'est d'la balle! C'est le pied!" You see, they've gone ga–ga. But this is northern France so our highs aren't so stratospheric, so we can expect highs of 20, 19 and 18 over the weekend. With this, on Friday, after the morning fogs dissipate, it should be mostly sunny. Oh, there will be clouds, but they will be weak, thin things, up very high.

Then on Saturday it might be mostly sunny. Sunday is somewhat doubtful but if the nasty clouds stay up north, down here it may be kind of mostly sunny. However if you are in any doubt, and you feel like a dip in the sea, hop on the TGV and have yourself whisked off to sunny, downtown, Marseille for a weekend of fun in garlic land.

Do Not Retune Your Set

The Website you are looking at, if it happens to be this one, happens to be busted. It has temporarily lost all of its layout and a lot of its standard page links. We here in the commando central are twisting our brains around this problem and hope that it will be resolved in a very short order. Hang in there with us, and sorry for the inconvenience!The "Who Needs Brakes?" Report

The calm weather needs no more than short shrift again so I'm going to skip the usual preamble and get right to it. Got up, got out of bed, had a café, fiddled with Webpage code, talked to Josef, Metropole's guru, and then ran out and got on the métro, got to the club's café – basta! Sat down, set up the books and then sat wondering why I didn't bring a paper to read.

I only had to go through 15 minutes of twiddle before last week's new member Alex Demetrides showed up. "I got my bike fixed and I decided to go to Greece instead of Andalusia," he said. We went outside to look at the bike, which is called Surly. "I put a brake on the front wheel too," he said, pointing at this flimsy contraption made out of a bent coathanger and string.

photo, alex, surly bikeAlex and transport to Greece.

"Aha!" I said, quoting myself, "You got scared of the Pyrenees! But, Greece, hey! You have to go over the Alps! They are as big as the Rockies!"

"Maybe I'll take the train," he said. "There might be snow up there!" And you know he is right. I had the same worries in 1964 when I decided to go to Greece and spend the winter there living off free olives across the way from Egypt. As it happened, I didn't see any snow but getting there was pretty foolish. Yeah, I've had my watermelon while sitting on a roof in Plaka, but who hasn't?

All in all, Alex has a nice bike. No gears, one brake, no tingle, and lots of black electrician's tape so nobody will think there's a jewel under there. We went back in the café and when George Broadhead showed up I learned that Alex tows a trailer behind the bike, to carry his fishing rod, tent, and backyard barbecue I guess. No wonder he's a touch worried about snow drifts on the Alps.

All the same George was giving Alex tips like, "Never try to take a short–cut." I didn't find out if he meant that Alex shouldn't take some cheapo flight down south. This was partly because Terrie Blazek arrived and created an uproar by ordering some Tarte Tatin. When it came it looked like apple pie without ice cream.

George, of course, was wearing another one of his exclusive Countess Mara ties and telling a story about a friend of his who went out on a date with her in Hollywood. Meanwhile, between café and pie, Terrie had another souvenir to share, namely last night's wonderful sunset. It was all orange and purple, and I saw it too when I looked out the window in curiosity.

And then, totally unexpected, Linda Thalman arrives. Linda lives on a ranch south of Paris and normally has a painting class on Thursdays, so it is been some time since she attended a meeting. "It only took me 48 minutes in the car to get here!" she says, and only I know what it means. Terror and horror on the Route Nationale 10! Linda is a brave lady.

photo, pie of the week The Tarte Tatin of the Week.

George immediately mentioned all 18 close and distant relatives, friends and ex–wives that have anything to do with the Oregon that Linda long ago left behind. "Where's the waiter of the day?" she wanted to know. He was in hiding, even though he'd never experienced a rowdy club meeting before.

But George is also a long–time subscriber to Linda's ParisInSites newsletter so he changed the subject while Linda was saying unkind things about Orange and its ADSL service, the kind of grumbling we used to do about France Télécom, before the name change.

Alex amazed Linda, who askd, "Do you have to study be become a bike messenger?" After he explained, she said, "Who needs brakes?" Then George decided to tell us about screwy genealogy but it got lost in the shuffle caused by the arrival of Rita Martinson, who denied becoming famous for a song she wrote that is being sung at popular rallies out of the Leftcoast. "I got a royalty cheque for $27," she said.



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