Turnout Falls Drastically

photo, group, yoko, sherry, joe, susan, michael, tonia, stephan, marion, mr ferrat Rare group of the week's gathering includes the café's Monsieur Ferrat.

Salade Gets Bigger

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 9. November:–  At the beginning of the week we were getting a taste of what winter has to offer and we were saying, "Ow! It's cold on our little tootsies, winky fingers and our noses are dribbling." But that was short–lived because the temperature has leaped up – from 10 to 14 degrees and the sun came out and now we are as happy as Larry.

The forecast for tomorrow, Friday, calls for some foggy times in the morning which are supposed to dissipate to reveal a mostly blue sky full of sunshine and tidy little white clouds for contrast. If your camera can handle it, it'll be a great opportunity to load up with some stock sky photos to drop into dull skies that are flat gray. Otherwise it will not be quite so warm as today was, with a high of 11 degrees predicted.

photo, cafe of the week The café of the week.

Saturday will be a disappointment around here in this area dammit. Friday's 50 kph breeze will switch from southwest to west, to blast us with 60 kph gusts. But that's not all – around here the skies will be full of lots of mean clouds with next to zero blue sky or sunshine. Not at all what I want for my weekend trip to Saint Malo to test the hot oatmeal at 04:00 in the morning. The one positive thing the damp will bring should be a high of 13 degrees.

Sunday is sort of a mystery. While tonight's weather guy on the TV–news was doing Saturday I wrote down the temperature forecast for Sunday – 11 degrees again – but neglected to look at the sky part of the map before he stepped in front of it. Today's map in Le Parisien doesn't make sense either. On this note then, I wish you and yours a bonne weekend and may all your oatmeal be hot.

The 'One Big Frolic' Report

Today I want to go to the club because the sun is shining and it is pretty warm for November. You know, when I think about it, what we have here these days is weather worthy of memories and postcards. It's like the stuff that never happens but they put it into glossy come–hither brochures to trick you into thinking we have paradise here.

photo, mark, window diagramMark draws windows.

So there I was, hop skipping down the old road between the walls of the cemetery, whistling past the graveyard, and diving into the métro at Raspail and zooming under the Quartier Latin to Odéon where I left the underground for the traipse down Dauphine, to my private bridge, the Pont Neuf, which was particularly smooth today.

All the folks clotting the byways and sidewalks last week must have been on temporary permission because there was an air of desertion today. But the sun was still flashing on the terrace as I bowled into the café and fetched up in the club's area, that was blitzed by shafts of the low sunlight. No sooner had I noted the usual, cleaned my specs to read the newspaper, than today's first club member was accounting herself as present.

This was Tonia from Toronto, telling me about a watering hole across the Seine called the Great Canadian. I asked, "Who is that?" Before I could think to answer Tonia added the entire history of the place, involving other Canadian–style watering holes named Moose and Beaver and added, "It's really smokey!

Tonia had a great interest in finding out all there is to know about buying an apartment in Boggleville and as luck would have it Mark Kritz walked in, saying this week that his hometown is Los Gatos. Mark immediately hauled out a battered and scratched Olympus digital camera and showed us a photo of his new bathroom. It looked like it is an anteroom in a coal mine, but I didn't have my glasses on.

This set the stage for the entry of Cherie and Michael Licamele, possibly from Easton, Connecticut. I write possibly because they were saying something about taking a trip to Paris in order to trigger buying a house, and goldarn it, it worked! They got both.

And Mark is on a roll, using the reverse of a paper placemat to diagram the replacement window scam. The trick is putting the replacement window inside the frame of the window already there, reducing the area for looking out the window, while saving the need to actually do some tricky work to fix the original. Whew! So technical!

photo, stephan's navigo cardStephan's Navigo card.

Michael leaps up, holding a Sapeurs–Pompiers t–shirt, explaining how he joined the volunteer fire department where the Licamele's new house is located, and here in Boggleville he's been visiting fire stations to say Howdy and take part in the firemen's t–shirt exchange. The slight hic here is the difference in sizes between French and American firemen. It's the thought that counts though.

By this time Mark was musing about further refinements he can add to his bathroom, such as a mini sink in the toilet room – which is not in the bathroom, so be precise about which room you really want to see. He said, "I am an American after all," even though nobody asked him why he wanted a sink there. "The smaller they are, the more ugly," he continued, without saying, so small that you can only wash one hand at a time.

photo, michael, pompiers shirtMichael's exchange fireman's shirt.

Then Monsieur Ferrat brought us a lost soul for instruction. The issue was taking photos of the café, which the rattled young man thought was forbidden. As soon as Monsieur Ferrat understood the problem he said it was okay, and wandered off shaking his head in utter wonder. I told the pilgrim to shoot all he wanted, without remembering to tell him it's forbidden to photo the folks because they might be valuable private property. p> This was so unusual that explaining it to the arriving Marion and Stephan Nowak from Cologne seemed fruitless, so Marion immediately began to give Tonia tips about apartments. Michael said that he had been on this trip too but had abandoned it in favor of a temporary deal that allows walking out the door and forgetting the key.

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