Winter Arrives Late

photo, street kiosk, churros, montparnasse Fine dining al fresco in Montparnasse.

Battle of the Buckets

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 19. March:–  There we were last Thursday helping a club member moan about the lack of cool and grey gris while being blasted in the club's café by very bright sunbeams and fully at ease with all the doors and windows open, with what seemed like a preview of – not spring – but summer itself. How sweet it was even if it ruined a member's photo plans. That was then and now is perfectly filthy, damp, cold, windy, wet. But wait, there's more, worse.

Only Blue from Cold

On the TV–weather news tonight we were given a hint of glum tidings in the form of the satellite animations, which began with an all–white swirl of trash that covered most of Europe and gave the impression that offshore islands such as Britain might have been overtaken by icebergs. Not even the Riviera was spared. The Côte d'Azur was neither azur nor blue.

There's no use waxing poetic about this. Laurent said, "Like January!" but that was understatement because January was like – ah, forget it! Tomorrow France will be divided in three zones and we are in the worst one. Expect breezes from the northwest of up to 90 kph, near the Channel, and somewhat lesser here but don't be surprised if these don't carry some wet snow, sleet, or freezing rain. The high temperature has been forecast as 6 degrees.

photo, die laughing, josef photographer Josef shoots a train station.

Wednesday should be a lot better, with less wind, but from the north. Brittany will have gris for the day but it might be semi–cloudy here. The high temperature should try to reach 7 degrees.

In case you like Wednesday, Thursday will probably be pretty much the same. While that gris out in Brittany expands eastward and some crummy stuff happens further east, here in the middle it's supposed to be semi–sunny again. With a breeze no more than 50 kph there will be every reason to expect the day's high of 7 degrees, but it won't be necessary to cheer for it. The tendency points toward milder times next weekend, I hope. And if you think you can avoid some of this in Madrid, forget it!

From under the snow across the ocean, we learn that winter continues. Pinwheel our arms and hands, clear the decks, run up a flag and here's Météo Jim, with the latest from the weather zoo.

More Animal Crackers

As Ed, Radio Rick, his cousin Radial Rick who works for Michelin and the rest of the Moo–tropole's staff visited the annual food on the hoof display in Paris and had a moo–velous time, another animal on the western shores of The Great Pond was stirring.

photo, sign, jar, encre ecarlate

Outraged that temperatures on Wednesday reached 70 a–degrees, the Groundhog set into action forces that had been dormant for too long. On Thursday, temperatures began dropping into the 40s and rain began falling. Pommeland woke on Friday to a mixture of sleet, more sleet, occasional snow and more sleet. When it ended Saturday morning, 5.5 a–inches of sleet had fallen in Central Park, but depending where you lived, some Pommelanders saw up to 18 inches of snow.

Shoveling the giant snow cone was an experience. It took 3 to 4 passes of the snow blower to cut through 5 inches of ice to reach bare ground. The ice wasn't very thick, but it was solid like ice usually is.

Temperatures for the coming week are expected to rise into the 50s by Friday. That is, until the Groundhog changes his mind without letting us know.

A la prochaine , Météo Jim

Café Life

Battle of the Buckets

Although everybody tells me otherwise I am far from as young as I used to be. In the old days when I was younger than I appear to be now I would have taken a firm hand with a leaking tap and dealt with it with dispatch and determination. Life is short. Who wants to be slave to a drip?

But there are, of course, circumstances. After Dimtri destroyed my leaking kitchen tap, causing me to to turn off the apartment's incoming water, I acted with haste. Actually I waited until a minute before closing time to locate the plumbing supply shop, but once there picked out a new faucet and talked to an unknown plumber by phone about installing it.

photo, colored window, le domeDécor of the Dôme.

What I had not counted on was the apartment's water tap falling into disrepair, which it promptly did. But with the plumber coming Wednesday afternoon all I had to do was fix an empty beer can, a dustpan and a couple of containers to catch the new drip.

However no plumber arrived on Wednesday. But by then I figured that my clever engineering could catch three hours' worth of drips, so I would have just enough time to do the Thursday club meeting and return. At night though, I had to wake up every three hours and bail.

When Uncle Den–Den phoned for a progress report on Friday I had little to tell him. I resolved to do something positive – when on Saturday Dimitri phoned to enquire – he had left for the south on Tuesday for a job down there, but had staged a protest walkout – a strike! – and he's not even a union member. Anyway he looked up his next–door neighbor who is a plumber, and he wanted to know if I had the key to the cave. Does anyone remember how long it took to find a key last time? It took weeks.

Because it might have been necessary to cut the building's water. I went downstairs and found the cave door to be unlocked. Only then did the plumber agree to come and he was soon there, here. He fixed the main water tap in a twinkle and then he proposed a replacement for the wreckage in the kitchen.

photo, miramar cinema, montparnasseIt's the movies, not video.

Of course Saturday being when plumbing supply places are closed so plumbers can carry out emergency repairs all weekend, the proposed replacement was a top of the line model, guaranteed a year, good for "10 or 15" years – but by then a gold–plated one would have suited me fine. And this is what I now have and it's just as good as gold.

Taking aspirins while I think this over, I ask myself if I could have handled this affair more cleverly, cheaply, with less angst and stress. Just asking myself this question causes angst and stress, so I say to hell with it. My bout with the buckets is over.

Thanks to all those – Dimitri, Uncle Den–Den, the VGFoM, club member Jerry Siegmann who wrote from Milwaukee, "Water is not your friend!" – and in person club members Bob Alter, Jim Donatelli and Yoko, all of whom gave aid and encouragement, but especially to Lazlo in the Rue Cels who took care of my days, weeks of torment, in so few minutes. Mind you, it wasn't cheap.

This story is not continued.

The Café Metropole Club Crosses the Hump

The latest club meet with three club members was a total blur, as the secretary kept track of his loose drips. Some other members, both far and wide, some of them, remained sadly absent, more or less as unexpected sometimes. Next Thursday there will be another new Café Metropole Club meeting, and the secretary promises to be alert.

photo, traffic, edgar quinet, saturday Saturday night in Montparnasse.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on 22. March, itself a Thursday as is usual. The Saint of the Day is a more famous one. Please welcome Sainte–Léa of Rome. To look up the saints I have to leave On This Day and go to next Thursday, which I did. But I seem to have gotten entangled in the history of Wyatt Earp and forgotten Léa. She's worth a lookup I bet.

Vastly easier because it's right here, all about the club and its homey truths are on a page called, sans blague, the About the Club Webpage. All readers who possess a notion of English, and all certainly do, will not fail to grasp the rare but valuable facts about it, and should not neglect to view the club's scrap of a membership card before it dissolves into tatters and dust.

photo, sign, villa d'orleans

This Was Metropole Ten Years Ago

Well, well, here we are again. Few other Internet magazines claim to have been online for 21 years, for any reasons, defined or otherwise. The truth about Ten Years Later is that it should be 11 years later. It was Patrick's Day yesterday so it should really be 12 years later. No, seriously, it means 12 years later is too much.

Café Life Légère 101.02

Worshiping Spiders

The Quote of the Week continues its boring tradition week after week but at least it's shorter, a situation that has altered little since last week when it was far too long. "The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself." Let us all tip the bookmark to Sir Richard Francis Burton, who would be 186 years old today if he hasn't died of too much life spent in places where tour groups didn't go then, and some of them, nobody goes to now.

photo, sign, red shoe

La Salle Wobble–W

There are as many as 287 days left of this year, the same number that 1687 had when Robert Cavelier de La Salle was murdered by his own crew while out looking for the Mississippi River, most likely in Texas. La Salle and a group of explorers set up in a place called Fort Saint Louis of Texas near Victoria, Texas and walked off to the east to look for the big river. Somewhere around Navasota the crew mutinied and a year later local inhabitants objected to the interlopers and massacred them all. But before this La Salle found half of North America and claimed it in the name of France, or to be more exact, in the name of Louis, hence Louisiana.

Pataphysical Whodunnit

This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 78 days, the same number that 1817 had when Fualdès was murdered near Rodez and his body was thrown into the river Aveyron. This crime fascinated France then Europe and was even discussed in America. The victim was rumored to be a Bonapartist and his attackers monarchists, but their death sentences were overturned on appeal. Apparently an organ grinder was on the scene to drown out the pitiful cries of the victim, but otherwise there were no witnesses.

photo, sign, plomberie

The Buntline of Time

It's unnecessary to thank Metropole for reminding you of the birth of Wyatt Earp today in 1848. The policeman, horse dealer, gambler, goldseeker, and big–time gunfighter had quite a bit to do with both sides of the law during a long career, and settled many of these problems by leaving the jurisdiction. In fact the true life of Wyatt Earp was too varied and long to fit into one movie – unless it was ten times the length of Heaven's Gate. Wyatt Earp died with his boots off in Hollywood in 1929 and is allegedly buried at the Hills of Eternity, a Jewish cemetery in Colma, California. He was 80.

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

Few folks probably recall that today is the anniversary of Louis XVIII's attempt to flee Paris in 1815 as Napoléon neared the capital on one of his comebacks. Even Maréchal Ney, who told the king that he would bring Bonaparte to Paris in an iron cage, defected and joined the conquering hero, who the Parisians preferred. Napoléon faced no resistance the next day when he arrived and the rest is exciting, though fairly short, history.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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