Surplus Cities of the Week

photo, alison and yoko, group of the week The Group of the Week, Alison and Yoko.

"I Am Sorry for Me!" – Yoko

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 29. March:–  I have to try and remember to be indignant and insulted about the weather but we have a weekend score coming up of two out of three so I have to confess it will be more good than bad, except maybe for Friday.

Friday presents us with a swoop of gloop on the coast, far from here, and another lot of glop out to the east, just as far away. Here in the centre I say it will be nicer than bad but by how much I don't have a clue. Note a breeze of 50 kph slanting down the Channel, clouds of some sort all over and a lousy high of just 9 degrees.

The bad day is expected to be Saturday. It was forecast as being all cloudy and maybe rainy all day long, from the top down to Orléans and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Forest. For this piece of lousy times we are supposed to get 10 degrees in exchange.

photo, chinese tea pot

The winds keep coming down the Channel but the grey bits shift up to the northeast frontier and envelopes the whole southwest on Sunday. For us paradise is supposed to be the order of the day. And if we haven't whined and moaned too much about Saturday, and possibly Friday, then the TV weatherman has said the temperature will top out at 16 degrees, which is pretty nifty.

Compared to recent winter temperatures it is not brilliant, but it's a lot better than Saturday. If Friday is only semi–crummy, that will make it two our of three. Unless, of course, Sunday flips out and hangs on to Saturday's weather. That would be miserable. Like this lonely orphan.

The Surplus Cities of the Week Report

When I left for the club today the sky looked soggy but I had a feeling that it was merely the low mist we get sometimes that is actually visible out in the country along rivers in valleys but is usually invisible when it hangs over Paris. You look up and think, I can't see any clouds but the sky is not blue and I don't have any sun on my face – it must be that damned low fog from the country again!

Some people would actually like it to be foggy in the city, to give the cobbles and the ancient byways an unfocused unreal desaturated look, as if they were living in an old black and white photo. Goodness knows all the folks dressed in black would fit right in except for the lack of the stovepipe hats and smelly horses everywhere.

photo, empty cafe of the week Alison's Café of the Week, was YUM good!

Sure enough while inspecting how the stonework is advancing on my bridge soon to be called the Neuf Pont Neuf I heard clip–clop clip–clop and when I turned I saw three flics on horses heading off the bridge in the direction of Rivoli. They got into the intersection and the lights changed for the speeders on the quai and the lady horsecop held up her glove – STOP. They didn't, of course. The scooter loonies were practically passing right under their bellies.

That's the centre of Paris for you. Flower market, bird market, plants and animals, dogs for sale on the quai, snakes, parrots, chickens, and dirty postcards. What a wild place! Cops on horses.

But the rest of the quai was dozing in the afternoon, except for a pack of German kids who asked me to tell them the name of the boring building across from the club's café. "Jaja, es ist die Louvre ganz genau!" Em, "Da wo die pferdepolizei hineingehen." The cops and their horses had taken Rivoli to the east entry of the palace.

So exciting. Not the same thing as the Gare du Nord the other day when the capture of a no–ticket streaker touched off a seven–hour riot, which changed the conversation of the 12 presidential candidates. But who knows – a million folks in the Louvre and somebody tries to beat the lines and next thing you know the place is full of police tear gas. It would be a first but France is capable of law–and–order.

photo, alison's camera, photo yoko and ric Alison's small camera captures
other members.

The café's grande salle was moderately full of late luncheoners packing away frites and crêpes, guzzling beer and wine, and... not smoking. The café has a sign up forbidding smoking in the grande salle. This I saw for the first time. Madame Naudan told me the café is getting ready for next January when the no smoking becomes law. Anybody who intended having a last cigarette there is already out of luck.

Eventually, finally, I got to the club's spot and hauled out today's Le Parisien to read the latest about the Gare du Nord fracas. But at nearly the same moment Alison Cameron asked me if I am who I am and if where I was sitting was the site of the club, and I said yes, yes, yes and yes. So Alison pulled out a chair and joined by signing the members' booklet.

Brandnew member Alison came from Milton which is in the NSW part of Australia, about a three–hour drive southwest from Sydney. But Alison did not come directly, living as she does for the last decade or so in Winchester but you need not look this up because Alison actually lives in Overton some 30 minutes–drive distant.

It means, for the purpose of this club meeing, that Overton is the City of the Week even though I was counting on Milton and then Winchester. Whole months and weeks go by and there's no City of the Week and then one comes along with spares and two have to be thrown away. Life is unfair.


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