"My Hobby Is Paris"

photo, group of the week, susan, jerry, marie Part of today's Group of the Week – Susan, Jerry and Marie.

Surely a Laughing Matter

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 29. November:–  Now that we are no longer senselessly on strike we can look around and realise that it's November, and it's a November just like the old days! This means it is cold even when it's not because it's so damp, and the sky isMacy gray and if there's any wind it gets at you like needles. For folks who come to Paris for its old–timey feel, feel free to feel it just like it used to be before the ultra–modern global warming.

Should you have mis–calculated and made an arrival dressed correctly for a recent typical November, do not despair. Street gloves, hat and scarf might not be so readily available as in New York nor so cheap but a quick dip into a C&A outlet can provide you with the absolute necessities in a jiffy for a lot less than it might cost in London, where a tie that assures no warmth at all, can set you back £100.

How do I know this? After looking for a simple sweater without success all over Macy's in New York, a quick trip to C&A in Montparnasse solved my problem and I even got a heavier and quite jolly sweater to wear in December, when I expect blizzards and some sub–zeros. Not London you say? Nigel just arrived from there with a report about prices in the British capital. Shocking, just shocking! Four bucks for a single tube ticket! Disgusting!

photo, marie's found ringThe Found Ring of the Week.

Meanwhile, Friday's outlook is not rosy. Consider 50 kph winds lashing the Channel coast. Imagine waves of crud washing over northwest France like dirty windshieldwipers. Add an overnight low of 5 degrees to an afternoon maximum of 10, with the sky going from semi–clear to semi–cloudy to mostly cloudy – but no rain. No rain.

Saturday then comes around and it's like the clock goes backwards. Gone are the thickening clouds and there are spaces between them, through which the sun peeps, perhaps feebly, but it's the sun right enough. And then the cherry on top is a predicted high of 12 degrees. Enjoy it while you can.

The aspect for Sunday is another fish. Slap in the face! In the Channel, southwest winds racing northeast at 120 kph. Out of the Bay of Biscay, winds thrashing the French coast at 100 kph. Further inland, stiff breezes of 70 kph. There'll be rain in the northwest and southeast and, oh, it will be horrible. Cheering for the 12 degree high will be a waste of breath.

For those of you who were misled by Monday's forecast, don't blame me. I was just as surprised as you when Tuesday was mainly sunny instead of somewhat cloudy, and Wednesday was bright when the forecast was glum. I did write that the predictions are often more dire than reality – by chance! – but I did not expect so complete a reversal. So sorry!

The "My Hobby Is Paris" of the Week Report

I thought I was getting a good start this afternoon when it was time to go to the club but it was an illusion. I went into the tabac and tried to leave without my change. Then crossing the Seine I realised that the camera's battery was low. And I forgot to bring camera number two. But the métro ran, like it was on rails, and I got a Parisien and the Pont Neuf held up for my crossing, and there were no strikes or other demos.

photo, cafe of the week, or chocolate Hot something of the Week.

There was nobody on either of La Corona's two terraces. There was nobody much inside either. I expected great smells of onion soup loaded with tons of garlic. There wasn't a whiff. I took my place in the club's area and didn't even see one leftover frite.

Thus I was reading about the untimely death of Fred Chichin when member Marie Mazurchuk arrived. She told me all about going to the Christmas marchés in Strasbourg. She said it was cold there. She went to all the marchés all over town and then had too much time to kill outside before her reserved TGV ride back, so she went to a movie. She said movies are cheaper there than here.

As if by magic Patrick the Waiter of the Week stopped at our tables to ask if there was anything we desired. He suggested having a hot wine to Marie, and that was the right thing to do.

photo, knocked out bird of the week Fuzzy knocked–out Bird of the Week.

He had just gone to fetch it when there was a bullet–like flash through the air and a thump. When we looked there was a sparrow on the floor in the corner, lying where it had fallen after ricocheting off the mirror. It looked like it was gasping its last when I took a fuzzy photo of it. Then Patrick returned, carrying a broom, and he picked up the senseless bird and carried it off. To the kitchen, I wondered.

One thing for sure – it wasn't Willy the Bird. Willy flew around like he owned the place and never hit the mirror. Imagine, you are a bird in a café and you are flying like a bullet, and suddenly you crash head–on into another bird. Ouchl! That must hurt. Later Patrick came by and said the bird pulled itself together and flew out the door.

photo, corona terrace of the week The Corona's terrace, before the drizzle began.

After Patrick brought the hot wine Marie told me about the Québec stand in Strasbourg. She said they have some stuff called Caribou that was quite similar to hot wine. It was only 2€ per paper cup. At least Marie's café drink here came in a metal–framed glass contraption.

Then Susan Herrick–Loraschi showed up with the intention of becoming a member because she was supposed to connect with Grace at the meeting. I ignored that possibility and told Susan the advantages of being incognito while she was trying to remember a hometown name other than Paris. She picked Weston, Massachusetts, possibly because Hillary Clinton was in the neighborhood once. It's more than good enough for this week's City of the Week.

About here Marie joined in by saying that she had moules frites at the Café Saint Malo, where the waiter was an odd specimen of some droll sort. I must check it out.

photo, hot wine of the week The hot Wine of the Week.

This brought us to Edgar Quinet, just up the rue d'Odessa, by way of Susan saying it was one of her favorites because Jean Seberg and Jean–Paul Belmondo came along there in A Bout de Souffle. This was the film by Jean–Luc Godard that did for Paris what La Dolce Vita did for Rome .

Then we got into a disagreement about which of the place's four cafés are where – between Edgar and Delambre or between the rue Montparnasse and Odessa, or where? Not helped at all by not remembering the names of any other than the Odessa. And maybe the Café de la Place? And, and, here I am in Montparnasse all this time and I thought that whole movie was around the Champs–Elysées.

We were rescued by member Jerry Marterer, just in from Jacksonville, Florida. He jumped right into the discussion about French names and them not being fixed by the President of the République any more. Marie's name was Appolline, which she said you can't find on coffee mugs in Strasbourg. They had Camille though.

Then we moved on to unfindable museums like the Zadkine in the rue d'Assas and poor seats at the opéra, like sitting behind a post for four hours of Aïda, or having a fancy box the size of a trash can – folks were smaller in the old days – finally, Marie's dream to attend the next tennis thing at Roland Garros. Jerry tied it all up with, "My hobby is Paris."

Susan began to pretend she needed to see a dentist so we held an informal Group Photo of the Week session. The camera had enough juice for four flashes. In each, closed eyes. No more waiting for Grace and her red dress. Marie, still blinded, chose the moment to enquire "Tell me about Château d'Eau." This line led to the Catacombs and the trials of on–demand hot water heaters.

Then Marie showed us the gold ring she found on a sidewalk. We all gave our expert opinions, and since Nigel White, from New Zealand and Washington DC, had arrived, I asked Marie if Diamond Cabs were still running around Vancouver. In a former life Nigel operated one on the night shift.

Jerry did not miss a chance to ask Nigel about rugby teams in New Zealand, but all he knew was about a place named Napier. On the subject of London – both Nigel and Jerry were just there – Jerry said, "New York costs twice Paris, and London costs twice New York." You have been warned.

photo, nigel, photo shot in washington Nigel, after recent Turkish dinner.

My ability to write notes came to a standstill at 16:55. As I gathered up the tools and Patrick collected some cash, Jerry said, "It's great to be back with all the Parisites." With that in mind we were out the door into the slight but miserable drizzle and quickly across the Pont des Arts and up to La Palette for another drink.

Yoko Does Yoko Again

Famous club member Yoko is appearing in the musical Beatles Story, which is on stage at Le Mery in the Place de Clichy. Club members can get half price tickets by contacting Yoko here at least three days beforehand. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 21:30, and Sunday at 17:00. If you wish to pay full price, call the theatre at 01 45 22 03 06 for info.

About the Café Metropole Club

Whip your mouse silly around a recent club meeting report buried deeply in Metropole. Less taxing than being at tediously long and humdrum club meetings but nothing's perfect. An explanation for what we were doing today may help but can be found on the About the Café Metropole Club webpage.

graphic, club location map

Zoned by Fried Patas

Spontaneous as any Thursday, half unrehearsed, semi out of control and again a lot more than three members. Club meetings run from 15:00 to 17:00 every Thursday, including the next ones. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 6. December. These metric times are the same as 3 to 5 pm around other odd unmetric places, while meetings are held around here. Whatever you feel like saying will be totally appreciated by the other members present if there are any and they are listening, and sometimes they are, but not always.* Your other, absolutely true, stories are totally welcome too even if they are true.

Caution – should you have a personal desire to remain unfindable via the Web, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be 404 – not found by Web search engines before becoming found. Spurn membership to stay unfound.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because the club's café is a genuine Paris site right across from the Louvre on top of a rumbly métro line. Catacombs are in the 14th.

The café's location is:

Café–Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny – or – 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre–Rivoli, Pont–Neuf or Châtelet.
Every Thursday, from 15:00 to 17:00.
Next club meeting on Thursday, 6. December.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini