"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.


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