Swoon, Oh Swoon

photo, waterfall, park bercy, spring sunshine, kids Spring means kids and water.

Sunny, Sunny, Sunny

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 5. May:–  I set off on a harmless errand last Wednesday without making a 360 degree scan of the horizon. As I got closer to the fabled Tour Montparnasse the sky directly ahead was getting sombre. Hell, it got pitch black. In front of the station the wind picked up and began to blow dreck and flotsam every which way. I was almost to the shopping gallery when the cork fell out and there was a deluge, mixed with hail for those impervious to mere water. Inside of 20 seconds I was soaked. But that was the past:

Sunballs Partout

It just goes to show that April always has one last punch left even on the final day. Since then the breezes have been mild, the clouds have been white and harmless and the temperature has been flirting with values not to be sneered at in June. If we were campers we would be happy and extraordinarily frisky. But we are not campers so all we need is a café with a terrace and a waiter, some free time and a little bit of moola.

photo, babes, wallace fountain Spring means babes and water.

Am I sure? Last night the TV–news made its week–long forecast, and starting about Thursday the reliability was only rated at 2 out of 5. Usually they don't show values that unlikely. But don't worry. Tonight's forecast was better than good enough. On Tuesday Paris is supposed to have France's top temperature. 25 degrees! Nothing but sun in the sky and more with Wednesday to have 24 and Thursday is supposed to be equally sunny with 25 degrees again. It'll be just like the tourist postcards.

With observant observations from Météo Jim we can rip April off the calendar and consider May. The season is ripe for Moms, so here is his new ultra brief version of how it will be in Pommeland:–

Les Temps des Rainies

A cool front arrived on the last Monday of April and kept temperatures in the low 50s a–grad. The temperature slowly climbed into the upper 60s when the first significant rain in over two weeks arrived to knock the pollen out of the air and fertilize the fields. The past weekend was cloudy and cool once again, as though early April was still on the calendar.

The start of the second full week of May is celebrated by la Fête des Mères. Bring your Mama to Paris to celebrate her special day. To make it even more special, bring her to the club meeting on May 8. Whether she will ever forgive you for doing that is up to her.

photo, sign, v p plaque, ratp, metro line 6

As for le temps de la semaine avant la Fête des Mères, the TV groundhog reporters have been constantly changing their furry minds. The latest prognostication proudly predicts temperatures in the upper 60s to low 70s. The week and Monday will start off sunny but the cloudies will make an appearance and morph into the rainies for Thursday and Friday but then change again into the cloudies for the weekend.

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

Café Life

Those Frigos

As far as I know my life is not excessively haunted. At the club last Thursday there was a bit of discussion about Les Frigos because Stephan intended to make a photo op out of something secret but similar and since he refused to tell us, we teased him with stories about Les Frigos. Tossing the phrase into Metropole's search – on page 49 – will turn up the details for you.

photo, reminder of rain, montparnasse Spring means forgetting stuff like this.

There are club meeting and all the rest is real life, so I was out Saturday looking for the usual something, and that's in the following piece. Half an hour before midnight on Saturday while I was tooling the day's photos I heard a loose–sounding click. Before I could react – to do what? – the lights went out. At first I couldn't figure it out because I could still hear Saturday afternoon WNYC from New York via Internet radio but everything else was dark except the streetlights outside.

I found my trusty flashlight and looked at the electronic fuse box. I pushed the on switch and it pushed back. I looked out in the hall and tried its light. It worked. I looked outside at the back yard and there were some lights on. I went back to the box and turned all the switches off, I think. Then I turned them on and turned on the main switch. The telephone chirped and clack, the main switch shut down.

This gizmo in my entry hall is the same otto that EDF wants me to look at and record the numbers for them. Which of the eight sets of number do they want? I played around with it a bit. Finally I discovered that there was only one circuit that seemed no functionar. My refrigerator seemed to be having a sort of a snit. In fact it was playing dead.

I don't know about you but I don't think much of calling the fixit folks at midnight on Saturday. They have a special rate for anybody who does. I decided I could live with warm orange juice in the morning.

In the morning I had warm orange juice and warm fruit and warm yogi. It wasn't as good as I hoped. By then the ice was melting too so I took care of it with a bunch of platters and bowls and a red bucket. This took several shifts throughout the day. I escaped food poisoning for dinner but I don't know how.

I phoned for help earlier today. The first good news – the phone worked, after a refresher read of the user manual. The electro expert I reached said I should turn everything on the circuit off. Then turn them on one by one, and see what fizzled. I did this. It was the frigo. Totally unplugged, everything else was okay. I thought, the expert didn't offer to come and fix the frigo – therefore it can't be fixed because it's a piece of cheap junk.

photo, grand canyon, pool at bercy Spring means – what is this stuff?

Luckily the cheap junk electro salesroom is only a 10–minute walk away. It's the same place that pays for the weather report on TV. They show a kitten like the MGM lion. It goes mee for Internet and it goes mee for telephone and then for TV it goes growlroar. It's got crazy eyes too. At the end of the weather it does something completely different.

I snagged a salesperson right away and she led me to the cheap frigos. I waved off the hotcha–luxo ones, and ordered the second cheapest, costing a whole 10€ more than the cheapest. She apologized for the slowness of the store's Intranet but I didn't care. I figured I was saving at least 250 euros off the cost of an expert repair. A two–year guarantee was included. I didn't want anything else, like a 42cm TV, so I left.

If you think it's looney to write this much about my dud frigo I agree with you. But just think – we had MayDay and there we were talking about Les Frigos and then the sun came out and it got all warm and it's really comfortable with all the windows open all day, and now we have a forecast for more of the same – spring at last! – so what else could my cheap frigo do? Pheweey! Warm fake beer is horrible too.

photos, fiat 500 nouvo and original fiat 500 On the left, the Nouvo and on the right, the original.

Is it time for a new contest? There's at least one club member who thinks it is past time for one. The club's secretary is not as spry as he used to be, so look at the photos above. The Fiat 500 of the Week was a fairly regular feature until Fiat decided to cash in on the Mini phenom by launching the Nouvo last year. Now you begin to see them on the streets, and occasionally you can even compare old to new. Look closely. Which is the better–looking car? You call this a contest? I said I wasn't spry. Help out here.

Sprung Tropical Spring

After a lot of false alarms it looked like, it felt like – spring, like it seemed to be really real Saturday and this was confirmed on the evening's TV–news when they said, but did not show, temperatures of 31 degrees in Biarritz where the surfers hang out waiting for a wave. Most of the time it comes when the temperature is only one degree, but that doesn't make news.

Instead they showed some inlet they call a creek east of Marseille. It looked pretty barren at first and I thought they could have shown Cassis but that may have been too snooty. So, anyway, at this creek that looked barren, folks were lying around on the beach, looking not a bit snooty. Nobody was topless. That tells you that these folks were rounded up at a busstop in a hurry and dragged out to this creek so they could pretend to be enjoying spring on the Riviera.

photo, greek dressed maiden wading Spring means babes and water.

In fact the TV–news found some brainless teenagers who went in the water. It must have been another creek because it looked like a photo from travel agency brochure. Yeah, like paradise. The kids went in and came out in 30 seconds, gasping. Yeah, cold they said. Like it always is in May.

Meanwhile the TV–news showed some spring in Paris. At Trocadéro folks had their feet in the water. People will do anything for the TV–news. I forget their other clips. The ice cream dealer. The drinks vendor. I'm not sure where they were.

Your reporter was out east, in the 12th arrondissement, which is famous for the Gare de Lyon, where you can get a train to take you to Marseille in three hours. East of the station there is an area where computer shops have gathered. This is where the kids go to find parts for hot mods. It isn't something you would ever see on the TV–news.

I kept on going and eventually hit the sunshine at Bercy, the location of Paris' only true pyramid covered in grass. There were a few kids strumming guitars and a few others were riding their skate boards part time. It wasn't a scene of interest to the forces of law and order, regardless of a sign hanging off an adjacent apartment building saying that folks should shut up.

photo, on the bridge Spring means 35 bridges over the Seine.

Coming off the heights I spied a feature I never noticed before. This was a sort of canyon, down which tumbled water from a scummy looking pond behind it. Closer to it I could see that the pond wasn't as scummy as I thought. Up close it reflected the sky which was mostly blue. Now you know how they make those photos in travel brochures. A maiden waded in the water. When she got out she lifted her Greek dress to check the scum level on her white legs. At least she hadn't been showing off for the TV–news.

Inside the park, at the right bank end of the footbridge, there is a waterfall that steps down steps. Somebody went to a lot of trouble to turn some boring granite stairs into a place where kids can play, always at the risk of falling down and bruising their scrawny necks. The minders sitting around were watching for dirty old men, and the kids were having a high old time. Again this was a completely unrehearsed scene the TV–news overlooked. Even I didn't realise it at the time.

photo, ship, three masts, seine Spring means new adventures.

Crossing the swoopy bridge was an anticlimax. There are three things you can do on the bridge. You can walk across it to get to the other side. You can stand on it, deciding to cross or go back. Or you can look at the view. You can see the the biggest library ever built by a Socialist president. You can see the world's only finance ministry with a porte cochère that has water on the floor. You can see the Batofar, the city's floating but empty pool, and the métro line six flying across the river. And you can see the three–masted ship tied up beside it. I figure it has overstayed its six–week visit by a couple of years. Too lazy to take down the masts I guess.

Riding back to Montparnasse I decided to skip Chinatown. A lot of people with a lot of luggage got on the train. I thought they were going to Montparnasse to get the train to Biarritz but they got off, like me, at Denfert. They must have been heading for Orly or Roissy. You have a choice at Denfert. I went to Monoprix and got a weekend's supply of bananas. I intended to put on a Hawaiian shirt and kick off my winter shoes, and have something tropical to eat, but I didn't foresee my frigo dying. It just goes to show something.

photo, sign, rue brahms

Soldes d'Eté Déjà

Like the annual winter sales, the summer sales happen once every year. This is programmed to happen with or without any summer. In fact, the less summer there is, the more stuff there will be on sale. However since the goods on sale are priced in euros your possible savings might be slight. Here the start date for the sales will be Wednesday, 25. June, and the good times roll on to 2. August.

photo, sign, place felix eboue

The Fantastic Café Metropole Club

Club meetings with some members are okay with me, and last week there were three again, all welcome. Other members and candidates are welcome too, I promise. The next Thursday that everything at the Café Metropole Club will be 101% new, will be on 8. May, the day a week after the rest of May started. All members–in–any form, any standing, of any sort will be wonderfully welcome, welcome.

Repetition here is slated to end but persists forever. Several true facts and other false rumors about the club are on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who have actually read it, and one or two may have, may become club members even despite their wishes.

photo, sign, le bruit - ca suffit!

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

Some of you have might have been thinking that it is only fair and right to recall that it was today in 1862 that troops led by Ignacio Zaragoza stopped an invasion by the French at Puebla, becoming Cinco de Mayo in Mexico but not, alas, Independence Day. Check on 16. September for that. The French insist on Napoléon Ier even though we seldom think of the other two. On this date in 1821 Napoléon died of boredom and illness – perhaps accidental arsenic poisoning. Nobody is certain so it was probably boredom. Meanwhile George Eastman received a patent for rollfilm in 1885, which ushered in the Brownie in time for photography for the masses, in 1900, but not on this date. The camera containing rollfilm cost one dollar. You had a Brownie and I had one. That's our little world, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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