Rustling Leaves Too Loud

photo, fete des pecheurs, catalan sailboat Sailing for the Fête des Pecheurs.

Regular Program Abandoned

by Ric Erickson

Port Vendres:– Wednesday, 7. July:–  The sun is shining, the sky is cloudless and deep blue like it gets near mountains and the temperature is about 33 degrees, which is about 90 F. It could be a bit uncomfortable but there's a frisky breeze, often called a Tramontana hereabouts and sometimes feared by the uninitiated, but really, really welcome today.

This is not a weather report coming from beside the mild Mediterranean. I mention it only to set the situation while I sit here, Radio Catalogne du Nord whispering its antique pop in the background, the office doors open to the furnace of the parking lot, the sun sliding along to the west, the sheer blue drapes playing slinky in the cooked breeze.

Alert readers will no doubt want to know what the heck has been going on since Metropole's last update, in February of last year. The answer is today's weather – who would want to be sitting here, next to the mild Mediterranean, while the sun shines so brightly and the temperature of the sea has reached 22 degrees, close to its max? The answer is, not I.

Why today then? It's true, I asked myself that too. After all Germany plays against Spain tonight in the World Cup in South Africa. I've already seen most games, including the total debacle of Les Bleus, former national heros. France was hardly amused, nor was our leader, Sarko.

Frankly, I picked today's date out of a hat, without consulting the football schedule. Almost like I turned up in Hamburg in 1970 and Heinz said he was spending his holiday watching the Weltmeisterschaft. A month of football on TV. What suspense! Germany edged Britain in the quarterfinals, and then during the second Jahrhundertspiel within a couple of days, Italy beat Germany in a match full of fear, angst and finally, despair.

photo, coastal cruise boat arrives in port vendres Arriving in Port Vendres from the sea.

Three Hours Later

With Italy long gone there shouldn't have been so much angst tonight. Knowing it could be a complicated match against Spain, the mannschaft played it cagey to begin with, passing carefully and defending stoutly against incessant Spanish attacks. However, after Spain scored with an artful header in the 74th minute, Germany continued playing it cagey, passing carefully and defending stoutly against incessant Spanish attacks until it was too late. So much for joy in Hamburg.

photo, food, toast, cheese, anchovies

Back To Our Regular Program

The regular program is the problem. Down here in the south of France, by the mild Mediterranean, under the beautiful palms, next to the wild Pyrenees with vines on the slopes – with the sea teeming with fish, garlic in every dish, Catalonia a mere 30 kms distant, peasant dancing in the streets, fireworks in Collioure on Wednesdays, and considerable free music under the stars, having any kind of regular program is nonsense.

There are folks who complain about the wind. It blows one way or another about 300 days a year. When it doesn't, like tonight, you will wish it did. Others complain that it makes leaves rattle. You can't hear a subway or the Perifreak! or the garbage factory. The leaves may keep you awake. There's the birds too – they can be noisy, especially the gulls.

photo, food, home made pizza

Other than that, it's just like France. The bureaucracy may keep you awake nights too. But down here, nearly in Spain, it all seems like less. Everybody knows the whole shebang is going to hell in a handbasket. It's always the right time for a little fête. Voilà!

So the regular program is not going to be regular or a program. No Monday updates around here. No Thursday Café Metropole Club meeting updates either. No new posters of the week. A cartoon, not of the week, is iffy too. If you write to enquire about a fact don't count on me. When I started out the Web was new and nearly empty. I did my part. Somebody else knows the facts now.

What's going on here? If the editor doesn't know, who does? The answer is – nobody. Not the editor, not anybody knows, knows what is going to turn up in these pages. The Soldes d'Eté won't be featured here this summer. Perpignan and Gerona have great expositions. All you have to do is look them up. So will I.

photo, freighter arrives in port vendres Banana boat Casablanca arrives from Africa.

I guess this sounds somewhat unpromising. I am happy not to know what happens next. If you are reading, you will be surprised about the same time as me. It will be discovery for both of us.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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