Cheesy Highlights

photo, footbridge, canal st martin Above the Canal Saint–Martin on Sunday.

What's that Smell?

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 4. February:–  That was a narrow escape, getting out of January like that. Uncle came back from Italy and said he was on the beach in sunshine down there. He said that you get free tapas with drinks and the only kind of restaurants there are Italian and all of them have wonderful pasta. That's nothing! The sun was shining in Paris yesterday up by the Canal Saint–Martin and some well–dressed folks were basking.

Swoon Worthiness

It just goes to show that the world does not live by pasta alone. There are other things in life, like Presidential weddings, like the one we had at our very own people's palace, the Elysée on Saturday. However it was a private affair, and we were just as locked out as the 2348 paparazzi who showed up to cover it. It means we won't be able to catch up with the next edition of Hallo. It means nothing to look forward to reading at the dentist's.

France–2 TV news and weather did the best they could. The video of all the paparazzi standing behind police barriers across the street from the palace was wonderful. The images of the dark windows of all the state limos was terrific. This was followed by Sunday's news that did not show our President and brand–new first lady of France snuggling on a café terrace at our other people's palace, Versailles. However Monday's Le Parisien came through with the goods. Worth a swoon.

photo, folks on footbridge

But I guess you are impatient for February's weather. This is to be completely different from the unlamented former month that was, beginning on Tuesday with rain in the morning and rain in the afternoon, wind in the morning and more wind in the afternoon, with the whole thing being being englobalized in a temperature of 12 which would be nice if it weren't so damp.

Then, before your umbrellas dry out, there will be Wednesday that is expected to be mostly semi–sunny in both morning and afternoon, and the temperature might even be 11 degrees. Then exactly the same was predicted for Thursday except for it being mostly cloudy, some winds whipping up the Channel, and a high temperature of 12, I think.

Usually a day early, Météo Jim our prime forecaster of animal wisdom, has posted still another sightful prediction that includes that dreaded word, winter. His grasp on the weather situation, in general, is worth saluting:–

The Hog of Winter

February started off with almost 2 a–inches of rain in Pommeland while January ended in Los Angeles with floods and mud slides, none of which were expected to reach Paris–Plage.

In the meantime, Groundhog Day came and went along with predictions from groundhogs of all sizes and competencies. The official groundhog, Punxsatawney Phil, boldly predicted that winter would last for another six weeks. The Grosse Pomme hog, Staten Island Chuck, stated flat out that spring will arrive in six weeks. Not to be outdone, Beauregard Lee in Georgia agreed with Chuck that spring will be here in six weeks. When asked about the Silly Season in the US that started last summer and will continue for another nine months, the critters uniformly replied, "Why do you think we hibernate?"

A final note about the Metropole Groundhog. A news agency picked up a report about an incident south of the border. All it said was, "In Durango, Durango, a groundhog did fandango." Which animal it was could not be determined. On verra... ou pas.

For those of us who either will not or cannot hibernate, the weather for the coming week is the following – temperatures in the lower 50s a–grad through Thursday. Monday will have a light wintry mix of snow and rain. Heavier rain will arrive Tuesday night into Wednesday. Then the clouds will lighten, the sun will brighten and the temperatures will slighten to 40 a–grad. None of the hogs of winter have confirmed the accuracy of this forecast so believe in it at your own risk.

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

photo, canal quay

Café Life

Cheesy Highlights

This is another one of those weeks that had a Saturday or Sunday with some form of clear skies. It wasn't warm yesterday but it was bright so I was up to Gare de l'Est which appeared to be new. I mean it was the same old station but somebody cleaned up the stonework and painted the metal. It was pretty shiny, in a part of town that is kind of dreary unless you like dark stone that looks like it lost the war of age. Eh! What am I saying? I should be saying the new Gare de l'Est hasn't wrecked the neighborhood!

It is just a short jaunt from there to the Canal Saint–Martin. I make the same mistake every time I go there in winter – it is dark place at the time I go. After all these years I am gradually coming to the idea that I should do a tour in the morning when the sun – if it is shining – has a different slant on things.

I had to go out early one morning last week and it was ghastly. The sun was so low and so bright I could hardly see. By the time the afternoon rolls around and the sun is low there's enough pollution in the air to filter it. You know – kind of give it that mellow burnt ozone glow, like seeing it through wavering gasoline fumes.

photo, buildings along quay

Speaking of which, there was some odd smell around the Gare de l'Est. A lot of people used to complain about how Paris smells at times, but usually it doesn't smell like that any more. But yesterday, that was different. Could it be that with the Gare de l'Est looking so new it acquired a smell of the old days? If so, no thanks!

At the canal nothing was happening. Slight breezes ruffled the surface of the water and people climbed up the footbridge and leaned on the rail at the top to gaze on the still canal while others sat on the café terrace with a rare bit of afternoon sun. Since my last time there the streets are more blocked to traffic, except for occasional cyclists.

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