I did a lot of research about umbrellas before we left for this trip. My experience with them has been very bad – blown out, broken ribs, torn fabric. The last time I needed one was during a downpour here in Paris several years ago, at the end of which my shoes and jacket – both waterproofed – were soaked through. I didn’t want to do that again.
I finally ended up with a nice one from Davek, lifetime guarantee and a 50% reduced price replacement if anything happens to it. Including being lost. Having made a great decision, off we went.
The single most effective insurance policy against bad weather is to spend a lot of money on a great umbrella. We never had a single cloudy day in Sevilla or Madrid  and never needed it once.
Unpacking in Lisboa though, I noticed that I didn’t seem to be in procession of the fancy umbrella. I checked inside the suitcases; I checked the zip panels on both. It was gone. I had packed and repacked in the spare bedroom in Madrid and somehow it had not made it into the final rearrangement. At that point, my highly effective insurance policy began to fail.
It started one night with mild but consistent sprinkles one evening when looking for restaurant. Then a threatening day. The morning we left Lisboa the weather changed completely and I think it’s still raining there today. But Paris came through and we had two beautiful days followed by a cloudy but no precipitation day. My luck was holding. Monday evening, a black sky that cleared before going out to dinner. Yesterday, cloudy here on the Left Bank, misting in Saint-Denis but broken clouds by the time we met Ruth later in the afternoon for a glass at a truly exception wine bar. By dinner time it was cloudy again, but not threatening.
This morning – our luck ran out. Pouring rain from some early hour. So, with one umbrella only we’re stuck inside until (hopefully) it clears up a bit. I did go out in the downpour to find the New York Times but discovered it unavailable. I asked both vendors what the problem was, and the answer resided somewhere in a lot of French words that I didn’t understand. Oh well.
While we’re at it, let’s talk about Mosquitos. We have never had an apartment with screens – it appears that no window in a classic building in Europe has them. We’ve only had a problem once with mosquitos, and that was in Sevilla long ago. Every other place, we sleep with the windows open unmolested. Until this place.
They began maybe two nights ago, that tell-tale buzzing in your ear when you’re half asleep. Then maybe you get lucky and crush one just as it’s starting to dine, only to fall back to sleep and begin the cycle again. We asked our friend Ruth and she told us bugs are not a problem here, she’s never had one her apartment. In fact, even in the heat of summer, it cools off at night and people throw open their windows to allow the pleasant air to chill their apartment.
Yea, well, no one in this apartment is throwing open the windows on any night unless they are happy to be a blood bank.
For now we’re sitting and watching for any glimpse of blue in hope that we can walk to La Tour and get a churro.