Friday, September 6, 2013

Cats on the Prowl...

Jude and I are reading Julia Child's autobiography.  It's a great book and we're enjoying reading it out loud to each-other before bed.

Julia notes that Paris was a City of Cats.

Jaguar XK140 ~ Traversee de Paris Estivale ~ 2013

Well, after having lived here for a year and a half, I'm more inclined to say it's a City of Dogs.  Evidence of a Dogs Passing is everywhere.  One needs to watch their step.  Seriously.  Yes, we've seen two kitties running around our courtyard, including one we call Tree Climber Kitty.  That's it.  No more than that.  No live cats here.  So sir-ee.

However, perhaps it's only a matter of perspective.

la traversee de Paris estivale ~ 2013
Taking a step back, Paris is filled with statues of kitties.  Big Giant Kitties at that.  They guard the gates and portals of many important buildings and sites around the city.

They also seem to wander the streets and avenues.  One just has to pay attention and, well, as I said, it's a matter of perspective.

Jaguar XK120OTS ~ la traversee de Paris estivale ~ 2013

Paris streets are sometimes filled with Big Cats on the Prowl.
I shared a few images from the event held in winter a few months ago.  However, I hadn't fully appreciated the influence of kitties and cat ownership at the time.  Therefore, I am sharing here, as further evidence of the existence of Big Cats, images from the summer event.

Twice a year, the Association Vincennes Anciennes holds la traversee de Paris.  It is then that the Big Cats come out to play.  Jaguars are, after all, Big Cats, right?

From the time I was very young, I've been in love with Jaguars.  My father gave me a plastic model kit to build.  It was of a Jaguar E-Type.  I don't remember if it was an Open Two-Seater or the Fixed-Head Coupe.  What I do remember is that fabulous hood that hinged open in the most exotic of ways and the twin overhead cam covers that looked like they'd just arrived off a WWII fighter plane.

Jaguar XK120DHC ~ la traversee de Paris estivale ~ 2013

Later, when I entered the Age of the Young and Stupid, I tried to own a 1964 Jaguar E-type FHC.  I made a mess of owning it and needed to sell it after some time.  I should have worked more rather than chase crumpet (thank you M. Henry Manney).  Care and feeding of any Big Cat requires resources, not emotions.

As I entered Late Stage Stupidity and just before entering the Age of Enlightenment, I had to own a 1963 Jaguar E-type OTS.  Not Fully Awake, I bought a car that had minor front-end damage, though I didn't realize this until I had the car home and could inspect it in the full light of day.  Gods! this is what happens when Emotions Rule the Day.  No matter what I did, the monocoque was pranged, even if it was only ever so slight.

Looking back, I wish I'd taken an auctioneer up on his offer to sell me an outstanding driver condition FHC for thousands less than I paid for that '63 OTS.  I might still be the owner of that cat had I not been, well, So Stupid.

la traversee de Paris estivale ~ 2013

From the Age of Stupidity, through the Age of Enlightenment (which involved several wonderful early Ducati twins, including two bevel-drive beasts) and into the Age of Appreciation I have seemingly come.

It is with these eyes that I can now look at Jaguars and enjoy the sight and sound of them.

This year's summer traversee included a very nice C-type replica.  I don't know if it had the triple 40 or 45 DCOE side-draft Webers or not, and I don't know if it ran an early 3.4 liter motor, or a 3.8 "rev'r", or the late 4.2 liter botch-job, but what I do know is that it sounded wonderful.  It's driver assured me that it "goes like greased lightening!!!" (or whatever the equivalent words in French are for going very very fast).

C-type Jaguar (replica) ~ la traversee de Paris estivale ~ 2013

There were many XK120, XK140, and XK150 Jags there too.  Some OTS, some FHC, and some Drop Top Coupe (DHC), and some in better condition than others.  All being driven by Happy French Speaking Peoples.  One was even driven by Happy English Speaking Peoples who had popped over from the UK just for the event.

It's taken me awhile, but I see that Julia Child is right.  Paris is a City of Cats afterall.  Some are Nice Big Kitties that purr down the streets of the City of Light.

Gods! I still love Jaguars.

la traversee de Paris estivale ~ 2013