Monday, October 20, 2008

Have you seen my registration plate?

This is me at Melk Abbey in the stylish Viennese style cap that my children gave to me before I left Australia.

An average day in Am Heumarkt. One of us – I am not saying who as I love her dearly – had parked the Queen Mary very, very close to the back wall yesterday evening after our day out. This morning when I moved the hoist up to get our car there was a terrible grinding, screeching, popping noise as our front registration plate was torn off and dismembered. After I dropped Cate at work I recovered the plate a few levels down.

Imagine that our car has been used in a suicide car bomb attack (and it is beginning to look like that). The people on the scene find the registration plate two blocks away. That’s what ours looks like now. I am definitely not taking this steaming wreck back to the rental company. Here is a photo of the car park so you can see what we are up against.

Then I lost my phone. I knew where it should be – it falls out of my pocket and wriggles down into the bowels of the driver’s seat and stays very quiet while I rage around inside the car looking for it.

I fired up my other Handy (the Australian one) and went hunting. I stood next to the Queen Mary and dialled my number – nothing! The cunning little devil has learned how not to ring when I am looking for it. (It probably learned this from Interio customers).

I eventually outfoxed it – I left a message for myself on the Handy and sat in the car – eventually I got a ‘peep’ indicating that I had a message. After disembowelling the drivers seat I found my Handy and gave it a good talking to. It took two hours to do this .

It was kitty litter changing time and this was a welcome break after the bad start to the day so I went at this with a will and covered most of the apartment and the neighbourhood with kitty litter dust and debris. The cats just can’t wait for new kitty litter and a queue forms at the door as I am loading the new stuff in.

Time to go shopping so I thought I would unload the dishwasher before I went – and found myself standing in a large puddle of water. One of the pipes underneath the sink had chosen that moment in time to let go. I have reduced the stream of water to drips which I can catch in a glass. I know now that if I want this fixed quickly I will have to do it myself so am ferreting through boxes in the basement looking for my plumbers tape. I may have to ask John McCain and Joe the plumber for help. (Update – I found the tape – dismantled the pipes – swathed them in plumbers tape and put them together again – and no leaks).

On Saturday we went to Bratislava but the part we went to was closed for repairs. In fact the part we went to looked like a car bomb had gone of there half an hour before our arrival. There were very few people and there was very little happening. Most of the people we did see looked like entrants in the ‘Who is the oldest person in Bratislava?’ contest. We did visit Tescos and we did have a very nice cup of coffee in the Vienna cafĂ©. It was also very cheap. I got some nice photos of some buildings and some trams.

I am told there are very lovely parts of Bratislava and we will make an effort to find these next time.

On Sunday we went to Melk Abbey – which is truly astonishing place full of religious artefacts and the odd scrap of bone from the ancients who lived there centuries ago. Those monks sure knew a bit about real estate and got hold of the best spot in the district. It is a truly breathtaking place and one everyone should see. We will certainly be taking our visitors there. When I go to places such as this I almost wish that I had some degree of religiosity about me so that I could savour what the pious obviously enjoy so much.

It is also where I have had the second worst cup of coffee I have ever had. In the gardens there is a building which houses – amongst I am sure many other things – a very small coffee shop. I had what purported to be a Cappuccino but was in fact coarsely ground coal dust sprinkled with warm water. It was so bad I didn’t drink it – and after 4 hours without coffee I will drink almost anything.

#1 on my all time list of bad coffee is the one I had at a gas station in Washington DC a few years ago. It was the same gas station where the Washington Sniper popped one of his victims. I made a note of the date, place and time and can let you know the details if you are planning to go there – but if you buy coffee at a gas station in D.C. you take your chances so This was also supposed to be Cappuccino but had been laced with battery acid and then given a dollop of hazelnut syrup to mask the taste. To this day the smell of hazelnut syrup makes me retch – so if I have to go to Starbucks I carry a brown paper bag with me.

Annabella (a Blog reader) has confirmed that the smoking rules are due to change but she is not optimistic about people observing the rules. I am inclined to agree with her – except that I thought the Parisians would flout the rules that came in this year – and my daughter Melissa (who lives there) says that they seem to have been widely adopted.

I would think that any people who wait for 5 minutes at a red light – with no traffic in sight in either direction - before crossing the road would obey non smoking regulations – but we will see.
For those who are wondering, I smoked for many years and gave up at 11:00 PM on 23 November 1993.

I am pleased to report that I had a highly successful interaction with Billa and successfully concluded my first online shopping expedition. This was delivered on time by two gypsies, complete with bandanas, who were very friendly. They wanted their plastic baskets back so we had to empty my groceries onto the floor – but hell - after my day that was no trouble at all. They refused to tell my fortune but we parted on very good terms and I expect to see them again.

With the benefit of hindsight perhaps I should not have ordered quite as many toilet rolls as I did but the description on the website was difficult to comprehend with my limited German. We will use what we can and when we leave in 2013 we will just share the remaining rolls amongst the neighbours.


  1. Hey you figured out the Billa shopping thing,, jealous!

  2. Finally signed up for Blogger so I can leave a comment! Really enjoy catching up with the perils of your existence. When I laugh too loudly, I have to read aloud to J so he can share!