Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanks Mrs Henderson

It’s official – the smoking, steaming remains of the Queen Mary will be collected next Tuesday morning. Shortly thereafter a man from Mercedes will deliver a much smaller car - with automatic transmission.

At last I will have a free hand with which I can respond to the regular friendly gestures I get from other Austrian drivers. As far as I can tell these gestures mean ‘Welcome to Wien’, ‘You drive beautifully’ and ‘I like your style’ – but I can’t be sure as I have never spoken to the drivers concerned.

We are not going to Turkey next week. Cate instead is going to Korea – and I am not going anywhere. Cate is looking forward to this as last time she went to Korea they made her eat live octopus and she just can’t wait to see what they have lined up for her next time.

She does not have to fly Duckair this time so is reasonably cheerful about the trip – well as cheerful as one can be under the circumstances of missing out on a weekend in Istanbul with a spunk like me.

India and Thailand have been crossed off Cate’s ‘to visit’ list for the time being and I guess this will be added to as the world gets madder by the day.

News from the Austrian Times is that Vienna’s "Monument to the Honour of the Soldiers of the Soviet Army," popularly called the "Russian Memorial," is to be renovated at a cost of 828,000 Euros.The 1955 State Treaty ending Austria’s occupation by four Allied armies, including the Soviet Union’s, requires Austria to keep all Allied graves and monuments in top condition.The monument was the first large-scale building project in the Second Republic founded right after World War II. Work on it, much of which was done by prisoners of war, began on 19 August 1945.

I suspect this is a ruse by the Austrians who will accidentally demolish it halfway through the renovation process. The least they could do would be to make it look at least as ghastly as some of the buildings the Russians left behind.

We had the last of Mrs Henderson’s famous Singleton Hot Pot today and delicious it was too. Mrs Henderson gave us the recipe when we visited them in their country mansion before we left Australia. It didn’t have precisely the same ingredients – but was quite an extraordinary culinary achievement.

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