Monday, December 15, 2008

The pine needles will probably make Muffin vomit

Rozalin was of course right about the Christmas trees.

On Friday I had to fight my way to Landstrasser-Hauptstrasse through Christmas tree vendors. They are everywhere in all shapes and sizes – the trees and the vendors.

I hear that the vendors who tried to jump the gun and sell on Thursday were executed in the Prater this morning. There are rules in Austria and they are there to be followed. Not knowing the rules is no excuse.

Trina said that there were trees on sale at Modenapark so we went up there on Saturday morning and acquired a very fine specimen indeed. Cate bought the tallest tree she could find and they put in into the Christmas Tree wrapping thingy and bundled it up in plastic mesh.

This was a fascinating sight for someone who has never seen this process before. We declined the offer of Schnapps (and no doubt offended the Christmas Tree sellers) – but it was a bit too early even for a soak like Cate.

We carried it home and of course it was much too tall for the elevator so we dragged it up the steps. It is more than 3 metres tall and only just fits in the lounge room. The cats are not quite sure about it yet but are investigating it thoroughly.

I imagine that Muffin will soon find that the pine needles (or whatever they are) make her vomit. Almost everything else green does so there is unlikely to be a rain check for a Christmas tree.

We spent some time decorating it and only broke one ornament. We don’t have enough lights so need some more – but are very pleased with the overall result.

I went to the Post Office in Marokkanergasse to get some stamps for our Christmas cards back to Australia. I took with me a card I had bought at Morawa so that I could find out the cost to send a card that size to Australia.

The man in the Post Office thought it was one of his and tried to sell it to me - but it wasn’t in his inventory. At one stage I was desperately trying to pull it out of his hand – shouting ‘das ist mein’ at the same time he was trying to put it through the cash register and shouting (I think) ‘it’s not yours until you have paid for it’.

The whole affair was ghastly and as they escorted me from the premises I thought about this latest triumph of living in Wien - and how I could have done it so very much better.

Unfortunately the Post Office is just near the Dry Cleaners and they probably talk to each other. It won’t be long before my picture is in most retail outlets in Landstrasse with a ‘Vorsicht!’ sign.

We had our best meal in Wien so far – at Cantinetta Antinori in Jasomirgottstrasse. We have negotiated a repayment plan and hope to have the back of the debt broken before we leave Wien.

We also had a lovely (and much cheaper meal) at Da Vitti in Kumpfgasse. When you wander out at 7:00 on a Winter night in the Innere Stadt without a reservation you are very likely to starve to death but we luckily found this place – which appears to be used mainly by locals. It was spoiled somewhat by a smoker – this one with a cigar. But we will certainly go back there.

A warning light came on in Benny on Thursday. It showed a picture of a skidding car with some incomprehensible words that I haven’t found in my German lessons yet. I wasn’t skidding at the time so I did the only thing I could do and ignored it. It comes and goes but I am not doing anything until a siren sounds.

The Austrian Times has informed us that Austria has the distinction of having the first chess player banned for doping

“When officials from the country’s anti-doping agency turned up at amateur chess player Monika Galamfalvy’s Vienna flat she thought someone was playing a practical joke on her and slammed the door in their faces. But now she has been told in a letter that she refused to undergo a doping test and has therefore been given a ban for an indefinite period”.

I am really struggling to imagine what sort of drugs could enhance the performance of a chess player so would welcome suggestions.

I have received an email and a card from Quolly and a letter from Anna. Also an email from Annie and Jim – and an email from Jill at Down Syndrome NSW.

For those freeloaders who read the blog and don’t send cards or emails at Christmas - you can expect to be mentioned very unfavorably in the blog in the new year. I may also Photoshop some pictures of your heads on very strange animals.


  1. And for heaven's sake, if you ever go to Cafe Diglas in the Wollzeilenever, under any circumstances, move a chair away from your table, regardless of how cramped you are and how comfortable a little leg room might make you feel. I made this mistake and got "The Look" from the waiter as he put the chair back in its place with a loud thump.

    Considering how many hours (as well as Schillings/Euros) I've spent there, you'd think they'd overlook my gross stupidity.

    I love Wien. She's a faded yet beautiful old dowager.

  2. We spend a lot of time in cafe Diglas. We go there mainly to see the world's oldest waitress. She is probably the owner's great grandmother and must be more than 120. She is never really happy either - and who can blame her.

  3. Glad the tree place worked out:-) Yeah the Post Officeis scary.

  4. Where is the 4th owl ? Why isn't he with the other 3 ? Also would love to see a photo of your tree. Ours is the worst we've ever had. Looks like Michael found it by the side of the road - it's so dried up and doubt there will be any pine needles left on it by Christmas.