Wednesday, January 21, 2009

We nearly had a criminal in our house

In Austria there are no Sea Wasps, Irukandji, Brown snakes, Great White sharks, Funnel Web spiders, Redback spiders or Crocodiles. The most dangerous creature in Austria is the Hedgehog – and as far as I can tell there have not been any deaths so far from human contact with the Igel.

However, almost everything you do in winter is lethal. I have already reported on the mayhem on the ski slopes. I now need to warn you of the dangers of ice skating. I quote again from that journal of record, the Austrian Times:

“Ice skating injuries are soaring - with 4,500 skaters hospitalised so far this winter.The Committee for Traffic Safety (KfV) said today (Tues) 4,500 ice-skaters had been injured badly enough to need hospital treatment in 2007 in Austria.

Every second injured person was younger than 15 years of age, KfV added. KfV said wrist injuries had accounted for a quarter of all skating injuries and head injuries for 15 per cent of the total. KfV advised everyone, especially children, to wear helmets while ice-skating.

KfV added few ice-skaters had broken through the ice and fallen into cold water. Some deaths had occurred in such cases, KfV noted, adding it was imperative for skaters to find out how thick the ice was where they would be skating before putting on their skates.”

Very good advice indeed – and advice you would not think would be necessary but apparently in matters of personal safety the Austrians are as dumb as everyone else.

We watched the Inauguration of President Obama and were very excited by the whole business. I loved his speech but need to hear the poem again because I may not have grasped all of its meanings and it did not stir my soul – but poetry is hard these days and is rarely appreciated.

I particularly liked the part where George W Bush climbed into the helicopter and disappeared.

We had decided that we would get two girl kittens and had appointed Rozalin as our Kitten Acquisition Officer (KAO). In the absence of many candidates she chanced upon a boy and a girl who were extremely gorgeous. Let’s call them Harry and Sally.

An initial picture was supplied and, after a request, further photos were provided. After much careful consideration we decided that these two were the ones for us so made the emotional commitment to move forward.

The KAO put things in train for us to acquire Harry and Sally.

The first hurdle was that the Cat Owner (CO) wanted to visit our apartment and meet us to make sure that we were suitable owners. We thought that this was an admirable request because she clearly cared about where her cats went.

We were advised that as we had balconies we needed to put nets over these so that Harry and Sally did not hurl themselves to their deaths or go running over the roof tops.

Harry and Sally are apparently a special breed of Austrian Jumping Cats.

We said that this would be fine and the net would serve to stop the local owls from swooping down and attacking us while we were sitting on the balcony. This hadn’t happened so far but you never know what may happen in Wien.

But then she discovered that we were Australians and that one day we may return to Australia and take Harry and Sally with us. She told us that it would be cruel to take cats on an airplane and that we were clearly not suitable people to look after Harry and Sally.

Relationships then deteriorated between the KAO and the CO. KAO had made some investment in this transaction and was disturbed by the outcome. Harsh words were exchanged. The CO became the Insane CO (ICO) and there was a flurry of emails. The relationship was terminated.

Our initial devastation was mitigated by the fact that a closer examination of the photos revealed some serious flaws. It was clear that Harry’s eyes were too close together and that in all probability he had a criminal mind. Harry was always sitting on top of Sally – who was clearly in fear for her life.

We very nearly brought a killer into our home - a narrow escape indeed!

So we are back top Plan A which is to acquire two girl kittens – neither of which is a criminal. I will keep you posted.

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