Wednesday, January 28, 2009

That is one foxy Raccoon

I light dusting of snow today. This was inevitable after Cate announced on the way to work ‘It is too warm for snow’. This turned to sleet later and has prevented me from going to Alt Wien to buy coffee.

There is cause for some panic as we are down to our last half kilo and the absence of coffee of the required type would render us both senseless. Regardless of the weather tomorrow I shall have to go on a shopping expedition. I also need to call into Bobby’s for some strawberry jam.

I am trying to do two hours study of German each day so that I am prepared for my lessons with my teacher Miss Snow Mountain (who is also Cate’s teacher). I bored Miss Snow Mountain witless today as I ground my way excruciatingly through Lagune – which is a German book (with no English) but lots of pictures. Fortunately she has the patience of a saint and can hide the fact that she has to grit her ears as I massacre German words with 16 syllables.

I would really like to understand the mind of the person who invented the ümlaut because it is almost as silly as the separable verb. I imagine that the person is long dead – hanged from a lamp post no doubt by a gang of furious German grammar students.

There are many things I have discovered so far that are designed to stop Auslanders from speaking German – and there are more coming. I have looked at the text books I have yet to start and there are some truly terrifying things in there. Cate is going to Russia next week so I will make a special effort. Actually that’s a lie – I will just swan about and read.

The men came to fix the air-conditioning and spent six hours here. After much farnarkling their solution was to cut pieces of cardboard from a number of cardboard cartons and put these pieces of cardboard into each air-conditioning unit. They said that they would get metal pieces made to replace the cardboard and one man spent some time drawing the specifications of these pieces of metal.

The men indicated that they would be back before the end of the century to fit these. This raises a number of questions - for example - if the air-conditioners require cardboard to make them work why was this not fitted in the factory?

The air conditioners are 10 years old. Why has the absence of cardboard not been noticed before now?

The air-conditioners now work most of the time. Some of the time you could grill lamb chops on them. The rest of the time you could snap freeze peas. We have accepted that this is as good as it is going to get this winter. We are girding our loins for a new battle for cooling in summer.

Other men came to replace the light fitting in the kitchen. This was the one they took away in November because of faulty wiring. We are talking about a common or garden variety down light – not a 267 piece crystal chandelier. This task was concluded successfully and we now have a full complement of lights in the kitchen.

I have collected Cate’s glasses (which are called Brille) and await her inspection with interest. I expect her to say something like ‘these are no good – they are not adjusted correctly for my eyes’. I will then say ‘Really dear? Perhaps it would have been better if you had gone in yourself so that they could get the measurements right’.

I regret to report that the carnage in Austria continues. The Austrian Times tells us:

“Sledding is one of the most popular winter activities in Austria, but it results in 5,000 serious accidents annually.The Committee for Traffic Safety (KfV) said today (Tues) around 5,000 people injured in sledding accidents in Austria had to be treated in hospitals for their injuries each year.KfV added broken bones constituted 40 per cent of sledders’ injuries, and torn muscles and sinews accounted for another 20 per cent. Around 700 sledders suffered head injuries during the 2007/2008 winter season, KfV said”.

With skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and now sledding Austria is a more dangerous place than either Iraq or Afghanistan. Perhaps they should send the troops here for training prior to their assignments.

I hesitate to put the next Austrian Times item in a family blog but really cannot let it pass. A man had a very delicate part of his anatomy bitten off when he was attempting to develop a close relationship with a Raccoon.

For those of you who have such shallow lives that you wish to delve further into this story the link is

However, so that all the men can see what the fuss is about I have included a picture of the Raccoon in question.

Well – you can see what the attraction was – that is one foxy Raccoon.

What man wouldn’t be tempted after a long night in the Billabong?


  1. My curiosity compelled me to read the Austrian Times story. I'm most concerned. I do hope that Cate is not visiting Moscow on her trip to Russia.

    I studied Russian for 3 years at uni - don't really know why, was never much good at it - but later visited what was then the Soviet Union on a coach/camping tour.

    I guess Cate's learnt to say "Da" and "Nyet" and "Spasseeba" but "please" is beyond my power of transliteration! There's always "horror show" (good) and "ploorhuh" (bad) - but "indifferent" escapes me.

  2. Unfortunately Cate speaks Russian as well as she speaks German - and is going to Moscow - but will be surrounded by armed guards and minions carrying bottles of Vodka and Gruner Veltliner.