Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Never take a Chimp on a honeymoon

This is Merlin in Paris - he likes to explore bags - and my daughter assures me that the pictured has not been posed.

We have been pondering why the first Anderungsschneiderei (good word huh? it means a tailor that does alterations) would not do the elastic and instead sent me to his brother.

We think it is because the first one missed Elastic 101 at the Ankara Politeknik. Perhaps his uncle wanted him to unpick some hems that night – and because of this now he has to refer all elastic around the corner.

Me – I would do the elastic course by correspondence rather than let all the elastic work pass me by – but maybe the Austrians don’t do much elastic?

It has snowed every day for the last few days and was coming down heavily when I drove Cate to work – but it doesn’t hang about for long. The snow ploughs are out and about in the streets but there is not really much to push around as it evaporates very quickly.

I think the snow plough drivers like roaring around though (who wouldn't) – it sure beats the hell out of using a shovel like some of the snow people on foot have to – they don’t look happy.

Of course we needed coffee (we always do in snow storms) so once again I went to Alt Wien in the driving snow and when I got there I found that there was no Caruso Blend. (Shriek!).

Fortunately they were able to revive me with a long brown and when I recovered my senses (or as close as I am ever going to get) I considered my options.

Apparently there is not likely to be any Caruso for some weeks. I am not sure why – he muttered something about ‘transport difficulties’. What does that mean?

So I have bought two separate blends to see if we can struggle through – I am not confident because Caruso really is our very favourite and we haven’t found anything to come near it. First Jura and now Caruso – what is happening to us.

Cate will be away when we run out of Caruso so will miss the initial shock. I should be acclimatised by the time she gets back and will be able to help her through it.

I have been making some fabulous food lately. I made a Hotpot last week that was to die for – and my Hungarian Goulash Soup is nothing less than spectacular.

I am not very good at following recipes and tend to be a bit haphazard with my ingredients – but apart from an unfortunate incident with salt a few weeks ago I have managed.

My dishes don’t taste the same each time I make them as I experiment and use different ingredients in different amounts each time. However, I will share with you the basis of my now famous ‘Beatrixgasse Hotpot’ – you will need to decide on the amounts and how to cook it.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Other potaoey things (don’t know what they are called)
Sweet Potatoes
Crushed Tomatoes
Tomato Paste
Beef Stock
Worcestershire Sauce
Red Wine
Crushed Dried Chillies
Black Pepper

I guarantee that if you do this right it will knock your socks off.

Cate is continuing to set me new challenges and now wants me to cook Risotto. Well Risotto is dead easy if you can cook the rice properly – otherwise it is a disaster. So I am going to do a test run while she is communing with nature next week in Zambia.

I have detailed instructions on cooking Risotto from Marcella Hazan and will study them carefully. I think I have found the correct type of rice in Spar – but we shall see.

Cate has also expressed a desire for Coq au Vin and I will certainly have to practice this one. She has said that the chicken should not have any bones – and as I don’t think they make chickens without bones – I will have use different bits to those that are prescribed in the recipe books.

Incidentally – in respect of Zambia – I read today that a pet 200 pound Chimp tore a woman to pieces in Connecticut.

What a woman in Connecticut was doing with a 200 pound chimp will only be revealed in the fullness of time – perhaps they were on their honeymoon – but wouldn’t you go somewhere warmer? – what’s the matter with Florida?

The Chimp had apparently appeared in a Coca Cola commercial - which in itself would probably want to make it tear something to pieces – and a woman from Connecticut will do as well as anyone else – even if you have just married her – no doubt against your better judgment.

The police of course shot the Chimp (they always shoot the Dog, Lion, Igel, Chimp, Snake, Crocodile whatever when they should shoot the people who keep this things as pets).

The woman may recover and if she does will no doubt lurch out and buy a Giraffe.

I have been keeping a close eye on the Austrian Times and for those who don’t have time to read it provide a summary of the most important stories:

“A young Australian girl was almost strangled on Sunday while skiing at Hochötz near Ötz in Tyrol’s Ötztal. The girl, 10, who lives in Vienna, was almost killed when her scarf got caught in a button lift as she fell off it. The lift then pulled her up the slope by the neck”.

Button lift?

“A short-sighted Tyrolean farmer set his house on fire after mistaking the fridge for the fireplace on Thursday. The 87-year-old from Angerberg in Kufstein district had left the door of the fridge open and then decided it was so cold he ought to light a fire in the fireplace which was next to the fridge.He said: "I put firelighters and wood in what I thought was the usual place, and suddenly there was smoke everywhere. I thought it was cold when I lit the match - now I know why." He promised fire-fighters who extinguished the blaze that he will get himself better spectacles”.

Well – I know one place he shouldn’t try.

“A British skier who had supposedly gone missing was found in a bar early Friday morning in Seefeld, Tyrol. The man’s wife had reported him missing at 2am Friday morning after he had failed to return to their camper after a day’s skiing. Rescuers called out to look for the man eventually found him drinking in a Seefeld night spot”.

This could happen to anybody. Cate often calls the police when I am not home by 2:00 AM and they come and drag me out of the Billabong.

Oh – and 4 more skiers died on the weekend.

The duck pond has iced over again – I will report in full tomorrow!


  1. I got a few laughs, thanks.

    Too bad all this talk about coffee has me craving caffeine at 1:10am =(.

  2. It's never not time for (good) coffee!

  3. Yes good coffee is ALWAYS needed, you should have it a few times a day in fact :-) The B Gasse Hotpot sounds great!!Good luck with the new recipes!

  4. Have you ever come across the Darwin Awards?
    The website calls itself:
    A Chronicle of Enterprising Demises
    Honoring those who improve the accidentally removing themselves from it!

    As for risotto, I've never made it. But someone I knew once said that if you kept her glass of white wine topped up, she was happy to sit by the stove and stir! Sounds like a lot of effort for one dinner for one person.

    Molly is dog-sitting her son and d-in-law's dog for 2 weeks. It barks continuously when she goes out, usually for 3-4 hours at a time!

    Auction outcome of other dog owners to follow. It was last night.

  5. Love the Darwin awards. I would back Austrians to be well represented and possible medalists (although it will always be hard to beat the Americans).

    Molly should know better after what she has been through with the dogs at #62.