Thursday, October 29, 2009

Heidi was trained by the Gestapo

I have mastered the Heimtrainer and can now cycle 30 kilometers in the comfort of my study while I gaze at the sky and the lady across the road in Beatrixgasse working in her kitchen. She obviously doesn't know I am here or she would have her blinds closed.

It is actually harder to cycle 30 kilometers on the Heimtrainer than on the bicycle as I don't get to coast down hills and slow down for roller bladers and the ancient naked men and women carrying their clothes in plastic bags across the paths on the Donauinsel.

However, I also don't have to ride into the teeth of the howling gales that infest Donauinsel.

My German Teacher Heidi Erdbeer was trained by the Gestapo and will only talk to me in German. This is the only German I actually talk – other than in shops. I don't know enough German words to have a sustained conversation so I throw in French words, Australian colloquialisms and Pidgin English. We get along fine.

She gave me a test yesterday just to let me know how little German I really know. It made me very sad to realise that after a year of not doing very much work at all on German – it has paid off – I know Bugger All.

Notwithstanding my earnest protestations I decided to upgrade to Windows 7. I did this simply because I couldn't stand the enormous number of crashes I was having each day with Vista.

It was a real struggle doing the upgrade and I had problems – but not as many as I expected. Windows 7 is now loaded – and works. So far everything I have tried actually seems to function – which in itself is astonishing – but I just know there will be some problems.

It is very, very fast. Windows open in seconds. There have not been any crashes. It is cleaner and much less cluttered that the previous versions.

Despite their best efforts this is my last windows upgrade and as next year is a PC rollover year it's Mac Time for me.

I made the best pasta dish I have ever made. I am getting to be a pretty good 'common or garden variety' cook – meaning that I can cook a number of basic dishes very well. I will never be a chef – but I can keep Cate happy with a variety of nice meals when she gets home from a hard slog at the office doing whatever it is that she does – and that's all that matters.

Anyway – I invented this pasta dish. It involves what the Austrians call Paprikas, the Australians call Capsicums and the Americans call Bell Peppers (and by the way these vegetables raw have an astonishing amount of Vitamins A and C), Pfeffer Salami, Fresh Tomatoes, Garlic, Olive Oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano (a cheese to die for).

Served with Penne this proved to be a sensation and brought a round of applause from an appreciative audience.

Melissa arrives on Friday so I am looking for opportunities to explore some parts of Wien we have not seen (there are many of these). For example – there are cemeteries as yet unvisited.

Cate goes to India on Sunday – for a week!

The cats are learning to love the fire and we can get two in front of it at the same time. Three will be a bit more difficult but we are working on it.

I haven't heard from my children in Australia for a while but assume that if they had been eaten by Lions someone would have told me (well…unless they were ALL eaten by Lions – then there would be no one left to tell me).

But as they live in different places this would entail a coordinated attack by Lions and I don't think Lions have the capacity to do that – so I am not really worried.

Lenny hasn't updated his Blog for while but he works in fits and starts. He is probably totally absorbed by the new season of a Cook Your Nuts Off or perhaps American Chopper (and it took me a long while to understand that this was not about a serial killer but is in fact about some very strange men who shout at each other a lot and build motorcycles in between shouts).

And where is Quolly?