Thursday, December 17, 2009

Don't skip in Landstrasser-Hauptstrasse

You should check out this site by Sonja and Ivan.

They hurtle around the planet non-stop looking for Bookstores with English books – and writing about it. They were recently in Wien and wrote about their visits here.


I will ask them around next time they come to Wien – Sonja is cute – Ivan looks a bit doubtful but he may be Russian and I am a bit wary of them at the moment.

Now – about the heating……. I find that by switching the system off and on a few times I can generate some heat from the Klima. Of course to do this I have to get out of bed and run from the bedroom upstairs in sub-zero temperatures and stand there shivering while turning the switches off and on. I am sure it was not meant to be this way but has been basically like this since we arrived and numerous visits and masses of cardboard have not fixed the problem.

When the heating does get going it all goes up to the studies and roosts there. We actually have to open the windows upstairs to let the hot air out. These are very minor problems in comparison with the state of the world generally so we will cope.

I see Copenhagen is coming along nicely – the Republicans have effectively killed any prospect of meaningful health care reform, Iran is committed to making nuclear weapons, Australia is being burned to a crisp by bushfires, Sarah Palin is still banging on about President Obama’s birth certificate oh – and apparently Sandra Bullock has had her best year ever. Terrific Stuff!

I saw a movie with Sandra Bullock in it once. It was a scarifying experience and since then I have really only watched small furry creatures being eaten by large furry creatures on Discovery Channel.

Margaret arrives tomorrow from Australia where in some parts it is currently 40° (I finally found that damn ° symbol) so she will probably be suffering from hypothermia by the time I get her home and sit her in front of the fire with a hot toddy.

Tonight we will take her to see the city lights and then get her some Glühwein (taking care to return the mug for €2).

I have brought the Christmas Tree lights up from the basement and with Margaret’s help may attempt to attach them to the tree – or what’s left of it. Sissi is quite merciless and could get a job as a Lumberjack.

The Duck Pond in Stadtpark is freezing rapidly and there is now a large patch of ice. I asked a man (who was pulling twigs out of the pond) if all the Ducks stayed there in winter and he assured me that they did. He also confirmed that people fed them all the time.

He said quite a bit more but as it was entirely in German – and he spoke no English at all - and he spoke very quickly - I had no idea what he was saying. I should add that it wouldn’t matter much if he was speaking slowly – I just can’t pick up conversation that well as I keep getting stuck on words thinking ‘I know that word!’ and by the time I realise what it was I am standing alone.

Perhaps Maalie may care to tell me why the Ducks don’t go somewhere warmer in Winter and instead end up paddling around in a tiny pond surrounded by ice? I mean – are they Republicans?

The locals probably hate it bit I just love walking around in the snow. It was snowing heavily today and – after a trip to Simmering for Kitty Litter – I walked down to the butcher and then up Landstrasser-Hauptstrasse.

I may have skipped briefly but the locals frown on frivolity. It was just delicious and as I had my Siberian Bear Hunter’s hat on I was quite warm. (Can’t hear a damn thing mind you because it has gigantic woolly flaps that cover my ears so I have to watch out for trams).

I am still hanging out for decent scarf and I am hoping it might happen this weekend. There is simply no more room in the apartment for more candles so Cate might move on to something else.

This (snow) is a completely different experience for someone from the Antipodes and I can’t imagine ever getting tired of it. The locals don’t look too pleased but I guess if you were born here and freeze your butt off every winter the view is not the same as mine.

I hasten to add that it does snow in parts of Australia – mainly around the border of New South Wales and Victoria where there are some decent ski fields – but it rarely happens in the cities.

And incidentally – it turns out that the Butcher (he of the Horse Meat Incident) is Turkish and has a range of Turkish spices including Kirmizi Biberi which I need to make a dish next week. Can’t wait!

Have you ever been reading a Blog and clicked on the ‘Next Blog’ button. I did this for a while last night and discovered some of the scariest things I have ever seen. I am sure some people write things without understanding that someone else may read it.

Perhaps they think it is a diary and is their own little secret. Apparently Google knows a lot about everyone and instead of random Blogs – when you click ‘Next Blog’ you are supposed to get something in your area on interest.

The first 30 or so were about dogs. I finally got out of that loop and moved into quantum physics – then the bible (yeah right!) - then Nutters and finally on to complete Nutters.

I am writing to Mr. Google to tell him to update his records. And where do some of these people get their followers?

Leaping Lizards! I saw one Blog – which was updated about twice monthly – and was clearly written when the person was drunk and had their head in a bucket of honey. This Blog had 93 followers. WTF?

I will add this to the very long list of things that just do not make sense at all. It is a bloody long list!

And it's happy birthday for yesterday to Annabella's first and only Blog entry. And where, dear lady, are those photos of Stan and Ollie for which I have been begging you for months?


  1. You will be getting some pics today! More to follow when I get back from the US. The blog may take longer although maybe I can write something while on vacation.
    Thank you for your perserverance!! I truly appreciate your commemorating such a lame blog!
    Happy Holidays!

  2. The asnswer really lies in your post. Birds can survive remarkably harsh conditions because their warmth comes from within from metabolising food, whilst the plumage insulates. So long as there is a continuing food supply (as there evidently is in Stadpark) they will stay. If they need any more warmth they can always walk to the Strauss statue and bask in the golden glow.

  3. Surely possum has knitted you a scarf. In winter that's all she does. Ask her for one.

  4. I think you should make a habit of skipping down the Landstrasser Hauptstrasse when it's snowing. You're right in that the locals don't tend to go in for frivolity, but they have a way of adapting to it when it's presented to them regularly. I recently took a tram from the Westbahnhof (52 if you're interested), and sat in front of me was a guy stroking - yes, stroking - a bottle of wine, and all the while singing in a child-like voice ‘Ich hob ein Merlot. Zwei Tausend Sieben!’ Completely crazy, but also quite infectious in a weird way... I was surprised because the other passengers were looking on quite indulgently, and so I asked a woman who got off at the same stop as me what his story was. She remarked (quite fondly) ‘Oh, he’s always riding the 52 with his flaschen. He’s harmless. At least he doesn’t smell like the other winos!’ I don’t mean to call you a wino (!), but keep up the skipping and the Viennese will soon take you into their hearts... as a benign loony (!)...

  5. Ever wondered why most Viennese Kaffeehäuser close before midnight?
    It's because of the Stadtpark ducks! They party overnight in the Kaffeehaus, after official closing time, when the nights are coldest. You may have noticed that those mallards are rather sleepy during the day, tucking their beaks under their wings and off they snooze!

  6. I was wondering how you found my blog...

  7. Being from southern California I too never get tired of snow. I seldom go for walks in fact, unless it is snowing. Love your photo--what a view!

  8. I wanted to tell you that your picture here, with that little lonely cat looking out longingly over Vienna's roofs, is heartbreakingly beautiful, a lone soul looking out for company.

    It's still snowing in the hills around Schönbrunn.
    I hope I can make it to the airport tonight.