Monday, December 14, 2009

They might be Golden Crowned Hornswoggles

Christmas Tree Cat

The Hot Water System belongs to the same union as the Air Conditioning and went out in sympathy with it yesterday morning. I think this may constitute a secondary boycott and I could possibly take legal action but I am not sure where to start. Certainly shouting at the Water Heater had no effect at all.

Cate was not well so did not go to work – she worked at home of course as she is never allowed to take a day off although she swears that this year she will not work on Christmas Day (which she really did last year).

Anyway Rozalin contacted the Hot Water People and advised them of the critical situation. They immediately dispatched a Serviceman with a police escort and he fixed the problem. This is the same man who has been before and speaks perfect English – but won’t.

So when he pointed at various buttons and dials and gave me detailed instructions I assume he was telling me that there were things I needed to do to keep the system operating properly. There are two red levers and a dial. When something happens on the dial (I am not quite sure what) I do something with the levers (I am not quite sure what – and it certainly doesn’t help that there are two levers)

I am quite sure I will be seeing him again in the not too distant future.

We have not yet been able to interest anyone in our lack of air conditioning. Fortunately it only got down to -8 yesterday so we were able to chip the ice off our Muesli without too much trouble.

The only real problem we have is the family of Inuit living in the spare room because the smell of fried whale fat is bothering Monika. She is a bit worried she may be mistaken for a seal and be harpooned. (What a fabulous word!)

I spent quite a bit of time with some painters today. They are painting the Beatrixgasse foyer and have a gigantic electric heater blasting away. So I hovered around them for a while until they got edgy and then I went over the vegetable section in Spar – which is deliciously warm and I now know how they make the grapes so mouldy.

It is so cold that the cats were all together in front of the fire. This is the first time this has happened and was done out of self preservation. At least when they are there I don’t have to spend time de-icing their whiskers with Cate's hair dryer.

I checked on the ducks and there a very few there. Where could they possibly be? I know they don’t fly south for the Winter – or at least they didn’t last year. There were however hordes of white birds.

I hesitate to call them Gulls because then Maalie will embarrass me by pointing out that they are something like Golden Crowned Hornswoggles (as any fool would know). This is the problem with writing a Blog when you know so little and you have some experts reading it.

One must be very circumspect about saying things that can be corrected or disproved.

Tomorrow I am off to buy more wood because I think it is going to be a long cold winter – still I suppose this is good training for St Petersburg where we will be on 26 December.


I have finished the first draft of my website. I am going to start trudging around the Innere Stadt to verify the information I have collected – and look for new venues.

For Annie - I have increased the font size - is it any better?

It was reported in the Austrian Times that: "Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) was forced to downplay media reports of near chaos after Vienna’s southern railway station (Südbahnhof) closed ahead of construction of a new main city railway station on the site".

Their photo apparently shows the chaos. This poor bloke had to wait 2 minutes for a green light.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Dear Badger,
    you need to find a new source of news, it seems to me that the Austrian Times are a tad bit too sensationalistic. Closing down Vienna's largest railway station that carried all south-bound long-distance train traffic going south from Südbahnhof and moving the end station to Meidling station went quite smoothly considering what gargantuan enterprise it really was. Yesterday morning, the first day after the move, only two trains arrived late!

    Read more about the Closing of the Südbahnhof at (in English!), the City Administration's offical information website.

    All three of Vienna's largest railway stations are under major construction right now, Westbahnhof, Wien Mitte and Südbahnhof, being rebuilt from scratch, actually. Amazing,isn't it?

  3. I apologize,
    I failed to include a working link in my first comment and therefore deleted it.

  4. Yes, they are gulls. I saw them myself last week. They are Black-headed Gulls, in winter plumage, thus lacking the black heads, which they have when in summer plumage.

  5. Your link to Smoke Free Vienna is all buggered up. You have:

    I'm sure you meant:

  6. Damn right Steph! Have fixed the bugger!