Monday, September 8, 2008

The beginning

We arrived at Am Heumarkt 7 at 8:30 on Wednesday 3 September to meet Erika, Elizabeth and Alexandra to start the handover of the grand apartment. Lots of pictures were taken and notes were made of the problems with the apartment and its various bits and pieces. Someone apparently had been hacked to death with a mattock on the lounge room floor so pictures were taken of the scene.

It was at hot as buggery and we quickly realised that there was a problem with the air conditioning. At full bore the ones that worked at all were barely pushing out any cool air at all - and a mouse would pass wind with more energy than the units in the upstairs rooms. Cate closed all the blinds and we decided to wait to see what happened. It got hotter.

At 10:30 the rental furniture deliverers arrived and confronted the task before them. Clearly not easily frightened they started the process of heaving the furniture through two courtyards and then up six flights of stairs. They are not permitted to use the elevator to move furniture and in any event it has a maximum capacity of two people - and it is best if these two are either related or extremely fond of each other.

I keep thinking about the Nicholas Dattner and how this can possibly be moved from street level into the eerie.

They heaved and puffed and grunted and sweated. Then they discovered that by using the Beatrixgasse entrance they could cut out two flights of stairs and progress improved. Nevertheless the task was not completed until after six.

Irene the owner appeared a few times and towards the end to make sure everything was in order. The temperature in the apartment increased steadily and birds landing on the roof were vapourised before they realised their mistake and could resume flight.

I unpacked the kitchen stuff and realised after putting away 12 egg cups that we had been give two settings - which Irene rescued for taking away. She left us with some useful and some strange furniture. The most bizarre item being a desk and display cabinet which has a glass front and a light so that presumably you can display your best looking stationery to best effect.

We staggered across to Spar which is a grocery store and delicatessen but with a fine collection of cheese and cold meat. By pointing and grunting we were able to assemble the makings of a fine repast which we planned to enjoy on the balcony overlooking Stephansdom.

Some of the things are so incredibly expensive that they took our breath away but we didn't have much of an alternative but to ante up. A great deal of guesswork was involved and some of the purchases turned out to be not quite what they were expected to be.

I still don't know if what we are using in the washing machine is washing powder - or indeed in which slot it is supposed to go. But as we have no idea what the German words on the dials mean I guess it doesn't matter much in the overall scheme of things. A dictionary is no help as most of the words are simply not there.

Indeed the washing machine did its first load without water as the installers had not turned the water on - so clearly what you put in it is not too important.

To our horror we discovered that we did not have a corkscrew so I was sent on a mission to acquire one of these - which if you need one in Austria is a Korkenzieher. After stumbling from shop to shop shouting 'Korkenzieher Bitte' I finally found one in Billa in Landstrasser-Hauptstrasse and hurried home to have our first evening in our new home.

Flopping exhausted into the nest we passed a relatively peaceful night disturbed only by the sound of the metal roof melting and plopping into Beatrixgasse.

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