Sunday, October 12, 2008

Are snow tires woolly?

When I emerge from the nest each day and stagger out to the kitchen I am greeted by the awesome vista of the city of Wien and Stephansdom laid our before me. After I have my first cup of coffee (the Jura is very well thanks for asking) I can actually open my eyes and see the sights. I usually go out on to the terrace and lean on the rail looking at the truly spectacular sight. It’s not Sydney – but then all I could see out of our lounge room in Sydney was the next door neighbour’s wall. Here is a picture of Cate enjoying one of her first breakfasts on the terrace.
Bad news about the car. The latest is that it will not be ready until December – but who really knows. Perhaps the little elves in the Mercedes factory in Germany are on strike and refuse to fit the headlight washers on the basis that a car could not possible need headlight washers or – more likely – a Wien hire car company placed a large order and our black Mercedes got swept up in this. We will certainly not be conspicuous in our car if we eventually get it as at least 50% of all cars in Wien are black Mercedes.

All this is also very bad news for the Queen Mary which is taking a real pasting on the passenger side (i.e. the one next to the wall in the garage). I was driving into the garage when two suits arrived to extricate a large BMW and in my haste to get out of their way I drove the QM slightly too close to the hoist wall (it was a matter of only millimetres). Anyway – the sound of metal and plastic grinding against metal prompted them to leave in a hurry so I was able to sit in the car on my own with my head in my hands for a while. I really hope I don’t have to take the car back to Budget and have to suffer the humiliation of someone cataloguing all the damage.

The good news is that the QM already has snow tires fitted. Cate examined them and said that she couldn’t see what the difference was between normal tires and a snow tires – she was expecting woolly fringes to keep them warm. I just can’t wait to get out onto those icy roads in a car that weighs 60 tonnes and has the turning circle of a bulk grain carrier.

Nadia Poponova the cleaner started. She is from the Ukraine and is very nice. Cate is not too keen on her because she is young, thin and blonde but – being a man – I look past these things for more compelling attributes. She is young and strong – it was a pleasure to watch her work. She was here for four hours and worked like a drover’s dog – but didn’t finish it all – ‘it is a big apartment - isn’t it’ she said. I paid her above award wages plus a bag of Krapfens so I am confident that she will be back.

The new vacuum cleaner I bought in Australia before leaving is a Wertheim which is probably German (and is probably made in China). It is as well made as any other vacuum cleaner I have had so I have had to binds the parts together with duct tape. To keep the handle to the steel wand I have drilled holes and insert a large screw to stop it from falling apart. It makes a horrendous noise which sounds like an animal being dismembered in a wind tunnel. This frightens the Krapfens out of the cats so they have to be locked in a room where the vacuum cleaner is not.

I took one of Cate’s suits in for dry cleaning and there was a misunderstanding. Enschuldigung - I said – I do not want to send the suit on a one week all expenses paid trip to Bavaria – I just want to have it dry cleaned. I reeled out the store wondering why Cate was busting her buns doing what she is doing. You could be a dry cleaner for a month in Wien and then retire to drink melanges and eat Krapfens all day long.

We now have Sky TV – which is just the same as any other TV – and combined with our UPC we now have something like 270 channels. It has 29 Music Channels - some of them devoted to specific genres so if I want to watch 80s music all day I can. I have no plans to do this but it is nice to know that I have the option.

We are working through the channels alphabetically and are confident that before we leave Wien we may find something that we actually want to watch. It thrills me here – as it did in Sydney – that monkeys like me actually pay vast sums of money to acquire cable and satellite TV that bombards us with advertisements. It’s brilliant – they show us advertisements – and we pay them! They must laugh themselves sick.

The State Department has visited again. We would just like to say how sorry we are for any gratuitous and offensive remarks that may have been made about the President of the United States and the Republican candidates for the Presidency. We promise that these will cease immediately after election day in November 2008.
I note with some horror that President Bush has said that he has a lot more to do before he leaves office. What more could he possibly do? I am going to build a fallout shelter in the basement.

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