Monday, January 12, 2009

If you are a duck you have to suck it up!

I think I have mastered Handy Parken. For those of you not in the loop – Handy Parken is a system in Austria where you can pay for short term parking using your mobile (cell) phone. These are know as Handys is Austria – (and no I don’t know why - except that they are...handy)

So when you park - basically anywhere - you send an SMS saying how much time you want and then your account is charged. Some time before the time is up you get an SMS reminder so that you can extend if you want to.

It is a magnificent system and shows just how clever the Austrians really are!

The concept of registration is simple – but of course the Handy Parken site is in German – and I am sure that many of the words are not real ones as I can’t find them anywhere.So I had to go online to give my Handy number, car registration number, credit card details – and where I wanted to do my prison time if I broke the rules. The last one was tough because I don’t know the prison system here yet – but it won’t be long. I have opted for the most southerly one as it is likely to be warmer.

Apparently even German speakers find the site difficult but I managed by putting at least something in all the boxes and at the end I got a message which probably said that I had been registered.

I tested the system by asking for 30 minutes parking and got an SMS reminder so I think it works. We shall see!

In my recent travels I saw a woman park a 40 Tonne Envirocrusher on the corner of our street and walk across the road into the bank.

Naturally a Parking Police Person (she was apparently hidden in the bottle recycling bin) appeared within seconds and started writing a ticket. Whereupon the woman came leaping and bounding across the road (think Olympic Games Hop, Step and Jump) and an animated conversation followed – probably along the following lines:

‘I only parked for a minute – I just had to go into the bank’

‘Ah – but it is illegal to park on the corner’

‘But I was only a minute – surely you aren’t going to give me a ticket for that’

‘Well….it is illegal to park on the corner’

‘I urgently needed money – my mother has cancer and I have to buy her medicine’

‘Yes that is so sad – my mother is also nearly dead – but it is illegal to park on the corner’

‘Did I mention that my child has been kidnapped and unless I get the ransom money they will cut off her left ear?’

‘That’s terrible – fancy having a child with only one ear – but it is illegal to park on the corner’.

Muffin has always been fascinated with Discovery and National Geographic channels – mainly the ones to do with animals – and particularly big cats.

But she has now developed a fixation on horses and spent ages yesterday watching a show about horses – she was transfixed. Cate and I are wondering whether we should get a horse instead of kittens as it may be better company for her. We would of course need a larger litter box.

Muffin also spends a lot of time now watching CNN. She is very concerned about the situation in the Middle East and I have had to tell her that there are no cats at all in the Middle East so there is no danger to any of her feline family. I don’t think she is convinced.

I am feeling much more relaxed since Gwenyth told me that there are ducks in Leipzig and that when the lakes freeze over they just sit on the ice. Jill says that they have lots of down and that this keeps them very warm. There is a still a little bit of water left but it is getting perilously close to being all ice - and stiffen the lizards it is cold!
It doesn’t sound like a lot of fun but if you are a duck I guess you just have to suck it up.


  1. Handys - a similar system was talked about in Leichhardt, where the brown bombers reign supreme. I don't think it ended up being approved.

    Just tried to find anything about parking meters on the Council website but failed even though it's in English!

    So good luck!

  2. Because of you I've been thinking a lot about ducks recently and it brought a song to mind:

    (You may need to copy and paste the URL.)


  3. Definitely go with the horse ..... and a very big kitty litter box.