Monday, February 2, 2009

It's off to the sewers for me

I hadn’t checked on the ducks for a few days – (Doctor’s orders) but we went through Stadtpark on the way to dinner on Friday and all the ice was gone – I mean all of it – the water is entirely clear of ice!

Most of the ducks were congregating in two large groups on the snow in the park.

I just don’t understand any of this and it has only served to increase my duck anxiety factor.

Where has all the ice gone? Sure it has been warmer for the last few days but I am talking just above zero – it is hardly tropical – and there has been at least some snow most days.

And why now that the ice has gone are all the ducks leaving the water and sitting on the snow?

Of all the weird things in Wien I think the ducks are the ones that worry me the most.

We went on Saturday to Mariahilferstrasse to buy me a coat. I have six coats but I need a really good coat for all those times we go to the Opera and Balls so that we when step out of Billy Benz I look the part.

This was not successful – but – we found Cate a magnificent leather coat. It is made out of shearlings which I understand are sheep that have been only partially shorn – and was made in Italy.

It I absolutely gorgeous and makes her look like Anna Karenina. Cate has trouble finding coats but this was the first coat we saw in Peek and Cloppenburg (and the last of its kind) and fitted her perfectly. It had also been discounted by €800 Euros which was very exciting as this reduced to mark up to – oh - about 800%.

To complete the Anna Karenina look she also bought a hat made out of dead rabbits. This will be a perfect companion for my hat made out of dead rats.

I remain without a long coat but will bask in the reflected glory of Cate’s coat. When we arrive at the opera she can tell people that I am her gardener and I can carry her coat for her when we get inside.

She will certainly look the part in Moscow next week and may end up running off with one of those Russian Ogliarch-thingies.

We went to Fabios which was not as good as last time but was more expensive. I had not thought this would be possible so did not take a bank guarantee this time. I have left my watch and Cate’s jewellery as security for payment and will redeem them when the bank loan comes through.

I also finally bought my electric frying pan at Saturn. These are not very common in Wien but I like to use them and needed to replace the one that detonated while it was filled with Rogan Josh. Rozalin found many electric fry pans on the Internet for me and I was just about to buy one of these when some popped up at Saturn. I will report on its efficacy at a future date.

Jura is giving me some problems and is doing things that are not described in the manual.

When it is turned on it noisily squeezes out a few drops and then wants to be rinsed. (In this respect it reminds me of some small dogs I see in Landstrasse).

It also does this at various times during the day. I have changed the filter and cleaned it with the appropriate tablets but it is still wobbly and I may have to contact its mother to see what is wrong.

She lives in Switzerland and, according to the website, is keen to hear from me. I somehow doubt that very much.

I have booked tickets to go and see Melissa in Paris in March and am staying at a hotel in Montmartre. I usually stay with Melissa but want a quiet space to study German and write.

There will also be much exploring and Melissa and I are really hanging out to visit les Egouts (the sewers).

Last time I as there we went to the catacombs and saw all the skulls –fantastic fun.

I also hope to visit some cemeteries and Melissa says there are some medical museums where they have body parts in jars. If anyone would know about these it would be Melissa.

Kevin from Cranville wine racks in the UK has reported that my rack has been returned to him – rather the worse for wear. Apparently the global resources of DHL were not able to track someone who lives in the middle of Vienna – even though they have my handy number.

It seems that I am more elusive than Harry Lime.

Good news – as far as I can tell there has been only one fatality on the ski slopes in the last week. I am not sure why we are down to only one for the week – it seems remarkably low - I will investigate further.

I am afraid that this article in the Austrian Times comes under the ‘Only in Austria’ heading:

“A car left in a short-stay parking zone for two years may stay there forever after clocking up a 21,000 Euro bill.The second hand Fiat Uno - worth just around 5,000 Euros - was left in the city centre of Graz when the two Romanian immigrants who'd been using it were arrested and deported.

The owner - now living in France - has refused to settle the bill and local laws mean the car cannot be towed away because it is not blocking traffic.Now city officials are to declare the car park a construction site so planning rules mean they can move the motor to a scrap yard.”

There is not much I can say about that – except that it demonstrates perfectly the tenacity of the parking police and the inflexibility of the bureaucracy.

I haven't heard from Annie for a while and assume that de Bortoli have delivered another 60 dozen which she and Jim are sampling to make sure that they are not poisoned.


  1. If only Mr de Bortoli would deliver 60 cases, I wouldn't have to cart them home from Amatos!

    I love the image you create of staying in Monmartre and writing. Studying German in Paris is more problematic.

    How long will you be there? Will you be blogging?

    Your fans need to know!

  2. Mais bien sur! Naturellement je blog, tous les jours! I cannot let down zee funs! I rest a Paris pour un semaine.