Thursday, January 21, 2010

What do Ducks think?

About 10 years ago I developed very bad arthritis in my left shoulder. It was extremely painful and I couldn’t find any way to relieve it – except physiotherapy. I had scans to confirm that it was in fact arthritis and nothing more dangerous.

It was often so painful that I could not sit at my desk but had to lie on the floor –usually under my desk as I had an office into which people could see and I did not want them rushing in with the defibrillator.

People would telephone me and say

‘can I come and see you, it’s quite urgent’.
‘Sure’ I would say ‘I’m in my office’
‘I just walked past your office – you are not there’
‘I am under the table – come on down’
‘It’s OK it can wait’

And of course I sometimes had to call my management team together while I was in this state but they got the hang of it and sat around me in a circle while I lay in the middle of the floor. I only recruited people who were very adaptable.

We went to live in Townsville in Queensland where it was very hot – except when it was extremely hot - and the arthritis disappeared – completely.

I mention this because this winter – for the first time – I have arthritis in my left hand. This is the first time this has occurred and is no doubt a sign of things to come when I will be a wizened dwarf, crippled with arthritis, creeping around Wien and frightening small children. This could be next winter.

It is often quite painful and I cannot pick up heavy items with my left hand. I also have arthritis in my right foot – but it is not as bad as my hand.

So my question is – does anyone have anything sort of herbal that they could recommend. I am taking some fish oil stuff which seems to do some good. I don’t want to take any of the heavy duty stuff which is likely to be prescribed by a doctor because it is unlikely to do the rest of me much good. Any suggestions would be gratefully received.

Wien is just gorgeous today. Snow has been falling heavily since early morning. I awoke early. Muffin is practicing her high Backside 720s for the Winter Olympics and leapt on to me from her perch behind the bed.

When my pulse rate had dropped below 170 I thought it seemed very quiet so went out to the lounge room to look at the city. There was a light dusting of snow and it looked very promising.

Snow seems to deaden the sound of the city. Not that we can hear much in our Erie – but we noticed this in St Petersburg. It was deathly quiet all the time as everything was always covered with 20 centimeters of snow.

The one occasion it was not quiet was when the man with the white van tried to extricate himself from a snow drift outside our window. He did this by spinning his wheels violently for a few minutes and then shouting at his car while throwing lumps of wood under the wheels. There was no indication that he had done physics at school or understood the nature of either torque or traction.

Perhaps he thought that if he span his wheels long enough he would eventually get through the snow to bedrock and get some grip. I would have actually dug some of the snow from around and under the wheels first to give them a chance to bite.

I even thought about going out and giving him the benefit of my advice. Sure I don’t speak Russian but I reckon I could have done a pretty good job with charades and even planned how I would do it – and went through some scraping and digging actions in my head.

But in the event I decided against it because. Firstly because I was naked and secondly because I had no wish to be clubbed senseless by a large and angry Russian.

I was naked because it was always stifling in the apartment and we couldn’t find any way to adjust the heat – other than opening the windows – and we could only do this for short bursts as it was usually about -12° outside.

In any event – he was a local and what would I know – I come from Australia. So I spent some time wondering whether his engine would explode before his wheel bearings seized or the rubber on his tires melted – or if he would be asphyxiated by the smoke from the roaring engine or in if fact eventually the tires would grip and bury his van in the wall and demolish both the car and the apartment block.

I lost interest and went to bed. In the morning the car was gone. He left most of his tires behind.

There is now a covering of few centimeters of snow on the terrace and Sissi has been having a wonderful time burrowing around in it. I wandered over to Stadt park to get a few shots of the Ducks.

I am sure Merisi will have some lovely photos on her blog.

The Ducks don’t seem to mind the snow at all. In fact they always seem to be quite happy with their lives. Maalie will probably be able to tell us what Ducks think about – I am guessing not much.


  1. I have dutifully posted snow pictures, Sir!
    (Before I read your post and trusting that you'd take care of the ducks - how is that for synchronicity? Or was it sheer serendipity?)

    I hope it stays cold!
    I'd rather have a city covered by a white snow blanket than the black aftermath!)

    Keep warm! :-)

  2. Warning:
    Somebody out there posted twice.

  3. Fight, fight, fight! Merisi, you have just thrown down a gauntlet. And don't forget, Badger, that a picture is worth a thousand words. At least!

  4. Another freudoser Tag without Badger posting.
    Fridays are like Groundhof Day for Phil Connors:
    You wake up, realize it's Friday, you know what's to come: Nothing. Badger will not budge, er, post.

  5. See, what Fridays do to me:
    I make mistakes. Freud*l*os.
    And it has nothing to do with Freud.

  6. Excuse me? Badger posted Sunday night (for Monday), Monday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night and Thursday night (for Friday). 5 Posts this week!. Is it my fault if you read Friday's post on Thursday night?

  7. I do get bored on Thursday nights! ;-)

  8. I don't know how the ducks handle cold feet. I wouldn't be able to take it!

    Feel better...

    :-D Anna

  9. Interesting blog! What brings an Aussie to Austria? Just take out an 'a' and an 'l' and cross a few thousand miles...

    Well I'm a Canadian all the way over in Africa so I guess I understand!

    I'm your newest follower anyway :)

    Holli in Ghana

  10. Anna Lefler: I am assured by Maalie that ducks do not get cold feet. He is a bird man so can be trusted on this.

    The pale observer: My lovely Cate works for a US company in Australia and was posted here to take on a regional role. She decided to bring me at the cats with her.

  11. Badger, sorry if it sounds a bit boring, but there is no real evidence that animals in general (let alone ducks) "think" for themselves at all. They simply respond to conditioned reflexes like "I'll grab that bit of sandwich before the moorhen steals it"; or "if we all keep paddling, the water might not freeze tonight"; or even "that female duck looks cute now she has completed her moult".

    Even using a word like "happy" may not have much meaning in the ducky world. We see a duck and think to ourselves "if I was happy, that is exactly what I would be doing" but that is of course our own personal value judgment, not necessarily theirs. It may, in fact, be absolutely terrified that one of the several huge Sea Eagles 5 mins away (as the eagle flies) over at Neusiedlersee is on its way over,having promised its shiela that there will be duck on the menu at his place tonight.

  12. Is it ok to laugh at the image of you stretched out under your desk as people try to work out if it is a 'good time' to visit - even though you were clearly in pain?

    Working in an office environment as I do, I can picture that scenario very easily.

    I can’t offer any advice about remedies other than a good old cup of tea – a cure all for anything!

    We Brits are hopeless in the snow; our country came to a halt recently when a light scattering fell. And, as for knowing how to drive in it, only when three passers by came to my aid and pushed could I get out of a local car park, even though my speedometer was reading 70 MPH, I was still getting nowhere.

  13. Glen: TEA! How I miss that. I haven't had a cup of tea since we arrived in Vienna on 2 September 2008!. I LOVE Tea - but it is just not the same when you travel. I brought my favourite tea - but the water is different - just can't drink it.