Saturday, 20 January 2018

A new home for this blog.

Having started my blog in September, it quickly became apparent to me from other bloggers that WordPress seems to be the platform of choice for bloggers. I phoned Nephew last week to arrange our monthly sit down over his financial predicament, and he came over last evening and moved all my posts over to my new blog at:


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

A non-skier's guide to the Hahnenkammrennen

When I left the UK many years ago, skiing was already popular among my friends and colleagues and I had been once or twice (memories of coach trips leaving at silly o'clock, getting merry on the ferry, and a disparate emphasis on the après-ski over the skiing), but never had really got bitten by the bug. Back then, in a far simpler pre-digital and pre-satellite TV age, coverage was through the BBC's Grandstand programme and Ski Sunday, and often only 30 minutes of highlights, apart from during the Winter Olympics. British involvement in those days was somewhat token, with the Bell brothers (Graham and Martin) occasionally finishing in the Top 20 at World Cup races. Konrad Bartelski's 2nd place in Val Gardena was mentioned regularly, at least until the slalom last year in Kitzbühel, when Dave Ryding equalled it, having been 1st after the opening run.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

In praise of the local heroes and anti-heroes.

As a forces brat, my upbringing was one where moving around a lot (on average every 2-3 years) meant it was difficult to put down roots anywhere, and also my memories were very sketchy about a lot of the places we lived. About 15 years ago, my brother and I went back to one of the towns we had lived near, and tried to retrace our route from the train station to a place that had been a public house we had been to in our youth (he just over-age and me under-age). Where we thought it was had been built over, along with three houses by it, with a new supermarket and car park on its site. 

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Prosit Neujahr!

As I started typing this, I had the New Year's Concert on in the background, and there was a hearty soup on the cooker and some leftover chili con carne that we had served to our guests after watching some fireworks from a few minutes walk away up by the Salettl. The view was good although the relative piece was shattered by some youths choosing to let off fireworks only a few metres away from our huddle, while swigging red bull and vodka, and discarding their cans as they went.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Nachlese - a digest of late 2017

As I mentioned in my last post, written after a surfeit of wrapping paper, free calendars and tweaked while watching a Christmas Day double bill of Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple dubbed into German (Joan Hickson is my Miss Marple of choice, preferably in the original language), my final post of the year is a Nachlese, a brief digest of my blogging of the events of late 2017, since I started blogging as a way to adjust to the post-working world. Fortunately, I have been quite busy, and blogging has not taken over my life. For those who might not have read from the start (shame on you, but hope you'll stick with me), I have done a digest of the last few months in my life, as the Curmudgeon in the Cottage. I've linked to the posts, so hope you might dip into them. Apologies for my ironically mocking the style of "round robin" Christmas letters.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Catching up with old friends - Nostalgic nights out

A couple of weekends before Christmas I always meet up with an English friend, who is probably my longest standing English friend still living in Vienna. Despite the length of our friendship, we see each other very infrequently, and again this year, with family life and work (in his case), we realised that we had not seen each other since our last meet up. Since the U3's last extension in 2001, we have always met somewhere along the line, as we live at opposite ends of the line. And we find a quiet bar or two for a drink and some food. We've been to some great places and some others less worthy of mention over the years.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Unwanted Christmas Mail - the curse of the free folding calendar

The first promotional mailings for Christmas shopping started to appear in mid-October, and the first cards from traders hoping for my continued trade in 2018 came through in mid-late November. Fortunately e-mails have reduced the "round robin" Christmas letters that were once crafted in kitchens, dining rooms and sitting rooms across the known world, to a trickle, letters that were the fruits of perspiration, family "editorial" meetings, and a trip to some reprographics facility, or maybe cheekily running them off through the photocopier at work.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Decluttering and downsizing in Döbling and Hietzing

Along with the end of June, this is the time of year when diplomats get ready to leave, departing to be ready to start the New Year at a new posting in another city. Around the middle of June or December, the removal vans begin to start appearing round and about the Cottageviertel, with parking spaces blocked off with Parkplatzsperren. This morning, as I walked off down to the bakery, I saw two separate removals vans being loaded up, and waving and gesturing about what should go where.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Lunch - the Sequel - Curmudgeon Style

Blessed be the crock pot, in forging Anglo-Austrian fusion cuisine. Sunday's lunch party with the snow lying still in places by the house was a triumph for the British casserole - cooked nice and slow with the crockpot turned on at a low setting as I went outside to grit by the house to avoid any guests taking a tumble later in the day, and then leafed through Der Standard, having been the first paying patron of the honesty bag at the end of the road.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

The veneer of credit - consumerism and the young

Recently the advertising boards at bus and tram stops and screens in the buses seem to be touting "Alexa" products. I had a bit of a look to see whether I had understood correctly that you can now order dog food through your speaker system as one advert suggests. I was not surprised to see that Amazon were behind it all. I am currently in the process of a digital declutter - Outlook is claiming that it cannot save any more e-mails, and so I have had a clear out. I've resisted having all my e-mails in some webmail system as I am wary of snooping, which appears to have near endless storage. Putting Alexa in charge of shopping is therefore not something I will be doing.