Tuesday 22 January 2013


Facebook has been awash with claims that Wolverhampton has had two feet of snow, but personally, I don’t believe it. However, yesterday morning, in a class of final years, I loaded my old school’s homepage in attempt to raise a small amount of interest in the theme of ‘education’. To my bewilderment, emblazoned in huge, red, flashing letters across the top of the page were the words “WOLVERHAMPTON GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL: SCHOOL CLOSED DUE TO SEVERE WEATHER CONDITIONS”. I stared, mouth agape, speechless in a way that really doesn't reflect my personality. Wolverhampton Girls’ High School is having a snow day, and yet here, where I am forced to fight through one and a half feet of snow to get out of my front garden, then must practically sledge to school on a pavement covered in black ice, school continues. Fmlll. My students asked why the school was shut, so I explained it was because of "health and safety". They looked at me blankly. They're never heard of "health and safety" before. It is another world here!

Despite the snow, my week started with a bang! I discovered to my absolute delight that Amstetten has it's own "Spotted: Amstetten" page, where Amstetten residents can post anonymous messages to the objects of their desire. So far I haven't read one that seems to refer to me, but I imagine it's only a matter of time. LINK: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Spotted-Amstetten/316587198458632

This weekend was the annual Amstetten Grammar School ball. Being now locally renowned as a professional musician, the teachers begged and pleaded with me to perform on the night! I think they thought I would be able to add that touch of class to proceedings which it had been missing. So I played with the orchestra at the beginning of the night, and was paid with free entry and 10 euro voucher to spend in the restaurant! Naturally I spent it on as much food as I could afford.

The night continued into one of those drunken messes, which you need the whole of the following day to really come to terms with. At about 5.30pm on Sunday evening I remembered that at the bar we went to after the ball, they decided to play “Shake That” by Eminem. Anybody who knows me well will know how I reacted. If you don’t know how I reacted, I am going to leave it to your imagination, but I will tell you that I surprised AND delighted my fellow party-goers.

I know my regular readers have been literally dying to here my opinions on the Austrian political system. Well, wait no longer! This weekend has provided me with ample material to address this issue. Unfortunately I still find it a tad challenging to understand Austrian newspapers, so I've got my info from the BBC, but LETS NOT DIGRESS>>>>>>>>>
On Sunday the country had a referendum about military service. Being a woman on the ground, this is what I've gleaned about the whole thing. Austria is a neutral country and isn't part of NATO, but Austrian young men are conscripted to the military for 6 months once they leave school, and if they don't WANT to do that then they do 9 months community service. Community services means driving ambulances. Apparently other jobs are also available, but I haven't met ANYONE who does community service and DOESN'T drive ambulances. The girls don't have to do it which, if I were a boy, would kinda piss me off, but nobody seems that bothered. In fact none of my students seemed that bothered about the referendum at all, but anyway, they had a big old referendum on whether they should get rid of conscription and form a new, 'professional' army.  Needless to say the public voted in favour of conscription, though apparently the Chancellor was hoping for another result. The paper said that Vienna was the only place which voted for a change. This didn't surprise ME because IMHO Austria is quite a conservative little country - a statement I am basing mainly, but not completely, on the fact the shops don't open on Sundays. Also apparently doing it this way is a lot cheaper for Austria than making a big new army with pros. Sarah, I hear you cry, what is your opinion on all this conscripting? Well, I shall give my opinion, as always, succinctly: it's CRACKERS!

Well, that is quite enough ill-informed political debate for one day.
My flight to Cuba leaves in 16 days. Can you believe it!? Me neither! I typed my journey into Google Maps to give you a idea of the distance I'm travelling. Here is a screen shot of the results:

It's weird, because Pi definitely went across the Pacific Ocean? Google maps must have got a bit confused when it read the book!!! Two newsworthy items seem to have happened in Cuba this week. Firstly, the internet connection has apparently improved. Secondly, there's been an outbreak of Cholera in Havana. I don't really know what Cholera is, so I'm not too worried, though every time I've mentioned it to an Austria they've looked pretty horrified, so I assume it's NOT GREAT! So we all have to be even more careful than we usually are.

Well I hope you're all very well! Thanks for the positive feedback on my last post :o)  if you want to you can subscribe to my blog and then you get emailed when I post new things. Alternatively if you have a Google Account you can 'join this site' and become a 'member' of my blog!!!!!!!! At the moment I have two members!! (One of them is myself.)
luvya xxxx

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