Archive | June, 2014

The ingenuity of city dwellers

28 Jun

I arrived very early for a course I’m attending today which gave me some time to take a look at this park. It was almost certainly carved out of a space created by a bomb in the Second World War. Klein aber fein, as one says in German. Small but fine.

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Poisoning pigeons in the park ;-)

9 Jun

There are some new signs in the park. The ones exhorting dog owners to clean up after their pets have–temporarily, I imagine–been replaced by signs telling people that “Those who feed the pigeons are feeding the rats.”

don't feed the birds_modern

Interestingly, the fine is the same as if you don’t clean up after your dog–EUR 36.

There are permanent signs with the same message. They just aren’t as catchy–even if they are, in fact, more severe–and apparently needed some help to get the message across.

don't feed the birds_standard

The text (in my very inelegant translation): “No feeding the birds! (Prevention of rodent pests.)”

Another holiday in Austria

9 Jun

There is a period in May and June in Austria when almost every week seems to have a holiday in it–Easter, May 1st, Ascension, Whitsun or Pentecost, and Corpus Christi. Today is Pentecost Monday (so one more to go :-)) and Mylo and I are in the park. Gradually we have been joined by the women, mainly from Hungary this time, who live rent-free in the miniscule porters’ lodges in the gracious old buildings around us in return for cleaning the stairwells, halls, and pavements in front of the buildings. I write this not out of speculation, nor because I am able to eavesdrop in Hungarian. They are women I have seen in action, wearing their cheap house dresses in synthetic materials, wielding their buckets and mops. This could almost be Vienna of 100 years ago, at the tail end of the monarchy.

Behind-the-scenes Vienna

3 Jun

I caught the behind-the-scenes Vienna this morning, taking Mylo out for his walk. A few steps out of our house we passed a street cleaner in his bright orange uniform using an elaborate, clawed implement to pick up trash from the sidewalk and gutter. Upon seeing Mylo he gave us a big smile and said “Guten Morgen!”–a good start to the morning, indeed. Then, in the park, we saw the little (electric?) truck going along, one man driving and the other one walking along emptying the contents of the trash bins–considerable at this time of year as picnic season has begun–into the back of the truck. So that is why Vienna looks so clean. There is a crew backstage setting the scene just so.