Monthly Archives: June 2011

Tirol – beautiful but beware the trees

This post tells of our dramatic welcome to Tirol and includes a few images of Alpbach and its surrounds.

There is a moment in the movie when the occupants of the car think the worst is over. The director creates that sense of space in time in which those sitting in the vehicle breathe out slowly, relief spreading over them, and then……BANG something lands on the windscreen. It’s the sort of thing that you associate with the dramatic movement in a story not with mundane reality.

So there we were driving along the A12 in Tirol and a storm – the Full Monty; thunder, lightening, strong winds – is causing chaos on the road. Lorries and cars were slowing down and having to negotiate their way around large branches which were being continually blown onto the dual carriage way, whilst some vehicles had simply being forced to stop on the hard shoulder by the winds and damage from the flying debris. Far to close, we could see whole trees being blown over by the force of the gusting winds.

We had just navigated our way around yet another obstacle in the road when we were again forced to slow to little more than a crawl as the car in front looked for space to pass more debris blocking the outside lane. At this point a lorry moved up alongside our car and we found ourselves in a welcome lull from the storm.

I have to admit I really did jump, it really was the sudden crash at that moment when we all thought we were in a safer, quieter, place sheltered from the elements by the high sides of the lorry next to us. I’ve driven through many bad storms over the years but this was the first time a branch the length of the car and the weight of an average person had ever fallen directly onto my windscreen.

Happily and somewhat amazingly I can report that all were unharmed and the car miraculously sustained no damage. Before I had time to react further the offending tree was picked up by another gust of wind and the last I saw of it was as it hit the ground on the oncoming road and disappeared behind a rapidly swerving car.

All in all a somewhat surreal experience but I will never again scoff at the ‘lack of realism’ the next time I go to the movies. This was a rather unexpected start to a long weekend in Alpbach, Tirol.

Whilst the storm abated the rain remained with us for the three days of our stay in the Alpine resort. However, it is a beautiful area and the locals are very hospitable, so the trip remained enjoyable if a little wet at times.

Some images of Alpbach and its surrounds:

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Filed under Out and about in Tirol, Vienna Life

Leicester City FC in Austria

Time to check the diary and dig out the Leicester shirt:,,10274~2384064,00.html


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Filed under Football, Leicester City FC

Summer in Vienna 2011 – Things I should really do (4)

Look’s like I’ll be spending time in the Rathaus Platz:

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Filed under City Centre, Festivals, Live performances, Vienna Life

Difficult English?

Two interesting pieces. I have to admit that I’ve misused two out of the ten examples from’s misunderstood English:

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Filed under Languages

Showtime kids give star performances

Recently had a highly enjoyable time at the Vienna EnglishTheatre where the kids of Showtime, the theatres youth group, put on their musical production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’.

It was one of those days when I get to do my proud father routine and H’s performance was such that I could in all sincerity say well
done and bravo. In fact, all the youngster had worked so hard and put such an effort into the show that every single relative and friend, who made up the audience, was certainly able to say they had enjoyed good performances, as well as having played the role of supporter.

Being the English Theatre the show was staged in English. The performances were excellent but one was further impressed by the reality that for many of the kids taking part this was not their first language. The theatre group is relatively new but the teachers have already established a strong sense of identity and it is clear that the children really enjoy taking part.

This was my first chance to actually see a production at the English Theatre which is located in the 8th District but not far
from the City centre. As the name implies the theatre stages plays in English and looking at the 2011-12 season it won’t be long before I’m back there again:

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Filed under Live performances, Music, Theatre, Vienna Life

Do all speakers have a core ability to use grammatical cues?

Interesting study by academics at Northumbria University which challenges assumption that all native speakers have a core ability to use grammatical cues:

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Spicy surprise

A visit of friends on Saturday night was all the excuse needed to open a couple of bottles of wine, after dashing to the local shop for a selection of cheeses, and then settling in for the evening. After enjoying a glass or two of the Blauer Zweigelt Maletschenberg 2007 from the Germuth winery, it was time to try something new from the wine rack.

The bottle of St Laurent 2007 from the Paul Lehrner vineyards had been sitting amongst the other red wines since our Burgenland
wine tour back at the beginning of the year. One of our guests immediately recognised the label and began to sing the praises of the wine we were about to sample. The praise was in no way over stated and after the first glass I was immediately interrogating my poor guest for every drop of information they had about the winery. I had bought the bottle on the simple basis that I like the
grape and wanted to try a bottle from a region from which I had not previously had the chance to sample the St Laurent wines.

Paul Lehrner’s St Laurent 2007 was a wonderful surprise. As I say, I rather like the grape and the various wines I regular drink can be summarised as reds with an enjoyable light fruity taste. But this wine was a richer red and had a more assertively spicy flavour, which added rather than distracted from the grapes natural taste. I was immediately regretting the fact that this was the only bottle in my limited stock and so the discussion began regarding a trip back to the Horitschon/Neckenmarkt area in which there are so
many good vineyards.

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Filed under Vienna Life, Wine, Beer & Food