Friday, 30 November 2018

News from Bruck a.d. Mur

Through sunshine and snow.

I've been hammering the trains with my cheap November ticket!

On yesterday morning's  RailJet it was pretty crowded so I decided to sit in the restaurant. Not that I minded. In fact it made a nice change.

I had coffee, a bread roll with strawberry jam, and a glass of water for my vitamins.

And then I read the latest news in comfort and peace.

I appreciated sculptor Martin Karlik's take on the news (whether 'fake' or otherwise).

It appears to be the case in Bruck a.d. Mur, which is where I went on the train yesterday, that not everything of interest is to be found in the newspaper.

I couldn't resist taking a photograph of this trio  ---

In official news it is being reported today that Angela Merkel's Luftwaffe plane on the way to the G20 Summit in Argentina suffered a complete electronic failure and contact with Germany could only be made via mobile phone.

The flight was able to return safely to Germany and alternative transport to South America was duly arranged for the Bundeskanzlerin.

She will fly to Buenos Aries on an Iberia Airlines flight today, Friday.

As recently as October the German broadcaster DW reported on electrical problems with Merkel's plane in Indonesia.

On that occasion Finance Minister Olaf Scholz found himself stranded.

The explanation at the time was that rats had chewed through electric cables.

* * * 

To end on a seasonal note here is a photo of the town's Christmas tree.  It stands in the main square to an ancient well.

The yellow building situated in the background is the town hall.

The message carved on the side of the 17th century well is from one Hans Prasser who informs the reader that he prefers wine to water and if he drank water as willingly as he drinks wine he would be a rich man!

That may be so,  but as an inveterate  wine drinker and a man with a poetic turn of mind would he be happy drinking bottles of well water and staying at home counting his money by candlelight, forgoing the daily wine ration and the company of his jolly friends at the Stube?

I think not.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Charity Junk Mail

The first piece of Christmas charity junk mail fluttered into our letter box ahead of the first snowflakes.

I've binned it.

One time in the spirit of giving I signed-up to help animals.

I was reminded of this act of kindness, as I saw it then, by a recent discussion on helping animals at the popular Weaver of Grass blog.

The animal charity?

In truth I was tempted by their 'free gift'.*

To cut to the chase . . .

it all unfolded swiftly as follows:

The charity president the noble King Juan Carlos of Spain who'd taken over from the Duke of Edinburgh at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) resigned after it was discovered he'd been hunting elephants in Africa.  Or perhaps he was sacked.

Did he jump or was he pushed? It matters not.

To make matters worse my free cuddly lion failed to materialize.

Did I protest on both counts? Yes.

Did they answer my letter? No.

This year I shall hand my charity donation directly to The Lions.

After all, they're on every Christmas Market . . .

                and they do a good Gl├╝hwein!  

German-English Dictionary check: 
*gift Ger. (poison) 

Monday, 26 November 2018


26 Bite-size chunks.

The Fish Story is number 7.

Today it's timely reminder.

Members of Parliament who haven't already done so should watch the complete film before they vote on Britain's future.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Graz Train Station and Environs

When I saw that someone had painted 'GRAZ YOU NEED MORE COLOUR' on the facade above the main entrance of the Rosegger Haus I reached for my camera. Peter Rosegger was one of Austria's most famous writers and a native of Styria the capital of which is the city of Graz.

The Barbershop was colourful enough!

The cinema front was posters and adverts as one would expect.

Indian Supermarket was a golden light in a drab grey street

Out with the old . . . 

. . .  and in with the new

A shop for telephones

The station approach boasts a big green clock -
useful in a time of change.
Styria is known as the green heart of Austria

The Europlay Betting Shop near the Rosegger Haus

It'll be interesting to see what this area looks like in 3 or 4 years time.  A reason for a future visit.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Who am I? Clues 4, 5 and 6





And another clue:

 I lived in all these countries.

Monday, 19 November 2018

It's not all Black and White but it's all Upside Down

Upside down.

That's the way our eyes see the world and everything in it.

It's the brain that turns the image the right way up.

The following images have all been turned upside down using the iphoto tool.

Reflections in a Pond

Reflections in a Lake

Sunset over Mountains

Reflection in a Venetian Canal

Drawing of Hands

The universe is all smoke and mirrors and a sleight of hand. The question is: Whose smoke and whose mirrors and whose hands?

I often ponder on such things.

Recent evidence suggests that the universe is nothing but electricity.

Anybody remember the dirty snowball comet 'theory' preached by many scientists as 'fact' only a few years ago?

Today debunked.

And in course of time many other 'theories' we are fed as fact will also be debunked.

 I love the universe.

I love it for its wonderful strangeness.

I can barely wait to see what other cards are tucked away within mother nature's electronic sleeve.

Carpe Diem!

Seize the Day!

Sunday, 18 November 2018

THE EU - A 2006 Prophecy!

Please watch on YouTube.

"I have lived in your future and it didn't work"  -   Vladimir Bukovsky

Saturday, 17 November 2018

A Day in Graz - Part 3

Away from the Kunsthalle I climbed the 260 steps to the Great Clock on the hill. It's the city's symbol. And an impressive timepiece as I will show you here. Look at the size of the people.
Small wonder Graz was elected European City of Culture in 2003.

The city has much to offer and many English ladies of a certain age were in evidence on the plateau above Graz where I dined outdoors on a terrace in sunshine. November.

Here's my lunch. It wasn't me who spilled the goulash. Honest ;-) :

But you'll note I didn't spill my beer.

Here's a message in code sent to Earth from the International Space Station by an Austrian astronaut.

The clue is Johann Stauss II's  Blue Danube Waltz, but even knowing all that I'd never be able to read even a fragment of it.

Could you?

And then there was a 'kiri' tree from the far east and a 19th cent. gunpowder  house:

And now it goes almost without saying - a pagoda:

 But best of all to my way of thinking was Graz's City of Friendship monument:

What more can I say?  I can only offer them this:

Graz. Always worth a visit. 

A Day in Graz - Part 2

King Leopold's Personal Property Congo becomes a Belgian Congo becomes Zaire becomes the DRC the Democratic Republic of Congo. But who can read the newspapers? Not many apparently. The man with the patched trousers in the centre of the first painting below serves as newspaper-reader.

He reads the pages of the paper pasted on the wall. Those well dressed others standing about cannot here and require his services.

This raises questions. Can the driver of the Mercedes read a newspaper? Where does the Mercedes man's  money come from? Why is he driving through the poor neighbourhood handing out money? Who is the woman with the gold earrings who seems to be doing likewise? Could it be they are buying the votes of the poor? It's obviously not charity work.

European industry having greased the relevant African palms rolls into the Congo. A German flag is shown alongside an EU flag. And in the picture there are other other German and French symbols too. Perhaps the Germans are supplying weapons to those in power. Perhaps to the man in the Mercedes. It looks that way to the artist, don't you think?

Here are two Europeans with bags of €uros.  I wonder who they could be? A politician and a 'businessman' or perhaps a banker and an arms dealer? Or maybe a couple of FIFA executives? Whoever they are, they appear to be up to no good.

A recommended book is the novel Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila. A best-seller, it has been translated into many languages. German versions were on sale in the museum shop.

Here's an impression of the second floor of the exhibition. The first floor is similar.

Outside and across the Mur on the way to the great clock of Graz I saw a newspaper pasted on a wall. Perhaps there are some people here, like those in the painting who can't read I thought to myself.

Maybe a picture is worth a thousand words . . .

Today's news from the DNC:
UN Peacekeepers killed by Islamist Militias (Guardian) or DNC Rebels (Al-Jazeera) or just killed (Daily Nation). Which headline do you trust?  I'll leave that to you the reader.

But wait there's more!

Turns out it's a Catholic Mission (I'd guess Caritas but I stand to be corrected).  And the number killed is not 7 or 8 it's at least 40.  Now back to the original headline. Who did it? Headlines: 1 - Islamist Militia (2) DNC Rebels  (3)  normal killers.  

As I said before. Decide for yourself.

Friday, 16 November 2018

A Day in Graz - Part 1

The convenience of a November 'go-anywhere' ticket  meant I hopped on a morning train to Maribor and the Slovenian border, changed my plans on a whim, and hopped off at Graz in Austria and there I spent the next 5 hours.

The city of Graz is Austria's second largest city and lies due south of Vienna. The city's foremost football team is Sturm Graz. They are generally mid-table stalwarts in the Austrian Bundesliga.

Another Graz attraction is to be found in a blue can bearing the word Puntigamer.   I bought a can of the golden liquid to quench my thirst on my return journey in the late afternoon.

Here are three views of Graz's Kunsthaus. It was designed by London architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier.

The river before the contemporary art museum is the Mur which rises in the Austrian Alps and after almost 500 kms joins the Drava river in Slovenia. 

The Kunsthaus was showing an art exhibition I thought might be of interest. I was not to be disappointed.

The exhibition began with some information about the Berlin Conference which declared the Congo Free State to be the personal property of King Leopold II of Belgium, here seen with his friends the Tsar (the Russian Bear) and the German (Prussian) Emperor.

The first painting of the hundreds to be seen was this:  

The Face of the Coloniateur
Naturally in the Congo Free State it was ordered that there had to be a flag to fly - a blue flag (as it was - although it looks black to my camera) with a yellow star.

And suddenly I as if scales had fallen from eyes it was revealed to that the design of today's EU flag must be based on the standard of the original Belgian Coloniateur.

In the country that was officially the personal property of King Leopold II of the Belgians life and death went on.

Death and atrocity on a scale never before seen in Africa.

From the museum I could see  Graz's landmark clock through a hole in the roof. It was a comforting sight.

More from the exhibition to follow.

Graz-Wien-Praha Railjet