Write drunk, they say. So be it!

We’ve just had a surprise visit from dear friends from my Australian youth, and last night took them up for some wine in the Viennese vineyards where tourists can’t tread, i.e. nowhere near Grinzing. Today continued with a simple lunch in the bistro of the Friedensreich Hundertwasser Kunsthaus. I saw Hundertwasser there at what was just a coffee-serving café a couple of years before he died. He wore his cap and he winked at me. Back then he was half in New Zealand and half in Vienna, where he worked on the roof of the Kunsthaus, a few blocks down from his Hundertwasserhaus. I’m sure he’d moon again at the tourist trap the surrounds have become, but he’d smile at the selfie-stick groups tripping over his cobblestones, and perhaps even at the old lady with the walker who complained that the undulating surface was no good. It is so good, lady!

My friends go back to UNSW days, first time round: my first brandy “crusta” at Carol’s when I was 17, Rob’s hand-me-down leather briefcase on which I’d painted daisies to shock my parents, along with the navy blue bus driver’s jacket I’d bought at the army disposal store. (I still maintain it’s important to Sturm&Drang when you’re young. It looks so ridiculous in middle age, for one thing.) Back to my mates, and sitting in the first row at White City when Herb Alpert winked at me. Schussing at Charlotte Pass and kissing the cook (he was Austrian) – maybe a portent for later meetings with the Austrian poet, Rudi Krausmann. (I met Rudi again years later in Glebe and gently reminded him of the photocopy of the Heinrich Böll story he gave me, which is still dear to my heart and probably steered me towards all things writing. He couldn’t remember a thing. No worries, I am grateful for much.) So, Carol, thank you for that series of adventures you ignited.

My mates and I spoke “coming home”. I can’t think of home in country or family terms. My home is with a partner who followed me all his life. He is Austrian. Now it’s my turn to follow. Gender garbage be damned!

On Gender. It’s not really about any bloody glass ceiling; it’s about giving women a human go! No abuse. Same rights. Going for the ceiling? Then don’t compete just on gender. Sorry. Just admit both women and men are competitive. “Den” fathers and mothers nurture. Stuff the couch stuff! I digress, but these things are important.

I and my husband of 35 years and partner of 47 have lost too many dear to us over the last years and the wheel keeps spinning. I now think in terms of where to die, easiest, most cheaply. I scattered my parents’ ashes illegally in the Sydney bush in the way they would have wished. I think it was their only illegal wish and so had to be respected. So instead of quarrelling with my husband’s family in the home plot in Vienna, hey, students will be able to cut me up and find out how I ticked. Hubby’s still undecided, but he may join me. (I do so love Viennese “schwarzer Humor”. They may be onto something after all.)

Our daughter in Sydney, I hope, understands. Do your thing, Possum. Fly on your wishbone. Sometimes it hurts. But it’s worth it! Anyway, there is really no such thing as a free lunch. And there’s a lot to be said for a Halal Snack Pack. Austr(al)ian politics be damned!

Bon courage and onwards!

Thank you, Carol and Rob. Till next!