Our last night in Vienna we met up with a friend who is running a modelling agency - our rendezvous was the famous Sacher Hotel, home of the famous Sacher Torte, though we did not indulge, but I must say the place was ultra-luxurious. They make you take your coats etc to the cloakroom before you are allowed into the coffee shop. Once again you get splendid chandeliers and marble and carvings everywhere, and the waitresses wear black frocks and frilly white aprons, and little lace caps. Agatha Christie would have approved. I wonder if she ever went there, I wouldn't be surprised.
We took a shuttle-bus to the airport, and then found our flight was delayed by 3 hours because our pilot had been taken ill and a replacement had to be flown out from England.
We waited in a side lounge and found ourselves in company with a group of what I can only admiringly describe as prosperous peasants: very wrinkled faces, dark eyes, caps or headscarves, boots, the men with truly huge moustaches and eyebrows, the women ditto but making lace as they sat. One of these women started to chat with me - I could not understand a word she said, which she knew, but that didn't stop her. We passed the time together very companionable, mentioning this and that, without any real connection apart from this feeling of companionship. I tried to find out where they were from but that was no good. I said we were English, and even showed her my passport - but to no avail. She just looked blank. I said 'England' 'Queen Elizabeth' 'David Beckham' and even 'Princess Diana!' she didn't understand a single thing.
This delay was the only glitch in an otherwise excellent trip, and as you see it had its compensations. The gulasch on sale in the cafe was very nice too, spicy and strong. I feel I have made steady progress against my money-wasting addiction: I had no desire whatsoever to buy any of the glamorous trash on sale. As we all know, it comes to look less and less attractive - sunglasses or handbags for hundreds of pounds, real leather luggage (so heavy!), etc.
My other joy was to finish reading the James Cameron book I mentioned earlier: Point of Departure. The man could write. I was howling with laughter some of the time, and ready to weep at others. Andrew finished Catcher in the Rye too.