Thursday, May 19, 2016

‘Hier ist im Moment nicht viel los’ – no, there ain’t, for which I thank the Lord

Bad Gastein - Day One

This latest entry finds me washed up in somewhere called Bad Gastein, about 60 miles due south of Salzburg in Austria and none the worse for that. In fact, the bloody, sodding, ongoing hives notwithstanding, I think I’ve fallen on my feet for somewhere to take a break. I’m here for ten days, staying at the Pension St Leonhard, which does bed and breakfast and has only about eight rooms, but which otherwise, to all intents and purposes, is pretty much like a standard hotel. Bad Gastein is a small ski resort which, I’m sure, doubles up in the summer as a holiday resort for all those brave folk who like to put on a pair of stout boots and pack a lunch and take off up steep hills and mountains.

Now, mid-May there are not a great deal of tourists, though there are some – me, for example – and it is an occasion for all the necessary work to be done which might involve partially closing roads, restricting parking to make way for vans and lorries and setting up noisy equipment on the pavements and which can’t be done either in the winter or the summer. But who cares?

I kept an eye on the long-range weather forecast and from May 18, yesterday when I arrived, until May 28 when I bugger off again, rain was predicted – either full-on rain or continuous showers (Pete: continuous or continual?) with the very occasional glimpse of sun. Well, I’m glad to report they have so far got it wrong. The car rental guy at Salzburg airport told me I was lucky with the weather – there was bright and glorious sunshine for the whole day yesterday – as it had rained solidly for the previous two weeks. It was also sunny this morning, though the sun has now disappeared and the owner of Pension St Leonhard told me this morning that rain was forecast for this afternoon (it is, as I write, 1pm). But, again, who cares?

I am here to do bugger all for ten days, if not even less, I brought with me three interesting books (The Victorian Underworld by Donald Thomas, A Glass Of Blessings by Barbara Pym and an autobiography of Karl Marx by Francis Wheen) and as far as I know you can read perfectly well and
enjoyably even if it is raining outside (as long as you are inside, of course). Then, of course, there is all that walking I intend to do, though my usual rule is to make no plans at all at the start of a holiday - except, that is, plan to do fuck all - and take it as it comes. But I do suspect that a little walking might be on the cards a the beginning of next week (but don't hold me to it).

Ah, but those sodding hives. Well, I’ll have to put up with them, is all I can say. They aren’t half as bad – they? That makes it sound as though they are some evil entities in a fairy tale marching all over your skin and making life unpleasant – as they were in Rome, and all-in-all a bit of a mystery. I’ve been swallowing anti-histamine pills plus a ‘natural’ remedy called quercitin almost hourly and quite possibly they have helped, though I’m not going to stop taking them to find out.

The mystery is that while in Rome I did have the red wheals etc which are an indication of hives, the result of loads of scratching, now I have nothing. But I do have that ongoing tickling/itching all over the top half of my body which in an odd way makes me feel unclean and in want of a good shower all the time. But at least other things take my mind off it every so often. My GP and the dermatologist he sent me to where pretty bloody useless – yes, it’s hives, they said, and not a lot we can do – and I’ve no option but to accept the situation, but . . .

But if this goes on for much longer, I’m going back and ask to be referred to an allergy specialist. My diet, touch wood, is better than that of many in that I rarely if ever eat bread or other wheat products (though am not fanatical about it – being fanatical about anything strikes me as always being a bad idea), I eat loads of fruit and vegetables and about the only meat I eat is German/French/Italian sausage, the small amount you will get in a spag bol or lasagne and, a couple of weeks ago when I did some cooking, a bit of pork.

In desperation I have taken to eating a bowl of natural yoghurt with fruit and/or nuts for breakfast and have rather got to like it. (NB Don’t ever kid yourself that all those fruit-flavoured and sweetened yoghurts are doing you any good. They are full of e numbers and associated crap and whatever minor good the yoghurt in them is doing you, the associated crap negates ten-fold. Try proper natural yoghurt – the Greek or Greek-style is creamier – and if you do want it sweetened, add a little honey.) Well, there you go.

Still hasn’t started raining and, in fact, it has brightened up in the past few minutes, so I shall do my regular Thursday puzzles chore, then consider going for another wander this afternoon. I am beginning to resist having a tipple at lunchtimes, however much I like it. I had a couple of glasses of Weiβbier yesterday just after I arrived here and they knocked me for six. Mind, I had got up at 4.30am to drive to Stansted and was knackered, so no wonder, but I must say these past few years having a lunchtime tipple does tend to knock me over whereas before – that is when I was younger – it didn’t.

As for Leave/Remain, a pox on both their houses, and then some.

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