A mellow moment on a Sunday afternoon with a glass of beer and a hot chocolate. We sit in the Austrian cafe and look down the street of the resort. A couple in traditional dress walk down the street: his calf length overcoat looking the part in the sub-zero temperatures, though the lengthy feather in his hat has a touch of the ostentatious about it.
It is a quiet week, only the Russians, following the Orthodox calendar with their later date for Christmas, are present in numbers, together with groups of older Germans, availing of an opportunity of the pistes being sparsely populated.
A comical moment at lunch time when a slightly eccentric Englishman opened his wallet to reveal notes that looked nothing like Euro.
“What currency are you planning to pay for your lunch with?”
“What have I here? Swiss francs”.
“We are in Austria!”
“Oh Lord, so we are”.
His frugal lunch is easily covered. “What currency are you bringing tomorrow? What other banknotes have you left, maybe some zloty?”
“I thought I’d bring some groats”. We laughed: a groat would probably cover the cost of more than lunch.
There are seven at lunch: five different nationalities. If a conversation is to include both the two Germans and the Russian at the table, it must be in English, no wonder English speakers become so lazy.
The ski school instructor had been relentless for most of the day, no gentle runs down to lift stations before gentle rides back up the mountain. There seemed no piste markers at one point, no reassuring orange poles to indicate where there would be a chance of a gentle turn before slowly drifting back across the run. “There are no markers because we are off piste”, a companion called. The bumps and humps that had to be negotiated were called ‘moguls’ for some reason; they did not conjure up visions of ancient empires, or billionaire oil company owners.
The exhaustion of the day merited a second glass of beer. The waiter went off to collect our order and the background music became recognizable, Hamilton Bohannon’s ‘Disco Stomp’ followed a Europop song. “I remember this. It was 1975, I think”.
“I don’t, I wasn’t born until 1993. It sounds like something from ‘The Lion King’. Do you know, ‘The Lion King’ is similar to Hamlet?’
“I can see the plot is similar, but what about Timon and Pumba?”
“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern!’
‘But they die!’
“Yes. Someone has suggested that someone write a story called ‘Timon and Pumba are Alive'”.
We discuss ‘Hamlet’, Tom Stoppard’s ‘Rosencrantz and Guidestern are Dead’, Sam Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’ and ‘The Lion King’.
It is a good way to round off a Sunday afternoon, and a distraction from the pain caused by a fall on the moguls.