Good Friday.  I heard on the radio this morning – I think it was Pause for Thought on Radio 2 – that someone had questioned whether Easter marked the birth of Jesus …  Yep, that’s what we’re dealing with!  To be honest, it’s hardly surprising as one is engulfed in a sea of chocolate eggs at every turn (birth?!).  They line the supermarket shelves parallel to those filled with alcohol.  If obesity doesn’t kill you, the bottle will!  I don’t stop to look – at the eggs – in their huge boxes, one for every kind of sweet imaginable.  I was about to say that most are extortionate but, in fact, I don’t think most are in comparison to a large bar of chocolate.  I rarely buy these, either, but the thing I hate most is being told what to buy when.  I’d be more inclined to buy an ‘Easter’ egg at Christmas!  I suspect many sit in a darkened warehouse, following the Resurrection, ready to be pulled out the following April.  Money, money, money.  I doubt that could be said of Easter in St Wolfgang, not that I have ever been there in spring, more’s the pity.  Austrians do it properly, though.  Christmas, Easter, they do not lose sight of its meaning.  Commercialism is dwarfed by tradition while elegance forbids flamboyance and gluttony as local hand-crafted decorations and gifts reflect, instead, thought – and authenticity.  Beggars the question, why am I still here?  Believe me, I’m working on it.  Those beautiful mountains are beckoning …

Good Friday.  Bank Holiday weekend.  Stay home!  The delays and the jams are inevitable as the mass exodus gathers pace – and roadworks appear from nowhere on every main route.  Once again, in Austria, roadworks are undertaken overnight.  Not here.  Too sensible.  Besides, they, no doubt, get paid double-time for working on a bank holiday.  All planned.  Those of us driving anywhere, therefore, must factor that in: an extortionate tankful of petrol or …  What of those new-fangled electric cars?  Can they cope with three hours at a standstill on a motorway?  Maybe one tows a charger behind?  Nothing would surprise me.   The alternative method of travel, however, is too unthinkable to think.  Welcome to Scotrail: a three-carriage booze cruise on dry land.  Restrictions?  None.  Tickets required to travel from A to B but, be warned, seats optional.

Perhaps the bus?  Actually, eating in town last night, I walked across the road to check the bus times.  There was a guy waiting at the stop and so I asked him when it was due – there is only one, hourly.  Of course.  Why was I surprised?  There it was, though, right on time – too early for us – and so I started to walk away.  It was, then, that the gentleman – American – stood back and questioned why I wasn’t embarking?  He would buy me a glass of wine?  Yes, persuasive, but I was having none of it as I declined, politely, while heading back across the road.  Some distance away, I could hear someone shouting “Excuse me!”.  Believing it nothing to do with me, I continued but so did the “Excuse me!”, in plural.  I turned, only to see he had disembarked and was standing on the pavement.  “Shall I hold the bus?”.  Best offer I’ve had!  How I laughed.  He made my day and it will continue to make me smile for some time to come.  Little things.

What else?  Classic Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?  On Great! TV – it’s all in the name – late in the evening, it has become a nightly tradition in this house before retiring to bed.  Why?  I consider it revision.  Regular readers will remember that, some time ago – all a little merry – Manny insisted in completing an application for me for the next series of Millionaire.  None of us can remember what he wrote – although, I do remember we found it hilarious – but I’m sure he had to attach a photo.  Can’t for the life of me understand why I haven’t had the inevitable call – obvs – but, in the meantime, I am in training!  It’s, actually, very satisfying to surprise oneself, amazed at the information I have gleaned over the years – and retained; moreover, my instinct is working overtime and seems far from fallible when in doubt.  Ready for Jeremy?  Well, he either likes you or he doesn’t so …  Let’s face it, all he need do is ask me what I do and I reckon I’ll be in trouble!

Just back from a little jaunt to Rusacks – newly re-furbished for The Open – and a drink in 18, the rooftop bar.  Unfortunately, the haar was very much in evidence but it was amazing to experience the panoramic view – that world-famous view – from the balcony.   Cleverly, the stands opposite are already in place, the coloured seats spelling out 150 to mark the forthcoming historic event, ‘at home’ for the 150th anniversary.  Golf has been in my family forever and it is amazing to be in the thick of the preparations as the excitement builds.  This ancient town, once of a capacity fitting – to me, it will always be three streets – will, come July, have the eyes of the world upon it.  The 150th Open will bring the crème de la crème of the golf world along with the international glitterati.  The little (once) university town will be buzzing, swamped with people, press and cameras …  To me, though, The Open will always be Seve.  I have just flicked through the photographs of past champions on the official website and there is none looks happier than Seve!  That image of him punching the air in delight.  I remember it well.  1984.  I have it on a canvas.  One of my favourite possessions, it captures a moment in time; Seve at his happiest, unaware of what life held in store.  Me, neither, making it all the more poignant.

… but the pathos and the gift of life is that we cannot know which will be our defining heartbreak or our most victorious joy.’ 

Alexander Fuller, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness.

Happy Easter, the Austrian way!

This is Trish, signing off.