Friday, January 19, 2007


There is something comforting about a storm raging outdoors while you're gathered cozily with friends, around the dining table swilling wine and exchanging confidences about all sorts of things. Yesterday all of Germany was swept by a hurricane, which being indoors as I am a lot of the time, I would not have ever known about if Thomas had not happened to mention it when he returned from Munich around lunch time.

In the four months that I've been in Prien I don't think I've watched the news on TV or read a newspaper either, more than about twice - and when I say reading the papers, what I actually mean is skimming the headlines on the front page at the breakfast table before going back to my coffee and toast and chatting with Linda the household help or with Felix explaining some complicated game he wants to play with me. Anyway Thomas and Lulu went shopping for emergency supplies before the "Orkan" was scheduled to rage its way through town. It was the first time I was hearing the word so when Thomas mentioned it I thought he was referring to a volcano and was flabbergasted because as I told him, I didn't think that Prien lay in a volcanic belt. "No," says Thomas, "I didn't say Vulkan, I said Orkan." Well before long I caught on.

Watching the news last night we finally got an impression of how powerful the gale was, (in some places over 200 kilometres per hour) as we saw people staggering and trying to keep their balance as they were buffetted by the strong winds, especially on the coast. And of course there were the usual scenes of trees having crashed down on the roads, and cars lying amidst the wreckage. In Germany train travel came to a complete halt which had thousands of travellers stuck at the station not knowing what to do. Prien being subject to the Föhn (the winds from the south) the effect of the hurricane was tempered, so that although we could hear the wind blowing through the window it was not nearly as dramatic in some other places.
Ose at work
Two items stood out on our list of things to worry about. One was that our friend Ose, who had promised to visit us and to cook Thai chicken for dinner might not be able to make it. (She did land up and the curry turned out damn good. Ose - pronounced "Ose-uh" - is actually a doctor who practises homeopathy, a great cook and also great on the guitar). The second was more like a regret, on Lulu's part that the Orkan had decided to pay us a visit late on Thursday evening instead of on Friday morning in which case her school would have declared a holiday.

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