Greetings from Hampshire where the old year was blown into the new and the rain washed away all thoughts of a white New Year's Eve. Those with 'a glass half full' outlook were heard to bat away the 'doom and gloomers' with compensatory remarks about the unseasonally mild weather, to which the repost was that it was just as well it was mild as without electricity for 3 days, sandwiches and cold drinks only over the 'festive' season had already tested the patience of the most stoic.
Up to that point though, everything had gone surprisingly well. In October the street-naming in Bad Ischl to commemorate the life and work of Fritz Lohner-Beda did take place despite the absence of any street in which to place the sign (that's another story), followed in November by Liesl's annual Kaffee und Kuchen party where only one person fell into the swimming pool, and finally in December, the celebration of Krampus at the Phoenix Theatre in Bordon.
The first part of the evening was open to all ages and devoted to the making of Krampus masks. One or two adults were brave enough to join in but it was the under 12s who excelled and provided their own brand of entertainment for the many enthusiastic onlookers. We then enjoyed an illustrated talk about the history of Krampus followed by the mellow and nostalgic sound of the zither played by Cornelia Mayer, one of Austria's best-known exponents of this ancient instrument. After the interval during which copious amounts of Austrian wine and snacks were sampled, members of the Southern Stammtisch entertained us with a selection of Christmas carols. The finale was performed by Liesl accompanied on the piano by Nicholas Tyrrell-Evans. As always, Liesl gave her all - this time to the presentation and execution of three wonderful old time music hall songs with which the audience needed little encouragement to join in.
On 31 March Liesl will be back in Vienna where her book 'Rosl's Daughter' now translated into German and called 'Rosl und Ihre Tochter' will be presented on Austria Radio. Thereafter she will be looking forward to further speaking and musical engagements.