Donald MacInnes: Foreign culture? Take me to your lederhosen
In the Red
Donald MacInnes writes Tales from the Water Cooler, which can be found every Saturday on page 2 of i. And, although a financial near-imbecile, he writes a weekly column in The Independent’s Money section, also on Saturdays. He writes regularly on a broad range of subjects in i’s Freeview section and occasionally fills in on Simon Kelner’s daily column when emotionally up to it. @DonaldAMacInnes
Friday 20 September 2013
Well, our meandering Austrian saga continues its inexorable journey towards oblivion. If you recall, two weeks ago I told how my wife and I had received an angry letter from the Austrian government via our car hire firm.
Apparently, during our trip to Germany, on the day we decided to tootle across the border to Salzburg, we had driven on a stretch of motorway which required a pre-paid toll sticker to be affixed to our windscreen. Not being aware of any such rule, we progressed blithely into the Julie Andrews Alps and into a mountain of debt (well, €120, payable pretty much immediately).
The sting of said vehicular larceny was eased somewhat last week when I received a letter from a reader, a Mr Neil Thomson, who not only voiced his support for my plight, but also recounted an Austrian incident from his motoring past which ended the same way. Actually, he even took it as far as complaining to the Austrian embassy, but the staff there turned out to be as immoveable as a Ribena stain on a new white linen tablecloth.
But at least I wasn't alone in my situation. At least you all cared. Or so I thought…
This morning I got a very cross email from a Mr… well, I shall allow him the cloak of anonymity in case any of my loyal followers decided to instigate a Twitter hate campaign against him.
His basic point was that myself – and the gallant Neil Thomson – had only ourselves to blame, deserving any Austrian punishment coming our way. Apparently, the fact that we didn't check the situation on the country's motorways vis-à-vis pre-paid toll charges was an indictment of the British disease of expecting foreign countries to bend to our will and refusing to adhere to their cultures and laws. As far as he could see, we were no different from the Union Jack-shorted hordes who stride through Fuerteventura demanding sausage, egg and chips and the Daily Mirror from any locals we meet.
Forgive me, Mystery Reader, but you're talking out of your strudel. I love to assimilate with the local culture. Why, my wife will be happy to testify how I very nearly bought a pair of putty-soft lederhosen in Munich, but was put off only because they "didn't look authentic enough". So next time you question my international acumen, picture me in a pair of snug leather shorts.
And why are 'southern' ways of speaking spreading north?
Banks are brought to account by switchers as growing number of people expect to be rewarded by their bank
Bargain Hunter: Playmobil plays to the gallery with discounts on its toy range
How to start your own internet business
Five ways to make money on the internet
So what difference will the Autumn Statement make to your finances?
- 1 Cameron's freebie to apartheid South Africa
- 2 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 3 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 4 Australian ultra-nationalist politician Stephanie Banister in car crash immigration TV interview
- 5 From 'terrorist' to tea with the Queen
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£55000 - £70000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: A well-known and renowned in...
£450 - £500 per hour: Cornwallis Elt : Business Analyst Finance System Hy...
£400 - £550 per day: Cornwallis Elt : BUSINESS ANALYST- OPERATIONS- PRIVATE B...
£50000 - £65000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Market Data SM...
Day In a Page
A three-bedroom Grade II-listed mews house with vaulted ceilings and roof garden
A spacious Grade II-listed family home with annexe and equestrian facilities among four acres of land in Itchingfield
A four-bedroom home with exposed brick walls and open fires in the picturesque village of Northill
A Grade II-listed property with five bedrooms and unique tower, overlooking Hastings Old Town
A charming five-bedroom detached family home, set within half an acre in Kew
A two-bedroom maisonette set on the top two floors of a period building, close to Kentish Town Tube.
Take advantage of the extra space provided by former stables and outbuildings at this five-bedroom farmhouse.
This three-bedroom Victorian terrace is near to Queen’s Road Peckham station, Nunhead station.
A five-bedroom modern house with terrace, swimming pool, Zen treehouse and large carp pond
An unexpected gem with four bedrooms, remarkable vaulted reception and a galleried study area
A five-bedroom house in one of Lymington's most sought after tree lined avenues, moments from the marinas and sailing clubs
A grand early 19th century B&B close to the historic harbour, with four en suite bedrooms
A four-bedroom, 17th century home with walled gardens, a landscaped terrace, cellar and open fires
A six-bedroom house with five bathrooms and four reception rooms spread over 4,000sq ft of luxury living space
A stunning three double-bedroom apartment with two decked terraces in the exclusive gated community, Bromyard House
A 10-bedroom period, family home amid beautiful surroundings in the centre of the Wentworth Estate in Longcross village
A stylish three-bedroom apartment with two bathrooms and private landscaped garden, moments from Fitzroy Square
A Grade II-listed Elizabethan barn with landscaped gardens, exposed elm beams and four bedrooms, all with lovely views
A six-bedroom family home, dating back to 1280 with four reception rooms, barn, swimming pool and tennis courts in Harwell
A spacious two-bedroom flat, refurbished to a very high standard with private landscaped garden, close to Kentish Town station
An exceptional two-bedroom apartment with balcony and underground parking in the centre of Richmond
A one-bedroom, luxury, duplex apartment in the grand landmark building, Imperial Hall
Run a fabulous boutique shop, live above it in a one-bedroom flat and let a second one-bedroom flat that comes part and parcel
A Grade-II listed, thatched cottage in Hundleby village, with five bedrooms, a coach house and three and a half acres
A spacious two-bedroom flat in the heart of Hoxton Square with wooden floors and roof terrace
A five-bedroom family home with stunning pool and gym complex set among two acres of land
A six-bedroom period house with heated swimming pool and a separate two-bedroom annexe cottage in Townlake, £795,000
A spacious and contemporary two-bedroom flat arranged over three floors, with garden patio close to St George Square, £600,000
A one-bedroom flat in a beautiful Regency building opposite the beach in Kemp Town, £190,000
A two-bedroom flat with London skyline views close to Surrey Quays. £395,000.
A seven-storey tower with three bedrooms and a stunning roof terrace. Guide price: £850,000.
A 16-bedroom country pile with nine reception rooms, four self-contained flats and a 13th century Peel Tower. £850,000.
A classic six-bedroom Victorian Manse house 10 miles from Edinburgh. £495,000.
John Lennon's childhood home in Liverpool to be sold at auction. Guide price: £150,000-£250,000.
A six-bedroom detached period property with secluded gardens, ample parking and a double garage in Rye, £675,000.
A large split-level property with three double-bedrooms and roof terrace, close to Crouch End Broadway, £625,000.
A charming barn conversion in the picturesque Cotswold village of Ilmington with three bedrooms, a detached garage, workshop and beautifully manicured gardens £675,000.
A three-bedroom new build, ground-floor flat with two bathrooms, close to Bermondsey tube, £445,000.
A three-bedroom house in an enviable new development moments from Oxshott High Street, with secluded garden and decked area, £385,000
A two-bedroom split-level flat with stunning south-west facing roof terrace in the popular Brondesbury Conservation Area, £549,950.
A charming 16th century, three-bedroom detached house in Bidborough with picturesque garden