Entries in The Cooper Diaries
The holiday itself, from Monday 13 September 1971 for perhaps 10 or 11 days, was not reported contemporaneously in The Cooper Diaries, although in October 1980 I did start to write it up and got as far as doing 13–15 September 1971. We stayed in two places: the first was Untermieming in the Tyrol, where we were based for most of the time; and the second, for only one night, or perhaps two, was in a village near Interlaken. In Untermieming, Chris and I shared a room, and his fiancée Pamela and her mother shared another. (The original plan was for Gillian to accompany me, but she and I finished going out with each other, and in the absence of a suitable replacement, Pamela took her mother along.) Coincidentally, Chris’s colleague Maureen Hume and her friend, also called, I think, Maureen, went on holiday to Austria at about the same time, to a nearby location, and Chris and I met up with them one day. I remember, we were walking along the path which led from the village of Untermieming, down the steep, wooded side of the valley of the River Inn. We were all in fairly high spirits. Maureen and I had just separated ourselves from the other two, but when I leaned forward to kiss her, suddenly a gust of wind blew a lock of her abundant hair between our mouths. This made us giggle, and for some reason the kissing wasn’t resumed.
Entries in The Cooper Diaries
All I wrote in my diary (D71) between the entries for Sunday 12th September and Monday 27th September was:
Holiday in Austria—but writing that was over-optimistic, for I did not get around to the task of reporting it. In October 1980 I did start to write it up and got as far as doing 13–15 September 1971.
[D71, page 144A:]
[D71, page 144B:] and the bus arrived at Victoria Coach Station very late. So when I finally arrived, there was no one to meet me as arranged. I didn’t know what to do: I had no tickets and all I knew was that the holiday organisers were Blue Cars, and that it was in Untermeiming [sic] in Austria where I was supposed to be headed. I didn’t even know where I had to fly from.* However, across the road from the coach station was the BOAC office, so I went there, rather timidly, feeling a bit of a fool. There, it was suggested that it would be Luton Airport that I wanted; and they gave me instructions how to get there; so, feeling slightly less lost, and with a glimmer of hope, I took a taxi [D71, page 144C:] to St. Pancras station, and bought a packet of 20 Players for comfort; I bought a ticket and caught the next train, sank back into my seat, lit up, and had an interim “relax”: “interim”, for I soon began to tense up again — would I, could I, be in time for the flight? — and got on guard again as the train approached Luton — how would I get to the airport? Could I get there quickly enough? (Should I have got a taxi to Luton? Would I have enough money; how much would it have cost?) I got to Luton Airport somehow (taxi, perhaps?); located the Blue Cars desk, and learned that my flight had just left. I was relieved, however, to
[D71, page 144D:] be told that it would almost certainly be possible to get me on a plane tomorrow. Chris had left my tickets at the desk. Phone calls were made, a hotel booked, and I was off again (in a taxi?) to Luton town. By now it was dark.
[D71, page 144F:] back, then allowed in last to occupy a remaining seat. This was next to the aisle* [
[D71, page 144H:] “Untermei'-ming,” I replied.
[D71, page 144J:] “proper” chalet-style place — which after all you would only expect to see — where we had continental breakfast, rolls and strong coffee.Holiday photos
Chris and Pamela had a camera and took pictures, but the only surviving photo is a theatrical pose of me and Pamela at the base of the cliff on the bank of the Inn. (This survived because Janet, whom I had not yet met, saw me in it and requested a copy.)
(I wore that T-shirt with the red star when we went one day to Innsbruck. A man started jabbering to me in German, only one word of which I could understand, spoken in a questioning tone: Kommunist? Two young ladies stood at a street corner spraying passers by with perfume: “Chanel,” they said — “for MEN!”)
(I also wore on that holiday a green T-shirt with the number “13” emblazoned on it.)
Photo taken on the Isle of Man, 1973
Near where the photo of Pamela and me was taken, spanning the Inn and leading to the village of Stams, is the “Hängebrücke”.
Photos by ©JKr
I’d forgotten about the Hängebrücke, but Chris wrote on 13 September 2011: “Do you remember that group of rather loud Germans on the Hängebrücke who, on noticing that we were Brits, started saying things in English, like, ‘Oka-a-ay, let’s go-o-o-o!!’?”
This was in reply to an email I sent him, which included some random recollections of the holiday:
…“One of those dreadful Berni Inn places!” Wasn’t that some guy on our Austria trip?Chris wrote, actually on the 40th anniversary of the start of the Austria trip:
Yes, those “dreadful Berni Inn places”. That was a strange comment to make, because I thought they were pretty good, actually! Anyway, like you say, that was certainly a holiday with its fair share of characters: I can still picture “Pole” with his mum. “Oooh, look at all the clocks!” said Connie, as the guy standing next to her started to cringe, just waiting for her to say it! Do you remember that group of rather loud Germans on the Hängebrücke who, on noticing that we were Brits, started saying things in English, like, “Oka-a-ay, let’s go-o-o-o!!”?Holiday in Austria (2): Souvenirs
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