The Privilege of Membership.

The Pre-Christmas Party of the Austro-British Society at the British Embassy is our treat alone! This is where members (paid up, of course!) happily celebrate together and hard working board members receive the general presidential accolade, in plain English a thank you and the proverbial pat on the shoulder.

The presidential speech by Prof Dr Kurt Tiroch was as billed brief and entertaining and he even managed to get through it without mentioning the filthy “B”-word. You know what I mean. Instead, however, he pointed out that this was the 38th event, one up on last year and therefore a record. The mere hint of raising the number to 39 next year caused a soft thud somewhere in the crowd- apparently our Secretary General had fainted at the thought of it. The word “crowd” requires some clarification: we had reached the Ambassadorial limit of 180. And still 20 odd members (paid up, of course!), poor souls, were on the Waiting List. Well, that’s how the cookie crumbles. Better luck next year. Register as soon as possible because, as I wrote in 2017, only the early bird catches the worm!

An unicum last night: We were honoured by the presence of four (4!) Ambassadors, active or otherwise: Her Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador Leigh Turner CMG, in whose living rooms we held our party, Dr Alexander Christiani and Dr Martin Eichtinger, both former Austrian Ambassadors in London and Colin Munro CMG.

It was all so gloriously exclusive: the music was festive, provided by the inimitable Gary Howard (you remember him from last year’s “Only You!”. I wrote down the lyrics to that song for you and the famous refrain:”(Badadadum) dadadadadadadum, (badum, badadadum) dadadadadadadum”) and people even started to dance! But first we had the rare treat of our very own Sabine Schmidt-First, the artist also known as Rita del Conte singing and performing Christmas songs, gently and sensitively accompanied by Gary!

Food, lots of it, a delicious hot Buffet and drink were in abundance. What else would you expect? The members clearly enjoyed themselves indulging in serious bonhomie, displaying a desire to get photographed in front of the huge Christmas tree. Some even felt the need to have their portrait taken with Theresa May. In case you wonder, it was only a prime ministerial framed photograph standing on the grand piano. It is unlikely she’ll be there again next year, but we certainly hope to be. To all: Have a great Christmas and a Happy 2019!

Wolfgang Geißler 


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