I’d been thinking of doing this for a while, but the thought of entering a room of strangers is daunting, and so had left it. So when Romana said do come, I felt, well, I’m up for it. It will involve in turning out for church parades as well as festivals, but I don’t have any real problems with something that is a Christian, although I’m not sure about the one carrying the statue of Mary.
It seems I must be part Austrian because everything I’ve been invited too,people come earlier than said, which is something Dave has moaned at me about for years. So we dashed off to the local pub where the group now has a special room (the non smoker) for their own, and I found there were only two smokers in the group, unusual for here. I was introduced to people as they arrived and we sat and I found I was at the AGM. The group leader is an Austrian Dawn French (old figure) and just as articulate. It seems a lot of time is found getting sponsors, and to this effect they were giving out old fashioned umbrellas, in black with frills around, I asked if they were for fighting with when there was a problem! No they just carry them as of course, it never rains in Austria! There was then a heated discussion on the order that they were to march, behind the Fire brigade or after the Kameradshaft, (men’s group), it all resulted in phoning a friend but I dare say the discussion goes on. We were then told there is cash in the kitty and that was it – I like that sort of AGM. I was shown the patterns for the costume, there being a huge difference between the black festival costume and the standard Tracht (not called a dirndl), set colours of bodice (green or red) and so on. I’d missed the recent ‘Tauschborse’ or swap meet, but everyone reckons you can get a whole outfit quite cheaply there(after my own heart!). The next one is in April, just in time for the marching season. I was told I could also make one but the thought of a blood stained outfit after I’d impaled myself of needles and pins doesnt appeal! The main problem is that people are larger now, in all dimensions and there’s only so much alteration you can do. The festival black hat with band is much sought after, but very expensive.
I’d been sitting a bit like a lemon, and realised that I needed to make a step, so I went and paid my subs and was welcomed into the fold – I suppose until you do this, you’re just not in. No one voiced a problem with me being a foreigner. I was then invited to sit with Dawn’s group and had the usual, why the Lungau chat and when I looked at the clock, it was gone twelve. The remaining people began to pack up and go, so I rejoined Romana and we sailed out, completely missing the door and going into the larger bar, where schnapps was poured! I was a bit embarrassed as I couldnt afford a round – I’ll repay that next time. So I arrived home a tad merry at One o’clock, definitely not what I expected. The next meeting is for Icestockshiessen (ice skittles) in January. I get the impression that the group is just an undercover excuse for socializing – following the parades there’s often a meal and after all the men have many groups as excuses to dress up, march about then hit the beer, it’s after all a very Teutonic thing, especially as certain uniforms are banned, so why not the girls too?!