The shoes I wore yesterday attracted a few compliments from strangers, as I travelled by train between Exeter and Plymouth. One compliment sparked off a conversation with a lovely girl called Fleur and, amongst other things, we talked about dance classes and she told me she did Flamenco dancing here in Exeter. Now I have always wanted to learn Flamenco, I think it is something to do with the many pairs of castenets that we were given as children by relatives returning from Spanish holidays, and the postcards of flamenco dancers with the overlaid net skirts – must have appealed to my passionate side, ahem!

I feel lucky that I had this ‘brief encounter’ on a train, and it reminded me that I wanted to write about luck, and about chance meetings on trains.

In Vienna there is a saying, ‘luck is a little bird’. I first heard this saying from a very, very old Viennese lady who was travelling by train (as was I) from Munich to Vienna. It’s a long journey, and my German was very bad at the time, and the lady only spoke ‘Wienerish’, but somehow we managed to converse for most of the five or so hours. She told me lots of stories about her life in Vienna, especially during the period when the city was divided into four sections by the Allies following its occupation by the Nazis. She also told me many Viennese idiomatic expressions, and sayings, such as ‘Das Glück ist ein Vogerl‘, or ‘Luck is a little bird.’

The Viennese verse ‘Das Glück ist ein Vogerl‘ goes like this, in German:

Das Glück ist ein Vogerl,
Man meint, man hätt’s schon,
Und wie man’s will fangen,
Da fliegt es davon

Which I think means something like:

Luck is a little bird, one thinks one has it already, and if one tries to catch it, it will fly away.

(feel free to translate it properly for me, my German-speaking friends!)

It comes from a Wienerlied, or traditional Viennese song, and I found this wonderful version on YouTube (unfortunately I am unable to embed it here, but if you click on the link you will be able to access it). The song goes:

Dehs Glück is a Fohgal,
Goa liab owa scheu:
Es losd si schwea faungan,
Owa fuatgflogn is glei.


Dehs Heaz is da Kehfig,
Und schausd net dazua,
Daun hosd du auf amoi
Ka Rohsd und ka Rua.

The last time I was in Vienna, I came across this little advertising card for a hair salon, and I have stuck it near my desk to remind me of the lovely lady on the train, and also to remind me to take notice of what is around me, to appreciate moments of luck as they settle on me, not to waste chances.

So … I may be taking up Flamenco dancing. I have checked out the class times, emailed the tutor, and if I am brave enough, I will take the plunge next month, Olé! (as LadyUmbrella, who is also fond of little birds, might say). 🙂

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