Review of the 14th ABS “Heurigen” Evening on Friday, 28 June 2024, at the Buschenschank Wolff

(Fotos: Wolfgang Geissler)

By Wolfgang Geissler

On 14 July 2011, the inaugural Heurigen Evening of the Austro-British Society (ABS) took place, marking the beginning of a now traditional event. Despite the similarities, each year has brought unique differences.

While the first event was held at Zeiler am Hauerweg, every subsequent Heurigen Evening has been hosted at the Buschenschank Wolff, a long-standing corporate member of the ABS.

Another significant change is the event’s evolution from a joint ABS and Austro-British Chamber (ABC) gathering to an exclusive ABS event from 2020 onwards, as the ABC has since fallen by the wayside.

Previously on 13th ABS “Heurigen” Evening, 23 June 2023…

A baker’s dozen is 13, one more than a standard dozen. The term has meant different things over the last few centuries. The most widely accepted theory as to why a baker’s dozen became 13 has to do with avoiding a beating.

But why is 13 unlucky? And is there any statistical proof to support the superstition?

“No data exists, and will never exist, to confirm that the number 13 is an unlucky number,” said Igor Radun of the Human Factors and Safety Behaviour Group at the University of Helsinki’s Institute of Behavioural Sciences in Finland. “There is no reason to believe that any number would be lucky or unlucky.” Really?

Well, judge for yourself. The days preceding the 13th ABS Heurigen Evening were stifling hot. The ORF-Weather Forecast for the day in question predicted strong cooling west winds with temperatures dropping below 30 degrees but still sunny, and they fantasised that the likelihood of rain was very remote.

In driving rain and thunderclaps, I made my way to the Buschenschank Wolff in Neustift am Walde. Happy, but still in driving rain, I left about three hours later. Still, it could and would not dampen the general happy mood amongst those members who braved the elements.

Next year, I look forward to discussing the significance of the number 14, as it symbolizes new beginnings and positive change in numerology. So, hold tight for an explanation in 2024. See you then!

Since we are already in “next year” and today is 28 June 2024, let’s dive in. Keep reading!

At first glance, 14 seems rather unassuming—just a notch above the unluckiest number in Western lore, 13, and far from the often-discussed perfection of 10. Yet, scratch beneath the surface, and you’ll find that 14 is steeped in a surprising amount of intrigue and significance.

To start, let’s delve into the world of mathematics. The number 14 is a composite number, made up of the prime factors 2 and 7. It’s an even number, meaning it can be split neatly into two equal parts—quite the diplomat, capable of making sure everyone gets their fair share. Moreover, in base 10, it’s a two-digit number that marks the beginning of the teenage years, a period universally recognized for its tumultuous mix of awkwardness and potential.

Historically, 14 has held its own. Consider the 14th century: a century rife with pivotal events. The Hundred Years’ War began, the Black Death reared its ghastly head, and the early Renaissance started stirring the pot of human thought and creativity. Clearly, 14 doesn’t shy away from the spotlight—it’s the headliner of a time when the world was in flux, transitioning and evolving, much like the teenager it numerically represents.

The natural world also pays homage to the number 14. Birds, for example, often have a two-week incubation period—14 days from egg to hatchling. This cycle signifies growth, development, and the emergence of life—a microcosm of the transformative power 14 encapsulates.

In modern times, 14 has some interesting roles. The two-week wait, a term used in fertility treatment, is the 14-day period after an embryo transfer when hopeful parents await the outcome. It’s a time of anticipation, hope, and the potential for new beginnings. Not to forget, a fortnight—a charming, albeit somewhat antiquated term—spans exactly 14 days, bringing to mind images of medieval knights planning their quests or Victorian poets pondering life’s mysteries over tea.

Politically, the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution stands as a testament to equality and justice, ensuring citizenship rights and equal protection under the law. It’s a pivotal piece of legislation that underscores the value of fairness and humanity, all neatly packaged under the banner of 14.

And, of course, let’s not overlook the quaint British measurement of weight—where 14 pounds make up one stone, for example, “11 stone 4” (equal to 11 stones and 4 pounds), rather than “72 kilograms” as in most other countries or “158 pounds”. This particular use of 14 has a charming practicality, firmly embedding the number in the daily lives of the British weight-conscious individuals, offering a substantial reminder of 14’s down-to-earth relevance.

As I wrote last year and will undoubtedly write again next year, the ABS Heurigen Evening is one of those enigmatic mysteries that even our President, Prof. Dr. Kurt Tiroch, cannot explain. Nothing is free, and nothing is provided—not even a presidential speech! Members and guests need to pay for their consumption, yet they still turn out in record numbers. “Eighty registrations for the Heurigen evening sounds like a record!” our President, Prof. Dr. Kurt Tiroch, enthused. Despite a wet interlude in the early afternoon, the glorious summer weather made our gathering a huge success. If you missed it last night, you missed something special once again.

Next year I shall hopefully tell you about the number 15. The number 15 is like a well-balanced cocktail—it’s composed of equal parts of the prime numbers 3 and 5, making it a mixologist’s dream in the world of mathematics. Just like a perfectly crafted drink, 15 combines the stability of 3 with the dynamic energy of 5, creating a harmonious blend that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Plus, it’s the age when most teenagers think they know everything—proof that 15 is a number brimming with potential and a dash of overconfidence.

Hold on for more explanations until 2025. I’ll see you then!