Friday, 30 November 2012

Songs That Instantly Put A Spring In Your Step...

...and make you happy !

There are certain songs, that just transcend the different fashions of ' Current ' hits and morph into those elusive ' Classic ' hits. Immaterial of whether you like Pop / Rock / Alternative / Jazz / Classical music, when you hear these songs, the reaction is mostly the same.

Your foot starts tapping to the beat, you start to sing along because you " mysteriously " know the words and should you be driving when it unexpectedly plays on the radio, somehow you automatically drive a bit faster ( possibly a side-effect of the tapping foot ). Of course turning up the volume is a given. Personally, I try to have the windows up, as I tend to sing along at the top of my lungs !

Here are a few of my favourite " classic " hits, that automatically put me into a fantastic good mood and tilt my world into it's proper setting !

  1. Bee Gees....Staying Alive
  2. ABBA....Dancing Queen
  3. Frank Sinatra...New York, New York
  4. Katrina & The Waves...Walking on Sunshine
  5. Empire of the Sun...We Are the People
  6. Boo Radleys...Wake up Boo
  7. The Carpenters...Please Mr. Postman
  8. Barbra Streisand...I Finally Found Someone ( duet with Bryan Adams )
  9. Beatles...Can't buy me love

There are many more out there. Let me know if you also like some of my choices, or tell me some of yours.


Thursday, 29 November 2012

A Clean House For Christmas...

Spring cleaning for Christmas ?

Just before our weekly exercise class starts, we engage in the usual chit-chat. Actually, sometimes even during class. It is fun, informative ( you know in a small village ) and easy-going. This week, it was much of the same, except for a ' casual ' question aimed at me.

" Have you started cleaning your house for Christmas ? " The question itself was innocent and harmless enough, yet it was one of those " bull's eye " comments. I felt like a deer caught in the headlamps of a car. Two lines of thought ran through my mind at lightning speed.
Nobody told me about this business of ' Christmas cleaning ' and secondly, did she have inside knowledge of our house !!!

My Mum was standing on the other side of me, but had heard the question. I could just feel that little laugh of ' Ha, didn't I tell you ' . Nonchalantly, yet jokingly I replied " I am sure, that when we get to heaven, nobody asks us whether we cleaned enough. But anyway, I do try and clean on a daily basis." She just laughed and said " That's actually true ".

Nevertheless, the next morning I attempted my version of a mini-spring clean. Bob just watched me with caution ( lest I give him tasks ) but was obliging enough to lift his feet, when I wiped the floor under the computer desk.

When we had the boys over for the English class later that day, I heard a stern, yet Bob-like, voice telling the boys " Go and get a saucer to put under the biscuit. I don't want crumbs all over the floor "...Well that was certainly popular with the boys ! ( Of course, I have yet to see Bob getting a saucer when he eats biscuits...)

Just to clarify, because I know that some of my parents will read this, our house is reasonably tidy. Of course I still have a lot of room left for improvement, before I grow into the perfect housekeeper. At the end of the day, the thing that counts the most though, is that our house is comfortable, cozy and lived in...

What I am curious about, is whether it is a common custom to spring clean at Christmas time ? What type of cleaning do you do around this time, that you don't normally do ? If you visit someone, do you really notice if the place is not " professionally " clean ? Please let me know...


Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement

Nie wieder Chaos!: So bekommen Sie Ihren Haushalt in den Griff

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Who Remembers Cherry Flavoured Lip-Ice ?

Using it has surprising results !

We all have certain things that remind us of our childhood. Sometimes just a smell alone can transport us back in time. For most of us, our childhood was the most carefree and fun time in our lives. Oh those wonderful years at Junior school and being so happy, when we discovered that someone " liked " us.

Can you remember that nerve racking time leading up to your very first kiss ever ? Did you also practice kissing on your arm, in order to get it just right for that all important first time we kissed someone ! Of course Lip-Ice was a must and preferably one with flavour.

Last year when we had just arrived, Bob found his " transport back in time " moment. He spotted a cherry flavoured Lip-Ice in the shop. Well, he bought it to remind him of home and maybe also of his first girlfriend. It was also around the same time that we had contractors at our house. You know, real strong and definitely beefy men.

The next day Bob spent the whole day at our construction site and ironically it was the only day that I didn't go with. Isn't it amazing how we tend to kind of model ourselves, even if only for a short time, on the people we are surrounded with. You know, their mannerism etc. ( Bob was starting to look extra beefy ! )

When he came home that day, the first thing I noticed were his lips. They were a very deep cherry red. In fact they kind of stood out. With deep concern I asked him, " Bob, are you alright ? Did you get hit ?"
" Why ? I am just a bit cold, but I had a great day working with the guys."
" Why are your lips so red then ? "

Bob, with great haste rushed to the bathroom to have a look. All I heard was " Oh No "...It turned out that Bob had been applying his treasured cherry flavoured Lip-Ice all day. Not having a mirror, he didn't realize that he had been putting layer upon layer of colour on his lips.
" That's why they all gave me strange looks. I thought that maybe I had something in my nose. "

" Oh, how embarrassing " was all Bob could get out before we both doubled up with laughter. Well...Bob made sure to come across as extremely manly the next time he met the guys !
A whistle here, a swagger there and a much practiced " clean " spit.

I wouldn't be surprised if Bob is known as " hot lips " by all...


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Christmas Ornaments.

Homemade Xmas Decorations...easier than you think.

Well, it should rather be called ' Village-made ' Xmas decorations. You know, for most of us ( and for me in the past ), we start to get an inkling that Christmas is approaching momentarily, by the change in Store decorations and the playing of Boney M's famous Christmas Hits Christmas With Boney M ( in fact I am almost 100 % certain, that we all know most of the words to the songs ). Of course, momentarily, is rather a misnomer as it tends to sometimes start already in October...

This is our second Christmas season here in Burgenland, and the community really gets us all together. Finally the Village Newsletter got dropped in the postbox, and it gave us the times to go and help out. I find it so nice, that as a community we do stuff together and all for a good cause.

My Mum and I, went to the community center to help. It started early at 9 am and already a nice crowd had grown. To be honest, it was the usual crowd, as even in a small place like ours, you get the doers and the non-doers...

The order of the day, was to attach fir cuttings to a straw wreath. Watching the ladies, it seemed pretty easy, but I soon found out that it was more complicated. Undoing my first attempt, one of the ladies showed me a better way. It did the trick. Even though I am glad that this happens only once a year, I still loved the fact of being a part of the village effort.

Yesterday was the wreath making day, and I think today we attach the different ornaments, that transforms it into a Christmas wreath. Last year I when I helped with that, I was in awe of the artistic flair that just about everyone had. The main organizers of our community, are used to having ' new ' helpers who are not overly blessed with this artistic flair. With great foresight, they make three or four sample ones, and we can copy them as best as we can. Very diplomatic !

There were a few men helping out as well, and one, poor lamb, asked rather loudly if one of the ladies wanted a cup of coffee, as he was making one for himself. Well you can imagine what happened...yes, most of the hands went up. I must say, he displayed great nonchalance and proceeded to serve everyone coffee with a smile...
P.S. Bob, after proofing my blog, has admitted that he actually looks forward to hearing Boney M.'s Christmas songs...!

Amazon Germany :Christmas With Boney M.

Amazon USA : Christmas With Boney M


Hard at work...

My Mum is much better at it than me.

The raw materials.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Do Your Eyes Mist Up When You Witness Historic Moments ?

Sunday's and Formula One, go hand in hand for me.

Bob and I are avid F1 fans, and try to watch every race. Nail-biting stuff most of the time, but yesterday's race had us in its grip from start to finish. What a season cliff hanger ! Gosh they even had Hollywood stars there. Really, entertainment second to none...

In Germany they now and again announce on the radio, that a " Geisterfahrer " is on the highway. Basically it means that a driver is facing and driving the wrong way. Scary to say the least, when other cars flash past you at 120 kmph. Well, yesterday's race saw another driver become one of those " Geisterfahrer's ", not by his own fault and only for a few seconds. But he faced traffic going at the speed of 250 kmph or more...

Sebastian Vettel, was driving this race to win the Championship, but he also was bumped the first lap and suddenly faced a hoard of race cars hurtling down on him. Well, Bob and I were in a state, sitting in our living room. How Sebastian must have felt, is only imaginable.

So there he was, having survived the barrage of cars passing him with a car that was bumped and had some damage, and suddenly being stone last. Not just last on the starting grid, but last by at least a quarter of a lap. Well, there rose a collective sigh and moan around Germany, because everyone thought he was out.

For me, the way he got on with the race, and made up place after place was inspirational. The mental strength and reserve he has are unbelievable. The rest of the race threw just about every challenge possible at him, yet he finished to claim the championship. Well, that was my first misty moment. To think that he is only 25 years old, makes me wonder if he was one of those daredevil kids ?

My second misty moment happened, when Michael Schumacher gave his ' Farewell ' missives in an interview. What an incredible and gracious man. Sad to think that he won't be racing again. What I would love to know, is how he drives his cars in private life ? Can he actually drive well when he drives slow ? Does his wife drive him, and does he offer his ' two cents worth ' when she does ? I know my husband often does. How many other spouses think they have to make comments, while the other is driving ?


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Could This Possibly Be The One Thing, The Wealthy Envy Us For ?

The New " It " must have of this century...?

What does being wealthy entail ? Travelling, shopping, eating out at luxurious restaurants, waiting at airports and also having various sets of friends, or rather acquaintances, depending on where you are vacationing at the time. Sounds fantastic and exciting.

Wealth is something we all dream of at some point in our life. It is great to paint out our individual picture of it, and I think we all have done so. Mostly after purchasing a Lotto ticket ! I know I have.

But try and picture it from another angle. Constantly being away, to sample all that the world has to offer and what one feels is the thing to do, when wealthy, could be tiring and lonely after a while. Living in various places for a few months here and there, is exciting but it comes with the label of being a semi-stranger, who does not quite outsider.

Now picture this ideal, that we have here in our part of Burgenland ( of course, I as the observer and newly settled here, am not quite part of it, yet ).
We had a local ' Do ' last night. The local volunteer Fire Brigade is raising funds, and thus catering for an evening at the local hall. The ' who's who ' of the village was there to have an evening out and also to give support.

The thing that I find so wonderful and which is extremely elusive in our modern society, is that people stay their whole life here. Sure they go away to study etc, but mostly they come back. So when you see them at functions, you can only envy the fact, that they mostly know their friends from kindergarten age. Priceless in this today's age, where most of us tend to be nomads following work opportunities.

Staying and living in the same place year-in and year-out, lets you plant your roots. How else are you going to make those real connections. Here in the country, a handshake still counts, everyone pitches in when you are in need, and parties abound. When you drive around, everyone greets you and knows your name !

The irony of this is, that living in a small place, you don't have the urge to constantly acquire new things ( with our internet being ' faster than a speeding bullet ', you can still buy whatever you desire ) Everything else is reasonable, so you save your money. Well, I think, that there are lots of wealthy people living extremely fulfilling lives in small villages !

I can only recommend it. Plus, I feel that this " content " lifestyle will be the thing to dream of and strive for, for all those " mice " running on the treadmill of success.


Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Top 10 Reasons Why I Think You Should Visit Burgenland...

Why don't you make it your next holiday destination ?

  1. The locals are friendly.
  2. Stunning and beautiful scenery that soothes the soul, with on average 300 days of sunshine per year.
  3. Fabulous tasting & affordable Wines.
  4. Buschenschanks that serve traditional, yet mouth-watering Burgenland fare.
  5. Authentic Kellerstoeckl Accommodation in the vineyards.
  6. Very reasonable prices.
  7. World renowned Spas & Hotels.
  8. Clean and unpolluted air, that rejuvenates the city-slickers.
  9. Wonderful cycling and walking paths ( E-bikes available for the less energetic )
  10. Lots of Castles & Fortresses to visit and absorb their history.

In the " Weinberg ".

Just a small part of Burgenland's beauty.

Aren't the wheat fields soothing to look at ?

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Long Weekend...

Can there be anything better ?

In some countries they happen more often than in others, depending on the public holidays and on what day of the week they fall on ! But when they come around, it is time to break out the champagne. When one works six day's a week ( in Europe most workers are lucky enough to not work Saturdays ), having an extra day to sleep in, is fantastic.

The anticipation leading up to it is half the fun. Planning how to spend that extra free time, takes up a lot of our energy. Of course stocking up the fridge and larder takes just as much effort. It seems that there is an subconscious belief, that one wont be able to buy food...ever ! How else would we account for all our grocery purchases during those holiday weekends ?

Knowing that there is an extra day to sleep in ( on extremely lucky long weekends there are even two ), makes all the difference. Now one of those days can be used to just chill and make a dent in all the delicious foods purchased. It is always a good policy to wear clothes that stretch...sweat pants and or elasticized pants will do the trick.

I heard an report on Bloomberg West, saying that nowadays, most family members have a smart phone, tablet, computer and a TV. That means, that each member can view their own personal choice of movie on their own device. No more fights over what to watch. But also sadly no more sitting together on a couch and watching things as a family. Progress of sorts.

But seriously, the great thing about these long holiday weekends is that they bring the family together. This weekend, most families in America are sitting and enjoying their Thanksgiving Meal. What it all boils down to in a nutshell, is being with your family or friends... even if it is just by Skype.

A life safer of sorts is " Spanx ", as it lets you disguise those little indiscretions that you enjoyed and savoured all weekend...Happy Thanksgiving !


Thursday, 22 November 2012


All in a day's work !

In our part of Burgenland, life is wonderfully rural and for an ex-city girl like me, that is nirvana. Don't get me wrong, most of our villagers are possessors of most mod-cons. What I find so fascinating, are the various activities that go along with life in the country.

Bob and I drove to the next village, an extraordinary long commute of 4 kilometers, to buy a few groceries. As luck would have it, the shop was closed for the morning. Never mind, we thought, let's say hello to my parents.

That we did, but it turned out they were engaged in one of those rural traditions...stacking firewood. Actually, the farmer was just unloading a trailer load of cut wood. Not neatly, but haphazardly. Being kind ' children ', we asked if we could help stack the firewood. Well, I don't think we even finished our question, and we heard a distinct " Yes " !

Secretly Bob was pleased to do some yard work, as he has a bee in his bonnet, to be the possessor of the elusive urban myth of a ' six-pack '...Could he have approached that age of ' mid-life ' crises ? We definitely can't afford an Aston Martin, which is the car Bob dreams about, so maybe a ' six-pack ' is the next best thing ?

Stacking firewood is not so easy and rather a hard workout. All that bending and then stacking them, so that the stack won't topple in the future. But, as we had four pairs of hands, the whole stacking only took about one hour. In fact, it was fun and we got to spend time with my parents.

Of course the work with the firewood is not finished yet. Some of the pieces are too large and need to be split with an axe. Guess who volunteered to do that ? Wielding that axe a few hundred times an hour will certainly develop that ' six-pack '.
Life is great...


The " Three Stooges "

Who is the Boss ?

I think Bob is pleased with himself...

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A Part-Time Insomniac.

Even here in Burgenland, one can have sleep problems.

Those of you, who are able to sleep through nights, should do a dance of joy or show your gratitude in some form. Bob is one of those lucky ones. Of course now and again he mistakenly accuses me of snoring ( really, me ? How positively unladylike... ) and hindering his sleep.

Of course, as luck would have it, those are the times that I would have slept through...were it not for a certain someone waking me with : " Hey, stop snoring ". It is ironic, how we often say that the men in our lives keep us awake through their snoring, yet ( I think ) we women do our fair share of it too.

In fact I have heard the urban myths of husbands taping a particular nasty snoring sessions of their wives, in order to have concrete proof ! Goodness gracious, what is the world coming to ? Of course if you throw a few glasses of wine into the mix, the cacophony of snores is unbearable, from both sides of the bed !

Through trial and error, I have learned how to cope with occasional insomnia.
Keeping the mind " diverted " is essential. Who has had this happen before ?
You have a small problem on your mind and it keeps you awake. If you continue to lie in bed with no distraction, suddenly that tiny problem has morphed into a monstrous one. Intrigues and negative scenarios just bounce around in your thoughts !

The magic potion for me, is to convert the couch into a comfortable bed and to bunker down to watch TV. I get so caught up in the various plots, that it diverts my mind of a current problem. Even though I say that I don't sleep at night, I think that I must average at least 4-5 hours ( on those sleep disorder times in my life ) in front of the TV.

I know, because there are plenty of times, when I get engrossed in a Murder-Mystery and just before I could guess at the culprit, I doze off. But the funny thing is, that I wake again during a different Murder-Mystery and wonder why the culprit looks so different. It is amazing how many good programs are scheduled late at night. Sometimes better than during the day.

If you have bouts of insomnia, what is your remedy ?


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

My 200th Blog Entry !

If I can do it, so can you.

Have you ever had a yearning to do something that is out of your normal sphere of life, but did not have the courage to do ?... What will my friends think ? Will anybody laugh at me ? Oh the list could go on and on...

In my case it is and was, writing. For you it could be painting, singing or changing your vocation. When you think about it, isn't it just plain silly, to " not do " something because we are worried about what others might think ? One little insight, that I have gained along the way, is that regardless of what you do or say, there will always be someone who reacts negatively. But you know what...' what you think about me, is your problem ' ...! Those words should be imprinted in our thoughts.

Reading is a major passion of mine and has always been. Traversing the landscape of a book and actually living in that ' frame ' is just so great. Many a times I have sat at work, doing the usual, yet my mind was living the story of a book I was reading at the time. My husband tells me that for him it was escaping to the " Universe far far away ". For me, the one set of novels, that had me living in its landscape for weeks, is the Twilight Series. Not surprisingly, these books got a whole lot of teenagers to start reading books ! ( I put links to Amazon at the bottom if you intend to read the series. )

A friend of mine, gave me the final push needed to start my blog and I am forever grateful to her. Like anything else in life, writing takes time to get right. My blog is far from perfect and I am evolving and learning each day. Possibly the hardest thing about it, is the worry that perhaps no one will read it, or that readers will laugh at me.

But that is all part of the process of taking a step into the ' unknown '. As I have said in the past, making mistakes is vital to getting it right.
Well, for the past 200 consecutive days, I have woken up at 5.10 am and written my blog for the day. In fact, my body clock is so in tune with the alarm clock, that I wake up a few seconds before the alarm starts its assault on sleep.

Dear readers, I love writing this blog and I love that I have some readers. Of course the cherry on the top is, when you comment. Thank you for having read and continuing to read my blog.
P/S : Please let me know if and when you have taken the plunge to do something creative, that you have always wished you would do.


Monday, 19 November 2012

Who Else Loves Ice-Cream ?

Good Ice-cream, could there be anything better...

For as long as I can remember, Ice-cream has been a winner in my food consumption. The favorite by a long shot was and always will be Vanilla. Of course my long-held affair with ice-cream has contributed to a few of the fillings in my teeth and the pounds on my hips. But oh, it is just so nice...

There have been phases, where I had found a substitute, that is a substitute for calories,
" pretend " ice-cream, that tasted divine, yet had only a minute amount of calories for the biggest of servings ( that was while I lived in New York City ). Along with almost all the extremely thin New York ladies, some positively skeletal, I would sit in that shop and devour massive servings. With smug looks on most faces for having circumvented a possible weight gain ! Well, that of course turned out to be too good to be true. Surprise, surprise, there were massive calories in that ice-cream all along...

Those of you, who have been following my blog, know how much I like and frequent a coffee shop in Eberau. All of our visitors get a grand tour of Eberau and the fabulous ice-cream cups at the coffee shop.

On Saturday we did a little family excursion and had lunch at one of the scenic villages here in our part of Burgenland. We skipped dessert, as we all voted on stopping by in Eberau, to eat delicious ice-cream. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans...yes, even they can go awry.

We got to our coffee shop and even managed to garner our usual table. With anticipation ( I had in my mind completed the arduous process of choosing a specific ice cream ) we saw the waiter approach. Imagine our disappointment, when he told us : " Sorry, we don't sell ice-cream during Winter. "...Why ?

Supermarkets still sell it during winter, so I am sure there is a huge demand. Northern Winters mean a constant warm climate inside, almost cloying at times. Ice cream would be ideal then.
Coffee shops all have freezers and ice-cream does not go off as quickly as cake. Surely it makes good business sense ? There is a huge marketing opportunity to sell ice-cream in, not only to an Eskimo !

Biggi Summertime !

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Don't Ever Give Up !!!!

Just remember, it is always darkest before dawn.

There are a lot of things in life, that are so difficult to achieve. At least we tend to feel that they are. Somehow, we have got so used to having most things instantly appear at our finger tips, that in a way we don't really know, or have forgotten, how to handle those things that don't just magically appear ! We need to look back at our parents generation and learn to admire and use their work ethic.

Sometimes, just having patience, perseverance and a healthy respect for mistakes and failures, gets us to our desires...

  • Finding the perfect partner to travel life's roads with can be hard and at times demoralizing. But how often have you heard of couples that met after having gone through a terrible phase...don't give up as it is always darkest before dawn.
    ( as they say, every pot has its matching lid )
  • Getting ahead in your career / business often seems daunting as you encounter problems and make mistakes. But remember, every mistake you make gets you a step closer to success....don't give up as it is always darkest before dawn.

Every time we make mistakes or have a set back, it kind of "reveals " a better ( truer ? ) version of us. How else can we learn than by trying and making mistakes. As a society we tend to be afraid to make mistakes. Is it for fear of looking foolish or just because we have set our " bar " so high ? We should all give a whoop of joy, when we make a mistake, instead of trying to hide or explain it away.

Putting in effort and time can often be the missing ingredient to success. Let's learn to accept hurdles and challenges with delight. They help us shape and strengthen our character. And don't forget, that every challenge and problem get's us another step closer to our goals.

Why don't we proudly start to include a " I made a mistake " counter in your social network status. Let that be the new " it " thing to have...Luckily, mine would have a double-digit number already.


Saturday, 17 November 2012

Simple Saturday Things...

How do you slow down to " smell the roses " ?

My blog is at times about abstract ideas, or what is happening out in the world, or just to make you laugh but on the whole it is my way of showing you how living a simpler life can be great. Simpler does not mean inferior. In fact it is almost the opposite, as it can give you the opportunity to be in the moment and well, !

We all have etched out our niche in life and what goes with it. Modern lifestyles are inherently stressful, as it is almost impossible to switch off, literally. On the whole everyone's life is great and suited to them. But it is also nice to maybe do a thing that is out of character and out of your comfort zone. Possibly a " smell the roses " moment ?

Some different ideas...for your Saturday.

  • Sleep in late without feeling guilty.
  • Make your couch into a " Saturday TV " island, with all the trimmings...
  • Or do the opposite and just read a new novel and don't worry about dishes etc...
  • Take a walk in nature.
  • Make something from scratch. Like homemade jam, or bread...they are surprisingly easy to make.
  • Go to a craft shop ( online or real ) to stock up on funky knitting supplies.
  • keeps you in the moment and can be rather fun.
  • Visit family
  • Make a roast of sorts and enjoy the wonderful aromas wafting through your place.
  • Stay in your pyjamas all day and only do the things you did when you were younger and without all the responsibilities. Just chill.
  • Make a scrumptious cake, put it on a nice ( but cheap ) plate and take it to a friends
    ( or family ) house. Ring the doorbell and when they open it, say " I just thought of you and wanted to do something nice. Enjoy. " Don't stay, just leave them the cake and remember how elated they were.

I would love to know how you would add to this list, as there are so many ways to relax and recharge. Please let me know.


Friday, 16 November 2012

Our Individual Rituals.

Are We creatures of habit ?

There is still the little question in the back of my mind. Is it just me, which would be kind of loopy, or is it normal for a lot of people...please do let me know ! What is in question, is the different rituals that one has for different activities.

Take reading for example. Leisure reading, that is. Reading someones blog about enjoying books , got me to haul out my Agatha Christie collection again. Most of her books have been reread several times by me, throughout most of my life. So for me, they kind of represent comfort. Even just being a " visitor " in the life depicted in her novels, is enjoyable, comforting and wholesome.

What is the ritual ? Well, it always involves reclining on a couch, with a cup of tea ( ideally proper steeped tea ) and two slices of toast. The toast should have at least butter, the real kind, but having jam with it, would be the dot on the ' i '. Of course the most important part is to have plenty of time to read. But like Pavlov's dog, when I pick up one of her books, the tea & toast are part of the activity...

Going into town on a Saturday morning and always being dressed up, is another one. Actually that was more in South-Africa, when I was younger. We all, and of course yours truly included, had to be dressed to the nines. There were actual shopping excursions planned to get the ' Saturday-morning ' outfit perfected. I have an inkling, that it had mostly to do with wearing school-uniforms most of my school career !

But my most practiced ritual of note, is getting behind the wheel of our, or in fact any car. When I did my driving test, the thing to do was, to adjust your mirror, move your chair, check the side view mirrors and disengage the handbrake !

Well nowadays ( this probably started as I drove out the testing grounds with my newly minted licence ), when I get behind the wheel of a car, I quickly move my rear-view mirror to check if there is any ' spinach ' between my teeth. That little ritual drives Bob crazy, as I somehow never get the mirror back in its previous and perfect for Bob, position. The next important move, is to switch the radio station to the music of my choice, and to also make sure it is loud enough to drown out my singing along... !

Let me know if you do at least something a little bit similar to me !


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Who Remembers All Those " Calender-Predictions" ?

You know, the one that spells an end to us all...

This morning my eye happened to glance at an advert to do with the ' predicted ' 2012 Maya Calender. It was an interesting take of it :
Who wants to survive it...( That really needs to be polled ? ).

Of course as the date of predicted doom is only 5 weeks away, the plethora will go into overdrive. But, this whole thing kind of reminds me of slightly similar predictions throughout my school career and even after. Vividly I see myself and a group of friends sitting outside during break-time, in our green school attire, and discussing the fact that the next week, the world would cease to be !

We were all teenagers and rather concerned with dieting etc. Well, that clearly went out the window during the ensuing week. Who needs to diet, when you only have a week left to eat...? Oh yes, we were that silly then. But we were not alone, as a lot of magazines carried articles stoking the fires. For the local churches, attendance must have skyrocketed ! Needless to say, that prediction never occurred, but you don't need to be psychic to realize that we all put on a pound or two.

Well for the current Mayan calender event, Hollywood did rather a lot of " fire-stoking " with the movie " 2012 ". I loved it and obviously, having learned my lessons during my earlier years, took it with a pinch of salt.
For me, it is not a destruction of the world, but a change of ' groupthink ' for the whole world. The goodness is now surfacing and staying...Good times are ahead !

Bob and I do see a funny side to the " 2012 " movie, as we now live in Austria. In it, the only and last place on earth, that is still standing after December 2012, is the Kwa-Zulu Drakensberg range, in South-Africa.

If I had a Hotel there, I would put the prices up, as I am sure a lot of people will try to head there in the next few weeks. Oh and, this time round, I will eat normally and not guzzle everything in sight. But I would love to see stats of Supermarkets. Does the sale of ' Yummy ' stuff go up during the next five weeks ?
How about you, are you stocking up on the ' Yummy ' stuff ?


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Kindness Of Friends.

A New Couch !

Starting afresh on a different continent is exciting, wonderful, brave, educational and obviously a bit of a financial challenge. What most couples go through at say twenty, the two of us are going through now, in our forties....hee- hee, Bob is finally in his forties !

Don't get me wrong, I actually like the fact that we have to have this financial stretch because it got us out of our comfort zone. Suddenly we have to, no are blessed to, meet different situations that enrich our character and make us more aware of the present. The kind of challenges that most self-help books talk about.

What a lot of you take for granted, we now can not. There is no credit card to suddenly wave its magic wand of supply. But before you think ' oh those poor dears ', remember that we don't get that letter ( the one with the clear window ) that tells us how much more we have to pay back !
So we work the old-fashioned style...we only buy with money we have.
Yes, absolutely neanderthal-like !

One thing that has surprised me, is with how little, we can actually make do. Sure it would be nice to have great things ( and we will get them as we earn more ) but what we have right now, is fine. My motto is, as long as I can have a good cup of coffee in the morning, all else will be fine. Ah, the simple things.

I am happy to say, that almost all our furniture has been given to us by my parents or friends. Our house has the most wonderful eclectic feel to it. Nothing really matches, yet it all fits perfectly together ( somehow I think that our carbon footprint is rather low ). Another plus is that the
' donors ' could get rid of their old stuff. A win-win situation.

One of our friends phoned yesterday, to say that she had a couch for us. Actually she already has given us two fabulous chairs. They are from the 50's, yet are so comfortable and extremely ' in ' right now. She had promised us the matching couch at a later date, and yesterday was it.

So, later yesterday afternoon we drove with the trailer to pick it up. Not a very long drive as she lives only 1 km up the road. When Bob and I eventually got it into our lounge, we had two thoughts. One, yoo-hoo, we have a three seater couch and the second...oh dear, our lounge is getting too small !
The price of prosperity....


Our new couch...

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

English Conversations With The Children.

What a privilege for us to teach the village kids.

This is week two of one of our wonderful adventures. We have organized conversation time with the young kids, to encourage English speaking. We have two afternoons per week with the various age groups. In Austria we are classified as ' Native ' English speakers. Doesn't that sound funny, even though it is true ?

It is amazing to see how intelligent all of the kids are. The whole time, Bob and I only speak English with them. Obviously there are hand gestures involved, but on the whole they understand very well. One tends to forget how kids almost hoover up knowledge and new things. This will keep us on our toes for sure !

Was it in the nineties that there was this series with Bill Cosby talking to children ?
( I could only find the book version on Amazon :Kids Say the Darndest Things )
Gosh, I still remember laughing at some of the things the children came out with.

Well, yesterday, I was watching one of the kids do a drawing of a house. It turns out it was his house. He drew a few windows and I started discussing the finer architectural points with him. Such as: Whose window is this, and where does the door go. You get the idea. Well he drew a few prominent windows. " That must be your bedroom ? "..." Yes ". I saw a window in the attic and asked him if a Mouse lived there ? " Nooooo, not a mouse, this is the attic. "

Realizing that he did not quite understand me, I left him to carry on drawing. Shows you, how wrong I can be. He got my attention a few minutes later when he showed me the now completed drawing. He had drawn a ladder up the whole of the house and an almost superhero like figure next to it. " This is my Daddy, and he will climb up the ladder to hit the mouse with a broom " How ingenious !

But as everything in life is a two way street, I am fairly certain, that some of the kids will tell their friends of a few things Bob and I say or do, that they think is funny. Embarrassingly I had forgotten the name of a ' theme ' cushion, one of them brought. Now I know it was " Disney Cars 2 Lightning McQueen ". Yet at the time I was using various forms of lightening and car terminology, that had them roll their eyes !

Well, what had me blush with embarrassment, was Bob telling me that while we were singing ' Old MacDonald had a Farm ' with the small kids, one of the Mums was recording it on her smartphone. My singing career did not even survive assembly, back in my school days. In those days, one or more of the teachers used to walk up and down the aisle, checking that everyone was actually singing. When one came past me, she stopped, listened, and politely asked me to stop singing.... Oh dear, YouTube here we come...


Monday, 12 November 2012

My Sunday Mornings In Burgenland.

There is hardly anything better than a leisurely Sunday morning.

What is it, that makes everything slow down on Sunday mornings ? Even if you get up at the same time, there is almost an hour delay to everything. At least for me ! Even back in South Africa, I treasured Sunday mornings and the long walks we took. Actually there, Bob used to walk with me all the time, yet here he claims he cannot keep up with me...Nice one, Bob and ' suspiciously ' very convenient !

Yet, I must confess, walking alone is rather nice as it gives me time to ruminate on my thoughts. Now Sunday mornings are even quieter than normal. Certainly less traffic, which equates to maybe one car instead of four driving past me ! This solitude is heavenly and you have got to experience it, to appreciate it. Small village living is fantastic.

The last few Sundays I have encountered a most interesting sight and incidentally, unusual mode of transport. To be honest, because of my ' speedy ' walk ( according to an excuse seeking husband ), I was almost faster than it. What was it, you might wonder ?

Well, it was a cart being pulled by two donkeys, with a third one tied behind. A man was driving the cart and his wife was walking abreast it. The first time I walked by it, I just did the polite thing and greeted. But not knowing if donkeys actually kick or bite, I took a wide enough berth to not find out.

Last Sunday, they slowed down a bit when they saw me and I could coincide my walk-by with a chat.
" Do you only do this drive on a Sunday ? "
" Ja, today we have time to give them a walk. The young one tied to the back, is being trained."
" Can I stroke them to say hello to them ? "
" Sure, but he is still very shy."

Animals are precious and the shy donkey was still acting like a confused teen. Should he let me say ' Hallo ' or should he ignore me ! Too cute for words...
What is so special to me, is the fact that almost daily I stumble across little treasures like this.

Now that I think about the donkey cart being mostly seen on a Sunday, it could almost be biblical. If, when the Christmas season approaches, I should happen across a cart full of presents and possibly " Prancer " with it, I will tell you instantly.


I did not have a camera with me to a pictue of the donkey cart, but just to show you the area I walk in.

Picture taken at same time, just in the opposite direction.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

A Saturday Visit To The Parents With A Difference...

Not The Usual Coffee & Cake Visit !

On Friday my Mum asked us, if we could help them work on their ceiling on Saturday. Of course we agreed straight away ( not asking any specifics ). Throughout our phase of fixing our house, my parents were helping us, above and beyond their duty ! I really mean that. In fact, I have yet to meet anyone with more drive and stamina.

The old Burgenland farmhouses, have mostly clay and soil ( at least that's what it looked like to me ) packed tightly on top of the wooden ceiling beams. It insulates nicely, but gets extremely dusty, if you use the attic for laundry etc. So my Mum organized to have the layer of soil taken out.

Yesterday morning we reported for duty, not really knowing what would come our way ! Those of you who have done it before, don't need an explanation, but for the is extremely dusty and dirty. Mouth guards are a must. In retrospect, goggles should have been standard issue also. But you live and learn...

Ingeniously, Albert had organized a simply pulley system on top of the attic staircase, so at least we did not have to lug the heavy buckets down precarious attic stairs. He is always a step ahead in most things, making them also easier to do.

My station was in the attic, helping my Mum attach the heavy buckets, but also to help with the filling of them. We did have a young volunteer, who had way more muscle power than I, but I was still found in the " dust " of it at times.

It took us almost 6 hours, and numerous ( surely in the hundreds but feels like thousands ) bucket loads to expose the wooden beams underneath the layer of soil. Only today, does my body actually tell me that I did do my fair share of work. But unbelievably my Mum did much more. While other Mums sit and actually have coffee and cake, mine is in the mix of things, working, doing and leading the way.

They say that we girls all turn out like our Mothers and I can't wait to be that industrious ( at the moment I am still far far off ). But I am sure it will happen and I kind of look forward to that. But Bob, I think, is a bit perturbed, as he would like me to sit and knit or crochet. Only for one reason though...he is worried that I will include him in all the actions and projects !


My Mum putting the buckets on the pulley.

Looks docile enough, but it packs a punch !

They are as heavy as they look...

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Little Things That Make Me Smile.

My Good Mood List...

How often does this happen to you ? Your day seems dim because you feeling maybe a slight bit down, or negative. Yet when you stumble across a gem of sorts, your mood and day instantly brightens up. At times it could cause you to even skip about like a child playing ' hop-scotch '.

Well here are some items on my " this instantly cheers me up " list.

  • Driving with the radio on and a " Golden Oldie " such as : Abba, BeeGees or Frank Sinatra gets played ( of course if it is a song from " Saturday Night Fever: The Original Movie Sound Track " the mood lifts almost stratospherically ) !
  • Walking in the countryside and seeing the day break. The sun gives an amazing kaleidoscope.
  • Sitting on the couch with a good book and maybe a scrumptious chocolate.
  • Making Filter Coffee and catching that first scent of its wonderful rich aroma.
  • Baking scones, which I made myself and seeing them turn out great.
  • Eating a scone with lashings of butter and homemade jam.
  • Hanging out with my husband...of course sometimes he was the one that put me in a funk in the first place !
  • A friend phones unexpectedly just to have a chat.
  • Hanging freshly washed laundry on our clothes line outside ( I know, a bit strange but I am just being honest ).
  • Having a pedicure with an 20 min foot massage.
  • Loo with a View ( see blogstory ).


For me, each season is more beautiful than the next, here in our Burgenland.

Winter in our village's vineyards last year.

Watching the ' chicken-whisperer ' teaching his charges how to bow...

Getting a homegrown bounty from our neighbour.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Making Changes In Your Life...

A real challenge to you strength of Character !

Don't most of us like to have our life progress in a set routine ? We like to know that we work here and live there. A bit simplistic, I know, but if actually think about it, those are the constants or possibly anchors of our life.

Yet for some of us there is that " inner little " voice that asks : ' Is this all there is ? '. Surely our lives should have those exciting nuances that we see in other peoples' lives, either real life or movie life ! We figuratively have a foot on either side. On the one side is our safe, comfortable and predictable life and on the other, the unknown adventure and change that we could live and have.

Well, that's what it was like for me. For years I was a fence sitter, yet still a dreamer. Until this thought crossed my mind. A thought that I might have in my old age, if I carried on fence sitting :
' I should have done it '. I think this thought more than any other got me hopping off.

For those who have changed something major in you life, you know it isn't easy. Just doing anything new and different can be scary. The safety net of " stability " has been removed... In fact there are times when every once of your character strength is questioned, but with that, you discover such marvelous inner strength that you never imagined possessing. A true gift, one that you might have never known about.

Each of us has their own little fence to hop off. It could be a small change or a big one. Regardless of size, just doing it opens a whole new avenue in our lives. One on which we meet new people, new challenges and the most important, ourselves with a new outlook on life.

For me, moving to a new country was the perfect way to get off my fence. It has been difficult, exciting, challenging, wonderful and so enriching. Starting at the bottom rung of the " a new life ladder " in your forties is not a picnic, but those evenings when you reflect on your day and realize that you have moved up the next rung, makes it all worthwhile.


Thursday, 8 November 2012

A Family Outing To McDonald's.

Things you look forward to, when living in a small village.

Surprisingly here in our part of Burgenland, most advertising is done with flyers and old fashioned post. Yet those flyers get perused in detail and made use of. Now and again, McDonald's puts a coupon page in the post. My parents got one ( couldn't put it out of their mind ) and invited us along for a lunch at McDonald's. Bob, when he heard about the coupon was most put out, as he did not get one ( I think I binned it by mistake ).

Our village has about 300 inhabitants, so you can imagine that any Fast Food outlet would be at a loss here. So what is quite boringly commonplace for the ' city folk ', is an event for us. It is looked forward to with such excitement and anticipation. You know the sort, when you already picture what you will order and change it five times before you even get there. Murphy's law, one orders the wrong thing and what everyone else has looks much better !

Yesterday, the four of us set off on our excursion. We had all skimmed on a full breakfast, so that we could do justice to lunch. The mood was lighthearted and if it was in the movies, we probably would have burst into a song...It is about a 30 km drive and about halfway my Mum noticed that she had forgotten her coupons.

I was mentally scaling down my order ( parents were paying after all ), when as luck would have it, we found a lone coupon book at the counter and used it ! Crafty as we are, we each had one of the specials and most likely saved about 20 Euros.

When I was a young girl growing up in Bavaria, the only McDonald's near us was 100 km away. As you can imagine, we only went there on very special occasions. Now yesterday reminded me of how exciting and great it was to go there. The main thing was that we went together as a family, then and now. Those outings are treasured and imprinted on my mind. The fact that the meal was mouth-watering good, took second place of importance..

Family - is there anything better ?


The view of part of our Village...

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Seeing Ourselves Through Rose Tinted Glasses.

Beauty really is in the eyes' of the beholder !

Most of you ( very presumptive of me ) who are over 35, will understand. To the lucky lot under 35, wait, your turn is coming. Maybe take some notes...
Time, after a while, really becomes relatively unimportant. Look you know it is there and in a way passes by you, but so what ? At least that is how I view it, with a few panic-about-it episodes in between.

Social Media is an ingenious invention with so many positives. Yet it has one ( for me that is ) tiny point that can be a tad depressing ...people using it, post pictures of themselves. Look it is nice catching up and being in a way a part of their life. Social Media has become the invisible string that connects us all.

Yesterday, I was looking at a Facebook entry from one of my Husbands friends. It was innocuous enough. Just a few pictures of a school reunion. You know the type of picture, that clearly shows them all having a good time reminiscing ( usually an alcoholic beverage in hand, possibly to explain the silliness of grown men ).

But here is my problem with it. Looking at those photos, I asked Bob
" Jeezalou, doesn't ' So-and-So ' look rather old ? " after a slight pause,
" Do you think so ? I think he looks fine. "
" How much older than us is he then ?"...well ask a stupid question..." Older ? No, in fact he is about four years younger then us ! "

Yes, now I am part of that group. The group that somehow forgets that time has slipped passed them too. On the whole it is a good place to be. When I look in the mirror, normally I still see the same me. Oh sure, a few more wrinkles and the odd and stubborn grey hair, but nothing to make me think I am old. But I think I have now realized that if people younger than me " look " older, then most certainly I have aged too.

Of course, I will try and only post pictures of myself on Social Media, that are possibly taken with a long lens and with candle light ! My top priority is to ensure that none of my friends have to find out that they have aged, by seeing a realistic photo of me...!
Or has that horse already left the barn ?


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Election Campaign Is Finishing...

What an enormous undertaking.

It seems that we have been watching this election campaign for ever. Everywhere you look, there is a part of it on view. Here in Austria, the only English language TV channels we get, are the American News and Business channels, plus one British one. So lately they have mainly covered the campaign. Just seeing it throughout this year, has made me feel exhausted.

Both candidates have got my unwavering admiration for the stamina they possess. This has nothing to do with affiliation to a specific party, but just the mere observation of their physical efforts. In the distance, I can already hear the voices of naysayers, who say that it is part of the deal.

Yes, they chose to run for Office, but have you ever sat back and wondered about some of the specifics of this task ? Giving speeches morning noon and after day, month after month. Getting on and off aeroplanes on a daily basis and mingling with different strangers every day.

For most of us, or maybe just for me, travelling by aeroplane is a major undertaking and extremely tiring. Sure, it is not by private plane but still. Now also imagine giving a speech every day. One that excites and uplifts the crowds. Not so easy.

We all love coming home at the end of a day and just relaxing on our couch ( in old sweat pants ) and watching TV. Isn't this how we all try to " switch off " and regroup ? Take a moment and " walk a mile " in either candidates shoes. I think they both have forgotten what it feels like to lounge in front of the TV, or even what home looks like !

The sheer physical effort that they obviously both have made is unbelievable and admirable. Even more so for the President who still has to govern. Wow. These political careers definitely should have a warning label attached...
Do you think that this could be a reason that there are so few Women contenders ?


Monday, 5 November 2012

Yet Another Monday Morning !

It is true, the older one gets the faster time goes.

Just seeing how fast one Monday appears after the last one, is rather scary. Is time actually accelerating, or is it only our perception of it ? There is still the memory of my childhood, of how extremely long it took from one Father Christmas to the next...!

Of course from the start of the weekend to its close is just a finger today, gone tomorrow. Now and again you get those Sundays that are rare but precious. Those where time crawls along and even when you think it is around bedtime, it is only six o'clock.

Monday mornings can be one of two things. It somehow depends on who, or rather what you are, an optimist or a pessimist. I for one get excited ( obviously not all the time ) because another week has started and opportunities are so much more closer. Should I look forward to an or any event, then Monday morning means that it is a bit nearer. For example, Christmas is now less than two months away...7 more Mondays !

If you are one of those " glass is half empty " types, then today is not a day to speak to you, because I am sure you are grumpy and bemoaning the fact that the weekend is over. Ideally you should have an extra day of weekend as your view of Mondays most likely makes you slightly less productive. Oh, but that would make Tuesday your new Monday...

I stumbled across an interesting video clip of Oprah ( in the Huffington Post ) , where she talks about having kept a gratitude Journal for the last 16 years. Everyday, she writes down 5 things she is grateful for. Having decided to start my own Gratitude Journal, my first entry for today will be :

Grateful that I can experience another Monday.


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Family, The Most Important Thing In The World.

Often we don't realize it.

Family are the people in our life, that know us and therefore can and do sometimes push our buttons. That is for me the most ironic thing, it is mostly people who love us that have the key to push our buttons !

We all have different visions of what the perfect family should be like. What is fantastic for one, is questionable for the other. Comes down to the fact that we like what we know and are comfortable with. Often in my life, I have had glimpses into other family life and kind of wondered how they function ? Not realizing that they thought exactly the same...

Everywhere you look we can find different versions of a " perfect family ". Hollywood has plenty
( my favourite at the moment is the " Everybody loves Raymond " one ) of categories and we can almost choose the one that we would want. In fiction there is an even more prolific choice. The nice thing about fiction is that you can even go back centuries and embrace a family model from that time. Who can forget Elizabeth Bennett and her Mother, from " Pride and Prejudice ".

Having lived far apart from my family for most of my adult life so far, I now relish being with them. Family does not have to be set up in any specific way, you know the ways that Hollywood or Fiction depict it. Family is just great, however it is. Spending time with family, by that I mean being in the same locale, is priceless for me.

Naturally parents tend to sometimes forget that we are grownups and tell us things, that they told us when we were growing up ( in my case obviously not enough times, as I am still guilty of not doing them ). Hands up, whose Mum still says one of the following things to you ?

  • Make sure the bathroom is always clean.
  • Why haven't you done the dishes ?
  • Did I show you how to clean windows ?

You know having family who care enough to tell you the truth is super. Of course it gets back to the thing about pushing your buttons. The way I see it, when people love you enough to tell you what they think about slightly questionable things you do ( as only parents know how to ), you know that life is perfect....because you have family !


P/S: A few of my readers have written comments to me. Unfortunately the Blogger program has classified them as " questionable ". So I can not reply to them. Should they really have been genuine, I apologise about not responding and thank you for the wonderful comments.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Saturday Is Recharge Your " Battery " Day.

Sometimes after any tough week, those days are marvelous.

For so many years I worked six days a week, with just a little bit of time off..small weekend. Now that I don't have set working hours, my days are still somewhat busy and I look forward to the weekend none the less.

But what is interesting, is how everything is geared toward the weekend. It is almost as if a traffic warden is steering us towards our " rest bay ". Here in Austria, all the shops close on Saturday lunchtime until Monday morning. Should you forget that a weekend is looming, just being in any grocery shop will soon set you right. Everyone shops as if they could not get more for weeks.

I must confess, that I usually equate a weekend shop with chips, chocolates and all the yummy foods that I try to deny myself during the week. It would be interesting to see the stats of grocery shops. Do they sell more of these items at weekends ?

Of course the best pointer toward the weekend is the TV. Some stations put nothing of interest on ( maybe they want us to do outdoor things ) while others put all the best movies on, so that those chips and chocolates can be had with glee.

Yet the most important recharge for any of us, is to read what I call " soul enhancing " stuff. You know, some call it self-help while others call it silly. But with our busy lifestyle, we don't get a chance of participating in the old-fashioned way of recharging ourselves...Being with family, visiting friends, going to church or having a hobby such as knitting.

We have forgotten how to stop and smell the roses, and often those books are great at reminding us of how to deal with our stressful life. Yesterday I discovered another gem. As I have told you before, I love reading the Huffington Post, and now they have a new section...the " Oprah " section. It's is a smorgasbord of " Oprah-esque " stuff, that is a delight to delve into. Try it, it is Saturday after all !

I will also put some links to Self-Help books from Amazon.

Amazon USA Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being

Amazon Germany/Austria Das Buch der Lösungen: Spirituelle Antworten auf alle Lebensfragen


Friday, 2 November 2012

Getting A Present From Your Bank...

What are the odds, in this day and age ?

Every year, this is the second time for us, our local Bank, Raiffeisen Bank, gives a little back. Somehow I think this happens all over Austria, but I can only vouch for us here.

From one day to the next, a little tented area with benches and tables was put up. Right out front of the Bank entrance. Just dandy in case someone forgets about it, although in a village our size, the bush telegraph had already done its job. My Mum had phoned and arranged for us all to meet there the next morning.

Knowing that everybody would get two sausages, breadroll and a drink of their choice, we tried to be hungry ( hard to do as it was just after breakfast ). But before even queuing up for the food, we went inside the bank and got a present each !

Wow, can you imagine getting a present, any present, from your bank ? A little something that says that they appreciate our custom. How ingenious to do that. Oh I know, that ultimately we have paid for this present, but it is the thought that counts. I mean, we never question who really paid for a present that our spouse gives us...!

This brought back memories of getting a " savings piggy " ( piggy bank ? ) as a young girl in Germany. But I must say, that all my years in South Africa, I can't remember ever getting a present from a bank. In fact, they loved to still charge me, when I gave them a present. What else would you call depositing money ?


Bob posing with our bounty...


Thursday, 1 November 2012

Discovering A New Use For Clothes Pegs.

Making a Pizza dough with help from a few kids

Yesterday was rather an action day for us, as we had a bunch of kids over. The order of the day was to only speak English, a sort of English holiday camp. Great stuff for us. Bob and I were pleased as punch to have them and planned different activities to keep them interested for six hours. The ages ranged from young to just pre-teenager.

Anyone who has children, knows that it is not so easy to keep them riveted for such a long time. Especially since we took the computer away and did not use the TV...Yes, quite a feat ! We played a lot outdoors ( I even did a stint as goalie, not realising how hard these guys kick a ball ) but we also played the different board games inside.

For lunch we made a pizza from scratch. I wasn't sure whether any of them would be interested in watching, yet alone helping me. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised. They all fought to help out. From kneading the dough, stirring and seasoning the tomato topping to artfully placing the grated cheese on top.

Now this was rather educational for me. Not having children, I did not realize how precise they are in certain things. The cheese for example. Each bit of cheese ( grated Mozzarella has many ) had to be place strategically. Considering there were 7 boys and only 2 girls, I think that the whole Pizza making could be called a success !

Of course I was silly enough to make the dough with the live yeast. The boys bravely volunteered to crumb it in, with the one proviso... they all pleaded with me to give them clothes pegs for their nose ! It was the funniest thing to watch. The boys bravely did their job and afterwards asked me to take the peg off.

Even though they were all involved in the whole process, when it came to eating it a few unfortunately remembered the smell of the yeast. You could hardly taste it, but you know kids...! One win for me was that they all tried it and a few had seconds. It was fantastic to see how they all helped but while they were eating it, I heard a shout of " I rather make a frozen pizza ". Oh well you can't win them all.

When the parents came to collect them, I warned them that a they might hear a moan or two about the kids not being able to use the computer. Just in case we came across as " baddies " for denying access to the computer. There are a lot of things I need to of the Dads almost did a dance of joy at hearing that his kids did not use a computer all day !