Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Howling Winds...

Kind of Romantic !

Nowadays the weather is literally up to the powers that be. Predicting it or rather expecting it to behave according to norm, is useless.

In the middle of the night I woke up to howling winds...outside the house, not inside the bedroom ! The type that make the glass panes vibrate, tree branches bend like plastic toys and noises that are scary ( I suppose that could also describe some winds inside the bedroom ). But how romantic.

Cocooned in my duvet, with only a nose exposed to the cold air, this windy situation made me remember camping trips that we had taken in the Berg. Isn't it just the best to be inside a little tent when the wind tries its hardest to move it.

Sometimes even I felt a bit embarrassed by how many things I packed for just a weekend of camping. Especially when we went together with some friends who were ' professional ' campers. You know the type, who build their tent in seconds and only have a bag of stuff between them !

Just reminiscing about these camping trips taken in South Africa, makes me remember the other side of romantic camping. The sleepless nights, because I thought I hear a wild animal outside, while in the Drakensberg. Our tent usually was closest to the perimeter and even the local cat sneaking past, made me think it was a leopard. Yes, I admit that at times I could be a bit of a drama queen !

At another instance, camping near a river in the Umkomaas Valley, someone told me to be careful as there were plenty of poisonous snakes and scorpions about. Well, really, why would you even make me go there ? No sleeping for me, and definitely no midnight toilet excursions. Even Bob's toes touching me during the night set me of in a series of screams.

Life is great and even scary events can make for some good memories. Let's see what today brings...


Wednesday, 30 January 2013

A Positive Feeling From Davos .

The economic corner seems to have turned.

Often watching the business channels, you can actually feel yourself being herded with the masses. You know, the news one gets told is in a way selective and leaves me sometimes wondering who decides what to report and what not.

This past week, there were an enormous amount of interviews from Davos. The business, economic and political elite were the ones giving their opinions. Because of their stature, they told it like it is...! Refreshing, honest and educational. What most of them had in common, was the idea, thought or knowledge that as a whole ( of course there are still some areas who haven't ), we have turned the corner.

Wow, isn't that a great feeling. I for one, picture it like a whole lot of domino pieces lined up around the world waiting to do their thing and be useful. The ignition has been absent, but I think that the first lot of ignition pieces have now done their duty and fallen onto the next one. Yes, the momentum has started.

There is an ocean ( I love picturing it like that ) of cash waiting to be used. From buying equipment, making more stock, buying houses or just...buying. Can you imagine, how many jobs will be resurrected or even created by this ? Naturally not everyone will benefit, but the dominoes of growth and positivity are tipping forward and spreading around the world.

More than likely there will be a buying frenzy with some of that money. Stock markets should gain in value, even though some are already rather high. Of course the real mavericks of power have already done their purchasing ahead of the crowd. Regardless, that spending will have an impact on the economies as a whole and hopefully the ensuing " positive " feeling will shift us collectively into a good place.

P/S : This is just my opinion and NOT a prediction...

Biggi Economist - UK Edition The Economist - EU Edition

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Long Hair.

The pro's and con's of it !

It starts of when we are little, with the introduction to " Rapunzel ". Wasn't it every girls dream to have long blond hair, and use it to get her prince ? Oh the memories... :Rapunzel (Best-loved Classics)

Seeing that I managed to get my " Prince " having long hair, I am loathe to part with it. Silly really, because spouses tend to see the not-so-glamourous look more often than not... Security blanket, femininity or just plain old habit have a lot to do with it. The imprint of all years seeing the various commercials, you know the ones where women only have lustrous long and shiny hair, resulting in a " great " life, is hard to discard.

Who remembers the old ad of Brooke Shields and her jeans ( with a mane of great hair ). You know, it is not so easy to do the toss & swing of long hair ! Many a chiropractor has had repeat business from the fore mentioned folly... In a way, I do admire those brave ones, who go ahead and just chop it all off.

The bane of having long hair, can be summed up in a few tends to stay behind !

  • on you car seat
  • on your jersey
  • on the floor, check out the bottom of your vacuum cleaner.
  • even more awful, on someone else's car seat.
  • in the shower
  • yuk, in the pot, while you cook ?
  • alarmingly in your hairbrush.

It is a wonder we still have hair at all. I think this list could have a few more entries. Regardless, I am still fondly attached to my long hair at the moment but the hair-clock is ticking and the age of a short-do is approaching...

Biggi : Keep your long hair shiny...Redken Blonde Glam 300 ml Shampoo + 250 ml Conditioner (Combo Deal) (Shampoo & Haarspülungs Sets)

Monday, 28 January 2013

S.O.K.O. .

The German term for " C.S.I "

Somehow I think that with the turn of the new century, the exponential growth in the " C.S.I " shows started. The first one I ever saw and started to follow addictively, was
the C.S.I ( Las Vegas ). Wow, what a mind blowing concept.

Naturally it is fiction, so a lot of real professionals thought it was un-believable ! Fair enough, they saw the real deal daily, but we non-professionals lapped it up. So much so, that more and more C.S.I's were produced and many more possibly in the future, as no producer will ever run out of cities to name it after !

Here in Austria and Germany we do share the same language, albeit with many differing accents
( some not understood by either ), and thus the same TV programs. To my delight, there is a plethora of S.O.K.O' s ( C.S.I ) on the various channels.

As with anything in life, some are better than others. But what they luckily all still have in common is the fact, that I have yet to see a bullet hovering in slow motion in the air. How annoying is it to see such futuristic stuff. It is ample to show us the " sudden " appearance of violet light when they find blood residue. At least I think so...

Local mannerisms are brought to the fore in the corresponding S.O.K.O. and that is a good thing as each city has its own identifying nuances. It must also bring a lot of revenue into the city coffers which of course is an even better point. These shows are also great advertising for Tourism. Bob and I, have already put a few cities on our list of places to visit.

Have you got a favourite show that is produced in your own neck of the woods ? One that you like to watch ?

Biggi :SOKO Wien - Staffel 1 [3 DVDs]SOKO Kitzbühel Folge 1- 10 [2 DVDs]SoKo Leipzig - Staffel 1 [3 DVDs]Soko Edition: SOKO Stuttgart, Vol. 1 [4 DVDs] there are so many more...

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Locally Produced And Made Movies / TV Programs.

A treasure trove in plain...view !

Surely most of us have grown up to the backdrop of Hollywood movies. We all remember where and when we first saw the " majors ". In a way we have become social movie snobs, thinking that only a Hollywood movie is worth enthusing about.

Look, there are some fantastic Hollywood movies out there, but we tend to forget the wonderful treasure trove of local productions ( should you read this in Hollywood, then you are already watching local... ).

Living in Austria, I am spoiled for choice as to what to watch first. The locally made TV Series
Vier Frauen und ein Todesfall - 3er-Fan-Package *Staffel 1 + Staffel 2 + Staffel 3* [6 DVDs] or even old classics such as Straßenfeger 15 - Oberinspektor Marek [4 DVDs] ), to name but a few, are just a joy to behold. Just here in Austria, there are some great actors. Being so focused on only watching one genre of programming, you tend to forget that there are others.

The fine nuances that makes anything exceptional, are all there. When did you last take the time to watch a series or movie that was made in your neck of the woods ? An added bonus is that you don't have to watch a dubbed version. Can you imagine, an original sound track ! Of course, living in Burgenland, there is nothing more local than the series made in the vineyards of Burgenland .Der Winzerkönig - Staffel 1 [4 DVDs]

Worldwide, the " Slow Food " movement has taken a big hold. Why can't we also have a " Slow Movie/TV " movement ? Take a day a week, where you only focus on and watch stuff that was made in the country you live in ? There's an idea.

More than likely, I am preaching to the converted ! But if not, go an an adventure trip in your lounge, and watch a local show.


Saturday, 26 January 2013

Austria's Famous Downhill Ski Race.

The Hahnenkamm Race in Kitzbuehel...unbelievably exciting.

First off, try and watch this race online or on TV. Roku HD Streaming Player It is one of the most nail-biting sports genres to watch. Even for those who like to watch scantily clad sportsmen compete ( rugby players, soccer players,swimmers ) in their field, this won't disappoint as the skiers for some reason are clad in a bodysuit resembling, eh....nothing!

For this winter sport, the aim is to get from A to B. A, being almost on top of the mountain and B being almost at the bottom. In between there is a course that can only be described as breathtakingly scary. Curves are put on impossible steep terrain and the piste is mostly icy.

Television being as advanced as it is, watching it you can hear the ice crack and moan under their skis. By the way, skis that are waxed to perfection. The faster the better. Average speed for the course is 106 kmph. Average meaning that at times they go even faster. Going that speed in your car on the highway and on a straight road is scary enough, but imagine gliding down a hill at that speed... on waxed skis and dressed in next to nothing ! Taking a sharp 90 Degree corner just up's the level of adrenalin for us viewers.

These men are a joy to watch and to admire. They seem to be fearless ( or just used to hiding that fear ) when they jauntily traverse this difficult piste. Many a times either Bob or I, watching it, hold up a hand before our eyes, in fear !

Bob always jokes, that he could easily do it, but with one condition. He wants his bodysuit to be different. All the skiers wear whitish ones. Not my Bob, he wants a very dark brown one . His thinking is that should he become scared " .... ", no one will notice !

One of the channels that broadcast it is ARD Television- they do have online viewing. The start is at about 11.15 CET. Watching it as a rerun is also worth it.


Friday, 25 January 2013

Walking On Thin Ice...

Slip-sliding across the lanes of Burgenland.

A lot of Villagers are saying, that this winter the snow is way above the norm. Coupled with sub-zero temperatures, it makes for interesting times. Those of you in the Southern Hemisphere hot-spots of Australia and South Africa, with above 40 degrees, might think of this as Nirvana !

Even in this weather, I try to keep up with my morning walk. Checking for weather conditions usually involves looking out the window and possible holding a finger out the window ( isn't that how they did it in the old black and white movies ? ), as it is too cold to just nip outside in your pyjamas.

Somehow it always looks great from the window. The village council has strewn little stone pebbles over most of the lanes. Definitely an interesting sensations under your feet but a welcome one in the winter.

Yesterday I had walked about a kilometer, when the road became really treacherous. The moisture from the day / night before had frozen around the pebbles. Even with them, it was smooth as an ice-rink. Ever the optimist, I ventured on, thinking that it would improve further on. Well, it didn't and at that stage it was stupid to turn around as it would have been the same forward or backward.

My walk took almost double time. Every step had to be slow. Too much forward speed coupled with the weight, caused a frightening slide, where the second foot would have the same dilemma...a split situation ! A wonky stroll / crawl ensued, where I had to look for the areas in the lane with the most pebbles and the least amount of ice.

Almost comical and definitely a YouTube event. Naturally, there had to be a car parked in the vineyards. Hearing conversation, I tried to be nonchalant while walking past. Looking up to greet was out of the question, as I had to watch every step. Somehow I did a little slip and fall in front of them...

This icy adventure had one good thing. It forced me to watch every step. It made me be in the moment. Not thinking about yesterday or tomorrow. I only thought about each and every step at all times. Rather liberating.

When I finally got home and told Bob of my extreme adventure walk, all he said was : " Why didn't you just turn around ? "...


My " old man " and the snow ! Winter is great, except for walking on ice.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Vienna...Only A " Stone's Throw " Away From Us !

Südburgenland to vienna...suprisingly close.

It is just perfect, our piece of heaven here in Burgenland. The small village feel, the sense of community and the wonderful peace and quiet are all there yet it has a little safety net of a major city near by.

I say near by, even though it takes us two hours by car. That is two hours driving the law abiding and clever way. Driving as if your foot has been glued to the gas pedal might be an impressive feature in your twenties, but the real clever ones have figured out that fuel consumption at a speed of 110 kph is much lower. Naturally the ever present " Big Highway Brother " can't send you costly tickets either. Win / Win.

We did a quick round trip to Vienna Airport yesterday morning, to drop off precious family. For Bob and I, it was rather an adventure that we looked forward to ( I admit we don't get out that much ). What made it even more exciting was the early pre - dawn departure. For some reason, a trip always seem vastly more exciting if it starts in the dark !

The two hours it took for us to get to Vienna seemed a long time to us, yet I am willing to bet that there are a lot of people in the world who live in a major city and have a similar daily commute time to work. Luckily for me, Bob did the driving. That saved me from having to circumvent the, at times, irrational and mostly impatient morning work traffic. At one point I did see Bob do a silent salute to a driver that irritated him.

Driving to Vienna yesterday reminded us of the fact, that we live so close to one of the most beautiful cities in the world. One that has heaps of history, castles galore and a charming, welcoming European feel to it.

Future weekend trips will certainly feature for us. Ones where we can go to the Vienna State Opera, have Sacher Torte at the famous Sacher Hotel or just do normal things... like making use of the vast amount of shops that are on offer... !


On the way back to Burgenland. Isn't it a great landscape right next to the highway ?

At about 9 am...sorry I forgot to take pictures when driving to Vienna.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

How Do You Deal With Melting Snow ?

Suddenly the romantic allure of white snow fades...

We have been blanketed in this wonderful white layer. Everywhere your eye can see, it is snowed over. Two weeks of freezing temperatures and repeated snowfalls have compacted and reinforced this whole snowy canvas.

Although, reality has started to show its less pretty face when the temperatures started to rise above freezing. In its way, this melting procedure is also rather interesting. All over you can hear the slow drip drip of water. It seems to come from all sides.

The groaning roofs are finally shrugging off their heavy load and at times you need to be rather agile trying to evade the little snow drops. In our garden, the foot or so of snow has developed little sinkholes where it is starting to melt away. Of course the only sensible footwear is the old-fashioned Wellie Gumboots / Gummistiefel as it kind of allows you a bit of comfort by keeping your feet dry ( somehow water always seems to find a way into mine ) !

Murphy's law, the few meters leading up to our front door, is just a big mud adventure. Traversing it gives you two choices : mud-free footwear and a possible muddy bottom, or muddy footwear but clean bottom ! Yep, extreme weather.

Sensibly, I have decided to forgo the added challenge of a clean entrance hall, until the whole melting procedure is over. If you want to sport pristine and sparkling clean floors, the only way to do this is to get a chair and put it near the entrance. Then sit and keep a cloth handy...every time someone goes in or out, jump into action ! Aah...not.

I would love to know, if any of you have similar problems ? How do you deal with all this muddy mush ? It is a bit drastic to put concrete slabs all over your garden. The garden should still have a natural feel. Every problem has its own solution, as I am sure this one will have as well.


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

When You Get To The Last Page Of A Novel.

Doesn't it Feel as if you are saying goodbye to a friend?

Reading is one of the greatest pastimes in life. Isn't it almost the same as taking a mini-holiday where at the end you are rested and refreshed ?

It starts already with the joy of buying one or several new books where all you know about them, are the little teaser excerpts on the back cover. That feeling of having more than one book in your
" larder " ready to be explored and devoured, is a book lover at least !

Settling on your favourite perch to start the adventure of a new story, with perhaps a cup of coffee, bar of chocolate and or a glass of wine next to you, is an almost necessary part of reading ( I must say, that I struggle to concentrate with a lot of background noise ).

Like anything else in life, you get average, good and excellent books. Investing the time to scour the various offerings can be likened to a treasure hunt. The treasure being a book, that takes over your life...

A kind of book, where from the first page it grabs you and almost shackles you to it. The sort, where all else around your life is forgotten while you dive into the world presented in the book. Of course it is fiction, but that does not change the fact, that the places and characters of and in it have come to life.

Can you remember the last book you read, that transported you into its world ? You know, where you sit at work but only go through the motions because in your mind you are still in the heart of that novel ? Where you have already created the picture of how the characters should look, before seeing the movie ? Seeing the movies before reading the original book to my mind is a huge mistake.

Unfortunately like all good things, the end of the novel approaches without fail. In some cases much too soon and in other cases not soon enough ! I don't know about you, but I start to savour the last few chapters. When you are so immersed in the story, saying goodbye to it is just awful. Maybe that is why novels with a sequel are so popular...just think Twilight ( Amazon.deThe Twilight Saga Complete Collection ) or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
( Amazon.comStieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy Bundle: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest ) .

What I find so worrying, is that so many children don't read...anything. It is rather difficult to escape the lure of computerized entertainment, but I think that once a youngster has tried and had the taste of an " unputdownable " book, they will be hooked. Why don't we book-lovers try and convert one child to the joys of reading ?

The famous five started my adventure with reading, even by torch light under the duvet, if Famous Five Classic 21 Book Box set


Monday, 21 January 2013

Living Next To A Forest And Hearing Gunshots.

Could that have been a Hunter or a Poacher ?

Living in the country has its many identifying sounds. At least I like to think so. Our house being a mere spitting distance from the forest, has more defined sounds than others. Now and again we hear what sounds like a dog barking for minutes on end, but that is only a stag ready to mate...calling his ladies to action, or sometimes barking up the wrong tree !

Last night, while dozing off, a series of shots formed a background to the pristine silence that you only achieve in a rural setting. Just about a minute before, a car had driven past. We hardly have any traffic past our house, so most cars are memorable.

Having just read a bit of a murder mystery Killing the Shadows ( a bit of reading before bed to calm the mind !!! ), the sounds of gunshots fell on a receptive mind. Almost simultaneously several scenarios ran through my mind.

They ranged from a person being chased, to a poacher doing his illegal activity to the local hunter culling the various animals. Of course these gunshots do happen now and again and somehow I never even think to phone anyone about them.

Surely it must have been one of the local hunters. But I am amazed at their constitution. It was a few degrees below freezing and being out there in the middle of the night can't have been a picnic. Thermal undies only go so far in keeping one warm...

Come spring and summer, I am up with the sparrows to walk. But I make sure that I put on clothes that make me look like an illuminated Christmas tree. There is no way that I want to tempt one of the hunters, in the twilight, to mistake me for an " old dear "...


P/S : Dear readers, some of you have written some great comments to me. Thank you for that. But unfortunately they are being handled by blogger as a " foreign " entity and I thus am hesitant to reply. Please could you give me your blog addresses without a cloaking link, so I can reply to you all ?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Having A Loo With A View...One Drawback !

A view tends to be a two way affair...

Usually when it gets close to sundown(er) time, we go and lock our gate. Purely an aesthetic function, as it is easy to climb over. Years of conditioning have done their trick. The gates must be locked and only now am I used to the freedom of not having burglar guards on all the windows and doors.

Yesterday at about five pm, I went to the bathroom with, eh, intent. As we have a huge window onto the lane, Bob tends to always have half the curtain drawn, you know the half that eh..obstructs his equipment from possible passer-by's. Naturally I have never seen the point. We have so little passer-by's and surely it would not be noticeable from the lane !

When you do something hundreds of times, you are set on automatic pilot. I switched on the light, went into the bathroom and was almost in the process of pulling down my pants, when I saw two men walking past, looking in and waving. Oh dear, talk about ALMOST being caught with your pants down ! A touch embarrassing.

Obviously they wanted to talk to me. I went to the window, opened it while trying to appear nonchalant ! Straight off, I had recognized the local volunteer fire brigade uniform. " Hello, we tried to come through your gate, but you have locked it up like Fort Knox ", was the first thing he said followed by, " We are here to give you a ticket for the local " Firemen's Ball " and to collect donations."

Everyone here is a neighbour, but I had not seen him before. It could have been a comedy classic. We were chatting over the windowsill and through the open window. He must have been aware of the shower, but hopefully not of the toilet and its implications.

Quick as a flash I ran into the bedroom to fetch my offerings and when I got back to the waiting firemen ( leaning into my bathroom ), talking non-stop was all I could do to not burst out laughing. After a minute they left, and I had all the possible ensuing pub stories ( with the bathroom and me in the leading role ) running through my mind.

From now on, I will make sure both curtains are drawn...!

Biggi Loo Companion: Are You Sitting Comfortably? :The Loo Companion: Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Just to show you the lay-out. This picture was taken in spring with another blog story . Yesterdays event was punctuated with the crunching of snow.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Tigger Our Cat Out On Guard Duty ?

Working For Her Supper, perhaps...

Normally Tigger is only seen by us, once it comes closer to her feeding times. Her head usually pokes rather prominently through the gap in the barn door. For her the name of the game, is to catch our attention and make sure we bring her milk and treats. When the treat is delectable ( tuna can ), we get a " Thank You " in the form of a dead small bird on our doorstep !

Where we have her feeding ' trough ' is right under the ladder leaning against a roof ledge with plenty of hay on top. In fact, her bedchamber. No matter how much we feed her or how heavy she appears, she is up those steps in seconds. That is also were I pictured her spending leisurely days and nights .

We installed one of those marvelous sensor porch lights. When we get home after dark it shines a wonderful and welcoming halo over our front door. But there are slight worrying aspects to it too.

More often than not, I am in front of the telly watching late night movies on my own. Bob sensibly makes an exit to the bedroom and uninterrupted sleep at about 9 pm. Somehow, with a touch of stubbornness, I want to see the end of movies, where quite obviously ( possible snoring evidence )
I missed the beginning.

Fine and well. There I am bundled up in the dark lounge with only the flicker of the TV throwing the occasional light, when at usually the most scary part of the movies, the outside light suddenly flicks on. We have a big lounge window ( I don't like to draw the curtains ) and it feels like the stage lights have suddenly come on. The first few times, my heart raced while I lay frozen on the couch expecting the villain to come to the window.

After a few episodes of this, I got brave and went to the window to inspect ( it is triple glazed after all ). Who should I see outside, hopping and skitteling about but Tigger, our now suddenly nocturnal wanderer. I think she actually enjoys the lime light. Or it seems like it, as it happens four to five times most nights. For all I know, she is guarding us against the dangerous, marten or the neighbours cat ?


Only picture I could find of her, in front of one of the barn doors. She has the look of : " Where is my food ? "

Inspecting her territory. Taken in summer where she was more slender.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Weight - Lifting !

Our new winter outdoors fun...with snowflakes.

When you see them individually they look romantic, interesting and jolly nice ! Collectively they are still ( to my mind ) a scene of romance and comfort but they have one extra attribute...they are heavy.

Our part of Austria got another special blessing from the celestial snow-department which in fact made sure that it snowed almost continuously for a whole day. Every time you glanced out the window, you could see the flakes landing on each other. Almost fitting as a movie backdrop !

As there was still snow on the ground, this new lot really reached vast heights. So, armed with a shovel, gumboots and extra warm clothing, the fun began. Ek Mt Hly Tall Dck 18693 Damen Snowboots

Seeing this blanket of snow did not even give us two " Newbies " a clue as to what extreme effort we had to use. Secretely I thought it would be a piece of cake, shifting this lot of snow. In fact I jauntily told Bob not to worry, as I could do it easily on my own. Ha, little did I know !

Who knew that those little snowflakes could be so heavy. Jeez-a-lou, after the first few shovels my back seized up along with a lot of muscles. Add insult to injury, my fingers were icicles inside my gloves. That was only after a few minutes ! But I thought, lets me do as much as I can.

Luckily for me, our lounge window overlooks the driveway, and Bob watching me couldn't help to sort of tell me where to shovel more being men.
Me being me, I thought here is a perfect opportunity for not appearing a weakling : " If you think you can do it better, be my guest. I'll leave you the shovel ! "

As I said, snow looks really light, and Bob fell for my fact he was outside in a flash, taking the shovel from me. It did not take him long, to realize what he let himself in for....'s Skills 100% Waterproof Winter Snow Walking Boots Zip Black

In the end, we both did one groove ( for the tyres ) each and fought over the middle hump. At least we both got an extreme good workout.


If you look closely you can see the fruits of our labour at the top of the picture...two grooves !

I was going for the famous " Angelina " pose...need a dress for it, of course !

Doesn't this look so romantic ?

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Leftover Food Can Be Delicious.

No need to throw anything away...

Like most others, I love to bite into a fresh, warm and delicious piece of bread. Using leftover bread for other meal ideas, frees me up to have fresh bread as often as possible.

You know, once you start to think along the lines of " not-to-waste-food ", the ideas abound. Some of you will embark on this adventure purely because of financial pressures and others because they want to do their bit to save our planet's precious resources .

Here are a few ideas that I can think of. Maybe you know a few more ?

  • Bread and Butter pudding.
  • Homemade Knödels...using stale bread rolls.
  • Sliced and fried Knödels...leftover squared !
  • Chunks of stale bread dunked into a big cup of coffee or hot milk.
  • Resurrect shrunken vegetables in a homemade soup.
  • Lovely, scrumptious and easy to make Banana Bread.
  • Homemade pizza with yesterday's mince on top.

Isn't it ironic, that sometimes the best tasting meals happen to come about, when we just use whatever is left in the cupboard or fridge.
Of course, trying to make it again never seems to work out !

Let me know, what you created with left-over or stale food ?

Biggi :Use It Up Cookbook: Creative Recipes for the Frugal Cook The Thrifty Cookbook: 476 Ways to Eat Well with Leftovers : Das Nichts Wegwerfen Kochbuch

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

" Finish Your Food, There Are People Starving In Africa "

Who remembers this growing up ?

As a small child, it used to puzzle me. How exactly would you send the left-over beans/meat/eggs/potatoes to the starving children in Africa ? Wouldn't it start to stink and look funny ?

It did the trick up to a degree, with of course stuff we really didn't like ( the ever parental favourite liver and spinach ) still ending up in the bin. Even now, being all grown up, this phrase often shoots through my mind while throwing away stuff that should and could have been eaten.

Well, the penny suddenly dropped for me when I saw a report to do with the chronic waste of bread ( here is a wonderful blog related to the subject of food waste : ).
They did not mean bread with multi-coloured mould. No, they mean bread that was from the day before ! Look there is nothing better than eating a fresh bread roll or bread with butter almost melting on it...

But by always buying more bread than we need and then throwing it out we in part have driven up the prices...Worldwide ! In some countries the price of bread is so high, that people can't afford to buy it often or at all.

Could our more responsible buying habit and indirectly eating habit, make a difference to the poor people in Africa, or others ? You know, only buying bread ( or food ) that you know you will eat.
It is worth a try, isn't it.....?

If this makes you think twice about throwing good food out, please forward or share this. We could collectively make a big difference. Thank you.


Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The Most Positive Group Of People...?

Children of course !

We have had two days of snowfall and from what I am reading on the social networks ( mainly moans ), it is happening in several parts of Europe. Our part of Burgenland is cloaked with the most romantic layer of white.

As romantic as it is, it does require some effort. Clearing the driveway, uncovering your car and trying to walk without your behind saying ' Hello ' to the floor. To be honest, I did grumble while shoveling snow off our driveway. Fingers do tend to become glacial and the back twitchy with mini-pains. Who knew that snow weighed so much ?

Being a recent émigré to the northern hemisphere, I imagined that with a few feet of snow fall, the schools would be closed. In South Africa it would have been an emergency. Waiting at the local hall to collect a key, I saw the school bus stop.

Apart from a couple of waves from inside the bus, three girls ( from our English class ) got off equipped with their own plastic sleds and snow clothes. How cool is that. Here I was thinking all would stand still, yet for the children it is an adventure that they embrace wholeheartedly. Taking your sled to cool is that ?

Even walking the last few meters to their house with their sled in tow, they were enjoying the snow on the verges. For them it was the height of fun, to jump,roll or make snow angels in the layers of snow. Talk about making lemonade when life gives you lemons...!

Biggi :Red plastic 2-seater sledge for children : R.P.L. Trading Hörnerrodel mit Lattensitz Colint

Walking to our class. I promise, this is Bob...

Our village Church basked in the snow...

Outside our bedroom.

I just like this photo.

Monday, 14 January 2013

How To Start Off The New Week...

Another week for wonderful things to happen.

  • Try it a different way....look forward to going to work.
  • Wear your nicest clothes...feel like a million dollars.
  • Take a new route to work.
  • Treat yourself to the best lunch you can afford.
  • Hand out compliments like candy....make someone's day !
  • Read a new book, one that you don't want to put down.
  • Look at your workplace as one of opportunity.
  • Expect nice things to happen for you....and they will.
  • Say Thanks ( aloud or in your mind ) for the fact that you have a job to go to.
  • Play in the snow or bask in the sun, depending where in the world you live !
  • When you get home, cook a Supper to remember and rent out your all-time favourite movie !
  • Never forget, that you are the most in important person in your life.
  • When you start to value yourself, good things are never far off...


When you make wine, you have to pick out the not so pleasant life, accept that there are unpleasant things, but let it not distract you from the " vat " of goodness.

The " left over " good stuff needs to be pressed to get every last drop from it.

Then you can savour every drop...enjoy every moment in your life !

Sunday, 13 January 2013

When Life Gives You A Green Light...

It takes courage to follow it.

Routine is a great comforter but before you know it, routine and a few decades of your life have melded together and young people are calling you " Mam " or " Sir " ! Isn't that just the most frightful reminder of growing older, especially if you haven't ( consciously ) realized that you have aged a bit ? Watch others being " Mam'ed and Sir'ed " and you can see some real flinching going on. It looks at times rather comical. You know, when the penny drops !

Naturally there is nothing wrong with that if you have found your passion early on in life...apart from the " harsh & real " reminders of being older ! It is hard to give up routine, as it usually is a life of ease, financial stability yet without surprises.

Aren't we all mostly creatures of habit ? In a bizarre way we want to change our status quo, yet we get scared when we get an opportunity.

As we age, the list of " Should have done it " gets more and more entries. I know that there are some memorable ones on mine. The do go hand in hand with strengthening our character but only up to a point. How do we know that " should do " needs to be " yes do it now " before it becomes
" should have done it "...again ?

Well, I for one know that things are going according to plan in my life, when the " Green " light starts showing up ( Oh, there are so many entries for this list and I know that each of you could put several more on it ).

  • Eg. the actual traffic lights are all green, most of the time.
  • When you think of someone and they phone you unexpectedly
  • You suddenly meet someone who can help you along in on a new career path.
  • You see an article in a magazine or newspaper that mentions the idea you are secretly toying with.
  • Everything bureaucratic goes without any friction.

When you know that life should be different, it gets harder to change and do it. What got me off my perch of comfort and stability, was the thought of suddenly being 60 and still sitting on the same perch.

When you follow your inner green light, it might get difficult and scary being without the support of a perch and safety net, but it helps you discover new strength, passions and talents...and most important of all, it brings joy and laughter and dare I say, excitement, back into your life !

Biggi :Green Light Your Life: Awakening Your Higher Self : Green Light Your Life: Awakening Your Higher Self

Saturday, 12 January 2013

South-Burgenland Is A Great Place To Raise Kids.

There is something to be said for Small-Village Living.

In fact, the small communities encourage people with children to move here or to ...make more ! The local schools do need a certain number of attendees to stay open. When you hone in on the various village ' conversations ' among women, you often hear the other villages spoken of in a slightly more awed and envious tone.

Villages that have had a recent Baby-Boom ! In a village with about 400 inhabitants, a sudden baby-boom of 12 raises admiration and also the thought : ' What type of water have they got ? '

The Zeitgeist dictates that everything should be bigger, better and newer. In fact it is extremely hard to keep up with having it all. Even harder to raise kids who are happy with the ' normal ' things.

You know, the things we ( the pre-computer ) generation used to enjoy and live for:

  • Rushing home after school to go and play outside with your friends.
  • Playing cowboys & Indians or just soccer.
  • Building a fort in the garden.
  • Walking over to your best friends house at the drop of a hat.
  • Walking home from school.
  • Houses without burglar guards or huge security fences.
  • Knowing most people who live in your Neighbourhood.
  • Learning the social niceties that are so important in life.

Obviously even the kids here are obsessed with the latest computer game or toy but they spend a huge amount of time " being kids ". Just one of the factors that makes a lot of young families from Vienna move back here, once the Stork dropped by to visited them.

I really love living in this wonderful place and I am quite sure that there are many more spattered around the world. Yet for me, this part of Burgenland is just the " Bee's Knee's "...


Part of our wonderful village!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Parking Made Easier...

Cars that park themselves, could they be the new normal ?

Let's be honest, no actually let me be honest. Parking the car is not one of my favourite past times. Parallel parking is naturally at the top of that list.

It doesn't help that I am a woman and blonde because these two, let's face it, attributes are usually used to make fun of bad ' parkers '. That famous three point guide for parallel parking is just not imprinted in my DNA and I somehow tend to find an alternative to this parking space. Even if I have to pay extra !

There is nothing more stressful to me than to try to park while the cars behind me have to wait. Invariably two of my car's wheels tend to be half way in the road. Usually you only notice this when you get out. So another round of forward and backward nudging occurs. The ensuing hooting and head shakes are not helpful either...

Seeing men drive into these parking spaces by using only a little finger on the steering wheel and on the first attempt, is not so great for my driving self-esteem either !
Already I can foresee loads of perfect women drivers shake their head in exasperation, but as I said, I am just being honest.

Imagine my joy at seeing a self-parking car on TV. The beauty of it is that you still sit in the drivers seat and look cool, executing a perfect parking sequence. Yes, they have been around long enough but they only crossed my peripheral today. ( I found a review in USA Today )

Bob of course parks like a champion. The only times he wavers, is when the co-driver ( ie. his slightly annoying wife ) takes in a hiss of air, stamps on imaginary brakes or dares to ask,
" Can you really make it, the other car looks awfully close ? ".

Are there other people out there who live in fear of parallel parking ? Men, hopefully ? Other co-drivers who tend to do the same as me ? Drop me a line and if you know of a bad ' parker ' forward this to them...


Amazon.deWarum Männer nicht zuhören und Frauen schlecht einparken: Ganz natürliche Erklärungen für eigentlich unerklärliche Schwächen : Could I be the only one, after all ? Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Women Are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Boys Tend To Be The Same, No Matter What Age.

A sudden ' woohoo ' from the class !

We have a small group of boys ( ages of six to eleven ) who come to us every week for English conversation. For us it is great fun and hopefully for the boys as well.

Naturally at that age a few of the things we do are considered boring and not fun. Especially as we unplug anything computer-like and they are not allowed to bring anything resembling one ! In the beginning it was rather a bitter pill to swallow but they are sort of used to it by now.

Yesterday I was playing Rummy with Sam in the kitchen and the rest were playing Memo with Bob in the lounge. Suddenly I heard the TV. Someone had found the remote and used it. As it was on the CNBC channel and in English, I kind of said to Bob to leave it on if they wanted. Soon they would grow tired of the business News and switch it off.

Oh yes, I could hear the moans of boredom. Well...all of a sudden, there was a collective and extremely loud ' woohoo '. The youngest boy came running through to us in the kitchen, giggling and blushing simultaneously and lent in to whisper in Sam's ear. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what was going on.

A further clue was Bob's comment : " Darn, I pressed the wrong button on the remote, help me ! ". All the time, there was great giggling, laughing and surprisingly whispering as well. Sam in his haste to see had thrown his cards on the table and galloped to the lounge. He didn't want to miss a thing !

But Bob had already found the ' off ' button. I think he was more embarrassed then anyone. Our remote for the satellite programs is old and at times the buttons tend to get stuck. It's rather annoying when it takes a while to land on the channel you want. Bob had wanted to get CNN on channel 123 but instead had got channel 1233.

For those of you who take the trouble to surf to such high numbers, it will come as no surprise, that the programs aimed at a more mature audience reside in this range ! These are pay per view and we don't have them connected but they do show a title image if you happen to stumble
across it. Enough to cause a " woohoo "...

Well, I must say, it was a class to be remembered. Certainly Bob and I won't forget it in a hurry. P/s next time the TV will be unplugged at the wall...


Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Over 40 And Trying To Keep Up With Technology...

Or rather, trying to learn how to use it !

Look, I am rather fond of my age ( even though I grumble to Bob at times ) and the knowledge I have collected through life experiences. One area though, leaves me feeling a range of emotions. Technology.

Technology can make me feel fantastic, those moments when I understand it ( eg. when nephew Sam, at the age of 4, patiently and kindly showed me the way into the realm of Angry Bird ), or like an idiot, when I ( for example ) don't know even how to send a business card on my phone. Obviously it is a simple procedure, or so the ' youngster ' showing you says !

That, I think, is half the problem. You know, feeling stupid because you don't understand it the first time it is explained to you. Of course, it does not help that the sales assistants in, lets say a shop that exclusively sells Cell Phones, is young enough to be your child.

It's not fair. Of course they know it all ( only technology ), as they have almost had a Cell phone put into their crib. Unfortunately they don't understand how someone could not know it all ! Either their eyes glaze over before they roll them back in apathy or they heave a great sigh of irritation, when you ask them the same question twice...

Bottom line, it is a daunting expedition when you need to go and find out about how to use even a simple technology product. So daunting, that you would actually rather not have it in the first place.

Why are there not more over 40's helping out, showing us how to use a Mobile Phone,
Smart Phone ( do you need to be smart to use it ), a computerized Flat Screen TV or your child's / grandchild's X-Box 360 ? Imagine having something explained to you with empathy and patience by someone sporting a bit of grey on their hairline.

That could really cause a stampede from us " over 40's ", going to buy all this wonderful and exciting " futuristic " stuff. We are the generation, who first saw and wanted a Mobile phone, when we watched the original " " Star Trek "...can you ever forget the line : " Beam me up, Scotty " ?

A few of you reading this, will snicker and laugh at my ignorance, but I am certain that there are hoards of you, who are not sure how to use all those devices you own. Be brave and post me a comment. One that shows me that I am not the only one, who is in awe of this new technology.. : Star Trek: The Complete Original Series (Seasons 1-3) : Angry Birds Star Wars (PC DVD)