Saturday, 31 August 2013

Psst, Don't Tell Anyone But....

Doing a mini-spring clean was rather enjoyable.

Gosh what is it about Burgenland that it has such a positive influence on me? My Mum has been trying for decades to no avail. But Mum, please don't get too excited as it might have been an one off affair. Let's see how this pans out.

Bob was gone the whole day yesterday helping out a friend. They were doing manly stuff. No, not watching sport or bar-hopping but doing heavy work renovating a house. A few times during the day I thought of my Bob-the-tool-man-Thole wielding a heavy drill...

Not wanting to be idle and knowing that friends are coming to stay next weekend, I tackled those awful household jobs that both of us try to avoid.

Bob in his own way: " Don't be stupid, there is nothing wrong with the way it looks and we don't want to live in a clinical place anyway! ", while I try and ignore it for as long as possible. Is it just me, or does anyone else wish for a cleaning genie to swoop in and help clean up? In case you are wondering, here is a list:

  • Taking the curtains off the rails and washing them. Hanging them back up is an unbelievable workout on the upper arms. I couldn't do one drop without putting down my arms a few times. Those who have done this before, will understand!
  • Scrubbing the whole bathroom top to bottom, twice.
  • Dusting not just around the books, but underneath them as well.
  • Cleaning the underside of the kitchen chairs.
  • ...and more.

This lot with a few extras took me most of yesterday and today is earmarked for the other rooms of the house. So far I am still looking forward to it. Oh dear, I think I am turning into Susy Homemaker.


Friday, 30 August 2013

Old Farmhouse Means Occasional Daily Work!

At least we have an audience.

Moving into an old farmhouse is not for the faint of heart or lazy lot. We do tend to lean towards the latter but are learning as we go along and getting better at it.

Even though we don't use the pigsty, cowshed or hen house for its original intent, we do have a lot of animals on our property. You already know about Tigger who thinks she is the real owner and that we should rather dance to her tune. Yeah right...we do!

We were cleaning out part of our earth cellar and ferrying buckets of sand to and fro. Well, lo and behold, we had a spectator. Tigger chose to cheekily sit outside her home ( a.k.a. pigsty ) watching us with an air of detached but real interest.

Each time we made eye contact she either turned her head away or shyly looked down. But she sat the whole time watching our progress. She wouldn't have been out of place at one of those tennis tournaments, as only her head turned this way and that in order to see what we silly adults were doing.

Yesterday afternoon I set off at about 4 p.m to quickly drop of ( another ) cake with my parents. As I got to the car, Tigger was already circling attractively around her empty food bowl.
" Gosh girly, not before 5.30 " was my reply.

Well upon hearing my high squeaked explanation, she deliberately went to the middle of the lawn and plonked herself down. When I reversed the car out the garage, she was behind me in my line of sight. Oh yes, she was pulling a guilt trip worthy of a 5 year old. Oh, that cat has oodles of character. ( I drove off ignoring this guilt trip like any parent would, but when I came back a bit later, she was finishing her dinner...she has Bob wrapped around her little paw. )

Just to complete our animal farm, this morning our squirrel decided on a vigorous workout on the roof of our " Summer Kitchen ". In a mad dash minute I was on the doorstep with the camera aimed and ready. Farm life is always entertaining and never boring...


Our squirrel should enter a competition. All this happened in a blink of an eye. Glad I caught some of it.
Just before it was running up & down the roof top of our summer kitchen. It sounds more glamorous than it is. It is a one roomed cottage with no electricity or water but with an original wood burning stove & oven.
Bob in the earth cellar.
Oh, I am so so hungry...

Thursday, 29 August 2013

The $10 Luxury Cruise Out Of Reality.

Books, Movies or both?

When you read about the ginormous pay-cheques some actors get, you get an inkling of how much we are all addicted to this form of escape from our everyday humdrum.

Books and movies are a sort of opiate of the masses after all. We all need our fix of it and some of us are greedy and devour both.

There are times when we all feel down and miserable. What better way to forget your sorrows than to step into the first page of a novel. It needn't be a literary masterpiece. But it should be a book that makes you feel as if you are stepping on a luxury cruise liner out of your reality.

Chick-lit does get guffaws and raised eyebrows from some quarters, yet it has the ability to make you feel as if you are stepping into the heroines life. It is often this genre of literature that makes you leave your coat of worries and troubles behind from the first page. Some are more luxurious and make you feel as if a butler took that coat.

What is even more heartwarming ( and that is why I prefer books to movies ) is the fact that the heroine is usually drinking a glass of wine and is often, not endowed with those impossible to achieve, have or keep model looks. She may also have a ladder in her stockings, a pimple on her chin, untidy home & maybe a scuffed shoe. Oh yes, just like us.

Lets not forget the most important plus point of a novel: You will be a part of it for days and not just for 90 minutes. Don't get me wrong, I love movies but in the back of my mind there is usually that clock ticking away those 90 odd minutes. Who hasn't work out the plot by looking at the time frame of a movie?

Bob and I with great foresight shipped all of our books over here. This week I have been on the luxury cruise offered and hosted by Katie Fforde. Come and join this cruise because it is jolly good fun. Fforde Fforde: Collection 1 [3 DVDs] Fforde


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Road Crew Almost Brought Down Our House.

The stuff of legends and honeymoons.

Usually this is written about in romance novels and urban folklore about your honeymoon night. Yet we had our own experience of the walls and foundation shaking and no, it wasn't our honeymoon night either.

When the walls start shaking and you hear that loud reverberating noise it can give you quite a fright. In our case a peek out the window was enough to reassure us. The road crew was busy fixing up the lane outside our house. A warning would have been nice. But the world over, road crews are more concerned with getting on than getting along.

The first photo I dared to take was after the ' ripper-upper ' had done its deed. Can you imagine the sheer power of those spikes on its wheels?
This sand pit of tarmac looks inviting enough to bring a bucket and spade.
The Big Machine outside and lots of onlookers. With any luck the machine will drive too close to our hedge and trim it for us...
When this vehicle-The Steamroller-starts to press down the surface, the waves of its power reverberate right through to your stomach. Never mind that the whole house shakes. As you can see the lane is about 1.50 meters from our house.
The big boss inspects the work.
This is a view from our back bathroom window at the end of the day. We don't have curtains on that window because of the nice view. But as the window is right above the loo, we chose not to use it yesterday...
Action and excitement outside our house with our own road signs.
This morning Bob couldn't help himself. When he saw this scene he rushed outside like a young schoolboy shouting: " Can you believe it, we've got our own red-light district outside our house."


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Are You Sure That Your Grandparent's TV Is Working?

Or your parents for that matter.

Let's face it, even we have the odd moment of panic with those new TV sets. There have been times that all those buttons on the remote made me break out in a cold sweat. Have you never pressed the " oh no " button?

That awful one that should have a warning cover around it. The one where as you press it, everything changes on the TV. Programs disappear and no matter how many other buttons you press in quick panicky succession, the TV keeps mocking you with some sort of computers version of " la, la, lalala "

Unless your Grandparents / old auntie / parents have an antique set complete with Bunny ears, you can be sure, that they have pressed a wrong button along the way.

So here is my question: Do you know that their TV is really working or is it just a surface to put vases on? Only a few brave ones will ask their relations for help. Imagine a a young pup coming in with that ' know-it-all-technological ' attitude and firing off instructions of what to do or not to do! Or even worse, with that attitude of ' jeez, surely everyone knows this? '...

Do you think that these points might apply to your Grandparents:

  • No one likes to be told that they know nothing...
  • They might be embarrassed to tell you, because they know they pressed the wrong button.
  • They don't want to bother you, or be a burden to you.
  • They more than likely won't call a repair man because they are afraid of the cost.
  • They watch one channel on the TV...the one you last had on when you showed them how to use it!
  • They are worried that you'll find out that they are more forgetful nowadays.

Here is a thought: How would you survive a day / week / month without your TV? Not such a fantastic thought now, is it!

If at all possible, go and check up on your elderly relations or anyone that you could imagine needs a bit of help. Apart from anything else, they will be pleased as punch to have you come around for a visit and hopefully ply you with delicious cake and coffee...

Please share this if you agree. Thank you.


Monday, 26 August 2013

A Chill Is In The Air.

A changing of seasons it seems.

Isn't it funny how even now, only a month later, that dreadful last heat wave is almost forgotten. On second thoughts, it is not funny but more of a natural phenomena. This last ( snowed in for days on end ) Winter? Already wiped from my memory...

You get a few foresighted shoppers ( I wouldn't be surprised if they were the ones doing homework during school holidays ) that get enticed enough to buy Winter clothes in Summer. When it's so hot you'd rather rip off most of your clothes, is not the time to even consider trying on thermals etc. Stupid really, because that is when the Winter clothes are on sale!

Opening a window or door first thing in the morning and feeling a rush of cool air hit your body is the most divine feeling. Nature's air conditioning starting off on a low setting. Such a welcome change from being enveloped by a blanket of warm, oppressive and crushing air.

That first cup of coffee tastes even better and doesn't include the pearls of sweat forming above the lips. Look, Summer is not yet over but it is subtly handing over its baton to Autumn. Let's hope it doesn't get mixed up with Winter in between.

This chill has the ability to infuse us with more energy. Doing anything now is considered a breeze! A month ago we all dreamed of spending the day supine on a lilo floating on an imaginary swimming pool. We could have just scraped together enough energy to lift a cold bevy for the occasional sip...sadly most of us had to make do with a darkened lounge or bedroom.

Nature cleverly gives us a few hints of the next one in line in that annual seasons-relay-team. Maybe just in case Autumn drops the obvious reminders for us, it shows us the odd leaf trying on a different coat of colour. A touch of yellow is peeping out and setting the stage for the best feature of Autumn...leaves cloaked in all shades of yellow, orange and brown.


Early morning behind our house.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Homemade Cakes Make Heartwarming Presents.

Giving is almost better than receiving.

Back in South-Africa, Bob and I went through a phase of baking furiously every weekend. Yet we didn't eat these delectable creations. Oh, they were top notch but we baked so that we could give the cakes to our friends & family. Little surprise gifts!

We used to call it our " knock & drop ". We would put the still warm cake on a nice plate, cover it with a cloth and head off to someone's house. Even going down in the elevator caused a stir because the aromas wafting from this plate of heaven were too divine. After a few weeks of this, the elevator seemed to be very occupied all of a sudden on those Saturday afternoons...

When we had arrived at an unsuspecting friend or cousin, we just rang the doorbell. Once they opened we would say: " Hi, here is a little something for you to enjoy. We'll see you."
No, we didn't stay as every family has their own little special family time on a Saturday afternoon.

As the months progressed, those various doors were answered in nano-seconds and the empty plate was swapped for a full one in record time ! Somehow I heard happy stage whispers when the door opened; " Yippy, it's us today ".
All I can say is that when Bob and I eventually ran out of steam, several groans were heard around Maritzburg!!!

Anyway, yesterday I decided to make use of our plums in a different way. Plum cake. Oh, even if I say so myself, the aromas wafting out of the oven are well worth the effort of pitting 1.5 kgs of plums. Isn't it funny how once the flour, sugar & butter start their happy union in the oven, the aroma is recognized by everyone. Almost like the Pied Piper of childhood memories!

When it was time to take it out of the oven, both of us couldn't resist a piece. There must be a law of nature that states:Cakes fresh out the oven always taste the best. Once the tray had cooled down enough for transport, I drove to my parents.

When they saw me walking in with a bulky baking tray, their eyes lit up and I barely had time to put it down before they had a piece. In this case I stayed to have one too. All in all, a perfect Saturday afternoon.


You can see why this recipe calls for 1.5 kgs of plums.
Look, we are not professionals but at least it looks decent...

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Could We Become The " Jamming Couple "?

Our orchard is bursting with its fabulous offering.

Last year we only started our foray into the wonderful arena of jam-making, so that the fruit wouldn't rot on the floor. Once we had realized how easy it was to make jam, the season had run out of time. Typical. No problem, because we had lots of time to plan for this years harvesting season.

The hardest part is wrestling the fruit away from those who love to make Schnapps. ( Yes Bob, you as well! ) Everyone drinks it and mostly the homemade variety. Even the grapes can be used for it. Luckily not too many because the wine from our region is second to none. You should really come and try it. Come to the Weinkost / wine tasting of the local wines on the 7th of September 2013.

Our stash of jams has grown. We have rather a lot of cherry jam, a few apricot ones and two lonely bramble / blackberry one. Alas we didn't get any more blackberries. Bramble bushes should really be renamed, as it can resemble a beehive!

Just try and pick some blackberries and you'll soon hear that slightly scary buzzing sound and sometimes you will even feel that peculiar jet-stream that only bees can produce when they fly to close to you. I didn't have the heart to take all their luscious treats from them and at times I admit to being a bit frightened... It was a case of 1 for us and 10 for the bees. Bees rule!

Our plums have decided to part ways with their homes and are dropping on the floor in alarming numbers and so we have been jamming up a storm in our kitchen. Bob had been surfing the net when he came across the fact, that in America, homemade jams sell for up to 10 dollars a jar! Just imagine selling ours for half or even a third of it ?

Oh yes, our inspiration has been turbo charged. We might have a chance as our orchard has been untouched by anything artificial for at least five years. We are still getting the hang of pruning and we would have never even thought about spraying stuff on them. Chemicals are ghastly in any case.

Thankfully that makes all our fruit tastes out of this world. At least for me. Oh yes, it has that juicy, sweetness of the original flavour ( by original I mean: apple / pear / plum ). That first bite brings back so many childhood memories and tastes. When did you last eat fruit that tasted like it did when we were young?

Our plan so far is to make jam until we run out of fruit. We have a big earth cellar to store them in. Maybe we'll hang up a shingle over it:" SimplyBurgenland Homemade Jams " or our family and friends will get the same presents for Christmas & Birthdays again and again...


Friday, 23 August 2013

Those Cunning Tricks Couples Play On Each Other!

All of a sudden everyone is a genius...

Even those dewy eyed newly-in-loves do it. In the parlance of couples that would be the
' ignorant Honeymoon phase '
. That phase where when you are in it, you think it lasts forever and when you are out of it, you know that the next phase is even better...

Of course you need to stick around long enough to experience it. A lot of disappointed
' Honeymooners ' just split up when it stops being all rosy!

Back to those cunning tricks we all do to one another:

  • Whatever time I go to bed, I like to read a page or two of my current book. More is impossible, as I often fall asleep with it. Bob, with passing years, has started to detest my bedside lamp being on. Well, this morning he owned up and told me that he had put my book next to his side of the bed, so I wouldn't find it! Cheeky so & so...It worked, because I went straight to sleep. Bob 1 - Biggi 0
  • One of you hides clothes that you don't think your partner should wear in public.
    " Really Schatzi / Honey / Stinky, I haven't seen your stove pipes. "
    Biggi 1 - Bob 0
  • We all know what irritates the other. Who hasn't used that as a secret weapon ? You know, doing it a bit more than usual at those times they made you cross.
  • Buying new clothes and only wearing them a few months down the road. When the inevitable " Did you buy new clothes again? " comes your way, you can say with a clear conscious " You mean these pants? Gosh no, I've had these for months! "
  • When my Mother-in-Law was newly married, she was still developing her cooking skills! She had found a recipe for sausage hot pot that was easy to make and naturally hung onto it for dear life. My Father-in-law hated it but didn't have the heart to tell her. One day the dish only used for this sausage hot pot fell mysteriously onto the floor and broke. It was the end of that recipe...We'll never know if it fell or was pushed!!!!
  • Everyone has hidden the remote control when there is a lengthy afternoon of Sport ahead on TV. How else could we carry on watching our RomComs ? We all know that men have forgotten how to change the channel on the TV itself...

Ah, married life is great, isn't it? The fun never ends...


P/S: I need to apologize to a few of my readers. For some reason, I didn't get notification on some comments you left on my blog. So sorry about that but I am trying my best to make sure I don't do that again.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

A Life In The Slow Lane.

Don't knock it until you've tried it!

Keep right pass left or keep left pass right...depending on which part of the globe you drive in. Have you ever driven on that side of a highway or do you tend to leave that for the faint of heart and grey-brigade?

But here is the thing: They have known all along that going slow still gets you there. In fact the journey becomes the fun bit and not only the destination. You know, the ' fast-laners ' are so obsessed with getting to the end that ironically they miss out on the wonderful & worthwhile bit in the middle.

What makes your life worthwhile? Oh, of course most of us would like to have oodles of money to buy the latest " This & That ", live in a mansion and vacation in exotic places. Yet, there is one small detail we all forget at times.

Please raise your hand, if you are on or use FaceBook. Apart from keeping up with friends and family, what do we mostly use it for? Oh yes, the pictures of our holidays / our new car / new boyfriend...You see, without people to share it with ( or show off to ) all those luxuries we think are what life is all about, become empty and meaningless.

Here is the start of a list. A list of items that normally happen in the slow lane of life. Please help me finish it...:

  • Meeting a friend for a cup of coffee and having a chat about anything & nothing.
  • Going for a walk and having a chance encounter with a friend.
  • Having the luxury of spending loads of time with your family.


This photo reminds me of the good & slow life...

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Do You Still Play The Number Plate Game?

Eh, do you know your own number plate?

Most of us started as youngsters on those long and dreary drives to our holiday destination. Our generation didn't have computers mounted on the back of the front seat or a Nintendo in our clutches.

If it is true, I don't know, but I have heard stories of parents having panic attacks when their offspring's smartphone is broken or lost on the eve of a long car trip...?

No, our entertainment was maybe a book ( not for everyone because of carsickness ), Barbie or Ken, a pack of cards or the most priceless toy of all-our own imagination.

Looking for triples ( 000 / 111 / 222 ....) on the number plates was the best game in town. Even better if you could compete with a pesky and in some cases ' know-it-all ' sibling. Each one had his own window to check the passing cars.

Fast forward a few decades, and I have to admit that I still look at number plates of passing cars. In fact Bob and I play this game most of the time. Shouts of: " Did you see the lucky 888 just now? " are very common with us.

Getting to the ' 999 ' in sequence takes a bit of time with us. Remember we live in a small place and most number plates only sport 2-3 numbers.

During the summer months when our village abounds with out-of-town'ers, it goes much faster. Or driving to Denmark last year. Gosh, there we completed 3 or 4 games in one trip.

I just remembered that before we could read, we counted the different colours. Whoever spotted 10 red cars first, was the winner. Oh, what fun we used to have....


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Who Can Remember " Perfect Continuous " ?

Sorry if I dredge up bad moments from your past.

This will take you back to a time when you were in short-pants. Oh yes, schooldays. Dreaded by many and liked by a select few! To be honest, when I heard this " perfect continuous " yesterday, I broke out into a cold sweat.

For those of you still wracking your brains, I will tell you what it is: A past tense. Oh yes, remember those days of English Grammar...

A high school student asked us whether we could help her with English grammar and of course we said yes. Bob is known in the village as a proper English speaker and I am the next best to it! So, it was intended to be Bob who would give the extra lesson.

Of course, before she even came to our house, Bob had designated me for the task. " You know I hated school and never listened. Your English is better than mine !" Lousy excuse, but he can dig his heels in better than a donkey on a lead not wanting to go home.So it was that she and I sat at the kitchen table with Bob stationed around the corner in the lounge.

History was made yesterday because this was the first time that those dire predictions banded about merrily by most teachers finally came true: " Listen up, you'll need this some day! ".

Perfect Continuous had me stumped from word go. Jeez-a-lou, you even had to change the words!
( Who does that and do we ever use it? ). Reading out loud the various options that I thought were right, rendered a
" Honey, I don't think this is right " response from Bob ( Yeah right, all of a sudden he could hear a pin drop! ).
Admirably I restrained from telling him " you do it then "....

Honesty was the best policy, and I told her I would read up and study the relevant parts. She is coming back on Thursday and I hope I will be able to explain in a way that she will be able to understand it.

After she left, Bob just looked at me and said: " Did we ever have to learn this stuff at school? This is difficult and I have no recollection of it ! ". Well, join the club!

Maybe my parents should ask for a refund from my school?


Monday, 19 August 2013

Simple & Highly Addictive: Homemade Banana Ice Cream.

Last warning: This is so yummy & addictive !

My Parents ( my New York ones ) innocently told me about this recipe. To be fair, I didn't heed their claim that it is so addictive that you can eat it at all times of the day. Only yesterday I heard that they will get up at 11 pm and quickly make a portion...

Thinking that I would just try it once, I tried it last week. There was an ancient brown speckled banana languishing in the bowl and I thought I might as well use it. The only difficult operation of this whole recipe ( will follow at the end ) is waiting for the banana to freeze. No instant gratification there.

When it was finally frozen enough, I followed the parental instruction to a tee. All I can say is
" yummy ". Bob wasn't convinced that I was genuine when enthused while eating it, so he wouldn't try it. Great, there was more for me.

When he found that I was making this ice cream numerous times per day, the penny dropped for him. Oh yes, now he wanted some too. Being a good and slightly clever wife, I've also got him addicted. Might as well make it a family affair. No more hiding my frequent forays into eating my homemade delicacy !

Well, try this at your own leisure and peril:

  • Take a banana and cut it into small pieces. Take these and freeze them in a container.
  • You need a good dash of proper milk ( not the skinny type )
  • Put the frozen banana slices into a bowl, take a mixer / blender and add milk in increments. Once the banana slices are smooth, the ice cream is ready to eat.
  • You need to take care not to use too much milk. Otherwise it will be a banana milkshake !

Bananas are so good for Bob in any case. With his Diabetes he eats them as his in-between snacks and now it's in a delicious creamy form...

Hopefully you will love this banana ice cream as much as we do.
We could then do a " who ate the most " comparison... Bullet NBR-12 12-Piece Hi-Speed Blender/Mixer System YaYago Smoothie Maker Power Mixer Blender Icecrusher mit Edelstahlmesser - bis zu 38.000 Umdrehungen / Minute ideal für Smoothies


Sunday, 18 August 2013

Thoughts From A Mall...

Or rather, Shopping Center.

Bob got the best gift for his Birthday: A piece of paper with a denomination printed on it. Money ! Well, that made us drive through to the nearest Mall. In our case the E. O. ( Einkaufszentrum Oberwart ). Who knew that it could be so busy on a Saturday afternoon ?

Bob and I have been together almost 10 years and in those I have learned a few things. Foremost is the one about not going with him when he chooses clothes. No need for marriage spats in the changing rooms ( he behind the curtain, me in front of it ) ! He is extremely fussy and can take a while to choose. No problem yesterday, because I could meander around the center.

Here are a few observations:

  • In summer, the shop to own is the Ice-Cream / Coffee shop. It was warm yesterday and even outside the building I saw legions of Ice Cream fans devouring their bounty with that happy & self-absorbed expression. Talk about advertising. By the time I actually got close to the shop, my tongue was hanging out in longing. The only thing that stopped me, was a line 20 long, waiting for their turn. Clearly, money was being made hand over fist.
  • Most malls have big clothing shops selling clothes for under 5 / 10 Euros. Compare this with a scoop of ice cream at the coffee shop ( @ 1.10 Euros ) and you get to wonder....Consider that the clothes still have to be made halfway across the globe, shipped and marked up at various suppliers along the way and you get to seriously question the price tag of under 10 Euros ? !
  • Before we emigrated, shopping or rather paying for the shopping was no problem. Yet, even then, I would rather buy a good piece every now and again, instead of buying cheap stuff every month. Well now, when shopping is a treat saved for Birthdays, I've realized that my old clothes are still going strong and don't look out of place. Okay, not trendy but I am not 20 anymore...
  • One great thing I noticed at H&M was that they have put " kind " lighting ( yeah ) into their changing rooms. No more horrific surprises when we inadvertently glance in the mirror !


Saturday, 17 August 2013

Life Gives You Brambles, Make Jam..

Making Jam is such a soothing & connecting activity.

On my morning walks which at times are along the forest, I stumbled across a whole bank of brambles. Berries that are a luscious dark blue with a taste to match. A perfect snack along the way and even worth the occasional thorny encounter.

Living the rural life has made me industrious in a different way. When I saw how many berries there were, I decided to make jam. A few hours later, equipped with a ( um, sorry, the ) husband and two bowls, I set off! Bob, even though he grumbled at first, was excited like a young schoolboy. Picking berries ( along with sampling the wares ) is one of life's highlights.

Bob and I meandered from one bank of brambles to the next. There are a lot scattered throughout the area. On our last pit-stop or rather picking-stop, we met a friend who was out walking with her baby and dog. Chatting for a good five minutes about all & nothing brought home what makes life fun and special.

Our excursion of bramble picking netted us 350 grams of fruit and made two small jars of divine looking jam. All in all a good days work. When the jam is settled enough to devour, every spoonful will have memories attached to it.

I can't wait to see the final dark purplish colour spectrum of it. In fact, I will spread it on Knäckebrot with lashings of creamy smooth cottage cheese. Just imagine the colours melting into each other: beige, white and purple ! Or maybe two spoonful of it in a nice cup of plain double cream yoghurt...


This is the best I could do to show you the colour...
I know this photo is not taken professionally, but it sort of shows the colour better. Sure Can!: How Jams and Pickles Are Reviving the Lure and Lore of Local Food

Friday, 16 August 2013

Public Holidays Are Perfect For Family Outings.

A perfect day of leisure...

My Mum phoned us yesterday morning to ask us along for an excursion to Maria Weinberg. There was a Fete of some sort. Beer, wine & food. I asked Bob whether he wanted to go even though I already knew the answer. He pretended to think about it but had already moved towards the bedroom to go and change !

Bob loves his Lederhosen and will sport them at the drop of a hat. At first he thought he was the only one, but it soon turned out that there were plenty of others, even trendy youngsters !
We had to walk a distance from the car park and came across some interesting sights. This little fella had everyone cooing on the way past.
He was scratched the way he liked it, just behind his ear...
The long walk...
We walked around Maria Weinberg a bit and then drove to a nearby & famous Buschenschank :" Wolfshütte "
The view from there is amazing. Incidentally, it is also a Buschenschank frequented by Royalty and Celebrities. Really.
I couldn't resist pulling Bob's suspenders. All in all, we had a fantastic day out with family and friends. The simple life is a great life !


Thursday, 15 August 2013

Are You Also An Expert At Taking Things Personally ?

It is not always about us...

The other day I was driving ( without my ever present chauffeur called Bob ) to my Mum. These days, that is about the only stretch of distance that I get to be a driver instead of the wifely co-driver ! Oh, it is very far indeed. A sum total of 3 km !

Anyway, driving with the radio blasting out a song on Radio Burgenland-home of a few Golden Oldies I love- and more than likely doing a Wayne's World impression, an oncoming car passed me, flashed its headlights numerous times.

First, I wracked my brain to see if it was a close friend but at a speed of 70 kph, my facial recognition is not that good. Obviously there was something wrong with me because why else was there furious flashing ? For a teeny second I broke out in a cold sweat, wondering if my tyre was flat or part of the front of the car was maybe dangling vicariously ( oh yes, I know about this stuff from watching my beloved F1 ).

Turning off the radio and slowing right down to a speed of someone twice my age, I could not find anything wrong. Oh well, nothing for it but to carry on. But I can tell you that my nerves were on edge and I was ready for anything....

Once I had driven into the village at the appropriate 50 kph, I forgot all about the flasher. That is until I went around the first corner. Look in a village of a few hundred residents, there are not so many corners.

Lo & behold, there stood a police car and two policemen doing speed and driving under the influence control which definitely is a good thing. Not knowing whether they would wave me over I deemed it reasonable to slow down. But all I got was a friendly smile along with a nod.

Well, the " Flasher " was trying to warn me and as usual, I took things the wrong way. Anyway, in such small villages it is hard for the police to catch anyone, because the Bush Telegraph is rampant here !


Wednesday, 14 August 2013

A Funny Side Effect Of Weight-Loss !

My Darling Husband, what a Capitol Fella...

As you know, Bob has been shedding the pounds. All in a healthy way and new lifestyle of course. He has been zooting through various pant sizes in a downward direction. ( No, he is not dieting for the sake of vanity, but for his newly discovered diabetes. )

Bob has been conscious of his weight since teenage hood and has always dreamed of such a weight loss. Yet for some odd reason or another ( pies, cakes, chips & beer ) it had stubbornly eluded him ! Now, all his clothes drop of him and I can only say " Thank Goodness " for his trendy suspenders.

Even if I say so myself, my Husband is even more gorgeous now. In the parlance of ladies, one could almost call him " eye candy "...He has been and is being noticed. Yes, people are noticing his weight loss and lately it has mainly been the women !

By the way, I am so proud of Bob and what he has achieved. This whole diabetes discovery has unlocked an always present but hidden inner strength.

Well, the other day we were in town and I was chatting to someone. When I had finished and we were leaving, Bob was almost in a state of panic. " I don't know what to do, because I think that this lady undressed me with her eyes. It scared me."

It took all my might not to burst out laughing because Bob was truly spooked. When I told him that it is a compliment to him, he at first just shook his head and carried on fretting in panic. But I know my Bob. As he has got used to the idea of being noticed, he started to secretly enjoy it.

Well Bob, now you know what a lot of women go through all the time. Remember the other day, while we were driving passed those tourists in their shorts and short t-shirts ? You know, the ones you still looked at through the rear view mirror ? ( Um, men, we always notice when you do that...)


He found his old pair of shorts in the cupboard and wanted to show me how loose they were.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Even A Wild Cat Has Oodles Of Character.

Who needs a watch, when you have a cat ?

Even though we have never got nearer than two feet from our darling Tigger, we are enslaved to her and her funny antics. It's been almost two years since we have been feeding her on a daily basis. Like any new parent, it took us a while to cater to her tastes, but now she is enslaved to us...

Come 5 o'clock, she will make sure we can see her, lest we forget to feed her ! Please forgive us, it has only happened a few times and even when we were away, we made sure that my Mum took over.

It is so comical on those days when we are out and only return at 5 or 6 o'clock. Tigger will perch herself noticeably and at times elegantly on some part of our driveway. Ah, our little one is rather a genius...

Coming home yesterday afternoon, she was already waiting. You can see her peeking at us. No, her look and stance is more a case of : " Hurry up already, I'm starving. "
When I saw that little darling face, I dropped everything and quickly fetched her vittles.
When I put the food in her bowl, she makes sure there is a bit of distance between us. Silly Tigger !
I have developed my own routine. After I put the sachet of delectables in her dish, I go and throw away the wrapper in the bin across the courtyard. Gosh, she watches my every move and even knows when I go back inside. Every meter I move, she moves towards the food. A gentle waltz, day after day.
This is her pose, when I have the first foot on the step leading into our front door. Unless she sees me go inside, she won't go to her dinner table.
This final dash was taken leaning back out the door. God forbid she sees me....

Biggi Delectables

Monday, 12 August 2013

Have We Shopped Our Way Out Of A Job ?

One hand washes the other !

Last week, while watching CNBC's Squawk Box, one of the presenters - Brian Sullivan - said something that has had me thinking. Not sure of his exact wording, but it went a bit like this:
' If we want to have higher wages and jobs, we need to buy what we produce. '

He is right. We want the cheapest goods ( I am guilty as well ) and still expect to be getting paid higher wages. Think about it. In the past, most of what we consumed was made by and large by us, the consumers. ( Interesting article in Time Magazine. )

Money kept circulating in a healthy way. Stuff was made, wages were paid and with those wages we bought the stuff we made. A very simplistic way of looking at this, but I am just using common sense. Yes, I am sure that I am guilty of a lot of mistakes in the Economic way of thinking. Don't forget, this is just my layman opinion.

We have all read and heard about factories moving overseas because it is cheaper to manufacture there. One or two factories won't make a difference, but multiply this by hundreds and thousands. That is a huge number of local workers who need to find other employment in a shrinking job market.

My Grandmother had a shop all of her life. When we were children, I always remembered how on Sundays she would give my Mum some money and say: Go and have a family lunch at this restaurant ( one of her clients ). When you pay, make sure that you mention that you are my daughter and what shop you are from. "

My Grandmother was a genius. She realized, that:

  • If people shop at your shop, they want to feel that you support them in their business.
  • She knew, that by supporting a business, they in turn could afford to shop at her business.
  • One hand washes the other...

In today's times it is so difficult to either find locally produced items or to be able to afford them. Do you think that it would make a difference, if we all made an effort to buy one locally produced item per week / month ?


Sunday, 11 August 2013

Sunday Walk: Benches, Sunflowers & Idyllic Scenery.

Our own little discovery walk through our village surrounds.

Bob and I chose our walk to coincide with a lot of the benches. It was a nice route and walk, and I must say that today for the first time we saw several villagers out & about walking and cycling. Somehow it reminded me of the old fashioned promenades.

I stumbled across the bumble bees' bedroom ! Taken just before we set off on our walk.
Aren't those colours nice ?
A bench with a view second to none.
Deutsch-Schützen in the morning mist.
( Self-catering accommodation in the area. )
A bench-alcove for a picnic stop along one of the numerous walking paths of our vineyards.
This bench outside the local chapel even has a water fountain. Mostly used by the many cyclists that vacation in our area.
One of the most inviting benches in Eisenberg !
This bench is along the main road in our village. We took this at the end of our walk, on the way to the local tearoom for fresh eggs and bread rolls.


Saturday, 10 August 2013

Sitting On A Bench Is One Of Life's Forgotten Pleasures.

Worldwide or just here in Burgenland ?

Like anything else that you discover and like, this was also by mere chance or dare I say accident. Of course I have seen the slightly older crowd do it daily, but somehow I thought that I had not yet enough candles on my Birthday cake to warrant an entry ticket...

Waiting for someone in that blazing heat of a late afternoon, I took a chance and plonked myself down on an empty bench outside a friends house. Oh no, I am not so brave as to use a stranger's bench ! In my defense, that bench had a lovely big tree behind it. A tree which provided ample shade.

The first second was really the hardest as I felt self conscious but the longer I sat on it, the world somehow changed. It was the most amazing feeling. Sitting on this bench, next to the pavement, I had become an observer.

The haste was left behind and I could just marvel in this feeling of just being. Watching cars drive by and catching glimpses of those inside was educational. The usual suspects: man in haste / young woman smoking and singing along to tunes only she could hear / older drivers inching forward...

Sitting there, a neighbour shouted a greeting across the road and being a polite person, I shouted a reply ! Isn't that bench etiquette ?

Driving around our village ( and a lot of others ) we have always seen these benches and their sitters. In fact, we can give you directions based on them:

  • " When you get to the house with the three older women on a bench outside, go straight for another 100 m. "
  • or
  • " At the second bench passed the stop sign, you'll see an older woman waving at you. Turn left then. "

Well, I tell you, the first thing I said to Bob when I got home yesterday afternoon was : " Schatzi, we are getting a bench and there is no need for us to wait a decade or two ! "


One of the benches in our neighbourhood.
We had an old rickety garden bench. I made Bob carry it out this morning to see what it feels & looks like. There will hopefully be an upgrade to Bench.2 complete with wine cooler and snack table...

Friday, 9 August 2013

A Nod And A Smile Make All The Difference.

Recognition, don't we all crave it ?

Anonymity, craved by all celebrities the world over. Or so they profess ! Recognition pays their rent after all. Why else would some of them engage in constant social media excursions ?

Here is a thought: If a celebrity or star for example, signs up with Twitter incognito ( such as the proverbial Joe Soap / Jane Suds ) would they still have a gazillion followers ? Unfair advantage to the rest of us mere mortals...

Moving to a new place, town or country brings with it a lot of things. One major one being anonymity. Well only in the beginning, that is.

Imagine, going shopping, having your car serviced or going to the doctor. Normally, somewhere along those excursions, you'll see someone you know and possibly have a chat with. In simple terms, that is what makes an enjoyable life.

In our village, we do get plenty of " Hello's " and often have chit chats. I love that friendliness and embracing acceptance. But going to town for things, still had us in the Anonymity section for at least a year.

The other day when we were in town, we of course stopped at the big shopping center. Admission involves a tricky bit of manoeuvring and a nimble set of feet.

Yes, it has that dreaded, revolving glass door. The one with four partitions. Am I the only one, who panics a bit when trying to time the " open gap " ? I have got to be frank with you, and admit that there have been occasions where I missed the gap and had to wait for the next one. Possibly a little bit on the embarrassing side !

But once you are in it, you get to see your counterpart ( the one exiting ) for a few seconds. Well, lo & behold, this time it was someone who knew me and I got a big smile and a nod of recognition...A great feeling.


Thursday, 8 August 2013

Global Warming Has Already Changed Us & Our Lifestyle.

" The horse has left the barn " !

Just like anything else in life, most of us wait for the other person to start before we do. Lets move from Me, Myself & I to Us & Ours.

Have you also noticed some of these things ?

  • Hands up, who doesn't slather sunblock on daily ? Yes, twenty years ago, most of us only put it on ( or into our bags ) when we whiled away our leisure time at the beach...
  • When you go into a store, you will easily get hold of a factor 50 sunscreen. In the past you had to hunt those down at the specialty shops or Dermatologists.
  • Do you also notice yourself turning Batty ? In these unbelievably hot summers, it is easier to stay indoors during the day and only slink outside in the evenings when it is noticeably cooler.
  • Water has become more precious than either Gold or oil in certain parts of the world. Living in these hot conditions ( not only in the Southern Hemisphere anymore ) makes us realize that without water, we would be in a pickle.
  • Isn't it ironic, that just before we got to the stage of having to stay indoors because of heat, the Internet got invented. Think about it. Lots of us can work from a cool home, shop from home and even socialize from home...Of course not to mention the resulting loneliness !

What do you think ?

Biggi Banana Boat Sport SPF 50 Family Size Sunscreen Lotion, 12-Fluid Ounce cosmetics Sonnencreme LSF50 75ml Daily Face SPF50+ Invisible Tint Finish Sunscreen - 75 g