Wednesday, 31 December 2014

It's New Year's Eve, I know, But Please Don't Let Off Fireworks.

Animals are the ones who suffer...

As soon as a big storm is brewing most dogs crawl and hide from it. They are scared of thunder and the loud noises. Tonight's fireworks are many times louder for the animals. We can't simply tell them to not worry about tonight's fireworks.

There are numerous 1st of Januaries that I have walked early mornings. When most are sleeping off a fuzzy head, I thought it best to set my intention on the very first day of the year. Walking on a day where most of the neighbourhood is quiet and deserted is peaceful until you stumble upon an extremely frightened and disorientated dog. That breaks your heart!

There are always a few dogs sniffing the deserted roads in a state of panic, looking for signs of recognition. They want to go home. A home they ran away from when that horrible loud noise from the fireworks started.

Tell me, what would you do if all of a sudden loud shots are fired close to you? Just remember that most animals hearing abilities are several times better than ours. Oh yes, you'd run like mad to find a hiding place. At least we can try to cover our ears, but animals cannot cover their ears!

So far I have only noticed how scared dogs are during and after those stupid firework displays, but I can't help wondering how all the other animals handle these insane displays of

" Mine's bigger than your's "?

What about these animals:

  • Horses
  • Livestock
  • Cats
  • Birds
  • Wildlife

Apart from hurting our animals ( wild and domestic ), I can't help but wonder about the amount of damage being done to our environment on New Year's Eve... Remember, it is not just in your neighbourhood, but in all neighbourhoods of the world.

Let's find a new way to celebrate the New Year. A gentler and greener one...

Happy New Year...


Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Why Use A Handbrake When A Brick Will Do The Trick ?

The fun of driving in icy conditions.

Handbrakes are always strong, useful and comforting. The metaphorical one or the real one. Oh, as women we know that our men often refer to us as their handbrake. When men don't want to go out, they automatically pull the handbrake excuse...

" Oh, I wish I could go with you guys, but you know that the ol' handbrake won't let me! "

When you think about it, using the handbrake is automatic. Never mind how minor the incline is. A centimeter up or down...pull the handbrake. A motorist's security blanket perhaps?

Be honest, even when you park your car in a perfectly flat - no fear of any runaway car - you pull the handbrake...well, yours truly does too.

" Have you ever pulled your handbrake and it felt as if it's loose? "
ah, the plot thickens. In turns out that when it is freezing outside, the old handbrake doesn't work. Well, bothersome if you have to park on an incline. An incline that is iced over too. That is what happened to the two of us and don't forget we are recent transplants from the tropics, a place where handbrakes always work!

It was a friends birthday yesterday and despite the icy conditions I made Bob come with me. We drove the longer and less iced over route but were faced with a huge problem when we got to her house.

It is on a hill and when Bob pulled up the handbrake ( reflex ) it didn't budge. Well, only one thing to do. Bob waited in the car while I quickly dropped off the present.

As happens when someone has a big birthday ( 80 ), there were lots of people there. I wished her a Happy Birthday and when she asked if I wanted to have some cake and coffee, all I could say was:

" Sorry, I would love to, but Bob's outside waiting in the car. He couldn't come in because our handbrake doesn't work. "
if only you could have heard the chuckles emanating from the table. To break the proverbial ice, I made my sweeping statement
" You know, normally I am the handbrake, but this time the real one isn't working! "
...well, the men had the grace to nod a bit shamefaced but the women understood and laughed out loud.

When the birthday gal asked me again whether I wouldn't like a quick cup of something, all I could say was:

" Thank you so much, but I can't. Eh, you know how impatient men get while idling away in the car waiting for their handbrake to return! "
...I have to say, that there where nods and guffaws all around the table.

As for driving in Winter sans handbrake, there is only one other option...take a brick along for the ride.


Monday, 29 December 2014

The Mysterious Case Of The Blue Cheese Affair...

Distinct, strong and far from pleasant.

Of course it could only happen when it is freezing outside and in fact so cold and windy that opening any window involves an ongoing argument with Bob. He just doesn't see the point of it!'s not enough that this year we have been upgraded to the Mouse-House ( see blog ). Oh no, that almost seems like a walk in the park now.

Walking into our kitchen I was almost knocked out by a blue cheese smell. Only on the one side. Like a bloodhound I sniffed all over our kitchen, alas to no avail. Voicing my opinion to Bob ( a slightly testy sufferer of cabin fever ) he straight away did his well practiced one liner:

" Oh, you are imagining it again. "
. Sensing no help from that side, I again sniffed every bit of our kitchen. Nada, nothing, yuk.

We had to go out for an hour yesterday and when we got home, Schatzi was the first one to walk into the kitchen or should I call it Blue Cheese Central? And guess what, he smelt it! Finally and about time too to come aboard the search team. It must have looked rather funny seeing both of us crawling around on all fours trying to find an escaped piece of cheese.

We checked the usual suspects: behind, under & in the fridge. Same for oven, table & cupboard. Again we came up empty handed. In desperation and slightly embarrassed, Bob wondered whether it might be his feet giving off said odour? With great dexterity he did take a whiff of his feet and was happy as can be that they weren't the culprits.

At one time I accused Schatzi of copying an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.
( Everybody Loves Raymond - Season 1 To 9 [DVD] ) You know, the one with the suitcase on the stairs, that neither Deborah or Raymond wanted to move...cabin fever and so on!

With the ever present whiff of blue cheese hovering in our kitchen, we both tipped a dead mouse in our ceiling as the possible offender. But that opens a whole other kettle of fish! How to get to it and so forth...

I couldn't help but mention our blue cheese affair to my parents across the pond.

" Just imagine if someone comes to visit us and smells this offending smell. We will be known in our village as the mouse & stinky cheese place. "

quick as a whistle I got a fabulous and most helpful reply...
" That's easy. Just put out a plate of blue cheese and no one will know the difference! "

Isn't life grand when you can have a good laugh? As for the blue cheese affair, eventually we will get to the bottom of it and in the meantime will buy lots of stinky cheese as a decoy!


Sunday, 28 December 2014

A Snow Filled Weekend Is Not To Be Sneezed At!

Snow covered vineyards, plains and trees are a pleasure to photograph.

Walking on maiden snow is something so special. Creating your own path on snow is refreshing to say the least. It's also quite revealing as it shows you whether you drag your feet, walk pigeon toe or just have jolly big feet! No elegant hoof prints like a deer here, no this dear has big prints...

This is a typical Burgenland Streckhof, complete with barn and fruit trees surrounding it. I adore these typical Burgenland Streckhofs and when you consider that some are over a hundred years old, you might reconsider modern architecture. Back then, they knew how to build for function and ease. These farms are self sufficient islands and most of them have enough space for cattle, pigs, chickens, orchards and vegetable gardens.

Wine and the vineyards in our part of Burgenland do seem to be blessed. It doesn't matter what season it is, because the skies do throw the cloak of sunshine over our area...

For those in The Snow this might seem paltry but I love how elegantly the blades of grass are wearing their coat of white. It seems so comfortable that lying down upon it wouldn't be amiss.

A lot of our family back in South Africa might wish to have a bit of snow right now. Temperatures of over 38 degrees are alright to show off with to make us envious, but after a while the heat may get to you...

Straight away I thought this must be a man-placed Christmas tree, but then I realized that it was there naturally and the snow had perfected its appeal. Imagine a few lights and tinsel on it?

The vines seem to be bearing their extra weight. Even when the vineyards of Eisenberg
are shaded in ...50 ...shades of grey, they are divine.


Saturday, 27 December 2014

On The Contrary, The First Snowfall Is A Big Deal At Any Age!

Luckily it is still in December.

We've been having such warm weather recently, that when Bob told me this morning that there was a blanket of snow all over, I didn't at first believe him. Yet, I quickly raced to the window to have a look and wow, there was a blanket of fresh snow everywhere.

Since the start of this year's Winter season, most of us where rather blase about the lack of snow.

" Oh, isn't it nice to have such sunny weather. Who needs snow and all the shoveling of it? "
all well and good, but secretly we have all been hoping for snow.

Everything looks nicer, more wintry and how it should be. Before you ask, of course it is cold or make that freezing, ( and I can predict already that yours truly will be the one scraping the ice of the window of our car while Bob enjoys sitting in a warm and idling chariot ) but snow just holds such an abundance of emotions. Even though it is a few days late for Christmas, it more than makes up for it with its nice powdery offering...

A photo taken from the back bathroom. In a way the window frame provides a perfect setting for the snowed on plum tree outside.
I braved the elements in my P.J's and golly gosh it was freezing. Looking out our front door.
When I leaned out our bedroom window, I thought for a split second that I was on the Las Vegas Strip...but no, just our neighbour's Christmas lights mingled with the old street lights!

Morning in its infancy...

Only yesterday morning the skies were a vivid blue and the trees alive with colour. Yet, somehow the air was already laden with the oncoming snow. There is a special smell, crispness and temperature in the air a day before it starts to snow.
Yeah yeah, it's a snow day today...


Friday, 26 December 2014

Lego: The Toy That Perhaps Combines Old School With New?

A great adventure for children and grown ups alike.

Through the family grapevine, which is even more accessible due to Skype, I had been hearing the term Lego rather often. Our nephew had put it on his wish-list. Not just any Lego, but the Star Wars variety.

Honestly, when I heard the word Lego, I automatically pictured the set I had as a child. Making a Star Wars figure out of it seemed impossible to me.

There should be a chart of winners and losers in the what you gave as a gift category. The main criteria and indicator is if it is played with or used after it is unwrapped. There is always the one. The one gift that beats all others. It doesn't matter whether it was expensive or not. Who hasn't witnessed a toddler getting more joy out of playing with the packaging than the toy itself?

Bob and I finally got to Skype with our family in South Africa yesterday evening. I know for a fact that the children had more than one present under the tree and I was amazed when I saw our nephew play with a Lego set. Hours after. The Winner...

Of course he melted Bob's heart when he thanked Bob repeatedly for the gift he'd received from Bob. Bob had re-gifted his treasured Star Wars book ( from the 80's ) to his nephew. During our conversation he must have said Thank You at least three times. Quite something when you consider that he is only eight years old...

But to get back to the Lego. He was so proud to show the Star Wars plane he had created with his Lego set. I have to be honest and say that I was speechless at what he had made. Great imagination and ideas and execution. By the way, it goes without saying that he is a huge Star Wars fan and even though he is only eight years old, he can recite some of the Star Wars Trilogy dialogue !

Synchronicity being what it is, this morning I saw a segment about Lego on Bloomberg Business TV. Today I learned a few things.

  • Lego is a Danish Company.
  • Lego is highly profitable.
  • Lego is even played with by Mr Beckham. Apparently he built London's Tower bridge from a Lego set!

Maybe Lego is that toy that eschews the constant sliding of your fingers over a computer screen. Bravo to Lego and, I might even try it myself sometime.


Thursday, 25 December 2014

The Day After Christmas To Some And Christmas Day To Others.

Our fourth Christmas in Eisenberg.

This year, our Christmas was rather low key but nice nonetheless. There are so many traditions
( no, not only the Christmas tree ) in our village which Bob and I are learning year by year.

The Eisenberg Youth Society organized another Glühwein stand, and this one was a finite one. In every sense of the word. The last one of the season and it also was over in time for everyone to go home and celebrate Christmas.

I happened to be driving back from Deutsch Schützen yesterday afternoon and the sunset that was unfolding, was too stunning. Actually, awe-some is a better term for it! Luckily the road was devoid of cars so that I could pull over and take a few photos.

The colours really were that vivid and intense. Almost a wink from above...

The plains are a perfect addition to this wonderful sunset.

The old chapel is barely visible. I just wish you could have seen the sunset in reality. It was so very divine and special.
Have a festive few days...


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Do You Also Notice How Fast Time Goes From One Christmas To The Next?

Are we getting older or is time really speeding up?

These last few weeks I have been rather un-infused with that Christmas Spirit. Oh, I do sing along to the numerous carols playing everywhere, but that whole

" oh gosh, what should I get for so and so / oh, what will I get from so and so "
was not on my agenda. Years of working that hectic Christmas schedule ( one that can only happen in Malls where the Landlord gets a share of turnover...p/s: most shopkeepers don't work those long hours by choice ), made me see the holidays as just a jolly nice break from work. Sometimes two days, sometimes three depending on whether it was a weekend Christmas or not.

This morning I glanced at the TV schedule and the day seems filled with festive movies. Movies I saw as a child and as stupid as it sounds, seeing the TV schedule has kind of lit the Christmas Spirit!

Anyway, I have been busy visiting all over the village and it hasn't escaped my notice that even in our small community, the local shop was akin to a honeypot and bees. At one stage it was impossible to drive past. Yes, it is on the main road through the village, but out of habit most villagers will park where there is free space. Road or not!

This might tickle any South African's fancy: Half the cars parked outside the village shop are left with the motor running and doors unlocked. No one in said car! Oh, yes, a lot of locals don't see the point of switching off the engine when they pop in for a pint of milk and a loaf of bread. Wouldn't happen in South Africa, would it?

For some reason most of us tend to think that there won't be food available after Christmas. Odds and ends that we never ever eat, are part of our shop. In the case of our village shop, the crowds might also have been there in order to see others and hear some juicy seasonal gossip. During the Wintry month most keep indoors and the font of tidbits dwindles to a trickle. Don't every discount the importance of ' knowledge ' in a small community...

Bob has been planing to make a banana bread to bring to my parents for Christmas pudding. Bob being Bob, he has even researched on Google for a more finicky recipe. Yesterday, he took off to go shopping to Kohfidisch Spar. A trip long enough to warrant a lengthy search for his favourite CD. A one way trip to Kohfidisch lasts about 2,5 songs!

Anyway, as happens in Coupledom, I asked whether I could make him a list of other things we need.

" Oh don't bother with a list. I don't need one as I am just going to go along the isle and know what we need. "
Far be it from me to quibble with a master shopper ( he is, truly ).

When I asked him if he had remembered the Mozzarella, he owned up that it was such a crush in the Supermarket that all thoughts of shopping left him. Having almost been run over by a zealous shopper and her full trolley, he just got a few essentials and hot footed it out of there.

Even with the shopping trip cut short, our fridge and cupboards are filled. Lovely. Being able to eat well on Christmas and through the festive season is not a given anymore in today's times. Anyway, have a lovely and merry Christmas.

As for getting older: I had an English extra lesson with one of the kids, and there was a sentence with the phrase U2 which had to be matched with another sentence that had the word CD in it. For some reason he didn't get it and when I asked him if he knew what U2 was, he didn't have a clue....oh what a sobering leveler!


Tuesday, 23 December 2014

A Last Minute Gift For Those Hard To Buy For Teenagers.

A gift that is perfect and long lasting...

You might not even have to go to an old age home to find lonely people that you know. Everyone has someone in their peripheral that is alone during the holidays.

Your teenage kids more than likely have everything they could want or need. Aren't their cupboards and rooms getting to small for all the stuff they have? What to buy them? Why not give them the gift of uplifting another person?

Take them to a bakery or shop and let them buy several trays of packaged holiday cookies. Let them choose them and if they want to, also gift wrap them. Let them know, that the cookies they choose are bought with money that would have been meant for their gift. Let them own it, so to say!

The next step is easy. Drive to the local old age home ( or a lonely person you know ) and ask at reception, who is alone during the Festive season. Such as not having any family coming to visit.

Your kids don't need to stay long with each person. Just long enough to give a gift to someone who will appreciate it beyond measure. You'll probably notice that once they get to see the joy and sheer pleasure they have given, that they might want to stay a few minutes for a chat.

Look, a lot of you might say:

  • That your teenagers couldn't be bothered.
  • That they won't want to give up their own gifts.
  • That they just don't care.

But here's the thing; How do you know if you don't give them a chance?

Maybe a lot of today's youngsters have never been given a chance, or shown how easy it is to do something nice and altruistic for others...


Monday, 22 December 2014

Winter And Its Many Sides.

Snow is not always necessary.

The perfect blend of wintry sky and hints of grapes. That is the beauty of living amid a wine producing area...reminders everywhere.
This is the sight that greets me every time I walk through the forest and come out on the top end. Different in all seasons but stunning and awesome each and every time.
The gentle lane...I could have sworn that snow was on the way. Just look at the mixture of clouds and you can almost see the crispness in the air. Yet, no snow but a nice and warm spell have followed for the next few days.
The bread and butter of farming...fertile fields.
A beautiful beacon amid the bare branched society. The pink stole the show...
I am sure this is a kind of pampas, but it reminds me of candy floss nonetheless. Isn't this the perfect trio of colours. Green, blue and beige. Uplifting, at least for me...


Sunday, 21 December 2014

A Woodpecker And His Dance In The Splendour Of A Winter's Morning In The Vineyards .

Notoriously shy, this woodpecker was anything but.

That is the thing about a walk in the morning, you never know what will come your way. Yesterday, when I happened upon a friend sweeping her garage, little did I know I would get to see a woodpecker. Her garden is her pride and joy and naturally it includes a wonderful bird paradise. More of a Bird-Inn. An abundance of sunflowerseeds at the bottom of it, makes our daily handfuls of birdfood look very meager!

Can you believe that this close to Christmas we still have islands of greenery all over? Almost unheard of, even though our part of Austria is sometimes refered to as the Florida of Austria...The vines in the vineyards are bare of leaves yet the grass still has a lovely hue of green between the isles. Oh, and it was 12 degrees during the day! Anyway, when I saw who was the guest of honour in the Bird-Inn, I couldn't resist...

He is so pretty that I thought you wouldn't mind if I show a series of photos with him being the center of attention!

This woodpecker has a routine. He hops down the wooden pole to collect a sunflower seed and then hops back up while at the same time eating the seed. Gosh, he is so quick that it wasn't easy to capture him on film.

Isn't his colouring amazing? That red on the neck is one of nature's amazing displays of perfection. Now that I know that a woodpecker is rather pretty, I will turn a deaf ear to the constant knock knock it performs.

At first it looks like the Bird-Inn is without customers, but if you look closely, you can spot a thirsty bird on the left and an awaiting customer on the right.

A photo taken a mere minute after, but the sun was at a different angle and I think the photo doesn't need many words. I like it.

This tree or rather the Reception of The Bird Inn is a mere meter next to it. The birds weren't used to me and took a safe perch in the Reception....It was and is a blessing to be able to walk and encounter nature in all its splendour.


Saturday, 20 December 2014

We Are So Busy Chasing A Life-style That We Forget To Live.

It is time to slow down!

Who put this idea into our minds that unless we are busy chasing, having and showing off stuff, we are not worthwhile? It sounds harsh, but isn't that why most of us run ourselves into the ground, paying off all this stuff we have to have?

Even now, or especially now at Christmas time, people's shopping habits become supersonic. Does your child, spouse or friend really have to have the latest toy, Smartphone or bit of clothing with a label? Is there anything wrong with a Christmas of times gone know, one where each child gets a present and a useful one at that.

Guess what will be the new luxury item to have? Oh yes, Time is the new must have item. Time spent at home with your children. Time spent reading to your children. Time spent playing board games with your children...time spent with your spouse.

As a society we need to change our attitude of having and getting new things all the time. Our planet won't support this madness much longer. All the needless stuff we buy ( and let's be honest, how many of last years presents are still in use today ? ) has to be made somewhere. Coupled with our mistaken glee at buying on the cheap, we are destroying our planet.

Talk about cutting off our nose to spite our face...

Slowly the doubters of Global Warming are changing their tune. The climate change is not abstract anymore but is affecting all of us.

Why don't we teach our children more values of character instead of teaching them the value of our salary. At the end of the day, spending time with your family is much more valuable than another computer game, Smartphone or expensive, yet unnecessary item!

Shouldn't we make sure that the young generation of today has an opportunity to leave their future grandchildren a healthy and happy place to live?


Friday, 19 December 2014

The Kitten Summit Has Reached Our House.

A new epoch in our household perhaps?

As you know, we've been entertained by a mouse play. That is the only positive spin I can put on it, because being privy to an average day of a mouse is not as much fun as you might think. Sleeping with one eye open does get a bit tiring....

Mouse traps are all well and good, but what about a kitten? It has been suggested to us, and I must say, Bob and I are getting into the swing of it.

Just the other day in Hofer, Bob sussed out what might have to be fed to a little darling.

" Bob, the whole reason for us to maybe get a kitten is so that it is hungry enough to want the mice! "
If we do get an inside cat, the chances are extremely good that it will be spoiled rotten. Due to lack of interest the mice might then get their uninterrupted run of our house. By the way, so far it has been one mouse at a time!

Discussing my mouse problem with various villagers, I was made to believe that it is a common thing this time of the year. Especially in rural areas. Shew, at least we were not the only ones...until the other night.

I was at a meeting and about six of us were sitting around a table. A house cat came on the scene and lo and behold, it made a bee line for me. Gosh, it jumped up onto my lap and twisted and turned adorably for me to stroke and cuddle her.

Even my fear of fleas vanished as this lovely cat did her best to enslave me to her. She was such a darling and I did to her biding until she did a vigorous scratch behind her ear. That scratching earned her a one way ticket to the floor. But, that evening I must have held an unbreakable attraction for this cat because she honed in on me at least three times. Jokingly I said:

" Do you think she could come to my house and catch a few mice? "
A collective shudder did the rounds and I sort of got the impression that I was the only one with an inside mouse problem. In fact, one lady went so far as to regale us with the story of a neighbour of hers, who had loads of mice possibly do to shabbiness in the cleaning department.

Oh dear. Well, one thing I was certain about. None of these ladies would visit us any time soon. As you can imagine, when I got home the first thing I told Bob was that we need to clean even more.

" Oh my God, not that again!!! ."
and then I told him how cute and adorable this cat was. Both of us were already imagining a little kitten of our own being cute and adorable.

Our Tigger ( a feral yet almost domesticated cat ) must have a sixth sense. Yesterday, when I went out the front door, she actually meandered towards me. This time she came so close that I could almost imagine cuddling her. Turf wars might be on the horizon!


Thursday, 18 December 2014

If You Can't Be A Bookie, Why Not Become A Kindler?

A Christ-kindle perhaps?

There is nothing better than the smell of a new book. When you open the cover and get that first waft of the elusive scent of paper and the feeling of anticipation. Yes, anticipation because a book takes you on a journey to distant shores, emotions and often knowledge.

Take any bookie ( a self confessed lover of reading ) to a shopping center or town, and I can guarantee you that they will make a bee-line to a bookshop. Once over the threshold of a bookstore, we bookies straight away start performing our well versed routine...we merely glance at the front display table ( that's for novice bookies anyway ) and head to our shelf or isle of choice and suddenly minutes turn into hours...

Second hand books are rather groovy too. A Saturday morning trip to the flea market or Hospice shop is also a great way to stock up on the fuel that a bookie needs. Reading a dog eared book has a flair of its own. The second hand books smell is not to be quaffed at either. Don't forget, these books are so much more affordable.

Even before we moved to Burgenland, I was aware of the Kindle. I had only read about it once, but the association with Christkindel was there. Clever marketing indeed. The Kindle was a great idea but not really needed at the time. Well, that is until now.

Getting hold of English language books is not so easy for us. Of course we could order online but that is a bit dear. We have also discovered a bookstore selling English books in Szombathely but they are limited too.

As we are major bookies, our house is filled with books that we have shipped with us and some that family have brought us when they visited ( unlike a lot of other South Africans, we mostly eschew peanut butter, Marmite and biltong for books ) Three years into our adventure, we have re-read most books at least once. After the third time, you know the plot word for word!

The folks at Amazon are very clever. Creating the Kindle, they took it one step further. Did you know that through a Kindle device you can have access to most of the books they have on offer? No, not to buy ( of course you can if you want to ), but to join the Amazon - Kindle library. A monthly fee and off you go to your place of leisure to read your books.

The more I think about this, the more attractive this Kindle becomes. Real books are still #1 for me, but for us, joining a Kindle library might be the answer.

Click on this link to the Kindle Voyage, and you'll find a link to Kindle Unlimited ( the library option ) Kindle Voyage, 15,2 cm (6 Zoll) hochauflösendes Display (300 ppi) mit integriertem intelligenten Frontlicht, PagePress-Sensoren, WLAN

All of us know how important reading is. Reading helps your language skills, reading keeps you informed and reading helps you to relax and take precious time out of your hectic daily schedule.

The generation of teens now, are not very fond of reading. Physical books to them are associated with going to school. Reading for pleasure is anything but for them.

But as a society it is necessary for us to get this young generation to read. They are will be our future doctors, lawyers, politicians etc. Imagine if they have not had the pleasure and skill of reading books?

The Kindle is the vehicle of delivery that the young generation will take notice and make use of. Life for our young generation is stressful from the time they get up to when they go to sleep.

They are connected all the time. They don't even look up often any more. Texting and mobile surfing has taken over the world. Getting them interested in reading novels will give them the time out to relax and experience a life outside 140 characters..


There is also the Amazon Prime option: with a subscription to Amazon prime, you'll get free but limited library access. Maybe try their 30 free trial. Happy reading.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Have We Lost The Plot?

Is our era going into the history books as THE ERA OF GREED?

Maybe I'm hearing the wrong sort of news, but this week there were a few things that made me sit up and take notice. Uber ( the taxi App ) being one of them!

Overcharging a taxi fare, just because they thought they could get away with it...hiking the tariffs in times of crisis doesn't say much for the moral high ground.

A lot of people are raving about Uber, but I wouldn't be surprised if Uber will become Under. As with anything, we as customer choose by our custom.

Divorce is common place everywhere. Fifty percent and so on, makes it pretty certain that you'll know someone either going through one or have had one. Yes, we are used to seeing and hearing about divorces. But not this one!

Richard Gere and his soon to be ex wife are having a bout in the arena of divorce. Maybe they've watched the gory wrestling or any of those silly shows, but it seems that this divorce is not without pain. Financial pain.

Mr. Gere is know as the poster boy of a Buddhism and correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Buddhism stand for peace, harmony and not worrying about worldly goods?

The Gere lot are having a bout to do with who gets what in this divorce. Before you ask, no, it is not about existential stuff ( having a roof over your head and enough money to buy food and pay the bills like mere mortals do ) but about a few hundred million.

Are celebrities so far removed from the rest of us, that they have tiffs over getting either 50 or 100 million in a divorce? Don't they realize that life is not so expensive.

All around the world there are millions of people struggling to eat each day. Somehow, reading about a couple having a fight over who gets more millions is rather a sad reflection on our times. In fact, I find it rather shameful.


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Coupledom Of Driving Together.

Are we imprinted on the village?

As a newly minted ( well more like three years ) one car family, being seen together while driving the car is bound to happen. At least we are part of the in-crowd, the ahead of the pack crowd or as I like to think of us as...a little bit more environment friendly.

It's funny how we tend to remember certain childhood events. For me it was driving to a holiday cottage with my Grandparents. Sitting in the backseat gave me ample opportunity to learn certain behaviour..

" August, be careful! The traffic lights are about to change to red. "
" Frieda, I can see. Stop telling me how to drive. "
and of course my Grandmother added insult to injury and either air-braked or put out her hands for an imaginary emergency braking. My Grandfather drove so slowly in any case that bicycles could have easily passed us!

Well, fast forward to now, and every time Bob and I are enclosed in our chariot receiving a friendly nod, wave or flash, I can't help wondering whether they think:

" Oh look at them. Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee!

That's when I nonchalantly try to look more ' happening, cool or with it ' because if I didn't, Bob and I would be seen, eh, as that middle age couple driving in their car.

Bob I think has similar issues. In summer, he drives with the window open and the appropriate arm dangling out of it. Now that it is freezing outside, he restricts his coolness to bobbing his head along to his tunes...

At times I catch myself imitating my Grandmother. Just yesterday, I couldn't help myself and pointed out to my chauffeur the fact that the roads might be icy and that he should drive slower...

After three years driving in the car together, Bob has learned to not react apart from raising an eyebrow and giving of an annoyed sigh.

Sharing a car can cement a marriage in various ways....cement boots not excluded!


Monday, 15 December 2014

A Sunrise In The Vineyards Of Burgenland.

Even in Winter the vineyards show beauty and class...

I just love this image. Life is so simple really and it doesn't get simpler than being able to appreciate a beautiful sunrise.

Isn't this what life is all about? Being able to see another morning and the beauty of it?

Even from the start of the walk, I knew the timing was perfect to see the sunrise unfold in all its splendour.
On top of the Eisenberg vineyards, the sun seemed to glow its blessing over our award winning Blaufränkisch grapes...and once you've tasted a glass of Blaufränkisch, all else pales in flavour!
Here is a link to Jalits Weingut / Vineyard. Fabulous assortment of wines.
As small as our village is, we do have an upper and lower Weinberg area. Imagine how beautiful each day would begin from the vantage point of this cottage. By the way, there are still some for sale!
Even moving a few centimeters along, the scenery is similar yet slightly different. A Sunday is perfect for catching this sunrise.

Wouldn't it be great if a few of us villagers ( Eisenbergers & Deutsch Schützers alike ) were to meet for a nice Sunday walk in our stunning vineyards? How about you Bob?

Admittedly, this photo was taken with the sunrise setting on my camera and with an extended lens. But, this is what it looks like without the hazy veil.


Sunday, 14 December 2014

The White Rose, Birds And A Rainy Day.

A gentle life is a wonderful life...

A rainy day can be nice too. When you see the raindrops clinging on the twigs it kind of looks romantic. Apart from anything else, rain is good for our complexion!
A rainy day outside our barn...
Bob's been stepping up the bird feeding in our front yard. Oh, Hitchcock could do a remake of The Birds quiet easily outside our door.
The one on the left is ready to do his fast dive for those delectable sunflower seeds. Gosh, they are so quick that often I don't see the whole food flight.
Further afield...a kilometer away...the birds get bigger! Are we using the wrong sort of bird food? But isn't it nice the way this beauty is perching on the tree?
When you look a bit closer, you can see the bird hidden somewhere in the tree. A rather colourful kind of bird.
The last white rose. Now they are hibernating but luckily I managed to get this rose on camera a few weeks ago.


Saturday, 13 December 2014

There Is Only One Man Who Can Fly Me To The Moon Via Chicago And New York!

A lyrical genius has a birthday.

We only get a handful of those musical geniuses in our lifetime. Almost everyone knows his ditties, taps their feet to his tune and almost everyone is instantly in a better frame of mind.

Only one person can achieve all that. Yes, Frank Sinatra. It was his birthday yesterday and I almost forgot. Almost, but not quite.

He would have been 99 years old yesterday. All my life I have been somehow surrounded by his music. My dad is an all time fan and was lucky enough to attend a live concert of Frank Sinatra and I can imagine that my dad behaved like any other ardent fan...kicking up his heels and singing along at the top of this lungs.

To most of you, Frank Sinatra is part of the antique set. Maybe you've seen his records at a garage sale or you have stumbled across an old movie of his. If you would only take the time to listen to his songs and music, you'd get to meet a genius who was able to make women swoon merely by singing the first few lines of his songs.

You know, the man behind the songs was very attractive too. He wasn't called Old Blue Eyes for nothing...Those blue eyes coupled with The Voice! A voice that could nurse you through a broken heart, could make you smile, could make you want to visit places and his voice of course could make you cry.

He wasn't a model by any means, but he had that attraction of a man's man. A type that hardly exists anymore. A man who smoked cigars, drank whiskey and played poker with his pals. Or at least that is how I picture him with his buddies from the famous " Rat Pack ", while living in Las Vegas.

There is a whole new generation who has still got the pleasure ahead of them. The pleasure of discovering and falling in love with Frank's songs. The lyrics and the emotion coupled with one of the best features of all...a harmonious and gentle beat. Music to my ears. Best Of The Best Best Of The Best

Happy Birthday, Frank Sinatra...and thank you for your music.


Friday, 12 December 2014

Just One Of The Reasons I Am A Georgette Heyer Fan!

A quaint form of English.

Oh, I am well aware that Bob is cringing with embarrassment, but why shouldn't I admit that I love Georgette Heyer's books. They are a breath of fresh air, have romance and a kind of romance that makes you think about the depicted couple even after you've finished the book. Yes, the books are chaste and often a kiss is the most graphic display of romance you'll see written.

But, it is those little nuances of a romance building that most of us crave. The stolen glances, a hand being held longer, a man protecting you and a romantic foundation being built on deeds rather than empty words.

Here are a few of my favourite exchanges ( these are from False Colours ) :

  • slumber...( snoring )
  • " When you get to my age, you won't care a rush for it. "
  • " Reading poetry to her? What a booberkin! I can tell you this, my boy: in my day we'd more rumgumption than to bore a pretty woman into a lethargy!"
  • " Stop! " he interrupted. " My poor girl, how could you allow yourself to be so taken-in? If you mean to accept me at my mother's valuation a shocking disappointment awaits you! She is the most dotingly fond parent imaginable, and can detect no fault in either of her sons."
  • ...a proper jaw-me-dead he is!...( talks a lot )
  • " I consider she has been much maligned. I will allow her to be disconcerting, but by no means the petrifying Gorgon I was led to expect. "
  • " The truth, Miss Staverly, without any flummery, is that the more I see of you the greater becomes my conviction that you are worthy of a better man than I am. "
    She wrinkled her brow.
    " Is that a civil way of telling me that you would like to cry off? "
    "No. It is a way of telling you that you are a darling, "
    he said, lifting her hand, and lightly kissing it....(swoon)

Reading Georgette Heyer all the time is not the thing either, but to dip into her novels now and again is akin to being wrapped up in cotton wool and having all your cares disappear.

When you do, start with this one. It is too precious and very readable. Adventure & Romance in one.


Thursday, 11 December 2014

A Non-Stop Supply Of Field Mice.

Why don't we change our address to Mouse Plaza?

Oh, of course we have a cat. A big feral one. A feral cat that might have been a bit over domesticated by yours truly. Who can resist a favoured pet's bashful glances? As pet owners we are putty in her paws...Only an ogre wouldn't give in and supply a delectable and never ending array of cat foods.

Bob and I are so valiantly trying to woo our feral cat, that we have added a ' leave in the tray most of the day ' ration of dry cat food. Each of us secretly wants to be the first one to stroke our little Diva. As much as she plays the Diva, the moment either of us gets too close she does the ten yard dash in record time. A dash away from us, I might mention. Silly billy...can't she see the offering in our hands?

Even the other night I woke up in the middle of it fretting that I had forgotten to put the vittles out for Tigger. I was even contemplating putting a emergency ration on a piece of paper outside our front door ( The shed where we feed her doesn't have any lighting ). When I mentioned my fear to Bob, he reminded me that he had already fed her. No angry looks to be expected from our diva.

There's the rub though. As we feed her so marvelously and amply, she has no need to toy with the non stop mouse guests that sneak past her. They must do so, because I know Tigger sits on our front step and the smell of a mouse is to her as the smell of a piece of just grilled steak is to Bob. Instant attraction unless they are not hungry.

As you know, these past few weeks have been a mouse nightmare in our house. Not one, not two but four mice have had to face the music . As cautious as I am, I have made sure to put a few mouse-exit stations around our house. Bob thought I was over dramatizing as per usual.

" But Bob, I can smell there is mouse wee in our house. "
" Stop being so paranoid. There is no more mouse in our house! "
...oh well, seeing that Bob didn't believe me, I merely moved the mouse-encounter-stations out of sight and even put cheese in them myself. Doubting Thomas didn't need to know.

Dozing on the couch yesterday afternoon, tha distinct signal that a mouse had nibbled on the cheese penetrated my sleepiness. Whack! When I told Bob what had happened and that he needed to go and have a look, he rolled his eyes but lead the way. After all, he is the head check out clerk at Mouse Plaza.

He couldn't believe it when he saw yet another mouse. No.5 in our mouse saga. Before you judge us as terrible for ending any mouse's stay at Mouse Plaza, remember that they do carry disease and crawl about anywhere they feel like with great mouse-abandon!


A real posing Diva....too lovely with a character that keeps us highly entertained. Now if she could only start to stop the mice entering our house!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The New EU Menu Regulations Already Has Created Some Apps.

An avalanche of printing to be done nonetheless.

As any smoker or rather soon to be ex smoker knows, buying a loose cigarette was one of two things. Firstly extremely expensive and secondly somehow less troubling for the old guilt's only a loose and not a pack!

Well, now the there is another loose term being banded about. The loose foods. Yes, you heard right. Food can be loose too. The term applies to ( I think ) anything bought without plastic or any other housing. You know, the healthy stuff!

These delicious loose products, which chefs use to create temptations for us, need from now on be meticulously explained and written on the menu. Well, not all but a list of 14 allergy causing ones. As this list includes the staples of a good kitchen, a new era of opportunity is being created for the printing presses.

Daily menu changes might be a thing of the past as it would prove rather costly. As the streets of Europe are home to a prolific number of restaurants, you can work out for yourself what a huge amount of printing is to be done. Of course with the invention of apps, it can be a bit easier for the individual businesses. For Example,

Here is a link to what ingredients are meant from the Uk Food Standard agency.

As with anything gazetted that is an outrageous affront to common sense, this one carries a hefty fine if not adhered too. Amounts of 50 000 Euros are being banded about. Good grief, some restaurants don't even make this in a year...

How on earth are all the fabulous yet small restaurants in Europe going to cope? Just about everything used needs to be listed. A sneaked dash of the old Maggie is either owned up to or a thing of the past. Secret ingredients, those that differentiate the good from the exceptional chefs, will be secret no more.

Personally I don't agree with this new ruling. How do you feel about it?


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Last Week I Almost Kissed An Energie Burgenland Chap!

My gratitude was held in bounds and I only thanked him verbally.

We've been here for over three years, yet the memories of how a power failure can disrupt ordinary life is still stuck in our bones. Yes, when you have lived in South Africa, you don't take any amenity for granted.

As Bob and I lived in a flat on the eighth floor, back when we were immersed in the unexpected black out cycle, being stuck in a lift was part of the deal. Oh believe me, that only happened to me once and I made sure to climb the stairs. That was over three years ago and the and often unexpected rolling blackouts were scheduled for a few more years.

When I tell anyone here that an annual increase of 25% was doled out to all the consumers ( over a period of 3 years ) in order to pay for new power stations etc, no one believes me. I can tell that some think I am telling porkies and a few others are formulation that ever present question...

" Did you also have lions and elephants roaming the streets?

At the moment, the whole of South Africa is going through another batch of awful power cuts and rolling blackouts. Reading and hearing about this, has brought all those memories back to the surface. A lack of electricity doesn't just affect your TV and lights, but it also stops the traffic lights, your stash of anything in the freezer thaws and security gates, fences and electric garage doors are null and void for that period of time.

Last week I was coming back from my morning walk and noticed an Energie Burgenland ( our electricity provider ) truck parked on the side of our road. A young chap was putting out notices for us. Little stands with notices stuck to it. Now and again they are around the neighbourhood as we are entering the 21st century with fiber optic cables and the like.

" Have you cut the electricity? "
" No, I am putting up the notices. The electricity will be off on Wednesday from 9 am until 10.30 am. "
those living in South Africa will have a chuckle right now and hum that song
..." how #$%@& can we believe you "...
but as this isn't my first predicted power cut here in Burgenland, I can tell you with certainty that this schedule is kept to the second.

With that in mind, I told the Energie Burgenland chap:

" Thank you so much for always sticking to your schedule. It is not a given, and you guys always deliver without fail. Thank you so much."

This must have been a first for him. Someone thanking him for his job? Everyone here takes efficiency for granted but when you have seen the other side of it, gratitude becomes a given...


Monday, 8 December 2014

John Deere: A Tractor Isn't A Tractor By Any Other Name!

A new generation of Trakkies...

Motivating Kindergarten kids to learn English as a second language is not always easy and a picture or story about a farm life scene usually does the trick.

" Kids, this is a cow, this is a donkey, this is a sheep and there is a tractor. What colour is it? "

" No! This is a John Deere and it is green."

Granted, we live in a farming community but surely not every tractor can be a John Deere? But so it seems. Often I overhear the boys telling each other ( in German of course ) about how they had driven a John Deere that day. Depending on the age of the storyteller, the question is often lobbied back by the listener...

" Not a real John Deere? It doesn't count when you mean the one in the Kindergarten. I drive it daily! "

At that stage those little boys can become rather loud and fisticuffs are never that far off. The real badge of merit and manliness seems to be a ride on a real John Deere. Not the smaller version lurking in Kindergartens and playrooms nation wide. Shouts of

" I don't believe you. You are making this up! "
are frequent and it takes all my might to channel their thoughts on to more pleasant things... like helicopters. Although, this too can lead down a braggery slope.

Now and then a granddad is roped in to pick up a the apple of his grandfatherly eye from English. Just to quell my curiosity, I ask about this John Deere story because we all know how inventive a child's imagination is. Gosh, and most of the John Deere adventure stories do tend to be true.

Usually the only one having the patience to drive around with a 5 year old boy, are the granddads. Driving on a tractor requires utter obedience and silence and the boys are so very excited that they behave like angels anyway.

A few mothers have caught on to the real value of driving with granddad on a tractor. Now and again they leave their boys with me and only utter one possible punishment:

" I am going to ask Biggi if you behaved today. Otherwise you can't go with Opa on the John Deere! "
and you know what, bribery like this one seems to work a treat. Thank you, John Deere!

Peg Perego John Deere Ground Force inkl. Anhänger 12V IGOR0047


Sunday, 7 December 2014

Never Mind The Empire, His Precious Strikes Back!

The Lord of the Rings saga continues in our house.

All week, Bob has been reminding me how he only wants to watch this one last movie ( well realistically there are more than one ) this year and the rest of the time I can choose the programs. Goodness, such selflessness made me almost haul out the violin!

We all know the there are ways and means to get your way. Bob's famous for saying

" Oh, you choose, I don't really mind. "
and then precedes to either play on the computer or do the old...
" I'm tired and am going to bed because your Rosmary Pilcher ( fabulous romcom ) isn't to my taste. "
Have you ever...!

Anyway, as you might remember The Lord Of The Rings is not my taste.. Yes, honestly there are a few of us left who don't enjoy it...But as a humble wife, I was prepared for this long saga. Jeezalou, here in Austria, this whole epic takes 5 times as long because of the numerous ad breaks. The movie started at 20.15pm and ended at 12.30 am the next day!

My plan was simple, enjoyable yet rather cunning. It involved sipping an extra glass of wine which would make me merrily doze along watching Frodo. To my surprise, the Empire of The Youth, the Eisenberg's Youth Fire Brigade was in my corner. They held a Glühwein affair yesterday afternoon...oh, I am sure you can see the end already?

As it was raining and chilly, I thought I would stay home and make a roast chicken for dinner. My parents had a spare one and dropped it off at 4 one does in the countryside. Apart from anything else, dangling a whiff of a roast chicken in front of Bob would make sure he wouldn't stay too late. Coupled with Lord of the Rings showing, a very late night out with the boys, was not in the cards!

Oh, I was right, but luckily he did manage to have a few drinks because after eating a full plate of roast chicken with all the trimmings, he did the fateful deed and leaned back on the sofa.

If I myself hadn't been prepared for this epic movie ( eh, that extra glass of vino ), I could have easily counted down Bob and his falling asleep in front of the TV. As it turned out, I awoke from a loud snore...truthfully, it could have been mine too.

The time was 22.30 and knowing that the saga was still hours from being finished I tried to wake Bob a few times. All I got was a loud chortle / snore and with that I changed the channel.

Let's see what epic saga is on TV next week and if " Mein Schatz " wins.


Saturday, 6 December 2014

How Many Culinary It-Gadgets Have You Got?

You know, those - I can't do without them - kitchen gadgets!

Bob was just making a batch of cookies by hand. No scales, no special spoons and no timers. He just made them a la " a pinch here & a pinch there " and they taste great.

The kitchens from here to the other end of the world are covered in gadgets. The mixer, the fancy espresso machine, the computerized scale, the oven door that slides with precision, the electric knife, the stove that kids can put their hands on top and not get burned...goodness, how did we grow up around our neanderthal stoves?

How many of these treats do we actually use? Often they are too much of a bother. Unearthing them from their place of residence, usually a place in the back of a cupboard means we have to dust them off before using them and laboriously clean them after. Not everyone has help in the washing up department...even though, with parents having such prolific offspring, you'd think more teenagers would be active in the washing up department!

When your kitchen is small, having any surface covered by an unnecessary gadget is stupid. Small kitchen's usually equate to even less cupboard space and suddenly these gadgets are part of the landscape. You dust around them ( move any of them an inch to see a dusty outline ) because you dare not throw them out. Either you paid a fortune or they were some well meaning gift of a favourite relative, and they could drop in at any moment!

Dating gadgets becomes rather fun and easy. Even here in our little village, the kitchens are littered with those George Clooney Coffee Machines, or imitations of them. The capsule ones. They spread like wildfire back in the day ( 2007 or so...) and everyone wanted them.

No one gave a thought to how expensive the capsules were or how making coffee for a group of friends at the same time proved to be almost impossible. Either they drank the cups as you made them, or the cups were a lucky dip regarding temperature.

When I visit anyone who is on the shady side of 50, they will have two types of coffee machines. The old-fashioned Filter one and the George Clooney edition next to it. Three guesses why they have two... Oh yes, it was a perfect Christmas gift from their children. A gift, that like so many gifts was more about the joy of the giver than the receiver.

Those on the shady side of 50, almost have heart failure when they see the price of a coffee capsule and rather stick to their filter way of making coffee. The fancy machine gets used when the children come around...

Do you also have these fancy and often unused kitchen gadgets?


Friday, 5 December 2014

There's More To Cabbage Than Sauerkraut.

Cabbage, tasty, nutritious and oh so cheap.

Who hasn't seen those old black and white movies where the sailors drop dead from lack of fruits and vegetables? Oh, yes, Scurvy was the cause. The humble lemon and cabbage ( in a form of Sauerkraut ) were often the saviours.

" scurvy is solely owing to a total abstinence from fresh vegetable food, and greens; which alone is the primary cause for the disease. "
Johann Bachstrom 1734

Tell me, are you thinking what I'm thinking? Oh yes, how many people in the world have a form of scurvy right now? How many kids and adults do you know who refuse to eat vegetables or fruit? Plenty. Eating can't just be a Fast Food Affair. Maybe the old saying of an apple / cabbage / lemon a day really does keep Le Doc away!

It's been said that each cigarette you smoke depletes Vitamin C from your body. Apart from making a smoker's skin age faster, smoking might even rattle their teeth...although, smokers are such addicts that even the threat of wrinkles before their time and loose teeth make no difference. Dentists and anti-wrinkle potions! But how about cabbage?

Cabbage is not expensive, so there is no excuse. Bob and I frequently make cabbage because it also tastes so divine.

We grate half a cabbage ( with the flip side of the carrot grater ), cut an onion, a glove of garlic and some ginger. We then fry it up with either just salt or other spices, depending on your budget. It only takes about ten minutes and that gives us enough time to either make a pot of pasta or rice with it.
When you add it all up, the whole meal might cost about 1,5 Euros. Imagine, only a few Euros and in the bargain you might get a good skin and teeth that stick with you...


Thursday, 4 December 2014

Poor Choices Or Choices That Make Us Poor?

Advertising shouldn't be our yardstick for measuring our self worth.

Maybe the solution would be to get rid of our TVs. Even now we get immersed in an avalanche of things we supposedly can't live without. Tablets, Smartphones, video games & consoles and a barrage of ready made food.

I recently read an article about a ' poor ' family somewhere in America. Yes, they were earning money but not that much. Again, what they thought was hardly anything might be a fortune to someone else. Well, then they showed a short video of their house...

The garage was full of stuff. Old bicycles and paraphernalia that firstly cost a lot to buy and secondly could be sold to get a bit extra.

Their children ate processed cereal for breakfast ( even though they had health issues ). I don't know about you, but for us growing up, cereal of any kind ( except raw oats ) was not a staple. Maybe now and again, my Mum would buy Honey Pops. The point is, is that cereal is comparatively expensive if you are short of money.

The father delivered pizza to earn extra money and after a shift we see him bringing home several boxes of pizza for supper. Even if he got them at a lower price, what a waste. He could have made them himself at a fraction of the price. Healthier too, I may add.

What to me seemed like the cherry on the top of a bad decision tree, was the following: All through the video he kept on saying that often they had to borrow on their next paycheck to pay the electricity, food or medicine. Often there is just not enough money.

Well, he says that his son ( who seemed about 10 ) needed new basketball shoes and that Grandma sent a cheque for them. Good grief man, forget about basketball shoes and rather use that money to put food on the table. Your son will survive without new basketball shoes but not without food.

Try and eat for a month without buying or using ready made or packaged food. You will be amazed at how much money you can save. And before you pull your perceived trump card of being tired after work, just remember that a few generations ago there where no mod cons like washing machines, dishwashers or electric ovens...


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

A Rerun Of Eisenberg's Blooms.

Cheeky, bold and oh so nice to behold!

Who says that flowers don't have a character? This trio of cosmos clearly want to be the center of attraction...and you know what, they are indeed.
As with anything, you also get the shady characters and these red poppies are taking a respite from the sunshine...
Oh how mysterious indeed. We can still see you, little cluster of scarlet.
The beauty and the beast?
Alone in the crowd.
The happy and cheerful wild flowers. They seem to blossom constantly and grow too. What a happy lot of blooms.
The poppy cheer leading squad. Come rain or shine, they are there.
The pink and purple cousins. Unbelievable that these were still bringing joy at the beginning of November.
Even laden with raindrops and mist, they are a pleasure to behold. Three cheers for the cosmos.