Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Money And Cash Seem To Be Two Separate Things.

Our Omas and Opas were right all along.

Just ghastly what is playing out in front of our eyes. A Greek tragedy. Whom to blame is one of those eternal questions. When two sides fight, the innocent bystanders usually suffer the consequence. I would be highly surprised if the current members of the Greek Government have any personal poverty issues. Those issues which a lot of their populace are grappling with. No work, no food, no home...

For some reason ( and an ingenious one at that because big business made bigger business! ) the past two generations worldwide, have been indoctrinated with the idea that if you don't have the ready money ( ie. cash ) don't worry, the banks are here to lend it to you. At a price, as bankers need a good life too.

Whereas our grandparent's generation only bought big items when they could afford it, we are too prone to whip out our credit card or take out a loan, never wondering if and whether we can really afford it.

When you go around any neighbourhood, chances are, that the house your friends have and that house you are envious of, actually belongs to the bank. And for a jolly long time too!

Our credit funded surreal lifestyle has come crashing down with a heavy thud. The bubble has burst and reality should set in. If all along we had lived within our means ( collectively that is ), most of the modern problems wouldn't be of concern to us. Suddenly all those silly, needless items we charged to our credit card seem to have been a huge folly...

For years, those clever older individuals who perhaps stuffed their money into a mattress because they didn't trust banks, were ridiculed and parodied. But who is having the last laugh now? Oh yes, it sends chills down everyone's spine to think that all your money in the bank might become a statistic on your resume...had it for a while and then it was gone, just like that.

Cash only might be a sign popping up in a neighbourhood shop near you.


Monday, 29 June 2015

Disco Soup Or Schnippel Disko Should Be Held In Every Town.

A brilliant concept to highlight our collective folly, while saving our planet.

What is it? Well, I only saw a snippet of it on the news this morning, but it is a big cook-up / food party in a park for example, where meals are being prepared with food that would have been thrown away or is out of date. Everyone can eat for free. A Foodstock...

This whole concept of sell by date is obsolete because most of us know that even a week past the sell by date, food is far from bad. In fact, it is rather fun to shop for marked down food in the supermarkets. Why buy at full price, if you can buy it at half price?

Buying and using food products that might have otherwise been throw out or destroyed, means that they are now eaten and haven't been grown or produced for nothing. Imagine how much precious water we could save world wide, if we just stopped throwing out food. Or at least part of it.

  • Next time you shop, perhaps make a point of buying at least one almost past its sell by date product. You'll live...
  • Perhaps the producers should be made to increase the sell by date by a few days.
  • Supermarkets should give food to the poor and needy instead of throwing it out.
  • Dumpster diving should become a main stream activity. Don't forget, that dumpster-divers save our world, one food item at a time.
  • When you think you've got no more food in your fridge / larder, make yourself delay your grocery shop one more day...you'll be surprised what you can magically cook in a seemingly empty larder!
  • Try and make sure to have a few liters of long life milk in your larder...don't most of us rush to the supermarket because we've run out of milk...and who is disciplined enough to only buy milk when you are at the supermarket? Not me!

Back to the Disco Soup. What a fabulous way to kill a few birds with one stone...we get to see how good out-of-date food can taste and we can save our planet and some money at the same time.


Sunday, 28 June 2015

A Picturesque Suedburgenland & More.

Photos from our surrounds.

Undulating gentle hills indeed...when you are greeted with this spectacular setting, it takes your breath away.
A bird's eye view from the hilly Badersdorf quarry. Woppendorf would be on the right of this photo. The patchwork of planted fields is divine.
Idyllic and set amid the epicenter of stylish farmland. The important crops such as grapes and maize are there.
A mere mingling of grass and wheat.
Don't forget that this gives us the all important flour to make our bread, cakes and other delicious fare.
And finally, here is Woppendorf, a small village not far from our Eisenberg.


Saturday, 27 June 2015

A Front End Loader Seems Like Poetry In Motion.

Our discovery of Stone Mountain right here in Burgenland.

Like any good story, the setting was fantastic. Sunny weather, omnipresent Burgenlandish blue sky and vivid greens mingling in the surrounds. Bob was in his ' new ' shorts ( in fact, an old pair of jeans cut short!!! ) and life was going to be extremely interesting.

Bob has his special project in the garden, and we needed to fetch crushed stone for part of it. Off we set, with a trailer behind the chariot. The nearest quarry is in Badersdorf which seems to be the place to be when you are looking for either yummy cakes ( Aloisia's ), great wine ( Jalits ) or as the case was yesterday, stone.

For some odd reason, I have been selected by a voting public of one, to always be the one to have to officiate, do the organizing and ordering in our marriage. Nice one Bob!

As a quarry novice, I got thrown into the deep end by Bob. He stopped the car next to the weigh bridge and told me to go and organize our stuff from the nearby office. Far be it from me to argue with my man, and so I took the steps up into this container-office. There were a few people present, the secretary, and a few drivers.

" Hi, we'd like to buy some stone please. "

Oh, golly gosh, they had a good laugh at my ignorance. A quarry has a gazillion types of crushed stone, from rocks to pebbles and after their giggles, they kindly said that we should drive around and look for the pile of stone that was the correct size.

Bob and I did a fair rendition of Chevy Chase's " Kids, look there is Big Ben! " and eventually stopped near a pile. Within minutes, a somewhat big front loader elegantly traversed the dusty quarry curves to do its deed.

National Lampoon Collection (Vacation/European Vacation/Christmas Vacation/Vegas Vacation) [4 DVDs] [UK Import]

These front end loaders are huge, and very mechanical in looks but when you see them in motion, you can't help but be enthralled. This front end loader did pirouettes, smooth backward slides and millimeter precision moves. I bet this driver could thread a needle too with his front end loader...

The driver of it was high up in his cabin but had the required cool sunglasses. As I was sporting my own sunglasses, my vision was not its usual 20/20 and Bob must have spotted my rapturous idolization of the driver's skills. All of a sudden, Bob paraded in front of me, flexing his nice calves...

Normally only big container trucks come along to get their stones and it must have seemed strange for the driver to fill up our trailer. Yet, this is where the poetry in motion came in. With grace and pizzaz, the driver dropped our pebbles into the trailer and knew when it was full.

The driver must have noticed my admiration, because as he finished, he did a gazelle like piroutte and moved on his merry way. Wow, that was really impressive...

You know, anyone can drive a Porsche, but not everyone can drive a front end loader!
Look at the size of it! But isn't our Burgenland weather just the best?
The big drop...the noise did remind me of chalk scraping down the blackboard.
Amazing indeed. Brilliant handling skills.
Bob's trying to get my attention... as if I would forget.


Friday, 26 June 2015

A Surefire Way To Get To The End Of The Grexit Negotiations In Brussels.

Gosh, it's becoming a bit of a farce.

How hard can it be to get the the bottom of negotiations in Brussels? They have been at it for far too long and if this scenario was happening in the real world that you and I live in, it would go like this:

" Great Uncle Charlie, I've overspent, run out of money and please could you lend me some money to pay the bills? "

" Look, I'll help you but you need to downscale your lifestyle drastically! I also want to look at your accounts to see you're not wasting my hard earned money. "

...and you know what, we would all do it because the alternative would be too ghastly. At least that is how I tend to think.

What I would like to know is who pays the bills of all those delegates in Brussels? I don't think that they are staying at youth hostels or two star hotels. Luxury all the way is my guess.

Well then, who pays those bills all those weeks on end?
Somehow I am afraid that the taxpayers across Europe are footing the bill. That seems like adding insult to injury...

If each of the delegates who are negotiating ( and wouldn't they make super poker players... ) were to be forced to pay their own way, results would have been had long ago.

A stay in Brussels can't be cheap and if they would have to wine and dine out of their own pocket, the ink would have dried long ago. On Tuesday the world was told that by Friday the deal would be made. Oh, now a weekend is added on for negotiations and that means more bills to pay.

Let the everyone who is negotiating the Grexit dilemma, pay out of their own pocket for room & board, and you'll see how quick results are reached...


Thursday, 25 June 2015

Our House Is A Bit Of A Zoo - Complete With A Peacock And A Newly Minted Cougar!

A trip into Oberwart has consequences...

Bob needed to sort out some official paper work at the city hall. We don't go there often and only when we need something ( the last time we were there, we had to pay a speeding fine when one of us drove 41 in a 30 zone ). In fact, the last time we saw the lady we were on the way to see, was four years ago when we first arrived.

She is a lovely, nice and helpful lady who is a bit younger than me. She straight away recognized us as the South Africans. Clearly we make good first impressions. Well, not so much me, but Bob.

All of us were shooting the breeze, when, out of the blue, she said:

" Gosh, Herr ..., you still look like you're in your twenties. Time and the lifestyle haven't affected you! "
...WELL as they say in the movies, that was all folks. Murphy's law, Bob doesn't understand all German, but this he understood loud and clear and if I was in any doubt, his suddenly puffed out chest, his sucked in stomach and a grin that spread from ear to ear proved my suspicion.

Unwittingly, this nice lady had unleashed a youngster. After we left a few moments later, I can't tell you how many times I heard this phrase:

"Yoohoo, I still look like I am in my twenties! "
On the way back home, Bob began theorizing about what in particular it was that made him appear so very young (!). Was it his two tone t-shirt, fancy trainers, his new corduroys or perhaps his youthful skin...

Good grief, at one stage he even bounced around the idea of buying hair-dye for his slightly grey hair. But I immediately put a stop to this silly idea...

" Schatzi, imagine how it would look, if I walked around with someone who looks like a teenager? Bad enough to be seen with a twenty-something. "

All of a sudden I had morphed from a baby cougar ( he is 4 years my junior after all) into a full grown cougar...

P/S: One things for sure...the next time Bob needs to go to the city hall, he won't be on his own!


Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Queen Elizabeth II, What An Amazing Woman & Icon.

Oh, and she can fix an engine too!

The royal visit to Germany is another reminder of what a marvelous woman the Queen is. There she is, at the age of 89, performing a state visit.

We are so rash to drape anyone over a certain age onto a couch or recliner, thinking that is what should be done and then we see a news clip of the Queen at age 89, walking, chatting and after four meet & greets, she still has the energy to sit at a state gala dinner. Wow comes to mind.

Before you say, that of course she has never had to do her own housework and those chores we tend to lament about, consider the prolific workload The Queen has had and is still having. ( Facts about The Queen.)

When we've had a busy day at work, the last thing we feel like doing is to put on a frock and mingle with others at a function and do the dreaded small talk. Yet, this is what Her Majesty does. We have the privilege to go home, kick off our shoes and flop onto the sofa and lose ourselves in the magnetic world of television soaps and crime dramas. Somehow I think that the Queen envies us for this...

Apart from anything else, she is a walking history book. She has met all the various British Prime Ministers each and every week since the start of her term. Can you imagine what facts she is privy to?

The Queen stands for discipline, formality and manners. When she is around, people stand up straighter, they up the ante in the language department and they are jolly elated to have a chance to shake her hand or even get a smile from her.

I like the feeling of continuity that the Queen exudes. The world around us might be changing at an alarming pace, but it is so nice to see Her Majesty being who she is, and thus providing a bit of an emotional haven to shelter us.

Did I mention that her husband, Prince Phillip, the man who even though he has to walk two steps behind her, does so with a great bearing and ramrod straight posture, is 94 years old?

I'll have what they're having...


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

It's The Back Of Our Hands, Every Time...

Oh deary me, Bob gets a timely reminder!

Honestly, I thought it was just us gals lamenting the passing of time. Well sort of. Direct sunlight and the back of my hands aren't a good combination...

Only a few lucky lasses have baby smooth hands, even in old age. Not me and now it seems that Bob has joined the ranks. Quite how he managed to get interested in this age appropriate club is a mystery to me! Did someone nominate him perhaps?

Yesterday afternoon, I found a very dejected husband slumped on the side of the bed. When I daringly ( oh yes, often it is best to let sleeping dogs lie ) inquired about the cause of his dejected stance, he mumbled while doing a Lady Macbeth stance:

" Schatzi, just look how old my hands are getting. Remember how youthful my skin was? Now everyone can see my real age! "
There was only one response a loving wife could make ( or this one at least ):
" Join the club! "
I thought that Bob was over his moping regarding his hands but it seems I was mistaken. Out of the blue, a few hours later, while Skyping his older brother he brought up his hand-plight and perhaps made his older brother cringe as well.

It was priceless and I wish you could have seen it. There were the two of them ( grown men ) sitting in front of their respective computer screens, comparing the backs of their hands and as is custom with a pair of brothers, they had a competition to see whose hands showed more wrinkles and aging!

Sneaky Bob, being the younger of the two, more than likely couldn't wait to compare his hands to his brother's, knowing that he would come off better...

Gosh, married life is fun and never boring!


Monday, 22 June 2015

Principles Shouldn't Be Like A Pair Of Shoes.

You need one to walk, but the other to go through life.

A lot of people only pay lip-service to the principles they profess to have. They choose to live by them only when it is suitable. Like that pair of shoes that they kick off the minute they walk through their door...

Our modern world is so complex, fast moving and often difficult to navigate, that it is really essential to have a compass for this task. An inner compass to buffer us from being tossed about in the torrent of our hectic lifestyle.

Principles are what keep us sane, on the straight and narrow and most importantly feeling good within ourselves. Here are a few principles that should go mainstream!

  • Respect,
  • Honesty
  • Kindness
  • Empathy

Standing up for one's principles and believes is far from easy in today's society. Often the line of right and wrong seems blurred due to the ease of the Internet. But, deep down we all know when we are standing on the wrong side of the blurred line.

" Oh you know, everyone is doing it, why shouldn't I ? "
" Oh, come on, no one will know! "

Our parents send us out into the world with a broad outline and basis to live our lives well. They love us enough to take the time and effort to show us by example, but each of us gets to hone and craft our own set of believes and principles each and every day of our lives, once we leave this haven called home.

Choices are thrown at us and only by standing and living up to our principles, do we carve our rough inner diamond ( and we all have the rough diamond in us ) into a flawless gem. An inner gem, that shines bright and powerful and makes us beautiful.


Sunday, 21 June 2015

Sunday And A Few Quotes.

The past is ever so interesting...

" There is nothing makes a man suspect much, more than to know little. "
Francis Bacon ( 1561-1626 ) ' Of Suspicion '
" A Robin Redbreast in a Cage/
Puts all of Heaven in a Rage. "

William Blake ( 1757-1827 ) Auguries of Innocence 5
" Grow old with me! /
The best is yet to be. "

Robert Browning ( 1812-1889 ) ' Rabbi ben Ezra ' 1864
" People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy. If I lived in Moscow I don't think I'd care what the weather was like. "
Anton Chekhov ( 1860-1904 ) The Three Sisters 1901
" It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance...and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process."
Henry James ( 1843-1916 ) letter to H.G.Wells July 1915
" Speech is the small change of silence. "
George Meredith ( 1828-1909 ) The Ordeal of Richard Feverel 1859
" Men do not desire to be rich, but to be richer than other men. "
John Stuart Mill ( 1806-1873 ) ' Essay on Social Freedom '
" We seek him here, we seek him there, /
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere. /
Is he in heaven? - Is he in hell? /
That demmed, elusive Pimpernel? "

Baroness Orczy (1865-1947 ) The Scarlet Pimpernel 1905
" There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
Mark Twain / Samuel Langhorne Clemens ( 1835-1910 ) Autobiography


Saturday, 20 June 2015

My Own Unique Selling Point Of Grammel Schmalz & Bratenfett.

Another fabulous Buschenschank experience.

Of course we go out when it's just the two or four of us ( my parents ) but when guests are here, our Buschenschank time is amplified. What a novel and good idea for visitors to see one of the facets of that gem called Burgenland...and why we love it here.

Most newly initiated Buschenschank frequenters say almost the same thing:

  • The wine is excellent and so affordable!
  • The simple & honest food is a refreshing change from the usual constricted restaurant fare.
  • The scenery and weather are amazing.

The casual atmosphere is conducive to having a great time and when the wine is so affordable, ordering more of it becomes a breeze instead of a squeeze.

A few years ago, two of our friends came for a weekend, went with us to a Buschenschank, saw the low prices of our delectable Eisenberg wines and ordered each wine on the menu! legendary...

Eight of us were at the Kopfensteiner's Buschenschank last night and had a great time. Sitting outside under an evening sky and chatting away is one of life's pleasures. Lately, my staple food at these outings is bread topped with Schmalz of some sort. Be it Grammel or Bratenfett.

Just in case it got lost in translation...it is a bread topped with pure fat. Usually the drippings left after making roast pork and they are mixed with crackling or as is. Yum yum indeed. Of course some women take a look and instantly refuse to eat it because of their waistlines. Years of conditioning ( or brainwashing ? ) regarding fat!

Once you taste this combination, you can't stop. A simple yet divine tasting morsel. Last night I went a step further and ordered a plate of four different toppings served with freshly baked rye bread. Oh yes, it was good.

I could see a few odd looks but then I casually dropped my unique selling point...

" You know, this is the best thing to ward of wrinkles. If you don't eat fat your skin just crumbles. "
Hook line and sinker...suddenly, everyone accepts my offer of a tasty sample, even one of the men at the table.

Life is groovy or should I say gravy...


Friday, 19 June 2015

Dear Pope Francis, You Are A Godsend.

Will he help turn the tide?

It has been said that the year of 2015 is our last chance to make a change and reverse climate change. Just in time this brilliant Pope, Pope Francis, has made his appeal. Like all important decisions taken for the good of mankind, it didn't and doesn't please everyone!

In fact he has told us off and I so hope that people will sit up and take notice. The way we are polluting our precious planet is out of control and as he has said, partly due to our constant need to consume and toss away as we get newer stuff.

Oh, he has called out capitalism and if we were living back in the 17th Century I could imagine a dawn duel...The blustering from politicians has started. Mutterings about the Pope and ...what does he know ?.... have made their appearance and if you read between the lines, it is mostly by those who stand the most to lose should we consume less.

If your wealth is made from oil and other polluting materials, of course you need to pretend and profess that climate change doesn't exist. By the by, how much more wealth does one need?

But back to the Pope and his divine missive. Yes, this will make a lot of people sit up and start to ponder how they consume and if it is necessary. He didn't preach that we have to stop consuming altogether but only that we become more aware and that we use what we have already before buying something else.

As I have been saying all along, each and everyone of us can make a dent in the reversal of climate change. Let's vote with our money and where we spend it...

Once we realize that inner happiness and contentment aren't a result of consumption & our outer trimmings ( or should they be called trappings? ), it gets easier and easier to do the right thing for our planet.


Thursday, 18 June 2015

A Visit To A Local SPCA.

These helpers go above & beyond.

It's no secret to our family that we are in search of a cat. First we wanted a kitten but when we found out the costs involved in vet's fees, we changed our minds.

Just like a baby needs all its injections, so does a kitten and a snip down below on top of it. We do have our darling Tigger but alas, she still likes her feral persona and even though we pamper to her every whim regarding food, we have yet to be honoured with her coming anywhere close to us. All we'd want is a chance to stroke and play with Tigger...

So we want an additional house cat ( darn those pesky little mice that visit us each and every autumn ) to hopefully catch each and every mouse that graces our house!

Reading through the various online sites, we have decided to adopt an older cat. Older cats aren't as cute as young kittens and often go unseen in the adoption rounds. Yet, they have oodles of character and personality with an abundance of love to dispense.

Bob and I have already looked at a kitten which was so very cute and melted Bob's heart like butter in a hot oven, but reason prevailed. Somehow we believe that the right cat will find us at the right time.

Bob remembered seeing a sign over a year ago that he thought said:

Tierheim ( home for animals )
and on our way to Oberwart we did the scenic route yesterday. Gosh, his memory is amazing, because it turned out to be an animal sanctuary.

The owner kindly showed us her troupe of cats. Rather a lot of them and as it was an animal sanctuary, some of the cats had various problems. But not all.

One cat vied for Bob's attention with such gusto and even shushed other contenders away. She got his attention and when he moved to the other side of the cat enclosure, she moved along with him.

The two of us are almost overcautious and are still discussing our options. One thing is for sure, any animal sanctuary or SPCA, is run by wonderful people. It is so sinful how some pet owners just abandon their pets when they aren't suitable anymore ( not all of course ).

Animals have character and feeling too and isn't it mostly a cat or a dog that gives us unquestionable loyalty, love and never holds a grudge?


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Why Are So Many Obsessed With Having A Tattoo?

Lemmings come to mind....

Documentaries are a great source of interesting stories and observations. For example they screened a program on tattoo parlours and their pros and cons. What really had me sitting up in horror was the fact that so many millions worldwide have had a tattoo done!

Hopefully most of these tattoos are adroit and hidden from public view because I have to be honest and say that I am not fond of seeing arms, necks and faces covered in ink. Men or women.

If you want to be trendy, why not buy a pair of skinny boyfriend jeans for the season?

There will come a time when the tattoo will again be taboo

Most of us are concerned with the foods we eat and whether they are free of toxic chemicals yet what about the ink you put into your body? It can't all be natural and must surely contain some inorganic substance?

The trend of permanently decorating your skin will soon pass and then what? Even seeing some actresses with their skin adornments makes me wonder how they will feel about it in a decade or so.

One thing is for sure, that in a generation or so, a lot of Grandparents will have tattoos that might look slightly different due to the base being distorted!

It used to be only a few non conformists who bravely displayed a tattoo and brave they were back then. When I grew up, it seemed as if only Popeye and sailors had tattoos. Oh, I nearly forgot some kids ( me too ) who had a bubble gum tattoo.

Thank goodness I only followed the Bazooka trend in my youth and frankly, I can't remember if it was the lure of the bubble gum picture on our forearms or the yummy tasting gum?

As with any trend, once the trendy few are being outnumbered by the ordinary Tom Dick and Harriet, the trend will flop & morph into something else. Luckily for us, the trends of the eighties weren't permanent:

  • Shoulder pads.
  • The teased and sprayed into place hair that added inches to our height. Even vigourous disco dancing didn't budge it an inch!
  • Wham and Milli Vanilli...


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The Greatest Robbery Of Our Time?

Are we really that clever or should I say smart?

Back in the day, the day of cell phones, a lot of smart older people muttered out loud:

" Why would I need a cell phone? Either I use the phone or I go and visit whoever. "
and you know, why indeed...Little did we know that a mere cellphone would revert to just being used as a phone!

Smartphones are omnipresent at the moment. Wherever you look, it is either close to one cheek, the other or being held out front for either selfies or pictures.

Oh and I nearly forgot the silver lining ( cash cow ) for all chiropractors, orthopaedic surgeons and massage therapists...the constant looking down to see what is going on in your virtual world. Most of us have developed a kink in our necks.

How much time do we spend on these Smartphones? One, two or more hours a day soon adds up to a whole chunk of time that could have been used for other activities...

  • Spending ' real ' time with your family...phone switched off!
  • Reading a book.
  • Seeing the world around you.
  • Going for a walk.
  • Driving a car without distractions.
  • Meditation and celebrating the peaceful quietness.

Of course it's nice to follow your friends life online and I use the computer for it. Bad enough and often rather a robber of my time. But I am ever so grateful that I've not ( yet ) fallen prey to the lure of a Smartphone and its app-dictive siren call.

We willingly give our Smartphones a big chunk of our time, time we'll never get back. One day we'll sit back and wonder how we got talked out of so much free and valuable time...


Monday, 15 June 2015

We Aren't Called Burgenland For Nothing...

It's the details that colour in our lives with a breathtaking spectrum.

Our lives are geared to rushing around and trying to accomplish everything at once. Multi-tasking isn't a skill once only had by successful executives but a skill now honed to perfection by even Aunt Mavis.

We are so busy trying to get it all in ( and often that ' in ' is having enough fodder for the Smartphone and news stream ) that we only take time to skim the surface. Like Fool's Gold...all shine but no substance. Of course it looks pretty on Facebook but when did we start to live our lives to cater to our virtual friends?

Apart from rushing around on holiday trying to get your money's worth, half the time you're bent over an iPhone answering banal enquiries. Whatever happened to having the holiday-debriefing at the end of it, with a lot of wine and good friends?

Anyway, life has so many attractions to offer even in our little part of the world. In fact we have got a smorgasbord of castles and fortresses...we aren't called Burgenland for nothing.

Bob and I, in our first year here made a point of using Sundays to explore our area and often we'd visit a castle. My word, these castle are an amazing and beautiful part of history that we are fortunate enough to still be able to explore for real. Moving around a castle is exhilarating and humbling at the same time.

History is a great teacher because it shows us what could and can be done without the use of modern equipment or technology. When I walk into the various tracts and rooms of a castle, I can't help but imagine how life must have been back then in the middle ages.

We are blessed with so many stunning attractions, be it a Buschenschank held by a vintner with the accolade of having created the best red wine in Austria, be it the picturesque landscapes so synonymous with Burgenland or just a divine tasting Schnitzel eaten at a scenic spot and enhanced by either a Puntigamer or a Grüner Veltliner.

If and when you come for a peek into the lusciousness of Burgenland, please take enough time to let it soak in...

Taking the time to see the details is like taking a crayon and filling in the grey spots of your live. Certainly not necessary but oh so nice when you do.


Sunday, 14 June 2015

The Essence Of Our New Lifestyle Seems To Be In A Jar Of Riebeseljam.

A family visit and food?

A life lived in South Africa is unique and also fortunate ( for some that is ). Most women have the luxury of a maid and the life that goes with it. Manicured nails for a starter. Something that went out the window very quickly for me, after the first few weeks of doing my own housework.

Perhaps that lifestyle of having maids and gardeners is one of the reasons why a lot of South Africans living overseas are on the social media platforms lamenting their departure from the shores of that somewhat cushy way of life.

Mum phoned yesterday to invite us to for a ' grill-evening ' which we always look forward to because of its good food and divine wine! Not forgetting the company which has swelled by two. Family from S.A. is here for just over a week. Nice! ( Hee hee, on the way there Schatzi & I played Rock, Paper, Scissors as to who would be the designated driver...not me! )

As I knew that we'd have ice cream, I casually suggested to Bob that we should make Riebeseljam as a topping for the ice cream. I didn't have to ask twice. We were making jam.

Last night while we were sitting there, we were asked a few times:

" Really, do you like living here? Are you sure. Bob, be honest! "
and you know what, both of us didn't hesitate for a second. Perhaps they didn't believe us or perhaps they thought that no one would like living in such a tiny village.

But here's the thing. It is because we are fortunate enough to live in a small place, and a wonderful place like Eisenberg to boot ( and of course being close to family ), that we are thriving in our new life.

Making jam might seem insignificant, but it is the essence of what we love about our life & lifestyle here in Burgenland. To make this jam, we took two bowls and meandered down our lane to one of our neighbours house. On the way, we stopped and had a few chats with some other neighbours ( oh yes, no one is hiding behind two meter high garden walls ).

A lady had kindly offered us her Riebesel fruit and all I had to do was knock on her door and tell her that Bob and I would pick them. While we did, she came and chatted to us. Lovely. Just as we finished, her neighbour, who has a huge cherry tree ( co-incidentally Bob had eyed those cherries earlier ) invited us to pick as many as we'd like the following week. Just like that!

The cherry on the cake ( ! ) is the pure and simple truth, that only since we've moved here do we have the luxury of spending quality time together such as making jam...and making jam is one of those activities that shows you how a simple life can be the best life..


Saturday, 13 June 2015

My Catch Of The Day In The Deutsch Schuetzen Vineyards.

Even the birds are in a great mood so early in the morning!

Well, not everyone seems in a good mood...can you also picture what this cat is thinking? Gosh, doesn't it look like Garfield?
A yellow siren amid the long green grass. Rather fetching, don't you think?
These cherries could be a contender for a most divine cherry jam or they could be thrown habhazardly over a big bowl of vanilla ice cream!
What an intricate flower this is. A cone shape with tiers of details in a subtle mauve. Nice.
A perfection that needs no words.
The beauty of living in a wine growing village, is that a vineyard and its soothing power is always around. Tasting the fruits of our vineyards is an even better adventure.
If you look closely in the middle of the photo, you can see a white stamen which resembles a ancient royal symbol. A magnetic combination of flowers and surrounds.


Friday, 12 June 2015

Contrary To Popular Belief, Hearing Aids Aren't Always Switched On.

The art of conversation...

Hearing is so important and alas, it does often go on hiatus when we get older. A sad fact of life yet with the help of an hearing aid, some of the auditory ability is revived.

That is if it is switched on or even in the ear! From what I've been told, most of the hearing aids aren't that comfortable and often give off a hissing sound that others can hear. Imagine what it must feel like in the ear. As a hearing aid ( each ear ) uses a battery more or less per week, it is understandable if it isn't always switched on.

The jury is still out on whether the eternal use of an i-pod or earphones will cause a loss of hearing a few years down the line.

Visiting a nice lady yesterday, it was a bit tricky holding a conversation with her because she didn't have her devices in her ears. Believe me, I surreptitiously sneaked a look at her ear as I didn't want to shout just in case. For a few minutes, I did talk in a rather loud and distinct voice and she mostly understood me.

A relative of hers came to visit soon after I had arrived and for about five minutes she also had to shout and repeat herself. In fact, she was getting quite annoyed and in the end shouted:

" For goodness sake, put in your hearing aid. I can't shout so much! "
that did the trick and suddenly we had a flowing conversation. There is no one like family to tell it like it is...

Several years back, I knew an older man who had a third set of teeth. The falsies or ' The tatties' as he used to call them. Having a new set of teeth is far from cheap or painless and it made me chuckle to see this man walk around with his new teeth...

As they were so precious, he usually carried them around in his shirt pocket!
...and only put them in when his embarrassed wife gave him a scolding...


Thursday, 11 June 2015

A Fruitful Summer Ahead In Our Kitchen.

The cherry trees are abundantly fruitful.

At the moment the cherries are the guinea pigs of " jammers " everywhere and only because they are fashionably early in the season. If you could only see how wonderfully laden the trees are all over our neighbourhood. Little red balls of flavour suspended among the green foliage.

Cherry jam is to my mind the queen of jams. Apart from the divine and delicious flavour, they are very labour intensive. When Bob and I prepare for the cherry affair, we know that we need oodles of energy. Not all cherries are the same and some are blessed with a bit of extra protein...worms.

We have to open each and every cherry to inspect for protein and if found, to take it out, followed by de-pitting them. Of course making liqueur with cherries makes life much simpler as we can just emulate Mexico's fancy Agave worm Tequila.

Throughout the year I have sourced gardens where fruits are left to rot as not everyone is overly fond of making their own jam, ( Bob and I are so spoiled by the taste of our homemade jams, that we could never eat store bought again ). One fruit that is a rare delicacy is the red currant. One of our neigbours has a few shrubs and last year she gave us all the fruit, which we promptly converted into the most divine red currant jam. This, coupled with blue cheese and a lovely Blaufränkisch wine is as near perfect as it gets.

When I went to visit this lady yesterday, I was touched by her concern over the red currants and their predators; birds. All she was worried about was that we wouldn't be able to pick enough fruit for our batch of jam. Precious! I can almost picture her shooing the odd bird away. In a few days, these red currants will be ready for picking. When I tasted a berry yesterday it was a tad overly tart and still developing that deep red almost purple hue.

The sisterhood of making jam is sometimes overt and sometimes hidden. When you least expect it you see evidence of a fellow " jammer "...the tell tale jars of various sizes and labels that are hand written.

Picking up a jar of jam in a supermarket is as easy as 1-2-3, but when you make your own, it kind of keeps that invisible string of our forebears taut. Making jam is one of those fabulously old fashioned activities that kills so many birds with one batch of homemade jam.

  • Being in the moment. When you make jam, your attention can't be distracted by a Smartphone.
  • A respect for nature and her ability to grow such an abundance of fruit.
  • A stash of great tasting jams, a stash that makes each bread roll burst with flavour, each plain yoghurt take on a hue and taste to your likening and of course boast a stellar record of being without chemical and funny E-numbers...
  • Last but not least, prettily decorated jars of homemade jam make the most useful and unique birthday presents!


Wednesday, 10 June 2015

I Stopped The Car & Smelt The Roses Above Deutsch Schuetzen.

Summer, sunshine and a great view.

I shouldn't really call it summer yet because technically we are still bumbling along in Spring. It makes me wonder what the actual summer will be like? At the moment, there is a vibrancy of colour wherever one happens to look. Even the ' plain ' green of the forests are what my Dad calls the 30 shades of green. Each more magnetic than the next.

Driving around yesterday took me to Hungary and back, and this beautiful weather had many languising under a shady tree or umbrella. Life had slowed down and more importantly the people themselves were taking it easy.

The odd farmer was working the field but I suspect that it might have been an escape from the heat...oh yes, the modern tractor is equipped with a super duper air conditioner.

We have a few farming purists among our mid and it was a pleasure to watch them exercising their craft, safe in the knowledge that we don't have to join in. A farmer in his mid sixties was using his scythe to ' mow ' a huge meadow. In the middle of the day too. Fit as a fiddle indeed and I bet that the scythe does wonders for a spare tire...might try it myself sometime.

Just for a moment I have to wax lyricals about the most divine smell there is. Freshly cut grass surpasses a Dior or Lancome spritz any time. The air is laden with the succulent aromas of grass. Perhaps with a hint of the odd wild flower or herb. If you ever feel down in the dumps, sit next to a meadow while it is being mowed. Instant gratification. Instant upliftment.

As to the roses of Deutsch Schützen, they have a siren call all of their own. Driving to another appointment, I took a shortcut via the vineyards and when I took in the sheer brilliant reds of the roses, I stopped the car, reversed and got out to take a few photos.

These roses are at the start of each row of vines and I know that apart from the aesthetics, the roses are planted to show the health of each vine. Healthy roses...healthy vines. One of our local wine estates, Weingut Krutzler has a cult following of wine lovers and a flagship wine with the delightful name of Perwolff that has won and still wins numerous awards.

Those roses are on the rows of vines outside their wine cellar and I assume they are theirs. Driving past that little stretch is a rewarding adventure as it overlooks the whole valley, with Deutsch Schützen included.

Overlooking Deutsch Schützen on a beautiful Spring day.
A rose by any other name...


Tuesday, 9 June 2015

G 8...Gee Whiz...Addressing Global Warming / Climate Change!

Is it really going to happen?

As a population we are incredibly obtuse and self serving. Do we really think that we can go on partying with no care for tomorrow? Building, consuming, throwing away, using chemicals in just about everything and fighting wars. If we ever going to round the corner and start the long process of healing our planet ( or at least not depleting it ), then we need to stop, and stop now!

A war is a horrid horrid thing and by rights we should only know about it from history books. Wars kill people, destroy everything and make one question humanity. I am so very grateful that I've never had to experience a war the way that we see so many people living amid the evil of it.

We can send a man to the moon, but we can't stop a war. Apart from all the tragedy and loss, sadly a war also means big business for industry. Someone is making a mint, manufacturing the various implements of fighting a war ( for either side ). Could they have enough influence to keep fanning the flame of hatred and discontent?

Rebuilding a war torn area is necessary of course, but if a war had been avoided in the first place, Nature wouldn't have to be depleted of of all the ingredients needed to build. Never mind all the carbon emissions. Once a war is over, a lot of fortunes are made in the rebuilding of that which it has destroyed.

I was surprised to hear Global Warming being addressed at the recent summit. Could it be that Governments are coming on board?

As for a waste of time and resources, one needs to look no further than FIFA. As I have mumbled in the past, I thought not all was right in ' Soccer-Ville ' and now, we hear of corruption of such a scale that it boggles the mind.

Talk about a real disregard of Global Warming & Mother Nature: Having to build new stadiums every four years in different locales is a waste of such gigantic proportions, that I get cross just thinking about it.

There are so many only-used-once FIFA -standard stadium littered around the globe, gathering dust or providing a place for weeds to sprout, that it is a crime against nature to keep building more of the same...


Monday, 8 June 2015

The Eisenberg Fire Department Wins Awards & Bob Discovers His Marital Joker.

The covet... Get-Out-Of-Your-Wife's-Bad-Book... joker

Honestly, I think that I have given most of the men a new idea of how to handle late nights. Those nights they come home late and rather tiddly. Or at least an inkling that there is at least one wife ( a.k.a moi ) who has muttered the odd angry word...

The Eisenberg Fire Department's various teams have been practicing for weeks and weeks and it has paid off. Fantastic indeed. At midday on Saturday, Bob headed off with his mates to the regional competition in Wolfau, testing the handling, running and coupling the fire hoses-those that will save someone's life one day. It sounds easy on paper but it involves speed, agility and hours upon hours of hard training.

Bob had been using me as a dummy commandant ( eh, that sounds a bit too close to home ) and mock saluted me while barking out various reports and sentences in a loud official voice. Oh, marriage!

I knew Bob would have a late night and was as per usual reclining on the couch when I heard an SMS come through at about 8 pm. As one does, I looked at it at 10 pm and read that the A-team had won 1st prize in their category, after nine years of trying and that the B-team ( oh yes, Biggi's team more like as Bob is in it ) had garnered 3rd prize in their event. Wow, how cool is that! Oh gosh, I was so happy and proud of Bob.

The creator of this text might have been a bit tiddly or something because he put a riddle in the text:

... XYZ was seriously injured in the process...
Jeez-a-lou, what the heck? Thank goodness it wasn't Bob was my first thought and then I wondered about this poor soul having maybe broken a leg or having to be in hospital for a while.

Bob came home close to midnight and before I had even congratulated him, I asked him about his seriously injured team mate. Not to make it sound like a walk in the park, but this chap had pulled his hamstring and luckily not broken a leg or worse.

Honestly, at such a late hour, it was hard for me to focus and concentrate on the winner's tale. Nevertheless, I was so very proud of Bob and that he got 3rd place in his event. Super and beyond fabulous.

The next morning, when Bob was feeling a little bit better, he let it slip, that some of his team mates gave him sage advice ( it seems that some of them had read my other blog post about Bob's other late night return ):

" Bob, wait a minute before you go home. There is a spare trophy. Take it with you and Biggi won't be cross with you! "
appearantly followed by guffaws of laughter...soon I'll do a survey among the other wives asking them whether their spouses returned home late, brandishing a trophy?
The floating Keep-out-of-your-wife's-bad-books trophy
available now after all late-into the night functions...


Sunday, 7 June 2015

A Few More Photos Of My Favourite Daisy Garden.

I can't help it...I find them so refreshing and beautiful.

Like faithful little reminders of how important it is to take the time and look at flowers. A minute of contemplation can make many woes float away.
An orange reminder that there is more to see other than my daisies.
In fact, this purple ball is growing amid and among the stems of these daisies. It won't be long before I take a camping chair and sit across for a bit.
Meditation needn't only be yoga!

Doesn't this remind you of Camomile tea?
...at the daisy coral! They all look the same yet are all so very different. This little bit of daisy haven reminds me of that new advert about Mother Nature ( the one narrated by Julia Roberts ) and somehow I think she would approve of highlighting one of the many wonders of nature. Yes, flowers are wonderful.
A cherry sapling ( it is barely taller than I ) has the red fruit forming and stands proudly next to the daisy coral...


Saturday, 6 June 2015

Eisenberg & Deutsch Schuetzen Are Packed To The Rafters.

People are catching on...

It helped that it was a long weekend, well sort of if one took off work on Friday and of course the weather played along with a backdrop of sunshine, heat, brilliance and nary a cloud in the offing. Simply marvelous, Simply Burgenland!

My honey ( a.k.a. Bob ) was on his way to practice holding his hose, ( no really, that's part of a fireman's drill ) and I had plonked down on the couch with a glass of Grüner Veltiner and my favourite cop show on the telly. Blissful indeed at least for a minute, because suddenly Bob was back. Huh?

It turns out that as he was getting into the car, a quartet of bikers stopped and asked him whether he knew of anywhere to stay for the night. A question that merited my appearance and luckily I hadn't changed into my pyjamas yet!

What a sight. Easy Riders and Wild Hogs came to mind. Four bikers in black leather with big machines next to them. One forgets that in real everyday life these cool, clad in black leather bikers are perhaps Doctors, Lawyers or Bankers. Who else can afford those big machines and the luxury of biker's safari?

Born to Be Wild - Saumäßig Unterwegs
Easy Rider

Armed with the local phone directory ( not that big ) and my cell phone I started to phone around the various B&B's for these guys. They must have been big city revelers, as they were amazed that I'd phone all over for them! For us it's what we do in a small village.

Eventually on the fifth try I garnered 4 beds for them and even though I knew the lady, I handed the phone over to one of the men. Goodness, my phone ( not smart & older than 5 years ) got a frown indeed. Clearly he was used to the smart variety.

They organized the arrangement and when it came to getting to the place, which is in the middle of our stunning Deutsch Schützen vineyards, I said:

" Just tell her that you are waiting outside Bob & Birgit's place in Eisenberg. "
which is what he did and you know, within 5 minutes she came to lead them to her place. It might seem a fairly insignificant happening, but for me it is the quintessence of village life...being friendly, helpful and cheerful.

Oh, and the cherry on the top was:

" Wow, your village is so peaceful and nice. You must love it here!
...a learned man indeed.


Friday, 5 June 2015

A Walk In The Woods Brings Surprises.

A forest is one of a few places still untouched by concrete & steel.

Walking during hot days is only really possible if one can find a shady route or a nice bit of wood or forest. Bob and I set off rather late at 7 am and within minutes were in the lovely cooler glades of the forest.

We've done a few of these forest walks so that we don't have to drop little breadcrumbs behind us. I know that sounds funny, but once you're inside the forest all roads tend to lead away...

Usually, we only get the odd deer or rabbit making an appearance while we walk there but yesterday we heard a rather loud rustling not far from us. Luckily we spotted another walker before we assumed it was a wild pig. We've been told that there is an abundance of wild pigs in our neck of the woods although we've yet to see any but we always joke about who will hide behind whom if ever we encounter any! Naturally Bob relishes in describing what an angry wild pig might do to us...men!

As we aren't newlyweds anymore, we draw straws about who would be thrown to the pigs...None of that Manly-Hero stuff when you've been married for a while.

We have had a week of scorching hot days after a bout of rain, and yet inside the forest there were still a few puddles to be stepped over. Just goes to show how divinely cool and acclimatized it is in there. There is nothing like walking in the forest. No houses, no shops and hardly any people.

Bob has a route that takes us from one edge of the forest in a circular way to exit on the hill above our village. About 200 meters from the edge, Bob spotted two horses and their riders. Gosh, what a sight! There were these two big steeds weaving between the various oak and fir trees.

As it turned out, it was one of our neighbours and his wife exercising their horses in the cool the forest. I tell you, it definitely took top prize in a social encounter. Both of them stopped next to us ( one of the horses was a tad rambunctious and was chomping at the bit and trying to hot hoof it ) and we had a typical exchange of social niceties only this time they were atop their steeds and we were on foot.

It might not sound like much, but I find that life is lived in these seemingly small moments. The secret of course is to recognize these moments of joy, happiness or even sadness, for what they are.


Thursday, 4 June 2015

The Summer Holidays Are Just Around The Corner & Kids Have Started Their Countdown.

The excitement of a family holiday trumps all.

Even the kids who are really too cool to think anything other than X-Box etc as being Da thing, are quivering with excitement at the prospect of going away on a family holiday during summer.

The summer school holidays were, oh so far away the other day and yet, now they are so tantalizingly close that concentrating on school work for the remainder of the term is hard. Of course teachers the world over are smart people and most of them have scheduled a barrage of tests in the last month of the school year.

Seeing a typical newly minted teenager's workload pales anything we do as adults. Every week a test is had, be it in Maths, English, German or... and at times I think the parents do take strain along with their children. They are the ones supervising and scheduling homework and study time. Not an easy task when competing with a teenager's new social awakening ( suddenly the girls / boys are attractive and not just a nuisance ) and of course there's the lure of technology!

The kids or mini-executives bravely soldier on through the ever so useful trigonometry, dangling participles, Romulus & Remus and the winner of oh, so useful in real life after school which is that eternal brain teaser:

Daisy is on train A. Train A is going a gazillion kph one way, and train B is going a gazillion and a bit the other way. At what point on the track does Daisy see Dougie who is travelling on Train B?
well, you get the drift and hands up those of you who have ever used this type of logic in real life? Of course in Germany there often is no train at all due to various strikes...fat lot of good the riddle does there!

Most kids don't mind at all where the family goes on holiday. As long as they are together and I tend to think that most would even enjoy pitching a tent in the back garden and vacationing there.

Bob vividly recalls many a drive to Cape Town setting off in the middle of the night. Isn't that usually the most exciting bit of it? I remember various trips to the sea, be it in Yugoslavia ( shows my age, doesn't it ) or Italy. Days of sheer joy playing in the sand, eating pizza and playing cards.

Parents the world over are also counting down the days until the start of the summer holidays, with just one thorn among the mix. As exciting as long car drives are, there is always that combat zone on the back seat between various siblings.

In the days of yore, the space between the front and back seats was short enough to allow a arm to swing backwards in order to stop a fight, but the modern chariots make this impossible...Happy driving!


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The Mauve Belles Of Eisenberg.

There is more to Eisenberg than World Class Wine!

Mental health and walking in nature seems to go hand in hand, and what mothers' have known through time, is now being studied and researched. Most of our Mum's uttered this well used line:

" Stop moaning and just go and play outside and only come in again when you feel better! "
As adults we seem to think that we've outgrown the walking in nature phase yet we now need it even more than ever to combat the constant stream of negative news, negative comments or just the sheer amount of information we willingly and unwillingly imbibe each and every day.

I like to imagine that the various images that nature provides are the new screen savers' of my minds. It needn't be anything ' flashy ' at all. Often the little unnoticed or hidden away bits of nature are those that make the most impact.

Walking last Sunday, I varied my walk ( oh yes, I am a true creature of habit ) and walked down Steinweg for a change and you know, I stumbled across the most stunning little flowers. My own little mauve belles...

Any locals reading this will know that Steinweg has seen many a walker late at night...returning from various functions. Amazing really, because there are no street lights, no tar but only a very steep lane filled with pebbles that is extremely treacherous to navigate. Walking downhill on a pebbled lane is not for the faint of heart...

Aren't they simply breathtaking? They were hovering on the verge next to the notorious Steinweg, and cast their lure at me...
Rather perfect and a nice new screen saver for our mind.
The mauve Harebells of Eisenberg...


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

A Simple Walk, Early In The Morning Is One Of Life's Secrets To Happiness.

A healthy dose of nature.

I had forgotten the sheer joy of setting off for my morning walk at an early hour. An adventure often only accompanied by cheeky birds chirping all the way. Oh and the odd hare, buck and spider.

Just after six in the morning ( and let's face it, it is hardly the crack of dawn ) the air is crisp and still a bit unpolluted. Most people are only starting on their second cup of coffee to lure them out of a state of sleepiness.

Halfway into my walk, I caught a hint of soap in the air. Even though we have been nudged by advertisers into needing more and more exotic smells in our shampoos, creams, shower-gels in order to feel clean, important & special, a mere whiff of a cheap bar of Lux or Palmolive soap transported me back to my youth.

My golly gosh, back then if we even mentioned that we'd wanted a fancy bar of soap, we were quickly shown the error of our ways...But you know what, the smell of a simple soap evoked an immense sense of contentment in me. Almost on a par with a Jasmine shrub announcing its presence or a rose bush sweetening the air around it.

A troupe of bees getting their morning buzz were never far away and the birds were having a field day. A literal field day, as they were hopping gaily among the grooves of the pastures. Perhaps they were picking worms or snails out of the fields or they felt happy to be alive. Often they would wait until the last meter before they would fly up in the air and hover until I walked on. Screeching all the way of course.

It feels like summer although officially we are still bumbling along in spring. The variety of grass along the forest edge and pathways has a distinct aroma of its own. There is nothing like the smell of green grass to transport you back to your childhood. Who didn't run and roll around on the grassy pastures? Games of hide and seek or tag were the order of the day back when we were under 10...

The best thing about walking so early in the morning is really that sense of achievement you get, knowing that before 7am your work out for the day is done and dusted and your breakfast well earned.


The nicest fact about are village is that one is never far from a vineyard...
If only you could smell the green grass of Eisenberg...

Monday, 1 June 2015

This Makes Smokers Almost Look Like Choir Boys!

Plastic is thriving and birds are dying.

Let's be honest, where do we think that waste goes to? It can't just turn into thin air and take care of itself. No, whatever doesn't get recycled, gets buried in the ground. That is if it's done properly and doesn't just get tossed into the nearest river which then floats down into the ocean.

Most of us have an inkling by now about the masses of pollution in our oceans and rivers. When you sit and ponder how many of us are living on our planet, multiplied by the amount of rubbish each of us generates it sends chills down the spine. At least for me it does.

I do wonder if it would make a difference to our collective health, if all plastics were banned?

Living without using plastic is jolly difficult as just about everything is wrapped in it and most things produced with it. My personal pet hate at bakery departments in supermarkets is when they wrap ' freshly ' baked bread in plastic. Honestly I'd rather have a few fingerprints on it then the taste of plastic. Warmth and plastic are not a healthy combination. Really, stop wrapping stuff in unnecessary plastic!

Bob and I saw a program last night on the plight of birds around the coast line of Northern Germany. An alarming number of dead birds are found there and when they were examined, it turns out that about 95% of them have bits of plastic in their stomachs and some of the pieces are rather tiny, but nevertheless they are plastic.

The tiny bits of plastic are slowly entering our food chain. Finding any spot on planet earth that doesn't have pollution might be impossible. Plastics ( and let's not forget that plastics are often made with harmful chemicals and colourants ) are leaving their greeting card everywhere. Even if you don't see the offending item, you can be sure that the invisible parts of it ( chemicals and so forth ) are floating in a river near you!

Suddenly, smokers look like choir boys...until we all recycle and use much less plastics, how dare we complain about the smokers...