Monday, 31 August 2015

Pardon Me, But When Did You Last Have Sunday Breakfast Outside In Your Garden?

Or on your veranda, balcony, front step or even together at your table?

Bob and I are famous for not using our kitchen table to eat breakfast together. Usually it is a bowl of cereal or perhaps a plate of fried eggs, but mostly balanced on our lap, watching TV or that silly computer screen. A modern couple, I wonder or a modern couple of idiots...?

Especially on Sundays, where there would be a lot of time, we either eat at different times or are too lazy to lay the table. Naturally when we have visitors, we go all out! Isn't it typical of life...we always do for others but almost never for ourselves.

Recently Bob has built us a covered seating area outside. It took a lot of sweat to get it done and I thought that it deserves to be adored and made use of. It has the afternoon sun on it and because the mornings are shady and cool under there, I have taken to having a cup of tea and reading a book on the lazy deck chair under it.

It is a fifty meter walk from the front door and that might explain the dearth of breakfasts outside. Mum has given us a tray and it comes in handy. Yesterday, I took the liberty of arranging everything that we would need on it ( scrambled eggs, homemade bread, jam and tea ) and only called to Bob when everything was ready to be taken up:

" Schatzi, come and get your breakfast. "
I tend to think that Bob expected to get a plate and continue in front of the small screen and therefore he was surprised to see the fully loaded tray. No way out now!

He took the tray up and I followed with the hot pan of eggs and a newspaper under my arm. He set the table and we actually had a nice Sunday breakfast where the only distractions were the birds, the odd passer by and a few swipes at mosquitoes.

It took perhaps two minutes more than it would have taken to eat inside and both of us couldn't come up with an answer to why we don't do this more often? We really enjoyed having a leisurely Sunday breakfast outside in our garden.

As nice as it at times is to cruise the social media highway, it does rob us of so much time. Time we could spend with our spouses, our kids, in the garden, reading a book or just hanging out together the old fashioned way....without constantly looking down, swiping fingers over a little screen and uttering:

" Heh, what did you say? "
" Wait a minute, I have to quickly leave a comment!"


Sunday, 30 August 2015

Oh, Is It Sunday, So Soon Already?

Summer is beginning to pack up nice and slowly.

The eternal sun seekers didn't disappoint yesterday. These daisies or should that be wild chamomile, seem to be around at all times during the summer months.
" Sun, sun where art thou...."

Not to be outdone by their beautiful neighbours, the Cosmos! Gosh, the depth of the purple was magnificent to behold.
Walking through the Deutsch Schützen Weinberg, I stumbled across this romantically laid out garden. The curvy path is magnetic in its attraction.
Paradoxically, when the temperatures are at their highest ( 30 plus ) the sound of wood being chopped and cut is heard everywhere. Once cut, the pieces are stacked in wooden geometric designs in most gardens. Rather nice to see.
A vine with white and red grapes on one string...I wonder what wine they will produce...
Finally, the vineyards of Südburgenland are dotted with these lovely Kellerstöckls. Would you use this bench for sundowners or sunrisers (not the tequila type) ....Wine, coffee or both?


Saturday, 29 August 2015

Bling Doesn't Mean A Thing !

School uniforms aren't so bad after all.

Austria and in fact most of Europe do not have mandatory uniforms at school. The kids wear whatever they want and let me tell you, some of the things they do wear ( or not wear ) are a bit questionable. No, I don't think I am a prude, but school should really be for learning from books and not from looks.

Parents are feeling the stress of getting their cherished offspring ready for school. I wouldn't be surprised if some parents are rather glad to have them back to a bit of structure. Teenagers lounging about the house can be irritating and rather costly. They are always hungry...even if they are not!

The easy part is buying all those pens, crayons, rulers and exercise books. The hard part is getting the ' school wardrobe ' up to date. All that eating ensures that the kids are in need of a bigger size of everything. Never mind the new fashion for the season. Jeans, shorts, skirts and shirts are shopped for. Oh, the shops are rubbing their mittens in glee.

Good luck going clothes shopping with a teenager. Oh, and make sure you have ample time and money. Those good old times where you picked the clothes are over. Very much so.

Imagine if your child attended a school with mandatory school uniform. Every pupil would wear the same uniform. Skirts and shirts for gals and trousers and shirts for lads. Shopping would be a breeze. Two skirts, two shirts, a tie, a jersey and a blazer. The often had argument of: " I can't go to school today because I have nothing to wear " would be null and void.

Oh, I almost forgot...with school uniforms comes a strict code of conduct regarding hair: Lads have to have short back and sides, gals need to tie their hair up and no artificial colouring is allowed! Daily bathroom hogging time slashed in half...

Of course the real bonus of wearing a school uniform is that at school everyone is the same. No one gets judged by what they wear.

You do get some fashionistas who know how to wear their uniform more stylishly: sleeves rolled up, a sock folded over and a tie tied differently.

Unfortunately most of us judge a book by its cover and alas we miss out on a good book. How often in life do we not get to meet wonderful people just because we don't like the way they dress? Having your kids attend school in uniform, might get them into the habit of judging people by their actions, deeds and character instead of by what they own, drive or wear.

Perhaps we can teach them that bling doesn't mean a thing...


Friday, 28 August 2015

The Language Of Hairdressing Is The Hardest To Master.

The funny side of miscommunication...

You think you know the English language, but really only once you step inside a salon, do your words seem foreign. That is, foreign to your hairstylist. We all know that the English centimeter you wanted off your hair can be translated into an American inch.

Asking for blonde, red or brown hair creates its own obstacle course through a myriad of hues and needs further illumination. Only the trusting, brave or I'm not happy in my relationship will say these fateful words:

" Oh, you choose my colour."
...for whom the bell tolls!

When Bob and I first started courting, he was having his hair cut at the same Salon for ages ( by the way, I spent 20 odd years in a Salon, not that one though ). Perhaps he wanted to impress me still so early on in our relationship, or perhaps he merely wanted a different haircut.

He went to his stylist and asked her what she would recommend for him. Now Bob has very curly hair and likes to keep it short. Except when he was rebelling in London after he had finished school as then he had extremely long hair ( money was spent on other things ), and as it was long and curly, it defied gravity. When he got back home, one pointed look from his Mum, put a stop to long hair.

When Bob asked his stylist for a change of Do, he told me that he was sitting in the stylist's chair and heard these fateful words:

" Bob, with your curly hair, I think we should grow your hair into a David Hasselhoff. Surely you remember that series, Knight Rider? "
I think that was the last time Bob ever went to her for a haircut. Bob, was into Nirvana and the grunge look and the mere thought of looking like Knight Rider turned Bob into a quivering jelly. From the heights of coolness to the depths of despair...this was before the Hoff emerged from the Hasselhoff!

If only his stylist had said to Bob:

" Bob, let's grow it a longer and shape it here and there! "
Well, there is a phrase one should avoid at all costs in a Salon...The A La Hasselhoff


Thursday, 27 August 2015

Pairing Wine & Food Is As Delicate As It Is Important.

A prism like affair...

Wine tasting brings so many different emotions to a oenophile, ranging from euphoria via excitement to dread. Attending a wine tasting is akin to a treasure hunt. There is nothing better than discovering a sip of wine that makes your toes curl with pleasure and your eyes to roll back in their sockets.

Even in the humble quarters of your home, drinking a nice glass of wine deserves a good accompaniment. Anything processed such as crisps ( yikes ) should be forbidden with wine. It takes a few neutralizing fresh vegetables to get your taste buds back from the edge of insanity.

You know, I prefer to drink my wine before a meal. A sort of sun-downer and reflector of life without the hindrance of eating...Of course I do need a bit of finger food along the way and that can prove rather tricky. The French seem to have a love of pairing brie with red wine. Not for me, as it turns the taste of red into a sweet red wine...far from nice.

Wines need to be savoured and enjoyed if for nothing else then to honour the huge amount of manual labour that went into producing your glass of wine. Spoiling its taste with a wrong choice of food is sad and a touch criminal...

Back to the wine tasting affairs, which let's face it, are a sales pitch from the various wine estates and vintners. Even the best of wines get distorted when accompanied by maybe a spicy curry, a hot dog and ketchup, or a fried something with a salad tending to be too vinegary in dressing.

If I was a wine maker I would showcase my wines at a public tasting with a band of minions at my side. They would be in charge of observing the drinkers of my wine and taking any morsel of food out of their hands that might make my wine less than optimal in taste.

Wine tastings should only be supported by neutral, palate cleansing foods and by plenty of still water. Please don't stunt a wine's character and individuality by forcing it to lubricate a poor choice of food.


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Ancient Loose Change On The Footpaths Of Yore.

Wine is a sign of wealth after all!

Conversation with people brings forth interesting tidbits. Only a few days ago I found out that there is an ancient footpath through the Eisenberg Weinberg and the more I think about it, the more obvious it is.

The beauty of talking with villagers about more than where they went last weekend, is that history comes to the fore. Our village has been here since the 13th century and perhaps even longer because I heard it rumoured that the Romans planted vines in our sunny climes.

Once you hear it said, it seems so logical. In the days of yore, wine was bought and sold. As everything was either carried on foot or horseback the distances might not have been very far but far enough to have a different image on the coins that paid for it.

It happens to us in the modern times and even though we are zipped to the hilt, we drop stuff. Coins, sunglasses, litter and the proverbial keys. So why should it not have happened in ancient times where the purse might have been a piece of cloth tied together?

A while ago, ancient coins were found on this old footpath. Most of this path is now covered by vines but it might be groovy to go on a discovery expedition through our vineyards.

Following in the footsteps of the original wine drinkers!

Finding ancient coins is not like the Irish pot of gold that lets you retire ( unless you discover an old sunken treasure ship with gold coins ) because they are a dime to the dozen. But finding ancient coins is a brush with history. Someone held these coins, someone worked extremely hard for them and someone went shopping with them. Wine, pigs or chickens perhaps?

Isn't it fascinating to ponder about the life of an ancient wine drinker?

  • Were there nuances of flavour and taste even back then making some wine more pricey than others?
  • Was the cream of the wine harvest crop destined for the rulers of the day...Kings and Lords, and did they even pay for it?
  • Were women even allowed to drink wine?
  • At the end of a week, did the villagers meet and have a few drinks of wine?
  • What containers did they drink out of...a clay or wooden cup perhaps?
One thing is for sure, even in ancient times, whoever drank wine spoke its language fluently!
In vino veritas


Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Lost In Conversation.

The mobil-ity of technology has changed conversation, and not for the better.

Can you remember when you last had a real conversation with someone or anyone? A conversation not littered with moments of disregard. That is the only way one could term that inane or rather insane need to constantly look at a tiny screen. Apart from the rudeness of it, it kind of stops the flow of conversation.

Everyone of us has an interesting history. History needn't be momentous but it could be. The only way one can get a glimpse of it is to take the time and converse. Conversing is like de-layering an onion. Sometimes it might make you cry but all the while you get to the real bits.

" How are you? How do you do? " are deceptively simple yet so important. These few words are the magic key. They help kick start the process of understanding, liking and learning about the other person. Naturally there are some people, who you learn not to ask the question because they will give you chapter and verse of everything in a monologue. Yet, even that holds bits of interest.

The mere volume of dating sites tells a story in itself. Doesn't it feel as if the computer is conversing for you with others. It robs one of that special moment when you talk with someone and suddenly you feel that affinity and just know...

Often at parties or get together's I sit and ponder about the life of people there. What do they like, what do they do, what hardship have they overcome and what do they believe...the list can be endless.

Do you remember those childrens colour in books, those that give you the outline in numbers and you have to follow the outline from #1? Only when you are halfway through, do you get an inkling of what it is. Well, for me, having conversations with people is like joining the line between the numbers of their life. With it, they take on shape, form and become interesting...

By the way, conversing means listening and talking, give and take and questions and answers. The other day I tried to hold a conversation with a young man and apart from the yes, and no's I got, it could have been a monologue...nothing more boring ( and embarrassing ) than a monologue, but at least I tried.

Conversations are the lifeblood of humanity and perhaps it is the recent lack of this skill that has changed our world into a place we don't recognize anymore.


Monday, 24 August 2015

A Moody Monday Perhaps...?

The calm before the storm it seems.

A definite walk on the wild side...a storm seemed to be in the offing and set the mood for the rest of the day. Yesterday, Sunday morning.
Don't you think that this could easily have been a great setting for one of those, dare I say, delightful English Crime Series? The colours all pulled on one string and amalgamated into a cauldron of darker hues...or moody blues.
This cheerful bunch of golden blades caught my attention. This particular spot is in Wingl Lane and as I was crouching to get a better angle, I heard a car approaching at high speed and in high gear...
I thought it might be the police or so but it turned out to be an older lady driving back home and forgetting to switch gears!
Our Eisenberg is ringed on one side by a large hill, can't call it a mountain, and often the weather is gloomy looking in one direction and sunny when you turn around in the other direction.
I wish you could have been there. This field of maize was just spectacular. The greens, yellows and the blue background.
Even standing in Eisenberg ( in fact, this spot is really no-man's land as it is between Eisenberg Weinberg and Eisenberg Village ) Deutsch Schützen is never out of sight...You can see their church spire in the distance.


Sunday, 23 August 2015

Bacon & Eggs Need Homemade Bread.

Finding the perfect complement for fried eggs.

The old habit of eating a fry up breakfast on Sundays ( gosh, I could eat it most days ) is not so easy in a country that doesn't do fry ups. Honestly, even explaining what a fry up is garners me a few strange looks coupled with raised eyebrows.

As much as I used to complain about the bread we had in South Africa - white or brown toast bread mostly - I do miss it now. Not the pre packaged one but the one that we used to buy and put in the bread slicer ourselves. That rectangular box shaped loaf.

If it was freshly baked and still had that lovely gooey texture inside, it firmly begged to be covered with pats of butter and dollops of peanut butter and drizzled with syrup for better lubrication...

Anyway, toasted it was the perfect place mat for a fried egg. Plain and simple. Perhaps a bit of HP sauce and a speck of fried bacon and it morphed into a heavenly bit of a breakfast morsel.

So far the only toast bread we have bought here was a few years ago and tasted a bit processed and sweet. We got confirmation of how processed it was, when we once forgot it was in the bread container. After a two week stint of not being used, guess still looked fresh and perky like the first day we opened the package. That did it for us. We threw away the toaster and with it the temptation to eat chemically enhanced bread.

We are now bread makers. Necessity taught us well. Buying a " Schwarzbrot " or as we would call it a Rye Bread is quite costly and a loaf can set you back almost 4 Euros. Bread rolls are also not cheap at +- 40 cents per roll and often they have no flavour at all. The processed ones that you can bake yourself are 40 cents for 6 and so full of chemicals that we'd go back to square one.

When we make our own bread, it costs us just under a Euro. Flour, yeast, salt and TLC is all that goes into our bread.

Nothing is constant in life and our homemade bread is no exception. Sometimes it tastes out of this world and other times it tastes and looks like a stone. But we are trying and like Gary Player used to say:" The more I practice the luckier I get..."

Once you've made homemade bread, there is no end to what you can make yourself:

  • Jam
  • Pasta
  • Pizza

Perhaps, making certain foods ourselves is a mini-protest against the huge food producing conglomerates that sell us their wares as if it's the best thing since sliced bread...


Saturday, 22 August 2015

Pancakes: Easy & Cheap To Make And Oh So Delicious!

The ultimate comfort food?

Pancakes, just like the one's your Oma used to make for you when you went to visit her! Is it the actual pancake or the topping that has us enthralled whatever our age?

I remember when we were young, my mum used to make us pancakes every Tuesday or was it Wednesday...regardless, we couldn't eat them fast enough and naturally at a young age, every pancake got counted and woe be me if I had one more than my brother, and vice versa.

Mind you, fast forward to now and when I make pancakes for Bob and I, he keeps a beady eye on the numbers ( luckily he only collects his stack when they are all made and thus doesn't know about the first one... the one that is dripping in butter and never graces a plate ).

Funny how life works. As youngsters, pancakes were just the bee's knees and a treat of note and somehow, at least for me, a pancake is the panacea of all ills. A throwback to a time where the only problem was how to skirt the curfew or who got more pancakes.

Surprisingly, making pancakes is so easy and oh so cheap. A few eggs ( and even that can be stretched if you are a bit short on dosh ), milk and flour. When you've made a few pancakes you realize that less is more and a thin one is easier to manoeuvre around the pan. Once I've tried to flip it like the pro's do on TV but it made a messy flop half in and out of the pan. Much better to use a spatula.

As for the toppings, even that was often a sprinkling of sugar mixed with a dash of cinnamon. Bob, having exotic tastes often puts drops of lemon juice over his whereas my idea of exotic is a few scoops of vanilla ice cream and if I am really out there, a bit of whipped cream on top. Now that is yummy.

On the slim chance that you are left with a few uneaten pancakes ( it has been know to happen ) you can cut them up into strips and put them in a normal ( chicken broth either from a cube or home made ) clear soup and garnish with a few chives. Oh, that might just become a best seller on my comfort food list...

Comfort food, contrary to popular belief doesn't have to involve a trip to a, a Walk-thru to your kitchen is all that's needed.


Friday, 21 August 2015

Even On Rainy Days The Burgenland Hues Shine Through.

An ordinary morning...

This would be a typical Burgenland view for me. A lovely farm house, a field of gold in front and an endless horizon of meadows and fields. Pumpkins are at the moment everywhere and some have spilled onto the verges. Tempting but reason prevails!
The vivid yellow flowers of the pumpkin plant is like a decoy. Unless you look closer you don't notice the yellow rugby ball sized vegetable underneath.
These pumpkins are used for the world famous pumpkin seed oil...or some call it an energizer for men.

Mysterious looking " berries " in this shrub. The purple hue caught my eye and it makes a good contrast to the many shades of green.
A still very young apple tree is carrying fruit regardless. The red little apples do look good enough to eat...
Oh dear, I think Adam had a taste of Burgenland paradise...
A model chicken posing for this photograph. The little chick was so busy pecking away at a worm, while its mum just stood there posing for at least a minute.
As I said, it was a rainy day. Even cloaked in clouds of all descriptions, the vineyards are a joy to behold...


Thursday, 20 August 2015

A Novel Way To Decide Your Travel Destination,

Choosing your holiday travels gets so much easier...

Ever from a young age, the age where I got stuck into my books, ideas of travelling have been filed in my head. At first it was the boarding school of The Famous Five but as I got older and into my teens, the Orient Express was the place to be.

As you can imagine, the Agatha Christie bug had bitten and apart from dodging the odd murderous soul on board, a week or two ensconced in a cozy yet ever so luxurious cabin aboard the Orient Express, was something to aspire to. At least for me. Either sleeping with the gentle rolling lullaby of the rails being met or getting up for the various meals was just so different from my norm
( heck, anyone's norm ) that it was put down on my list.

Historical novels were a bit more tricky, as the romantic places displayed wouldn't have been the same yet regardless, England was and still is the be all of romantic and crime novels ( for those not fond of the written word, there is always the celluloid and I can imagine a few going into their travel agent and asking to book a trip to Midsomer Mallet ...).

Recently, well recently in a literary time frame, the last decade or two, the Scandinavian writers have been enthralling readers the world over. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo kind of started a whole movement and Camilla Lackberg, Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbo are just a few of the delightful novelists who pen words and string them together with such aplomb and ingenuity that we are hooked from the first page.

As I would love to visit the fjords of Norway but also Sweden and Finland, the best way for me would be one of those Nordic Cruises. In one foul swoop I would be entering novel territory without the ever present corpses littered over the pages of the various crime novels.

A friend of ours has kindly left a Jo Nesbo novel and to my delight it is big in size and small in writing and as any avid reader knows, that means only one thing...we will be in the novels plain and happenings for a long time ( for that reason, I don't ever buy books that are flimsy in size ).

The Norway described by Jo Nesbo sounds so breathtakingly beautiful, that it might just be the next destination for me. Luckily, being in the heart of Europe, it isn't as far as it would have been from the tip of Africa.

What is your novel destination?


Millennium Trilogy Boxed Set: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / The Girl Who Played with Fire / The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest

The Bat: The First Harry Hole Case

Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries, Band 10)

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Humble Bean Or Rather SuperBean Cleans Up With Gusto.

A few boys turn into avid bean-counters.

Once kids go to Kindergarten they pick up many of life's important foundations for their future but alas, along with those they tend to pick up a few choice words in the playground.

More so boys, and it is a mystery to me, how they instinctively know at such a young age the a word is not nice! The trick is not to respond, but when they know that you changes the dynamics.

For a while now I have been having an English speaking hour with two boys who are still in Kindergarten. Sometimes they are angels and at times NOT. But that is par for the course and at that age they like to explore their boundaries. Fair enough.

To try out something new, I introduced the bean - jar. Armed with two empty jam jars and a Tupperware full of dried broad beans I told them the rules and the eventual reward. After they decorated their jar with their name, the rules were spelled out:

  • Attendance....10 beans.
  • Winning at Uno...2 beans.
  • Learning and knowing new English words...1-3 beans.
  • Using swear words....minus 1 bean.
  • Being unreasonably naughty ( not unheard of in boys that age! )...minus 1 bean.

After four lessons, the beans are counted and the one with the most beans will get a huge bar of chocolate.

Consistency is of the utmost importance and at first the one little imp tested me and let a few swear words roll of his tongue. Not aimed at me but just mingled into conversation. That first time he had to open up his jar and take out a bean was not so easy, but he did it.

Competition is rife at any age and they will police each other's language with unbelievable acuity. The minute they utter a choice word, they look at me and when they see that I heard, they open up their jar of beans and take one out. Without a mutter too. ( Should I forget to hear it they remind me that the other one must give me a bean.) Good as gold.

Anyway, we've had a few weeks summer break and yesterday was the first time back. Personally, I think that the one boy wanted to test me and see if I had forgotten the swearing rule. A word was uttered, not too bad but still.

" That is not a nice word, please can I have a bean from you. "
" Oh well Biggi, here are two beans because I just know I am going to use more bad words today! "

Oh, little imps are cute!


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Boney M, Wham, Lebkuchen & School Books.

That time again?

If you were that proverbial man from Mars ( the cave man of the 90's - a big hit with us women from Venus ) and didn't know what time of the year it was, don't stress but go shopping.

Have the shops nothing better to do but to remind us of how fast time is flying by? I bet you anything you'd like, that if you heard

Boney M's Rivers of Babylon or Wham's Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart
you'd know your time has come to buy Christmas gifts. Unless you have strange taste in music and listen to it all year round...

As you can imagine, this late into the Summer, the shops are going crazy with school displays. Pens, exercise books, school bags and so much more. If I were a parent I would jolly well go on holiday as soon as school closes because when you look at what the kids need for their new school year, you just know you'll be broke.

There are some kids who look forward to a new chapter at school but for the rest, perhaps all those multi coloured school accessories are a bribe of sorts. The proverbial dangling carrot...and for the first few weeks they'll go to school without parental decree!

The other day I walked into a supermarket and thought I'd done a stint of time travelling. Right smack bang at the entrance door there they were. Surely it couldn't be right? Oh, I tried and succeeded in herding Bob passed this display, as it is one of his favourites.

Lebkuchen, at this time of the year...that is just not fair! I mean really, give us a chance to enjoy Summer without already worrying about Christmas and the extra pounds it tends to bring.

Even last week, when wearing make-up was out of the question unless you'd wanted to look like a melting clown, some shops had put up displays of jackets and winter clothes. Another reminder

that time stands still for no man.
so we might as well enjoy each and every day.


Monday, 17 August 2015

Glorious Rain Has Finally Put A Stop To That Heatwave.

Rain is in the air.

We had the first inkling last night when we left the Grenzland Keller after a last bid to grab the edge of a dwindling weekend. A weekend that was great from start to finish.

Anyway, as we walked to our car the first drops began to fall onto the hot tarmac and somehow the whiff of rain was more pronounced even though ( or because of it ) it was mingled with a dash of tar. Perhaps we were thinking ahead to a night of rain and therefore had a much more alert sense of smell.

Just after midnight the heavens obliged and we had masses of rain. Isn't it the best to wake up to a bit of thunder and a whole lot of rain. The drops falling onto our roof made the most divine sound, and most welcome sound too. Finally an end to our third heat wave.

Our Londoners had been looking forward all those months to visiting us in Burgenland because let's face it, England has many nice things...Twinings, The Queen, Minis & Inspector Barnaby...but hot weather it has not (at least not as often as us ) ! Well, our friends got a pleasant surprise when they arrived in Vienna on Friday.

Austria and especially Burgenland had the honour of being one of the hottest places in Europe. Or should I say Tropical Europe... Our friends made the most of our heatwave ( there was the odd wishing for cooler weather ) and spent the afternoons at the various Badesees we have in our area. Rechnitz Badesee on Saturday and Rauchwart on Sunday.

Despite the various moans we made about the 35 degrees plus weather, it would have been awful had it rained already on Friday. We had a weekend of sitting outside ( either at Weber's Buschenschank or Mike's Sommerrock ) under a sky that was brim full of stars. Stars of all sizes and brightness. We sipped our local wines, ate our local foods and every now and again paused to look up and catch a shooting star.

Yip, a good life can't be bought...


Sunday, 16 August 2015

We've All Developed A Taste For Bedroom Chocolate.

Our Eisenberg vineyards provided the perfect setting for Sommerrock 2015.

Mike, a born organizer of parties, has launched a new mini festival in our midst. Yesterday was the forth one and what better way to celebrate life, summer and good friends than a party set in our wonderful vineyards.

As we got there, we all gave a donation to the host and after that, we could eat and drink to our heart's content. All the locals of course walked there and for us it was a gentle 2 km walk. One great facet to anything done in our Gemeinde, is that children are always welcome and there were plenty little ones running around and having a great time.

Sitting under a tree, gazing out onto the rows of vines while chatting with friends and listening to live music, is one of those moments where you feel content. Those rare moments in our hectic modern way of life, where everything is right in our world and you feel as if you can hear the violins playing.

In our case it was the real deal as Bedroom Chocolates were performing and they have a violinist too. Their sound is Jazzy, Folksy and wrapped in a modern beat. Music to enjoy. Lyrics to savour. Just like the slow food movement is banishing processed, plastic and unhealthy food from our meals, so has Bedroom Chocolate shown that real music beats the techno-processed pop that we get served up everywhere.

Performing live separates the boys from the men and once you've got a taste for real music, going back to the processed studio mixes is not very satisfying nor nice.

The evening moved gently along and before we knew it, we had seen in Bob's birthday. Gosh, he was so chuffed that so many came up to congratulate him. Men shook hands and ladies kissed him. Oh, believe me, he was in his element and rightly so.

Our friends had a good time and it showed them again how much fun our Eisenberg is. When in Rome, you do as the Romans, when in Eisenberg you have to drink wine in a wine cellar. That is just a must-do or rather must-have on anyone's bucket list.

Well, we got a personalized tour to one of our friends wine cellar which was actually only two Kellerstöckls further along. There we were, tasting his wines. I had been privileged before and knew what taste sensations were awaiting us. Unfortunately he has hung up his vintner's hat for a while now but opening his 1998 / 2000 Blaufränkisch red, was out of this world.

Watching our friends take the first sip into the unknown was precious. The minute the wine hit their palate's, eyebrows went up just before they closed their eyes with the pure enjoyment a good wine brings. Let me tell you, our area has so many small wine makers whose wine would make seasoned Sommoliers break out in praise.

We rounded up a wonderful party and evening by ambling home in the early hours of the morning. Our friends armed with good memories and two bottles of wine to take home, and Bob and I with that inner certainty of knowing we are really at home here...


Saturday, 15 August 2015

Frozen Grapes & A Torch, Both Not Necessary,

A trip to a local Buschenschank.

At least it wasn't sour grapes! This weekend we've got a full house again. Our friends are over from London for a long weekend and as Bob was saying, he can't believe how quickly time flies, as he was counting down the months leading up to this visit.

Our friends are far from novices, in fact one could call them veterans ( Gerhard, if you are reading this, I remembered the word in the middle of the night ) of Eisenberg. This is already their fifth visit and hopefully not their last.

That's the great trait of quiet and reserved people, they absorb and take note. The last time they were here, the four of us joined in a walking expedition with a great bunch of friends to a wine festival on the upper Eisenberg or as I call it- Millionaire's Row - and last night, every now and then they would ask me:

" Isn't that so and so? "

We had all looked forward ( in fact counting the weeks and days ) to having a nice evening at Weber's Buschenschank and that we had. It seemed like everyone was there and for Bob and I it was special to be able to greet and be greeted. Isn't that what dots the i in life? Throughout the evening, and dare I mention that we had such a good time that we stayed almost till closing time, folks would come up to our table for a chat.

It was rather funny the way they called their last round. The lights went off for a while and yes, we noticed. Gosh, that took me back to my student days and the way a last round was announced. Much more awful back then, as the lights would suddenly glare up and we would all blink like deer caught in the headlights.

As you can imagine on a warm summer's night, the wine tasted especially nice and because I didn't know if they had ice cubes I took a tupperware of frozen grapes along to drop into my wine glass. As it turns out, they had plenty of ice so I took home my melting grapes...

I had planned ahead like a good girl scout knowing that we would all enjoy the local wine. The only way we would get home, was to walk home. I had put a torch into my little rucksack and told everyone to wear comfortable shoes. The walk home is a few kilometers after all and walking at funny angles is better done with a sturdy pair of shoes.

One of our neighbours and friend to boot realized that he had had a glass to many and decided to leave his car there, joining us for our trek home. He must have noticed what fun I had shinning the torch because he let me do it for about 500 meters and then told me to switch it off.

" Just all stand still for a while and let your eyes adjust to the darkness. I promise you'll see the road just fine. "
and he was right. Without my torch, we could admire the star filled sky, see the odd vine and still get home without a mishap or a stumble. Life doesn't get much better. Good food, good wine and great friends...


Friday, 14 August 2015

Now I Know Why It's Called A Nursery.

Tender love and care among others...

Some people nurse a hangover, some nurse a child and some nurse a grudge but Le Bob and I are a tick different. Oh yes, even though we admittedly could own up to a lot of the previous things, Bob and I have just finished nursing a handful of Brussels sprout plants.

Ooh, I can hear you loud and clear...

" My God, these two lead such an exciting life! "
...growing the one vegetable that most of you hate on top of it. We are daredevils indeed!

Bob saw the fledgling plants in spring and with the enthusiasm of first timers, we proudly signed up for this new lot of nursing. And nursing it is. Each and every day we had to water this lot and as the rain is a bit scarce this summer, it meant dragging watering cans to hydrate them.

Granted, it was divine seeing them grow and grow and we nearly passed out with happiness when we saw the first little mini sprouts forming on their stems. For us it was a huge success and we had a few envious looks at how big and strong these plants were getting. They were thriving in our kitchen garden.

Thriving until yesterday that is. Bob had had enough of seeing the tell tale signs of snails trying to pipe us to the pot. He had been threatening to harvest and uproot them for a while, but I had pleaded a bit of patience so that the mini cabbages could get a bit more plump and well rounded.

Well, when Bob has an idea it is nigh on impossible to stop him ( once he cut down the front lot of shrubs with such gusto, that we were in the public eye all through that summer ). I was sitting and reading my book, when in came Bob holding a bowl.

Dejected and disappointed was the only way to describe Bob and to be honest, so was I. There was the harvest of at least four month of nursing. Nursing daily, even imitating Prince Charles and having conversations with them. Our average sized salad bowl was only half full and when we boiled our spoils, it was just enough for the two of us.

One meal only.

Imagine all that water over the months for a plate of vegetables. How many Brussels sprouts are tipped into the rubbish bin after an impossible attempt to make your kids like them?

Oh well, better to nurse a kitchen garden than to nurse a dreaded hangover!


Thursday, 13 August 2015

Walking In & Around Deutsch Schuetzen On A Summer's Morning.

A walk on the bright, or right side...

The little chapel outside Deutsch Schützen was and is a beacon to many. Getting lost is impossible as one way or the other, you'd stumble across this delightful chapel.
These straw bundles are such a soothing sight and kind of indicate a slower way of life.
I saw this little fellow under a roof in the Deutsch Schützen Weinberg...he never even blinked and I am convinced that he was asleep. Look at the way his little claws are resting on the beam.
...Make our village even more beautiful ...
club do keep a stunning array of flower spots around the village. What a marvelous idea for a flower oasis. Flower pots are so old fashioned...
Bob is picking blackberries and let me tell you, that it isn't easy. Bees and thorns galore and like anything else in life, the juiciest fruits were out of reach. At least the birds can have a feast.

We managed to pick a kilogram of blackberries and our kind neighbour let us pick in his garden to make up the rest we needed for a batch of homemade blackberry jam.

Do you think that this is a scarecrow or perhaps a farmer with a sense of humour marking his field? There are a few of those around and at first I thought it might have been a group of tiddly youngsters having a bit of fun...
No, I am not advertising for Puntigamer beer but I thought that this photo has a stunning balance of colours and is pleasing to the eyes...


Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Ice Cubes & Wine Will Do Me Just Fine.

Does that make me a wine-heathen or just fashionably eccentric?

Blazing hot weather makes it essential to sip a cold beverage. Let's be honest, you wouldn't sip a so-so cold cool drink, would you? Even though I don't partake in Coca Cola anymore, I still have that wonderful lingering memory of tipping back my head and taking a first sip ( on a boiling hot day of course ) of an extremely chilled can of coke. So chilled that it had bits of ice floating in it. Oh gosh, that was just so good.

As you know, we are steeped in wine around here and palates are geared towards noticing a good wine and that is just fine in normal climes. With our current heat wave ( the third one this season ) it should be a must to only drink wine with an ice cube floating in it.

Fridges can only chill a bottle of wine so much and no more. The minute you pour the wine into your glass, the condensation forms on the outside of the glass and makes the wine already a bit less chilled and to be honest, a warmish white wine is a punishment for the taste buds. Unless you drink your wine like you would a cool drink, after a while you have a tepid wine in your glass. Yikes, not so nice.

I've taken to putting ice cubes into every glass of wine be it white or red. If my wine is chilled enough, I don't have to hurry to drink it. This weekend we had a few parties at my parents and we of course felt brave enough to organize ice cubes to put into our wine. At first a few members of my family ( the wine enthusiasts ) raised their eyebrows but after a while they surreptitiously dropped an ice cube into their glasses and we in fact ran out of ice cubes.

I think I've started a new trend ( of course in the southern hemisphere ice cubes in wine is old news ) because we were at a local Heuriger on Monday and my aunt was lamenting about the rather warm glass of white wine she got served.

" You know, the other day at a restaurant they served ice cubes with the wine and it was such a good thing."
She had muddled up where she had had the ice cubes, but she liked them in her wine.

This weekend we are going out in our village and I am already trying to organize for myself a portable ice cube bag. Naturally I will be looked at and considered even more eccentric than normal but once others have tried their wine a bit more chilled, I predict we will be changing our village name to Eccentric Central.


Tuesday, 11 August 2015

History Comes In All Shapes And Sizes.

All you need to do is ask and listen...

When we hear the term History, most of us tend to think back to high school with a groan and remember all those chapters we needed to learn in order to pass. But there is more to history than those milestones recorded in schoolbooks the world over.

History comes in small parcels too. We've just had a long and lovely weekend with a family gathering of sorts. Not the whole family but enough to gather some more facts about us. At least for me. It just needed a bit of prodding from me but on the whole, tongues were loosened by the ample libation.

Listening to stories being remembered by my mum and uncles, stories of when they were teenagers, was great and it filled in a bit more detail in the big family picture. Nice. It must have been a happy time for them as they did reminisce about these happenings with laughter and a shared bond that only siblings possess. In fact, you had to be there to get the whole effect but the history of it was still worth it.

Locally, our village is steeped in history but it is not something that gets banded about. No, unless you ask, it will be a mystery to most.

Country life and living equates to living history books as the events have been passed down from generation to generation. Unfortunately even that gets a bit sketchy as the new generation isn't very interested in anything that doesn't move over by the flick of a finger.

Walking about the surrounds of our village I now and again espy a house with the date inscription dating back to the 18th century. Wow, for me that is amazing and I often ponder about how life was lived and enjoyed back then.

Of course our village goes back much further as in the village church there is a wooden beam with a date from the 15th century chiseled into it. But even that is not the start of it as the history of our Gemeinde ( District ) dates back to the 12th century.

During a conversation with a lady from our village, the history of her house came up and I was blown away when she connected some of the dots on the history map of Eisenberg. Once you see the common thread or let's say the line connected between the various places, it makes it that much more enjoyable to wander and wonder about our village.

It sounds so simple, but all one needs to do is ask. Ask about the other person and their family history.

Somehow in our modern world, The Me, Myself & What have I got world, there is no room or perhaps inclination to inquire about the other person and their life.
And sadly, that is how the most interesting little details of history are lost...


Monday, 10 August 2015

A Flowery Monday Morning To Start The Week.

The happiness factor of plants and flowers.

Yes, it is a mere flower but that vibrant purple is a sight to brighten any day.
A bit more context and you can see how nature is into colour coding...or rather the gardener of them. What a marvelous combination. Yellow and purple. Nice.
Yes, same scene but it depicts the life I enjoy so much. The cluck cluck of a tractor passing along the gentle curve of that distinct road leading into Eisenberg Weinberg.
Another combo of purple and this time a white petunia. Luckily for us, they love the hot sunshine and are happy with a burst of water at the end of the day.
Shadow puppets, do you remember them? Doesn't this shadow ( the one of the top flower ) remind you of an angel? Lovely thought, isn't it?
Finally, a view like a painting! I was admiring the gallery of paintings in Güssing Castle, when in the midst of it I saw this open window. Better than a painting and even this photo doesn't do the view and hues justice. Just lovely.


Sunday, 9 August 2015

A Fight For The Bill, And Not What You'd Imagine!

A great family lunch in Hungary...

A lunch somewhere was on the cards yesterday and we got to eat at a fabulous restaurant in Hungary. My parents had chosen it as they have lunched there a few times already, but for the rest of us it was that exciting feeling of not knowing where we'd end up eating. One man's idea of good food isn't necessarily another's.

It was a gem of a place and has etched itself onto our We'll go again list. There were ten of us and the waiter was far from fazed and in fact took turns to joke with us.

I sat next to my mum and even before the first sips were taken, she whispered to me that they wanted to pay the whole bill, without anyone noticing it. Our waiter happened to be there and we told him in English so that none of the others might hear it. Wait and you'll find out about this need for secrecy.

When the meal arrived, there was a hush over our table as everyone tucked in with happy abandon and enjoyment. From my vantage point I could already get glimpses of whispered plans being made by the various couples. No no, not amorous plans but those of how to pay for everyone first.

" Herr Ober, please put everything onto my bill. "
" Sorry Sir, but the lady is already sorting this out."

Oh dear me, I wish you could have seen it. My mum hadn't yet done the physical deed of payment and was in the process of getting up when my uncle, quick as a flash ( but clearly no match for his sister ) was out of his chair and trying to get there first. Goodness, they actually ran towards the waiter and as they were out of sight, nobody knew what happened...

Well, they came back smiling after settling this sibling rivalry the modern may. They went dutch. Even though we had more than enough money with us to pay for our lunch, Bob and I never stood a chance against my family!

Next time everyone is here I can just about imagine the quirky tricks being applied in order to get the bill first ( isn't it wonderful to have such a generous family? ). The usual one of pretending to go to the toilet won't cut it and I wouldn't be surprised if the waiter gets the lure of a bigger tip, just so that the bill will get into the right hands...


Saturday, 8 August 2015

Life's Too Short Not Too Eat Good Ice Cream.

When you look for it, you'll find it.

A trip to Lockenhaus Castle was on the agenda yesterday as some of my family had not seen it. A brush with the Templar Knights and where they stayed is quite something. Being on holiday even if only for a few days it is nice to explore the area and as we are aptly called Burgenland a Burg is almost a must.

Bob and I have been rather a lot to Lockenhaus but love going there again and again. There is a special type of energy held in the walls of a castle and I find that walking through history throws off the blinkers that we all tend to wear. Only going forward might be nice but slightly boring and bereft of those feats that make a life interesting.

The one staircase is hung with numerous " selfies " from way back. Paintings of the relevant Count and Countesses residing through the centuries have the unique ability to transport you back in time. The better the artist the more you can sense emotions behind the usually blank stares. Eyes are the windows to our souls after all...

Lockenhaus is steeped in history yet it is also blessed with a fabulous little village square and guess what... there is an Ice Cream Cafe-Cafe Heiling that will make you sing like a diva, the minute you have your first spoonful of ice cream. When Bob heard the day before that a trip to Lockenhaus was on the cards, he was pleased as punch and on the off chance that we might have forgotten this ice cream nirvana, he mentioned it a few ( dozen ) times...

We were a big group of ten and found two tables we could move together. Ordering in a big group is fun, informative and orders are changed at the drop of a hat. No one likes to be the first one ordering a mega sized portion and from experience I have learned that it is a good strategy to let men order first.

I was the last one in the round to order and suddenly my 4 scoops with whipped cream looked almost like a children's portion! You could call it hiding in plain sight...I love ice cream and will eat it even in the depth of winter. My aunt had an inkling that I might be a ice cream connoisseur.

" Tell me Biggi, how often do you and Bob come here to Lockenhaus? "
Often in life, it isn't possible to eat ice cream made by hand, but when you do find a place that serves it, looking after your waist is frankly a waste of time. A trip now and again through those hallowed portals of a proper Ice cream shop is the best thing to make the world shift back into its proper setting.
Eating ice cream kills two birds with one cup. It takes you back to your childhood while at the same time setting off your taste buds to break out in a song of praise...

A good life is a simple life and it doesn't take much to experience it. Wherever and whenever you'll have a proper ice cream...enjoy it.


Friday, 7 August 2015

Bob And His New Best Friend Leo.

A friend that has a heart and soul of gold.

My family is huge and at the moment another few are in town and it is, oh so very nice. A concept that is rather foreign to South Africans is the fact that over here, dogs are not only there to guard your home, but they go with you on holiday too. Often the dogs get more attention than the children ever did...

Well, we have two dogs in our midst at the moment. One is a bit camera shy ( or rather I didn't have my camera around her ) and the other one, Leo, is a darling, gentle and patient. It was hot as blazes yesterday yet the dogs never complained, which is more than I can say for myself.

After we'd lost ourselves in greetings and catching up, my cousin noticed that Leo looked in need of doing his business. He is used to only doing his business while out on a walk. Actually, a walk is a bit overstated as Leo tends to stop, sniff, mark and start at three meter intervals.

It was my Aunt, cousin and I that took Leo for a walk and it didn't take long for him to be enticed by an attractive flower display. As the three of us were nattering away and Leo was on his line, we only realized what he was up to, when the line tightened and the aroma hit us.

The dog did nothing wrong except that among a sea of easy to clean up lawns he chose an intricate flower arrangement for his loo. Leo has style and his drop zone was outside the house of the most garden-mad lady in the village. Her lawns are a show piece. My aunt straight away went and picked up the offerings in a plastic bag to be disposed of later.

I didn't mention who lives there, but my cousin is a clever gal and without my saying anything, she took the scene in at a glance and joined me in flattening ourselves against the wall in the hope that we weren't spotted ( of course we forgot about the neighbours across the road, and I think I saw a curtain twitch...) Grown ups, aren't we? All this while my aunt searched in the flower display in order to pick up everything that needed to be picked up.

Yes, you do get dog owners who are responsible!

The walk around the block thereafter was rather uneventful except that Leo had to leave his calling card at every place other dogs had left theirs. Nothing would budge him to walk until he was satisfied at being the top dog for a while and I realized that for Leo that is part of being on holiday. A new place to explore and to put his I've been here! stamp of approval on it.

The rest of the evening we had a marvelous time and a special pot of Weisswurst together with Brezen brought along from a butcher in Traunstein, lubricated with ice cold beers. What more could one is great and hanging out with family is extra special.

Bob and his new best friend Leo...look at how Leo has sandwiched Bob's hand between both his paws. Oh so cute.
I think you'll guess what Bob whispered to me?
" Aah, don't you think we should get a beautiful dog like Leo? "

Our darling Leo...


Thursday, 6 August 2015

Bildein Festival-Seether, Heatwave & Leather Pants.

A weekend of fun for some...

Goodness, even President Obama has mentioned that the world is hotting up and that we have to do something about it. Of course, in politics, time is not of the essence. Is there a sense of time warp in this type of arena? The time frame of 2030 is used and personally, I tend to lean more towards that being too little too late. Reducing the carbon emissions by about 30% in 2030...get real, get with the program and do it sooner!

We are currently into the third heatwave of this summer and it seems to be here for at least another two sweltering weeks, according to the weather frogs. I wish I hadn't seen this forecast because it does dwindle my hope of cooler days chasing those awful 30 somethings. It is rather comical how everyone complains about the incessant heat, yet they studiously persist in denying that it is caused by our collective selfishness...

" Of course it's not Climate Change because back in 19.. we had a hotter summer! "
be like an ostrich then...The heat is so energy draining that with each progessive year, we might consider morphing into that rather attractive lifestyle of the Spanish...a siesta makes sense all of a sudden.

Each year, the village of Bildein ( just three villages over ) holds a festival in the Glastonbury style, called Picture-on. Camping, loud music, and hanging out with your friends. Thousands descend on our area and it has already been sold out for weeks. Imagine! Well this year, a taste of South Africa is present in the form of Seether...they are originally from Pietermaritzburg after all.

Bob and I aren't going to the Bildein Festival but there is always a hope of running into a fellow Maritzburger in the local shop or more excitingly, local Buschenschank.

As for the leather pants...after yesterday, most of us will view men wearing leather pants with a bit of dread. A dread that they might attempt to do those rather comical lunges like Mr Kravitz did. Really the worst time for your leather pants to rip and to be caught out sans underpants!

With this heatwave at the moment, I doubt that any of the Bildein Festival bands will wear a tight pair of leather pants. But just in case they do, a few women in the crowd might yell:

" Do some lunges!"

Men, if you do insist on wearing leather least wear the original Bavarian / Austrian type. They are made for lunges...


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Burgenland And Its Abundance Of Colours.

Yellow, orange and red should get everyone out of bed.

This war memorial of & in Eisenberg, has such a vibrant array of flowers within it, that one can't help but stop and reflect. Often, when I stop and read the names engraved, a sadness overtakes me, as they never got to live their lives.
I took this photo of the same memorial last year in August and as you can see, the ladies who look after it, plant different flowers most years. Those young chicks are now ( hopefully ) plump chickens and still laying eggs.
About a kilometer down the road, or rather up the Adixl road, I spotted these forbidden fruits...the colours are so attractive that it reminded me of that proverbial apple in Eden. Tempting yet poisonous for sure...? I
The tree was teeming with at least 5 birds and I admit that I got a bit of a fright when they left en masse. A few hours earlier we had had a deluge of rain and even though the sun had dried most of it, the drops were still clinging in places and made the colours seem shiny and new.
I simply adore this row of red roses. They are the guardians on a row of vines and show by their healthy bloom, whether the vines are in top form.
Seeing this perfect blending of nature's abundance made my day. The few minutes I stopped to take these photos were in fact a chance to let my inner compass be rid of its dusty shackles...they should charge us to view this because it makes us realize that happiness is a state of being and not a state of having...


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The Mysterious Case Of A Shoe, A Smelly Shoe!

A Croc lives up to its name: coveted and tough...

The last few mornings I have seen strange things outside our window. Opening the window while still half asleep, I couldn't believe it when I saw a dark object lying within sight of it. In fact two objects as another one was not too far from it.

That definitely cleared the cobwebs out of my sleepy brain and looking closer I realized that Bob's old Crocs were lying helter skelter on a piece of our lawn. A piece that was outside our lounge window.

Usually these shoes are thrown in a manly manner outside our front door when Bob enters our house and one can even see his walking style by the way the shoes are discarded. Isn't it funny how married life brings with it a lot of clothing items dropped without a care in the world, you know, such as dirty socks etc.

Admittedly, at times said shoes are inside the house, but if it was too soon after a floor cleaning session, I would do my ' nagging wife ' stint and luckily most of the time, Bob's Crocs are outside our door and at night time, our locked door. The plot definitely thickened when I saw the shoes on our lawn.

A two legged intruder was a silly concept, because why take our shoes and then drop them? Might the odorous aroma have helped along in that venture? Honestly, I can't even blame Bob alone for the distinct smell of these Crocs, as I often slip into them when I water the plants etc. And let's face it: even though a Croc is a better make of plastic, barefoot in plastic on sweltering hot days is not conducive to rosy aromas...

It couldn't have been Bob either because the door is his dropping point. Well, when I told Bob about his errant shoes, he too was mystified. What could have happened? Perhaps a fox, or a marten being so very tempted by the smell, but not enough to chew through the shoes?

Well, today, at literally the crack of dawn, both of us were sitting in the lounge with the windows wide open. The sun was just about to make an appearance when we heard a hissing sound. At first I thought it might have been Bob ( ! ) but when the hiss turned into a loud, annoying, high pitched screech we both knew that our cat was being fought over by two tomcats.

Bob instantly ran outside to make sure our princess Tigger wasn't in harms way! But, as it turns out, Tigger was the hissing cat...

Some other animal had dared to take the Crocs, dragging one onto the lawn and our princess was defending Bob's shoes. How cute. Usually she dashes bashfully away when we come too close to her, but this morning she stood her ground by the gate and as Bob so cutely described:

" Oh, she stood with her head through our gate and hissed at something on the road. How cute. She was defending my shoes. What a darling.."

No, we still don't know what keeps being attracted by Bob's shoes, but one thing is for sure...our little princess will get a royal meal tonight!


Monday, 3 August 2015

An Ordinary Sunday In The Country.

A walk in nature.

Even when it's overcast, it looks romantic and nice. A little chapel to remember a loved one has created a nice place to rest and reflect. The tree must have been there for ages and more than likely before the chapel.
When did you last have the pleasure of sitting on a bench? A bench in nature and this particular bench has Hungary as a backdrop...An oasis of peace and reflection without the intruding need to be online. There was a gaggle of geese not far away, and the wind carried their honking across.
A vine with Deutsch Schützen in the background.
Bob was so excited to find a bank of trees, fruit trees, plum trees. At first he wasn't sure what they were and hesitatingly tried one. Naturally, as a good wife I declined to eat one until I knew he was fine...someone has to tell what he ate!
All types of fruit love it here. Be they grapes or plums, they thrive in our sunny climes.
After trying the yellow one, Bob let out a shout of excitement about the red ones. He wouldn't take no for an answer and I had to try this succulent red plum. Still here to tell the tale...
Nature's bounty...corn, plums and grapes. What more could one want: Corn to make bread, plums to make jam and grapes to make the magic elixir to quench your thirst...


Sunday, 2 August 2015

Shopping For A Receiver Is Far From Easy.

Where are the good old days when a TV was all that was needed...

I thought that yesterday was the day to go and replace our defunct receiver because, yes, I am a tad bit addicted to watching TV. It was the first Saturday of the month and they had specials at Media Mart.

That was our first mistake. Specials that they have are never the items you want to buy. The second mistake was not to have a bite to eat first. Shopping on a reasonably empty stomach is not good. Men especially tend to lose patience at the drop of a hat or at having to wait a minute more...

Standing and watching the intricate business taking place in the TV & Entertainment section of this Mega store made me realize that they had deployed staff in all the wrong places. Coffee machines, hoovers and DVD's need no extra sales help but the TV area needs lots.

Buying a new TV is not like choosing a pair of jeans. No, the new technology has created a cloak and dagger mystery around the box and at prices that make you faint, you want a chunk of time from the expert salesman. No rush rush there...and that is why they should have more staff there.

By the way, have you noticed how much larger TV's have become? Good grief, are people upgrading to bigger homes in order to accommodate a TV the size of an entire wall? All very well having a wall that is a TV screen, but how far away does one need to sit in order to not get ' fried ' and more importantly see the whole picture without a sore neck?

Bob and I had to wait at the less important Sat-receiver shelf for a salesman. They had twenty models on display and of course no simple descriptions of them. Believe me, we had ample time to read each label in detail and more than once. We needed to wait for help.

Bob was getting grumpier and grumpier and paced up and down the aisle with gusto and at least got a workout. Now that I think of it, he should have gone two aisles to his left and tried out the massage chairs they have for sale... Prudently, I was on the edge of forgoing a weekend of TV, when finally a helpful young man came along to help, but even that went not so well as the subject of receivers with its various subscription options is far from easy.

After explaining the various in's and out's he went to help someone else and we were left to make a choice. Do you also feel stupid to ask the same question again because you don't get the technology? Or admitting that you can't afford the top of the range, which suspiciously is always the better option!

What it boils down to is that no one wants to looks ignorant in front of an expert! They should school these salesmen to use simple language that we can understand. Paradoxically, those that understand all the technological " mumbo jumbo ", eh, don't need a salesman to make their choice...

Oh yes, in the end we did choose the wrong receiver. When we got home, Bob connected the little box and to our dismay it seemed to have an aversion to English and American news. A life without Sky News / BBC and CNN is not for we will take it back and repeat the process of finding the right one.


Saturday, 1 August 2015

A Sunny Nod For The Weekend.

A collective cheer seems to be about in our village.

It's official. Moaning about the weather is universal and after the weeks on end of extreme sunny weather ( let's say as hot as blazes ) one would imagine that a week of rain would be as welcome as a win in the Lotto. The first few days of rain were celebrated by donning raincoats and displaying extra curly locks, but after day three, the smiles had certainly got less.

Even though I don't really mind having rainy weather as it makes it better to snuggle up and read, having rain days on end does crimp our ability to do laundry. Silly actually as in winter we do laundry too...although suspiciously not as much as in summer. Let's say 4 loads a week compared to perhaps one or two. A smelly winter indeed.

We don't favour a tumble dryer and thus are devout fans of the old fashioned washing line spun between the barn wall and a tree. A lot of multi coloured pegs complete the picture. In summer, it is pure bliss to be able to hang up a load of washing while the sun is shining, the lawn is green and the blackbirds are singing. It's the best feeling in the world when I have the right washing powder too. It's all in the scent you know, and the memories it evokes!

Hanging the laundry on our line seems to also be a siren call for our Tigger. For some odd but very cute reason, she loooves watching us put laundry on the line. She even stops eating to sit a meter from us, while we shake and peg away. Too cute for words.

We had heard rumours on the radio ( weather men and their predictions usually leave much to be desired...) that on Friday the sun would make an appearance and a long one too. The morning started out overcast with the odd drop of rain and like magic, as soon as the noon bell went, the sun came out accompanied by azure blue Burgenland skies. Magical to say the very least.

Driving to do an errand later on, I noticed that almost everyone in our village had hung a load of washing on their lines and the motorized buzz of lawnmowers was ever present on the wind. Spiffy lawns all over and not to forget that divine smell of freshly cut grass. A sign of summer right there.

Hanging washing on the line with our cat looking on, seeing azure blue skies and hearing the blackbirds happily frolicking on our roof while being enveloped by the fresh aroma of a cut lawn, is one of life's simple pleasures. Simple yet effective.


I chose well...a husband who does laundry!