Monday, 29 February 2016

Serendipity And Synchronicity Are Undervalued.

It's all meant to be...

How often do we lament and fret about things that didn't happen or go the way we wanted them to? Sleepless nights and at times less than favourable feelings towards fate are often the norm.

Why is it so difficult to believe that all is well and all as it should be? If only we would, we'd save a lot of stress, heartache and frown lines.

Once you get into this line of thinking, and I have to admit that a lot of times I do need a reminder from above, it all makes sense. Only yesterday, another penny dropped and what a few weeks ago made me less than happy, is now a case of...Thank Goodness.

Somehow the lanes of our lives do perhaps take the odd bend but on the whole, we will end up on them at some stage. Or at least, I believe it.

Our education does make a big difference and at times not in a good way. Having spent a lot of time training to be only one thing, does make one less than flexible once the serendipitous opportunities of life, knock at one's door. Going with the flow seems much easier when you are a jack of all trades, so to speak.

Most of us can look back on those cross roads of life where we took the less than favourable turn. Had we only gone with the flow of life, it would have been so much easier. Come on, of course you have one such instance at least...

Preconceived ideas have a somewhat dowsing quality on serendipity yet, we cling to them with an alarming tenacity. A few decades or so ago, this type of thinking was relegated to
" Oh, those Hippies " who read self help books, but now, with life becoming ever more difficult to traverse, those that have a Hippy mentality do have a smoother and more content drive on the road of life.

Cruise control versus the constant shifting of gears and speeds.

To me, knowing that nothing happens without reason, is a wonderful and soothing thing. People we meet and opportunities we get are there for a reason...


Sunday, 28 February 2016

Anonymity In A Small Village, Eh, What Is That?

As a villager, one is known...

The other day, yesterday, I went for my usual morning excursion in the vineyards. A fast walk around the neighbourhood, one that is instinctive to me but is a guilty reminder for those who see me striding along in the comfort of their car. At least they give me a nod, wave or the odd hoot.

On a weekend I do tend to mix it up a bit and include the local shop in my route. Weekend is fried egg breakfast time after all, and often Schatzi and I wake up too late to make our own bread. Even though we do buy all the ingredients with the best of intentions.

The loop with the shop in it, is at the very end of my route and it was tres funny when 100 meters from the shop, I chatted to a few neighbours, village style:

One neighbour was chugging past in his tractor and idled next to me on the road for a wee chat. Nice, and while we shot the breeze, other neigbours across the road watched us and gave a friendly wave. Not much more you can do over the chug chugging of a tractor.

Happy with my morning's tidbits, I shopped for a minute and then turned back for home. Naturally, I walked the same route back and a la village style, got a:

" Oh, that was a short walk today ".
" No, I did walk the Deutsch Schützen Weinberg first, I promise..."

Oh yes, people notice and that is a good thing because it shows they care. In a world where most of us tend to live with either our heads in our newly discovered clouds or our heads bent down in order to not miss a thing online, it is a treasure beyond words to be able to exchange real life

Likes, cheers, smiley face, comments and of course the ever present and often amusing gossip.

Not to mention the pleasure of having a good posture for a change. Living online tends to make us a bit bent in the head, eh sorry, neck.


Saturday, 27 February 2016

All It Takes Is An Expensive Red Car And Grown Men Turn Into Drooling Lads.

The red engine that stopped traffic.

The feeling of excitement and also disappointment was palpable for weeks and weeks. A new red engine had been ordered and as with anything expensive, it took its time and delays were drooping many a man's shoulders. A flurry of texting had been taking place and finally, yesterday was the day.

Our village got a brand spanking new, jolly expensive red fire truck. The real McCoy so to speak and fetching it yesterday, I am pretty sure that the fetching contingent ( comprising of many more than necessary who even took time off work and school for it ) didn't sleep a wink the night before.

When the Sms came through late in the afternoon that The New Red Engine was only ten minutes away, a whole lot of men turned into little boys, boys who couldn't wait to run to the fire station in order to witness this occasion. I must say, for a village of 300 odd souls to get a fire truck that costs close to 300 000 euros, it is a big deal.

Yours truly got home late from work and was too tired to do an inspection, but Bob, despite sounding very casual about it, couldn't wait to see it. I bet, if I had gone with him, I would have seen him look at ever angle and attachment of this new fire truck.

As it is a big vehicle, only a few men have the licence to drive it and Bob is already planning how to get his. Of course, as the newest member of our fire brigade, the closest he will come to sitting in the driver's seat, will be while he is cleaning this red engine...

I don't need to be an oracle to know that in the next few weeks, Bob will be more at the fire station than at home. Oh, and he won't be alone either and it wouldn't have surprised me to learn that a few men set up camp for the night next to their new red truck last night!


Friday, 26 February 2016

Last Night, We Had A Screw Loose...

Never a dull moment to be had.

Wooden floors are so visually soothing, nice and warm but there is one drawback and that happens at night. The smallest of treads is amplyfied to the third degree. I purposely say third degree, because Bob has a tendency to enquire why a feather weight like me can make such a thumping noise while ambling ( tip toeing ) about, as one does in the middle of the night.

Well, last night another member of our family got into trouble. As small as she is, our Maus can make a mighty noise. Of course, she can do no wrong in Bob's eyes as she tends to be the apple of his eyes. Give it a few years, and it might change!

Anyway, there I was half slumbering and half watching a hardly audible television program when it started. Thank goodness I knew who the culprit was otherwise I might have remembered that dreadful Poltergeist movie.

My gosh, you should have heard it. The noise that is and the cat. She was in her element, playing at flicking a piece of something about. She could easily have been the understudy for Keira in Bend it like Beckham as she was so deft of foot and and apart from not doing any headers, she dribbled, flicked and kicked her bit of something with laser like precision and made sure that the most amount of noise could be had.

At first I thought she was playing with her favourite toy, a mistakenly dropped dried noodle ( one, that disappeared between the packet and the pot, never to be seen again... ) which she cunningly and immediately took possession of. No flies on our Maus. Several attempts by us to throw away this one piece of dried pasta ( eh, co-incidentally shaped like a screw ) were nullified by her finding it again. Or perhaps I did drop more than the one fusilli and she is hording them?

When I missed the dialogue during The Three Musketeers, I got up from my comfy cocoon and quickly took her toy away. Well, expecting a dried fusilli, I was surprised to find a little screw. Yes, a small metal computer screw that she had gotten hold of...of course, it begs the question:

Who has a screw loose in our house?


Thursday, 25 February 2016

Beige, Lovely, Soothing And Cheerful.

Those blades of Eisenberg...

The vintage of 2016 in the making...
Walking past this row of vines was a feast for the eyes.
A picture to get lost in. The delicate balance of colours is too amazing.
These vines are often the bearer of great fruit, fruit which makes exceptional wine.
A mere kilometer as the crow flies, is the Deutsch Schützen Weinberg...another place for delectable wines...


Wednesday, 24 February 2016

It's As Easy As A-B-C...Or Is It?

English as a second language has rather tricky bits in it...

When you are twelve, you consider yourself a grown up and anything resembling the early years is embarrassing to say the very least. Scholastically speaking, of course. So, enter yours truly.

During our extra English lesson, an essay was constructed and imagined. I say imagined, as I have found out that the actual content to be written about takes longer to make up than the actual writing of it. Often, the adherence to strict facts is a hindrance and my:

" You know, it is your story and you can make up things. "
falls on deaf ears.

Anyway, I helped him spell a word but spelled it in English. Oh, never take the basics for granted because for a lot of foreign language students, the ABC is not on hand. Especially with German, the i's and the e's are inverted in sound.

When I noticed that he hadn't learned the audible ABC so well ( if at all ), I told him that we'd practice the basic ABC. Oh, you should have seen his expression! The alpahbet is associated with Kindergarten and not with high school...

As I know that the teachers do test the spelling skills, I went ahead and spelled out a few words, while he raised his eyes in disgust...but only for a word or two.

When he noticed that it wasn't as easy as ahem, ABC, he got into this spelling exercise and we had fun, especially with the u. Trying to spell the word, unusual, I started with the u and he kept on saying:

" Yes, me. I heard you, but please start spelling already..."


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Dear Spring, Are You Really Here Or Is It An Elaborate Hoax Of Mr Winter?

Yellow flowers are popping up all over, and I am popping over to a neighbour...

There is a type of branch, which I tend to associate with Easter. This branch looks like it has tiny fluffy or furry buds on it and at the moment all over our neighbourhood, these branches are arranged in vases.

Officially, the wintry season is still a month longer, yet yesterday we had temperatures of 20 degrees while a year ago we were clad in half a meter of snow. Everyone is a bit thrown off with the timing of warmer weather but despite the oddity of it, the vineyards are teaming with activity. Snip, snap all over. Let's just hope that Mr. Winter isn't planning a sneaky surprise return as this would cause havoc to the blossoms.

The sunshine was still doing its magic at four o'clock and I meandered up the road to visit a delightful elderly lady, whom Agatha Christie world would have coined a spinster. She has a good sense of humour coupled with a rather vivid interest in people. The world may pass her by, but not when it is in the vicinity of her window. She doesn't miss a thing and would be an excellent character in a murder mystery. A perfect witness...

I have always enjoy having a chat with her and often some tidbit of interest falls into my lap. Yesterday's was a hint, that should I ever have to have my stomach looked at ( and yes, that horrible snake like camera is involved ) it is recommended to have an injection to knock me out first. Don't worry, I would have asked for it in any case...

To a lot of people, she might seem just like an ordinary little elderly lady living alone, but once you get to chat with her, you realize that there is a fabulous history of a life hidden behind the ordinary label giving to her by society.

The sad truth of it is that her ilk are walking history books. I say sad, as nobody takes that much of an interest in local history anymore. If only they would take the time and sit down for a chat with her, they would see the magical awakening of history that can only be done by the brush with a first hand view.

Life before, during and just after the Second World War was far from easy in our village. In fact it was jolly hard and it just goes to show how strong her generation is, because I have a suspicion that our generation would not have managed that well. Never mind the younger, connected lot. Just imagine living a life without electricity or running water, never mind not having enough to eat...


Monday, 22 February 2016

The Moon Was Oh So Bright Last Night.

Are we in tune with the moon's appearance?

Somehow, during a full moon it seems as though everyone's emotions are a bit more vibrant. Even in our house, Bob has mumbled the odd comment of:

" Oh, of course its a full moon. "
. I have heard it said that during a full moon everyone is as they are only more so. True or not?

...Of course, we mustn't forget the lure of the tales of werewolves and vampires loving a full moon...Oh, should I cook with more garlic, just in case?

A lot of people swear by the moon calendar and here in Burgenland, Radio Burgenland broadcast a segment about the moon phases. I might have a chuckle at it, but at the same time I do take heed of it. Here are a few items that I've heard on the moon segment:

  • Today it is / is not a good idea to clean windows...oh, I like it a a lot.
  • Today it is / is not a good day to have your hair cut.
  • Today is / is not a good day to make jams and pickles.
  • Today it is / is not a great day to plant in your garden.
  • Today is / is not a good day to start your diet.

Believing in something does make life easier and why not go with the age old ways of the moon and its phases. Seeing a full moon brings home how quickly time passes because it just seemed like the other day that the last one was outside our window.

Well, here in our home, I tend to go with all the what not to do today, and boycott the cleaning of windows or starting of diets...

Outside our window last night.
Bright as can be...


Sunday, 21 February 2016

The Allure Of Nature Documentaries Grows Exponentially The Older I Get.

Eh, not for the young of age.

Even though it was an age back, I can still vividly remember watching nature documentaries with my grandfather. Let me be honest and tell you that at roughly 8 or 9 years old, it wasn't a treat. If only it would have been an animated cat & mouse show, a la Tom & Jerry!

This Sunday morning, Bob, Maus and I were watching a stunning program on wildlife in France. Bob had a rather late night going walking ( or so he thought ) with friends and needed a restful view to slumber at. Maus had her own reasons ( buttering us up before we fed her... ) and added her two cents worth when a fox was heard making sounds.

I just sat there and recalled sitting with my grandfather in front of the TV. Those were still early days of remote controls but knowing how interested he was in technology, he might have had one and if not a modern one than at least he had me.

He knew, how seeing nature would refocus one's life back into sharpness. Especially what is and what isn't important. All the hype, paraphernalia and people that go with a modern lifestyle tend to throw us off track, malaised and far from happy. The simplicity of nature and the awesomeness of it, tends to let the cares slide of our backs.

From the vantage point of now, I can see another fantastic idea of my grandfather, and one I used to laugh at back in the day. As one does when confronted with an elder person's idiosyncrasy.

Perhaps it is more prevalent in society than I am aware of, but at my grandparents house, watching TV ensued a round of furniture moving. Oh yes, the comfortable padded chairs were swept aside for the harder and sturdier kitchen chairs. Somehow I could never fathom why they wanted to sit on such uncomfortable chairs, yet they never asked me to change mine.

Well, a few decades on, I have to tip my hat to my grandfather's genius. He had found the magic cure for that eternal problem of watching TV after dinner...

An uncomfortable, straight backed chair makes it jolly difficult to nod off!
If you, like me, tend to only see the opening scenes of any after 8 pm movie, perhaps you should join me in moving a hard backed wooden chair into your lounge.


Saturday, 20 February 2016

A Bit Of Shakespeare Is Not Amiss...

Some of Shakespeare's quotes for a gentle start to the weekend...

"... Love all, trust few, do harm to none..."
"...If music be the food of love, play on..."
"...The course of true love never did run smooth..."
"...A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool..."
"...Better a witty fool than a foolish wit..."
"...To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not be false to any man..."
"...With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come..."
"...Eh tu, Brute?..."
"...Wisely and slowly; they stumble that run fast..."
"...Who knows himself a braggart, let him fear this, for it will come to pass that every braggart shall be found an ass..."
"...My crown is in my heart, not on my head: Not deck'd with Diamonds, and Indian stones:Nor to be seen: My crown is call'd Content, A crown it is, that seldom Kings enjoy..."
"...Love or hate me, both are in my favour. If you love me, I'll always be in your heart...If you hate me, I'll always be in your mind..."

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Barnes & Noble Leatherbound)


Friday, 19 February 2016

Clutching At Straws, Graceful And Nostalgic Straw.

Surely, it can't still be winter?

There is such a sense of gracefulness, that it almost seems staged by hand and not by the elements.
How versatile is that humble blade of, yellow or beige.
A bunch of wild oats? This is a spot midway in the Eisenberg forest road leading to Deutsch Schützen Weinberg. An oasis of pale straw.
A leaf for decoration? Not the first time in history.
Whimsical, dreamy yet fascinating at the same time. A picture to get lost in.
Even the dew drops are clinging fashionably and eloquently to these blades of grass...


Thursday, 18 February 2016

This Little Former Feral Cat Has Found The Good Life.

Bob and his princess...alas, not me anymore!

It is the cutest thing: Each morning, as soon as Bob gets up, little Maus drops whatever she is doing, observing or cleaning in order to be picked up into his arms. One can hear the purring of contentment a mile away.
" Hey, can you see? This is how I'd like to be cuddled! "
" I love my life! "

We can safely assume that little Maus is in cat know, we are so happy and glad that she has consented to be a member of our family. Cats do make their own decisions after all.
If it were up to her, she would be like this between meal times. As we do feed her amply, Bob puts her down after a few minutes as she does weigh 3.6 kilograms.
I think that she is happy to be with us. I am always amazed to see how loving, kind, funny, inquisitive and clever she is because we tend to forget that she was born as a feral cat in the woods...


Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The Art Of Choosing The Right Tissue.

An important decision whilst afflicted with a cold...

Look, for the past week or so I have been using loo paper as a tissue, because isn't all paper the same? My slight similarity with Rudolph, The Red Nosed... proves this wrong and it might be explained by my need to buy recycled.

Recycled loo paper is not a purchase you want to start pondering on the ways it is made (!!!) but as it helps save the planet and is surprisingly cheap, we use it instead of the luxurious 5 ply loo paper.

Goodness, have you ever taken the time to study the various loo papers on offer? A whole grocery isle full and in all shapes and colours. Some have hearts or little animals printed on them, others are so multi-plyed in size, that you need to post a warning for your family members:

" Attention husband & kids: Only use two sheets maximum. Three sheets will block the pipe. "

Actually, how do they make recycled loo paper? I suppose that some things should best be left unsaid...

My nose was protesting in a very painful way and of course it was my mum who had the answer.

" What, you haven't been using proper tissues? No wonder. Go and get yourself some tissues. "
Yesterday, Bob and I bought a pack of tissues, and almost like giddy kids both of us have been using them even when we didn't need to. Goodness, talk about a silky feel.

But, enough about tissues and on to that last stronghold of the 19th century...The handkerchief made of linen or cotton. Well, that could be a hit and miss affair for your nose when you pull it out your pocket without looking.

You know, at school back in the day when crafts were still passed on to girls, we learned the art of embroidering. Anything from a table cloth, napkin to a handkerchief. Somehow I would like to believe that those handkerchiefs given were more for display than for utility.


Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Wine Has So Much Character!

It is lucky to be living amid vines...

" Nothing more excellent or valuable than wine
was ever granted by the gods to man. "

" There must be always wine and fellowship or we are truly lost. "
Ann Fairburn
" Wine rejoices the heart of man and joy is the mother of all virtues. "
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
" A meal without wine is like a day without sun. "
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
" Drinking wine is just a part of life, like eating food. "
Francis Ford Coppola
" Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever. "
" If God forbade drinking, would he have made wine so good? "
Cardinal Richeleu
" Of course size matters! No one wants a small glass of wine. "


Monday, 15 February 2016

The Day After Valentine's.

Was it worth it?

Many might be disappointed, many might have stars in their eyes and many might have done foolish things that could need arbitration down the road.

It was inevitable with the rate of staged moments that are clogging up our Facebook, that there would be those theatrical productions where at first glance you go:

Oh, why can't I have that?
but on second more sobering thoughts you realise that all this glitz and glamour is merely done to look impressive and to make sure the rest of your friends and family buy into your romance. By the way, whatever happened to private bliss? Really, if you need to be so public about it, are your actually that happy?

Having Valentine's fall on a Sunday must have made the restaurants and bistros full with eager couples and sadly most of them equipped with a Smartphone to inform the rest of us. Too much information but at least some of the restaurants got good exposure as everyone wants to show off where they went, and what they ate.

As you might have gathered, I am a touch old fashioned and tend to think that romance and love have a different appearance. All those pretty staged moments professing endless love, are just the wrapping. Gift wrapping can be as beautiful as anything, but when it is wrapped around a brick, that's all it is.

Yesterday, many gals will have lived their dream of romance via a romantic meal with perhaps Prince Charming and imagining all the places he could hide the ring. Many a glass of champagne will have been lifted carefully ( just in case it held a ring ) and chocolate desserts will have been eaten ladylike in order not to bite into a diamond or two...Pity, if it was an almond chocolate muffin cause that might have raised many false hopes.

Hollywood has been clever these last hundred years or so. They have never really alluded to what happens the day after you catch your Prince Charming. Catching your own one, might have some conditions attached to him which could include a life of domestic bliss or miss...


Sunday, 14 February 2016

A Bouquet Of Flowers For You On Valentine's Day.

No flowers were bought, sold or destroyed for your bouquet...

As it is Valentine's, a red flower should start the show, or rather steal the show?
The humble daisy is anything but. A flower more cheerful couldn't be had to my mind. Simple yet stunning.
Aren't those colours strong, vivid and wonderful to take in? Nature is the most prolific florist. Oh, and it is free.
A few poppies hidden away in the rural grass jungle.
An orderly formation of flowers. Vibrant and magnetic.
The mauve bunch growing in the meadow next to the wheat fields. I did say these flowers were free, but truthfully, they cost the price of a nice walk in Nature!
To end of, a red rose from gracing the row of vines...and ideal for Valentine's.


Saturday, 13 February 2016

" What, You Don't Like Grass? "

A green tale of Burgenland.

" Look Love, I told you that this is the best grass there is! "

Today seems to be a grey and rainy day so I thought a rehash of greens wouldn't be amiss. Even I was blown away by the sheer beauty of even a plain meadow.
Deutsch Schützen being picturesque in the background.
A grassy shore...also know as a ditch besides the road. Yet, it has an attraction of its own.
I just love the movement of the water. The green grass mixed with its straw like cousins adds to it.
A picture says a thousand words...this gander is looking for his goose perhaps?
...and by the look of his family, he found his goose. I have shown these goose photos a few years ago, but they are so cute and just the thing for a rainy Saturday.


Friday, 12 February 2016

Let's Be Kind To Our Own Mind.

Take the first off-ramp from Guilt Avenue.

As I am a woman, I can only speak for the feminine side of this but I can imagine that men have just as tough a time living life. There are so many instances during a normal day that I am not kind to my mind. It almost seems as though there is a constant looping tape running in the background of life. These are just a few of them, superficial yes, but there nonetheless.

  • Should I really be eating this as the pants are a bit tight?
  • Should I really be reading my book as there are things to be done in the household?
  • Should I dust / hoover / clean more often?
  • Should I wear something else so that I fit in with the others?
  • Should I be doing more?
  • Should I be kinder / funnier / younger / thinner / cleverer / more successful?

Frankly, even when there is a gap in the schedule, as one calls a holiday, that stupid tape keeps on looping and just in case I can find the off switch, society speedily keeps me away from it.

Have you noticed how our whole lifestyle is catered to being frazzled, hectic and stressed? This kind of state does sell more stuff, makes us do more stuff and keeps us on the Consumption Avenue, that avenue which keeps conglomerates in business.

The 1 %'ters do need the 99%'ters to be in business. Imagine if we'd all see the light and suddenly become happy and content with what we have and are and look like? If most of us pulled the handbrake in our hamster wheel that we call life, it would send a nasty shiver down the 1 %'ters...

Advertising is imprinted on most of us from an early age and advertising sells us a lifestyle which keeps us chained to our own hamster wheel. Buying more than we need increases the speed.

Finally giving in to that guilty feeling that we must do a Spring Clean brings home the ugly truth, that most of what we had bought, has only been used once and then it ended up in some corner or cupboard only to be seen ( or noticed ) again a year down the road when you throw it out.

I don't know about you, but I am going to try and be kinder to my mind by simplifying my life as much as possible, because I think that is one way to get off the hamster wheel....the other one is of course, Lotto!


Thursday, 11 February 2016

A Midnight Performance Of David & Goliath.

Our lounge gets de-bugged.

I was settling in, reading my book and waiting for Morpheus to descend on me when I heard a strange noise. Her ladyship's basket ( the luxuriously parental outfitted one ) was rocking from side to side and a shape was wriggling either inside it or under the blanket.

Watching her change between jumping into the basket and biting the edge and being outside it while using her paw to give it nudges, made me wonder whether she had picked up a neurosis or two? Nurture versus nature indeed. This whole in & out of the basket affair while biting at its side carried on for at least fifteen minutes.

My novel was engrossing but when I happened to look her way, I was a tad bit grossed out. Our lovely little darling, she who as we speak is slumbering on my lap or who at times snuggles next to me all night, was toying with a tiny little bug. Oh yes, a bug the size of a fly. The proverbial David next to her Goliath stature.

On the one hand I was jolly glad to see that she was sans neurosis but on the other hand I saw a cat toying with a living thing. Even in her slumber state she must have heard this bug meandering about in the inside of her wicker basket. Her ears are bat like and this little tiny bug was what she had been trying to get at. Successfully I might add.

For about five minutes, she flicked the poor bug with her paw so that it flew alarming high only to have it drop back at her side. A bit of a pretending to eat it but the fun for her was too great because she spat it out and threw this indestructible bug all over our lounge floor. At one stage she got alarming close to my perch and it made me get ready to duck a bug.

I felt a bit bad for it and decided to rescue it but by then she had made a late night snack out of it. Well, I must admit, that I was a bit disconcerted by her sheer joy of toying with a live bug but then I remembered that she was just being herself and I should count my lucky stars that I didn't see a performance of a mouse being flung about. Of course, I know that at some stage we will awaken to a dead mouse being gifted to us by our cat...


..." Where are you, you little bug? "...

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

A Buschenschank Is One Of Burgenland's & Austria's Treasures.

In a world where authenticity is scarce, a Buschenschank is an authentic marvel

A Buschenschank is a fabulous thing. It is a brush with a way of life that seems to have been shunted to the back benches of society. Yet, a Buschenschank is a symbol of that Nirvana we all search for. Simplicity, companionship, honesty and a place to recharge the soul and if not at least your well being.

By the virtue of their decree, a Buschenschank can only be opened for a few weeks per year and in order to run one, you need to have your own vineyard too. That alone guarantees you a zero carbon footprint wine.

Did I mention that some of them have an internationally award winning array of wines?
The food served in them runs along similar lines yet each one has its own distinctive way of serving and arranging. Most of it is and should be made on the premises and only family members do help out. Serving and preparing the food etc. Often it is held in the adjacent wine cellar with solid wooden tables and benches. A fabulous experience in itself. Anyone can drink a glass of wine but not everyone can drink it where it was made.

A Buschenschank isn't run to make a huge profit but to showcase the local wines and to keep up a tradition that dates back to the good old days.

During the winter months, we villagers have a glass of wine and some local fare at the various establishments open, but in the summer months, most Buschenschanks are filled with eager tourists, and I include the Viennese and the odd Londoner in them!

As soon as you see the prices charged you can somehow relate to the happy smiles settling on many a tourist's face. When a glass of quality wine, wine that you know has only traveled a few yards and not across the oceans, only costs on average 1.40 Euros, you'd also be in ecstasy. Of course there are more expensive wines on the menu such as those that have won Best red in Austria.

The draw to tourist from near and far is to my mind underestimated by the political powers that be and it almost seems that they want to put their signature on it via making an establishment jump through bureaucratic hoops

instead of congratulating them on making our province full of wonderful tourists destinations & marvels.

Nowadays, most travelers have seen the world five times over. A world where in each city, the restaurants are superb, but all similar. No more individuality and in most restaurants you would be hard pressed to name the country you are in.

Instead of always extolling the virtue of the Heidi-like mountains in Austria why not promote one of the real treasures of Austria and Burgenland? A day, weekend or holiday spent in the marvel that is Burgenland, will refresh even the most jaded traveler.

Why not book a stay at another Burgenland, A Kellerstöckl, while sampling the various Buschenschanks?


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Lent Is Here Again...

A term that's universally known and understood.

Most of us have heard the term Lent and have at least thought about following it for the 40 days or so. Somehow, it has been embraced not only by the devout religious, but also by many sporadic church goers. Perhaps, we all need that mental crutch to help us along with a form of personal sacrifice.

A lot of people of course try their own from of Lent each and every Monday after they have abandoned any form of food discipline over the weekend. But, you know, Lent shouldn't only be about those usual suspects of:

No sugar or sweets, no meat or no alcohol...
. Those are kind of easy especially when you know that there is an end in sight.

The more worthwhile sacrifices and therefore more difficult to adhere to during Lent are an opportunity to make a difference in someone's life and your own:

  • Taking care of our inner self, and being kind to ourselves all the time, in thought and action.
  • Being kind to others whenever the choice presents itself. Also when they are not there such as no gossiping etc.
  • Spending real time with your children. A time each day, where all Internet connected devices are switched off. At least an hour a day where you can talk and listen to your children without interruptions.
  • In fact, digging out your old cell/mobile phone and leaving the smartphone dormant for 40 days.
  • Having one meal a day where the whole family actually sits down at the dinner table to eat a meal. Sounds simple, yet we all are guilty of lap suppers...
  • If you are a mother, do something each day that is just for you. It could be taking the time to sit and read a book, going for a pampering session at the salon, or visiting a friend for a chat without feeling guilty about things not done.
    How can you take care of your whole family if you don't take care of yourself first?
  • Spending the 40 days only buying what you need not what you want.


Monday, 8 February 2016

My Super Bowl Experience.

Gosh, how is it possible to stretch an hour of playing time into four hours of viewing time?

It was a miracle that I managed to stay awake, as being on the other side of the world, it started at around midnight. About twenty years ago while I was living in the United States, I admit that the Football bug had gotten ahold of me. The American Football one, that is.

It was one way to spend a weekend's afternoon because even though the game itself is only 60 minutes long, every second gets used to its maximum. Balls are thrown strategically to get a time stoppage and the rules leave much to be desired. Too many indeed.

When they introduced the names of the Quarterback, I couldn't help but be enthralled by the name of Peyton Manning. Goodness, that is a name straight out of a Harlequin romance and very addictive. A name that makes the romantic dream a bit more. Of course the opposing guys name was also rather nice... Cam Newton. Good parental name choices.

After the first quarter I was more or less aware of why there was a bunch of beefy men piling on top of a poor guy who had the ball grasped tightly to his chest. The defense lot are huge and bulky and I wouldn't be surprised at a few broken ribs among the teams.

The halftime show was average and I tend to think that Lady Gaga stole the show with her opening anthem. Wow, who knew that she could look so normal. Oh yes, her costume for the show was straight laced, yet classy at the same time. Well done.

Beyonce, who was part of the halftime event had left much to be desired in my mind. Look, if she wants to strut around in a skimpy outfit, so be it but what I don't like very much is the crudeness of some of her dance moves...not my cup of tea at all.

With foresight, they hired a whole lot of extras to ' pretend ' to be screaming fans. Very clever indeed as this overwhelmed any background noise or any lack of it. Should the paying audience not have cheered, the Extra's screaming was plenty to make it sound successful.

It was rather nice to see a homage to all the past entertainers who headlined each Superbowl and it would have been awesome if they had rather done a half hour flashback through the 50 years.

I am glad I watched the game because it is an event and it is special. Let's see how the next one pans out...


Sunday, 7 February 2016

A Flock Of Sheep Among The Vineyards Of Deutsch Schuetzen.

A nice complement to a walk in the vineyards.

I have heard via the grapevine ( !!! ) that there are some lambs in our vineyards. Well, I set of yesterday morning expecting to see them in a manger but it seems my news was a tad bit behind times. The lambs, no this seems to be the mother sheep, were past that cute baby stage.
There in the middle is one of the lambs. Still cute and all of them were more than happy to pose for me.
Doesn't it have the gentlest of eyes?
Somehow this looks like the ram ( ? ) and he was scratching his head, while keeping a beady eye on me...
Striking a model pose...
Isn't this sheep's expression too marvelous?
" You look so familiar, don't I know you from somewhere? "

A view to a wintry vineyard. What a fantastic idea to keep a flock of sheep in it. A natural lawnmower and a natural weed eliminator. What a brilliant idea! I can't wait to try glass of that wine down the line...


Saturday, 6 February 2016

Der Faschingskrapfen Or Rather, The Carnival Doughnut.

February is here...

The Fasching ( Carnival ) season is an important date on the calendar. Well, as far as I know mostly in Germany and here in Austria. Amazingly yet not surprisingly, the shops are filled with fancy dresses and all that goes along with it as soon as the last Christmas display has been removed.

Most of the schools have a Fasching's party where the kids dress up as Cowboys, Princesses, Ladybirds and this year I saw a few Swat Team members in training. Clearly law & order is important to the younger crowd...The excitement is huge and some of the costumes extremely elaborate and dare I say expensive.

Now and again our local fire department does a Fasching meander round our village and as small as it is, the event can take up the whole day. Well, the parade is littered with important pit stops, or rather watering holes...a.k.a. the Schnapps stops.

The first year we were here, Bob wasn't to happy about it but that was mainly due to his being forced to dance a waltz with a woman dressed up as a nun and to his horror, in front of plenty of spectators. The second year, he made himself scarce just in case he'd have to dance again, and the following season he cleverly became part of the team and could relive his childhood dream of dressing up as Darth Vader.

Of course the Faschingskrapfen is as vital to Fasching as the costumes are. This week, the display cases were filled with doughnuts. Many of us do buy them, but there are a few women who still make their own doughnuts. A tradition dating back to those times where not all was bought at a shop. Gosh, yes, things can be made!

At the moment I am reading a fascinating biography of life lived in our part of Burgenland back in the 1950's & 1960's. An ideal and idyllic childhood and the annual event of making Faschingskrapfen was almost as much anticipated as Christmas.

Bensdorp um einen Schilling: Eine Kindheit im Burgenland

Even reading her description of how the whole house was filled with the tantalizing smell of a freshly prepared doughnut, made my mouth water. I loved reading how her Grandmother and Mother banned the men from the kitchen. Making these doughnuts was a whole day affair and they made it with a wood-burning stove. A real skill indeed.

Reading this book is nice and it highlights the important point that a childhood spent sans gadgets can also be brilliant, exciting and oh so memorable.

The next few days will be silly ones but just for good measure, Lent is around the corner and many a person will swear off doughnuts and alcohol.


Friday, 5 February 2016

A Few Interesting Bits...

Hope you'll enjoy.

" Fortune knocks at every man's door once in a life, but in a good many cases the man is in a neighboring saloon and does not hear her."
Mark Twain
" Fortune has something of the nature of a woman. If she is too intensely wooed, she commonly goes further away. "
Charles V
" Without kindness there can be no true joy. "
Thomas Carlyle ( 1795-1881 )
" He who cannot give anything away cannot feel anything either. "
Friedrich Nietzsche
" Lost time is never found again."
Ben Franklin ( 1706-1790 )
" If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher's stone. "
Ben Franklin ( 1706-1790 )
" Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others. "
" Every man is surrounded by a neighborhood of voluntary spies. "
Jane Austen
" We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. "
" Make haste slowly. "
Suetonius ( ca. 69-140 )
" The ideal husband understands every word his wife doesn't say. "
Alfred Hitchcock
" Everything you can imagine is real. "
Pablo Picasso


Thursday, 4 February 2016

Life Really Is Beautiful.

It just depends how you see it.

Often we get so stuck to a certain point of view, that we forget that a glass which is half empty is in fact half full. A lot of us are so imprisoned by our thoughts, those terrible worrisome negative thoughts, that often we don't take in the true beauty around us.

Times have a tendency to include bits that aren't so nice and when you look back on history, one thing stands out:

Difficult and hard times do pass to make space for better ones.

When we sign up for anything or rather sign our lives away, we carefully peruse the fine print, although those clever Internet giants cunningly wrapped the fine print into an endless amount of pages and most of us barely make it through the first page of legal jargon and just surrender and click Yes I Accept. But we still try to make the effort.

Yet, in everyday life we have a tendency to ignore the finer print or rather the finer details of our lives, those that make it so darn beautiful. A while ago I read somewhere, that if you see a penny on the floor and step over it because you think it isn't worth your while to pick it up, the universe doesn't see the point of sending you anything bigger. Be it a Euro, ten Euros or a million Euros.

What if the secret to a happy life is to pick up on the seemingly small fry that is part of our everyday tapestry? Most of us dream of living in a wonderful cottage ( beach or mountain ) away from it all, but how on earth are we worthy of it when we don't even notice that the sun is shining or that the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming, in our own backyards?

Once we take off those blinding man made blinkers, those that have solidified through constant bombardment by the far reaching tentacles of that octopus like new media industry, we start to realize that what we've been searching for is right under our very noses.

Beauty is indeed in the eyes of the beholder and once you notice that grand old tree in your road, the twittering bird on your roof and the happy buzzing of bees, a sense of contentment and gratitude are not far off...

Life is beautiful...


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Our Princess Definitely Needs A Cushion For Her Comfort.

Are we the only enslaved pet owners?

It seems that our Maus is still finding her favourite perch to rest on or perhaps out of boredom she moves around the house. In the beginning it was the single chair which meant that nobody else could use it. Then it was the gap under the stove and finally the tray of chopped wood awaiting its destiny.

Well that last perch broke her string of magical mystery tour perches. Some of the chopped wood had moving bits in the bark and when I spotted a muggu on her fur, I put my foot down. Yes, I covered her daybed among the wood. Let me tell you, that her ladyship wasn't too pleased with me...

To try and appease her ( only once you have a pet, do you start realize why people jump through hoops to get a nod, cuddle or purr ) I upturned our waste paper basket ( a real one, just for used paper and handmade by the previous homeowner ) and before I could say boo, there she was already curling up in it. Who knew, that this old basket would be her idea of heaven?

Bob, wanting only the best for her, then took a soft fleece blanket and molded it into the basket and yes, she loved the basket even more. In a way we'd scored an own goal because those lovely times that she would sleep on our feet, seem to be relegated to the annals of history...

" Ooh, remember when she used to sleep on our feet ? "....

We were in town yesterday afternoon and made a pit stop at a furniture shop. I was in search for a huge throw cushion for my parents. You know, one of those brilliant cushions you can put behind your back while watching TV in bed, without the risk of falling asleep. Naturally, none in store and I can just picture a legion of locals watching TV in comfort...

Bob, never one to miss an opportunity, decided to look for a cushion slighlty smaller. A cushion for his princess. He tried the softness of several and settled on an ultra comfortable one and even chose a good colour.

As soon as we got home, he rearranged the cushion underneath the blanket in her basket. Oh, now our little one sleeps in a soft and cushy basket..You know, it used to be me but now I am just the runner up while our cat is #1... Yet another entry in the family history annals.

" ...Gosh Bob, I can vaguely remember those time when you bought me cushions and carried me on in your arms...


She does know how to strike a pose...Just love her to bits.
.." I'm not coming out of there! "
...A happy cat makes a healthy pet...

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Idioms That Add A Spice To Life & Language.

Isn't the English language divine?

  • ...Bob's your uncle...
  • ...Pot calling the kettle black...
  • ...Best thing since sliced bread...
  • ...Not the sharpest knife in the drawer...
  • ...Don't give up the day job...
  • ...Take it with a grain of salt...
  • ...Do a runner...
  • ...If you'll pardon my French...
  • ...Footloose and fancy-free...
  • ...Back of beyond...
  • ...Backseat driver...
  • ...Raining cats and dogs...
  • ...In one ear and out of the other...
  • ...Let the cat out of the bag...


Monday, 1 February 2016

Take It Or Leaf It...

Providing the odd splash of colour in the forest.

A simple bunch of leaves yet they are so detailed and full of movement.
Twisted into shapes more reminiscent of a pretzel...walking passed them I couldn't help but take notice.
The pale side of these blades do make it interesting to see. A bright spot indeed.
A view of wine to think that in nine month time, we will be harvesting and pressing grapes.
The corn left for the winter. All over one can see strips of cornfields that seem to have been forgotten at harvest. Actually, they are a feeding station for the local deer life, to tide them over for the winter.
The shapes do resemble a pasta fork, don't they? I know it seems like an ordinary bland sort of photo, but don't forget, this is part of nature that keeps us alive.