A few interesting perspectives...
While walking in Deutsch Schützen this morning, I couldn't resist and took a picture of this delightful couple sitting and enjoying life. We could all take a hint and do the same...
While walking in Deutsch Schützen this morning, I couldn't resist and took a picture of this delightful couple sitting and enjoying life. We could all take a hint and do the same...
Remember the good old days when you actually went to visit friends in person? Where you'd sit around, drinking coffee and having chats or conversations instead of online hangouts. Nothing better than exchanging ideas, happenings and events face to face.
Naturally, there was always the one, the one who'd tell lewd ( not crude ) jokes or stories, those that made most look away, some shake their heads and a few do laugh at it. The teller of these jokes or stories could see the reaction caused, by the eyes shuttering down and the smiles changing to frowns.
Being online ( mostly Facebook, which tells a lot about my age, doesn't it? ) makes people fearless when it comes to sharing stuff. Oh, I know that I also share some e-cards, those that are funny but not in a lewd sort of way ( I hope! ), because we all need more laughter in our lives, but some do share extremely iffy stuff and they don't know even when they've gone too far.
Unfriending ( good lord, that is an accepted word now ) someone on FB is a statement, a statement that the other person usually doesn't realize for weeks. They only find out when they want to send you something and even then they might think you've been hacked. Not in a million years would they equate it with their public lewdness.
Are we, as a society, unlearning social strictures and behaviours? The P's & Q's or rather the Please & Thank you's have mostly fallen by the wayside already. Who shows us what is acceptable or not? Sadly, most of us are too scared of offending someone and thus hardly every unfriend or write a note saying:
" Please don't post these things, they are not cool.
We need an emoticon that says:
Hey man, that's not cool nor funny.
Our electricity provider is very good and particular with their timing. When and if they need to work on the grid, they announce it a week earlier with numerous reminders all over the village. The secret of course, is that one needs to read it carefully.
So, there we were, suddenly without electricity and plenty of time on our hands. Most modern time thieves are reliant on electricity and without any fanfare, the TV, computer, and most importantly the wi-fi went on strike.
Bob and I are so used to our morning routine, that we were both at loose ends. Bob, but just for a second, decided to go and work in the yard until he remembered a book that needed perusing. It was similar for me. Ten minutes to kill before my walking group suddenly seemed like hours. Good grief, it seems that Bob and I are slaves after all.
At 6.45 were most are still asleep and I am guessing that a lot will oversleep due to a defunct electric alarm clock, but a few made the best of it and were either in their garden, cycling or walking.
One friend in my walking group almost couldn't make it as her garage wouldn't open. Not to mention that all important first cup of coffee which she had to have after our long walk. No, she wasn't cranky.
Luckily, the power cut only lasted for 30 minutes but it makes you realize how our lifestyles are geared towards always being electrically connected. Some will say, that their Smartphones work without electricity, but don't forget, that they also need their batteries recharged with electricity.
As for reading the signs posted all around the village, I need to learn only to read the ones close to our house. It turns out that the various suburbs were having their electricity cut in relay. Oh yes, even in a small village of 300 odd souls, we have suburbs...
My neighbour's neighbours suddenly got two kittens. Almost sounds like a riddle, doesn't it? Anyway, said first neighbour is a lovely lady, a spinster in the good old sense of the word and in her late 70's. Now and again I go and visit her to catch up on her world.
If she isn't in her house, she is in her other favourite place, her garden. She still stacks her own wood for the winter, grows a variety of vegetables and only grudgingly lets her cousin mow her big lawn. Ringing the doorbell got no results, so I ventured into her backyard to look for her. She was busy cutting down an over zealous hedge and when she saw me, she mentioned that she'd been wondering when I would come for a visit. Code for I've got news!
We moved over into a shady spot and shot the breeze, but the whole time she looked over my shoulder and sometimes hers and eventually said:
" My neighbour has got two kittens and they often spend the day with me in the garden. "
" Oh, fantastic, maybe you can adopt one of them? "
" Oh no, I couldn't. I live alone and what if something were to happen to me? "...a bit of a poser for me, but fair enough. The whole time I was there she told me how her day has changed in routine, as she now has those two little shadows. When they are around her, she doesn't go near the front yard lest they run out into the road, if her cousin comes to fetch her by car, she sensors him to drive slowly just in case the little dears are in the road.
Her whole face lit up as she recalled the various cute manoeuvres and antics these kittens had done around her. She knows their routine, is scared for them when she hears a dog come by and told me, that she thought of me and my little Mausi. Oh yes, I had regaled her endlessly about our little mischief's antics. How could one not?
Cats and dogs are the best medicine for loneliness, are the best medicine for happiness and give a long endless day a lot of stops along the way. Somehow, we need to perhaps steer the lonely older people towards those abandoned cats and dogs in pounds, which, unless they were adopted would be sent to meet their maker far too early.
We tend to equate inner happiness paradoxically with having to find it everywhere but where we are! Inner happiness, the search of which keeps us all in motion and makes businesses rub their mittens in glee.
How many products, that promised instant happiness, are languishing in cupboards the world over? Who hasn't got a waffle iron / ab-trainer / ice cream machine / slimming pills / window cleaning apparatus / onion slicer...never or only once used.
The net gets throw over all and only a few can escape from it. The net of unless you have and see this, you're not happy. Well, yesterday, I got a quick and easy lesson of what life should be about.
Wednesday sees me doing my solitary wait in hope of fellow walkers to join me. My job, you know! Anyway, it was seven and as seemingly nobody wanted to join me for a walk, I was about to set off on my own when out of the blue I heard an excited bark.
" Look Johnny, there is Birgit! "I hadn't seen Johnny or his owner for months, yet there he was straining at his leash in order to greet me with the usual sniff and cuddling into my body. I have to tell you, that dogs have a way to weed out all the periphery of noise and stuff ( which we cling to like drowning rats ) with one head butt.
What more do we need really? Walking with Johnny and his owner for the next hour or so, was a nice way to relax and be in the moment. Being in the moment is one of the most difficult tasks to achieve, but walking through the forest, with a golden retriever nudging me every now and again, I was living in the moment...
By pure chance I found a new logo and a new bag. Well, not really as I gave the bag as a present. Trust Spar to come up with the goods and in this case, putting a name to a good feeling. Spar deserves a visit rather more often as they do push local produce to the fore, even though it tends to still be surrounded by mass produced stuff from far and yonder.
Ich bin ein BurgenländerThat logo on a tote bag, is great almost ingenious! The more I thought about it, the more I realized how good it is to be a Burgenländer, albeit still wet behind my ears. Only yesterday I had a chance to drive to different towns. A drive that was encased with the most spectacular landscape. Coupled with the blue sky, it was manna to my soul.
We don't have skyscrapers, mega cities, mega entertainment ( although, a Buschenschank can be entertaining ) or mega shopping, but we have that cozy feeling of being at peace, being comfortable and being home.
Our little bit of Burgenland has enough quietness to allow one to be in tune with one's soul, so to speak. Don't get me wrong, one can have all the modern time thieves that Tim Berners-Lee's invention allows us to use and we are a mere hop skip and jump away from Vienna ( another Austrian jewel ) but, there is also the solitude waiting to be made use of.
Being a Burgenländer is great, and from pure observation, I am not alone. Most youngsters go off to find careers in Vienna and beyond, yet most weekends they travel back home. Not because they have to, but because they want to.
As you know, Bob and I are Burgenland's #1 fans but it is nice to have a bag to remind us that others love it too.
Everything gets charged by the hour, I know, even back in the day of yore, but organizing a time to have a service team arrive, is a rather iffy affair. My mandate yesterday: be home from one o'clock.
To be on the safe side, I stayed home most of the day but at about half past two, I phoned to see where he was. We have the misfortune of needing to use a service company from far away ( an hour or rather a 120 euros one way...just for the travelling never mind the actual service ) and I gave him some leeway.
" Don't worry, he shouldn't be much longer. "Fair enough, he was at our house twenty minutes later.
How often have most of us waited for someone to arrive, either to fix an oven, electric outlet or a washing machine? Isn't our time worth something too? We should charge them a fair amount for time spent waiting. Waiting time is different from loafing time...can't go to the loo, can't have a shower, can't mess up the house ( " goodness, what will the man think ") and can't have a little catnap either.
Everything was very professionally done by the young man and thankfully I had a chair to sit while I paid ( even the service team travel with a credit card machine ). The next helpful info he imparted, had me listening carefully.
" If we need to be called out on a Saturday, the rates are 40% more, on a Sunday or public holiday our rates are double. Just to let you know. "Not to worry, I'll remember that eternally. The Bobster doesn't know it yet, but should our oven go madly on strike at any of these special times, we will huddle in blankets, thick socks and drink hot toddies until the weekend is over.
As he left, he said something to the effect of: There you go, young lady. which perked me up instantly, for it seemed that he didn't realize that I was a tad bit older than he, or he thought it a good line to use for a gratuity to come his way.
Only yesterday Bob realized that his princess ( it used to be me, but now our Mausi has moved effortlessly into this position ) had a few nefarious moments in her otherwise stellar feline complexion. It all started with the love of pork, and the princess's copy catting trait.
For a special occasion ( our folks are visiting ) we bought three packets of Pork skins, with a wifely reminder attached to them even before we left the supermarket:
" Bob, these are not for you alone. Polly loves these, so they are only for her! "which made Bob do his non-committal shrug, correctly interpreted by his mother or I to mean..-I hear you, but that doesn't mean I am going to do as you want- and the trio of porkies turned into a lesser duo on the first day home. Oh yes, Bob loves these cracklings.
Once, a long time ago in snack terms ( about 7 weeks or so ) Bob worked his way audibly through one of these packets and had an audience too. Yes, Mausi sat there moving her darling little head from side to side, in tune with Bob's expert way of eating this crackling: Left molars, right molars in a loop.
By mistake or rather in his frenzy to eat it before I had a chance to hide the packet, he dropped one on the floor and it lay there forgotten by him and I, yet fondly ogled by our cat. She didn't even bat an eyelid in an effort to throw us off our game, but ate it with glee, noise and sheer joy. Honestly, Bob's feeble aside of it being too spicy for her had more to do with him not wanting to share any future portions with her.
Last night, the second packet was brought out and almost devoured by all of us. A handful of chippy cracklings lay languishing at the bottom of a bowl. Perhaps no one wanted to be the one eating the last few and thus they stayed in the bowl, on the table, almost forgotten by all.
I was just falling asleep, when I heard the Bobster getting out of bed in a huge hurry. Goodness, what now? He sprinted into the kitchen and I heard a few mumbled strictures falling on chastened feline ears.
Bob was aghast at the audacity of his little princess...she, who had awaited our collective retreat into the slumber chambers before creeping into the kitchen, onto the table and sitting in front of the chip bowl, was ecstatically eating them one at a time.
The loud crackling noise had awoken Bob and when he got back into bed, voicing his dismay at one of the little paws having slipped off it's lofty pedestal, I just mumbled a one liner while trying not to laugh:
" Oh, at least she's got good taste. "
It was one of those perfect evenings, balmy, warm and full of parties. Two in fact or actually one party with the other one being a sun downer. My American parents are visiting and just for yesterday we went to different parties. Bob and I had been invited to a birthday bash and my folks went to my Burgenland parents for sun downers.
In a reverse sort of way ( didn't they do that to us as teenagers? ) we arranged a hiding place for Le Clef. Did I mention that our birthday bash was at our next door neighbour? The plan was for my folks to walk the 3 kilometers back home ( they wanted to exercise and refused Bob's offer to fetch them. New Yorker's love walking in any case.)
At one stage I walked over to our house to visit the Ladies ( it was closer and no queue ) and thought no more of it. Fast forward to our return home at a decent hour, it hadn't struck eleven yet, and as we were talking and looking for Le Clef, we noticed the door wasn't locked but just leaned to.
" Bob, I think they're home already. "but as I walked into the house, it felt sort of empty and untouched by the inevitably signs of return; haphazardly discarded shoes, jackets or light still playing chicken with moths and mosquitoes. Were they home and asleep already or did I forget to re-lock the house when I had visited our loo earlier on?
Bob suggested I look into their bedroom, but I was in a conundrum...can't wake them if they are there, can I ? Yet, in the same way that many a parent has done, I wondered if they had crossed paths with a fox, wild pig or some such on their way back? Oh yes, those were the dangers we faced in our youth, didn't we, Bob?
For the next half hour I went through each and every step in my mind, trying to see if I had forgotten to relock our house or if they were home.
' I am sure I locked it again. '
' They wouldn't have gone to bed already '
' The other day I also forgot to lock the door. Should I be worried? 'Oh my, I would never live it down if I locked them out for even a few minutes never mind a whole night. The last time my Dad came to visit ( he was a day early ) I hadn't gone shopping yet and he had to eat the proverbial dry bread for supper. Somehow I've lost count of how often he has recited the " I had to starve " incident ... Being locked out all night, quelle disaster!!
Bob suggested to leave our door unlocked just in case and I was leaning towards it, when all of a sudden I heard my dad slam a bathroom door.
Oh, I was relieved indeed.
It will be interesting to see, how the powers that be respond to this hint of wrongness. Yes, this US swimming team debacle. Above the fray, one would like to think when talking about these rare individuals who earn an Olympic medal.
Of course it is the brush stroke of a rare few who paint the rest in a bitter tasting hue. Honestly, I have to say, that the achievement of this medal has been lost by the behaviour of the man more so than if he had been found to have taken banned stuff.
Telling fibs is bad enough, but telling fibs to the detriment of a whole city is just bad. Tourism is the life blood of their economy and having it instantly tainted ( as it happens with many a breaking news story being told of the heroic swimming team ) is beyond the pale.
Many a kid looks up to that small group who earn the ultimate, an Olympic medal. Many a kid will try to be like them. But, shouldn't the role of a role model have certain criteria along with it? Honesty, humbleness, kindness and hard work.
As a society we've dropped some standards of accepted & expected behaviour or is it more a case of nobody really cares about them? We are now so instant, that more likely than not, all is forgotten under the swept up carpet by next week, when something else of importance happens, mostly either a tr(i)umphant blunder or a celebrity wedding etc.
Somehow this is a turning point in and of society. At least I tend to think so. The threat of consequences needs to be reinstated. No matter how much of a star you are, you still need to be held accountable. Honesty, kindness and goodness needs to be given top billing again, because if not, what does it say about us?
... Extremely concise contradiction: clearly confused / delicious Sauerkraut / Hell's Angels / alone together.Marchpane
A less common way of saying MarzipanFlapdoodle
Poppycock, balderdash or more in more common English: rubbish, empty and meaningless talk.Famulus
A medieval sorcerer;s assistant or in today's world, perhaps your husband helping you to cook dinner!Charientism
An elegantly veiled insult.Defenestration
Choosing the window rather than the door to throw someone or something out...Gongoozler
An idle spectator...Hebetate
To grow dull or stupid.
A public holiday yesterday put everyone into an extended holiday frame of mind, complete with big lunches, family get together's and a planned afternoon snooze. Well, that is before we reckoned with Mamma Nature.
Strangely enough, the day started out on the hot side coupled with azure blue skies. After lunch, I was watching something on TV and kept on hearing a dull thud with the occasional pause in the movie, but as I glanced at the sky outside, it was nice and blue.
Bob had an inkling of sorts and suggested that I take in the washing dangling on the line. Walking up to it, I saw the other and very scary side to the sky. A deep, dark and angry shade of green blanketed this side of the sky. Freaky to say the least, but enough to batten down our hatches...get in the washing, close all the windows and give thanks for a sheltered car cover.
Minutes later, the first hail arrived. We only heard its impact on the roof before we saw it. The pelting started in earnest and at one stage we only saw a white garden. The hail stones went through a size change faster than a bride-to-be flipping through a bridal magazine and planning her wedding. It did the liturgy of sizes. Small, medium, almost large, threateningly large, square, medium and small again.
It took about half an hour to destroy at best people's gardens and at worst most farmer's yearly income and more sadly, spirit. Yes, it had a slight feeling of plague, so often heralded from the pulpits in order to reign in our liberties, about it. Gosh, what next? Locusts?
These last few years have tested many a farmer. Hail, frost and more hail have put paid to the year's work. I am hoping that the powers that be and coincidentally those powers the people elected into office, will lend a hand to these unfortunate stalwarts of our society.
Let's face it, how many of us would take on nature year after year in an arm wrestling match which oscillates exclusively back and forth with no reset button?
There are those true through and through farmers who will dust off the devastation and write it down to experience learned.
Farmers are the unsung heroes of our world. Remember, without them we wouldn't have vegetables, meat nor wine...
Friday afternoon saw the two of us working in our back garden. A garden that we've slightly neglected over the last few months. Time and laziness issues. But, our back garden is more of an orchard with at least 20 fruit trees in it and mowing it isn't that easy either as it is more of a hilly obstacle course.
Bob had had enough yesterday and started on the grass ( which stood about 60 cm high ). Grass might be a misnomer, as it was more a carpet of wildflowers of varying colours, uses and sizes.
As we walked about, we both noticed the same thing...almost all of our fruit trees were laden with fruit. Laden might be an understatement, as the branches were bowing under the weight. We've been here for five years, and our place stood empty for a few years prior and thus it's safe to assume that our orchard is organic. The prolific manifestation of fruit isn't due to some lab result but to the bees.
We tend to assume ( and stand to be corrected ) that our lack of mowing has a positive effect on the bee population in our neighbourhood. We are just about the last lawn left, that isn't always pretty as a picture.
What's irritating to the neighbours, is manna from heaven for the bees!
Both of us were glad to have done a good deed or rather provided a good smorgasbord for the buzzies but now were faced with a bigger problem...
" Honey, just look at all those plums! A bumper crop for my Schnapps. "
Well, I let him dream for a bit, as I was already thinking and planning all the various plum jam combinations we could make. Plum & lavender, plum & chocolate, plum & chilli or plain old plum jam.
A possible compromise might be reached....half for Schnapps purposes and half for jam. The other fruit variety to be had is of course a selection of apples. Each apple tree is a different type and I foresee a winter filled with divine pancakes topped with homemade apple sauce.
Any Saturday that we are at home, we know when it's time to make lunch. The noon gun or rather noon siren is at times ear splitting and at others a welcome reminder to down tools. But that is only Saturdays.
The church bells do ring at certain repetitive times but, I have yet to work that schedule out. Sadly, if they ring for a long time during the day ( not on the hour ), it is a message to tell all about a villager who has died.
The Bobster has bought himself a second hand moped and uses it with youthful elan to motor to work. Did I mention that he leaves at 5.45 most mornings? When he nods me goodbye, forget about a wave goodbye as he needs both hands to crank it up, the serene morning calm is pierced by the freshly awakened engine trying to listen to Bob's full throttle demand.
At the wine festival last Saturday, we ran into a neighbour of ours and she told me:
" You know, since Bob's got that moped, I don't need my alarm clock anymore! "...my first thought was that it might be a veiled complaint, but no, she followed it up with:
" By the way, my husband wants to fix up the moped we've got in the shed and start to drive with Bob around the village. "
So, Bob's the trendsetter among his friends and we might see a whole lot of guys reliving youthful memories with a moped. Unlike the bigger bikes, a moped makes a dangerous wheelie null and void.
Pop a wheelie is slang for driving your motorbike on one wheel only. Bob told me that his brother is an ace at it, which might be the reason he wants to hide his moped when said brother comes to visit!The future moped gang clad in shorts, t-shirt and helmet leisurely cruising about the village, laughing and enjoying themselves. Sounds quite fun, doesn't it? Honestly, I am feeling a twinge of envy and might consider joining the moped gang...
P/s: On Monday Bob got stung by a bee and took the car to work on Tuesday...yet another neighbour asked me whether Bob was ill. When I asked her why she thought that, she replied:
" I was waiting to hear Bob drive past before getting up, but I never heard his moped and finally got up at six anyway "
Village life, I love it...
Growing and making wine is a labour intensive business and often some aspects of it are attended to with a chemical or two. Weeds and bugs being the main one.
Mostly, the weeds growing between the individual wines are taken care of with a spray of something, which quite frankly, I don't even want to think about. " Everyone is doing it. That's just the way it's done ." Does it save money and time? Yes, of course, but they have made wine before the invention of chemicals, not such big quantities but perhaps good quality nonetheless.
There is a new breed of vintners who are going back to grass roots or rather growing vines the natural way. Weeds and grass growing in between the vines, get removed manually with a weed eater ( eh, it sounds poisonous but is an apparatus wielded by a person ) or eaten by a flock of sheep.
Which leads me to today's topic...sheep or rather a flock of them circulating the various vineyards owned by a local wine maker. I have told you about them before, but yesterday the cuteness factor was doubled. The herd's ram must have had a whole lot of fun, as there were a few youngsters frolicking about.
It was so divine seeing these sheep grazing in a vineyard and it made me think about a documentary I saw on TV. Someone had opened a Cow Cafe ( no, not that cow's Cafe! ) and yes, it is a coffee shop on a farm, overlooking the cow stable. The owner said that quite often kids visiting from the city would be overjoyed at stroking a real cow. Sadly, some of them had never seen one or yet alone known that cows made milk!
Could there be an opportunity to open a " Farm Cafe " in our area? Just imagine the sheer joy on the faces of young kids, when they are allowed to cuddle a little lamb, perhaps be chased by an audibly upset goose, milk a cow, muck out a horse stable and feed a pig...rural bliss is making a comeback.