Monday, 31 October 2016

The Last Two Formula Ones Have Been A Sleepy Affair.

Late night television viewing.

One good thing about yesterday's time change was the fact that the Mexican Grand Prix started an hour earlier for us. But still, watching a race at eight in the evening is a tremendous battle for me or rather my laden eyelids.

At least I saw the first three laps and for some inexplicable reason, each last lap. The Bobster being a tad bit younger and haler of composition, only missed a few laps in the middle. Does anyone else fall asleep at these events or are we the only ones?

It wasn't all dull and sleepy though. At the start of the pre lap, Bob was doing a version of Crocodile Dundee and compared F1 with Motor GP and actually insisted that the roar of the GP motorbikes far out-sounds the roar of the new F1 cars. :

" Babe, we should get Sky Sports, so that you can hear the powerful roar of those bike engines. "
" Schatzi, no, we don't need to watch a motorbike race for that. Each morning, Mausi, the neighbour and I are privy to the roar of your moped racing down the driveway."

Goodness, I thought he might feel embarrassed about his noisy moped, but no, just the opposite. His chest puffed out to such an extent, I was reminded of a scene in the old Tarzan movie. For the next few minutes, the Bobster strutted around and more than likely visualized his moped's roar and that we had noticed.

Getting back to the Grand Prix, I need to clarify that it is indeed exciting to watch and it's really not their fault that I am inclined to fall asleep at the drop of a hat or the tamed roar of the new F1 cars. When Bob woke me to move to the proper bed, I found out that I had again missed some exciting bit of driving and about the new and very young four wheel virtuoso's underhanded driving style.

Luckily for me, the next few races will be at a more decent hour...


Sunday, 30 October 2016

The Vagaries Of Time.

Gosh, what a time we're having...

It has been said that time stands still for no one, but today it seems to do just the opposite. Time has been lost or should I say gained in the Northern Hemisphere.

The time changed, yes literally changed today. Forward or backward depends on your point of view. One thing is for certain, we are all afoot and rather clueless in a time vacuum.

As astute as we all are at the many daily challenges crossing our path ( how much money we've earned, how to cross the road, how to cook a meal, how to work the TV remote... ) most of us are in a state of confusion about this change of time.

Does it really help us? What is wrong with starting our day in the dark? Winter has so many elements of romance and comfort knitted into its make-up and yet we are so adamant to change nature and its set of rules?

Winter with its long nights allows us the opportunity to hibernate. A time to catch up on some rest. A time to reflect. A time to spend at home. Life as most of us live it, is hectic enough. Do we really need an extra hour of daylight into which we are forced to cram more stuff into?

A few years ago, my cousin told me that wearing a wristwatch disrupts one's energy system. I had just arrived in the paradise of Burgenland and was still addicted to flicking my wrist every few minutes. Why not, I thought to myself and with gusto put all my watches into a drawer. Oh yes, I was living in Burgenland, without a reminder of time passing.

Being timeless, is rather refreshing and you'd be surprised at how quickly our body's natural clock sets in. In a way, being without time makes one live in the moment...the Nirvana most of us are searching for.


Saturday, 29 October 2016

A Gentle Saturday In Autumn.

Naturally it involves a vine or two...

This tree was beckoning me with his vibrant and bright yellow plumage. Rather apt that it is guarding a row of vines.
Meanwhile, in the forest on the other edge of our village, this tree was holding court even sans foliage.
I find it so fantastic that wherever one looks, there is a row of vines. Even if there are nature's guards around it. This tree resides opposite Wallner's Buschenschank in Deutsch Schützen.
The yellow rose of Burgenland! Despite the vines loosing their elan, the yellow rose keeps on blooming and adding a charming appeal to the landscape.
Not to be outdone, a few rows over, the pink rose holds court. A splendorous ornament.
The quaint Kellerstock with its colourful vista in front of it...


Friday, 28 October 2016

What, You Don't Feed Your Cat By Hand?

Desperate times call for retro methods.

When I told my mum what I had done, she did the parental trilogy; head shake, eye roll and verbal tat tat. Even my most logical reasoning didn't sway her belief that I had gone over to the crazy pet owner's side. Maybe...

Mausi has hardly been eating but when we eat, she hungrily dances around us and no, we don't feed her morsels from our plate. On Tuesday while I was organizing Bob's diabetic equipment, I took the opportunity to visit the pet store and take my time meandering from one aisle to the next. Food galore but only the best would do for our cat. Trying to tempt her pallet, I bought a cross section of stuff.

Back at home, even the tempting rabbit, buck or beef concoctions didn't move her majesty to eat more than a whisker of it. Panic time for Bob and I. Should we start to cook her food? No, surely not.

There was only one other option left...Googling which got me the aforementioned motherly stricture. The good folk hanging out on Google gave the advice of hand feeding your cat, if all else fails. Look, I wouldn't do it for any other cat but ours. Rolling up my sleeves, I put a handful of her wet food into the palm of my hand and called her hither.

Yeah, or alas, she ate with gusto from my palm and I had to dig into her bowl many times before she was sated. As she is an animal with sharp fangs, I made sure to flatten my palm as much as possible. Not that she'd bite mummy on purpose, but remove temptation and so forth.

Bob wasn't home of course, because he'd have vetoed my way and I wasn't disappointed when I regaled him later with my success.

" Don't expect me to do it. "

The next meal, a different flavour was again eaten with a soft saucer and if I hadn't come up with another and better idea, Bob would have tried it too.

A saucer, a flat white saucer was the answer. Our princess didn't like eating out of a pet's bowl, mainly because her whiskers kept getting sauce and so forth stuck on it. Since putting out the saucer, she has eaten at least three meal times in a row. Yeah. It turns out our cat is a regal creature after all and decorum and etiquette seem to be most important to her.

Thank goodness we've found a way to get her to eat, as otherwise our list of pet-sitters would have dwindled faster than an ice cube in bright sunlight.


Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Wonderful Wisdom Of Austrians.

Something to ponder over.

" Happy is the man who finds a true friend,
and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife. "

Franz Schubert 1797-1828
" The moment is supreme. "
Franz Schubert 1797-1828
" Not what we experience, but how we perceive what we experience,
determines our fate. "

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach 1830-1916
" No shortcomings of other people cause us to be more intolerant
than those which are caricatures of our own. "

Franz Grillparzer 1791-1872
" The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions. "
Alfred Adler 1870-1937
" Seek not good from without:
seek it within yourselves, or you will never find it. "

Bertha von Suttner 1843-1914
" I couldn't find the sports car of my dreams, so I built it myself. "
Ferdinand Porsche 1875-1951
" Depth must be hidden. Where? On the surface. "
Hugo von Hofmannsthal 1874-1929
" Because you don't live near a bakery doesn't mean you have to go without cheesecake. "
Hedy Lamarr 1914-2000
" What is to give light, must endure burning. "
Anton Wildgans 1881-1932


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Having Our Diabetic Paraphernalia Checked For Free And Austria's National Day.

Life is a gift.

Bob's diabetic equipment had gone on strike and by pure chance a leaflet landed in our post box, informing us that there would be an afternoon where one could bring along anything related to diabetes and have it checked for free in Oberwart.

As Bob was working, I drove in to attend but not before Bob had looked up the address for me and how to get there best. Oh yes, getting lost in Oberwart is not so far fetched. By the way, it was at the Red Cross hall.

The times were from 2 pm to 5 pm and I got their fashionably late at ten past two. Who knew that it would be so busy. There were already twenty odd people in front of me and only three friendly helpers.

A sad reality is that there are so many older people living alone and being so very lonely. A few of the people in front of me relished having a conversation with the helpers and found new topics to keep the human contact going for as long as possible. These three helpers were brilliant because they were laughing, joking and not once were they impatient with anyone. Bravo.

It was rather daunting to see so many older people with a diabetic problem. Even though I was merely queuing up for Bob, I was the youngest by far. Standing there for such an age, made me appreciate my health and even more so that Bob and I on the whole like healthy eating.

Perhaps as a society we are so fond of eating processed food that the epidemic of diabetes shouldn't surprise us. In trying to manage our hectic lives we try and save time by making meal times as fast as possible, with enough spare time to keep up with the online Jones's. Easier to pop a ready made meal into the microwave or visit the temple of modern cuisine: a fast food emporium.

Instead of teaching trigonometry, schools should teach kids how easy and nice it is to cook meals. Not to mention more tasty.

Today is Austria's National Day and this free diabetic check up yesterday demonstrates so well why Austria is such a brilliant, beautiful and awesome place to live. Those little deeds that many Austrians take for granted, are hardly ever done in other countries. More importantly, not for free.

It is such a privilege to be able to live in Austria and both of us are thankful for it every day.


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The Web Seen Differently.

The early morning light makes the hidden appear.

The mingling of yellow and orange is too divine and almost left me breathless and in awe. Nature is the ultimate artist.
How industrious spider are...spinning such an amazing maze for a fly or bug to be caught in.
Alas, I have not yet seen the creator of any of these delightful works of art...Walking through the vineyards at night might not be a great idea.
How many spiders there are!
A close up. Wonderful in its simplicity yet memorable for its beauty.
At the end of my walk I stumbled across this house. One could almost say that it is Graffiti a la Burgenland style...


Monday, 24 October 2016

Educating Mausi.

Not such an easy task, considering that we adore her.

Our little kitten is now about a year and a half old and as cute as a button which in itself translates to her being able to get away with murder. Alas, she won't sort out the occasional rodent visitor.

Just like any other parents, we think our little one is the prettiest, cutest and of course cleverest and pets do morph into almost being human to their owners. If nothing else, my running one sided conversation with her feline majesty proves it and her apt antics make me belief that she does understand me.

She has a few questionable habits, one being her constant scratching on our wooden door frames. Door frames that are starting to have that unique carved look. Of course we've already bought two different feline scratching posts, but she uses them once or twice and than returns to one of our door frames.

My mum, when she saw what Mausi was and still is doing to the door frames, instantly suggested that I use a stern voice and forbid our cat to claw her own craving...Ha, if it were only that easy. Cats have a stubborn mind of their own. Doesn't cut muster with a grandparent though and I have a feeling that mum thinks I've missed an education opportunity for our cat and am raising a rascal. By the way, she adores Mausi too!

When mum came to the house yesterday, Mausi in her happiness at seeing Oma, was busy clawing a door in front of Oma...

"No Mausi, DON'T do that. "
fair enough, the lure of a delectable treat which usually accompanies a visit from Oma would have made her do anything and look innocently pretty. When we were younger, a visit from our grandparents often garnered us a few D-Marks if we adopted an angelic demeanor.

Naturally, the minute mum went home, La Princess took up her favourite hobby...carving.

As it is so jolly difficult to control her, I am wondering if her constant carving might make an acceptable portrait, you know something like a religious image, which we could surely sell as a novelty and get new door frames...none of that wooden stuff this time.


Sunday, 23 October 2016

A Sunny Saturday In Eisenberg.

Enough sunshine to dry a load of laundry on the washing line.

The valley ( or rather Eisenberg village ) was cloaked in a nebulous fog but the upper echelons of Eisenberg were in a sunny position. Aren't these delightful yellow flowers beautiful?
This is the house I like to call the Ambassador's Villa. It has a Burgenland flag outside it and is spacious enough to house any V.I.P.
An idyllic and highly romantic barn up the road from us. A blank space which could be filled with the paraphernalia of a guest cottage, complete with a sun-lounger out front.
Spiders are a clever and artistic lot. Imagine spinning a new web every night?
The vines are turning red and it does look nice against the nebulous background of Eisenberg. It is no wonder that wine tastes so divine...look at its heritage!
Same row of vines, but a little bit to the left. Walking yesterday morning, through the fog, into the sunshine and back into the fog was amazing. Soul candy...


Saturday, 22 October 2016

Who Knew That Eisenberg Was A Leafy Suburb?

An Afternoon's walk brings many treasures...

A sea of yellow, a sea of dreams and a final goodbye for these leaves.
A forest path reminiscent of Red Riding Hood and one I'd only take with either Bob or a bag of breadcrumbs...
One can almost feel the strength and integrity of this tree. Standing in front of it is breathtaking and somehow I feel as if it helps to give one's soul a tune-up...
...The greens have it...
All this beauty is on the banks of the local road. Most will drive passed without taking in its awesomeness.
At the end of my walk, I ran into Willy and got another tray of his chickens' eggs. Next to his house is a derelict old farm house, yet despite the crumbling exterior it has an astonishingly fabulous window display.


Friday, 21 October 2016

What Would Winter Be Without Any F.I.S. Skiing?

The season starts again tomorrow.

Hot summer days still being rather fresh in our memories makes it almost seem like a juxtaposition to think of snow and skiing but or should I say alas, time doesn't stand still.

Both of us are fans of alpine skiing, myself for the excitement of the sport and for Bob it is a combination of Anna Fenninger and skiing. His favourite skier on the women's skiing circuit who happens to be rather pretty too.

Only this morning I heard him talk to himself, or rather at the television;

" Hi, Bob here. "
and I didn't need to be a soothsayer to know that they were interviewing Anna on television. Well she has changed her name and taken that of her Gatten, so Bob's enthusiasm is waning a bit and leaning towards other young skiers.

I shouldn't really throw stones about, as I am just as bad about the male skiers. Or rather snow gladiators dressed in tight tights. Ooh la la indeed, but I would ban Bob from parading about in that get up!

Alpine skiing is a huge sport in most northern hemisphere countries. One of Bob's cousins has just moved with his wife to one of the meccas of alpine skiing in order to work there. Whistler Mountain in Canada...what lucky fishes indeed. As they are both chefs by profession, they might even bewitch Bob's goddess with their award winning food. They were both in the South African Culinary Olympic team for many years.

Perhaps not his wife's culinary creations, as she is a top notch dessert chef whose divine and mouth watering eclectic dishes are sadly off limit for the weight conscious athletes. But who can withstand that sort of temptation for long?

As they have both just arrived there I hope they'll like it. Granted, it is a change to go from sunny South Africa to the wild snow covered mountains of Canada, but also the chance of a lifetime.

Bob and I have been privy to the beautiful scenery of Whistler mountain as the ski-circuit travels to various countries in the world. In fact, you could call us weekend armchair travel enthusiasts.

Who said winters are boring, cold and dull? Winters, are cozy, snugly, full of sporting activities and a time to recharge one's soul with a myriad of reading, eating and sleeping.


Thursday, 20 October 2016

" Biggi, How Is Your Garden Doing? "

Diction changes fiction...

Walking to work late yesterday afternoon, I ran into some neighbours of mine. A fleeting greeting of mine got reciprocated with the above. A myriad of things flashed through my mind at lightning speed, as they are wont to do.

Foremost in my mind was the very recent poo-deposit by another neighbourhood dog on our front lawn, mere minutes earlier. Oh yes, I had stumbled upon them ( owner and dog ) and had put a happy mien on a smelly deed. ( Later on, when I regaled the Bobster with it, he was not very happy and muttered about the ugly effect of a lawnmower meeting a poo parcel. )

But, my neighbour couldn't have seen that, so perhaps it was a bit of a dig at our very laissez faire garden. A few thoughts flitted together and knitted themselves into the one certainty; the hedge still had foliage, enough to deflect any critical glances. While my mind went at top speed around the various scenarios, I surely looked like a deer caught in headlights.

" Eh, thank you for asking, it is fine. "
and all of a sudden, comprehension hit me with an accompanied need to double up with laughter...

Diction changes German, you get two words, similar but with a totally different meaning. Saying them in a regional accent makes them almost indistinguishable...

Garten / Gatten
bubbling with laughter I answered, that the Bobster was very fine indeed. Yes, Gatte in German means husband.

As funny as this was, it makes me realize how fabulous my Bobster is with his handling of being immersed in German language. Eh, one that is heavily afflicted with the regional dialect. Often, even some Viennese are at a loss when confronted with our local dialect...


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Suddenly, I Look Forward To Rainy Days.

Actually, I liked them before but now even more.

Rain often equates to wet and suddenly treacherous lawns, wet jackets, peachier complexions and the present bonus of less squealing brakes.

Oh yes, the last one might have confused you but I haven't gone loopy yet. The family chariot had had new brakes put in a few months ago and those darn things won't stop squealing when pressed.

Dear Hollywood, come hither and use us in any get away car sound track.
Just the other night, I saw an old episode of Kojak and felt happy to hear similar braking sounds. By the by, what a dishy and cool guy!
Of course they work perfectly and we've just had our C.O.R. renewed for another year. Even the tester tested with more fervour than normal when he heard the squealing traitors.

Before you ask, Bob and I have had them seen to twice at the dealership where they'd been put in, but no help. Bob at times tends to loose his easy countenance accompanied with a few choice expressions even going so far as to wish our chariot to Jericho.

But like I always say, we've got a chariot that works well and it is allowed to have a few foibles. Gosh, what antique doesn't? Just like the glass is half full in my view, this momentary braking set back has many good points.

  • Our neighbours know when we come home, or rather most of our neighbbourhood.
  • Both of us drive more sedately...
  • We get noticed.
  • Most important bonus...our cat knows when we return home and even when she is fast asleep, will jump up in excitement at one of us returning home. How cute...

As for the rain, when it descends our brakes stop their incessant muttering and it does feel rather grand to motor about our neighbourhood in silent obscurity.


Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Honestly, We Were Just A Tad Bit Nosy!

Investigating our neighbourhood.

This past weekend our little village was in serious need of several traffic lights, as the roads were teeming with cars, trucks and tractors. As you know, harvesting is under way and that in itself creates a lot of traffic, but now an added element of a building site got added into the mix.

My Monday morning walking group, was cheerful and bright eyed even on a morning that would have been nice spent sleeping in.

" Which route should we walk today? "
usually, they leave it up to me as long as I vary it...well, not yesterday;
" I want to walk the route that takes us past this new building site and find out who, where and what it is all about! "
and with that we trotted off in the right direction. Speculation ran high, other tidbits of village life flew bye, and before we knew it, we were almost at the site in question. Along the way, we were passed by at least three huge tractors with a full trailer load of one point, I looked across at the forest lane and saw another two huge tractor & trailers driving single file along it.
" Goodness, this almost could be a scene out of Die Hard 3 . "
which slowed down the walk a bit due to one gal doubling up with laughter, more than likely at my eclectic( ahem ) taste in movies.

At the moment our village is going through a boom, old house and farms being snapped up and also new houses being built. Which is a point that had us three gals almost at loggerheads...I adore old house with their innate charm, history and romantic flair whereas the others like the cold, clean, bunker-style modern look that seems to be the flavour of the day.

When we got to the building site, we were speechless at the size of plot dug out and as it is snap bang in the middle of the vineyards, I hope and pray that it won't be done in modern clinical and soul chilling that would be a turn off for the many tourists to our area, tourists that provide a lot of income in our village.


Monday, 17 October 2016

Eh, Who Cut The Cheese?

Ending off harvesting with a delightful Buschenschank meal.

The Bobster and I sat next to each other in a big round of eight people. We had just finished picking grapes ( alas this year the harvest was so minimal that eh, one has to consider drinking less wine this coming year, yikes!!! ) and were enjoying our meal.

A whiff of something offensive caught my nostril and knowing it was not me, I did a quick eyebrow raise at the Bobster and when he had a confused look, even went so far as to spell it out for him, in English of course:

" D-i-d y-o-u b-a-f-f? "
" W-h-a-t? N-o, h-o-w d-a-r-e y-o-u! "

Of course he coupled this whispered exchange between us with an outraged expression but also did a quick, surreptitious reconnaissance to see if anyone looked guilty. ( That might be an interesting look indeed ) A few times during the meal, a similar exchange happened and the two of us were heavily involved in a round of speculation. Quietly.

As we all were tired from a day of picking and carrying, we called it a day after our meal and a spritzer or two. It had been a wonderful Saturday spent deepening the tradition of wine harvest, as it is usually the same lot coming together for this event. Nice, comforting and root building, which is something I love due to having lived abroad for so long.

A round of goodbyes ensued and I was the first one in our car. Bob was still talking to mum. That's when I was confronted with a gagging smell. A smell coming from my shoes.

With a sinking feeling of dread, I picked up one foot at a time to see and almost gagged when I saw and more importantly smelled that I had decorated one of my shoes with doggy poo at some stage in the afternoon. Oh dear, there I had falsely apportioned blame to everyone at the table, when it was me all along, or rather the poo at the bottom of my shoe!

Embarrassingly, only Bob and I were privy to the source of the questionable aroma, and the two of us might might still be suspected as the offenders.Quelle blamage!


Sunday, 16 October 2016

An Ordinary Autumn Sunday In Burgenland.

It's the ordinary that gives our lives its divine hue.

A ray of sunshine illuminates this tree and highlights the lushness of the surrounding foliage.
A bunch of leaves has the power to enchant us.
Chestnuts were lying next to the road, vibrant and reminding me of the season to come.
A bed of chestnuts, just beautiful for the soul...
This somehow makes me think of Twilight and the inevitable Edward Cullen...
To end of, a vineyard in Deutsch Schützen, ordinary, stunning, romantic and a reminder of how divine life is...


Saturday, 15 October 2016

I Am All Tensed Out.

Conundrum and confusion...

When you have to explain the various English tenses purely by grammatical rules and signal words, they start to blur together after a while. Coupled with the sad fact that most of the kids have never read an English book for recreation, it makes it even more confusing to explain when and where to use what!

For example the verb, to go:
go / is going / went / was going / has gone / had gone / has been going / had been going / would go / would have gone / will go / will have gone /

Obviously nobody is perfect and the odd mistake can and does creep in, but on the whole, most of us choose the right tense by instinct.

My rather frequent sermons about the importance of reading for pleasure fall mostly on deaf ears and even the promise of saving oodles of time in regards to homework etc, doesn't convince them. Oh well, what can you do? If only they knew the hidden treasures and pleasures that are contained between the covers of books...

One young lass though, loves reading and has always a book on the go. Yes, at the tender age of ten, she is sailing through her classes, and even when we did grammar exercises a grade beyond her age, she did them with ease...

Learning a second language can be a challenge and I hold thumbs for their test on Monday...yes, all this revising of tenses is not undertaken for fun, but only as there is a test afoot.

As for me, today will be a divine one spent among the vines and hopefully accompanied by sunshine. Today it is the turn of the red grapes to meet the Rebler ( crusher ! ) and the nice bit is that it will be a family affair. Coupled with the lure of a divine Buschenschank lunch, this Saturday should be more than okay.


Friday, 14 October 2016

Clearly, That Wave Wasn't Meant For Me!

The hoot was though.

Yesterday morning, Bob and I left at the same time. He on his moped and I on foot. Not saying that he drives slowly, but as I was starting on the forest lane towards Eisenberg Weinberg ( it does run parallel to the road with a distance of about fifty meters separating them ) I heard Bob before I heard the hooting.

Well, hooting is a bit overdone, as it was more of a "hootling"...You know, at such a distance, I wasn't too sure whether it was Bob, but when he "hootled" about three times, I knew for sure.

Having a chuckle to myself and being jolly pleased that my husband still "hootles" at me, I carried on to my appointment. Fast forward an hour, and I was heading home on the same forest path. Along the way I took some photos ( yesterday's blog ) and was enjoying life and of course Eisenberg.

My eyes shifted a mere smidgen to the right and I notice a movement across on the Weinberg
( distance of about 150 meters ). Oh yes, someone was standing there facing towards me and waving vigorously. Being a friendly type, I waved back with the same enthusiasm and wondered if it was Bob again.

Carrying on, I still kept the waver in my eyesight and was surprised at him still waving. Okay, okay, a friendly sort which made me return the favour. But after a while, enough was enough. Who was that person? Clearly not Bob, because two or three waves are enough once you've been married for a bit.

Wanting to get to the bottom of this, I stopped and really focused on this person. My, did I feel embarrassed when I saw that this person was merely doing some exercises, warming up his upper body, doing those famously old fashioned hand windmills.

He was too far away to put name to face and knowing my Eisenberger's, not a local villager either, because apart from a handful of us, hardly anyone exercises this early in the day...


Thursday, 13 October 2016

Good Morning From Eisenberg, Eisenberg Weinberg.

Jack Frost came along for this morning's walk.

A look across the vineyards taken from almost the outskirts of our village. We went to have a look at the various vines and whether they'd been harvested or not.
If you know the area, you'll recognize Erika's house...

Is there anything nicer than to be out on a chilly morning? In the distance, you can see the fog rising over Eisenberg, the blue skies and of course the soothing greens of the vines.
Beautiful indeed. Somehow, one can almost feel the chill that was keeping us company on our walk this morning.
These horses are enjoying their retirement, which translates to having a nice and gentle life. A scenic paddock, enough food and the love of their owners. What more could one want...
Each time I walk along the forest path, I am struck by how charismatic the local church looks, set among the trees. Earlier, on my way to meet my friend, a couple of deer jumped with their unique gait across the path in front of me. Rural life indeed.
When I got back just now, I was greeted by the cheerful rosemary outside our front door. It has been sprouting a whole lot of lilac blossoms for the past few months. Love it.


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

A Walk On A Cold Autumn Morning.

Even when it's overcast and cold, beauty is everywhere.

A few leaves in my path, some of many that have drifted from their trees.
A few vines bereft of grapes and changing the hue of their foliage before dropping them altogether. Autumn is a visual feast for the eyes, not to mention the soul.
The bathtub outside an old cottage among the vines. If it wasn't so out in the open, surrounded by hunter's lookout towers, a nice hot bath in the vineyard might be fun indeed.
These yellow survivors were about the only spots of bright colour along my walk today. A nice refreshing sight.
Some of the corn fields are kept purely for the local deer. Over winter they'll have food and seeing this half eaten cob of corn, reminded me to be thankful for how easy it is for us to eat over winter...or at any other time.
The wind was bitingly cold yet it moved this cornfield into a semblance of beauty.


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The Numbers Are Coming Home To Roost!

Morality and honesty, where have thou gone?

When you think about it, these 140 characters allowed, have whittled down our propensity to be genuine. Not for everyone of course. Expressing an idea, feeling or thought of a longer nature is impossible. The be all and end all of Twitter is of course to have your idea, feeling, thought or Selfie re-tweeted as many times as possible. ( mea culpa, but not on the Selfie! ), which means you should stop at about 110 characters...

This environment has created many supposed superstars, celebrities and political candidates, all of whom have millions of followers who seem to be happy with one-liners. Personality, character and morality not to mention honesty are at times left along the way. Either because nobody cares, or for lack of space.

Well, the mere fact that this latest deplorable episode of Political Soap Opera 2016 , has more episodes still to come, is baffling. Politicians are meant to be role models, people to whom we can look up to and follow in their lead.

A Head of State, President, Prime Minister or Chancellor should be a person who'll have a steady hand at the tiller of the country, in times of turbulence and trouble. The steadiness, calmness and unflappability under any conditions is what is so vital.

Having thankfully gone through schooling in South Africa, where manners, morality and honesty were the main ingredient, I cringed when I watched the recent debate in America. It seems that money can't buy you everything...

The last few years, society in general has followed the herd and embraced social media with both hands, often leaving real connections by the wayside. Could this be the culprit? How do we know if, what has been posted online is real, genuine and not a porky? Just because something has a few hundred thousand re-tweets or likes, doesn't make it real...

In the spirit of If you can't beat them, join them! perhaps it is time to dust off a few old fashioned terms from their resting place and bring them back into fashion...

  • #moralsdocount
  • #mannersmatter
  • #honesty
  • #respectisvital


Monday, 10 October 2016

I Think A Change Of Tune Is Needed.

Our collective thoughts need a different source of food.

" The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer someone else up. "
Mark Twain
" Believe you can and you are halfway there. "
Theodore Roosevelt
" Life is like trying to ride a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. "
Albert Einstein
" How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. "
Anne Frank
" What we think, we become. "
" Change your thoughts and you change your world. "
Norman Vincent Peale
" There are two ways of spreading light:
to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. "

Edith Wharton
" What lies behind you and what lies in front of you,
pales in comparison to what lies inside you. "

Ralph Waldo Emerson
" The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. "
Bertrand Russell
" If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.
Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. "

Henry David Thoreau


Sunday, 9 October 2016

Perfection, Is So Yesterday..

A wasteful quest undertaken by so many of us.

For years we have tried our hardest to be perfect. Perfect in looks, perfect at work, perfect at keeping a home but ironically, less often perfect in inner values. How many hours not to mention huge chunks of our lives have a lot of us wasted in only allowing ourselves to enjoy life if and when we've attained the stage of perfection? This mistaken belief that life is only perfect if we are...

Unlike diamonds, people become more attractive with flaws. Flaws make us approachable and more importantly...likable. Most of us have grown up with the pervasive idea that unless you have a slender body and are blessed with dazzling beauty, hopes of ending up with your Prince Charming are slim to none.

Well, how silly indeed. Just the opposite. The secret to finding your perfect counterpart ( Prince Charming if you like ) is to look past the outer and focus on his or her personality and character. Character is what colours one's looks. Character makes you attractive or not.

Wouldn't it be fun if we had to wear a neutral mask for the first 10 dates and make lasting impressions with our wit, conversation and humour? The war paint used by a lot of women to catch a marital prize will have to come off at some point in a relationship. One can't very well be constantly fully made-up in ones own home... Jeez, imagine never being able to wear sweat pants, go bare faced and pig out in your own home...oh,the horror!

So often golden nuggets of relationship opportunities have been lost for a mere overly large pair of ears, a thick waistline, thinning hairline, lack of height or a large derriere.

Plenty of awful character traits have been overlooked by being dazzled with a pretty or handsome exterior. After a while even aesthetic beauty will pale, fade or slip away to reveal the real deal...Beauty is skin deep after all.


Saturday, 8 October 2016

Keeping The Fire Burning.

Or rather getting it going in the first place.

You know, I even bought a bunch of soup vegetables because I knew that I would be the one putting the Aga stove into first gear. A nice slow cooked soup on a wood burning stove is a delicacy and rather calming. Putting a new log in every twenty minutes is relaxing and means you can stay at home and just Be. Good intentions and so on...

At about half past nine I went out into one of our barns and collected wood and kindling. Mausi was getting rather excited jumping in and out of the basket with the wood in it. Okay, I thought, better now than never and why shouldn't it get going on my first attempt.

Newspaper was crumpled, kindling layered and match lit, cat sitting next to me and prayer sent off. The newspaper did burn noisily and I started to get a feeling of achievement that is until the sound stopped. Jeez-a-lou, none of the kindling burnt long enough to get the wooden log inflamed. With growing irritation I repeated the process three times with no luck. Great, maybe blankets would do the trick of keeping Mausi and me warm...

The powers that be made my mum phone me at that moment and I asked her if she would help me with making a fire. She is an ace at it and was here at the speed of lightning, worrying that her little one was cold. A mum's a mum even when we are grown up!

Naturally, it only took my mum a minute to get a big fire going. How does she do it so effortlessly?

I saw the error of my ways or rather my fire making and was feeling euphoric about having a go at it. Coming home later in the afternoon I got my opportunity...the fire needed to be re-lit. Not even embers were visible. Not a problem, I followed parental instructions to the letter and lit the match.

Nothing. Nada. Nichts...Either I would have to call the cavalry ( mum ) or just keep on trying. A fleeting idea of calling one of our neighbours in was dismissed, as it would spread like wildfire that I can't make a fire... It took me a whole hour to get a fire going, with the odd moments of extreme smoke, irritation and swearing in a ladylike manner of course, but in the end I was able to slow cook a soup on the Aga stove.

" Stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest. "

Henry W. Longfellow, 1807-1882
" There is no place more delightful than one's own fireside.
Nullus est locus domestica sede jucundior. "



Friday, 7 October 2016

An Early Start To Friday.

Driving Bob to work at the crack of dawn.

We've had a cold start to the week and the last few days we've even lit a fire. A real one in our old Aga stove. Best warmth ever and as it is a very old stove and still stands on iron legs, it affords our cat a permanent warm sleeping place underneath.

Today the cold has lessened a little bit but it has been replaced by rain. Reversing our car out the garage had rather a romantic feel about it. Darkness accompanied by the metallic sound of raindrops falling on the car roof. I didn't have to drive far and was home ten minutes later.

The roads feel and look so much nicer this early in the day and they are also less crowded. Bob's off to harvest grapes somewhere in the Neusiedl area and will be gone all day. An adventure for him, one he loves.

A while ago my neighbour came over to ask if she could have some of our plums because for some reason our trees were the only one in the neighbourhood bearing fruit. Actually laden with it!

Well, I think it had to do with not mowing our lawns and thus providing an all day buffet for bees, which they thanked us for by pollinating our orchard.

There was a knock on the door yesterday afternoon which gave Mausi and I a bit of a startle as we'd both gone into that elusive yet unbelievably addictive afternoon couch slumber...she was curled up on my stomach and rather useful too, moonlighted as a heater...she who let off a strangled meow at being pulled back from chasing an imaginary rabbit.

My neighbour had come over to bring us a jar of this plum jam made from our plums and naturally we chatted for quite a while. It might not seem a lot or even exciting but for me it was just nice to have this neighbourly contact. Most of us tend to hide behind our imagined distrust towards others which really is just a one way ticket to loneliness. Village life, love it.


Thursday, 6 October 2016

If Cars Have To Have A Yearly Health Check, Why Can't We?

An annual C.O.R. for emotional and physical health might not be such a bad idea.

Governments are so strict on older cars and make its owners jump through high hoops not to mention spend a lot of dosh to keep it in shape. Fair enough, but why not have a similar test for citizens over the age of thirty?

Conversations are informative pockets of information. Having one yesterday about the benefits of taking the time to perhaps have a massage, pedicure or even two hours of solitude away from the everyday norm, it nearly knocked me sideways to see that in 2016 it still seems a foreign concept to some.

How many of us get up in the morning and feel as if all four tyres are deflated and the thought of starting the day again seems to run the gauntlet of " Oh no to I can't do it anymore. ". It almost has a feel of somebody having talked us into creating a lifestyle that is near impossible to live in without losing parts of ourselves along the way, or rather coming out at the dreamed and yearned for retirement stage, wrung out like a wet towel. Nothing left, energy depleted, time wasted.

We are fond of having it all, and not reading the small print. The one most valuable and rare commodity we all get given, is our health. Emotional health included and sadly, that is often the price paid for trying to recreate an advertiser's ideal.

What if we had to have an annual happiness test? Would we suddenly be in favour of taking time out? Time out to reclaim the bits of ourselves we keep on losing in the battle ground of modern day living.

Taking time out for ourselves doesn't have to be expensive.

  • Go to a museum on your own.
  • Have a holistic treatment, if only to be able to relax for an hour.
  • Go for a long walk without feeling guilty about any chores that you should be doing.
  • Go to your hairdresser and just have a head massage or have a treatment.
  • Go and have a pedicure.
  • Take two hours and just read your book.

Talking that weekly hour off our hectic life might go a long way to create a happier home as it is a nice way to blow off steam...


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

A Strong Beer Accompanied By Shakespearian Like Weather.

All that was missing were the three witches...

Clan meeting number two was held last night and the weather couldn't have been more different. At one point during the evening, yes, we did start at early bird supper times, we took my aunt's dog, little Emily who is even more cosseted than our cat, for a walk.

Good grief, even she decided to forgo her toilet session as the howling wind buffeted her little body all over the place. A few sniffs and leg lifts were ample for her and to be honest, we humans didn't mind having a shorter walk.

The occasion of our meeting was an reenactment of the Bavarian tradition of Oktober Fest, which is part of any Bavarian's DNA. How can it not be, except, I could only manage a bottle of the specially brought Oktoberfest beer.

My god, half a glass and my eyes were starting to squint. Apparently, the especially brewed Oktoberfest beer is twice as strong as normal, which makes me wonder how at the real Oktoberfest in Munich, people can drink three or four of these Mass-liter jugs of beer? More importantly, how they can still walk out of the beer tents...

Bob, being a Bavarian by marriage, took to it like a duck to water and even four bottles later didn't show any squinting. South Africans are made of stern stuff indeed.

My cousin Gaby and mum cooked the whole afternoon and made a Hungarian Stew ( yum yum ) and as dessert some homemade Dampfnudeln. Luckily I had drawn the short straw and was the designated driver, because all this food and lots of beer would have necessitated stretch pants a la Frank Barone.

All of us had another great evening and when we went our separate ways home, the Shakespearian weather hadn't stopped. Leaves and little twigs were on most roads, and I wouldn't be surprised if most of the trees had lost all their foliage...The few hints of Summer have been swept away and Autumn has made itself at home.


Tuesday, 4 October 2016

A Grammelschmalz Brot Saved The Day, Or Rather Today.

An evening out with family...

Why is it that we ( perhaps I use the royal we ) can count so many things endlessly and without making a mistake but when it comes to top-ups or re-fills of our wine glass, all arithmetic is forgotten? As Bob likes to say to me;

" Your parents should ask for a refund on your school fees. "

Eight of us, or eight clan members went to Bruni's last night. Actually more of an early bird special as the time was arranged for five p.m., due to some clan members having reached
wise elder status and we were all back home before nine p.m.

Bob and I were fashionably late ( for some reason I tend to catch up on all household duties minutes before we have to leave, which drives Bob crazy ) and when we got there, our clan elders had wisely ordered a liter of red and a liter of white wine for the table.

Full of good intentions and healthy exuberance, I had decided to keep a sharp eye on how much I'd drink, but like all good intentions, it flew out the window when my sneaky cousin Klaus kept on topping up my glass.

Before we had actually put our orders through I had asked Bruni to bring a Grammelschmalz Brot for the table. A few eyebrows were raised at my gluttonous behaviour but they soon changed their tune when they tried a morsel of it and just like that a huge portion of Grammelschmalz Brot was gone and more importantly helped line a lot of stomachs!

Goodness me, we had a great time sitting around a big table, with wine, memories and laughter. Bruni made sure we were well hydrated with water and wine.

The beer drinking crowd has an advantage over us wine lovers. They have the famous beer mats, which are not only there to catch the overflowing beer foam, but also to paint a dash on it for each glass had. Next time I attend a clan meeting, I shall come prepared with beer mat, pen and Grammelschmalz Brot.
Oh dear, that reminds me, the next meeting is this afternoon, an Oktober Fest a la Clan...!

And just to put your mind at ease, I didn't overdo things too much last night, as any top ups were rather just dash ups...luckily I had an elegant wine glass which would look stupid being overly full.


Monday, 3 October 2016

"...A Shrewd Eye,...And A Good Deal Of Adipose Tissue. "

...4.50 From Paddington...

A writer who pens images so gracefully and succinctly simple has to be read. No ifs, buts or whys about it.

As you might know, I love Agatha Christie and have read and re-read her detective novels since I was a teenager. They are such nice places to go and mentally be a part of. Of course, there are a few murders strewn between the covers of each novel, but in between they are padded with images that make one feel cosseted.

The concept of English Tea time is warm and fuzzy not to mention the often delectable offerings with it. Be it bread & butter, scones or a slice of raisin pound cake. Any seasoned Agatha Christie fan has a favourite detective and mine happens to be Miss Marple.

Knitting sweaters while observing people, gardening, keeping a neat home or taking a ride in Finch's taxi seem to make her character come alive an stay in our mind. Now and again I am reminded of Miss Marple and how she might sum up someone's character by observing a trait or deed.

Not that I am comparing St. Mary's Mead with Eisenberg but they perhaps have similarities! We do have a taxi service referred to by the owner's last name, just like Finch's in St. Mary's Mead...

These crime novels would be a perfect read for high school students. Not to difficult to master, and apart from the obvious murders in them, they depict an old world charm and morality. Where manners still counted, parents were treated with respect and swearing was frowned upon.

Agatha Christie has sold about 2 billion books world wide and it is said that she is in third place, behind Shakespeare and the Bible in the world's most published books.


Sunday, 2 October 2016

A Saturday Filled With White Wine Harvesting, Pressing & Insights.

Another gorgeous Südburgenland day.

Some say that the harvest is early this year, some that it is late, but everyone agrees that it is much less than last year. Weather having muscled in on the action throughout the growing period. Bob and I helped my parents to harvest the white grapes. The ' we ' seems a bit stretched as I had two hours of English extra lessons and only got there towards the end of part one.

The de-stemming part which was followed by the best part, a lunch break at one of our local Buschenschanks, Wiesler - Schreiner. Apart from having had fantastic weather, yesterday we were blessed with a fantastic lunch. The bread was fresh and still crackled when one cut the crust and the glass of chilled Welsch Riesling oiled it perfectly.

Did I mention that we sat at the foot of Eisenberg's wine hill? The greens are starting to turn yellow and orange and it brought home the feeling of being on holiday. Yes, we live a life that really doesn't need a holiday.

A couple who are here on a week's holiday had helped with the harvesting and they had the Eisenberg twinkle in their eyes.

The Eisenberg twinkle: When they start to question their own lifestyle and work out the possibility of moving to Eisenberg for good. Some even start to number crunch!

It happens again and again when stressed out people take a holiday in our area, thinking that for a change they'll go into the boring rural backwaters, only to realize and understand that the lives we lead here are what countless others are yearning and searching for their whole life.

On that topic, earlier in the morning as I was going for a walk with a friend, we stumbled across a mini meeting of three people and two dogs. A woman, who looked to be in her mid-thirties, was asking about houses for sale.

" Oh, there are a few lovely houses for sale in and around our village. "
was my input...
" I need to be sure that there is enough going on in the village so that I won't be bored. "
...well, she isn't ready (yet ) for an adventurous life in our neck of the woods...


Saturday, 1 October 2016

Plain Old Conversations Are Full Of Gems.

Finding the genuine living in everyday life.

In our collective quest to find the next big rush, we tend to forgo the simple, easy and heartwarming conversation with people we either live with ( dreadful, isn't it? ) or that are woven into our life's tapestry.

Just before lunch, I went to visit a delightful older lady who will turn 90 next year. A lady who still lives alone, keeps her garden beautiful and can fill a conversation with interesting things.

One trait a lot of the older healthy people I talk to have in common, is that they have some wine every day...Lead on MacDuff...

As per usual, my Mausi and her antics came into play, and it reminded this lady of a funny and at the same time, sad incident. A few days ago she was having an afternoon snooze in her favourite garden chair, when she heard a rustling and then saw a small shape next to a flower pot which was close to her chair. She looked again, and saw that it was a small mouse.

Now, remember, she knows how prolific mice breed and what destruction they can cause in a home. There she was sitting, with the mouse aware of her yet not running away. On the contrary, this mouse lay down on its side, sunning herself between the flower pot and the chair.

A while later, this mouse turned and lay on its other side to rest. Well, that pose turned out to be its final resting pose as the end of a broom turned out to be its destiny. As cute as it looked, the thought of having to bear a winter with mice on board, was too much for this lady. Although, she felt dreadfully guilty for having used the broom.

Before you make a complaint about the ending of a mouse's life, try and live a whole winter with an every increasing brood of mice. Mice that go into your cupboards, nibble at various food ingredients or just run over your face while you sleep.

Even while she told me this story, I could see that she was still feeling a bit bad about it, yet having grown up in the country she knew that a mouse had to be dealt with. At the end, both of us were laughing at image of her brandishing her broom about...Just a simple tale, but a gem embedded in ordinary conversation.