Sunday, 31 January 2016

A Craving For Kartoffelpuffer & Apfelmus Turns Into An Aha Moment.

Rösti & applesauce would be something similar.

Oh, talking of Aha moments, do you also remember that dishy lead singer, Morten, from the band Aha? Goodness, we gals were going gaga over him...

Yesterday evening, being a Saturday both of us felt like something different and of course yummy to eat. A dilemma faced by many a cook when staring into the emptiness of a semi filled fridge. Everyone can create mouth watering creations on the day you buy groceries, but five days later, not that easy. Remember, we only do a weekly shop.

We had a lot of potatoes ( which we both love ) but didn't have enough butter to heap atop a steaming boiled potato. Without there being a river of melting butter on a boiled potato, I won't make it! That butter was earmarked for a scrumptious fried egg on toast for breakfast today. Standing there, regarding the full bag of potatoes, I had a flashback to my childhood and that divine meal of Kartoffelpuffer & Apfelmus! Even writing about it makes my taste buds water.

It is unfortunate that such an easy and delicious dish has got such a tongue twister of a name. Well, that is if you are not in tune with the Germanic linguistic style. The Swiss were more forward thinking or should I say global thinking and named it Rösti, short & semi-sweet indeed.

Basically, it is a mini-pancake made with grated raw potatoes, onions and perhaps an egg in it. There are many recipes but all have the same topping. You serve it with apple sauce. Sort of savoury sweet. If done right, it should have a crispy surface that is golden brown, makes crunching noises while you eat it and reminds you of potato chips, which it is in a way.

At first I wanted to surprise Bob with something different but the rasping sound of the potatoes being grated brought him tout-de-suite into the kitchen. I think he was worried that we'd either be having grated cabbage or carrots!

When I told him what I was attempting to make and that the only thing missing was a jar of apple sauce, he used his common sense and brought me to my senses...

" Just make your own. We've got lots apples and what do you think apple sauce is anyway? "

What the dickens, oh my gosh, he was so right. Apple sauce or the nicely named Apfelmus doesn't have to come from a supermarket shelf. I peeled four apples, cut them into smaller pieces and put them with a bit of water into a pot.

Before my Kartoffelpuffers were ready, the apple sauce was too. And you know something, it was a killer which was just as well, because my potato pancakes were more of a prototype and needed to be masked by it.

I will definitely make this meal again and as they say, practice makes perfect. Despite my Kartoffelpuffers not being perfect, it took me back to my childhood and cemented itself as a dish to have when I need a bit of mental TLC.

What is your childhood meal that instantly cheers you up?


Saturday, 30 January 2016

I Turned Around & Saw Red!

A rare red sun on a frozen winter's morning...

At first I thought that I had wondered into an episode of Star Trek...the sun looks a tad bit Saturny...
Most of my walk I was shadowed by this divine red sun. A perfect start to the weekend.
The many shades of a sunrise are often a surprise.
Makes me wonder what this gorgeous Saturday will bring? A truly mesmerizing scene.
The largesse of the sunrise is spread over the low lying shrubs and tree trunks. Beautiful indeed.
...the end of a sunny tale in Eisenberg.


Friday, 29 January 2016

T.M.I...Or Rather Too Much Information.

The missing piece of the puzzle seems to be etiquette.

Everyone and their uncle charlie are online perusing, cruising and ambling along the virtual Facebook town square. A nod here, a hallo there and a dismissive shrug there. Just like in real life or is it?

Imagine, that we were to transpose our virtual behaviour onto our real life. Let's go around a whole day, imparting the all of our important stuff face to face...

  • " It's my birthday today, don't forget to congratulate me."
  • " I've just booked this most expensive holiday, are you envious?"
  • " Here is my blog, read it."
  • " Let me show you my photos! "
  • " Did you know that in Timbucktoo someone fell out of a tree and survived?
  • " Today I've shopped at the mall in 10 different shops, I've had coffee in
    three restaurants and I've been at the airport. "
  • " I so so so very much love my wife / husband / children / parents. "
  • " I survived a lot of years being married, make sure to congratulate me."
  • " Come, let me tell you a really disgustingly crude joke. "

We seem to be overloaded with trivial information, information that in the past was kept behind the doors of a marriage, household or family. Don't get me wrong, it is fun to follow the dotted line that people leave behind with their comments and entries. Almost like being a that proverbial fly on the wall in a family's living room.

Often, a line from Shakespeare runs through my mind as I am reading someone's posting:

...Methinks thou dost protest too much...


Thursday, 28 January 2016

A Measure Of Age.

The many uses of colour and its hues.

I don't understand how the youth of today doesn't like to have conversations yet alone conversations with someone who is a lot older. These are the people who are fountains of wisdom, humour, information and contrary to the recent trait of getting information third hand on a Social Platform ( I am guilty of it too ) the older lot have first hand experience. In our modern world of living with our heads in a Fruity Cloud those rare,face to face, conversations are priceless and should be treasured.

Just for a minute fast forward 50 years and imagine the type of wisdom the older lot then will pass on...Real life experiences could be mighty rare indeed and stories of playing with friends outside in a tree house might only be read in history journals.

Anyway, I had the fortune of recently visiting an older lady. She is extremely funny and often drops pearls of wisdom wrapped in a humourous phrase. She was telling me of a recent stay in hospital and waiting for the final go ahead to be released when she dropped the purler... A doctor had to sign her out of course.

" One came in with gray hair, but even those with gray hair are looking younger and younger! "

And yes, isn't that the truth? There was a time when all and sundry who sported gray hair were old. Well, old compared to the peachy tones of youthfullness we had. Of course we never in a million years imagined that the grayness of life would catch up with us. Sneakily too, because most of us had elaborate plans when we were basking in the warm glow of youth.

Elaborate and often still not realized. The irony of aging is that those who've had the pleasure could tell us what is the mainstay of a life lived happily. No, chasing money is not part of it. Health, family and having a roof over one's head top the list of priceless pearls of wisdom that we only really absorb by hearing them in a conversation.

Wisdom, is so much more attractive and real to us when told with voice, gestures and perhaps an anecdote or two.

At times, I tend to wonder how big the collective moan of regret and sadness about the stolen moments of youth, time and intellect will be in a few decades from now?
How many precious, never to be had again hours do we offer up to that thief of our time, living in the palm of our hand?


Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Self Service Car Wash & Petrol Stations.

Doing it yourself is fun and easy.

Back in South Africa, almost all petrol stations are full service and I hate to admit it, but before I arrived here in Austria, yours truly had never filled her own car with petrol. That was just how things were done, rightly or wrongly, and therefore, the simple art of filling up the tank was a mystery to me.

But, I actually wanted to talk about having our car washed or rather going to wash it ourselves. Not that boring affair in our driveway but rather the posh event in a Self Service Car Wash. Yes, having your car washed back in S.A. was again done by someone else. The odd few car enthusiasts did of course see to it themselves and lovingly caressed their chariots with waxes and so forth.

After a week of snow, ice and the dreaded road salt, our car looked in serious need of a clean. If the visual didn't do the trick, the fact that Bob asked me for something to wipe off the number plate made me suggest that we should rush to the nearest place to sort it out.

Alas, that marvelous mixture they strew on our roads ( marvelous for grip but not so much for metal ), tends to make a unique car into a run of the mill one. Yes, all look alike, spattered with that dark grey mush from the roads. The dull greys of winter.

I had been to the Opthamologist in Güssing to have an eye seen to and, I find it rather amazing that most of these specialists are quite handsome. This particular one fitted the mold and I dare say, that a trip to the eye doctor in Güssing is a treat looked forward to by most of the female patients...

We had just packed the last of our groceries into our car, when the warm ( plus 12 degrees ) weather made us rush to the car wash around the corner. If it is below freezing, it isn't the best of ideas to wash your car, as moisture on the metal might freeze.

Do you know, the two of us almost bickered over who got to do the washing. Holding that high pressure hose in your hand and working against the clock to shampoo and rinse all of the car in one minute is addictive. Whether it is the pressure of the water or seeing the dirt simply sliding off the car, is debatable.

For one Euro, we got a minute. If you want to dawdle, you can and need to then put in a few more Euros. A fun outing indeed.

As you can see, Bob won the coin toss and really enjoyed the car wash event.
One danger in this quick event is the threat of being tangled up in those many hoses, and at one point Bob did ask for my help in untangling him, but I was too busy taking photos...


Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Another Picturesque Tuesday In Paradise.

The weather is only the gift wrap after all...

There you go, a distinct sign that this is the place to be.
What a difference a day filled with snow flakes makes...a sugar coating of visual pleasure.
Just to give you some perspective. Of course only the feather weights could skate on the pond.
More or less taken from the same spot but a week ago.
Our naughty cat behind bars...
Her favourite perch and of course she can only access it once I've gotten up to make coffee etc. She is as fast as can be and if I forget to close the lid of my laptop, she goes for her ultimate favourite, the keyboard.


Monday, 25 January 2016

The Streif: A Dream Maker & A Knee Breaker.

An eventful and exciting skiing weekend.

Of course it was the weather that put a damper on it. The whole week leading up to the Kitzbühel racing weekend, the pistes were perfectly lit by a divine sunshine and appropriate amounts of snow. Naturally on the morning of the main and highly anticipated race, the weather changed, the fog set in and winds upped their ante.

In retrospect, a few skiers might have wished for the race to be cancelled instead of being held an hour later. Yes, the run was extremely dangerous, icy, pitted with bumps and required endless courage.

Somehow it resembled a roman gladiator spectacle and I am sure that most of the skiers at the start looked around and wondered who would take a fall, and be offered to the hungry Streif piste.

This time three offerings were made to the piste and it makes me so sad to know that these top skiers are now out of commission for the better part of a year. A year doesn't seem a lot to us ordinary mortals but for Olypmians it seems forever. A year spent rehabilitating knees and training to be ready for the next Streif...

Before the race, the camera panned in on the other spectacle of the day. The who's who of the celebrity zoo. Gosh, Arnie brought an entourage including Gwyneth Paltrow and Jason Statham. Might be fun to have been a fly on the dining room wall, because she doesn't eat a lot of the yummy stuff, does she? Did she succumb to the lure of a Weiss Wurst, Bretzen and a Mass of Bier that was on offer at one of the society events?

Please, I do hope she didn't fly into our part of the world kitted out with a range of vegan filled Tupperware... but on second thoughts, Arnie surely found a way to persuade her to taste the local specialties.

It was great to see Arnie being interviewed and sparkling with his love of and for Austria. He was praising the local cuisine, ambiance and people and it was absolutely fabulous the way he enthused about the country he grew up in. Albeit speaking German with an American accent, which is allowed after living in America for the better part of 40 years.


Sunday, 24 January 2016

The Hard Life Of Our Cat.

...the life of Maus, Miss Maus...

It was a cold winter's day in Eisenberg....but not for Miss Maus!
A cute little stretch for the camera...I did threaten her with less cuddling if she didn't look cute... For some reason she loves to burrow on top of the blanket but in between my calves.
I think she got a bit tired of my pointing the camera towards her. But, how cute is our little princess?
If cuteness was an Olympic category, this little one would win Gold for sure.
Now you can understand why both Bob and I are her slaves...

Striking the pose...maybe she'll get a job offer so that she can get fed royally.
As unladylike as this looks, she loves stretching on her back and having her belly scratched. Who wouldn't like that?


Saturday, 23 January 2016

Routine, A Lifesaver When We're Lonely.

How long a weekend can seem when you are alone.

Before my brush with fortune in the shape of Bob occurred, I had a stint of about six months where I was alone after a break-up. My family was across on the other side of the world and it was before the time of Skype and mobile phones. Getting hold of family by phone was a matter of timing it to coincide with their being at home.

Work was a great but then the weekend loomed. Weekends that are counted down with fervor by most, are dreaded by the lonely. The two sides to a Saturday... longed for & dreaded at the same time. Spending two days at home, knowing that no one will go with you for a cup of coffee or a meal out, is only nice the first few times.

I found that a set routine did the trick of covering the odd feeling of loneliness. Whiling the day away, makes it take an age. Ambling in the local shopping center was either done on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning and the car was taken for a Shampoo, Rinse & Polish every Saturday. My walks were timed to the late afternoons of Saturday and Sunday, because once I got home from them, it was evening.

Looking at someone's routine from the outside might seem strange and even bordering on the eccentric, but never forget that not everyone has the good luck to be with someone and some have the misfortune of being with someone and still be lonely.

I was reminded of my brush with loneliness yesterday while I visited a local pensioner. His life is run according to a routine and even he said that it helps him navigate the long stretches of loneliness.

Often, we forget that there are plenty of people ( even friends and family ) who are alone and lonely. If you thought of someone while you reading this, maybe invite them over for a cup of coffee and a chat.

" There but for the Grace of God go I."


Friday, 22 January 2016

It Just Feels Like The Other Day That It Was The Hahnenkamm.

That awesome Kitzbühel Downhill, also called The Streif...

One only realizes how fast a year has gone, when you compare dates or happenings. Take the annual Kitzbühel Classic men's downhill for example. Gosh, that year flew by at a gallop and yet at times the pace felt more like a slow ambling gait.

The buildup is huge and one could call it the Superbowl / Durban July / Kentucky Derby or Wimbledon Tournament of Austria. Alpine skiing is as important here as rugby is in South Africa. During winter, school classes have skiing trips during term time and most can ski.

The downhill discipline is of course the most exciting to watch and perhaps that is because of the speeds they reach gliding downhill on an icy surface at over 130 kph. Death defying indeed.

Last year they brought out a movie showing the blood, sweat and tears that make it possible to even compete in the race. On Wednesday they aired it on TV and I couldn't wait to see it...indeed, by 8.10pm I was in that notorious deep-TV-slumber. Never mind, Bob watched the whole movie and is now an even bigger fan.

Streif - One Hell of a Ride

Just like with any big sporting event, we have decided to spectate in style. You know, with a plate of chip & dip, perhaps a frankfurter or two. On Bob's plate everything might be covered in homemade chutney that a friend of mine has made for him. He is the hugest chutney fan. At the moment, everything I cook gets a portion of chutney on the side. The big jar is getting rather bereft of content and Bob's told me he would contact my friend for the recipe.

Bob likes to keep his cards close to his chest and I only got an inkling yesterday of how much he has morphed into a proper Streif fan, when he cheekily posted a message on Facebook. He told all and sundry not to visit while the race was on! Even this morning he has put his support behind Hannes Reichelt. I am in a bit of a quandary as my man Felix, is more of a Slalom man...

The race is famous in many parts of the world and celebrities are approaching en masse. In itself, the event has grown into fashion shows, cocktail parties and mingling of the rich and famous. Quite rightly, one man gets top billing. A man who grew up an hour down the road and has reached the pinnacles of politics and Hollywood. Yes, Arnie is back...


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Being Friendly Is The Most Powerful Trait To Have!

All it takes is a smile and a friendly word to put someone at ease.

I had occasion to visit a governmental place in order to renew a document and as you are reading this, I am sure you can imagine why I have procrastinated a fair amount before I got going...

Throughout the years of my adulthood, I had many encounters with a representative of government ( just in case you're wondering, it never was with the long arm of the law... ) and as most of these lucky lot do have jobs for life in a monopoly, the need for being friendly is not usually top priority. I don't know about you, but honestly, the idea of having to go in front of a glass enclosed counter, fills me with dread and nervousness.

Well, there I was yesterday, quaking in my boots wondering how much of a bite this person might have, when she dished out friendliness in spades. It was so unexpected and simply nice. Those few minutes of being treated with friendliness, have erased many memories of unfriendly encounters from the past.

At school most are taught the art of maths, languages and sciences in order to have a successful life down the road. But, I tend to believe that it doesn't matter how clever and educated you are unless you know how to be friendly as well. Being friendly will open doors of opportunities much faster then mere education.

Perhaps the need to be brief online ( the 140 character messages tend to squeeze out any excess form of emotions ) has robbed many of the ability to apply emotions such as friendliness off line.

Being friendly can move mountains and if you don't believe me, just try and say something horrible to a person who is showering you with genuine friendliness...not possible at all.

Imagine how much strife could be avoided if we all went about our daily lives with a dash of friendliness mixed into it ...


Wednesday, 20 January 2016

How Many Phone Numbers Do You Know By Heart?

It used to be most of them...

I've been reading an interesting book by Manfred Spitzer, called Digitale Demenz and it has made me sit back and ponder.

Digitale Demenz: Wie wir uns und unsere Kinder um den Verstand bringen

Numbers and remembering them used to be one of my strong suits but now that has changed into the weaker hand. Funnily enough, I am much better at remembering land line phone numbers and perhaps that is because land line numbers are dialed and not stored in a mobile phone.

Bob is a magician when it comes to remembering numbers, phone numbers and he can rattle off a long string of numbers that will get us through to his brother in Denmark as fast as we can dial it. Yet, with the advent of Smartphones and the old fashioned cell / mobile phones, the need to use our own memory has been lessened.

Most of us have a long list of names in the online address book of our phones, yet if it were stolen or lost, we too would be lost to the world...incommunicado!

How often do we see that message on social media to do with a stolen phone and a request for phone numbers? Too dreadful what we've morphed into in such a short space of time. We, who used to be good at learning the times-table off by heart, have been reduced to needing help to remember phone numbers of our loved ones.

As soon as we could learn anything, we were drilled in the ability to say our address and phone number, just in case we'd get lost. Is that still happening or is it more a case of putting important phone numbers on speed dial? But more importantly, should young children really have a Smartphone?

Technology has taken over so many of our thought processes, that, if it is true what they say about our brains,

" Use it or lose it "
we are in real trouble...

P/S: (13-5)+(67x3) =?...can you still do it the old fashioned way?


Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The Ying & The Yang Of Catdom.

Winter shall pass and summer will come.

While we are having this cold spell at the moment, it is a godsend to have my own little hot water bottle. All three and a half kilos of her. Oh yes, but even a hot water bottle has a price.

Since the major rule of no cat on the bed was scratched by eh, myself, there hasn't been a night where our cat hasn't found a warm spot on our bed. She loves to burrow between duvet and top blanket yet always in touch with either a leg, hip or chest belonging to Bob or I.

Oh, it is jolly nice to have a warm little cat cuddling up next to one, when it is cold. Last night the first inkling of times ahead in our cat ownership made itself known. As cute as she is, at a hefty 3,5 kg her weight seemed to multiply during the night. I gently moved her to a spot next to my legs instead of on them and you know what, her ladyship didn't like it...

She gave me a sound between a growl and a meow and promptly settled herself back to where she was. After three tries I gave up. You try and be consistent at 2 am.

At one stage, she hopped off my couch ( yes, we had fallen asleep in front of the telly ) in protest and went over to Bob's couch. As she was about to jump on top of him, he snorted a snore so loud that she fled back to the safe haven of my couch. But not before she did a few minutes of pushing a squeaky ball around the toy tray perhaps as a type of revenge?

Poor Bob isn't used to the unexpected cat jump in the middle of the night and sleep cycle. It can be very frightening and also needs quick reactions as she has a habit of moving around the face area and often her behind is a bit too close for comfort.

Well, even though it seems unimaginable now, the hot summers are on approach. Summers of over 40 degrees and nights that feel about the same. How on earth am I going to dissuade our little cat ( who will have doubled in size and weight ) that it is too hot for her to be on our legs etc.

Oh, I see fun times ahead...!


Monday, 18 January 2016

The Pond In It's Winter Glory.

The last straw that broke the Winter's back?

Nature's feather dusters are dancing in the icy morning breeze. Stunning, isn't it?
The golden straws protecting the pond are too gorgeous. I just love the gentle affect they have on my soul.
The straw being held in place by the icy grip of the water. Floating away...
The water shimmering in the morning sunshine.
A romantic spot, or a dangerous perch...the perils of romance!
I don't know about you, but this picture makes my mind gallop to places of gentle hills and gentle times...
One more photo to make your week run smoothly...


Sunday, 17 January 2016

Another Extinct-Ish Art In The Offing?

When did you last dance, really dance?

Honesty requires me to disclose that yours truly is not able to dance, that is dance the Strictly Come Dancing style, but mind you, my other dance moves ( Disco, Saturday Night Fever or Hammer style ) won't win awards either.

The Eisenberg Volunteer Fire Department held their annual Dance last night. A dance where the dress code ranged from ball gowns to the more casual. A band is standard and when I got home last night I had to adjust the volume on the telly as their decibel level was too much for me...Good grief, how did I manage to escape unscathed by my many visits to discos during my twenties?

Bob and I were lingering at the table giving ourselves the usual annual promise of:

" Look, this year we are going to a dance course! "
and perhaps this year will be the one.

The ball was littered with the young and hip crowd but they were more busy mingling at the bar counter than gracing the dance floor. Although I did leave before pumpkin hour ( Bob had to work the late shift behind the bar from 11 pm until closing ) and maybe in the early morning hours they did dance. A couple of young men did waltz with their respective and rightfully proud mums around the dance floor and it was a treasure and pleasure to behold.

It seemed that most of the other couples dancing were not in the first blush of youth anymore but they had the most fun. I suspect that many a youngster was in the same boat as me and extremely ignorant of the finer details of a waltz or god forbid, the Tango!

Men, even those that were fast afoot, were dodging the yearning look of their other halves and suspiciously, only as the band announced a break after their following song did a few men take to the dance floor knowing that it was a once off...wifely nagging successfully averted.

Centuries ago, attending dances and having your dance card filled out was the only good way to meet men. Having a man put his name down for more than one dance amounted to a declaration of love and even an offer of marriage. Decorum, elegance and chasteness were the order of the day and it must have been nice.

Dancing as a couple to classical music is one of those in the moment activities. It is a chance to chat to your partner, to imbibe the wonderful musical notes and most importantly, there is no spare hand to rudely record the moment in that dreadful modern fashion...

The young ladies really went to town with their gowns and I do hope that they were asked to dance after I left. Otherwise, what is the point of an elaborate ball gown unless it is shown off to perfection while floating across the dance floor a la Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire?

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers: The Story of Hollywood's Most Famous Dancers


Saturday, 16 January 2016

...All Ado About Nothing...

Simply being and doing nothing seems to be the hardest thing to do.

As kids it was easy. We just pulled sick days either real ones or those pretend ones but whichever it was, we used them to the fullest and did nothing.

By nothing I tend to mean not doing anything that one normally does. As a student, not studying and as a worker, not working. As youngsters we made it an art form to dodge the required and simply vegged as we saw fit: hanging out with friends, listening to music, watching videos or lounging next to the pool.

Even the iPads get their battery recharged every now and then, so why can't we, the iPeeps, recharge? Recharge without feeling weighed down by guilt?

" Shouldn't I be doing this that and the other right now? "

As a society we are addicted to doing. Addicted to always being busy that we never take the time to smell a rose never mind roses. Is it any wonder that our batteries have run down and that we only tend to operate at 60 % even after resting? Do we even know what it feels like to go through life at a 100 % of our energy on standby?

Have you realized that even our leisure time is fraught with choices and stress which somehow tend to fragments our being? It used to be a question of perhaps going for a walk, reading a book, watching a film or simply spending time with your children should you have any... yet, nowadays, we have added another dimension of leisure activities...

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Snapchat / PlayStation / Wii

I've heard parents mumble about how they don't know what they did with all the spare time before they had their darlings...

Well, what on earth were all of us doing with all those countless hours we spend online each and every day, before we took the first bite of that digital Apple?

Maybe the answer is to have one day a week where we disable our modems, holster our smartphones and give ourselves a chance to get as close to possible to that 100 % authentic us...we could call it a Flintstone day!


Friday, 15 January 2016

Who's Got Poo At The Bottom Of Their Shoe?

Bob and I had an adventours trip yesterday...

We hadn't driven more than a kilometer when my olfactory senses were accosted by that awful smell. There is only one way to describe it and it is: yuk. Of course the two of us never do things in half measures and this incident had to happen in the midst of winter.

It is a testament to how cemented our relationship is because thinking back to our courting days, a whiff of poo while driving would have brought out the blushes and a nonchalant fidgeting at the window.

Well, I looked at Bob and raised my eyebrow demanding to know whether he had broken the cardinal rule of driving in our 'smells ' allowed!... and before I even voiced my question he replied in an offended way.

" If I smelled like dog poo, I'd have a problem. Clearly it's not mine! "

If we'd been in South Africa, we both would have wound down the window and aired the cab, but alas, yesterday was a cold day and opening the windows would have brought its own punishments. No, we were incubating this awful smell in our enclosed warm car and it amplified to such an extent that it had the two of us almost retching. Mind over matter perhaps?

Bob looked for the nearest place to stop the car and than a game of who's at fault ensued with both of us lifting our shoes to check.

And, Bob was the winner. Muttering about having it out with the dog who left a parcel on our verge, he tried to undo the damage to his winter shoes. Oh yes, they had tread and a lot of it. So much that getting into the grooves proved a challenge.

Bob did the best he could in the odd patches of grass he found and after a few minutes we drove on...and of course the smell drove along! When we finally reached Oberwart, he ducked into the nearest loo to sort out the problem but, and as they say you only learn from doing, the smell continued to hover in our car until we realized that Bob had indeed put his foot on the various pedals and left his mark...

All my persuasive efforts to make Bob believe that it is a sign of good luck when you step into a pile of dog poo, fell on deaf ears but just in case, I bought a lottery ticket...


Thursday, 14 January 2016

A Little Devil Lives In Our Midst.

And a devilishly clever one too!

Appropriately enough, the other day our little princess outed herself as a little imp and left her mark...Oh, all I did was to forget to close the flap of my laptop when I stepped out of the room for a few minutes. Sometimes a few moments is all she needs...

Coming back into the room, I was greeted with a silence that is not very normal with teenage cats. Far from it. Her fur turned into a camouflage because it took me a while to register where she was. Miss Maus had chosen the comfortable perch atop my laptop keyboard.

Naturally I screamed like a banshee for her to get off and before she did, she threw me a glance that meant:

' Why Mum, I'm not doing anything and you also spend your time on the computer.'
On her descend ( unaided ) to the floor, I got a nice message from her on the screen. She had somehow managed to type a long line of 6's....a clue perchance?

Peeps, be aware of your computers as they are like catnip to your darlings.

As I am writing this little ditty, she is lying docilely on my lap, sleeping with one eye open in order to grab her chance should I get up! Just like any other teenager, she is trying to know her boundaries and I put my foot down ( don't panic, only verbally ) when she oversteps them.

Her latest coup d' etat was amusing the first time only. She tends to clamp her little paws around my arm and proceeds to bite into my hand. So far, my "No, we don't bite Mummy! " seems to do the trick. As of now, she hasn't clamped down her jaws...

Both Bob and I are avid readers and at any point in time, a few open books are scattered around our house, usually on the floor next to the couch or bed. Well, that needs to change, as the little devil has decided to put her mark on them. Yes, all the books we've recently left out in the dangerous open plains of our lounge, have bite marks on the least we can't fault her on taste.

Don't get me wrong, both of us are enslaved by her and are her slaves to her every whim. Actually more so Bob. She just needs to lift her paw or raise her squeaky voice and Schatzi runs to do to her bidding. And you know what? He reads her like an open book and thus never gets it wrong.

Eh, strange as it might seem, our Maus didn't need to leave a typed message of her dark side, as Bob and I know the minute her devilish side wins the upper hand. Her ears go back, the eyelids lift frightfully high, almost reminiscent of those eternally youthful looking 60 year old's, and her engines start for her daily 1 mile dash over our furniture while using the wall as a bounce aid.

Yes, when the wild phase proceeds, the only way to deal with it is to step aside and watch it happening. Being besotted kitten parents, we might grumble, but we really think it is awfully cute...


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

A Morning Worth Beholding.

Ah, it's grande to be alive...

A smokey mixture of the departing tendrils of mist coupled with the sunlit clouds rising over Deutsch Schützen...or at least beside it.
Funny how the water tower ( yes, it is hidden under a mound of earth ) reflects a blue tinge. The icy bite of a frozen morning can be felt in the air and picture.
A little palate cleanser for you. Not to worry, this was also taken on a morning walk albeit Sunday's. The rose buds that keep on defying winter's cool grip.
Peak-a-boo, I see you...a glimpse of Höll in the distance!
The lone electrical mast standing proud. Alas my camera lens does have a slight problem and I hope to solve it soon...but, others do have watermarks too. Consider this one mine for the time being. Despite it, the picture is still worth it.


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

As Sad As David Bowie's Passing Is, It's Making Us See Our Lives With Different Eyes.

Darn, youth really is wasted on the young...

The collective outpouring of grief is unblievable and wonderful to be a part of. There are only a handful of artists, who can elicit such a response. Not only a nation, but the whole world has shown its grief and sorrow.

Growing up in that charmed time of the late 70's and 80's, songs of David Bowie were omnipresent and even if you weren't a hardcore fan of his, chances were that you knew most of the words to his songs. And no, I wasn't a Bowie fan although of course I liked some of his music.

But here is the thing, Bowie's music is part of our psyche, part of our soul and more importantly is woven into the fabric of our lives. Yes, just sit back and think about it...

When the various news station played snippets of his iconic songs, I had an Aha moment and I am fairly sure that I am not alone.

These are the songs which accompanied me through important parts of my life.
Those times in my life that even though I was searching for more, were in retrospect, perfect already. Yes, just think about it. When you heard one of his songs yesterday, didn't it take you back to your youth? All those strictures and chains we were hypnotized into putting on us in order to achieve that illusion of perfection drummed into us by society, suddenly fell away with the sheer ridiculousness of them.

And yes, youth is wasted on so many of us, because we are just to silly to get the point. The point of living life the way it is and being happy with it at each step along the hopefully long stretch of it.

David Bowie's death has made a lot of us understand that life is good. Life will never be coated in that illusion of perfection that all of us want to be wrapped in. Life is for living and life has bumps over the course of it but that is how it should be.

Looking back on his iconic songs which at the time were what one could call out there, made me see the musical genius that he was and still is. His name is now chiseled into that exclusive list of artists, those that throughout history have influenced, moved and shaped the world...

David Bowie, thank you for your music.


Monday, 11 January 2016

A Slice Of Village Life Seen Through Agatha Christie Like Eyes.

A typical village life perhaps?

When I mention the word: Finch, most fans of Miss Christie's books will turn around and look for a taxi and you know, even we have a taxi service in our village called by their name rather. We have Pree. Oddly enough, only the new comers do call it a taxi.

Villages have secrets yet strangely enough, everything is known as if it was an open book. Of course, the old bush telegraph is still in operation despite the Whatsapp's and often gets it glaringly wrong. Funny really, because whatever might be going on, the proverbial horse's mouth is usually within walking distance.

The various characters in real and pretend life do have similarities and it shows why her books are one of the most best selling books in history. Pretend, but yet....!

In an odd way, the recent ( well comparatively recent ) success bordering on idolization of Midsomer Murders / Inspector Barnaby might be contributed to a similar world as was inhabited by the delightful characters of Miss Christie's.

If you've never read an Agatha Christie, try and read one. It is comforting like a well worn slipper and cossets you with words that make everything seem alright despite the occasional murderous scene popping up within a most romantic village setting.

The Body in the Library. (Miss Marple). (Miss Marple)
The Murder at the Vicarage. (Miss Marple). (Miss Marple) (Agatha Christie Mysteries Collection)

My favourite character is of course Jane Marple and even though it was first created almost a century ago, the life of Miss Marple, a spinster, had ordinariness, glamour, excitement, intelligence and a sense of contentment about it. Imagine, writing novels that made a single life glamorous and not something to be pitied. Fabulous.

Of course her novels do include a few murder scenes and suspiciously enough mostly married ladies, but at the moment the only similar setting might be yours truly ending up in that sad state after irritating Bob to the point. You know, things like not putting the cups into their proper places or a nagging session about the odd help in the household... as if I would do something so obviously dangerous!


Sunday, 10 January 2016

Thoughts From Centuries Ago Might Be Interesting.

Yes, there was life before we came along...

" O tempora. O mores!
Oh, the times! Oh, the manners!

Cicero 10-43 BC
" Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience; this is the ideal life. "
Mark Twain 1835-1910
" Happiness depends upon ourselves "
Aristotle 384-322 BC
" Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated. "
Confucius 551-479 BC
" Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it. "
Confucius 551-479 BC
" Wise men speak because they have something to say;
Fools because they have to say something. "

" The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will often be lonely, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. "
Friedrich Nietzsche 1844-1900
" I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts. "
John Locke 1632-1704
" Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know who you are. "
Niccolo Machiavelli 1469-1527
" Few men think; yet all have opinions. "
George Berkeley 1685-1753
" One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that, would tell one anything. "
Oscar Wilde 1856-1900


Saturday, 9 January 2016

The Purity And Innocence Of Snow.

Another visual meander through a snow covered village in Südburgenland...

This photo has so many elements of snow. Snow covered branches, snow covered fields and a roof laden down with a blanket of snow.
It seems so desolate yet, it has an aura of beauty around it. The wide endless fields, fields of beauty and bounty all in one. Isn't nature divine?
Same hunter's lookout but from a different angle. Both have a sense of wistfulness about it...our lives have become so filled with stress and always doing, that we've neglected to just be in and among nature...
The basic elegance of a bit of railing. It provides a dash of interest among the uniformity of snow.
It might look like a road to nowhere but actually it is the road to somewhere, somewhere where they grow a most divine row of vines...
Even when topped with snow, a hay bale has interesting features.
It was so slippery, that I almost could have had a moon landing!


Friday, 8 January 2016

Snow And Sunshine Is Simply Divine.

Waking up to sunshine and an azure blue sky

The sabers of nature lining the way. The way to the vines.
The snowy climb to the top was rather fun and took my breath away!
The bridge leading to my paradise or also known as Eisenberg...
In case you were wondering whether it was chilly, I think the disappearing road might answer your question.
The magical tree halfway between Deutsch Schützen and Eisenberg.
Snow as far as the eye can see...isn't it nice?
A look towards Hungary. The magnificent birch tree with its branches cloaked in the powdery white snow...