Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The ' Zu'greisten ' Or The New Settlers Of Eisenberg.

Some more in's & out's to life in a small village.

As you know, our village usually numbers close to 400 souls and with the other four villages making up the Deutsch Schützen and Eisenberg ( Gemeinde ) local community or parish, the total is about about 1200. Only this past year three houses in one street of Eisenberg were put on the market and sold before you could blink. I think that could be called a buying frenzy.

There are quite a lot of us who've not been born and raised in the village, but have had the fortune to move here at some point in our lives. Some have married here, some have chosen to raise their children here and others have intuitively understood that to live here is akin to living in paradise.

Well, we've been given a moniker by those born and bred here:

Die Zu'greisten ' ( Zugereisten )
and literally translated means, those that have traveled here. What I find rather funny is the fact that distance makes no difference. Some have merely moved here from a few villages down the road and yet are almost put into the same category as the Bobster and I...

Us Zu'greisten like to be part of the community and with great aplomb and cheer volunteer for almost anything and more importantly take it as a compliment if we are allowed to participate.

On Mondays and Wednesdays I offer an hours walk through my work with the Leben im Dorf / Living in the village. Basically, our Gemeinde has employed me to either take people who've got no transport to the doctor, the local shop or to visit someone who lives alone. For the past year we've also included this walking opportunity in Eisenberg and Deutsch Schützen. A chance for people to exercise in company ( otherwise we find excuses not to do any exercise ) and perhaps socialize too.

Guess who mostly takes up the offer? Oh yes, the Zu'greisten and while we are walking in the most breathtaking rural surroundings, we usually circle back to the topic of life in the village and more importantly of how much we all love living in it.


Monday, 30 May 2016

Red Poppies Seen On The Outskirts Of Eisenberg.

A nice flowery start to the week.

Their reds are so unbelievably vibrant, that even taking these photos made my heart hum in pleasure at this treasure.
Being partly cloaked in beige grass stalks adds to the allure of the red poppies.
Ah, don't you like this image too?
The raison d'etre of our region, the vines, seem to appreciate the red sirens in front of them.
Never underestimate the odd prima donna lurking about...
A stony path to happiness.


Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Case Of The Missing Blue Rubber Balls.

Another dimension to our house perhaps?

All parents and pet owners do profess the same sentiment:

" Isn't our little darling the prettiest, cleverest and cutest? "
and I have to concur and mention that our little Mausi fits right in.

When she first joined our family, we had a collection of toys awaiting her, some donated and some bought, yet there was one toy that she fell in love with. My parents bought her a little blue rubber ball and as soon as she saw it, that was it...

Gosh, she flicked this ball like a football star and loved to kick it under the cupboard and only to let it bounce off the wall in the hope it would shoot out on the other side. Often it did, but not always.

At first she tried with all of her might to get her paw underneath the cupboard and when that didn't bear fruit she sat and called her dad, with a saddest collage of meows. Nice acting on her side because each and every time, she had the Bobster kneeling down in front of the cupboard whilst doing a sweep with the broom handle.

I wish you could have seen it...Bob with his broom, Mausi in near euphoria at the prospect of getting her blue ball back and honestly, I just sat back and waited for a minute because as soon as she had the ball, she flicked it right back underneath...there have been times that Bob has fallen for her trick three times in a row!

The first blue ball must have disappeared into another dimension because we've searched high and low with no sighting. When we are at the pet shop, Bob keeps on buying her a blue ball and five have now joined the missing lot.

On Wednesday we got the fifth one and also a marked down orange soft furry toy with a bell inside. Without telling Bob, I hid the blue ball ( still with its orange price tag attached ) in a basket on the back window sill. Bob gave her the other orange toy and she was in feline heaven for about ten minutes.

Later in the afternoon, we were sitting on the couch when out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of blue and orange. Goodness me, did I laugh and also feel proud of our little cat...there she must have been lounging on her perch when she noticed a familiar looking blue ball. Gosh, that ball didn't stand a chance and true to form, it has joined the other members of the elusive blue ball family.


Mausi loves her furry toy.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Never Underestimate The Magnetism Of An Angry Bird.

A quick lunch in Oberwart.

The Bobster and I happened to be in Oberwart at lunchtime yesterday. We were in a rush, hot, bothered and of course mightily hungry. By pure coincidence, ahem, we were headed for temptation central...the traffic circle which has an off ramp to Einkaufszentrum Oberwart
( Oberwart's Shopping Center ), McDonald's
and for good measure another one to Burger King.

Personally I think that as we all know how confusing a traffic circle can be, if you miss the one exit, you can still eat at a temple of fast food. Or one can emulate Chevy Chase and do a version of

" Oh look kids, there's McDonald's again. "

At the moment they are adding or increasing the traffic circle and it is jolly difficult to enter the original temple...McDonald's, yet, unbelievably we did battle to find parking.

Both the Bobster and I have had ocassions to try their food, and don't deny that it has appeal but when we got there yesterday, we both thought we had landed on a different planet.

McDonald's has been upgraded with a whole lot of technology and efficiency. But, I have to admit that both of us didn't know where and how to order ( at the computerized board or at the counter ) which had me reveal my lack of fast food sophistication when I asked the lady queuing in front of me.

McDonald's Austria is making an effort to source their produce more responsibly and their special Austrian themed burgers are very tasty and much better than the ones we had at Burger King a while ago.

Eventually both of us had our order and found a table in a crowded restaurant. Kids were the main source of customers and there was a little boy at the table next to us, screaming because he couldn't sit outside in the play area ( they were packed to the rafters ) but mothers are a clever lot. She did the only thing possible and bribed him with the Happy Meal gimmick ( an Angry Birds mask ) which of course he could only wear if he ate his meal.

After that, I noticed how many kids were beaming from ear to ear with their Angry Birds loot. Now and again, it is quite nice to visit the temple of fast food and it's rather tasty too. Let's see how long it will be between visits!


Friday, 27 May 2016

Have You Ever Sat And Watched The World Go By?

Very old fashioned, I know.

It needn't take a lot of time but once you try it, time becomes meaningless and unimportant. Where you do it is also not really important. A bench outside the post office, a chair at a coffee shop, sitting next to a window or lying in a meadow and rather watching the planes fly by.

Taking a time out from the daily treadmill can be likened to turning into a rest stop on the highway and merely watching the cars speed past as opposed to fighting them for space and position on it. Some cars will drive as if they were being chased, some will meddle along the middle lane and the rest will take a slow approach on the outside lane...The funny thing is that all get to the same destination, whatever the speed.

When you take the time to ponder your surroundings without being a part of it, it leads to tranquility, serenity and a sense of gratitude.

Watching the world go by can also be a nice way to exercise your imagination. I love to look at the various character actors on this stage and imagine how their life unfolds, what their family is like and more importantly if they are happy.

In our modern connected world, it is very last century to sit back and watch life as opposed to sitting back and being absorbed by the little " Beam me up, Mr Scot! " device which might as well be another organ of the body...once you have it, it never leaves your side.

The ever changing technology has given us many benefits yet, it is also slowly eroding old school traits...Compassion, friendliness, the ability to listen, respect for others and old fashioned helpfulness. Oh, I nearly forgot, and the ability to make eye contact with others.

When one's busy conversing with the world online, it is a sad fact that the communing with the world offline gets forgotten or even thought of as unimportant.

There are some workaholics who would consider it a sign of weakness to take time out...but, perhaps they are too scared to take time out in case they don't like what they've done with & to their life.


Thursday, 26 May 2016

Another Slice Of Paradise.

Finding joy in nature's bounty...not just a glass of wine either!

Eisenberg is made even more attractive by these lovely red poppies next to a road in Deutsch Schützen. I like to call this road the Apple Avenue, as it has many apple trees standing to attention next to it.
These yellow beauties have so far escaped the chop of a lawnmower as they are among the tall grass on the verge of a neighbourhood road. For some reason, the world at large is bent on making it all look neat and tidy...at the detriment of these elegant plants.
It rained the other day and I couldn't resist catching the roller coaster rides of each rain drop on the petals.
The fields of abundance in our area are mostly framed by these poppies. Walking about has many visual feasts and any niggling sadness is gone by the time one gets home.
Isn't it a stunner? All alone amid the green rural jungle...
Last week I took a photo of this mauve siren and within the space of a week, the fields behind it have matured and grown.
This year, we've decided to only have red sirens in our window boxes and clay pots. Being greeted with the budding flower placed in this emerald green setting is special every time.


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Being Progressive Isn't Always That Easy.

A continuous tense time...

We take it for granted and ( hopefully ) know the difference about when to use it but a little bit of grammar makes many a child break out in a cold sweat of dread.

Understanding the difference isn't always easy for a new student of the English language. The grammar in question? Oh, the delightful present tense, which for good measure has two parts.

The present tense and the present tense progressive
and just for fun or another form of scholastic torture, the latter one is also known by a different name...present tense continuous. As you can imagine, it does cause a bit of confusion and even yours truly has been a victim to it.

Learning the scaffolding that holds up the English language is far from easy. Asking a question or denying a statement in the one tense uses different question words and rules than in the other tense. Never mind the various signal words.

Present tense: Bob sits on a chair.
Bob doesn't sit on a chair.
Does Bob sit on a chair?
Present tense progressive/continuous: Bob is sitting on a chair.
Bob isn't sitting on a chair.
Is Bob sitting on a chair?
Honestly, I do feel a bit sorry for the kids at times. They have to know when to use the various tenses and during a nerve wracking and often time deficient exam, they quickly lose the plot or the will to search for the relevant clues.

One of the boys who comes for extra lessons has told me that next year he'll try to get into the other English teacher's class at his school because this teacher is famous or rather infamous for not giving any homework...Sadly I burst his happiness bubble and told him that even without doing any homework, he would still have take the same tests and exams as his friends who'll have to do homework.

Yes, I have preached to him about the importance of reading for pleasure but so far he hasn't heard me...


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Moving Words Of Yesteryear.

History could teach us a lot.

" Even in dreams good works are not wasted "
Pedro Calderon de la Barca ( 1600-1681 )
" If a man devotes himself to art,
much evil is avoided that happens otherwise if one is idle. "

Albrecht Dürer Outline of a General / Treatise on Painting ca. 1510
" My tongue swore, but my mind's unsworn. "
Euripides Hippolytus 428 BC
" But what is past my help, is past my care. "
John Fletcher ( 1579-1625 ) The Double Marriage
" The greatest beauties of melody and harmony
become faults and imperfections when they are not in their proper place. "

Christoph Willibald von Gluck ( 1714-1787 )
" Without the aid of prejudice and custom,
I should not be able to find my way across the room. "

William Hazlitt ( 1778-1830 )
" The true paradises are paradises we have lost. "
Marcel Proust ( 1871-1922 ) Le Temps retrouve
" Creation must be completely free.
Every fetter one imposes on oneself by taking into account
play-ability or public taste leads to disaster. "

Max Reger ( 1873-1916 ) letter 1900
" A picture is finished when the artist achieves his aim. "
Harmensz van Rijn Rembrandt ( 1606-1669 )
" O! it is excellent / To have a lion's strength,
but it is tyrannous / To use it like a giant. "

William Shakespeare ( 1564-1616 )
" But what they fought each other for, / I could not well make out. "
Robert Southey ( 1774-1843 ) ' The Battle of Blenheim '


Monday, 23 May 2016

No Reason To Sleep In Late...

Summer cheer is here!

Have you also experienced it? The wake up call from the neighbourhood's bird association? Gosh, they start early and with an open window, it could be easily mistaken for your own special opera performance.

The other day while we were sitting outside in the late afternoon sun, Bob asked me to close my eyes and count the number of different birds tweeting. Just by closing my eyes, the proliferation of different bird peeps, was amplified.

Take this morning for example, a typical Burgenland morning, one where the sun is already at a happy stance in the sky and the birds are conversing with gay abandon. Too beautiful for words. Even the woodpecker's dull knocking hasn't undermined the symphony in progress.

One voice that occasionally joins in tends to be out of tune so to say; our little cat is lounging on the window sill and taking in the various chirps and tweets with a quivering tail. The minute she actually sees the singer in question, she gets all excited and does a fair rendition of cat meows...those that mean that she'd like to have a closer acquaintance with the birds.

At times, Mausi sits on the inside of our window, and Tigger opposite her on the outside and they do their sniffing and greeting routine through the mosquito netting. All cute and cuddly until our little Mausi hisses like a banshee and with an angry growl and swipe, knocks her elderly companion off the window sill...rather a shock for both Bob and I to see our little princess behave like a rude termagant...

Just a little purple beauty to start the week...a delightful plant on the verge of the wheat fields.


Sunday, 22 May 2016

Another Successful Concert For The Deutsch Schuetzen Choir.

The annual spring concert.

Last night was my fifth time of being at this particular concert. The choir that my mum is part of and spends long hours at practice throughout the year. One wouldn't think that such a small community has a choir who really is a proper choir, but we do and they gave us a stunning performance last night.

Every year, I try and help behind the scenes by either sitting at the entrance desk and collecting donations, putting out eats or cleaning and clearing up.

This year I've moved onto a slightly higher echelon of the helper's circuit...pouring drinks. Even Bob hasn't cracked that elite nod at his firemen's club and honestly, I have to admit I was a wee bit nervous. The drinks were mainly wine, spritzers and beer.

Another lifetime ago, I had the good fortune of working a few summers in the Scottish Highlands which coincidentally has also been blessed with paradise like surroundings and fabulous people.

Well, at one stage during my time in Scotland I was also helping behind a bar mainly filling pint glasses with beer. One of the things I remember vividly was how the English tourists thought I had short changed them out of a sip of beer because I had filled the beer glasses the Bavarian way. You know, with proper inch or so of foam...oh, they voiced their opinions rather loudly while I secretly was pleased as punch to have achieved the correct amount of foam. Not that easy to manage...

With that in mind, I was a bit worried about pouring the right amount of wine into the glass...just in case, the few that I did pour erred on the side of caution and very full indeed.

One of my highlights, apart from the choir's performance was seeing the villagers in 3D...Gosh, I know this sounds very high tech, but I merely meant that getting to know everyone, talking to some and actually listening has given them shapes, sides, depth and of course more humanity.

Listening, which is rather rare these days, allows one to see the beauty behind the walls that most of us tend to put up for fear of being judged...


Saturday, 21 May 2016

Storks & Sheep On Top Of Wine.

What more do you want?

" Is that how you want me to pose? " fluid elegance despite the unwashed appearance!

Isn't this sheep gorgeous? Never mind the looks department, I love the fact that this flock of sheep is used to graze in and among the vineyards...yes, some vintners are starting to go green!
As for this lot...look closely on top of the chimney. Yes, a couple of storks or a stork couple? right next to the main road leading into Deutsch Schützen. There is at least one more roof that's occupied by storks in Deutsch Schützen. Funny how none are in Eisenberg despite there being a boom in children recently!
Another model pose, don't you think? A bit reminiscent of Zoolander and Blue Steel....
No animal in this photo, but I like the wood stacked next to the house, and the tree giving a lot of shade.
To end off, another model pose...you know I think it is a male sheep after all.


Friday, 20 May 2016

A Delightfully Chilli Start To My Day.

...Shooting the breeze...

As you know, most mornings I do my walk in and amid the vineyards. Not only because I want to be fit, but also because I can walk on my own night & day, without any danger associated with it. Slightly different from South Africa!

After only about a hundred meters I happened to see my neighbour tending to his vegetable garden. He was hard to miss as he still had on his work clothes with the unmistakable bright orange of his safety overalls. I stopped and we had a chat about this and that while he planted some new crops.

He must have just planted his chilli peppers, when he asked me:

" Biggi, do you and Bob like chilli? "

" Yes, actually we do. "
and that was all it took for him to pass a chilli seedling over the fence to me. That is what I love about living here. The unexpected bits of kindness.

It might just be a little seedling for some, but to me it means a lot. Acceptance, kindness and being a part of the village. But, where to put it while I was on my way to walk?

" Herbert, if you don't mind, I'll just put it on the side of the road and I'll take it home on my way back. "

" Just hide it a bit, in case someone might take it. "

Well, that won't happen here, but I could see he was a bit uneasy. Anyway, I set off and communed with the various highlights of nature in our area, and as luck would have it, he was still in his garden when I returned about an hour later.

" Biggi, I've put some onion seeds there too, under the tree. "

Gosh, I was floored and thanked him profusely. Getting to the spot where I'd put the chilli plant, in order to pick it up, I saw that he'd pushed it a bit more behind the fir tree's branches out of sight...

Village life, delightful, charming, heartwarming, relaxing and oh so recommendable.


Thursday, 19 May 2016

Bob, The Gentleman.

Kind, gentle and helpful.

We were watering a friend's plants yesterday morning, when yet again Bob surprised me. The usual background characters were around. The birds were tweeting, the feral cats were purring, a lawnmower was given a noisy outing, some cars were doing the slow crawl down the hill ( how else does one get a hold of neighbourly news ? ) and the sun was shining, as it usually does in our neck of the woods.

There is a slightly older & health challenged lady, who lives on her own yet still likes to have a neat and beautiful garden. Each season she plants window boxes and flower beds.

Her front windows are high up and that is where Bobster did his gentlemanly thing. He was waiting at the car while I hopped about with a full watering can, when he espied three big and planted window boxes on the ground, underneath the windows.

" Honey, do you think I should put up the heavy boxes for her? "

" Rather wait until they are filled with plants. "

" No, have a look, they are ready and planted. "
That little detail had escaped me but when I looked, I saw how right he was. As he knows the lady in question, he didn't hesitate but went straight to her door, rang the bell and when she shuffled to the door, asked her if he could lift the window boxes for her.

Gosh, you should have seen her smile and beam with pleasure at Bob taking the time to consider and care about her window boxes. She was still cautioning him because those boxes were very heavy, when Bob had already plopped them all into their respective holders.

To say that it made her day, would be a bit of an understatement. Knowing that someone cares enough to help with the little things, is what life is really all about...Anyone can do the big helpful stuff, but not everyone notices the seemingly unimportant chores that need to be done.

Bob made that lady's day yesterday and I tell you what, she made Bob's day by showing how happy she was over such a little bit of effort...


Wednesday, 18 May 2016

A Wednesday Full Of Colour & Cheerfulness.

Amid the delightful vineyards of Südburgenland.

A dreamy bit of nature next to one of the vineyards. Romantic, isn't it?
Goodness, a bit of cuddling going on...
These red poppies are so indomitable and could set an exclamation mark behind any opinion.
A new screensaver for your mind?
A bit bashful, isn't she?
A lot of new beginnings dangling above the meadow and waiting to amaze me even more.
Last but not least, here is one stunning red poppy competing with the stalk jungle on the verge of Akazienweg, in Deutsch Schützen.


Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Nature Tuesday, With Poppies And More.

A bit of cheer at the end of a long weekend.

A picture to get lost in...
The greens aren't too bad either!
The daisies and the poppies mingling together.
The orange corner has a magnetic quality about it. How can one not like nature?
The lush green leaves mirroring the sun's rays.
A purple crop seemingly growing everywhere at the moment...beautiful, aren't they?


Monday, 16 May 2016

The Two Sides Of A Sunday In Burgenland.

Reflective and rather hectic...

It was one of Bob's big annual do's yesterday. A meeting of many villages and of course their volunteer fire departments. A men's event for sure and why shouldn't the men get some time away from their at times nagging ( I speak for myself only! ) wives. At least, the Bobster did mumble last year, that it might be a good idea for him to go alone as it would give him a day of hanging out with the guys. Fair enough and I quite agree.

Honestly, where else can husbands let off steam about the little traits that irritate them about their wives? Not that we have many and an hour should suffice, don't you think? Somehow, when we gals go get together over a cup of coffee and a sinfully yummy slice of cake, conversation tends to take a long time and often it needs to be continued into the evening with a glass of wine.

Yesterday was one of those occasions when I saw my husband off at 8 am and had a quiet day at home until he came home in the evening, happy to see me after a day apart and full of anecdotes about his day.

My day on my own was rather nice too. A day to relax, a day to read or a day to sleep. Strictly speaking I wasn't alone as the delightful Mausi was there with me and for some reason stuck to me like glue. Watching a repeat of the Eurovision Song Contest, had her slumbering on my shins and ditto with the Spanish Grand Prix. What a fabulous race, what a fabulous first win for Max Verstappen.

There were so many things I wanted to do and before I knew it, the sun was busy setting and I had done only half of what I set out to do. Not to worry, there are a few functions still ahead, where I get another chance to do absolutely nothing or everything.


Sunday, 15 May 2016

The Saucepan Slayer Strikes Again.

A family tradition it seems...

A real who-done-it in our house? Well, I blame the Knödl this time even though it started out so very innocent.

For a month or so, each time I had opened my kitchen cupboard, a packet of bread cubes ( main ingredient for a Knödl ) made itself known to me and only my dread of the rather the messy labour involved in making them in addition to there often being a lack of eggs, has had it banned onto the shelf for ages. Until last Friday, eh, the 13th...

They had a special on mushrooms and that sealed the deal and set off a rather treacherous chain of events leading to the pot meeting its maker...We should have taken heed of the universe's signs because as we were loading the groceries into the back of our car, one item fell through the Bobster's hands and splashed onto the pavement in a rather picturesque way. The sour cream!

Yes, you guessed it...I made a mushroom stew to go with the aforementioned culprits. Those were rather on the tough side in any case and the first batch that we ate was far from fluffy and soft as one expects from a Bavarian Knödl. Yet, I stubbornly did another batch, which we might have had fried for breakfast.

Bob and I sat and ate our supper in front of the T.V. which sealed the deal for the unfortunate pot. Both of us were overtaken by the slumber fairy and I woke up a few hours later to a most awful acrid smell wafting about. It took me a few moments to place it and racing through to the kitchen, I saw a blackened pot with even worse looking Knödls at the bottom of it...

You needn't tell me...I know it was a lucky escape.
As for my own personal fireman, he slumbered through the whole ordeal and only discovered the deed in the morning. Honestly, I was rather glad about that as he would have straightaway had a few choice words for and to me. Weeelll, they wouldn't have been out of place either.

Luckily, I have a slight history of this kind of crime as I have done a similar deed about 15 years ago, which at least takes the notion of old age and forgetfulness off the table. Thank goodness!

The whole of the following day, I had conveniently banned the pot affair from my mind and when mum phoned me in the evening to have a chat, it still wasn't an issue. But, for some reason, mum kept heading to this pot business and was even about to mention making Knödls herself, when I realized she knew!

Bob of course had spilled the beans to his mother-in-law and perhaps with glee or complaint but the guarantee has run our long ago. No return policy for this daughter!

After a few moments of my mum teasing me about the saucepan business, I understood why she was smiling: it seems that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and saucepan slaying seems to be a family tradition...

A real case of the pot calling the kettle black...


Saturday, 14 May 2016

A Celestial Umbrella Held Off The Rain.

A bubble of sunshine till lunchtime.

As it rained buckets on Thursday night, I didn't think that I'd be able to walk with my walking partner on Friday morning. Miraculously the blue skies were already showing their might at seven in the morning but did have the odd cloud hovering.

Walking to my walking rendezvous -in the Eisenberg vineyards- usually takes me about 25 minutes and yesterday saw me covered in a long raincoat and my ever present sunglasses. A slight contradiction indeed.

After so many days of incessant rain, a ceasing of it coupled with a blue sky, brought out all and sundry. Even along the forest part of my walk, I met a few villagers. Some only dressed in shorts, some in longs and of course yours truly covered from head to toe.

It was amazing to see the blue sky over Eisenberg while everywhere else a covering of grey and ominous looking clouds were circling. Walking along the forest path had its own dangers. No, not the wildlife but the muddy and rather slippery bits in the middle of the path.

Those muddy bits are very treacherous as you don't use as much caution as when walking alongside icy patches during winter. At least with ice you know to walk like a duck, while mere mud tends to have you perform involuntary half lunges.

When I got to my friend, we decided to walk to the shop and back. A good four and a bit kilometers. She wasn't wearing any sort of raincoat, but cunningly she had chosen the walk along side the main road, safe in the knowledge that we'd be able to flag down someone we know to drive us home in case of rain.

We did get numerous waves and hoots from cars passing us ( yes, just like Cheers, in Eisenberg everyone knows your name ) and had a few conversations with other walkers. Lovely, how the sunshine draws out people in every sense of the word.

Arriving at the village shop on a Friday morning made it a meeting place of the Who's Who of Eisenberg and the deed of shopping become secondary. After the first few months of moving here, I got an inkling that a quick turn at the village shop is near impossible...who needs the gossip magazines, when you can get & and give much more interesting fodder for conversation while picking up milk, bread and a lotto ticket...

Ah, the delightful simpler life...love it.


Friday, 13 May 2016

A Rare Friday The 13th To Start A Long Weekend.

A good omen.

Even the rain has stopped for a while at least which is rather a good thing as I have am meeting someone to walk with at nine. Only if it doesn't rain of course...so far so good.

Have you also felt a changing of energy? For some reasons, life's traffic lights in my paths have mostly synchronized into a nice long lasting green. A case of mind over matter?

Somehow when we are in the right or positive frame of mind, even the real lights turn green. Luckily, there aren't any traffic lights within 20 odd kilometers from us, but if you live in a metropolis, why don't you try it out? Drive around and see what colours the universe turns the lights for you...yes, I know it's a bit of a stretch, but try it anyway.

Last week, I finally picked up one of those cold-bugs that people are so bent on sharing with others. This one couldn't be helped, because I had to drive someone to the doctors with a cold. But, you know, it wasn't such a terrible thing after all.

It made me realize how important a bit of rest is to our bodies. We have all been brought up with the belief that only near death is an excuse to stay off work, or school. Yet, don't our bodies need a time out too? Nowadays it is a luxury to be able to stay at home for a few days, nursing your cold.

Being at home with a cold means you can get through it without those much advertised cold remedies and instead use the traditional ones, the ones made by nature. Honey, ginger, lemon, cumin and the lovely garlic...oh yes, best stay at home for that.

Taking a bit of time out, does wonders for the body and soul, not to mention the lack of passing on a cold to others. As a society we've arranged our life and lifestyle in such a way, that taking a few days out of our schedule is near impossible. Bills to be paid, work to be done and school material to be learnt.

When a high school student is afraid to get sick because she wouldn't be able to catch up on the lessons missed out on, it should make us sit up and take notice.

The term deleveraging is mostly used by the big companies but it wouldn't be a bad thing if more of us did it too. Deleveraging our lifestyle would take a lot of pressure off us. Enough, to economically survive a few days off with a cold...


Thursday, 12 May 2016

An Early Morning Communique From Zurich.

A proper wake up call

If it had been from Russia, we'd have had the title for another Bond classic. What might Zurich want from the Bobster and I? Well, alas it isn't the lovely city but our considerate insurance company who sent a text message at the pre crack of dawn.

Being married for eons, makes an errant SMS so early in the morning an alarming one. An accident or a calamity of sorts. Singles of course are more than happy to get the late night beeps announcing a text message because those are usually sent by a tiddly admirer or a friend sending out a call to party.

A case of extreme rain about to descend on our area brought forth this bit of texting. In fact a 50 millimeter rainfall for the next 24 hours or so. Well, fair enough but did it need a SMS? At some stage during the day we'd have noticed the rain falling.

They sent us a warm up of sorts on Wednesday and honestly, I instantly planned a trip to the shops to buy the staples needed for such a lot of rain, but Bob sounded a voice of reason and that is why there are no biscuits, chips, chocolate nor ice cream in our house this morning...

The savvy farmers have of course their own way forecasting the weather. An itchy thumb, the clouds gathering, the birds hiding or just a case of common sense.

Truth be told, when Bob told me about the text message warning of a lot of rain, I pictured a deluge of water running passed our house. Not so at all. Which kind of makes me wonder whether we've all fallen prey to an alarmist frame of mind?

This rainy news would have sent me out to spend money on stuff not needed and as this message went to most of Zurich's clients, at least the shops will have made an unexpected profit.

Spreading the idea of fear seems to become more popular the world over and it sadly fuels politics and business, which sometimes might be one and the same thing. It is a sobering thought to know that there is a much greater chance of us winning the lotto than there is of most of those abstract fear scenarios we've been conditioned to and spent money on, to come to fruition.


Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Our Cat's A House Cat, Plain & Simple.

A life of luxury.

Millions of cats the world over are pure house cats and don't roam along the avenues of danger. At first it wasn't my intention to have Mausi be an inside cat but when I got her I was advised to keep her inside for at least one month because there are so many dangers in the rural areas. Hunters, martins, foxes, tractors and of course fast cars.

Have you ever thought about the dangers lurking in the normal roaming ground of a cat? Poisons galore, old wells, turf wars with feral cats and the ubiquitous cars driving a tad to fast. Quite frightening and overwhelming for a small cat.

Visiting a local pet shop to get more morsels for our feline princess had me voice a slight bit of doubt to one of the staff there. Without hesitation she put my mind at ease:

" I've had four of my beloved cats run over by a tractor and now my cat is an inside cat only. She is very happy and well adjusted cat. "

The Bobster and I are having a fun time at the moment. Our first feline princess, Tigger who is a feral yet paradoxically gets a daily meal from us, has noticed the other apple of our eye, Mausi and is courting her with fervour. Even now, after living in Tigger's compound for nearly five years, years where we gave her a square meal daily, she has not let us come nearer than two meters.

That is until the new princess came to the castle. Suddenly, an aged Tigger is hopping on our high window sill in order to observe Mausi, who leads her a song and dance routine, jumping from one window to the next and having poor old Tigger following suit.

When I fall asleep on the couch and wake up to a scream from some late night horror flick, I now have the added pleasure of seeing a dark shape in the window. After a few heart stopping moments, I realized it was our batty Tigger waiting to catch a glimpse of the little cat...

Anyway, the two of them do a daily morning ritual of sniffing each other through the window, but eventually little Mausi loses interest and plonks herself down on either my or Bob's lap.

We've given this lovely cat a home and opened our hearts to her and even though some of you might say that a cat has to be outside, we have a friendly, happy and well adjusted cat.

Tigger and Mausi having a chat on in our window.
What to us is a window is to her an exciting movie.


Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Where Do You Store Your Wine?

The many places to keep your bottles.

As you know, we are rather fortunate in that we've got an earth cellar, or rather an outbuilding that is built halfway into the ground and used to be the fridge of yesteryear. But before you turn a shade greenish, I have to point out that it is a hundred meter walk and does have the odd spiderweb and no light. A trip at night is not alright...

When you add a cold winter to the equation, it makes a lot of sense for me to keep my stash of wine in the back bedroom. Easy access and still cool enough not to spoil the wine. This morning I got a bit of a scare in that the sun was doing its best to warm up my few bottles of wine standing along in a line waiting to be sentenced.

Well, no more as they are now gracing the cool wall of our back bathroom for at least a few days! Hopefully my problem is solved and if not, I will put them back into our earth cellar and just send Bob out with a torch when needed...

While my mind was circling about the many nooks and crannies I could have stored the wine, I seemed to recall being in friends' kitchens and seeing the wine rack upon a fridge, counter top or yikes, next to the oven! Of course they'll never become wine aficionados when they keep on tasting warm wine.

The other extreme that I've seen sprouting up everywhere, is the new trend of having a wine cooler in your kitchen. Sort of like the dishwasher was the appliance to have in the past, now the wine cooler is the new yardstick of success.

Regardless of where you keep your stash of wine, it still depends on the type of wine you collect. Well, collect might be a misnomer in our house but some of you do keep a proper wine cellar. Ah, for me a proper wine cellars would be one with oak barrels against one stony wall, racks of bottles against the other and a table with old fashioned wooden chairs in the middle...what more could one want? Apart from someone to share it with...


Monday, 9 May 2016

All The World's A Stage ...

Have we all gone Hollywood?

Cast your mind back a few years to that historic pre-Smartphone era and how the major events or even just the mundane daily ones were conducted. A bit different, weren't they?

Take yesterday's Mother's Day occasion and the glaringly obvious way everyone was picture perfect for that surprise photo being taken for only a few hundred of our closest best friends on to Facebook see, like or share. In the past, most mums who were treated to a homemade breakfast, hadn't even brushed their hair or had changed out of their pyjamas and that was a good thing. Nice and relaxing. Who, but the family was there to see it?

Many wonderful messages were penned for a public online perusal and even though each mum deserves the accolades, I couldn't help but wonder if it was mainly written for the mums or for the Facebook audience?

A lot of what we do these days has a hint of stage management about it and most of the numerous online postings seem to show us, the audience, a perfect life lived. But how much of it is reality? Is everyone's life as glamorous and perfect as they would like us to believe?

The celebrity magazines used to be the only gig in town and it was fun to read the latest exploits and going on's of the Hollywood crowd. When did the rest of us start to be starlets? Posing for this and that, eating here and there and travelling everywhere all while being our own paparazzi and recording each bit via Smartphone on or rather in the ubiquitous online public notice board.

A lot of the Hollywood crowd don't survive this insatiable public thirst of wanting to know each minute of their life and despite their fortunes, good looks and seemingly perfect lives, they lose themselves in unhappiness...

What makes us so sure that we won't end up deeply unhappy or disillusioned about life, a life which before the advent of Smartphones we were quiet happy with?


Sunday, 8 May 2016

A Wildly Happy Flower Bouquet For Mother's Day.

The happy daisies win the day.

An early walk had me meet up with these beautiful daisies.
Sadness never enters their mind...
A very pleasing crowd of sun lovers indeed.
Not as fresh as the daisies...photographed last week, but delightful nonetheless.
A yellow poser in the meadow.
A daisy chain next to the village lane...Happy Mother's Day


Saturday, 7 May 2016

Family Advice, Oh Dear How Nice...

The lure of a quick cure.

A while ago one of my numerous aunts spent a few days visiting and instantly understood our attraction to this bit of Burgenland's paradise. Wine, sunshine and plenty of time to enjoy it all.

She did have one little thorn in her side and it had to do with the lack of waste bins along the country lanes. Why would she care...well, she has a most delightful and rather amply fed little sausage dog of sorts who of course needs to walk a few times a day to do his business.

But don't be fooled by his cuteness as he did sneak a cooked piece of steak off the grill which made my aunt feel embarrassed to no end. We all thought it was tres funny except for the Bobster, as it was meant to be his piece of meat!

Anyway, it is all very well being conscientious and law abiding. My aunt went for numerous walks and took along tiny plastic bags for the dog's business but alas there was nowhere to put that smelly bag afterwards. An alarming lack of rubbish bins along the numerous paths around the vineyards.

Isn't it rather quaint how pet owners praise their pets for each and every main business accomplished? Even Bob and I sing Mausi's praises ( through our noses mostly ) when she gives us a smelly offering.

The last time another one of my aunts was here, she had to carry a poo bag until we got home. Her dog is rather large and I shouldn't have to paint you a picture...Once I took the lovely Leo for a solo walk and had to carry a large and very smelly bundle for half an hour. Yikes.

Oh, I nearly forgot about my aunts advice. She is an enthusiastic supporter of the idea of having at least a one minute ice cold shower after the usual hot one. In my 20's and 30's I followed a similar routine as I had read about a German woman who lived an extremely long and healthy life which she attributed to these ice cold showers.

Somehow a cold shower is easily done in South Africa though it takes some getting used to in the colder climes. So far, I've almost got a weeks worth of icy showers to my name, and do feel a bit more healthy and vigorous.

Apart from feeling the odd cold shiver I do have to smile when Bob showers after me...he never checks the temperature gauge and screams like a girl when faced with icy cold water...


Friday, 6 May 2016

Ascension Day Or Holy Thursday For Some & A Long Weekend For Others.

The sun came out as if on cue.

Our area is predominantly Catholic and yesterday's Ascension Day was celebrated and a few confirmations and communions were being held in many parishes around the areas. How do I know? Well, even though a religious holiday should be introspective and soul searching, the modern lure of social media had many guests pose at the various family functions. Ce la vie...

Most of the schools in Burgenland are having a long, very long weekend, and as you can imagine, the mood is buoyant all over. Parents, students and the long suffering teacher are sleeping in, lounging about and possibly counting down the hours of their mini holiday.

The shops are thankfully under lock and key, thus giving the staff a well deserved rest and taking the temptation of going to the mall on a public holiday out of the equation. Having previously worked most public holidays in a mall and even shopping in them when I wasn't working makes me extremely appreciative of the ( mostly ) regulated shopping hours in Austria.

Sundays & Public Holidays are closed.

Knowing that you cannot go and spend your dosh on silly impulse buys in a mall, lets you focus on the usual aspects of a public holiday. Spending time with family, having a leisurely breakfast at home, and most importantly just being.

The last few days we have been blessed with a lot of rain - I say blessed, because some parts of the world are suffering through serious droughts at the moment - but even though, I was extremely pleased to see the sun emerge from hibernation. Not to mention Bob, who donned his shorts while skipping happily about mumbling how great it was to see the sun.

In our euphoric worship of the sunshine, we even did two loads of washing, hung them on our washing line outside and golly gosh, they were dry by five o'clock.

As it was a public holiday we also partook in a leisurely breakfast of boiled eggs and fresh rolls and decided to have pancakes and apple sauce for lunch. Don't ever underestimate the humble pancake because not only does it taste great, but it also reminds us of eating pancakes as children.

Who didn't love pancake day? My brother and I used to count each and every pancake the other had...and our poor mum had to make a gazillion pancakes but always in even numbers. We mostly had apple sauce and a sprinkling of sugar in each rolled pancake while Bob only had his pancake rolls with freshly squeezed lemon and a dash of sugar mixed with cinnamon.

Oh, I almost forgot...at times my pancakes do resemble dried leather and taste alarmingly similar. Well, I thought I'd try a different way of making pancakes yesterday. I separated the egg whites and beat them into a frothy, triple in size mixture and folded it back into the flour, milk & egg yolk mixture afterwards. Very nice and fluffy indeed...


A beautiful bunch of flowers growing in the vineyards.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

The Many Places To Make A Bed.

The princess and the pea perhaps?

The age old adage of " you make your bed, you lie in it " has clearly gone over little Mausi's head. One bed...don't be daft, that isn't nearly enough for a cat.

As both the Bobster and I are slaves to our little cat, love her dearly and would do anything for her, we of course created a slumber oasis for her a while ago. A real treat indeed and even a specially purchased soft bouncy cushion for her to recline on while in a fabulous vintage wicker basket. Any cat but ours would give her left whiskers for it!

For a short while, it seemed to do the trick and it was a case of luring her out of it just to get a cuddle. As much as she loved that basket, after two weeks, she grew bored and was on to softer pastures inside the bedroom. We'd made a rookie mistake and left the wardrobe doors slightly ajar.

Those of you who are married will understand when I say, that Bobster blamed me for having left the door ajar!

One night we couldn't find her and searched high and low for her, even going so far as to switch on all lights and looking in her usual hiding places. Nothing to be seen until I happened to glance inside the wardrobe, thinking I had seen something in it. Well, there was our princess in between my winter jerseys and giving me the hairy eyeball for having had the gall to awaken her!

That little retreat was cut off for her and it took two nights of enduring the loud scratching that her claws made as she tried to nudge the glass door open.

At times, or rather at fortunate times, she cuddles and makes our bed her bed ( yes, you don't need to remind me that I folded like a soft blanket...mea culpa). Yet, sadly even those cute times are meagre indeed. Often the window sill, the high chair, the inside of the laundry hamper, the couch or the washing machine get first pick.

Last night, I stumbled half asleep into our bathroom, switched on the light and saw her lying sleepily on a bunch of discarded clothes that should actually have been put into the hamper. Gosh, nothing is sacred to her!

Oh, there is one other place she loves and it is on my lap as I do write the daily blogs or joining either Bob or me on the couch to watch a bit of telly. Those moments when she curls up on us are so precious, make our hearts melt even more and of course enslave us totally.


One of her slumber places...on my legs.
Another of her favourites...
The bathroom seems to be a clear winner....

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The Many Ways To Eat An Egg Or Two.

The eggs from our neighbour's chickens win favour.

Where to start? Well, we've had friends over for the weekend and as one does when someone stays over, all the stops were pulled out! The Bobster insisted on farm laid eggs and walked a kilometer to collect them from the small holding down the road. Just to lay your mind at ease, he wore shoes and this isn't a story of " Oh, I walked a mile barefoot in the snow to get the eggs. " Of course he insisted that some of the green shelled type would be included as he thought our friends would never have seen a green egg.

Both of us were rather confused the first time we laid eyes on green shelled eggs and we drew straws of who would eat them first...but, I had not idea how good they taste.

Saturday morning, our first breakfast with our friends, was a tad bit late which might have been a result of a trip to one of the local Buschenschanks the night before. Once everyone was awake and had had their first cup of tea or coffee, I prepared breakfast and asked both our friends:

" How would you like your eggs cooked? Fried, scrambled or boiled? "

" Oh, you know, I would love to have eggs in a cup with soldiers! "

I've never eaten my boiled eggs that way, but suddenly the three of them were dreamily reminiscing about their mothers making these egg soldiers in a cup. Unanimously it was decided to make boiled eggs for this breakfast favourite of yesteryear.

" I want an egg that's been boiled for 3 and a half minutes. "
" I'll have a 4 minute egg. "
all my pleas that this might be a touch to little fell on deaf ears and would you believe it, my friend stood next to the stove and timed the 3 and a half minutes to the second. Surreptitiously I had already chosen the smaller sized egg for them as I knew they would balk at eating an under cooked egg.

I know my chickens and yes, the first egg was under cooked and the other's were put back into the pot a bit longer.

The other hindrance to this opportunity to relive one of their childhood treats, was the fact that we don't own egg cups. The Bobster and I seem to have watched a lot of McGyver growing up and with sangfroid Bobster rescued a truly sticky situation with a Schnapps glass. Those we do have a lot of...

Suffice to say, that we had soldiers in a Schnapps-cup two days in a row and the only thing different was the fact that we didn't have the white toast slices so common in South Africa. Unfortunately, the toasted rye bread strips weren't quite the thing...oh, and obviously they all missed their mums, who always had made sure that their breakfast was special.

Just goes to show, that a mere breakfast sates the body and mind for longer than one might think!


Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Just Some More Glimpses Of Burgenland's Marvelous Countryside.

My idea of paradise.

Where else do you get a gaggle of geese, in single file a la Beatles, meandering about the neighbourhood in the morning?
This lot had slipped out of their Geesenyland while being fed...after I had finished clicking away ( and you can see they loved it ) the farmer came to round them up or rather to sweet talk them. Geese are a bit on the stubborn side.
A mere meadow, but a fabulous example of nature's ability of making the most delicate and delightful plants and flowers, arranged to each one's perfection.
Did you also take these dandelion stalks and blow of the petals, in order to see if you'll be married? Well, there is a field of marital bliss waiting right there...
Again, a mere shrub, but when you look closer you can see how perfectly place the blossoms are next to each other and how they form these ball like shapes. Just love it.
I like the crisp and sharp effect of this combination. Plain and simple.
A walk between the two Eisenbergs...the village and the vineyard.