Aren't they just the best?
Even though my mind at times seems set in stony concrete I am talking of the real concrete. The stuff of buildings, the stuff of hard work and the stuff that creates our living spaces.
We are getting new neighbours at some stage and when they first said that their house would be built within a two months time frame, I swallowed my instant reply. Builders are always fashionably late over the finish line and so far the two months haven't even seen the walls roofed.
To get a bit of the stifling heat out of our house we opened the windows early already and just after seven there was a commotion of gigantic proportion outside. Mausi vacated her window perch instantly and hid among the pillows and I notice two huge concrete mixing trucks right outside our bedroom windows. In fact, they filled the window and thank goodness I made our bed because only truck drivers sit high enough off the ground to catch a glimpse of our lives.
Standing there watching the belly of the beast turning rhythmically reminded me of how Bob, mum and I spent endless Saturdays mixing the concrete by hand. Well, shoveling the sand, concrete and water into a little mixing machine by hand. One load filled a wheelbarrow and compared to these gigantic mixing trucks, a David & Goliath affair.
These last few weeks I have lost count of the number of concrete trucks that have squeezed themselves around our house ( a sharp corner across from which our new neighbours chose to build ) while extending their long arm to shoot the liquid concrete to where it is needed. Surely they should be finished by now?
Taking this detour down memory lane is rather useful. Often I forget how much we've done to our house bearing in mind that we started our renovations with not two but four left hands. Nothing to be ashamed of and in fact, the opposite. It's easy when you know how but character building if you don't. For the next few hours I will float proudly over our floors, knowing that we and not a fancy machine rebuilt the floors throughout our house. Of course we had a builder to help with the concreting, but still not a mean feat...
" If only we'd stop trying to be happy, we'd have a pretty good time. "E. W.
" In reality they all lived in a kind of hieroglyphic world, where the real thing was never said or done or even thought, but only represented by a set of arbitrary signs. "The Age of Innocence
" One of the great things about travel is you find out how many good, kind people there are. "E. W.
" What could he and she really know of each other, since it was his duty as a ' decent ' fellow, to conceal his past from her, and hers, as a marriageable girl, to have no past to conceal ? "The Age of Innocence
" It's rather clever of her to have made a specialty of devoting herself to dull people-the field is such a large one, and she has it practically to herself. " The House of Mirth
" Half the trouble in life is caused by pretending there isn't any. "The House of Mirth
" They are all alike you know. They hold their tongues for years and you think you are safe, but when the opportunity comes they remember everything. "E. W.
" ...In the summer New York was the only place in which one could escape from New Yorkers..."E. W.
" They belong to that vast group of human automata who go through life without neglecting to perform a single one of the gestures executed by the surrounding puppets. "The House of Mirth
What tends to be the main topic of conversation of any adult? Oh yes, food. How to make it, how to eat it and more importantly, where to find it. We might drop hints about it....
" Oh, that cake you made last time I was here was delicious. "or brag about it
" Oh, you must try what I made for supper last night. It was fantastic. "but talk about it we do.
When I visit the older villagers I often find out real culinary jewels that are passed down from mother to daughter but sadly with that new trend of buying ready made food it might become a cuisine of extinction. One dish I've heard a lot of through the years was this Krautfleckerl.
It appeared to be a very complicated and cumbersome dish because to me a Fleckerl is a bit of rag, or a rug and how on earth does that combine with cabbage? ( p/s, Kraut = cabbage)
About a month ago the penny dropped when a local villager told me that Fleckerl is pasta shaped like a little square, Farfalle or something like it. Aha, the degree of difficulty dwindled and I felt confident to ask how this Krautfleckerl is made.
My personal understanding of it was that one cut the cabbage finely, and fried it with the usual onions and garlic until tender while at the same time boiling a pot of this square shaped pasta. Mix the two together and top it with a bit of - here comes another Austrian word - Topfen ( cottage cheese ) and season to taste. Easy indeed and I treated Bob to it for supper yesterday.
Improvisation is a must in a small village and I used penne-shaped pasta ( we only buy those because Mausi likes playing with a dry stick of penne...again, any other shape she won't deign to play with... ), chilly but left out the cottage cheese.
Gosh, I have to admit that it was an instant success with Bob. How do I know? Well, he showed me the Bob seal of approval...an upturned, empty plate of food! I really have to pull up my culinary socks as these upturned plates are a bit of a rarity these days...
It stands to reason that a few weeks of sweltering heat must be followed by a storm. Friday saw the first one yet one with a mere three drops of rain despite being full of thunder. An hour's interlude and then back to the cloying heat.
Saturday evening was the next one and thankfully it come with rain, thunderbolts and lightning which made it a pleasant way to fall asleep. It must be the faint drumming sound each drop makes on encountering our roof before terra firma. Soothing as can be and at least the fields, lawns and flowers were watered. We don't have an outside tap and once the rainwater is finished ( big barrels under the rain pipe ) it means numerous trips to the bathroom with a watering can every afternoon.
Yesterday afternoon a Formula One Race was on the cards at three o'clock and both Bob and I couldn't wait to relax in front of the telly. Best laid plans are never as imagined. Zurich, our insurance company sent an sms about an impending storm complete with all the trimmings heading our way.
I looked outside the lounge window and there was nothing ominous in sight but when I went and glanced outside our bedroom windows another story unfolded. A horizon approaching in the most darkest of grays and rather fast too. Bob took charge and unplugged all the electrical stuff including our tv. Yikes, it was half past two.
The rain pelted down, lightening lit up an overcast sky followed closely by thunder. We counted the seconds and deemed it safe to re-plug everything when the gap between lightening and thunder swelled to five seconds. As we watch our television via our broadband connection, we had to nervously wait for the reboot of everything, knowing that the start of the race was minutes away.
When they sang the national anthem we were spectators again and thus could see the race from start to finish and what a race it was. One of the most exciting races in a long long time. How marvelous to see that Vettel is not as gentle as he comes across giving Hamilton a taste of his own medicine, a newcomer standing on the podium and a race interruption as well.
The next race will be in Austria, Spielberg a mere two hours away, and should be a cracker of a race due to the duel between Ferrari and Mercedes. The unpredictability of this new cadre of drivers has reignited our love of Formula One. Bob and I will be glued to the television unless a storm comes our way...
With each progressive hot day my esteem for Bob increases exponentially. He's out during the day, every day. Of course I pester him every morning in a wifely a.k.a. nagging sort of way.
" Have you got your sunblock / hat / water / keys..."and just as well because Bob's thoughts are always a step ahead and often forgetting something in the process.
As you know, I am known as Scarf-girl as in summer and winter I am with scarf...my skin frizzles for fun and despite all the teasing I stick to my guns and cover my neck.
Bob's starting to understand my bit of madness and is considering getting a bandanna. Yeah, he'll look like a rocker. Cool in so many ways if we manage to scare up a suitable colour of bandanna or material to make one.
The temperature reached 38 degrees yesterday and today shouldn't be far off. We had an inkling of a storm this morning but apart from a few drops coupled with a dark sky, the heat remains. Grass is browning, flowers are wilting and ice cream is selling like hot cakes. Talking of ice cream, we had a few bananas left over from the lunch box and I thought before I have to throw them out I'd make a banana bread.
I had the kitchen scale out when it dawned on me that we were out of eggs. Much too hot to go to my neighbour's down the road so I had to make a plan. The bananas were mixed with milk and then I put the mixture into our ice-lollies container. Into the freezer they went and I have to admit that having two banana ice cream lollies after dinner was a lifesaver and cost nothing.
As far as the weather forecast goes, the heatwave is here to stay for another week. Honestly, I really thought that I had left the hot weather behind in South Africa but it seems to have followed us here.
Sleeping next to an open window is a must and early this morning I had the cat trio around me. Mausi on the window sill inside and Tigger across from her but still with the mosquito netting between them. I dozed off and was awakened by the most horrendous growling from one of them. A third cat, the local Lothario, was meandering a bit too close to Mausi because Tiggi was giving him stick and would have protected our princess with her life. Honestly, I've never realized how frightening an angry cat can sound.
The curtains are closed and thankfully our 60 cm thick walls are keeping our home nice and cool. Respect for the architects of the last century. Our house was built in the 1920's and the way it was built and placed on the land, has kept it in fine shape and us cool as well...
Bob works in the vineyards Monday to Friday and as he hasn't got time to come home during his lunch hour, I pack a big lunch bag for him. Gosh, he needs it as it is hard work cultivating and tending to the raw material that eventually transforms into delicious wine.
As layman we often forget that integral part in the wine making process. Grapes seem to suddenly be there on the vines and somehow belying the many months of hard yard work involved to make them grow to their individual perfection.
The last few weeks have been blazing hot, so hot that the cheese melted on Bob's sandwich. It was time to go high tech in the lunch packaging and we bought a small carry-cooler box. More of a bag really, and not girly at all. Blue, white and brown stripes make it quite trendy.
A routine doesn't take long to set in. Bob has to be at work by a quarter to seven and at six o'clock I start making his sandwiches and all that goes into his lunch. We have four ice packs, those blue plastic rectangles that keep the cold for a while, which I freeze as soon as Bob gives me the empty lunch bag when he gets home.
Knowing that he has his own little fridge with him makes it easier to put treats in. Well, treats for Bob that is. He loves Kefir, which is a cultured milk product with a tart taste. Cocktail tomatoes, raw peanuts, two bananas and a few energy bars complete his lunch.
Often, when Bob comes home from work and puts the cooler bag on the table, I think of all those lunches his mum used to make for him and Brett. Can't have been easy to pander to two different taste buds. Imagine making lunch for two growing teenage boys. Sometimes Bob and I reminisce about school days and lunch times. Swapping sandwiches with friends, buying from the tuck shop and wishing that school was finished already.
Each and every afternoon I have a look at what was returned with the cooler bag. A treasure hunt of sorts!...yes, certain food comes back untouched, a silent yet paradoxically loud protest. Shopping for the week takes on a whole new degree of difficulty. Tempting Bob's appetite yet taking care to keep the food healthy has its challenges but is rather fun and divinely domestic.
As you know our area abounds with fruit and not only fruit that tastes better once it's morphed into a liquid. Grapes are omnipresent but fruit trees are too.
Apricots, even though there are a few trees about are more of a rareness and when anyone offers for you to pick theirs, you don't say no. If not eaten as they are, making homemade apricot jam and doling it out liberally on buttered bread seems just fine.
These apricot trees were grown from pips buried in the ground about ten years ago. Left to their own devices, climes and circumstances, they are as organic as can be and surprisingly never befallen by any of bugs doing the social rounds. Oh, and by the way, the branches are bent over from the many apricots clinging to them.
Imagine a tree growing from a pip? After I heard this, I put those four pips I had managed to conjure up ( having tasted four apricots ) safely in my hand and I took care where to dispose them in our garden. With our usual welcome mat rolled out to all and any bees, I see good things ahead.
Reading up on the family connections of peaches and apricots I was amazed to learn that cherries are part of that family: Prunus Genus.. Makes sense when you consider their sweet taste.
Our local vineyards are littered with fruit trees at either the start of the vines or on the edges of them, which makes me wonder whether all those years ago, the men and women tending to the vineyards unwittingly planted their own fruit trees after lunch?
Along the one side of our house would be a fantastic place to start a mixed fruit yard...apricots, cherries and even though I know it sounds crazy, I'll try an avocado pip too. Avocados are my favourite fruit and as the temperature does get hotter and hotter every year, they might just like our neck of the woods and settle in.
Monday morning sees me stepping about with the walking group and it is always joyful to meet up and hear each other's news and views. The sun was out today and announcing its stubborn appearance for the rest of the day and some even think, the rest of the week.
Surrounded by green grass and golden yellow wheat fields we started our route. As I mostly let them decide which one to walk I was pleasantly surprised when they chose one of my favourites. I call it the Hungary route. Just skimming the edges of it but still aware of its unique style and beauty. A lovely walk indeed and most of us at one stage or another voiced our good fortune at being allowed to live in such an awesome place.
Ambling along the dirt road while occasionally stopping to take a photo of the golden yellow wheat field was blissful. Maybe it was the grounding effect of walking on plain old pebbles, the sound of a tractor somewhere across the field or the chance to catch a breather from that hectic life we've inadvertently tried on for size and forgotten to shrug off again ( more like a straight jacket as there seemingly is no escape from it ) that shifted everything back into focus and importance.
Because most of the important aspects to life are free of charge, most of us undervalue them...but where would we be without Health, Happiness and Family?
Yesterday morning marked the second meal our princess had forsaken. A quick sniff nary a taste and away she walked, naturally with a dejected air to make us even more worried. All we've figured out since she joined us at home, is her love of sauces. She will lick the sauce first and then the meaty bits...but of course not all brands are to her liking.
Bob was so worried that he asked me to drive to Oberwart's pet emporium in order to tempt our cat to eat more than a little bite. She is a skinny thing in any case. There might be a alternative explanation to her lacklustre appetite. Perhaps she caught a mouse in our house? Believe me, I've been monitoring her ablutions in case I see a mouse bone or tail emerge.
Honestly, I balked at driving such a long way for Mausi and chose to go to Deutsch Schützen and it's ADEG shop. I know they carry some pet food and I found a selection of three different brands that had sauce with it. Yikes, our cat's food costs more than ours!
In our village it's so nice to see how children help out their parents. Whatever their age. The shopkeeper's son had a break from work and helped his mother out behind the till. As I like chatting with people, I told him the reason for my prolific and varying cat food purchase.
" Our cat's not eating her food, so I'm trying out different types to tempt her. "well, his mother had just walked to the front and must have overheard me...
" My son also just wants to eat Schnitzle every day, but he has to eat pasta too. "He just grinned at his mother's keen perception and I realized that she had a point. We pander to our darling with alarming haste the minute she turns away from her food. The one good thing about this is that our other cat, she who resides on our window sill, Tigger, is getting nice and plump. How could she not when we put all of Mausi's untouched food into her bowl?
Luckily, Mausi seems to like two of the cat foods I bought yesterday and we don't have to drive so far to get her food.
The day started off with a nice family breakfast at the folks' house. We sat in the garden around two long tables surrounded by a cherry tree, tweeting birds, glorious sunshine and of course all eleven of us. Conversations tended to be sporadic as most ate their food with their head bowed down to pay homage to their smartphone.
Mum is an ace at managing all the meals. I battle to organize a meal for the two of us and take my hat off to mum, for having organzied so many family meals in the last week.
Bob and I said our goodbyes and left for our own little excursion. A trip to Hungary had taken our fancy and with military precision was organized. A shop at Tesco's ( 19 km down the road in Hungary ) and as it was as hot as blazes we took along a cooler bag with frozen blue bricks. How is that for being prepared?
Supermarkets are the same all over the world with of course the local eating habits and produce making up a slight variation. At Tesco's they have a whole section of freshly baked breads and rolls at unblievable prices. A big loaf of white bread costs about 50 cents. Vegetables are also a whole lot less expensive than in Austria and a head of cabbage costs roughly 60 cents.
After careful mental deliberations, I chose a loaf of divine white bread. Only by chance did I notice a woman using a bread slicing machine. They are in every South African supermarket but not in Austria. Oh, it was great fun to use it but only afterward while seeing the thin slices did it dawn on me that the pleasure of tearing into a loaf of freshly baked bread was gone.
Well, as for the rest of the hypermarket...it has hidden treasures, English treasures, in every isle. Be it biscuits, crisps, marmalade, cereals or Irish butter. Not all is that healthy but now and again munching on a digestive biscuit is rather nice and evokes many memories. If only they had freshly baked scones, I would be in heaven...
Even a trip to a supermarket can have nerve wrecking elements to it. Here in Europe one has to put money into the shopping trolleys just like at an airport. People return the trolleys at the end of the shop only to get their money back! When we got there, Bob's euro coin wasn't accepted and we decided to use the blue baskets, albeit with wheels and long handle, to shop. Rather fetching seeing the two of us pulling blue baskets behind us.
We had done justice to our whirlwind trip into the realms of England and suddenly realized at the till that we couldn't take the baskets to the car. Usually one can take the shopping trolley back to the car and we have a big box on the backseat, into which we stack our purchases. Saves the plastic bags. But, now what? The person in front of us was getting ready to pay and Bob had to sprint outside to hunt for a trolley.
The queue behind us was long and irritated already and with seconds to spare my hero wheeled in an empty shopping trolley. All was saved and as the cashier scanned each item, Bob stacked it into the trolley. Apart from a few irritable spousal exchanges now and then over in the sweet's isle, Bob and I like grocery shopping together. Rather amazing, how often the seemingly mundane interludes of domesticity turn out to enjoyable and fun...
At the moment life is hectic and exciting as three of my step siblings are in town. Step sounds rather Grimm but so far I've not been separating any peas nor lentils from the ashes nor trying on a golden slipper before midnight. It won't come as a surprise when I tell you that due to the summer weather and the time together, many bottles of wine are enjoyed.
Usually mum and I share a case of Lianne's white wine and make it last a month at least. The case does involve 12 bottles of wine, eh, the liter sized bottles. We love its taste ( dry with a hint of gooseberry ) and mum asked me to organize a case for the family visit, which I had there the night before they arrived.
Well, the South Africans arrived on Wednesday and were joined by the Gibraltarians on Friday and by the end of Friday the first signs of panic set in. They needed another case of wine and would I be so kind as to get it from Lianne...bear in mind that I'd got the last case from her mere days ago. As luck would have it I ran into her on Sunday and asked her sheepishly for another case. Of course I had to cloak the request with tidbits of unrelated stuff as I didn't want her to associate meeting me with ordering copious amounts of wine.
She said she'd drop it off at our house on Monday. By Monday lunchtime, my one brother in law ( it was his turn to buy a case ) reminded me a few times during the day to not forget the wine as the last bottle had been opened and he was considering rationing the crowd although that would have been fun to see and more importantly see who was his favourite.
Lianne dropped off the case late Monday afternoon. She is such a honey and despite having worked all day in the vineyards, she still took the time to drop off this vital case for us. Bob and I took it along when we went for supper and received a roaring reception from everyone. Gosh, imagine if we'd come empty handed?
Yesterday afternoon saw the arrival of the American side of the family and you guessed it...they are already priming me for case number three. No, I won't do it. Imagine the stories doing the local news circuit. The first telling would be correct and truthful...
" Biggi's family drank three cases of wine in an unbelievably short time. "...but with each consecutive rehashing a word would be dropped from it and with it my reputation would be set in stone!
At times I do my walk almost on autopilot, taking the same routes and thinking of what to write while I do that. Amid my own definition of what makes our village so awesome and listing the many points in my mind, I heeded to intuition and changed the side of the road.
It must have been years since I took to that side of the road and only because there was a German Shepard of questionable temperament living there. Despite being long in the tooth its teeth were sharp enough to make me heed caution. Somehow my little voice reminded me that the people had moved a few months ago and the canine threat with it. Even though it was just before eight nobody was about.
In mid stride something shiny and bright caught my eye. Small, blue, partly shiny partly grimy. We had torrential rains last night and a bit of laundering seems to have happened with this shiny bit of paper. Yes, you guessed right, yours truly has found money. A blue twenty euro note was whiling the time away in the gutter wondering what it would be spent on, if at all. Thankfully the new paper it's printed on can be washed or should I say laundered...
Having been a viewer of many prank tv shows, I took the time to carefully look about for any hidden cameras. Naturally smiling prettily while I did it, just in case, but not a thing and as the note was in the gutter in front of an empty house I took the liberty to be polite to fate and pick it up.
When the universe sends you abundance, it starts with small coins and changes to notes only if you don't think it was beneath your dignity to pick up copper pennies. Often I give pennies a shelter in my wallet and it seems I've been rewarded with a twenty euro note.
When I was at high school, Friday afternoons were reserved for going to the local library, heavily laden by the five books already read and eager to exchange them for new ones to read. Stepping into this building was akin to travelling in time. History was as close as it ever will be on the one isle, Biographies on another and novels on almost all the others.
Time stood still. How could it not while dipping a toe into the various stories told in the timeless environs of a library surrounded by that distinct perfume of old and new books standing side by side awaiting their chance to vacation in someone's home for a week.
Time at school itself seemed to stand still and reaching the end of high school was so far away we didn't actually believe we'd ever get there. A case of time dragging its feet. Those sages masquerading as adults who used to love telling us that time at school will have been the best time of our lives, were ignored and thought of as old fools. Little did we know...
Time spent with your special someone, special as in you would rather spend time with them than without, gallops away and before you can say boo or wear stretch pants at home, you've been together fourteen years.
Mondays must be time's little adjutants because gosh darn it, they can't wait to push Sundays aside to remind us of who they're working for. How is it possible that two whole days can be swallowed up virtually unseen in this time segment called a week? Each and every Friday night, a seemingly endless weekend is ahead of us until we wake up transported mysteriously to Monday morning complete with alarm clocks, lunch boxes and a sense of having misplaced the enthusiasm needed to go to work.
The most mysterious riddle of lost time is often only understood when we start to utter phrases bemoaning the state of today's youth..." When I was young, I wouldn't have dared to do this that or the other. " Suddenly we get a sense of having lived twenty years without really having lived. Time didn't wait for us to do the things we dreamt of doing and you know, that new trend of writing a bucket list is cowardly...we should do all those things as time goes by and not at the end of it...
It seemed to have been a weekend a-foot. Just yesterday afternoon I partook in a village excursion ( organized by the mayor & co. ), through the forest complete with pit stops and a fabulous bunch of people. People from all four suburbs went along on the long walk which ended up in St. Kathrein for a well deserved rest at the finish. Rest a la Burgenland of course. I'll let you read between the lines.
All together we must have been a group of twenty odd and some were seasoned walkers nary breaking sweat while others were glad to stop along the way to lean against trees, sit on the third rung of the ladder of a hunter's lookout or avail themselves of the open boot of the support van. You didn't really think that we would carry all those refreshments, did you?
At one stage one of the men standing next to me dropped his walking sticks ( the Nordic kind ) and without thinking I bent down to help pick them up. Well, I must have a reputation of helping the oldies because he straightaway told me he wasn't old enough yet to need my help...Goodness me even I can see he's miles away from requiring my help!
This morning was sort of earmarked for a rest from walking but the birds were singing, the sun was smiling and it was madness not to venture forth. Oh, today was an extra special walk as I met up with four lots of walkers and friends along the way. Look, here in our neck of the woods one doesn't just wave and march on...no, we stop to shoot the breeze, exchange our good fortune at where we are allowed to live and the odd bit of gossip. Only a wee, wee bit!
Those few conversations along the way were manna for the soul. Often all it takes is a smile here, a nod of greeting there and a few minutes spent talking about nothing, yet really everything. A friendly greeting or smile costs us nothing yet might just make the world of difference to the other person.
Nice to think that this barrel of wine is still providing joy despite being cut in half.
Up to the 1950's I would have been very fashionable in my buxom way. Curves, curves and yet more cuddly curves were the order of the day and how could it not have been so after a dreadful number of years where so many didn't have enough to eat. Memories are notoriously short and the baby boomers decided on a more slender ideal to aim for. Who can ever forget Twiggy kick-starting that image revolution ?
Companies have had a ball selling us potions, lotions and notions, knowing full and well that most of us have a better chance of flying to the moon than of sustaining thin proportions. Keeps us coming back for more and filling their coffers along the way.
Well, finding a pair of denims that are trendy, comfortable and don't make one look like a stuffed sausage is nigh on impossible. A few months ago I thought I'd hit jackpot and in my euphoria bought two of the same thinking ahead to when the first one would disintegrate. Gosh, what a feeling walking out of a shop with not one but two pairs of jeans in my possession.
I put the first pair through a thorough wash ( poisonous dyes ) before wearing them for a night on the town...a trip to Stubits down the road. Walking there was great but after sitting for a while tasting their delicious potables, I got up to go home and my pants seemed to have stretched to such an extent that they resembled ghetto pants. There is nothing more irritating than having to hitch your pants up every few minutes.
Being in town yesterday and being an optimist, I gave the denim quest another go. Buying and trying on clothes is my least favourite chore. The first two shops only had the stretch sausage shape variety. In desperation I thought I would give one of the more illustrious shops in the mall a try. A friendly gal in the front directed me to the back of the store where they kept a few bigger sizes ( 14 -16 ). Almost like a walk of shame.
As only happens in loftier shops, a sales woman miraged next to me seemingly out of thin air and asked what I was looking for. No mincing of words for her. She was of course more of a size 6 but sadly, her expression resembled that of a person who'd just eaten a sour lemon. Head tilted back, nose quivering and disdain etched on every contour of her face. Not a good look. Very off putting and dare I say, slightly intimidating. Not to mention her ennui at having to look for a size 16. " Ooh, we don't carry many of those. ".
Let's just say that I felt uncomfortable and wasn't certain if she was size-ist or thought I couldn't afford the jeans. One does catch more flies with honey and I liberally doused her in it until some of her sour expression disappeared.
Perhaps next time I venture into her territory, I will emulate a Greek bride and pin my money on my clothes...