Monday, 26 June 2017

Three Storms In A Row.

Luckily not accompanied by hail.

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...

Biggi

Sunday, 25 June 2017

All About That Wild Daisy.

Prolific, beautiful and stunning.

They almost beckoned me over with their adapt poses. It rained last night and despite being happy their petals looked a bit downcast.
Dotting the local landscape to perfection. Hungary seems adorned by them.
Depending on the angle of the sunlight each daisy's yellow center takes on a different emotion and hue. Happiness here.
The various hairstyles of daisies...a bit of a daisy mullet.
The loner...
Mere photos don't do justice to the pulchritude of nature, Eisenberg and Burgenland.

Biggi

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Another Cut Closer To Being Wine.

An early morning spent in the vineyards.

Who'd have thought that something so old and bent could create the perfect sip? The older the better...
Goodness me, do they want to blend themselves? I had my work cut out, eh, cutting and chopping some order into these rows.
This morning we started at a quarter to seven while it was still cool. I thought I'd show you the before and after...helps to be tall.
Handcrafted vines. They are about a head taller than me. A great workout for arms.
How is that for an office view?
That last row proved itself rather tricky...once or twice I slid down the bank. A case of; now you see me, now you don't!

Biggi

Friday, 23 June 2017

Sweltering Hot Weather.

Where is that famous rain?

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...

Biggi

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Lavender, Bees & Weeds.

Our colourful garden.

We were given a tiny marigold plant ( Ringelblume ) and potted it...now the bright yellow flowers make us feel happy merely walking passed them. This photo reminds me of Laurel & Hardy or rather their hairstyle.
A happy buzzing right outside our front door. The lavender is just busy starting to blossom.
A sun lover it seems. The rich red of the flower fits perfectly against the bench.
Lavender, so soothing.
This year our recycled pig troughs have been given a mixed hue. Let's see if they all get along and survive the summer.
An uncut lawn ( or a piece of it in any case ) holds many botanical treasures. I tend to call this the white lawn...
Our four Uhudler vines are growing. Not enough for wine but more than enough for Uhudler jam.

Biggi

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Daily Lunch Box.

Organization skills required.

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.

Biggi

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

What Can Be More Peachy Than Apricots?

The sweetness of Prunus Genus.

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.

The next few days will be a treat...

Biggi

Monday, 19 June 2017

A Day Almost Too Beautiful To Be A Monday.

The weather couldn't be more stunning.

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?

A small glimpse of Eisenberg.

Biggi

Sunday, 18 June 2017

A Wheaty Matter...

The basis of bread...

In the last few days the wheat has ripened to a warm golden colour which is offset beautifully when mingled with green blades of grass.
Despite a warm and sunny morning, the wind was howling and thus creating a concerto movement amid the wheat fields.
It looks so velvety that one wants to brush the palm of one's hand over it. Smooth, like cream of wheat...
Between the isle...
No wheat in sight, but the bird in flight, a stork, was feeding in the field. He gracefully flapped his wings and took off to watch me walk passed him from a loftier height.
Well, not more than 500 meters further a stork of another kind had arrived. Our village seems to be having a baby boom. So far this year there are at least four new babies. Remember, we only number about 390 villagers...

Biggi

Saturday, 17 June 2017

House Cats And Their Extremely Fussy Culinary Habits.

Spoiled or not well?

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 delightful life of Mausi

Biggi

Friday, 16 June 2017

A Taste Of England Just Down The Road.

A nice interlude on a public holiday.

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...

Biggi

Thursday, 15 June 2017

A Quiet Reflection On The Simpler Things.

Each and every day I am in awe of nature.

Believe it or not, but this mauve stunner is a wildflower that often gets the chop of the ubiquitous lawnmowers of the neighbourhood. Even I did a turn with the lawnmower yesterday but couldn't get myself to go anywhere near this beauty with it.
No, your aren't seeing double...I wanted to point out that once you take your eyes off the stunners of the world, you actually see real beauty and depth of character.
This photo was taken on Tuesday while the wind was sweeping through our plains. Harmony of movement.
A bouquet of water plants beam out tranquility and serenity.
The quintessential view of summer...ripening cherries danglingly invitingly from a tree, lush green vines hurtling toward the finish line and the divine red poppies cheering one's soul.
The dew drops shaping the blades of grass in front of the landing at the local pond's edge.
Finally, our eclectic flower collection. Originally we wanted to only plant red flowers, but I love coming home to this colourful decoration in front of our house. There is a piece of material on the window sill, Tigger's permanent sleeping place. Even in the midst of winter!

Biggi

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Twenty-Four Is Quite Enough For My Reputation.

Who's going to fetch the next case?

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!

Biggi

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

A Happy Find On My Walk.

Abundance is everywhere.

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.

Biggi

Monday, 12 June 2017

Time, From Seconds To Eternity.

Hard to put a finger on it, isn't it?

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...

Biggi

Sunday, 11 June 2017

A Walk On The Vine Side.

A short yet delightfully long walk.

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.

Biggi

Saturday, 10 June 2017

The Flower Power Of Deutsch Schuetzen.

The garden committee excelled themselves.

Not forgetting the raison d'etre of our area the ladies of the 'Schützen garden committee outdid themselves yet again. I was waiting for someone outside the district office and had enough time to imbibe the beauty of their vibrant flower power display. Too beautiful.
Nice to think that this barrel of wine is still providing joy despite being cut in half.

Finding the ideal combination of flowers to make a harmonious whole isn't easy. Personally I love the vibrancy of the colours. So often flower displays tend to be muted and more suitable for funerals.
A view of our Hauptstrasse, a road peppered with a sprinkling of delightfully old farmsteads kept up and not ruthlessly exchanged for a modern edifice.
The whole picture...the seat of government in our village. Ah, if walls could talk!
Even driving through the village is a treat. Everyone makes such an effort with their front gardens.
The village in question from a distance. Taken this morning before the rain came.

Biggi

Friday, 9 June 2017

My Quest For Denims Foiled Yet Again.

There is something to be said for the traditions of a Greek Wedding.

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...

Biggi

Thursday, 8 June 2017

A Wonderful Thursday Morning.

A vibrant green after a day of rain.

A gentle curve in the lane. A different view of the vineyards.
I see this Kellerstock most days and often think about how nice it must be to sit there and have breakfast while imbibing nature...never seen anyone sit there though!
A typical holiday cottage. No stress, no worries and no lack of wine...
We do have big homes too and they are fabulously placed at the start of vineyards.
Oh well, today looks like an advert for estate agents. You will have seen this one last year when it was surrounded by autumn reds and I think I also showed you a winter scene. Regardless of the season, it is divine.
Lastly, this is one of the lavender plants outside our front door. Survived the winter without much care. A bee-bar of note.

Biggi

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Beds And Cats.

Housework is much more fun when one has an audience...

Our cat just loves anything to do with housework except for that noisy interloper called Hoover. When I do pull the beastly thing behind me all I can see is a cloud of dust where Mausi had been sitting. Does she really think I would direct the beast to gobble her up?

Yesterday afternoon I deemed it fit to change the bed linen. Her majesty was somewhere curled up and chasing rabbits but despite her slumberous state she always has a sixth sense about my movements. All it took was the delightful sound of my shaking out the duvet to make her hasten to the bedroom. Even cats are a bit dozy after waking up and thus she waited until the second duvet was being shaken before she gleefully jumped into the fray.

Almost like when we were young girls and had to time the rope being swung before jumping into it, so did Mausi time her entrance to the realm of duvets to perfection. There she was trying her best to stay hidden under the duvet and even my peek-a-boo attempts didn't tempt her out.

As scared as she is of the hoover, having the duvet thrown over her doesn't bother her. Only after I'd finished the last pillow did she feel a bit neglected and pushed her little face to the edge and gave me the cutest look. Naughty but holier than thou! She tried a stint of nosing about the freshly smelling pillow cases ( no Bob, she didn't sit with her derriere upon yours...or did she? ) and then chose to follow me on my next bit of domestic adventure.

Don't get me started about the broom masquerading as a mop. Oh, she can spend hours watching this rag covered broom being dragged across her line of sight. As she is our first cat I can't really determine if this is usual cat behaviour or if the universe is having a laugh at my expense, knowing that I am not overly fond of domestic chores yet also realizing that I have a tendency to read every wish from our cat's eyes and those eyes are hinting constantly.

Biggi

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

...I'm A Lumberjack And I'm Okay...

English breakfast at Aloisia's.

Every now and again Bob and I venture to our favourite breakfast place, although to be frank, we frequent it also for the scrumptious cakes on offer. There is nothing like an English Breakfast on a Sunday or a day off and sadly here in Burgenland we are in a minority regrading this breakfast treat. Continental just doesn't cut it with those brought up surrounded by the English way of life.

By coincidence we discovered that Aloisia has had the good idea to put a type of breakfast onto her menu which by again coincidentally resembles our beloved English one. The notorious Holzhacker / Lumberjack Breakfast.

Be warned, you have to be hungry to do it justice and if you haven't felled a tree before having it, you will have enough energy after having it. They say photographs are deceiving and airbrushed which is true in this case. The picture perfect plate shown in the menu sports two fried eggs, a few strands of bacon, plenty rye bread and a cup of coffee. Well, in reality...

Bob and I have brought friends in need of an English breakfast due to an overenthusiastic participation in wine tastings and family in need of a bit of wowing to Aloisia's and each time the plate had the following on it:

Between 4-5 fried eggs, almost a pack of bacon and a whole basket full of toast and bread rolls.
Did I mention that the coffee or tea ( black tea is an enigma in Austria so take care not to receive a cup of peppermint tea by mistake ) is included in the price? Well, including a cup of barista brewed coffee it costs euro 4,70. Unbelievable, isn't it?

As more family is coming to visit I have a feeling that very soon I will have the occasion to be reminded of England in paradise yet again. Can't wait...

Biggi

Monday, 5 June 2017

A Gallop To The Door.

A royal reception.

Even though it is a public holiday today, yes there does seem to be an endless supply and suspiciously they all fall on either a Friday or a Monday, my walking troupe walked. A lovely traversing of lanes meandering around the various vineyards while accompanied by the most interesting news that only a face to face can bring. Really, who needs a newspaper.

Last night's rain did wonders to the vibrancy of all the flowers and luckily so because this week a whole lot of family is coming to stay. Absolutely fabulous and somehow most of the Buschenschänke, castles and ice-cream parlours will be rediscovered by us. Oh dear, how ever will we manage...! Of course from now on there will be jokes starting with;

" An American, Austrian, South African, Gibraltarian and Bavarian walked into a Buschenschank...

But, back to the gallop. Whenever I tie up my shoe laces our Mausi knows that I'm going out. Her little head hangs low, her eyes give me a sad look that let's my heart melt and if she'd meowed, I would stay home but she usually gives me the cold shoulder and continues occupying her seat in the feline cinema. Today's flick featured two blackbirds, a neighbouring tomcat and a bug or two. Rather riveting.

As it's a holiday today, Bob is home so that Mausi wasn't alone but yet, when I got home from my walk ten minutes ago, I called out a greeting, no actually two greetings;

" I'm back! "
" Mausi, mummy's home. "
Pets and children get more attention it seems.

Well, I hadn't taken off more than my one shoe when I heard a plop followed by the sound made by running feet on a wooden floor. She careered toward me with such joy, speed and happiness that she collided with my feet. Too cute. Mausi and I have a ritual greeting. I pick her up and sling her over my right shoulder and she just loves it.

Bob's a bit miffed I think as he commended me on my good fortune of receiving such a royal greeting, one that he's never had the privilege of getting...even though, as I often remind her, he puts the food on her table.

Yes, a picture from last year, but now you can understand our love for this little cat...

Biggi

Sunday, 4 June 2017

A Saturday Morning Spent Mowing Among The Vines Of Eisenberg.

The Bobster has a new apprentice.

Granted, I took this photo while lazing about under an apple tree awaiting my master and perhaps further instructions. It was a picture perfect morning, complete with all the ingredients that make up Burgenland. Blue sky, green vines, Bremsen and the sound of lawnmowers hollering about. Even the odd ant trying its luck didn't deter me from lying in the shady side, waiting for Bob and counting our blessings.
A bird of prey was circling and suddenly many murderous plots read came to the fore. Who might be lying there?
A new bee hotel has been put up which gave Bob a bit of a pause but there were none buzzing about. Last week Bob's buddy from work gave him a huge jar of honey. Pure white and apparently the bees supped on Raps Blumen. although I tend to be a bit skeptical...
" Sorry little bee, this field is out of bound for you / Don't touch the roses, they are the Jones's food. "

My man at work...yes, it is jolly hard work but what a stunning office to work in...
A stately affair. Apples and grapes... Never hungry nor thirsty shall we be.
I mustn't forget the cherries. There are cherry trees big and small all around. Strange to think that in the shops a kilo of cherries cost roughly 5 euros while we've got them dangling in most gardens and forests.
The view from one of my perches while waiting for Bob. This is the other side of the Adaxl.

Biggi