Saturday, 30 September 2017

A Trailer Full Of Grapes.

A sign of belonging...

This really will show my age without a doubt but it has to be. A long long time ago, ads for cigarettes were ubiquitous. The most exclusive of these ads were created for the cinema and left most of us mere mortals wondering at the lives of the rich and famous. Subliminally we were told that all we'd need was to have a cigarette in our hands to change our lives for ever. Ironic, isn't it? A particular one that springs to mind was the Peter Stuyvesant one.

Smoke a Peter Stuyvesant cigarette for your international passport to smoking pleasure.
Now we just shake our heads at such stupidity, but back in the day one was tempted to inhale this passport. If only to also be able to sit aboard a luxury powerboat, looking pretty and being surrounded by smoking hunks!

Well, yesterday was the day to harvest the Uhudler grapes and it took five of us three hours to do the actual picking. When every last grape was harvested they were put into red crates, which were stacked onto a trailer. A trailer being pulled by a car ( small fry in the harvesting department as the big guns drive huge tractors...ultimate passport indeed ) which I had the fortune to sit in.

It was a sunny and bright day yesterday which meant that the Who's who of Eisenberg & Deutsch Schützen were harvesting. Even as I picked the dark, plumb and sweet Uhudler grapes in my row, I could hear the jolly banter of pickers in the next vineyard only interrupted by the sound of tractors fetching the crates.

Driving slowly to our cellar to de-stem the grapes, we passed several villagers along the way. When they saw the trailer bursting with grapes they gave us a nod of acceptance and belonging. Being seen pulling a trailer full of grapes can almost be likened to our passport to village pleasure...


Friday, 29 September 2017

A Few Flowers On A Friday.

Seen out and about the neighbourhood.

It was an overcast day on Tuesday and I was happy to stumble across these colourful irises.
A garden with still some magic in it. There is a little square fenced off from the vegetable garden and it is inundated with flowers.
Same garden, different beauty. Don't you just want to pick a bunch?
A natural bunch...
A red vine leaf made luminous by the glorious morning sunshine.
A local Kellerstock that never ceases to surprise me. I can almost picture a string of generations toiling, sitting and chilling in front of it throughout the last few centuries.


Thursday, 28 September 2017

A Foggy Start To The Day.

...the shores of Burgenland?

With a bit of imagination one could see this as a tree house on the shores of a lake.
Deutsch Schützen by the sea...fogged in for most of the morning. A nebulous affair.
A romantic's dream environment. Thoughts can gallop to their heart's content.
Oh yes, it is a vineyard despite it resembling the shores of lake Deutsch Schützen.
The fog makes a divine foil for the birds. All over the village they are gathering for their holiday to come.
A bit further along, almost in Eisenberg, the fog lifted and made for some stunning sights.


Wednesday, 27 September 2017

The Season Of Giving...

This Sunday our new mayor gets elected.

Either I can't remember the last time or we were off the beaten track in regards to elections. Every four years I think or is it five? It all started a few weeks ago when an unexpected knock sounded throughout our house. Who could it be I wondered as I rushed to change out of my pj's. Bob was outside but he loves to call me regardless of my frantic whispers;

" Don't call me outside cause I am already in my pj's. "
Men, what can one of the local politicians was handing out flyers and gifts. A plastic container with about ten plasters inside. Very useful, a gimmick similar to these odd little gifts that make the rounds of Christmas giving. Can't really use them, can't really toss them out.

A week later the next knock on our door. At a more reasonable hour this time as it was before five in the afternoon although a bit dicey considering that all and sundry are glued to Sturm Der Liebe. What would you know, a different party affiliation and this gift was a small padlock & keys and of course the pamphlet. A security conscious party. Safety in the forefront. We shook hands and that was that.

On Monday I ran into the last of the politician in town while he was doing the rounds and luckily he gave me the gift ( which he said was for Bob ) and pamphlet. Well, this gift was far more substantial indeed. A Swiss army knife in grey, logo discreet and heavy to hold. Say no more, say no more...a winning gift indeed.

Bob was thrilled to have it. From corkscrew to what looked like a toothpick to me, but Bob said it was a screwdriver. Gosh, that could have cost me a few teeth indeed. What would I do without Bob...!


Tuesday, 26 September 2017

" Good Things Happen Regardless "

Wise words indeed.

It pays to listen to Radio Burgenland because during their daily lunchtime interview a young woman mentioned this sentence and like those rare nuggets of gold, this one is a keeper.

Good things happen regardless.

The chariot had its final exam for the yearly C.O.R ( rather quaintly it's called a Pickerl here ) and passed with flying colours. A good thing considering that it is over fifteen years old. Going to Pree's is a treat as they are so friendly, efficient, offer a cup of coffee and to top it off...they park the car in a way that yours truly doesn't need to manoever elaborately to drive out the parking bay.

Today I headed out the parking lot feeling as if I'd won the Lotto. Older cars and garages usually spell financial straits. Destination Kohfidisch in order to get groceries. Cat litter and cat food being the main culprits. Even that little sojourn at the supermarket was nice as I met up with a friend and had the fortune to chat for a while.

The current negative emotions, cantankerous almost gladiatorial rumblings and devastating catastrophes encircling many parts of the globe make it even more vital to find the good in life.

Good things happen regardless.
Once you look for them there's no stopping. Twisting the chariot through the delightful village of Badersdorf I came upon a purple rose. The Rose house, the one at the end of the t-junction is always a treat to drive past, but today especially so because of this exquisite purple rose.

The whole trip back home took only ten minutes but it was ample to brighten my mind-set. The foliage turning in colour and making the avenue of trees appear timeless in their yellow robe, aren't noticed by everyone driving along it but for me it was another good thing to happen today.


Monday, 25 September 2017

Whiskas Is Our Cat's Whiskers.

A picky eater is hard to please.

As you know the princess has tastes that are hard for Bob and I to please. We spend a fortune on victuals that we hope and pray she finds toothsome, driving far and wide to find it. Only the best will do or will it?

Thankfully we've got Tigger our feral lodger who has learned by the school of hard knocks to eat when food is given. She appreciates the ease with which she can tuck into supper. A walk to her feeding trough is far nicer than a long wait outside a mouse hole. So whenever Mausi turns up her nose at our offerings, we take her plate and give it to her grateful friend outside. Oh yes, a tad bit of jealousy has ensued.

Honestly, I prefer to shop on my own for her food as Bob isn't on board with buying new brands.

" You know she won't eat it, so why do you bother? "
For the last few weeks she's been happy with Gourmet Brand but I know my child and soon she'll turn her nose up at it and woe be us if we don't have an alternative for her. Gosh, she's rather skinny already.

Don't bother saying it because Bob and I both know ( and feel it daily ) that we've gone to far in pampering our kitten because now she's a spoil cat in regards to food. No denying that a picky eater is often the fault of parents.

Every time I buy Mausi's provisions, I add a new brand, just in case! Well, I picked up a box of Whiskas and tried it out the other day. Goodness me, the princess loves it. She even eats from the packet as I am emptying it onto her plate. So far so good, and so far the Whiskas seems to be the cat's whiskers...Long may it last.


Sunday, 24 September 2017

Some Of My Visual Impressions Of My Week.

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

A glimpse of upper Eisenberg....
The deer at the bottom of the Eisenberg. Walking that way on Friday gave me pause for thought. It was very early in the morning which might have coincided with the feeding time of wild pigs. My only encounter with wildlife were those deer but believe me, I walked even faster than normal to stop being an appetizer.
About half an hour later the sun put a sheen over the neighbourhood and I couldn't resist taking this photo.
Plump and ready to transform into heavenly manna.
One of the newly renovated Kellerstöckl had this old fountain outside the main door. I don't know whether you can see the date but it reads 1926. Unless it is a reproduction, many a buckets were filled from it.
The colours are changing and making the tapestry of nature even more warm and eye catching.


Saturday, 23 September 2017

A Killer Bratlfett Sandwich.

Meat by proxy.

The weather turned back at the last minute from joining the wintry climes and thus the sun was out en force. Divine, delightful and a great last day for my uncle and aunt on their holiday. Even though Eisenberg provided rain and cold for most of it they were undaunted merely taking it in their stride.

Margit's Heuriger was a great choice to eat in yesterday because whilst sitting there with family I discovered ( or rather re-discovered ) yet another gorgeous side to Eisenberg's vineyards.

Bob was working and at first I didn't want to go without him but like any woman worth her salt, I changed my mind and drove there at four. Yes, early bird specials for my suited me just fine because I had a pot of vegetables to consume and a cat to console. A few hours for a snack, a chat and an Achtl of white wine was just what the doctor ordered.

Funny how life works sometimes. The owner of the Heuriger has driven past me for the last six years while I was on my daily walks. A wave, a hoot and a nod for years but hardly any close-up greetings. Once we met up outside the bookshop at the mall and honestly, I have to admit that I hardly recognized him without his car.

The others ordered big meals, warm meals but I wanted a Grammelschmalz Brot. In fact I had been dreaming of it all afternoon long. All well and good but they were out of it.

" Don't worry, I can highly recommend the Bratlfett Brot. You'll like it. "
Oh, when the meals came all the plates were piled high with food apart from mine. Mine had a long slice of rye bread covered with a thin layer of this Bratlfett and sliced onions. All I can say is that after the first bite my taste buds went rapturous with sheer joy. Oh my, what a fabulous taste indeed. A meal so very simple yet with an abundance of flavour, a flavour that wasn't on track to antagonize the wine's essence but rather it enhanced the wine.

Gosh, I nearly forgot to tell you what a Bratlfett actually is...when you do a roast pork ( one with a layer of fatty skin on it ) a lot of the fats congeal at the bottom of the roasting dish. A melting pot of flavours often thrown out due to weight concerns. Well, this layer of fat is smeared on a slice of freshly baked rye bread and garnished with onions. Try it sometimes, you won't be sorry.


Friday, 22 September 2017

Whiling The Time Away At The Automobile Surgery.

The chariot went in for a few things.

The annual C.O.R. is here again and I cannot tell you how overjoyed I was when the only things to repair were a new set of shoes and a tiny bit of welding on the chariot's flank. Yeah, fantastic seeing that it has more than fifteen years on its clock. They sure don't make them like they used to...

Anyway, I booked a spot at a garage and came prepared. When I booked our car in, the mechanic told me that I could wait for it. A blessing as otherwise it means coordinating lifts and a few days without transport. Overnight stays tend to automatically grow in girth.

Bob was at work so I drove on my own, equipped with a Deon Meyer book and warm clothes. This garage is rather full to the rafters with cars, engines and all those bits that go with it and for a moment I wasn't so sure I'd get a chair to while the time away in. Thankfully the owner showed me a few chairs in the office / storeroom and that was great.

I found a chair and was transported back to Cape Town and the divine murder plots from Deon Meyer. Some of the scenes I could picture in my head as this novel is set in the Franschhoek wine region. A region I've explored a few delightful times!

The door to the workshop was open and the sound of some pressure equipment made it hard to concentrate so I took stock of my surroundings. Yes, there it was...the half clad ladies stuck to the wall, the smell of oil which oddly was nice and spares filed methodically yet on first glance it emitted a touch of ordered chaos. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

It felt oddly comforting to sit and ponder life within these environs and perhaps mostly due to the mechanic taking care of our chariot and keeping it fit for another year. As for the time spent waiting, I don't mind at all. There are certain places one goes to where time and the keeping of it should not be the main consideration...Hairdresser, Garage, Doctor's.


Thursday, 21 September 2017

Finding A Flying Dragon In Eisenberg,

After a long search.

A friend had told me about this amazing fruit tree that she had discovered on one of her numerous walks about the neighbourhood. A tree that is sort of out of its natural habitat and yet not really as it has put down roots near the Deutsch Schützen vineyards.

She described the bush ( not yet a big tree ) in detail but she couldn't tell me on which walk she'd seen it. A challenge for me indeed. Oh, I was going to discover this exotic fruit. Kind of like a miniture orange cross lemon, in looks similar to walnuts, but with many long thorns to protect it from people like me!

These last few weeks I have walked all my usual paths and then some more but hadn't found this elusive tree. Many times did I dither in front of trees that clearly were walnut trees and often I hovered near various bushes along the road trying to find the thorny goal.

Well, this morning I almost did cartwheels when I stumbled across this divine fruit tree. Their similarity to oranges drew my attention and when I stepped closer I noticed the big and abundant thorns. Yeah, I had found it. Truth be told, I had walked this way many a times but had only looked to my left.

When I got home just now I had a look for its proper name and found out that it is called:

The Flying Dragon....Poncirus Trifoliata
Wow, how marvelous. A dragon in Burgenland, rather rare in the plant variety....

Don't they look splendid?
A hint of vineyards in the background...


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Mighty Walnut.

Walnuts lining the verges.

Our house is book-ended by two walnut trees yet we don't seem to treasure them as we should. Now and again when we go shopping and see the price of walnuts does it gives us pause for thought. Thought to go home and collect those walnuts.

For a few winters we pretended to be squirrels and hoarded hundreds of walnuts but each time the two of us forgot we had them and sadly they were then tossed out in the spring. Rather leave them for the real squirrels.

Yesterday afternoon a father along with his young son came to collect walnuts across the road from us. It was precious to see the little boy have such fun finding walnuts among the tall grass. Surely a golden nugget of a memory for him to tuck away for the future. Not many of these wholesome tasks left in this modern age.

This morning was our Leben im Dorf walking hour and despite it looking more like the beginning of dooms day with the appropriate wind howling alongside it, we met up for our walk. More a case of nobody wanting to be the first to throw in the towel because of a few rain clouds. Little did we realize that the wind was so strong in places that it buffeted us from side to side.

At one stage we walked under a walnut tree when a gust of wind came to life. Goodness me, I've never seen anything like it. Nuts were being shaken loose and hurled toward us with unseemly force and directness, but luckily we sidestepped that danger. Imagine having to report to my boss that I'd lost two villagers to flying walnuts...


Tuesday, 19 September 2017

An Avocado A Day...

Those were the days.

Look, we've got more apples than we know what to do with dotting the lawns under trees. Red ones, green ones and in between ones but the one thing we don't have are avocado trees.

South Africa the land of sunshine. Sunshine and fruit. Avocados being on my mind today. I remember that at one of the places we lived, there was a huge avocado tree in the garden. Those lovely buttery avocados. Big almost twice the size of a normal fruit and more paler in colour with a more buttery flavour. Most of us didn't realize how healthy they were and it was way before the now fashionable Sushi Restaurants sprouted from every street corner.

Gosh, just thinking of it makes my mouth water. Cutting an avocado in half and either eating it plain with a dash of salt or spreading it liberally on a well buttered slice of toast was as easy and normal as eating an apple from the garden.

Those were the days indeed as now, eating an avocado is a symbol of luxury and not often had. Paying a euro fifty for one tiny fruit, one where you often risk the chance of the flesh being brown, takes some getting used to especially since I recall a time when I picked them of our tree in the back garden.

Now and again they have a special and we spoil ourselves. As you can imagine we don't leave a hint of green stuck to the peel. There's only one bit missing and that is the divine South African bread. As much as we used to moan about only getting the rectangular loaf, now I miss it. Nothing more scrumptious than a fresh slice of white bread encased in either peanut butter, avocado or the more sedate hint of Marmite.


Monday, 18 September 2017

Wine Harvest And Farmers.

The white grapes are in for it...

As you know Bob is working full time for a vineyard and won't be there with us today during our harvest. Look, the white grapes are not so prolific and the whole process won't take very long. There are going to be eight of us and before we know it we'll be sitting having a nice Buschenschank meal.

To think that a whole year's worth of hard toiling in the field will culminate in today's harvest is somewhat unreal. A race against the weather as one can only begin to harvest when the sugar content is at the optimum level. A cold front is on the way but thankfully today we were awarded a nice gap in the less than seasonal climes with blue skies wrapped in sunshine. Saturday and Sunday were full of rain and a professed cold front seems to be arriving tomorrow.

Farming of any sort is not for the faint of heart. Imagine having your whole year's work and of course income destroyed by a few days of out of kilter weather? The world seems to celebrate actors, singers and money wizards en masse but the real stars of the world are farmers. Don't forget that all the money in the world is useless if there isn't any food to buy...We should start to celebrate farmers and their hard work not to mention the risks they face on a daily basis.

Next time you go to your grocery store give some thought to those hard working farmers and with your next sip of wine take some time to ponder the long labours involved in making the perfect tipple...

Getting everything ready for today's harvest. Cleanliness is next to Godliness...


Sunday, 17 September 2017

A Rainy Sunday With Apples, Pears And A Cat.

A perfect Sunday to relax.

Yes, it was and still is raining cats & dogs but I walked and it was refreshing. I came across so many fruit trees and this might explain why deer love being around us.
Bob and his girl...she absolutely adores him and when she wants to be picked up she merely sits in front of Bob and meouws with just the right touch of sadness to tear him from the computer.
Next to the apple tree is this old pear tree. Aren't these pears amazing?
Who do you think is happier? So heartwarming to see and I wish you could hear Bob talk to her...
Temptation in the vineyard...
A bit of stretching while having her stomach scratched. Ultimate sign of trust in us.
Just love this little monkey. She is so clever and steers Bob to wherever she wants to have an inspection of her realm.


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Far Too Early To Count.

Breakfast by numbers.

Me man, you woman - you ask...As per usual my one and only sent me ahead to find out about breakfast and how much it cost and being the eh, good wife that I am or rather because I was tres hungry, I did;

" One forty a deca. "
For a moment I thought I was talking tongues or at least she answered me in a strange dialect or gosh, language? Startled to say the least, I asked her again about the price of breakfast with the same result.

Clearly I wasn't the first because eventually she took pity on me and told me that breakfast was charged by weight. Yikes, coffee too? One euro forty cents per deca ( which took me a long while to work out to mean one hundred grams here in Burgenland ).

Already it was just gone eight in the morning which surely should be prime time for the breakfast crowd but this restaurant was devoid of customers and the whole rigmarole of having to guess the weight of a Bretzen, slice of salami never mind a glass of juice proved to much. No, plan B was needed.

We had to be in Oberwart at the crack of this Saturday morning to see a tentacle of the medicine machine. No, no, nothing serious apart from not having anything to eat beforehand. That's why we were searching for breakfast in Oberwart. The XXLutz restaurant where we know they do a nice fry-up, had the gall to still be closed at 8.30 on a Saturday morning...well, they lost our spending dollars. Mackey's ( local slang for McDonald's ) was vetoed by both of us as Bob was right in saying that their egg Mcmuffin sort of tastes like a hamburger even though their coffee is good.

Hunger and irritability ( don't they tend to go hand in hand ) made it vital to find a grazing post.

" Bob, why don't we go to Aloisia's in Badersdorf and then we can shop for groceries in Kohfidisch? "
At first he wasn't keen but the thought of waiting for the nine am kickoff made him do a snap decision, turn the car around and within ten minutes we were seated in our local breakfast den having our first sip of of their delicious brewed coffee. You know, there is nothing nicer than to sit and have breakfast with my honey while looking out onto the Badersdorf dales...


Friday, 15 September 2017

Not A Typical Friday.

A few thoughts form others...

" You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. "
Mahatma Gandhi
" To love our neighbor as ourselves is such a truth for regulating human society, that by that alone one might determine all the cases in social morality. "
John Locke
" To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society. "
Theodore Roosevelt
" A people that values privileges above principles soon looses both. "
Dwight D. Eisenhower
" The happiness of society is the end of government. "
John Adams
" An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind. "
Mahatma Gandhi
" It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness. "
Eleanor Roosevelt
" He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe. "
Marcus Aurelius


Thursday, 14 September 2017

I Noticed That He Wasn't Really Himself...

Two sides to every man...

The other day it was miserable and rainy somehow portending a cold and wet spell ahead. Today we are back to almost summer, bright warmth without the hot heat. A kind of morning where the greens are greener, the birds chirpier and the sky bluer. In other words a perfect Burgenland day.

School and Kindergarten have been back in business since Monday and their valued customers are still very happy to go to them. Long may it last! My walk coincided with the local school bus and as I walked past, a kindergarten customer was standing at the curb with her mum, eager to start her day. When she espied the school bus, she couldn't contain her happiness:

" Mom, mom, look, there's the bus. "
What's not to like about kindergarten...meeting up with friends, playing outside and learning new things.

This morning the road meandering through our vineyards was unrecognizable...traffic galore. Tractors, trucks and many cars made today more of an obstacle walk for me.

The end of my walk was in sight when I got a bit of a fright. Not that I'd done anything wrong, but regardless the sight of a man in uniform makes me straighten up and be more careful. No walking in the street for me.

Well, it turns out that some ingenious person has done one better than a radar trap...even I, on foot, slowed down respectfully and was just about to shout a greeting when I realized that he wasn't really himself!

Enough to take the foot off the pedal...
Good idea, isn't it?


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Waiting For The Man In Black.

That time of year already...

It's nice and professional how our chimney sweep organizes his visits. We get a postcard with four dates on it. Service dates, sweeping times and for some, fortunate times. There are those that belong to the chimney sweep believers...touch him and set your luck on a good course for the next year.

No, I wouldn't dare although a few times Bob has had to give me the ' yikes, you are so embarrassing ' stare, when I tried to touch the sooty man's lucky sleeve with a fingertip. Soot everywhere and how can it not be when he has to squeeze into and onto the tiniest of attics to do his job. Mirror and torch dangle off his belt along with a well used scrubbing wire brush.

Our sweep is a sporty man in his thirties who's dressed as if he belongs to a S.W.A.T. team and usually has black soot smears on his cheeks in a soldierly fashion because our's is often the last chimney he'll inspect for the day.

Rather stupidly yours truly has done a spot of cleaning and tidying up before he arrives knowing full and well that he'll leave a trail of soot wherever he treads.

This morning it was jolly cold and a great reminder that summer is on its last legs and autumn is chomping at the bit. A time to start dressing warmly and to dust off our ovens. Which is also the reason for seeing the man in black today as he will make sure that when the first fire is lit, the puffs of smoke go in a celestial direction and stay there.


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Two Peas And A Pear.

The healthy way.

The other day mum came over and gave Mausi one of these cat's treats which are as processed as they come. I keep them handy for visits. The cat loved it but mum told me how she'd seen the neighbour's dogs go crazy over fresh vegetables and fruit. Crazy how, I enquired already having an inkling of what might be in store for our princess, remembering mum's attempts to make us fall in love with vegetables at an age where we only wanted chips, chocolate or anything processed.

At first I scoffed and laughed at the thought of our little one eating a raw carrot or perhaps delicately nibbling an apple. Never, yet the seed was planted in the back of my head and sprouted when I noticed Mausi eating two lone frozen peas that had escaped the freezer compartent. In fact, she was devouring them.

Quickly popping in at the folks just now, mum wanted me to take some fruit home and I told her about the pea effect...well, no stopping mum. If I hadn't mentioned that I have plenty of pears at home, I would have got a whole bag full.

" Mausi is craving fruit and vegetables because all you give her is that processed stuff! "
what is it with the near perfect art of parental guilt? Special courses taken while expecting?

A few moments ago I got home and was greeted warmly by her majesty. Well, I thought, far be it from me to deny her her delights and with big fanfare I cut little tiny slivers of ripe pear. My enthusiastic comments had her running to her feeding table but when she took one whiff or rather didn't get one, she turned to give me a look, a look of

" Gosh mum, really? "
and took herself back to her comfy blanket and slumber state...

Just to have the ability to prove to mum that I left no stone unturned and no carrot uncut, I will try this experiment again with either cucumber or carrot sticks but unless I wrap smokey bacon around it, I see dire turning vegetarian for our Mausi.


Monday, 11 September 2017

Knock, Knock, Knock On Wood.

The visceral side of life.

It was the ringing of our church bells that did it. Most of us Eisenbergers have an innate timer regarding the church bells. The usual easy times such as Sunday service and those often far too early Oh what a beautiful morning rings. But yesterday even the most experienced church bell timekeeper was confused. Odd times and odd chimes indeed.

I happened to be visiting one of the older villagers when during our conversation, the bells rang out at an odd time. Loud and clear yet we both were confused about the reasons for it. Don't forget that in a small village the ringing of bells means a news tidbit if not an invitation to join the priest for an hour or so. As it was just gone eleven in the morning, I was leaning towards firstly a wedding although, Friday isn't a day for it.

My friend was wondering if those bells themselves were being serviced but when about half an hour later they started again, we both tipped on a funeral being held even though neither of us had heard any bad tidings.

Word association can be ruthless and with the last note falling silent, the conversation broached funerals or rather the best way to rest. My first knock on wood came rather quickly when she asked me;

" Would you rather be buried in a crypt or a grave when the time comes? "
Oh my, with verbal dexterity I tried to shift the conversation to happier topics, but for some reason this one stayed on her mind and she gave me examples of the various local crypts in the graveyard and how one of them had been opened and cleaned a while back. Good grief, seeing it in a movie is one thing but hearing it in reality quite another.

Look, my stalwart topic of Mausi did the trick of diverting attention to a much more happier state of mind. It turns out that her neighbour has four kittens who most days hop over and play with her and by the sheer elation on her face, I am sure that they'll add years to her life.


Sunday, 10 September 2017

Wandering & Wondering.

Any introvert's delight...

There is nothing nicer than to set out on a long Sunday walk and preferably very early in the morning. The roads are clear, hardly anyone astir and thoughts can run wild with abandon. Yes, some of you might prefer the outer rings of sleep on Sundays, but each to their own.

This morning the man with the huskies passed me and we had a little chat. Last time I met him, he is a young man of about my age, he told me how he walks about four hours each and every day. Wow, respect. Those tidbits set my mind on the various circuitous routes and I imagine the home he lives in, the wife he has and the work he does. Often, I embellish it with colourful ideas as not everyone has four hours to spare daily.

A few new and also renovated Kellerstöckls are neck on neck up on the upper echelon of the Weinberg and as groovy as their location sounds, they are anything but. Modern, new and rather boringly generic. Authenticity is nowhere to be seen and I am again wondering about the people who live in these places, and why they had to import their big city style to our small village?

Then there are the houses that are still in their original style which have only been freshened up where they needed it. How delightful they must look inside, how much history the walls contain and how good it must feel to live in them.

Of course often I wonder about the mundane things of life such as whether Bob's made a nice Sunday breakfast for us and who's turn it is to do the dishes...


Saturday, 9 September 2017

Thank Goodness She Had A Collar.

The best laid plans...

What a busy morning we've had already. The plumber got here just before eight to sort out the radiators and left close on nine. Early enough for me to fit in a walk before having to go and clean.

Dressed with a jacket, yes summer is in our rear view mirrors, I set off down the road and within a hundred meters ran into one of our neighbours. He stopped and we had a chat about this and that. Anyway, I motored on and happened upon a black bundle of energy.

With exuberance a black Labrador puppy galloped towards me. I had seen it out of the corner of my eye yesterday afternoon while driving but it was a bit further down the road. My heart skipped a beat when I imagined this little beauty having perhaps spent an evening outside in the cold all alone.

It played with me, it playfully nipped my hands and circled me with such love and devotion that I stopped and played with her for a few minutes. The puppy was wearing a red collar so I knew she belonged to someone. But who? I scanned the road but saw nobody. How could such a sweet and pretty puppy not be missed?

Walking further was out of the question by the mere fact of her following my every footstep and without a leash I couldn't take her with me. Although, deep down in my heart I hoped that someone had left her because I would have taken her home in a minute even facing family opposition from Mausi & Bob.

Luckily or rather sadly I notice another neighbour coming out into their driveway and I called out to them about this cute puppy. Yes, it belong to the next house and this pup loved to skip her environs in search of playmates going even so far as dropping a favoured toy on a neighbouring doorstep in anticipation.

It took the three of us at least five minutes to persuade this dear little thing to return to her yard but not before she'd captured my heart...When I returned home mere minutes later I regaled Bob and Mausi about this cute dog and perhaps laid foundations for one of our own someday.


Friday, 8 September 2017

Amazing Maize.

A simple walk gave me so much pleasure.

Nothing spectacular in the scheme of things yet everything to appease the soul and gladden the eyes...
A happy mingling of stalks, blades and maize.
Even from afar these maize fields are spectacular and create a nice pause in nature's story.
It seems the brightness of the cobs are sapped from the leaves. Some sections look like dried paper which bodes an end to these fields.
A different input to our minds which are overloaded with the happenings of life. Stunning in its simplicity.
Finally, the moon we saw a few days ago while eating out in Hungary. Isn't it just perfect?


Thursday, 7 September 2017

The Beauty Of Hungary.

On our doorstep.

Sadly we only really get to discover the real treasures around us when family or friends come to visit. Within a half an hour we can be in another world. In fact, even century. Köszeg was our destination yesterday.

How cosmopolitan it sounds when a lunch in Hungary is on the cards. In my mind it seems miles away but we had lunch and walk through the town's square and where home three hours later.

The true tourist season is over and we could meander about without bumping into myopic smartphone holders. The center of Köszeg has character and charm because it hasn't been perfected. Walls have cracks, paint is chipped and it is much better than any botox'ed city readied for tourists.

There was one square set around an old church ( aren't the best places usually? ) that was breathtaking in its originality. No modern windows, no modern architecture and no modern street. Cobble stones patterned the street, double windows with a space in between for either cat or cactus look out onto the square and emblems with dates stemming from the early eighteenth century gave me pause and let my mind ponder upon the lives had and hopefully enjoyed.

Taking photos would have been besides the point as these marvels need to be absorbed first hand. Is there anything nicer than to imagine lives lived in historic buildings?

In a world where newer, better and shinier are the norm it is far from easy to find authentic and old buildings but so far all of the towns centers I've had the fortune to walk through in Hungary are still untouched by the need to impress with bling bling...


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

A Surprising Restaurant Find.

Don't be deceived by appearances.

Bob and I have driven past this sign so often, more than we can count and at times we'd speculate what it would be like. After all it was a handwritten sign giving name and opening times.

The restaurant is a kilometer after the Hungarian border post and not more than about 20 kilometers from us. Last night we took a chance and found an amazing place. My folks are here and the four of us sat on the huge veranda, surrounded by fabulous views and despite it being a Tuesday evening, many other diners.

The menu has a German byline for every dish and it was fun to choose which one to have. All of us took a stumble at the Wiener Schnitzel but only for a second as we decided to have proper Hungarian dishes. When in Rome and so forth.

As we were talking English the waiter automatically fell in with us. How great is that? I ordered the Hungarian Gulasch and wow, it tasted fantastic and the portion was huge. Bob had a big plate of meat surrounded by roasted garlic potatoes which caused me to point out numerous birds and a tiger walking behind him, while keeping my fork ready.

Aren't we all creatures of habit when it comes to food? Trying something new was a breath of fresh air and another amazing experience in our Eisenberg adventure...oh, and it was very reasonably priced. Under 10 euros per head for food and plenty of beer & wine...


Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Harvest Has Begun.

The vineyards are alive...

I noticed it this morning as I went for my walk. There were sounds and sights that told me something was afoot. Tractors were idling, voices were heard and that distinct sound of buckets clunking against each other.

It was too early in the morning to separate the grapes from their vines but everything was being readied for it. The white grapes are first in line and I can't wait to taste the result.

Isn't it strange how the various grape varietals take different times to ripen? Harvesting of the reds is only in two to three weeks time. This time of the year is a happy time. A time to be thankful for the harvest, a time for family to reconnect and a time to reflect.

I love the fact that family arrives to help out. Sons who've left for the urban jungle long ago, come home and pitch in. Somehow I think that they relish being able to drive a tractor through muddy lanes, pick grapes and most importantly, sit around a big table with family and friends at the end of a long day.

The stuff of legends and legendary evenings...


Monday, 4 September 2017

Back To School.

Where have these last two months gone to?

The jury is out on whether mums are more happy to have a return to peace and quiet or whether kids are more upset at having to go back to school.

Monday is a rather cruel day to start the humdrum of learning and when I think back to my own scholastic adventure I tend to remember the week starting on a Wednesday. Not much is done that first week in any case apart from rehashing holidays taken and adventures had.

There are a brand of kids who are besides themselves with excitement at being allowed to finally attend school. The first graders have been counting down the days until they are out of the kindergarten scene and onto the big leagues. Learning to read and write will open up a whole new realm of adventures and possibilities. Unless it is that huge school cone filled with sweets and treats frowned upon by parents and loved by dentists that they will get to hold now and for prosperity. Who hasn't a photo of their first day of school?

There isn't much I remember from my first year at school apart from the sheer joy at being able to hold my own Schultüte and wearing a red little jacket that my mum had knitted for me. I loved that jacket. Oh, those were the days...

Getting up earlier than normal to send the various offspring to school won't be easy for many parents. Organizing packed lunches and getting to school in time will take a few days to get acclimatized to. Never mind waking up said offspring!

Anyway, the start of a new school year is a rite of passage, a marker of time and good way to impart more knowledge on hungry young minds.


Sunday, 3 September 2017

A Leisure Pants Kind Of Day.

The rain has arrived in style.

Bob and I were at his friends birthday BBQ last night and we had a great time. The whole crew was there it seemed although one often only sees the people sitting opposite in line of sight and maybe the answer is to eat standing up, while fashionably circulating among everyone. But I have to say that I was so impressed and proud of Bob when he had perfect conversations in German as one does around a table.

Our friends' kids, who have long ago hopped into the adult stage, organized a smashing BBQ for their father. Meats of every description, vegetarian delights, garlic bread, salads and a huge fridge stocked full with all of our favourites. Really great stuff, fantastic hospitality.

This morning we woke up bright and early to a rainy day. Early because our princess had had enough snoring and deemed 4 am a good time to jump on Bob's chest. He wasn't a happy camper. You know, a Sunday like that is precious. Rain makes it easy to stay home, stay relaxed and just float about the house in Sunday mode.

Both of us have donned our leisure pants, both of us have already read for an hour or two and now both of us have had a nice Sunday breakfast of friend eggs on toast.

These are the times where I'm glad the only distraction to a Sunday spent at home is the lure of the ice cream cafe in Rechnitz and even that pales when I look outside to see the much needed rain continue to fall gently on the ground....


Saturday, 2 September 2017

Saturday Again, Where Does The Time Go?

A few cheerful Burgenland images.

Almost an Eisenberg staple...the deer keep appearing in my path.
A nice Kellerstock in Deutsch Schützen's vineyards. Does look like a gingerbread house...
Pure, simple, beautiful.
The gathering of pheasants. One ran for cover in the maize field one flew off and these two ladies stayed to have a chat.
Another beauty cloaked in green...
It is so great to walk about and stumble from one cheerful sight to the next.


Friday, 1 September 2017

The D.I.Y. Generation.

A lucky lot indeed.

Maybe it's just being brought up in rural climes or an age thing, but I've noticed that men of a certain age are so adapt at making or repairing anything. Be it a chair, table, roof or shed. They were fortunate to grow up in those years where people foremost made things by hand with whatever material they could find.

They can fix anything and if not, they'll at least try whereas our generation, let's call us the Ikea lot never dream of making or repairing stuff as it is so easy to buy more. Yet, I have to say that buying furniture from Ikea has many tricky moments when it comes to assembling it. Not that easy either, is it?

Do you think it's the same as doing mental arithmetic? Before the calculator was invented all of us had to learn our times-tables and could easily add up numbers in our head.

Walking down the road yesterday I saw a retired Eisenberger busy building a shed. A nice shed. A well proportioned shed and one that has only taken a few days to organize. The minute a
' construction of sorts ' is noticed, one does a few drive-bys just to see what's happening. Everyone knows everyone and not stopping to shoot the breeze is rather rude and so I stopped to chat.

" Will it be a garage? "
" Actually it'll be a Wurstelbude for the neighbourhood. "
until he grinned I took him by his word and already envisaged many stealth forays down the road by Bob. Standing about a tall table, drinking a cold beer, eating a pair of Vienna's while talking to your buddies must eclipse any Rosmary Pilcher romantic film I at times force Bob to watch with me...