Sunday, 31 December 2017

Sunshine And Nary A Snowflake In Sight.

A New Year's Eve different and sweet.

Perhaps my feelings of a warm winter in store are coming to fruition. Despite having eschewed a visit outside so far today, it looks pretty warm indeed. The roof tiles are witness to the sun's strength as now they are back to a healthy brown.

It has so far been a delightfully lazy Sunday spent at home. Bob and I had a nice batch of fried eggs on toast and then we leisurely lounged about the lounge. History documentaries back to back on the telly, which we both like to watch. About halfway into the first one, Bob disappeared into the kitchen and I kept on hearing sounds of activity emanating from it.

Bob, who has talked about it for weeks had taken the bull by the horns and made a batch of Chelsea buns from scratch. Good grief, nothing ordinary about Bob...straight to a difficult culinary hurdle. Mausi and I were dozing on the couch and only woke up now and again when a bowl was stirred too vigorously or when Bob deshelled walnuts from our garden by using a hammer. Twenty of them. Each with at least five loud hammer encounters!

I must say, making Chelsea buns seems a long and laborious affair although, Bob wasn't put off by it. On the contrary, he skipped and hopped in and out of the kitchen keeping me abreast of each step.

The final step of course was the best in the spectator's aroma of ambrosia had wafted into the lounge and into my senses. Is there anything better than the smell of fresh baking? Only one thing trumps that...the actual tasting of it.

Cunningly I suggested to Bob a divine way of testing whether they were baked to perfection.

" Take one and cut it in half. "
Hook line and sinker. Offering myself as a tester, I had the pleasure of tasting his Chelsea bun straight out the oven and it was fabulous. Not to sweet and the dough nice and fluffy. Dear Bob, that is the first of many Chelsea buns to be made and I can't wait to be the taster each time...I married well.

Isn't it fantastic? A slightly different Chelsea bun recipe...with apples, walnuts and apricot jam.
Oh dear, I don't see a long future for them...


Saturday, 30 December 2017

Shamelessly Exploiting Our Laissez-Faire Attitude Towards Maths.

Bamboozled by numbers.

Thankfully I am old enough to still use the rudimentary application of time tables and mind and not with aid of technology. Yet, with the constant use of computers and calculators, what used to be done spontaneously by mind ( tables taught well ) now takes a bit longer and often needs to be double checked by a tool.

The other day Bob and I were doing the stop and start along the isles of a supermarket when out of pure curiosity I took the time to look a bit further. As most items, be it coffee, chocolate, flour, cat food or toothpaste are staged in different sizes ( pack of 1,2,6, 12 or mega size ) most of us blindly grab the one within arms' reach . We don't want to stretch our arms up or bend down to look at the bottom shelves due to another one of our laissez-faire attitudes. This one toward exerting extra energy.

I took the time to cast my glance upwards whilst on tip toes and to my surprise I noticed that a pack of 1 was much cheaper than a pack multiples, for example if I had bought six singles it would have been cheaper by over a euro than buying a pack of 6. That is contrary to everything we believe in regard to shopping. Bigger sizes and quantities should really be cheaper, shouldn't they? Well, they are not and to make matters worse, the pricing isn't done in an easy manner. Sometimes it feels as if they put prices on that are not easily divisible by mind.

Most of us would spot the exploitation if for example:

  • 1 soap = 50 cents
  • 2 soap = 1,30 euro
  • 6 soap = 4,50 euro
but, what about when:
  • 1 soap = 56 cents
  • 2 soap = 1,38 cents
  • 6 soap = 4,98 cents
  • most of us would by the bigger quantity to save money! What I have started doing for a while now is to look at the price per kilogram of anything. Even if it is an identical product, the price per kilogram strangely enough is different depending on quantity. The only problem with that is the sneaky trick of supermarkets...they print it so small that one either has to lean up close or don a pair of reading glasses.

    Has our dependence of technology dulled our ability to reason or do most people not care if they are had by the bamboozling scheme of pricing...I'd love to see what will ensue now that it has become trendy to adopt Echo & Alexa into our families.


    Friday, 29 December 2017

    The Last Few Stunning December Days.

    Eisenberg, winter wonderland...

    The chill in the air makes this almost look like an old painting.
    A place to reflect, a place to dream and a place to see...
    Amazing how different winter is had a corner removed. A mere five hundred meters further, the iciness stuck to make a part of Deutsch Schützen shine.
    The clouds were gathering behind the Eisenberg and funnily enough, the forecast predicted rain an hour later...
    My favourite little bridge...over untroubled water.
    Just a shrub at the side of the road but upon further reflection it does resemble a Christmas tree of sorts...


    Thursday, 28 December 2017

    Time In Limbo.

    That fantastic in between week...

    You know, even now as I sit here writing this, I have to remind myself of the date, never mind the day. With all those recent holidays or one could even call them a week of Sundays, it has become near impossible to remember what day it is. Somehow every day this week had a feel of Monday to it.

    Most of us rush about on daily life and all its tribulations without ever taking a much deserved
    " time out " and this week between Christmas and New Year seems perfect to put one's feet up.

    Thankfully we don't have to travel anywhere during this week and personally, I think that makes all the difference. Often the stress of getting everything organized for a trip makes any trip too short. Staying at home is one of life's pleasures. No fuss, no stress and your own bed.

    A row of days where all that is of importance is what to eat, read or watch. A row of days to either sleep late, or not. A row of days to lounge in leisure pants ( often they are the only ones still fitting after the fabulous never ending feast had ), blanket and cat not far off. Marvelous.

    Bob and I have been delving into the Yorkshire dales through the wonderful lens of Downton Abbey. Finally we've watched the fourth season and it's once or twice crossed my mind how divine the Bobster would look with tails, sitting across from me during dinner. Both of us have forgotten how absolutely lovely this series is. A blast from the past, a much deserved rest from the less than genteel language, sentiment and manners circulating in politics...


    Wednesday, 27 December 2017

    My Faith In Youth Restored.

    A lovely surprise gesture, unexpected but oh so nice.

    As Jim Diamond sang, we should have known better! Going to the shops the first shopping day after Christmas is tres stupid let alone venturing forth to the Oberwart Shopping Emporium. A sea of faces, a sea of filled shopping bags, a sea of irritation and a whole lot of shop keepers rubbing their mittens in glee.

    Bob was on a mission and couldn't be deflected for another week. It had to be today and on the whole it wasn't too bad. Toys and video games mysteriously were marked down by almost 50% being that Christmas had gone. Why don't we start giving gifts after the event and save muchos dineros?

    The other week we'd managed to elicit a whole slew of cat food cans for Mausi at half the price and thus we were on the hunt for a repeat. Goodness me, we tried in four different shops and none of them had a special on. Hoping that the next one would have them at a good price, we ended up buying none in Oberwart and had to make a last effort in Grosspetersdorf. Else, the princess might starve.

    Bob chose to wait at the car ( which translated to Mars speak meant that he wanted to get home and was at the end of his tether ) and I ended up at Penny's with a compromise for this elusive cat food. There I was standing in a lonnnng queue with a mere two items in my hands. A young man with plenty of stuff arranged on the conveyor belt was waiting his turn and a couple with a trolley heaped to the hilt was also in front of me. A long wait ahead.

    The young guy ( about 18 ) turned and saw me with my paltry two items and caught my eye whilst saying:

    " Please, why don't you go in front. You've only got two items. "
    Wow, I was floored, chuffed and within seconds ahead of him. How nice indeed. Bob and I have been really disappointed recently at the lack of manners exhibited by the younger lot. Manners from the lower end of the scale such as greeting when meeting someone. Believe me, not a given at all ( regardless of age ).

    This young chap made my day by restoring my faith in the ability of humans to get along. Only this morning a friend of mine said something which is rather simple yet it has the weight of an Einstein theory attached...

    " How can we expect the world to stop fighting wars, when most families can't get along with each other? "


    Tuesday, 26 December 2017

    Following The Sun.

    The mystical beauty of a winter's morning.

    At the start of my walk the sun decided to throw off the nebulous blanket.
    Lower Eisenberg was as foggy as could be but the higher I walked the brighter it got. At one stage the skies were blue, the frost melting on the tarmac and sun was brilliantly present.
    One of nature's most spectacular display of the oscillating two step between fog and sun...
    The upper crust of Eisenberg was bathed in sunlight while I walked back into the nebulous valley.
    A few planks of a paddock, bare twigs and a sole leaf dangling precariously but happily defying the fate of its mates...and yet, a slice of winter at its best.


    Monday, 25 December 2017

    The Paradox Of Eating A Big Christmas Meal.

    Hours turn into minutes.

    I don't quite know when the advent of big meals starts, be it a week before, a day before or even longer. Festive dates and events loosen the reigns of grazing. An extra chocolate here, an extra helping there and before we know it, a constant yearning for more is had.

    Just this morning we had a divinely wonderful family brunch, a brunch were it paid to have a sturdy wooden table. Any other wouldn't have borne this lot...salmon, weisswurst ( yip, a great combo ), homemade creamed horseradish, cheeses from opposite sides of the channel, a selection of ham, eggs from those happy clucking chickens down the road, a prolific selection of breads and the obligatory bottomless cup of coffee made it a feast fit for a king.

    Not wanting to be rude, I sampled everything (except the weisswurst), twice, almost like the court taster of long ago. Even though Bob and I threw the brunch I have to admit it was scrumptious.

    My folks left after a few hours professing never to touch another morsel of food again and to be polite I chimed in. But honestly, here I was a few moments after they'd left looking for something to graze on. Goodness me, even now as I pen this my mind is fleetingly meandering through the inside of our fridge and shocked at the outcome.

    All finger foods have vanished and everything else needs to be put to pot. Why is it that eating a lot makes one even more peckish? Are those delightful Christmas meals a mere warm-up for the main event? All I can say is that I am extremely grateful to the foresight of shops to keep closed until Wednesday. Perhaps by then my insatiable drive to empty the larder would have been put to slumber until next Christmas...


    Sunday, 24 December 2017

    Christmas Time, Family Time.

    A day of connections.

    There seems to be an air of exuberance about. For the youngens it is a case of waiting to unbundle that heap of presents under the tree and for us slightly older ones, it is a day to spend with family. Be it online or offline.

    One can almost feel the good cheer everywhere. Hectic and stress have been left at Saturday's doorstep ( at least here in Austria as there is no trading on Sundays ). The last minute rush has already happened yesterday and so today is a day to unwind on couches, in kitchens ( okay, that might be a bit stressful ) and most importantly, with family.

    Bob and I are going to sample the local Glühwein soon as the local youth club is hosting a stand. More than that, it is a place for villagers to mingle, chat and reconnect over a hot toddy. Although, today is almost too warm for it.

    This is our seventh Christmas here in the beautiful part of the world and mingling with Eisenberger's over a hot toddy has morphed into a delightful tradition. This Glühwein event is also the only time where everyone goes home early. Christmas dinners to be eaten and presents to be unwrapped. Not a day to linger longer over a hot toddy or two.

    As cliche as it sounds, this weekend the world will be a gentler, kinder and happier place. Family, is there anything else?

    A Merry Christmas to everyone...


    Saturday, 23 December 2017

    And Suddenly The Cold Disappeared.

    Spring seems to be in the air.

    Only yesterday all was frosted over and it seems unreal to have such a warm day ahead.
    The rows of vines are standing neatly awaiting the new year ahead and all the attention centered around their life.
    I often wonder what these hay bales are there me they have become the halfway marker of my Deutsch Schützen route.
    Birds are gathering on twigs and branches perhaps discussing the madness of flying to warmer climes.
    The winding curves of the bike paths form a harmonious network between villages, vineyards and Buschenschanks.
    Aren't these two birds absolutely stunning? They let me come close enough to take a few photos before fluttering off in a mad rush to safer trees. The warmer weather has brought a song to most birds peaks and it was a pleasure to be accompanied by an twittering symphony...


    Friday, 22 December 2017

    Thomas Hardy, What A Pleasure To Pick Up One Of His Books.

    A few of his dictums.

    " That man's silence is wonderful to listen to. "
    " Some folk want their luck buttered. "
    " People go on marrying because they can't resist natural forces, although many of them may know perfectly well that they are possibly buying a month's pleasure with a life's discomfort. "
    " Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks..."
    " She was of the stuff of which great men's mothers are made. She was indispensable to high generation, feared at tea-parties, hated in shops, and loved at crises. "
    " I am not a fool, you know, although I am a woman, and have my woman's moments. "
    " I forgot the defective can be more than the whole. "
    " It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs. "
    " But some women only require an emergency to make them fit for one. "

    Thomas Hardy ( 1840-1928 )


    Thursday, 21 December 2017

    Frozen Beauty.

    A delight despite the cold.

    A few simple stalks can create a fascinating ensemble.
    The jetty on the pond might make a nice place to ponder.
    The sheet of ice is rather new and still has some rough edges on it. Aren't the air bubbles perfect in their uniformity?
    I love winter's colour arrangements...crisp, clear and very calming.
    Seemingly floating in space yet tangled permanently to a layer of ice. Well, at least until spring.
    Walking along Hummergraben this morning I couldn't help but notice this graceful group of friends waiting for something or merely whiling the time away, chatting about this that and the other...


    Wednesday, 20 December 2017

    Blessed With Chocolates.

    A chocolate for every occasion!

    People have been very kind to me and have made me the recipient of many chocolates. Plain bars, plain Lindt behind bars, Father Christmases and the all loved little pralines.

    At the beginning of December a friend gave me an advent calendar, Lindt behind bars, 24 of them which Bob has been taking it upon himself to rescue them from incarceration ahead of schedule. A prison break of sorts. The only time I was privy to the yummy flavour of miniature drops of yumminess was before Bob had espied it. For him there is nothing better and more of a reminder of his happy time in short pants as opening an advent calendar.

    Only on Sunday another kind friend dropped a few Ferrero Kisses for me and so far they've been kept hidden in plain sight. A huge box of Lindt Lindor balls have taken up residence on our window sill and who knows how long they keep that address.

    Funny how men won't find hidden contraband in plain sight...the best hiding place is at the bottom of the cleaning bucket, between old socks or at the bottom of the laundry hamper.

    For some getting chocolates is a cliche but I quite like it. It is the thought that counts and the thought that one is thought of makes all the difference. Chocolates have many uses. Either to sneak one now and again or to re-gift them to someone one thinks about...

    ...long may they live...


    Tuesday, 19 December 2017

    " My Home Is My Castle! "

    Never underestimate the power of owning your own home.

    As you know, Bob did spend a large part of Saturday building a home for our feral cat Tigger. A home that is dangling precariously over the window sill but a home that she has taken to heart and accepted. We are in the process of making it a bit more cozy for her and are on the hunt for a hot water bottle. Yes, we love our cats.

    Tigger is slowing down a bit and of late has given way to a lingering neighbourhood tomcat, he the gray one who lies in wait for feeding times. Yes, as feral as he is, he can't wait for fast food a la Biggi. Milk seems to be his treat as I watched him the other day lapping most of it up before Tiggi even had a chance.

    Last night an epiphany occurred...I was busy putting the food out when the gray sauntered nonchalantly up to the bowl but he was most surprised or rather scared stiff when docile Tiggi started hissing her might at him. She has rediscovered her fangs. Good for her.

    It has got to be linked with her new abode, a sparkling new open air property near our lounge which has given her reason to be feisty again. The gray cat lies within watching distance of her little shelter and even I can see that he would love to be in it. Tiggi hardly ever leaves her cushy seat of power lest he dethrone her. Often I catch her straining her neck to see where he might be.

    As it seems that the only time she vacates her new toy is during ablution times ( please let her go around the corner of our house for it ) and supper time, Bob and I will have to make it as comfortable as can be for her. She's earned a bit of a rest from all the long and lonely years of being a feral warrior.

    Our happy camper!


    Monday, 18 December 2017

    Ah, The Joys Of Travelling With Brick In Tow.

    A ride with a difference.

    There is a certain prestige attached to wheeling about in an old car. The older the better although we are a few decades away from driving the envy of our neighbourhood. An elderly Peugeot doesn't quite pass as an old Morris Minor.

    Don't get me wrong, I like our chariot with all its foibles and scratches because it does what a car is meant to do...gets us from A to B. Nothing more, nothing less. The only tiny bit of a drawback is when the climes drop below freezing. The handbrake goes on strike and one can pull it with all one's turns to putty in one's hand.

    Isn't it typical, when you haven't got it, you need it. Parking now needs to be thought out in advance. First gear refuses to take over as a deterrent for rolling backwards, and often there are just not enough parking places that are on the straight and narrow. Not to mention the fear of all driving students...a hill start.

    Bob rolls his eyes as he doesn't quite believe me. For some reason he usually finds flat parking spaces and has only once had to brick it up to keep my hysterical preditcions at bay. Unlike me who had a scary moment only this morning while parking on a minute incline which in summer doesn't need the aid of a handbrake but today made the car inch a few centimeters backward until I lodged a brick under the front tire.

    Yes, I tend to travel with brick or thick log and have become adept at speedily putting it in place. An hour or two later can get quite interesting and hair-raising as often the brick has decided to morph into an ice block unwilling to dislodge. Try edging a heavy car forward enough to kick the brick...not much fun.

    Rather quaintly, I have my own brick at a friends house, hidden near the wall and reserved for me only...not many others who'd need it anyway. Winter is an adventure of note, sometimes funny, sometimes horrible but hardly ever boring.


    Sunday, 17 December 2017

    A Gentle Start To Sunday.

    Third advent already.

    A sunrise well worth seeing and getting up for.
    Changing direction or rather turning the corner changes the play of light. Same bunch of trees but seen a few hundred meters further on.
    The tiny round chapel of yore was amazingly placed in the perfect spot. Seen from any side it shines a beacon of peace and contentment.
    Our own little house on the prairie...a hut along the shores of a local pond.
    As I walked past this tree the sun's rays illuminated those dried leaves to perfection.
    My posse of pals were waiting at the same spot as last Sunday. Today I could inch a bit closer before they decided to gracefully scatter out of reach. How cute are those pairs of ears sticking up and taking note of every one of my footfalls?
    It was a sheer joy to go for a walk this morning despite some patches of iciness on the roads...


    Saturday, 16 December 2017

    A Nice Retirement Pad For Our Tiggi.

    A well deserved break from foraging about...

    As you know our Tiggi ( feral feline friend ) has been residing on the outside sill of our lounge window come rain or shine but in our case, snow and ice too. Bob took action and made a beautiful retirement bed for her.
    Today he went about our yard finding odd pieces of wood to create this warmer place for our Tiggi. For some reason she loves to sit there watching all of us yet, the minute we step outside she skiddles off.
    Wow, Bob's amazing. He has such a kind heart that he didn't want her to freeze during winter. Last week he bought a soft cushion especially for her...
    That looks very much like a feline nod of thanks, or perhaps praise?
    Our gals gracing the various window sills.
    I think she's extremely happy. Bob's chuffed and I am thankful that she won't have to freeze too much this winter. At times she does go up into our attic which catches a lot of the warmth from heating.


    Friday, 15 December 2017

    Bob Comes Home And Pulls A Rabbit Out Of His Hat.

    Well, bag actually...

    A couple of days ago my one and only came home all excited and handed over a freezer bag which left me all agog. Ice cream? But no, we had been given a present of a rabbit. Not just any rabbit but an organic rabbit to eat. Somehow that makes me think of it hopping gaily about the meadow munching on several delicious bits of corn and wheat with the odd carrot in between.

    An old episode of Midsomer Murder flashed through my mind and it made me ask:

    " Schatzi, is there still some buckshot in it? "
    " Of course not! This is an organic rabbit. "
    but I could sense that he wasn't so sure. Before you say it, the same thought flashed through my on earth could I eat a cute little bunny? Yet, how hypocritical of me. Without a care in the world I eat grilled chicken, homemade hamburgers and bacon for a fry up. If I eat any of those than I shouldn't balk at eating rabbit.

    Both of us set off on another culinary adventure and were asking advise from those in the know ( or those who should know ) but mum admitted that she'd never cooked a rabbit. The trusty internet won and as I had a late lesson, Bob made the stew. Secretly I was pleased as the animal still had to be portioned off. Don't ask!

    I came home last night to a most delicious aroma wafting about the house. Bob kept adding a pinch of this and that which gave the stew a wonderful flavour. Eventually it was perfected and draped gracefully over a portion of rice. Somehow both of us were a tad bit hesitant at first.

    If I couldn't eat rabbit meat then I should stop eating chicken, beef or pork too. Those neighbourhood flock of chickens clucking at me as I walk past them are cuter than cute, cows are adorable and even pigs can make divine pets. Eating rabbit meat made me think of a whole lot of cliches we hide behind with our insatiable appetite for meat.

    Perhaps the answer to curbing this insane consumption of meat would be to kill our own chickens, cows and pigs...not as comfortable and easy as popping round to the local supermarket.


    Thursday, 14 December 2017

    A Beautiful Sunrise Welcomed Today.

    A great mindset.

    Within minutes the sky had morphed into this all encompassing aura of happiness and elation. A background perfect for a great day.
    Literally within moments the hue of a perfect sunrise slowly slipped away to make room for a blue sky. If only for an hours or so...
    On the other side of Eisenberg the blues had lost to the grays yet, still as pretty as a picture.
    The measure of winter seems to be the liquidity of water...a ditch close to the Chapel has become a quantum of the elements. Only last week it was iced over.
    Just a sign but it caught my attention. The way they've positioned it there entails a touch of artistic flair.
    A squirrel posed for me the other day and I couldn't leave it out. The two of us played hide and seek around the tree trunk. It struck the pose just long enough for me to click the button. Gosh, it was so quick that most photos of it were even more blurry. What a delightful character indeed.


    Wednesday, 13 December 2017

    Ginger & Co.

    There's more than coffee and tea.

    Somehow I had forgotten how good it tastes. An acquired taste but still, once you've taken a liking, afternoons aren't the same. Coffee in the morning is fine and often essential but thereafter the day has many hours where one feels like having a hot cuppa.

    A few slices of fresh ginger, a few slices of real lemon and a spoon of honey in a big mug filled with hot water, is fabulous. Is it that nice due to the knowledge of aiding and abetting a healthy body or an amazing skin tone or both? Regardless, winter makes it easy to have one or two big mugs of it a day. Strike two glasses of water off the to do list for the day!

    Ginger also gives a nice edge to fried onions, garlic and chilly for any stir-fry or stew. Honestly, if you chop the ginger as fine as can be even the lesser fan of ginger won't notice...but with my luck, the Bobster has a habit of skewering the one and only piece of coarse ginger that had escaped the kitchen knife and instantly accusing me of deliberately planting ginger in the meal even though I knew he wasn't fond of it. Ha, I could say the same about his love of shaking the cinnamon shaker a few times too many over the banana bread mixture. Ah, marriage and all its cute quirks.

    My delicate ( and at times deliberate ) use of ginger in meals is vetoed in no uncertain terms yet should Bob espy a packet of candied ginger ( an English habit for sure ) he would eat the whole packet in one sitting and he could because strangely enough, I hate candied ginger or candied fruit of any kind. Whenever we get given a traditional Christmas cake or Stollen, Bob's the real winner...


    Tuesday, 12 December 2017

    Winter Solstice Coming Soon.

    It's all about those nights...

    Honestly, I am going to miss having it go dark sooner rather than later. There is a certain charm about being at home late afternoon with lights on and the dimness of darkness settling in. Cozy and romantic for some reason.

    Those few weeks a year where one can sit and take stock of life, take a breather and for some, get to rediscover the beauty of home. Summer has many dwellers rushing about emulating a social butterfly almost as if they are afraid to miss out on anything...meanwhile, the real heart of life is around the hearth of one's home.

    It was close to darkness yesterday when I visited an elderly couple at the correct visiting hour. Half past three. Their lunch done, digested and snoozed off while coffee is already brewing alongside a healthy dose of In aller Freundschaft, the ubiquitous soap glaring and blaring loudly from most television screens when I pop around.

    But anyway, I too have my favourite program to watch which at the moment is an abundant bouquet of Mrs Bucket. Thanks to BBC entertainment I can chuckle away.

    The correct date of the winter solstice was part of our conversation. A date that heralds the start of longer days and the certainty that winter is half way through. Not everyone is a fan of winter and the ice and chill it has up its sleeve.

    For some winter makes life harder, be it the fear of slipping on ice, finding a way to heat the home without having to worry about carting heavy pieces of wood all day long or the long long winter days, cooped up with hardly a visitor...You know, often I forget how lucky I am and how much richness my life has. Abundance comes in many shapes and sizes....


    Monday, 11 December 2017

    Taking The Gap.

    ...the smaller the better.

    There is an art form to squeezing into and onto the smallest spots that only our cat can do. Sitting watching television tucked nicely into a cozy blanket somehow must translate to an open invite for her majesty.

    No matter where she might be sleeping, the minute she hears me sit down, she clambers up from slumbering dreams and meanders over to the couch stretching the pins and needles out of her limbs along the way. My right knee vaguely resembles a well used needle cushion with many red claw imprints. Contraire to the myth of cats jumping like pumas, ours clings like crazy onto my knee and hauls herself up by the sharp claws of her front paws. Ouch. Often her dismount leaves me with similar claw indents.

    When we are in deep slumber she will gallop through to the bedroom, screech to a halt ( claws hitting wooden floor ) and then utter a swell mellow miaouw, stand on her hind paws while her front paws are on the edge of the bed in order for her to check if we are awake with her cute face peeping over the side. Well, if not then, then definitely after she jumps up next to either Bob's or my head. Aah, the joys of having a cat...

    When she feels extra clingy she will try and squeeze beneath my blanket and keep digging at it until I give in and let her underneath it. It would be rather nice if she'd take a liking to my hip but no, she twists and turns only to emerge a minute later. Very annoying at times although I have yet to deny her any wish. Bad parenting indeed.

    I do have to praise her though; in the evenings when we sit and watch television, Bob from behind his computer and I from the couch with her majesty snoring away on my lap, she responds instantly to my call of:

    " Mausi, please get up. Mummy needs to get a glass of wine. " every time.


    Sunday, 10 December 2017

    For The Love Of Reading.

    ...even more fun during winter.

    " Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book. "
    Author unknown
    " There is no friend as loyal as a book. "
    Ernest Hemingway
    " There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all. "
    Jacqueline Kennedy Onnasis
    " A book is a dream you hold in your hand. "
    Neil Gaiman
    " There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favourite book. "
    Marcel Proust
    " If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use reading it at all. "
    Oscar Wilde
    " Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore? "
    Henry Ward Beecher
    " You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend. "
    Paul Sweeney
    " For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, for biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time. "
    Louis L'Armour


    Saturday, 9 December 2017

    A Bit More Of Yesterday's Cold.

    Just too nice not to share with you.

    The trusty and sturdy Haflinger don't mind this kind of weather. They gave me the oddest of looks wondering why on earth I would leave my warm stable.
    The brilliance of winter alongside a path. A sparkling contest as I meandered past.
    A heard of deer or perhaps the only deer in town kept trying to evade me. They are only about fifty meters from the edge of the main road and that's why I stick to a lower speed whilst driving this bit of it. Once a deer almost ran into us, almost.
    A normal barn, an old barn, but to me the most authentic and beautiful reminder of living the rural bliss. Just love it.
    Almost a cinema noir... Three trees on a field.
    A slice of winter, a slice of peacefulness and a reminder that as long as we've got enough to eat, all is well.