Sunday, 26 March 2017

Cats & Kids Make Alarm Clocks Optional.

A late night on the town...

Before you think we are party people ( eh, not ) our idea of a late night out is lending a hand behind the scenes of the local theater. Preparing sandwiches and cleaning glasses. Oh, plenty of people in the audience who chit chat with one if only for the chance to secretly feel glad not to be helping out.

The Bobster is a little bit younger than I. A gap that would have seemed scandalously outrageous in high school but oddly now those four years give me ammunition when he moans about my driving.

" Oh please, I was already driving while you were still in short pants! "
And just enough to skim the edges of difference. Whereas I threw in the towel and went home at 11.30 due to my back hurting like mad and my eyelids feeling as heavy as anchors my young buck stayed until two in the morning. Washing glasses continuously with the odd break of chatting with his friends from S.A and Egypt.

Last night was another lesson in psychology...the two young men mentioned earlier live in Vienna, are young, charming and of course good looking. Well, standing behind the counter purveying their arrival was ample to fill a psychology 101 lecture.

These two young men were the honey and the bees and the odd superannuated men kept on circling waiting to give an effusive greeting ( gosh, Bob and I are lucky to even garner a nod from the same lot ). Good grief, at one stage there was a line of older women ( eh slightly older then me ) waiting to bat their eyelids coquettishly, suck in their stomachs and tuck their hair behind an ear. By the way, as handsome as the boys are, they are just as nice and both gentlemen from top to toe. Really, any mother-in-law's dream catch...

But back to our cat...funny how delicate of spirit she is. As Bob and I had been working the last two nights, Mausi had the place to herself. We sometimes speculate if as a revenge for leaving her alone, she'd sit on Bob's pillow or repine on the kitchen table.

Coming home, she was rather skittish and refused to be picked up but once the first hint of Somnus came, I felt her little body nestling in between my ankles. Only this morning at the crack of dawn did I know that all was forgiven. Mausi jumped onto my chest and with her nose touched my nose in order to wake me up. Too cute and when I didn't budge she promptly curled up under my chin, purring like mad. It only took a minute for me to be awake and feel grateful to have this little soul in our lives.

Biggi

Saturday, 25 March 2017

An Evening Behind The Scenes.

A play is had.

This weekend is my turn to volunteer during the local theater performance. Not anything very lofty but nevertheless, smearing bread with spreads is not without difficulty. How much spread to put on, which to use and not to make it look messy. Yesterday I had my dress rehearsal and tonight's sandwiches should be the bee's knees.

Unfortunately I was too far back to see and hear the play properly but then I had a chance to be the fly on the wall and watch the sub plot. Who went out for a cigarette, who chatted and who forgot to switch off their mobile...

Bob usually mans the station for cleaning glasses and let me tell you, in our region that is where it is all happening. Not having clean glasses to pour the wine, beer or spritzer into is akin to a sin. When he works his double/ triple shifts, he runs the whole time.

Last night four volunteers didn't pitch and it was a case of all hands on deck and nary a territorial spat ( there is a unwritten rule of who does what and who never does that ). Seeing Bob perform the various duties in a bar with such inherent certainty, style and speed made me feel extremely chuffed that he is my husband. I tend to forget that he'd done a year or so managing a pub in London, back in the day...

For some reason the crowds weren't that hungry yesterday and my job of adorning slices of bread was rather cushy. Well, I thought I'd lend my Schatzi a hand and tried to navigate the huddles and pockets of people while at the same time whipping the dirty glasses and empty bottles from the tables...at times I was a tad bit hasty and received an angry growl of sorts. Nobody wants to be parted from the last drop in their glasses.

Of course it is and always will be a group effort and Bob and I just played a small part in the behind the scenes play.

Biggi

Friday, 24 March 2017

Fun On The Eisenberg.

Running after mum!

Yesterday was Kellerstock-spring-clean for us and knowing I'd be either covered in dust, dirt or cobwebs I chose my outfit wisely. Sweats, hand knitted psychedelic socks and Birkenstocks. A look that really typecast me as a German extra.

As you know, one lane on the Eisenberg vineyard is being dug up for a new sewerage system. Well, it was the road we needed to traverse. Half is under construction and the other is passable but perhaps more suited to a four wheel drive. It happened on our way home.

Coming round the last corner we saw a huge truck ahead, blocking the road and off-loading pieces of the sewerage system. Even with ingenuity we'd not be able to pass it. Only one option. Reverse and turn. Easily said and done considering it is a small rural lane with ditches on either side. Definitely not the easiest of places to reverse.

I had just gotten out of the car to enquire from the truck drive about the best option and gesticulated to my mum that she'd have to turn around when she started to reverse the car up the road with me walking behind.

She reversed for a long stretch and having seen a couple of turning opportunities I wondered whether she was going to reverse the car all the way back. Remember I was following her on foot, dressed for cleaning and not for walking. Had she forgotten me, or did she think a bit of a walk would do me good? Gosh it felt like miles but perhaps was closer to a hundred meters or so!

Eventually, she stopped and found a gap to turn and thankfully let me get into the car. I must say, mum reversed to car with more gusto than I would have and with more certainty and accuracy. I was just ever so grateful that she didn't leave me to walk after her.

Life in rural bliss is never boring, always fun and never the same. Love it.

Biggi

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Collective Addiction Or Addition To Collect?

We might as well call ourselves the hoarders!

Hoarding, is there anything worse? Spring sort of brings along a thought of spring cleaning. Cleaning out closets. Cleaning long forgotten surfaces and perhaps cleaning out the mind.

Somehow the whole process starts weeks in advance. Usually when the cupboard resembles a scramble of warm clothes. Each day I make plans to sort it out. Cull it down. Make some space. Yet, when standing in front of my side of the cupboard, I stand there looking and not knowing where to start. So, I don't start at all.

Yesterday the bee in my bonnet went rogue and I made some space by throwing out clothes. Stuff I haven't worn for years, stuff that even in my wildest dreams will never fit me and stuff that was worn out. Although, come to think of it there are rumours that those 90's jeans with holes are making a comeback!

Anyway, having that good feeling about me yesterday I thought to transfer it onto the Bobster:

" Schatzi, you know that little corner Schrank with your old CD's in it? Yes, I think it must go and you can put your CDs in a container in the shed. "
Goodness me, one would think those CDs were made of gold. Not to mention that Bob hadn't listened to them for years and quite frankly, if I hadn't reminded him of them being there, he would have forgotten.

Well, hoarding runs in the family and my first attempt at getting Bob to de-clutter, has almost resulted in a marital tiff! Almost, not quite. Hopefully the Bobster has had a good nights sleep and ruminated on the thought of changing his CDs resting place.

Often this need to collect and hoard ( for better or thinner times ) is one of the most stupid ideas I have. Firstly, I hardly ever use, look at or need the things gathering dust and secondly, despite not using them they are akin to a heavy anchor slowing life down. Imagine seeing free shelving in the cupboard and seeing all your clothes straightaway?

This new Tiny House trend has a lot going for it and those owning one, are leaps ahead from the rest of us...

Biggi

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Adieu Winter, Hello Spring.

The buds of Eisenberg.

A new beginning and this one holds the promise of a mauve Hydrangia. Luckily outside our front door. Perpetual beauty.
We decided to use one of the many old pots we inherited with the house and use it as a flower pot. This will be the third year that the purple flowers are growing. By the way, they were Feng Shui seeds. For wealth and abundance.
Tulips are waking up all over the neighbourhood. Amazing to follow their budding and blossoming. April is one of the nicest months in our area. Everything is alive.
Their are parts of the vineyards which are framed by the lovely yellow shrub. A feast for the eyes.
These seemingly ordinary shrubs do provide a breath of fresh air...
Last but not least, the onion of Eisenberg. A monument of sorts which I do find rather ugly yet it serves a purpose. Locals use it as a compass point when describing a walk etc.

Biggi

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

A Quiet Buzz Roaming The Neighbourhood.

...a bit strange.

Once I heard it in the middle of the night or rather early in the morning due to the window being a tad bit open. It sounds like a swish that keeps on going passed at a very slow pace. Our latest Eisenberg addition, the security patrol.

One car. An electric car, which is all well and green but one hopes that anyone intent on nefarious deeds is at least on foot. This e-car is far from fast. A new initiative from the district and personally I don't see a need for it but some do find it a peaceful thought having it roam passed their homes.

The car is so slow that the lady driving it must by now know all of our habits and peculiarities. At that speed, nothing is a blur and everything is taken note of. Our windows are bare of curtains because windows for us are frames for outside. Interesting if she has worked out Bob and my supper times yet? Or who tends to always leave their car overnight outside a Buschenschank only to be collected the next morning?

The patrol car swooshed passed me this morning as I returned from my walk and I was tres surprised to get an enthusiastic wave from the driver. There are at least two driver taking turns and both look rather Robocop-ish with their dark Ray Bans and short pixie style haircuts. Normally it is a lift of a finger or a nod of the head, but this morning it was a vigorous wave...

The perceived need of this patrol car does tend to have a touch of irony. Ours is a village that has villagers who love to shop for bread and milk while leaving the car with the engine running outside. Oh yes, often it is a smorgasbord of car brands available to hop into. Eh, only for the nefarious inclined of course.

Look, on some levels this new security must be good but it never ever beats the set of eyes behind curtains throughout the village. The grapevine is a security system par excellence.

Biggi

Monday, 20 March 2017

Honesty, Should It Be All Or Nothing?

Against the crowd...

When we were in town the other day, our last stop as always was at Hofer ( an Aldi-supermarket chain ubiquitous in most parts of the world ). It is a big business and somehow is more an entity instead of a shop belonging to someone.

Bob and I have a game that involves guessing how much a particular shop amounts to before it disappears on the conveyor belt. We are even Stevens. At times we mention our guesssing game to the cashier and a few have also participated. Makes a change to their monotonous routine. Because of the game, I tend to stand where I can see the amounts tally up. Bob usually is the one packing the trolley.

So as I am following the entries on the till display ( more like a mini computer screen ) in my mind I am gauging how much the rest of the items would come to, when I noticed a mishap. A cashier's mishap. We had bought two of the same items.

" Excuse me, ( heads behind me were snapping about into my direction, sensing problems ahead ) I think you have forgotten to scan this item twice. "

I don't think the cashier took me seriously or she might have thought that I'd accused her of charging us too much because she scanned a few more items and then halted to check, look and check again before a new expression crossed her face. An expression of surprise, awe and novelty...

" Thank you so much for pointing it out. I had only scanned it once. "

Behind me people in the queue had an expressions of; how stupid to point it out. She could have gotten it for free. How foolish. Well, once you know a thing isn't right or honest, telling is the right thing. Yes, Hofer / Aldi are swimming in moolah and a lost euro wouldn't have made any difference to them but it would have made one to me. Once you know it's wrong...you just know!

Biggi

Sunday, 19 March 2017

The Might Of Three Little Letters.

Bob almost visits the dog box.

I made the fatal mistake of trying on clothes yesterday. In town. In a horribly lit changing room. A changing room without a lock so I had the added pressure of making sure nobody would open the door and catch me sans clothes.

Any woman worth her salt will know the feeling of dread, dread at perhaps having to go on a regime of denial and only by the skin of her teeth, pulling herself back from the vortex of that stupidity. How about feeling happy to be alive, healthy and voluptuous.

An hour later while driving to the supermarket I posed a question to Bob. One of those trick questions that wives are very good at posing. Or am I the only one?

" Schatzi, do you think I should lose a few kilos? "

" No, you don't need to lose any but I should lose some weight too. "

He knew the minute he appended that little word, that a gargantuan mishap had occurred. Naturally I grabbed onto it with both hands and instantly banished him into the Siberia of any marriage...the dog box where silence is golden. Silence that one can cut with a knife.

Look, he's not wrong but I would have liked for him to mention his love of voluptuousness...the trip to Siberia lasted until he had parked the car. Bob did try to bravely delete those three little letters but after a while he gave up and let me ramble on for a bit and periodically drop a soothing one liner:

" Honey, there is nothing wrong with you. "

Bob is rather clever of course. He knows that should I start on a regime of denial, he would be affected too as he would have to eat the same as me.

Biggi

Saturday, 18 March 2017

The Early Morning Rattle Through Our Neighbourhood.

Bob's A Happy Camper...

The moped has been awoken from its winter sleep and is as we speak careering through the vineyards. With Bob of course. The last few days have been warm enough to drive it and I actually think that Bob invents errands just so he can feel the wind on the tip of his nose. The only part exposed.

Unlike a lot of families, we are a one car home and of course use the moped for summer. Having been used to a car each in the past, the thought of sharing one did have some trepidation but you know, one car is ample. At times we have scheduling mishaps but they are kept to a minimum and don't warrant having two gas guzzlers.

Not that Bob and I have used the bus system, but it is there. Oberwart to Güssing and in between is easily reached sitting comfortable on a bus. Vienna too, of course. Funnily enough there a several return trips to Vienna because a lot of people commute daily. Imagine, two hours each way!

Just like in any other village, town or city we also have the unspoken car competition...I have arrived because mine's bigger, flashier & more expensive than yours. Let me tell you, the moment someone upgrades their car the tongues are a-wagging. Perhaps it is even a sign of normal human nature.

In a village as small as ours, each car is known even without the owner in it. Number plates are easily memorized ( only two or three digits ) and a friendly neighbourhood information system is a like a walk in the park. One always knows who's visiting whom.

Upgrading one's car and wanting to keep rumours dormant is easily done...just get the same make of car and same colour but newer model. The eyes will be deceived. Or, if you want to contribute to the village news, buy something totally different.

Bob and I have a standing joke between us: In the event that we'll win the lotto, our motto will be to keep it quiet. I would buy a car similar to ours and Bob wants to get a blue Maserati. Oh, yes, nobody will know....

Biggi

Friday, 17 March 2017

Burgenlander's Are Capturing The Heart & Palate Of Jaded Wine Lovers.

Burgenland, a wine paradise.

There is just something so special about our wines. Oh, I am sure other parts of the world make astounding wines but I have lost my heart to Burgenland and all it entails. Wine, nature and fabulous people.

Where to begin...somehow a few of the new guard of vintners have found a way to translate each bit of clay, earth and old vine into every sip of wine. No pretense, no window dressing just honest, often plain but oh so nice and moreish. If you don't quite believe me ( perhaps I am a bit biased ) then listen to the wine connoisseurs and wine critics around the world.

A handful of young vintners ( a few from our village and the next ) are putting a buzz into wine reviews, wine tastings and most importantly, putting a spring back into jaded wine critics and making their praises simply fly off the pens...

Rather ironic really that Burgenland is the new it place to be when for ages the rest of Austria has thought of Burgenland as its poorer cousin. Of course our region was and is not associated with avant garde city life and all the travails it entails but that is the quintessence of what makes our area so wonderfully livable.

With the advent of these new superstar vintners, Burgenland is leaving its mark on the rest of the world. Just this week, a local winemaker from the next village, Christoph Wachter has set the London wine circles alight. Wow, he hosted a Buschenschank in London and apart from introducing Londoner's to his excellent wines, he showed them a slice of paradise...which must be a welcome change from the hectic rush that life in a metropolis is. Bravo!

Biggi

Thursday, 16 March 2017

The Channel Of Eisenberg.

No no, not Chanel but Channel, a scent with a difference!

Honestly, I have to admit it was a first for me to hear of a Sickergrube. In fact we have one at our house but have filled it up with the remnants of building. What is it? Well, not everyone is connected to a Kanal, or as is often translated as a channel, and is an actual sewerage system.

Not that long ago most of the world wasn't connected to a sewerage system and had to use septic tanks. We who are so used to pressing a button and never giving the journey a thought, don't realize how lucky we are. Without connection to the grid, the grid of sewerage, the offline life means having to have your Sickergrube ( septic tank ) pumped out every so often and it is an art form to empty it just in time.

Eh, I've been privy to the deed of checking whether the tank needs to be pumped out and let me tell you, a whiff of eau de channel hit me straight away never mind the yucky sight. My admiration to the farmers who come and pump out the various septic tanks still in use. No smell of roses there!

There are still a few homes in our village surrounds that are sans the magic flutes. Oh, don't worry, the loo, bathroom and kitchen are like any other with taps etc, but instead of the waste joining the grid, it is collected and stored in a septic tank somewhere underneath the garden.

As I've mentioned before Eisenberg is a happening place and a big Kellerstock is being built in the vineyards on a stretch along a hitherto offline path. They are the bit that moved the scale and the powers that be have ordered this lane to be connected to the sewerage grid. Not an easy undertaking as the road has to be dug up to put the pipes in and each house will have to put its own pipes in to connect to the main one.

By the end of may this year, it will be done and dusted...and all the homeowners along the stretch are already grinning from ear to ear with cheer.

Biggi

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Eisenberg Awakens To Colours.

Buds are making a comeback.

A weed to some, but a nice greeting of spring to others...
Not much longer and the path along the forest will be awash with tones of spring.
Such a nice view of the valley between the Austrian and Hungarian side of the Hummergraben.
The yellow rock-stars...
A slice of our life.
A vine looking divine...

Biggi

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The Vagaries Of Life.

Discovered if one takes the time to see life.

Only this morning I went for a walk and was pleased to banish all my gloves to the back of the cupboard. A few weeks ago they were an optional attire but now, definitely passe. The joie de vivre is permeating everywhere and putting a spring in many a step. Warm weather, blue skies and a constant avian chorus tends to make most people positively sprout with giddiness.

Coming back from my walk, I had just eaten the first bite of breakfast when my phone rang. Could I take someone home from the doctors. Oh course, with pleasure. Most of us take driving for granted and never give a thought to when we can't anymore. Suddenly even a trip to the shops needs a plan. Spontaneity is gone.

I enjoyed taking this couple home and was thrilled when they invited me in for a cup of coffee. Coffee of course is a code word once you get to a certain age, a code word for company, conversation and laughter. As much ( at least I hope so ) as they enjoyed having me for a cup of coffee, I enjoyed being there because it is interesting to meet people and find out what their life has been like. Akin to sitting next to History.

The stuff normally garnered from history books, are often only a cup of coffee away from one. All one needs is time and the ability to listen. Hearing someone's life unfold in bits and bobs is rather special. The narrator might have grey hair, a cane and a slower walk, but we tend to forget that he too has lived an exciting life. A life with ups & downs, a life of hunger ( during war ) and a life meandering through various career paths on their doorsteps.

For anyone who feels bogged down by the stress of modern life, or rather by the stressful life jacket he has tailor made for himself, I can really recommend the following. Take the time and visit someone who has built a life during the last 70-80 years.

The men and women of this generation in particular are the backbone of society, have the backbone to face any and everything that life has thrown at them and strangely enough, it is a generation of folk, who can tell you that the happiest times were the times when life was hard and when they had less than nothing...

Biggi

Monday, 13 March 2017

Ah, That Might Explain it...

Phobias, cloaked in a name.

  • Clowns.....coulrophobia.
  • Getting wrinkles.....rhytiphobia.
  • Going to school.....didaskaleinophobia.
  • Snow....chionophobia.
  • Tickling with feathers.....pteronophobia.
  • Garlic.....alliumphobia.
  • Sea swell.....cymobphobia.
  • Fear of making decisions....decidophobia.
  • Obesophobia....fear of gaining weight.
  • Allodoxaphobia.....fear of opinions.
  • Scriptophobia.....fear of writing in public.
  • Bibliophobia....fear of books.
  • Ergophobia....fear of work, workplace environment.
  • Nomophobia....fear of losing cellphone / mobile contact.
  • Deipnophobia....fear of dinner parties, dinner and dinner conversations.
  • Allodoxaphobia....fear of opinions.
  • Mageirocophobia....fear of cooking.
  • Triskaidekaphobia....fear of the number 13.

Biggi

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Saturday Evening, A Holiday Of Sorts.

The mini break we all count the days for.

Do you also treat a Saturday evening differently from let's say a Wednesday evening? There is just something so wonderfully special about being able to sleep in on a Sunday. Unless you prescribe to one of the lofty realms. No sleeping in at all then.

Being over that magical threshold of eh, forty odd, I have long since ceased that need for going out just for the sake of it. What in my twenties would have been a tedious and boring way to spend an evening, now is the best thing in the world. Staying in, comfortable leisure wear, bowl of chips, nice movie and a supper of unhealthy food sounds about as good as it gets.

Bob is enthralled by the latest Dan Brown novel and boldly stated last night:

" I don't want to stay up late in front of the TV because I want to rather read my book. "
fair enough, I hurried to make a our supper consisting of pasta & blue cheese, and was a bit surprised when I woke up after the eight o'clock movie and Bob was still reclining on the couch, clearly in an audible state of slumber.

As I don't like being woken up from a TV snooze, I didn't wake Bob either. He cleverly had plonked himself onto the more comfortable couch and unless I were to wake him, I was pretzled on the smaller couch. Look, it isn't too bad, but a bit narrow.

Narrow only if Princess Mausi chooses to lie by my side. Most of the time she sticks to me like glue. Oh, don't get me wrong, I love feeling her little paws on my shin or leg, but when I turn onto my side, she squeezes herself next to my stomach and if I don't hold her, she'd be sliding off the couch. Not much sleep for me.

The two of us are like a well oiled machine...when I lie on my back, she reclines on my stomach or sometimes between my ankles. When I want to turn onto my side, she's instantly awake, holds on for dear life and once I've settled she finds her spot next to my stomach.

Well, another divine Saturday spent with my two honeys. The simple life, I just adore it.

Biggi

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Caturday Is Crime Scene Day.

A night of fun and games.

As bad as it is for one, a sleep in front of the TV is one of the best. Usually a deep sleep interrupted frequently by screams and gunfire of the various thrillers showing. Often reality and fiction mingle with alarming ease. Was it real or not?

Bob was at the A.G.M. of the fire department last night and thus I had to master a crime scene on my own.

Once you become a cat parent, parental instincts kick in. One can't help it and often it is as if suddenly one has grown an extra pair of eyes and ears. Our feline princess has her routine for just about everything. Bob and I know the theatrics before she does her eh, #2 business and tend to play rock, paper, scissors...someone has to remove the offerings from the litter box after all.

Last night, in the periphery of sleep I took note that the princess was a bit more rambunctious than usual, playing in the entrance hall between our shoes. Oh well, she was having fun.

A little bit later, I felt her running besides my couch and flicking something about. When she threw herself onto my side, I woke up and with startling clarity I noticed a new toy mere centimeters from my face, but still on the floor. That looked new and with a dreadful feeling I got up to switch on the light.

Goodness gracious, Mausi was standing over a little present that she was giving to me. A namesake of hers that thankfully wasn't moving. That meant that I must have slept through a momentous fight between them. The last time I had awoken to such drama, the exhausted little mouse hadn't know where to catch a respite from the big Mausi. I high stepped over it and rushed to the kitchen to fetch a roll of Bounty.

As much as I wanted to scream like a girl, I managed to praise our little gal and make her feel special for killing a mouse. She let me pick up the corpse and watched as I disposed of it out the bedroom window...When Bob came home a bit later, I told him to praise his princess for her cat-ly deed and somehow I got the feeling that he was rather sorry to have missed such a spectacle.

Biggi

What, me? Mausi, the mouse slayer...

Friday, 10 March 2017

Guessing And Back With An Interesting Detour.

Bob took the scenic route.

It was going to be Oberwart but for the fact that our chariot needed attention. Would you believe it, we have a garage on the outskirts of the village since about two years ago and despite being a small village, this garage is booked out weeks in advance. Fantastic indeed and most would have thought it wouldn't work. Considering that there are two mechanics and the boss it is a runaway success...

Edlitz, where the garage is located is closer to Güssing than Oberwart for us and thus we took the road less traveled. There are a few different roads that lead to Güssing and each one more scenic than the other. Forests and gentle steeping hills are soothing to the soul.

After finishing our shop, we drove home via Strem, and through a whole row of breathtaking villages with my personal favourite ( apart from our own ) of Steinfurt. If you ever have the opportunity, take a gentle detour and instantly feel refreshed. The village council has been clever enough to keep the modern houses built to a minimum and have preserved the authentic feel of a Burgenland village.

Bob is amazing when it comes to directions. He only needs to drive or go somewhere once and the routes are imprinted on his memory. Well, he showed me a hamlet which I had never seen before, a village that is almost like a lost relic amid the forest. Radlingsburg, which surprisingly enough is part of our district.

Breathtakingly romantic, yet sadly almost a ghost town. It is such a treat to stumble across little settlements like this. Burgenland is a collection of villages and that is what makes it so special. People stick together, community comes first and life is more laid back and less hectic or pretentious...well except for a few exceptions.

Biggi

Thursday, 9 March 2017

A Sheepish Kind Of Thursday.

Baah, baah, baah...

She does remind me of a Daisy. Walking in the Deutsch Schützen vineyards I stumbled across the troupe. They are never in the same field so it's always a nice surprise to hear the bleating.
Clearly he isn't interested in having a photo taken, but I have to admit that his wooly shock of fur looks suspiciously like my dreadlocks!
They are so friendly and the minute they heard me, they trotted towards me at the fence. Oh, I know they just thought I'd bring them a morsel of food or, they see me as their mother hen, eh, sheep?
Just so you can see where they are grazing at the moment...spring is on the way but the colours are lagging a bit behind.

Aren't they the sweetest?
To end off, I want to give you another glimpse of the divine Daisy. Looking into her eyes one can see wisdom, kindness and an adoring nature.

Biggi

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Windows, Never Underestimate Their Value.

More then mere panes of glass.

They say the eyes are the windows to our soul and somehow, windows are the eyes that lead to knowledge in any village. A twitchy curtain or a shadowy presence are tell tale signs.

Any village has its hot spots for twitchy curtains and there is the starting gate for the village information exchange. A seat at the window can reveal so much in any small village; such as who drove where, at what time and with whom! Clocks are set by habits of others and woe be those that change their schedule. Questions at the next encounter...even I have been privy to those;

" Why did you walk so late this morning? "

Our village reminds me often of the fictional St. Mary's Meade and the only thing different is the lack of murders that Miss Marple would solve. Of course the center point to village news is and always will be the village shop. Only yesterday I was queuing up to pay when I noticed ( well, I couldn't not notice ) a three way exchange about a recent departure of someone appearently much too young.

As sad as these tidings are, it was interesting to get a glimpse of the news gathering. It usually has relative who found out and then another distant relative ( of either the poor departed or the one who gained the tidbit ) who confirms it. Eh voila, news is here before it's printed in the newspaper.

Sitting with a high school student and applying algebra to English past tense, I was highly amused when even he stopped and looked out the window when an unexpected vehicle chose to motor passed.

" Why is he driving through the vineyards? "

As for the algebra...yet another way to make English less liked by the kids. A test question will have a base sentence Tom eats a sandwich for lunch. and next to it, a (-), (+) and (?) which has confused many a student. Negate & put right and make a question.

As for sitting next to a window with a view, it doesn't sound like such a bad idea to while the time away but alas, Bob and I have windows so high that all we'd see would be the heads of the taller villagers.

Biggi

A different sort of window dwellers...Tigger & Mausi keeping an eye out.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

A Simple Monday, What A Great Way To Ease Into The Week.

Nothing much, yet everything.

Unlike the Boomtown Rats, I do like Mondays. A fresh start or in my case an early morning walk with the gals, the Eisenberg gals that is. What can be better than to walk among nature and catch up on the latest going's on in our village.

A few centuries ago, the art of gossip was the only way to garner information and it was an important part of life. Somehow it has carried over into our village. Well, it is more of a

" Have you heard ....? / Did you see...? "
and honestly, I do try and emulate at least one of those infamous Chinese monkeys.

The weather has been rather peculiar lately with a blue sky and sunshine early in the morning and at about ten, the skies cloud over and the odd drop of rain is there. Never mind, at least we got to do the walk with an accompanying orchestra of birds and the odd squirrel crossing our path.

As you know, Eisenberg is as small as can be and most flat dwellers have more people living in their apartment blocks than we do in our village! But as small as we are, we are happening...houses are being bought, built or renovated at rate that most towns would envy.

Thankfully the new owners of an old farmhouse along the main road are choosing to renovate instead of tearing it down. It is a fairly big house and has four windows facing the road. Often in the past, a person's wealth was shown to the world by the number of windows they had. A window meant another room, and most villages are scattered with two, three or four windowed farmhouses.

One of the local wine farmers is building a cottage in the vineyards. A cottage is an understatement as it is huge ( many more windows than four ) and will be a Bed & Breakfast. If all goes according to plan, it will be open from the end of April. Most Mondays we find a route that ensures a walk-by and covert inspection.

At the top of my head, I can count three houses being built or renovated and two houses having recently been sold. Somehow that tells me that we are a happening place or in the vernacular of songs, we are alive & kicking..

Biggi

Monday, 6 March 2017

A Sunday Morning Walk Between Two Countries.

Walking in the footsteps of history...

The other side of Deutsch Schützen awakens...to me, these old barns are fabulous. They elude such character and distinction and yet, sadly the younger set tend to turn their back on them and build modern edifices.
A mere weed to some, but to me it has the look of a crest. A beautiful reminder of how special this land was and is.
How do those village churches always manage to become objects of art? This is the Grossdorf church in Hungary and the fields in front are in Burgenland...
There is a footpath between the two countries, which a few years ago tended to be cloaked by a horrible curtain, which cannot be more spectacular to walk on. Here I espied a glimpse of Eisenberg.
Nothing of note, yet too nice not to share.
A curve in the lane closes the loop nicely. A loop encircling the walker's paradise of Eisenberg...

Biggi

Sunday, 5 March 2017

A Cat Is In The Driver's Seat.

Getting friendly in her old age.

A Saturday that started out really well. The sun was shining, the birds were tweeting and Bob and I were on a mission to pick up twigs. Sounds easy you say? Well, yes and no. Easy but repetitious.

A few weeks ago the pruning of vines was done, with the cut off branches landing on the ground, in the middle of the rows of vines. Before you ask, that is how it is done and we already knew that they'd have to be picked up at a later stage. At least we've become more organized. Thanks to Bob we've started the practice of making little mounds of twigs every few meters instead of just dropping the cut-offs without care. A few times when I'd forgotten, either mum or Bob gave me a friendly reminder!

Both of us were looking forward to the work ahead and Bob was busy attaching the trailer to the chariot when for some reason, Tigger our feral but morphing into domesticated cat, jumped into the open front door and curled herself onto the soft cushion of the driver's seat. How funny, how sweet and how fortunate that she jumped straight back out and not onto the back seat.

The sunny weather ( about 15 degrees ) was marred by a constant strong gusty wind and thus we only managed a few hours of collecting the twigs. Thankfully we're about halfway at least. You know, each season we get more inventive and find ways to lessen the hard work. The first year, I remember walking up and down the long rows of vines and picking up twigs and carrying them to the trailer by the road. The first hour it had romantic idealism attached to it but then a dose of realism in the guise of protesting back muscles kicked in.

Mum cleverly took a big sheet of plastic, which somehow resembles a big sail yet Bob and I call it the magic carpet, attached ropes to it and voila, we had a moving receptacle for the twigs. Fill the sheet with twigs and drag it to the trailer to unload. Cuts the work in half. Brilliant.

Despite what it might have sounded like, it was fun to do this yesterday. Working together with Bob, fresh air and fabulous surroundings made it another day in paradise...

Just to show you the heaps of cut off vines...( This photo was taken two years ago )
Bob unloading the trailer at the local tree cuttings dump.

Biggi

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Heidi's Blumental Laden, A Feast For The Soul.

A treasure trove of soul candy right here in Grosspetersdorf.

Have you ever entered the portals of a mere shop and known that come hell or impatient husband, you'd spend as much time as possible in it? Well, we've got such a treasure not far from us and the portals are cheerfully painted front gates of a house, which has been converted into a combination of mini shops.

Blumental Laden

Bob and I discovered this shop a few years ago when we traversed villages in our area to drop off business flyers. One forgets that Grosspetersdorf has such delightful hilly lanes with a myriad of eclectic houses that reminds one of Mediterranean villages. The Blumental Laden ( shop ) is in one of these lanes and thankfully the owners didn't fall prey to this modern obsession with making everything ultra modern, ultra sterile and ultra heartless.

As our resolution for lent is to make an effort to shop more local, Bob and I eschewed Oberwart and did our weekly shop in Grosspetersdorf. I needed to get more organic turmeric powder and Bob kindly agreed to drive to this shop, even knowing that my promise to be quick was null and void.

Shopping for example in this shop, one knows that the profits aren't sent to an overseas head office, but that they'd be circulated locally.

The feeling of stepping over the threshold is one of sheer joy. The eyes see interesting bibs and bobs that could easily find a working space in any homely kitchen not to mention the prolific display of organic produce from the farmers of our area. A few people were sitting in the mini coffee nook, shooting the breeze and beaming contentment.

Even though I didn't spent too long in there - Bob was still smiling when I got back to the car - it was a soul refreshing experience. Smiles everywhere, positive ambiance and nobody following one around in that awful watchful habit some shops have. Honesty and trust are still practiced there and funnily enough, shops who still believe in the human integrity, hardly ever fall foul to shoplifters.

Biggi

Friday, 3 March 2017

What A Difference A Few Hours Make.

Eisenberg awakes to Spring.

The fields are taking on a more cheerful hue and even though you can't see it, the birds were tweeting more cheerfully too.
A birch tree next to the Deutsch Schützen fishing pond...
The depth in colour is due to it having been late in the afternoon. The soul rejoices.
Almost like a painting. In the background is the Hungarian Eisenberg Weinberg.
The fields. Simple and yet so necessary to survival. Let's see what this year's crop brings.

Biggi

Thursday, 2 March 2017

The Gratitude Of Knowing That A Rustle Of Leaves In The Forest Is Just That.

Dropping the mantle of fearfulness.

A lot of people are either amazed or fed up ( for setting an example ) with me walking most days and all year round. I am pretty sure that they equate me with that other obsessive runner, the one who runs every day. Although he is as thin as can be.

How does one explain to people that previously in South Africa it was too dangerous to walk alone. One could, but why bait fate? Usually I had a big pepper spray can along for walks. Ironically, after years of walking with it I found out that it would have never worked...how does one test it? Couldn't have done that to Bob, now could I?

Anyway, it was drizzling yesterday morning and I pretended I was made of sugar and stayed indoors. When the skies cleared in the afternoon, I decided to go for a late walk after work. A walk that would take me to dusk and lack of light.

Starting off through the forest I was ever so pleased to know that when I heard a loud rustling of leaves, it was either a deer, a rabbit or a field mouse. No need to panic or run and that feeling is priceless. Gosh, I could walk there in the middle of the night if it weren't for the hunters possibly mistaking me for a deer.

The simplicity of a walk is anything but. Walking for me is a reminder how wonderful it is not to live in fear. The constant reminders of danger, such as walking into shopping malls and having to go through security, not to mention the banks, where armed guards are the order of the day are gone.

Sometimes on Facebook, I see photos of dinner parties or lunches posted by friends in S.A. and suddenly I realize how horrid it was to live behind bars so to say. Every window is burglar barred, turning a lovely and often luxurious home into a gilded cage. Of course South Africa is stunning and gives one a good lifestyle, but only now, seeing the way life should be, I am so very grateful and walk with joy and abandon.

Biggi

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

March Again, Who Would Have Thought!

The months just keep on hurtling by.

Today is the first of March and coincidentally also the start of lent. Well, at least in our neck of the woods a few villagers will engage in some form of denial. The usual suspects of no alcohol, no sugar and no fun will win the day. And I mean the day, because seeing through the six weeks until Easter is not as easy as imagined.

Bob and I, at least I hope he'll join me in my new idea, will try to buy some groceries which are made and produced locally or regionally. It might not be so easy as cheap alternatives are firmly entrenched in supermarkets across the area. Why buy garlic from China when there are farmers growing it in Steiermark?

The last few weeks we've made sure to only buy milk that ensures a fair living wage for the dairy farmer and apart from feeling good to do such a small change, the milk tastes much better too.

We have been doing the same for potatoes, which can be awfully cheap but does one know how they were grown in regards to pesticides etc? Again, we've bought potatoes grown less chemically in Steiermark which of course were more expensive but they tasted out of this world. How often does a cold, left over boiled potato taste like ambrosia?

Most of us are so thrilled at garnering bargains that we don't give thought to how it might affect the average local farmer. Oh, but we are great at bemoaning the lack of local jobs available...

The last few days have blessed us with warm weather, sunshine and blue skies. A feeling of Spring euphoria permeated the village although we should have know better when a strong wind arrived yesterday and somehow blew the warm weather away...today it is rainy, overcast and grey. Never mind, at least the big freeze has gone for now.

As for the real reason of lent, at least I tend to think it is, we should try and do the right thing even when nobody is looking. To be the better person, to take the high road and to know at the end of each day that we've done our best.

Biggi