Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Hooting, Fighting And A Valiant Villager.

Never a dull moment it seems.

Just as I was conveying the ins and outs of when to use some & any to my extra lesson kid, I heard hooting outside. Bob was hidden behind earphones and I had to shout for him to go have a look. It was dark already and perhaps it wasn't meant for us. Bob muttered at being torn from his game but went to go and have a look out the front window.

Trying to explain the futility of asking a question where one expects a " yes " answer ( exception for using some instead of any in a question ), I had half an ear tuned in to the ensuing dialogue out of the front window until Bob returned;

" You better come and speak to this guy. I don't quite know what he wants. "
Oh well, off I trotted and opened the door to extreme cold, hissing and growling and a concerned villager standing next to his idling car. What now.
" Your two cats are busy killing each other. I think you should do something before they hurt themselves. "
Good grief as if I would hurl myself between two fighting tomcats, feral tomcats that is. Not even ours as I was trying to convey to him. Of course I had seen them around because frankly, our menu must have been of excellent quality of late as all and sundry seem to turn up without a reservation. But, never mind how, this man seriously wanted me to intervene in the most atrocious bit of feline turf war. They had formed a big circle and like a football were brawling, rolling and bumping all over our front yard while emitting the most unattractive whines, growls and hisses.

There was no way I would even consider risking a scratched arm, leg or face while these two Lotharios decided to sort out who's who in the feline zoo. No, with an explanation of having to carry on working, I called in the big guns... Bob.

I went inside, passed Bob at the entrance hall and hissed at him to sort out the fight outside. He thought I was mad, but still went outside where our concerned villager was beaming his torch at the two cats, who of course ignored him blithly. Bob it seems did the only think he could think of by chasing them around the side of our building. It appeased our friend, but I wasn't sure if the two egos had survived the fight and night...until just now, when one after the other graced our windowsill in search of a meal.

As I mentioned to Bob last night, we are well on the way of becoming those crazy cat people. Might as well call it a day and paint a cat on the side of our house, just like the real cat-lady who looks after at least twenty stray cats...


Tuesday, 27 February 2018

They Had Us At Hello.

Rechnitz shines.

Day two of our ice saga. Bitterly cold, minus 11 earlier but a warm minus 7 as we speak. Walking only possible dressed to disguise and work absolutely impossible, Bob's work that is. His boss luckily called an ice day and thankfully so because I was considering all sorts of hats and scarves to disguise Bob with.

Great, a day off and too cold to do much more than hibernate inside. All we still needed was a contingent of pellets. Normally we go to the Lagerhaus in Deutsch Schützen but it being Tuesday, they were closed. They do that a lot, you know! The chariot had a few occasions to boycott this extremely cold weather and it was touch and go whether it would deign to turn over and spring to life. Yesterday afternoon I almost had to cancel my lesson. After four false starts the spluttering took hold and off I went but the whole time I was at my lesson I was stressing that it might not start up for my journey home. Hill starts and me are a no-go.

Bob got it started earlier this morning and not to jinx it, we decided to make a run for Rechnitz's branch of Lagerhaus ( yes, they open like normal shops do ) to fill up our supply of pellets. At minus a gazillion degrees outside one doesn't even want to contemplate running out of heating supplies. Even with our radiators glowing we are both still dressed in several layers of warm togs.

Bob's been getting many a supply for his work from the Rechnitz Lagerhaus because they are open when one needs stuff. Before we walked into the shop itself we saw our chimney sweep's car parked outside. As we entered, he saw us and gave a friendly wave and even came over to ask us what had made us shop so far from home.

Bob went further into the shop and suddenly we heard:

" Hi, too cold to work in the vineyard? "
How jolly nice was that. Bob, who'd only been frequenting this Lagerhaus for a few months as opposed to a few years of our local one, was greeted with anything but an occasional bored nod. Brilliant. We were both floored, Bob a bit less than me as he was chuffed as blazed and had his head held high off the floor.

You know, a friendly smile and personalized greeting does so much more than mere advertising. As we've always been told by our parents, a smile and friendly greeting doesn't cost anything but means the world to the begetter. Thank you, Lagerhaus Rechnitz.


Monday, 26 February 2018

Birds And Their Love Of Nesting In Insulation.

Old fashioned walls seem safer.

Sporadic holes in outside walls are a great indicator of modern insulation. It took me a while to realize that only those house walls that are covered in a layer of insulation are all the rage for some birds to peck their nests.
Cheekily sitting atop their new abode tweeting about life's ups and downs...
This little homeowner has made itself comfortable and is inspecting his realm.
I braved the elements on Sunday morning, but not for long. It must have been close to minus 13 and despite being dressed warmly, the icy cold wind did anything but caress my face. Yikes it was cold but the play of light on trees and snow was lovely.
A layer of snow had embedded itself on most branches, settling in for the next few days. No chance of it melting anytime soon despite the odd sunshine.
I wish I could convey to you the divine sparkling of the individual sun's rays meeting the icy crystals making up this snow. Absolutely worthwhile braving that cold. The vineyards were clothed in white layers interspersed with frozen puddles between the rows. Winter, cold and icy but nevertheless very scenic.


Sunday, 25 February 2018

The Quirkiness Of English.

Old English words, some still in use and some lost.

  • Thwart .....hinder or prevent.
  • or towards that place.
  • Betroth....give to in marriage.
  • Trumpery...ornamental subjects of no great value.
  • Aught....anything at all.
  • Coxcomb...a vain or conceited man.
  • Ninnyhammer...a fool or a simpleton.
  • one time.
  • Fetching...pretty.
  • Mariturient....eager to marry.
  • Speustic...made or baked in haste.
  • Vappous...flat or insipid.
  • Quire...two dozen sheets of paper.
  • Cob...spider.
  • Flummoxed...bewildered, disconcerted.
  • Comely...pleasant looking.
  • Churlish...rude or boorish.


Saturday, 24 February 2018

Another Olympics Done & Dusted.

All to do about one race every four years.

Firstly, I loved watching the various events and have even grown rather fond of other alpine disciplines especially seeing the freestyle snowboarders in action. How exciting was that to watch especially when Anna Gasser won gold. Great stuff and how trendy are these skiers compared to the other disciplines? Instead of tight tights, they wear baggy pants, voluminous scarves and helmets. New trend on the go I think.

During one of the heats they interviewed Anna Gasser's boyfriend who also competed but didn't make the cut. He hinted at the fact that he was glad the Olympics were over because it takes such a big chunk out of everyone's life. Two years of laser like focus and training which culminates in those few days of competing. Imagine having an off day, which can happen to everyone? Four years down the drain so to speak. On the other hand, that is what they sign up for.

It must be quite hard to manage the aftermath of winning a circus, no rest and great expectations. In a way it must be more stressful than competing. The same questions being asked day in and day out, and of course the next races have the added difficulty of everyone's expectations attached to it.

Just for fun, some of the interviewers poke their questions into the open wounds of a bad result, a missed gate or a fall. Bob and I often cringe at their nerve and audacity...

" So, why did you miss that gate? Aren't you good enough, haven't you trained enough or is the course too difficult for you? "
Imagine being asked these questions mere minutes after a not so good run...honestly, someone should tell the interviewer to cool it and start looking for other points to focus on...


Friday, 23 February 2018

Lucky Friday!

Or rather, free Friday.

Today was and I suppose still is one of these days earmarked by Zurich as important enough to warrant an SMS. Yes, snow of gargantuan proportions was expected. Fair enough, we are technically still in winter despite the recent spat of spring weather conning some of us into shorts & t-shirts. Bob went to work but they decided to give it a rest due to snow and wind affecting their work. Yes, Bob had a snow day!

Not often that Schatzi is home early and that made us decide to go to town to fill up our larder. As we mostly grace town once a week it means a shop on all fronts. Petrol, coffee, groceries ( Hofer doesn't stock Eduscho coffee ), pharmacy and Lagerhaus. Yes, we were busy bees.

There is an Eduscho shop at our mall which is obviously stocked with their flagship coffees and other incidental stuff connected to coffee...underwear, frying pans, slippers, jewelry and pyjamas.

We have a loyalty card and as it's at the front of my purse I use it whenever we buy coffee. If not why not! At the moment we both love their Black & White blend of beans and bought two packs. We were standing at the counter when suddenly the shop assistant smiled and told us:

" Oh, today you don't have to pay. Your loyalty points will cover this purchase. "
My gosh, we were giddy with delight and couldn't believe our good luck.

At DM next door, where we also have a loyalty card, the lady at the till told us that all our purchases came to 1,5 euros. Bob and I were stunned until she coughed politely and said:

" Oops, so sorry, I misread the comma. It is actually 15 euros. "
Well, we did think it was too good to be true.

On our way home we stopped at the petrol station close to Grosspetersdorf to appease our car's thrust. Bob did the filling and I went inside the little shop to pay. As they also are agents for selling Lotto, I couldn't resist as the pot tonight stands at 174 Million Euros. Not too shabby now is it? The lady processed my ticket when I heard a beeping sound. Suddenly she started to smile and said:

" Oh, you've won a free random entry for tonight's draw. "
Now, if that's not an omen, then I don't know... Imagine that, two freebees on one day can only mean good things ahead...


Thursday, 22 February 2018

Goethe And Mellow Yellow.

A pair of rose tinted glasses by any other name...

It seems that Goethe advised donning yellow hued glasses to blast the winter blues away. True or not, I am going to give it a try. Already my sunglasses have a slight yellow-brown tinge and they do feel fantastic every time I put them on. No, actually I feel better surveying life through them. Gosh, I wear them even when it's overcast despite facing the odd ridicule. Well, now I have a proper explanation.

Fielmann, the place which Bob, I and the rest of our family have discovered and supported is a great place to start. Having a pair of optical glasses made up costs a mere euro 17,50 ( including frames etc ) and hopefully they can make me a pair of yellow tinted glasses. Winter is almost ready to move to better pastures but the last bit of it is not for the faint of heart and frankly, it might be a good idea for Bob and I to grace our village with groovy yellow glasses. Might start a trend.

One universal truth has even been displayed by me...we are never happy with our weather. In summer we yearn for the shivering cold of winter and now, Bob and I are imagining lush green lawns, plump apples dangling in our orchard and being able to sit outside on our deck even though more likely than not we both will have a seasonal complaint;

" Let's go inside, it's too hot and there are too many mosquitoes. "
A bit of yellow to mellow your winter blues.
Nice and calming...


Wednesday, 21 February 2018

An Interesting Walk.

A Wednesday morning full of surprises.

The snow hasn't yet decided to morph into amphibian shape and coupled with below zero temperatures it made for careful steps. Our Eisenberg walking group is not fazed by rain, ice or cold weather. Fantastic and with that in mind I ventured out this morning despite a spousal appeal to stay home.

The first hundred meters made slow going and I didn't think anyone would show but I have underestimated my crew...they were waiting, dressed like mummies. Fantastic to see such enthusiasm, just love it. Anyway, we decided to use the tar roads as they were free from treacherous icy patches. At one stage I imagined we'd walk back and forth the Hummergraben road but we were talking so much that we kept on going.

We ran into Bob who was on his way to pick up work supplies. There are quite a few white work vans cruising about the vineyards which meant that I only blew kisses to the driver when I could read the number plate clearly. Nothing better than having a chance to see Schatzi. Yes, he stopped next to us and handled the fact that three ladies were grinning at him with aplomb.

A bit further along we ran into the man with the Huskies. Sounds like an extra from Dances with Wolves and he wouldn't be out of place on either pole. He and his huskies joined us for a part of our sojourn and we had a nice chat with him. As he is also new to our area, he wasn't offended when we posed many a question and the funny thing was that he has garnered enough local knowledge to part with a few interesting village tidbits. It's always us supplanted lot who take the time to ask...just being nosy, I suppose.


Tuesday, 20 February 2018

When Zurich Says Snow, It Snows.

Waking up to a white wonderland.

The rumours went into overdrive yesterday and the evening text from Zurich confirmed it. Fifteen centimeters of snow was on the way starting in the middle of the night. Nice one.

Early this morning as I went to open the windows, I couldn't believe how white everything looked. The road itself was covered with much more than the usual dusting of snow. When in winter why not have a proper one. Snow is part and parcel of winter and the first fall can weaken the least enthusiastic winter dweller. Bob luckily got distracted by the beauty of it.

Not for long as he had to go to work and as I waved him goodbye at the door, I did feel a twinge of empathy because it was chilly indeed. Mausi had permanently flopped herself on top of the radiators and barely twitched her tail to wave goodbye.

The falling snow beckoned me to go for a walk but I had to hurry to get going before the big bad tractor cleared the byways of Eisenberg. As kindly as it is meant, it wrecks havoc on walkers. Snow gives traction but depressed snow gives you a go...might as well ice-skate. Of course he was on his second run by the time I ventured outside. It took me about a hundred meters of slowly edging along close to the verge before I got into untouched territory.

Lovely indeed to be the first to trod on powdery snow. I high-stepped the forest lane around our pond and despite the heavily falling snow, it was magical. Meandering about outside while snow is twirling merrily is wonderfully refreshing for the complexion which tends to take on a Victorian hue. Except for the old nose...that stubbornly tends to mimic old Rudolph...

And the snow keeps on falling...


Monday, 19 February 2018

Quotes Of Prime Ministers.

Words of wisdom?

" Some people's idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage. "
Winston Churchill ( 1874-1965 )
" Success is the ability to go from one failure to another
with no loss of enthusiasm. "

Winston Churchill ( 1874-1965 )
" When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep? "
George Canning ( 1770-1827 )
" Public opinion is a compound of folly, weakness, prejudice, wrong feeling,
right feeling, obstinacy, and newspaper paragraphs. "

Robert Peel ( 1788-1850 )
" A man who trusts nobody is apt to be the kind of man nobody trusts. "
Harold MacMillan ( 1884-1986 )
" The attainment of an ideal is often the beginning of a disillusion. "
Stanley Baldwin ( 1867-1947 )
" Then comes Winston with his hundred-horse-power mind and what can I do? "
Stanley Baldwin ( 1867- 1947 )
" King Louis Phillipe once said to me that he attributed the great success of the British nation in political life to their talking politics after dinner. "
Benjamin Disraeli ( 1804-1881 )
" No man is regular in his attendance to the House of Commons
until he is married. "

Benjamin Disraeli ( 1804-1881 )


Sunday, 18 February 2018

Summer Time, Winter Time And Now, Olympian Time.

It's all in the timing.

I suppose it is my own fault for being a hardened ski fan. What's a person to do when such high caliber events are taking place in the wrong time zone? Waiting to find out the results the next day ( actually often it is instantaneous ) doesn't quite cut it. The thrill of following the race from the first skier, the first fall, the first best time and the first upset is what it is all about. If not, then most sports clubs wouldn't be around.

Despite often not sleeping well, now that I have an official reason to get up at two am, my body rebels in sleepiness. Honestly, bad timing. Anyway, the whole of last week I've been keeping to my new Olympian time frame and I am glad I have as the most amazing, thrilling and interesting skiing upsets and history have been happening in front of our own eyes.

Bob and I are ardent fans who've been privy to most races throughout the world cup season. Even not knowing these athletes from a bar of soap, they have become familiar to us and we've been there for their ups, downs and disappointments. Sounds silly, but isn't that what being a follower of sports is all about?

Most mornings at six o'clock the races have finished and suddenly, the day is very long. By ten my body thinks it's lunchtime and issues the appropriate signals. Three o'clock morphs into six and so on. Getting up so very early makes the day extremely long but one can fill it with so much more. Reading, writing or eating.

Another week of early starts most surely will change my body clock the same way the summer time schedule does. For better or for worse depends on one's point of view.


Saturday, 17 February 2018

The Lure Of A Bread And Butter Pudding.

A Saturday afternoon in culinary climes.

Bob and I went grocery shopping as one does on a Saturday morning and it seems half of Oberwart was at Merkur. For once both of us were more than peckish, almost bordering on hungry and overdid the " each of us can get a snack to go " thing. For some reason we've ended up with a weekend of snack lunches!

My personal downfall is and always will be the bread department and to this day I find it hard to walk past fresh bread without at least getting a small roll. Bob, ever the grown-up, got a baked pizza bread ( healthy indeed ) and as I was hovering, dithering and deciding he shouted across to me that there was a huge loaf of yesterday's bread at half price.

Surreptitiously I did the finger test and even through the paper bag I could tell that it had plenty of life left in it. Toast and brie, toast and butter or toast with avocado images were flitting through my mind. I put the bread into the trolley. Done and dusted.

At home I had a quick squiz at my Facebook and eerily, the recipe for bread and butter pudding was circling about. Don't you also find it spooky how they seem to know your wants, needs and desires almost before you do? Well, now that I Googled for a quicker recipe of it, my social media will be inundated with tips, photos and ideas about baking.

As we speak, the pudding is in the oven and soon the kitchen will be alive with baking aromas, memories of the past and two very content pudding tasters...

' All the proofe of th' pudding, is in the eating. ' ( William Camden 1605 )


Friday, 16 February 2018

A Back Is Turned.

Small stuff does create happiness...

Since we've moved in here we've been providing culinary support for our feral cat for a number of reasons; we were fresh of the turnip truck and believed she couldn't catch her own, we liked having the word cat-owners apply and she was so darn pretty. Well, still is although her hips are giving her sporadic spots of bother and her stomach almost dusts the floor. Oh, and she keeps lolling her tongue out.

Since Bob's created a windowsill abode for her, she has finally understood that we are not creatures to be feared but are there to help her. How else could she interpret the luxurious piece of lamb skin, padded cat-bed and various old woolen socks and jerseys clustering her nest? I think the penny has dropped for her. I have mentioned that she gets extra portions of food to enjoy her retirement with, haven't I ?

We've been able to gently stroke her in that lair but as soon as we put food out for her, she scatters at great speed although a bit hindered with her aching hips.

Coming back from work yesterday morning I saw her lazying out on the ledge, soaking up every bit of sunshine. When I walked past her, close enough that she normally would madly scatter, she looked at me and stayed. Well well I thought, now that is a change and worth a closer inspection.

Through her vantage point outside our lounge window she's been privy to the many and numerous ways that we spoil Mausi including her ultimate show of feline love when she flips onto her back and exposes her belly to be rubbed.

As I stopped next to Tiggi and reached out to stroke her she stayed put and to my utter amazement, she proceeded to flip onto her back, letting me stroke her tummy. No mean feat on a narrow ledge but she so enjoyed it, that her tongue was out at the side of her mouth and she was drooling and purring with utter pleasure and dare I say, love.

After seven years of not being able to touch, let alone stroke her, this new show of trust has melted my heart even further and reminded me that true happiness can't be bought...


Thursday, 15 February 2018

Surely Almost Half Of Austria Was Wide Awake At Two This Morning.

Ditto here on this Super Skiing Thursday.

If I had felt the inclination to do a recce, I might have seen most of Eisenberg lighting up a dark night, heard coffee machines grinding noisily away and seen hair all over the place while all took pride of place in front of the tv.

Honestly, why they have to hold Olympics, especially the winter ones in a place so far away of the majority of fans, is puzzling. Yes, finally the weather was kind enough to let the alpine ski races go ahead after a delay of four days. An eternity for us fans and long enough to make most of us set our alarm clocks for the ungodly hour of two a.m. ( Just found out that even mum stayed awake for it )

Bob slept through but Mausi and I watched most of both races taking turns to drop into the land of twenty winks once or twice. The cup of tea I brewed left much to be desired in the caffeine department, but the roar of the Delonghi would have surely woken up Bob.

The races were worth it though, although the Austrian skiers had a bit of an off day which is sad for them as there was only the one chance to go for gold or its two cousins. Oh well, someone has to win and why not Norway and America.

It seems that the Koreans aren't fond of or interested in skiing as a sport to enthuse about, so that sadly the crowd was thin and mostly speckled with expats and family. The other Korea's cheerleaders were a bright spot in their red uniforms and sang with an appropriate enthusiasm. Their boss went to a Swiss boarding school after all and perhaps he enjoys the wintry sports.

Despite waking up at such an early time, I have to admit that it is exciting and fun to do something out of the ordinary. Luckily for me I now have a blue print of what, where and how because tonight ( or rather early tomorrow ) the next lot of races are run...


Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Deutsch Schuetzen's Awash With Swashbuckling Husbands.

A case of last minute shopping.

Driving through Deutsch Schützen a few minutes ago I was struck, perhaps even dumbstruck at seeing a few men exit our village shop with nothing but a rose in their hands. Three guesses who for...

Valentine's is alive and well with chocolates and flowers being given. It made me chuckle to myself seeing a husband ( of course I know whose husband it is ) emerge victorious from the village shop. He might have been one of the last lucky ones to evade the spousal silent treatment. Who can tell how many flowers Frau Wachter ordered. Honestly I didn't think that so many romantics still graced our village. Unexpected but brilliant.

The Bobster and I aren't that sentimental or rather, we don't like to follow the herd. As I mentioned to him earlier this morning, every day is like Valentine's with him. He still opens doors for me, he makes me a cup of tea now and then, he asks me how my day was and he complements me for most suppers made...the flip side of ignoring my culinary excursions and experiments would be a few of his least favourite dishes six days a week...

A local high school girl was also walking alongside the road as I drove home and I noticed that she was holding a flower bouquet of sorts. It took my mind back to school days and the nervous jitters some of us endured hoping that somebody might have been kind enough to leave a trinket for Valentine's.


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Another Gold For Austria.

An icy piste makes for exiting viewing.

Thank goodness Bob and I have the ability to re-watch a weeks worth of TV programs. Missed a thriller? No problem, watch it later. Of course it is a godsend for these current Olympic games. Time difference means that we have to wake up at two in the morning to see skiing live.

We don't subscribe to any TV times which normally isn't a problem but with the time difference and my alpine skiing being sandwiched between Bobsledding and Curling, it becomes a bit difficult to see my races.

Well, I managed to watch a race but had to watch it on the German channel as opposed to our Austrian one. What a change and what a great way to appreciate our Austrian commentators. Seriously, they make any ski race fun, educational and pepper it with delightful personal tidbits about the skiers. Plenty of gossip there!

They are as enthused ( well maybe a bit extra for the home boys ) about American, German or British skiers as they are about Austrian ones. I must say, it wasn't the same to listen to the German commentator after having been spoiled with the fun way or our Austrian guys.

Hans Knauss, Thomas Sykora, Armin Assinger, Alexandra Meissnitzer and co are fabulous. They make watching fun. Thank you for that, ORF.

Marcel Hirscher won a gold medal for the combined run although the new German wunderkind, Thomas Dressen who is brilliant and humble, lead the downhill leg of the race. Nail biting stuff indeed which only bodes well for Thursday when the proper downhill and super-g are being run...good times ahead and may the best person win.


Monday, 12 February 2018

Retro Daisy And Siren Poppy.

Too stunning to leave wilting on my computer...

Those particular dears are from May several years back. I was looking through my photos to choose a few for a photographic competition when I stumbled upon that delightful May. You most likely have seen them before but like any bunch of flowers, they need to be admired more than with a glance.
Wild, stunning and prolific...retro daisy indeed.
My favourite poppy & daisy photo. One can even make out the texture of poppy's leaves and the happy attitude of the daisy support crew.
Nature left to be isn't that bad either. Sometimes I wonder why most of us are so obsessed with having a picture perfect garden which takes too much time, water and effort. Let nature be...
A different side to vines.
Stones, daisies and trickling waters remind me of spas, relaxing and meditations.


Sunday, 11 February 2018

A Touch Of Snow Before It Goes.

A few days of snow.

My favourite bench keeping up with winter and looking delightfully romantic...if one had a snow suit.
Our vegetable garden soaking up some moisture.
The day it started to fill up roads, windscreens and driveways, I chose to hike up my usual forest road and if it hadn't been the same going forward or backward, I would have beaten a hasty retreat to a warm house.
A rather idyllic curve in the road. I felt like a pathfinder reading all the various footprints and tire tracks.
This morning the snow was waved elegantly to the exit aisle with sunshine beating down on it and miraculously transforming it back to water.
Our own little ski slopes...I have to admit that once the sun's back in town, even a snow covered vineyard looks too beautiful for words.


Saturday, 10 February 2018

Chance Conversations Make A Fine Treat.

The unexpected makes for interesting insights.

Maybe it is because we are Zu'greiste ( not born and bred locally ) that I make an effort to actually hold little conversations when I meet locals. I don't know about you, but I love to find out about people... what they like, where they went to school, where they've lived and basically, how they are.

How else can one find out who people really are? Clothes don't maketh the man, for me at least. Everyone looks good when made up and styled but that is just fancy wrapping paper for inner values. Good, bad or really ugly!

Bob's patience is often tried when I ask him the same stuff again and again due to forgetfulness or not having listened yet, when it comes to snippets of conversations, my mind becomes a computer. Everything neatly stored away.

Yesterday afternoon I took the time to visit someone at a care center, where she will be for a few more weeks. We spent a long time chatting and I asked her a whole slew of questions as she is a local through and through. Usually when I ask about school days and the good old days, people start to sparkle and shine as they relive those happy times of yore. Most say that life was nicer way back then despite it also having been harder.

At one point I mentioned what a great sense of humour a lady ( who possibly went to school with her just after the war and has lived down the road her whole life ) has. At first she wasn't sure who I meant but then said with an air of surprise:

" What? Really? I've never noticed. "
which can mean only two things. Either she doesn't understand her brand of humour or, and that saddens me, she's never really taken the time to find out...


Friday, 9 February 2018

A Spot Of Cheerful Colour On A Dreary Friday.

Before we know it these colours will return.

Winter seems to be awash in a blend of two colours-white and grey- which is why I needed a reminder of the spring a mere two months away.
Yellow should brighten anyone's mood.
Mauve or purple? The bee seems to enjoy it and looking at this photo one can almost hear the buzz afoot.
Red tulips and if I remember those are found in our front garden...
A fashion ensemble dangling at the side of a road.
Our yard is currently afloat with mud and I can't imagine it ever drying out and going ' underground '. At least for me, these photos let me glance over our current yard affair...


Thursday, 8 February 2018

An Afternoon Full Of Storms, Love And Insights.

A piece of soap that's not too shabby.

The last few days we've had a deluge of snow, moans from Bob and a proverbial mudslide in our yard. When the snow was fresh it was picturesque and fable like but combined with shovelling it and the slightly warmer temperatures, all's a slide of mud. Footsteps need to be taken with care and floors looked at with dark glasses.

This afternoon I decided to venture out on foot to visit one of my villagers. Timing is of the essence as before ten is a non starter ( breakfast etc ) after eleven the lunch gets cooked and too close after lunch is nap time. So the only time frame is about three-ish but even that can be fraught with a ' not so happy to see you ' mien.

Just after three in the afternoon is kick-off time for one of the most popular soaps in our part of the world.Sturm der Liebe which I had heard about from many older ladies who are glued to it but as I was visiting an elderly gentleman of eighty-eight, I thought he might eschew the program. Well, I was wrong.

We were chatting a bit when he realized the time and switched on his program but told me to move my chair a bit so that I could see the tv better. Okay, clearly an invite to watch along with him. Despite it being a soap, it was rather gripping and even more so when he told me the background of the various subplots. Oh, he knew his stuff.

At one stage the scene was set at night, with full moon and I was sweating bullets thinking I'd have to watch a bedroom scene with him until sanity returned. No nudity in an afternoon program surely?

The more I watched and was rather intrigued by it, the more I realized why it is so very popular with the older generation. The lonely generation. All the plots, happenings, intrigues, betrayals, romance, divorces and so forth are a substitute for a family. Let's face it, most families have one, two or even more of soap-esque subplots happening on a frequent I said, these soaps wrap their audience up in a cocoon of familiar family feelings and dealings. Soaps, a good invention after all...


Wednesday, 7 February 2018

A Building Boom Happening In Our Midst.

A few impressions garnered on a few day's walk.

All of a sudden our Eisenberg has morphed into a doll sized place.
Somehow this reminds me of crop circles. It must have been jolly difficult to remove those patches of ground in the middle of an extremely steep slope. .
Despite the bare branches it looks romantic and inspiring...the mood is set.
The paler shades of winter...A different view of our main road, which is at the bottom of the vale.
Not quite sure if that reminds more of earrings or disco curtains? Oh yes, back in the day disco curtains were the in thing to hang over the door frame.
A fallen tree trunk on the forest's edge shows how precise woodpeckers are. Amazing how this is created with a small beak only.


Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Toiletries, How Aptly Named.


On Sunday we did a grocery shop across the border and somehow as I write this it makes me think of times long gone when the English were smuggling wine and brandy across the channel. By the way, I might have done the same.

Either winter or washing dishes by hand or both make for incredibly dry skin. Wrinkly and not a pretty sight for sure. Normally I use a generic aroma free cream but when I happened across a nice container of Norwegian hand lotion I couldn't resist. Surely they, being on the front lines of winter would make a potion disguised as a lotion to make hands youthful again.

As it wasn't that much more expensive I bought a bottle for myself and Bob. Men have to have skin flaying off their hands before they put hand lotion on. Anyway, when we got back I put the lotion on the bathroom shelf and left it there for later use. Cooking and so forth needs bare hands.

Fast forward to bedtime when I opened the bottle with excited enthusiasm ( new and a promise of smooth soft hands ) and liberally applied it to hands and arms. Feeling like a princess I sat up against my plumb pillows reading my Jack Reacher book, when all of a sudden Bob wrinkled his nose unattractively and mumbled:

" Did you just use the toilet spray? "
How dare he...! Honestly, since when is the scent of roses associated with toilet spray? Suffice to say that from now on this Norwegian bottle will grace the guest bathroom and last a number of years.


Monday, 5 February 2018

Superbowl And The Many Advertising Hiatuses.

Freeze, for the love of money.

Many moons ago when I spent some time in the States I took to following American Football on Sundays and dare I say Mondays. After watching a few matches I more or less got the hang of the game and its intricate dance between offence, defence and the golden armed quarterback. Bob is a staunch defender of rugby but if he were to see and understand the American rugby he might like it too.

Yesterday's Superbowl game was on after midnight our time which was just as well as I couldn't sleep. Mausi and I were enthralled for about four hours. Puls 4 had many commentators who knew their stuff and that made it nice to watch.

About an hour in I kept wondering why the game would so often come to an abrupt halt for about about a minute or so, with the players huddling, resting and waiting. Surely that can only lead to losing the plot? There you go running the ball and suddenly everyone pauses almost like back in kindergarten when you play tag and you're it.

Eventually another viewer wrote and asked the same question and the veil was lifted. The Superbowl is the most expensive advertising spectacle where a 30 second add can cost up to five million dollars and clearly many advertisers took up the offer.

Austrian television didn't have so many takers as to fill the long gaps and where the viewers in the States saw ad upon ad, we saw the game come to a halt time and time again. Rather funny but telling too as the love of money seems to overtake the spirit of the game.

The game of course was fantastic to watch and from the start I was rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles. Really. It has been a while since I watched a full game but I actually enjoyed this Superbowl and especially that one touchdown where the quarterback himself caught the ball. Brilliant stuff.


Sunday, 4 February 2018

Better Late Than Never.

Discovering the sheer joy of hankering down with a Lee Child thriller.

Bob was the first to read it as it was on the list of books he'd ordered over Christmas. Apart from his love of sci-fi and fantasy, we more or less can read the same books although he draws the line at my historical romances. Who can blame the man...

Last weekend Bob only emerged from the covers of this Lee Child thriller to eat or have a shower. It had been a long time since a book has drawn him in like that and last night, as I was off to bed I noticed the well thumbed book on the bookshelf and managed to read the first few paragraphs before dropping off to sleep.

This morning I deemed the roads to be too icy for a walk knowing full and well that I had a couch and book waiting for me. Is there anything nicer than dawdling a Sunday morning away reading, eating and drinking tea? Not all books can or should be high prose and reading a contemporary thriller is exactly what's needed to blend out all the blah blah happening on the news.

A novel with a strong main character, even better that Jack Reacher is a man in uniform, is pure entertainment gold. In a way it is quite nice that I've discovered this author so late because now I don't have to wait for each new book to be released.

Isn't it fantastic that there are over twenty Jack Reacher novels waiting to be read by Bob and I? An indulgence beyond words for any bibliophile and as of today Lee Child has gained two more devoted readers.


Saturday, 3 February 2018

Ah, For The Love Of Reading...

My faith in the next generation of readers is restored.

On Thursday they came to pick up our donation for the tombola prizes. This afternoon was and probably still is the annual children's fancy dress party and I can imagine the roof of the venue being screeched off numerous times with the ever popular musical chairs game plus the mere fact that the kindergarten & primary school crew resplendent as witches, vampires, cowboys, cops & robbers has to be vocal and entertaining.

Bob and I decided to give three books as our donation, and we had a ball trying to find them in Oberwart. Gosh, it was like delving back into my childhood seeing some of the books on offer. Who didn't love stories set in a boarding school preferably complete with a stable of horses?

It can be quite tricky finding the right book not knowing who will end up with it. A reader or an iphoner? Never mind, we took a gamble that it might be a well received prize!!

Back to Thursday. The young girls came along with their mums and instead of knocking on the door I noticed a small face pressed against the window. Cute. I had the books ready in a packet and went out to hand it over.

" Sorry, we didn't wrap them. I hope that's okay? "
Before one of the mums could answer, the slightly older of the girls ( about 7 ) took the packet and excitedly delved into it. As she saw what we had bought, she was besides herself with giddiness...
" Oh mum look, books! I want to read these books. "
I can't tell you how happy I was to hear that. A girl who loves reading as much as we do. Lately I've encountered teenagers who only read text books because they have to and who don't see the point of reading for pleasure which is hard for me to comprehend. Thus, seeing those eyes light up at the sight of three books did me the world of good and has restored my faith in the next generation...


Friday, 2 February 2018

Fifty Really Is The New Thirty.

Again, it boils down to history.

Taking folks to the doctor's rooms often includes a nugget of wisdom given at the same time. At times of course it is mere village news otherwise defined as gossip.

This morning I had just helped a sprightly nonagenarian walk up to the doctor's rooms when I was about to encounter my nugget of wisdom. He walks a bit slower due to the ubiquitous hip trouble of his generation but he is as sharp in mind as they come. In fact one time after I'd taken him to the shop, he noticed a wrong price being rung up out of a shop of at least twenty items. We are talking about fifty cents or so.

There are only two places in the village where a traffic jam is par for the course...the village shop and the doctor's. Often I run into someone I know or who knows me enough to have a bit of a chat and catch up on the news. Today, a much younger gentleman, an octogenarian, was waiting for his wife and the two of us got talking. Naturally we dotted our mental lines between the pillars of being outside of a place of ill health and our fortune at not having to be inside. Kind of like those visits to Monopoly's jail. Just passing through...

Somehow we ended up talking age and how one carries it.

" You know, I can remember how fifty years ago anyone who was fifty looked old and wrung out. They looked and dressed as if they were old already. Not like today. Fifty means nothing anymore and often they look decades younger. "

I could see his eyes trying to ascertain my age but I kept mum. Along the way he had been privy to my age but had forgotten. Well, not looking a gift horse into its mouth, I greedily took his general statement to have been aimed at me although age is but a number...


Thursday, 1 February 2018

A Hint Of Winter Again.

An early walk in crisp and clear winter's air.

Bare and bereft yet still hauntingly beautiful. A place to be in the moment. A place to ponder and a place to dream.
I love seeing this sign as it reminds me of lobster and champagne...Fittingly a view of the upper echelons of Eisenberg.
Imagine taking some time out of your hectic life and spending a month in the Kellerstock on the hill. All that's needed are your favourite books, snacks and wine...although, wine is part of the environment.
As the sun touched those blades they came alive with sparkle and glitter.
We do have curves in Eisenberg! A little stretch of Hummergraben
Hard to believe that in a few months time the gold of Eisenberg will be ripening on the vines. Living amid the vineyards makes the four seasons expand to a few more. The season to prune, the season to clean and the season to harvest...