Saturday, 31 March 2018

Put A Sock In It.

Old fashioned hand knitted socks are making a comeback.

I don't know about you, but when I was young those hand knitted apparels used to be a staple under the Christmas tree. Not what one wants to get at that age never mind having to wear them outside of one's house.

Socks are purveyors of comfort, contentment and fun. Hand knitted ones that is. Once you've tried them, the doors to commercial rayon socks are barred for life. A woolen sock is fantastic for keeping toes warm during winter, and believe it or not, it can be a nice ice breaker, especially in our neck of the woods.

Visiting people in their marble palaces means one has to take shoes off at the door. No if when or but...often I wonder if the housewives have had enough of beige high polish floors and are yearning for sturdy, robust wooden floors. Floors where shoes are welcome, and mops optional. Whenever I go out visiting I make sure to have a pair of my knitted sock stash on my feet.

A friend of my parents loves to knit and likes to give away these socks. Don't tell Bob but I've been keeping theses socks in a separate drawer because his socks never last as long as mine. Once or twice I've knitted my own socks but truthfully, they are still hanging on the needles as I haven't quite worked out how to do the ankle.

Most of the socks we have are of a funky colour and pattern which ( at least in my mind ) makes it okay to wear them out and about with perhaps a small danger of being branded eccentric but a fashionable one...

If you get a chance, wear a pair...

Slight wear and tear but otherwise, comfy as toast...


Friday, 30 March 2018

Mad Friday.

A trip or rather deja-vu.

We needed to return the hired cement mixer to Obi and with that in mind, Bob strapped it on top of the trailer and we drove to Oberwart this morning. A slow drive with an orange beacon behind us. Yes, the obligatory Obi orange clad the cement mixer.

Even at ten town was hectic and busy. First stop was Obi and thankfully that went well but now we had a trailer in tow. As we combined the trip with a visit to supermarkets, Bob had to sit it out in the car, guarding our trailer ( yes, still a bit of South African nostalgia left over ) while I whizzed the trolley around the overflowing aisles with dexterity. Bob did take a book to while the time away and he was as patient as can be.

One would think that no shop would be open from today on in. The tills had queues of up to ten deep, the aisles were at times rendered impassable by lone trolleys and of course the ubiquitous shelf packers kept on wheeling their outsized trolley all over. Honestly, I've never seen so many people shopping at the same time. There were daughters taking their elderly mothers for an Easter shop, and it was rather comical seeing the obviously urbanites ( who don't bat an eyelid at spending five euros on a cup of Joe ) having to compare the merits and price of a bar of soap for ten minutes. Yes, it's the little things...

At the corner of the spice aisle, I saw a woman stop and look at me. She looked vaguely familiar but I couldn't place her until she started was one of my walking gals, alas her hair had been adversely affected by humidity and I by stupidity. Gosh, I felt like such a fool and one can't very well say that the hair had made her unrecognizable, can one? Anyway, we chatted for a good while until I remembered Bob sitting outside in the car, cooling his heels.

Driving about town with a trailer in tow is not much fun although it came in handy transporting bags of soil for the upcoming vegetable planting. This time I sat in the car while Bob entered the crowed nursery, guarding our chariot. It took a while until he returned with several bags of topsoil, while casually mentioning that he'd stood behind my ' boyfriend ' at the check out....a man who once, years ago asked me to dance at the local community center and whom I'd be hard pressed to pick out of a line up.


Thursday, 29 March 2018

Peace & Quiet Returns.

The walls are done.

Lime paint ( whitewash ) is a tricky thing to understand. It's natural, it's cheap and it takes some time to dry and that's the fly in the spectator ointment. Before it dries it is everything but stunning.

Once before I'd painted a wall with this powder based paint and thus knew the time it would take to be a normal wall. Today it has rained the whole day and once the builders left, the walls were finished but the yard was a sight. Bits and pieces among the muddy paths in our yard made it imperative to use one's imagination.

As luck would have it, Bob and most of his work mates arrived minutes after the builders had left. It transpired that they all were lime paint novices and it took me at least a half an hour to explain the process. Goodness me, men are an odd lot...if they had had a magnifying glass they'd have used it to point out any tiny perceived flaw. Never mind the sudden increase in neigbhourhood drive byes.

Once I told them that it takes time for the paint to dry and settle, they calmed down but they'll do a second inspection for sure...

As for our cats, they are giddy with happiness at having their respective lairs back. Tigger has become more loving toward us, Mausi is still clinging to my apron strings while I am extremely glad ( but also grateful for being able to have it done ) that this week is over...well not quite as there is oodles of cleaning up to be done.


Wednesday, 28 March 2018

The Big Bang Theory.

Rather late than never.

Throughout the years it's been on my peripheral but somehow it never really caught my full attention which might be linked to its name. A tv show called The Big Bang Theory seemed a bit strange.

Today a young lad mentioned that he loves the series and that yesterday, he watched one episode in English rather than the dubbed German version. Yes, you guessed it. Yours truly had mentioned how much it would help him to watch tv in English which nowadays is as easy as pie due to Amazon, Netflix and co. How marvelous that he followed my suggestion.

Well, if he had made the effort then why shouldn't I do too. I came home after a lesson and started to watch an episode. You know, it isn't bad at all. A typical sitcom of course with all the elements to let one forget the cares of the day. I've only watched a few episodes so I'm not sure of the story line down the road, but so far I've gathered that it makes brilliant nerds appear fun, attractive and most importantly, people to admire and emulate.

The irony of school we eschewed clever nerds and worshiped the cool kids wanting to do anything and everything to be accepted while in real life, the brilliant nerds have changed our lives and have the lives most former cool kids would give anything to have even a tenth of it...


Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Mary Does It Again...

An addiction worth having.

One of the gals in my walking group has rediscovered her love of reading. Reading like one should...leaving all else and only focusing on turning page after page.

She talked about a book she read and I couldn't help myself. I had to recommend one of my favourite authors to her. It isn't that often that one forgets everything around one and emerges into another world. Oh, in case you are wondering, it is Mary Higgins Clark, the doyenne of fast paced thrillers tainted with a touch of romance. Perfect chick-lit.

When I gave my friend two of her novels ( had them in German ) I added the provisor that perhaps it's not for her but at least to try a few pages. A week went by until we had another walk, and before I had a chance to enquire, she excitedly informed me of having burned the midnight oil a few times. Brilliant.

Fast forward to last week when I got my mittens on two more Mary Higgins Clark novels and because I know how divine it is to have this treat ahead, I especially went around to her house to drop them off:

" Ah that is so nice of you. Do you mind if I keep them a bit longer? I just bought myself three books the other day and I should read those first. "
Naturally I didn't mind but went home and wondered how long she would take to get stuck in another literary murder. Never mind, perhaps she likes to save the best for last.

Yesterday she and her husband walked past our house and we had a long conversation mainly about the builders who have proved a real draw in our neighbourhood. Halfway into our chat she started to giggle before saying:

" I've finished the one book and am halfway through the second. I love them. "
I knew it. Nobody who has read one of her books can resist the lure of another one especially when it's sitting on a bedside table. Yeah, another reader...thank you, Mary.


Monday, 26 March 2018

Our Clever Little Cat.

Litter tray antics.

As you know we've got the workmen outside and this week might be a bit of an upheaval in regards to routine, structure and calmness. A week is not so long after all.

This morning everything had to be put forward an hour ( might as well have been two hours now that summertime has finally arrived ) because the guys start early at seven. Luckily I was ready at ten to seven as they drove up the driveway already.

While the workmen are here, Mausi is banned from the front part of the house for her own safety. Doesn't mean she likes it but, as I told her, it won't be forever. For the first time since she's been ours, we've had to move her litter tray to another room.

How to tell her the new local of her toilet without confusing her? Well, I carried her to the tray, set her in it and let her feet move the sand. Oh, and I said a little prayer that she'd take note of it and not drop a defiant toilet parcel somewhere in the house. Couldn't even blame her if she did. What with all the hammering and banging outside her nerves must be stretched to the limit.

I came home from an English lesson a few hours ago and was pleased as punch to find a big wurst in her litter tray and her lying exhausted in ( in rather than on because her bed resembles a cushy cave ) her comfy bed. I have never been so proud of her and it took all my might not to phone Bob to tell him about our angel. There are limits to what a man can listen to while he is at work...


Sunday, 25 March 2018

A Few Moments Of My Week.

Bricks again...

Doesn't this just sum up a weekend? These green gems are shown to perfection on a typical Burgenland day, which we had a few this week. Blue skies and warm sunshine.
Deutsch Schützen from another side. The edge of town actually.
On the other hand, our house on the edge of Eisenberg is being exposed one brick at a time...the plot thickens and the anticipation quickens. case you are wondering what Bob and I've been up to this weekend, wonder no more...It is such a shame we can't keep the brick look as both of us love it.
Possibly the hardest bit of this job is carting all the rubble away. Remember, we first have to shovel it off the floor and if you've ever tried to put a spade among loose stone, plaster, sand mingling with bits of bricks, you'll know why.


Saturday, 24 March 2018

A Feline's Love Of Pork Rinds.

A crackling affair...

They say that grandparents spoil their grandkids much more than they did their own and somehow the same holds true for our Mausi. Bob's father introduced her to pork rinds and she hasn't forgotten the shape, smell or sound of said pork chip. She will turn cartwheels to get one and in order to give her some joy ( yes, poor little orphan Annie! ), Bob has continued the tradition of sharing his chips.

Today though, even he was stumped by her majesty's spoiled behaviour. We were putting the groceries away which involved me passing each item to Bob who would arrange it in the cupboard. Far from being altruistic, quite the contrary as I cottoned on to him...he just wants to be aware of what I bought, what is there and more importantly what snacks there are to be devoured.

After putting everything away including 47 cans of her special gourmet feline delights which we were thrilled to get at half price, he went to give Mausi a treat. A yummy snack sausage which he fed to her bit by bit until she walked away after only eating a quarter of it. Unheard of behaviour but we soon found out the reason of her disdain for it.

Madame had espied Bob's packet of pork rinds and had positioned herself on the couch, giving Bob a butter wouldn't melt in my mouth look and the rest is crunchy history. Oh yes, she ate about three of them and honestly, I don't know who chewed louder.

The age old argument of nature versus nurture is continuing in our house...

A love affair...
I wish you could have heard the crunching...


Friday, 23 March 2018

White Wine And Vegan Pumpkin Seed Spread.

A Buschenschank with a difference.

We went out to a local, well almost local Buschenschank yesterday and had a fabulous time. It is one of the nicer ones around, in atmosphere, food, wine and ambiance but after last night it has garnered another description...innovative.

The other day I saw a documentary that did get my attention beyond its sixty minutes with the outcome of ( at least for a little while ) a few of my eating habits being changed. Yes, meat has been sidelined in our kitchen and we've been feasting on delicious meat free dishes. Of course the true test of one's convictions arrives when going out for a meal at a Buschenschank....a place enshrined with meat dishes.

Fair enough, I was going to skip a day of healthy eating and order something with only a touch of meat. A Grammelschmalzbrot. We arrived at the place and ordered wine which left me enough time to dilly dally over the menu. Oh, I do that regardless of what I eat or not eat. Gemini.

Funny how our mind, once it's set chooses to ignore the obvious. I was on the brink of ordering my Grammelschmalzbrot when Bob asked me to take a closer look at the menu. He of course was privy to my menu planning...

There it was, sandwiched between Schmalzbrot and cream cheese spread. Oh yes, even printed in capital letters;

Vegan pumpkin seed spread.
To say I was stunned is an understatement. How wonderfully progressive of this Buschenschank to put something a bit more inventive than a cheese bread for non meat eaters. Of course I ordered it but I savoured the idea of it even more.

When it was time to pay the bill, the owner came over to cash up from us and as I was so happy I firstly thanked him for their innovative drive and also ask him why they'd thought of it.

" Quite a lot of people ask for a vegan dish and we've put one on the menu. "
Those are the rare moments when realize why among a string of establishments within walking distance, this particular one, Herczeg Buschenschank..., full of customers, and even rarer, happy customers.


Thursday, 22 March 2018

One Of The Best Entertainers Of All Time?

I bet you'll know a few of Frank Sinatra's songs after reading the opening lines.

" You make me feel so young, you make feel so spring has sprung..."
" I've got you under my skin. I've got you deep in the heart of me."
" She gets too hungry for dinner at eight, she likes the theater and never comes late..."
" Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away. If you can use some exotic booze..."
" Chicago, Chicago that toddling town. Chicago, Chicago I will show you around..."
" Grab your coat and snatch your hat, leave your worries on the doorstep.
Just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street..."
" Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you. If you're young at heart..."
" Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars..."
" Love and marriage, love and marriage, Go together like a horse and carriage.
This I tell ya, brother, you can't have one without the other..."
" That's life ( that's life ), that's what all the people say. You're ridin' high in April, shot down in May..."
" Start spreading the news, I'm leaving today. I want to be a part of it New York, New York..."
" Oh, that shark has pretty teeth, dear. And he shows 'em, pearly white..."


Wednesday, 21 March 2018

The Joys Of Spring.

Hopefully the back of winter...

The pond across the road was shimmering wwith snow covered glory.
It was a deceptively cold day today. The skies were blue, no cloud in sight but the wind was whistling and making the day more icy.
The sun made this bit of snow shimmer with a brilliance normally reserved for diamonds.
The pond was a questionable shade of green, the depth indeterminable yet, seeing the little jetty covered in a dusting of snow it somehow turned the murky green into a lovely background.
The last snow of the season hopefully...otherwise Bob won't be a happy chappy.


Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Social Media Unveiled.

A lesson in privacy.

It used to be that old fashioned Facebook like which was paraded around the town square of friends, family and oddballs. By now we all are en courant with who dines where, who likes what and who wants to own a new luxury vehicle. Honestly, do people think that sharing will win them anything but advertising?

Bob usually checks his Facebook when he comes home in the afternoon while sipping on a nice hot cup of coffee. It is his way of unwinding from work and of course to see what his friends got up to. Gosh, we all do it don't we? A lot more of my online friends seem to be online all the time and I have realized that they've all upgraded to the 5G network and thus are constantly connected. No wonder the word addiction is banded about with regard to social media...

A few minutes ago, Bob came through to the kitchen where I usually sit writing on my computer or perusing the online neighbourhoods and said with rather a shocked expression;

" Facebook has changed again. They've just put in my feed what a fellow Eisenberger has looked at on Zalando. Can you believe it, they showed the various items. G-string, undies and other stuff. Too much information! "
" Schatzi, I hope you haven't looked at anything inappropriate yourself because there might be someone in the village getting all that info. "
...we tend to forget that every action has a similar reaction. Nonetheless, how far have we sunk if we already are shopping vicariously through others...


Monday, 19 March 2018

Nature's Last Laugh.

A spring deferred.

Just last week Bob was considering wearing shorts and t-shirts and the only thing that kept him from doing it was the glare of his pale pins. Thankfully we didn't overdo the joys of spring by changing our winter wardrobe into the summer one because the last few days have had a touch of winter's revenge. Snow, ice and cold have decided to settle upon us once more.

Hard to imagine that only last week I had hung a whole slew of laundry outside. There really is nothing better than clothes drying in the sunshine soaking up a hint of summer.

This week the builders are coming to reshape the outside of our house although with the cold weather we've been thrown out by two days but at least Bob and I have organized all the bits and pieces they need. As we didn't have an outside tap we've finally bought a water pump to dangle in our natural well out back. Thankfully the carrying of bucket after bucket is nearing an end.

As for all our chiseling, our hands have had time to recover over the weekend and the blue hammer marks on my left hand have faded. The first few hammer swings were spot on but after a while fatigue set in...

I must say that it is very exciting to be able to see our house in a new coat next week. A lot of neighbours have kindly given Bob and I advice and anecdotes of their building mishaps, but so far we've resisted the lure of insulation materials which most of our neighbours have embraced. Let's see how our house will fare and I am pretty sure that years down the line, should the occasion arise, someone will tell us;

" I told you so. " or " Thank goodness we followed your lead. "


Sunday, 18 March 2018

Backstage At The Local Theater,

Another play done and dusted.

As you know Bob and I have been helping out behind the scenes with Bob being part of the glass washing squad and myself in the assembly line of sandwich makers. Put a few women as co-chairs and each will have her own criteria of how a perfect sandwich should look. Suffice to say that at one of the performance evenings the odd choice word was mumbled. Ah, no matter how old or young we are, put us in a group and the dynamics change. A touch of spice indeed.

During each act, we downed tools and hung on the various counters in order to watch the play. After the second evening the lines were familiar or rather the lines not spoken were truly fun. A case of the giggles had set in and bravo to the assemble for carrying on despite almost themselves doubling over with laughter.

Quite often during the play a few of the main characters would swig a glass of Schnapps with I only found out after the first night's performance, was the real deal. If I had to stand in front of such a huge audience I might have more than a few tots to calm my nerves.

We didn't do too badly at our stations either. Of course we could eat and drink what we wanted but I took caution knowing that I would do the rounds collecting empty glasses. Slinking through the masses trying to clear dirty glasses off the tables isn't easy at the best of times. People turn around unexpectedly, people walk without looking and sometimes people talk with their hands.

Luckily for me there were a few trays which have a sticky surface thus stopping any glasses from moving about. Brilliant. With each successive performance I got braver and loaded my tray more and thankfully other volunteer came back with only one empty glass and beer bottle on his tray..,

" Geez, make sure you don't overdo it. "
Yes, even the business of volunteering is not for the faint of heart but I have to say, that it was fun to help out and in a way I was glad they had included me.


Saturday, 17 March 2018

A Bit Of English Grammar Humour.

Punctuation, pronunciation and more...

  • The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
  • The farm was used to produce produce.
  • They were too close to the door to close it.
  • Since there was no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
  • To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
  • The dump was so full it had to refuse more refuse.
  • When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
  • The buck does funny things when does are present.
  • Irony is when someone writes; " Your an idiot."
  • People who do not use punctuation deserve a long sentence.
  • There are 923 words that break the i before e rule and only 44 that actually follow that rule.
  • What do you call a dinosaur with extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.
  • " I'm close friends with 25 letters of the alphabet, I don't know y..."
  • A hangover is the wrath of grapes.


Friday, 16 March 2018

"Schatzi, Where Are My Handschuhe? "

Never mind gibberish, what about a touch of Genglish?

Seven years should just about do it. Bob and I have been surrounded by lingua local and one can't help but think bilingual. Somehow our brains seem to have been rewired and often the two of us will sit and debate what English word was replaced by our use of a German one. Even mum, who came to have a look at our handiwork, was side tracked by our newly domesticated feral cat and joined our Genglish club.

Her new joy in life ( the cat, not mum ) is to sit and let us stroke her, even the odd attempt at picking her up is tolerated but never without a glimpse at Mausi who of course has her bouts of jealousy. Anyway, there mum walked right up to Tiggi and stroked her for ages...

" Gosh, you won't believe, but I stroked her and she schnurred like mad. "
Yip, we've turned into a family of Genglish speakers.

The other night the phone rang rather late and it was Mum who phoned during choir practice wanting to know if I knew the difference between life and live which took some focus because if I'd got it wrong, the whole choir would chant a wrong version of life...

English being an afterthought in everyday life, makes those easy questions into an exercise in grammar, discipline and self confidence. After I put the phone down I rethought the whole lot once more and then asked the oracle...he said that I had explained it perfectly but what about the Live concert or life saver ? Well, as the audience is mostly local, I am sure that nobody will pick up on a slight change of life!


Thursday, 15 March 2018

A Day Spent With A Chisel & Hammer In Hand.

Another wall gets stripped to its bare bricks.

We needed a big breakfast before we attempted to do our day's tasks. When the church bells chimed the start of the eight o'clock mass, the two of us were busy chiseling the old plaster off the remaining walls. Yesterday we had started and now, the one side of our house is looking decidedly designer bricked. Looks rather nice and if it weren't so dusty, we both would have loved to keep it natural.

My fingers are refusing to uncurl properly which makes typing this missive rather interesting. Throughout the day I kept on switching between my left arm and right when I swung the hammer at the wall because I don't want to end up with disparate shoulders. Bob hasn't switched arms and he might have to walk with one side forward to show off his added muscles.

Despite taking the kit out of the plaster, working side by side with Bob has kitted us closer. And no, we've not had any arguments...yet. Bob being a gentleman to the bone, took on the major share of work and took charge of the only ladder we had so that I didn't have to climb it. Ah, what a gent.

During our designated lunch hour I heated up last night's leftover brown rice with a medley of fresh vegetables thrown in. Done and dusted in five minutes and more importantly, eaten in two.

" Who knew that vegetables could taste so nice. "
which I was happy to hear and glad I hadn't added ginger...yes, Bob had found it earlier today among the cutlery. Goodness me, who put it there...


Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Who Ate My Ginger?

It wouldn't have been Bob.

Just like sometimes I forget a word, punch line of a joke and the odd appointments, this afternoon I came home to have a hot ginger, lemon and honey tea when the ginger wasn't there. Had I put it in the fridge when my mind was somewhere else?

Honestly, for about a minute I thought back to all my culinary feasts over the last few days and surely I couldn't have used up all this ginger? Bob would have vehemently protested as he abhors ginger in food. It doesn't matter how small I chop it to try and sneak it in, he always ends up getting the one piece of recognizable ginger on his plate and then has the audacity to accuse me of deliberately trying to infiltrate ginger...So much for wanting to keep him healthy and so much for him seeing through me!

Our lives are so jolly stressful that our minds are overheating most of the time. We have to keep track of so many threads around our periphery that it is exhausting. Add the burden of having to uphold online activities and it is no wonder that we tend to be forgetful. Luckily Bob and I haven't been lured into the valley of Whatsapp because those devotees are constantly holding a few separate strings of conversation afloat on it.

I can imagine that it must feel as if one was sitting around a big table and one had to have riveting verbal exchanges ( impressing others is hard work and most of what social media is about ) with the person on the left, right and opposite one, and each conversation on a totally different topic. Add a dose of Instagram and a perusal of Facebook and the plot it any wonder that most of us are unable to pay attention to the real people right under our noses?

As for the ginger, it will turn up eventually either in Maus's favourite hiding place or as I suspect, in the dustbin, where you know who might have thrown it...


Tuesday, 13 March 2018

A Facade Renaissance In Progress.

A nip & tuck after almost a century.

Approaching the ripe old age of almost a hundred years, our house is starting to reveal some stretch marks, blistering plaster and the odd brick not being in the wall. An authentic oldie, so to say. Well the time has come to spruce up the outer walls.

There are so many choices of what to put on a wall but we wanted something as natural as possible. Lime, sand and a bit of cement is our choice. Bob and I organized fifteen bags of lime powder and have been busy mixing them with oodles of water. A lime paste of sorts and while this lot is stewing away ( yes, it literally bubbles ) we've been chipping the old plaster away one hammer swing at a time.

The minute we stood downwind and got a whiff of loose plaster, both of us instantly thought back to when we first did up our house. Gosh, we had weeks on end where all we did was chip and chop the plaster off our inside walls. It did wonders for my upper arms, made my hair dry as dust and made us glad to down tools for the last few years.

Amazing how the muscles remember. Bob came home for lunch and had the afternoon off. Well, sort of...As per usual, many a villager drove past and craned their neck to see what the two of us were up to...funny how those kind of events are exciting in a small village.. I've been known to alter my route in order to have a quick look at what's been done, added or painted in the neighbourhood. Isn't that what life is all about?

...Man at work...
The inspector general having a look...!


Monday, 12 March 2018

I Dream Of Sandwiches.

Two nights at the playhouse...

They asked me again this year to help them prepare sandwiches for an army. Well, it seems like an amount only an army would devour. I feel for the Karate Kid...Schmalz on, Schmalz off. Yes, I was part of the theater support team. Those who can't act, make sandwiches!

Bob was at his usual station making sure everyone was supplied with clean glasses. He made it look so easy almost like he was performing swan lake. Oh, he and his two other friends who usually get that job. Far from being envious, all are glad they don't have to make sure that thousands of glasses are cleaned during the evening.

There I was part of the sandwich assembly line, having a very minor part in that production, yet nonetheless trying to do a proper job laying my usual relaxed approach to food aside for a while. Bob might benefit and have more aesthetically pleasing sandwiches in his lunch box from now on, but I draw the line at cutting off the crust for him!

The opening night was sold out but the crowd must have eaten mostly at home. Or they were too sophisticated to munch on a Grammelschmalz brot while swirling a Grüner Veltliner expertly in one hand and waving greetings with the other. We made our sandwiches but never had any stress of running out or rather, having hungry customers eagerly awaiting each and every slice...

The next performance was late Sunday afternoon and was especially frequented by the senior citizens of most boroughs. A couple of buses had driven to all corners of Deutsch Schützen's district to pick up people. The room was full with eager villagers. Before the play they ate a bit but nothing to cause any us panic...

Well, during intermission there was a sudden onslaught of hungry people. The sandwiches flew off their trays and we could hardly keep up the supply. Fabulous, before the start of the third act, we had sold out everything except for those Leberwurst affairs...but, I had a suspicion that there wouldn't have been any demand as most would go straight home after the show, as lingering late while swirling Welsch Riesling is more for the younger set that hasn't yet started to appreciate the lure of an early night at home wearing comfortable sweats and more importantly, making your own sandwich just the way you like it.


Sunday, 11 March 2018

Some More Signs Of Spring.

The sun was out for a quick visit this morning...

A perfect colour combo. A feast for the eyes, soul and senses.
The resident deer were jumping for joy but only after they realized that I was more friend than foe. Can't really blame them as the local hunters were in full swing, shooting away in the forests.
The ice has left our area. Only a week ago we were still in the depths of a cold snap, if one could call temperatures of minus 15 degrees that.
Our local church getting ready for its busy day.
Whenever the sky shimmers in blue, the birch are displayed to perfection.
Summer is almost upon us and many divine walks are on the cards, and who could blame me when the locale is as stunning as Eisenberg.


Saturday, 10 March 2018

A Saturday Afternoon Hanging Out With My Husband.

A breath of fresh air...

Bob was doing the cutting and me, his faithful sidekick was picking up the pieces...pulling the vines out of the wires which isn't that easy as these vines are entwined for dear life around wires and each other.
View from work...not to shabby, is it?
Our work lined up and waiting to surrender to the shears.
There I am downing tools in order to take a photo or two...
Seeing life through the prism of wires...clear and opaque in one.
The fruits of our labour won't take too long to appear in this ready made nest. I look forward to drinking this red wine in two year's time...


Friday, 9 March 2018

The Many Sides To A Forest.

All about and all ignored...

How many years of local history this tree might have been privy to? Rather sad to see it languishing on the side of a lane, awaiting either eternal damnation or a reprieve as a table or a chair...
This tree has such elegance about it, smooth bark, great height and yet delicate enough to be adorned by a mere leaf.
A different tree overseeing a steep vineyard, stark, skeletal and yet eye-catching
A whole stack of ex forest dwellers giving an extra element to a side lane. Grown for decades, burnt in hours...
I hope that this beautiful tree will stay around for a long time. Can't wait to see it in full foliage bloom. Nature, isn't she great?


Thursday, 8 March 2018

A Drill Sergeant In The House.

A double call to help.

Often I doze off to late night back to back episodes of " Medical Detectives" which dissect real life crime and I might be forgiven to at times waking up to imaginary villains slinking about. Not so this morning.

The sirens were blaring so loud that I took note of them through the triple glazed windows, TV noise and a state of dozing. It took me a while to orientate myself but when I realized that the fire department's siren was looping, I quickly woke up Bob. Well, not much fun as he was in deep sleep and at first didn't know what I was shouting about. The lights had been switched on to blinding brightness while I kept on saying:

" Schatzi, wake up. The fire alarm is going off. Get up. "
In the movies it looks so much smoother. The men merely hop into awaiting clothes, shoes and hardly need a moment to descend the pole between dreams and reality. Bob, took ten seconds to be fully awake and within three minutes, a sip of coffee and a wifely stricture to take a snack along ( it was a quarter past four after all ) he was running out the door to head to the fire station.

Quelle excitement indeed. It had been raining so I wondered if a cellar had been flooded or a cat gone up the tree. Mausi and I settled on the couch, whiling the time away. Not a long time either as within ten minutes he was back. A false alarm, I thought? No, by the time Bob had arrived at the station the big truck had gone already and as Bob ( in his spiffy fireman kit ) was about to sit in the other truck, the first one returned. There had been a fire in Burg, but apparently our Eisenberg team wasn't needed. Fair enough, at least one knows that the boys are there when it's crunch time.

Bob had been home for not even enough time for me to make him a cup of coffee when the next siren went off. Another call out, another bout of running out the door with a whole slew of wifely advice a.k.a. nagging.

Of course I was worried about the misfortune somebody was having but at least, all the hard training the boys had undertaken was paying off. Bob came home about an hour later and it had turned out that there had been a major fire after all ( the sparks of the small fire had jumped ship and started on a nearby roof even though it was raining ) and at least five different fire brigades had gone to help. Bob said that there must have been at least fifty firemen present and thus the fire stood no chance of finding more tinder.

I find it amazing that despite the snow, rain and cold weather, a spark could ignite another fire. Well done to all the firemen, who do risk it all to save others...Great stuff.


Wednesday, 7 March 2018

" I'm Glad You Asked, It's A Good Question. "

A tell tale sign?

Bob and I often choose the entertaining news channels to keep up to date and on track with what's happening around the world. One has to know some of the current events at least and sometimes ( a lot recently ) it gives an opportunity for laughter even if only to circumvent any crying. At times one can only shake one's head!

Out of the blue, well not actually because it's always the same sentence that sets him off, Bob will shout irate stuff at our television. Answering a question from the news anchor, quite often the reporter's answer starts like this:

" That's a great question, I am glad you asked it. "
which to both of us is code for: Oh gosh, I don't know how to answer this as I haven't got a clue...

Well, to set the cat among the pigeons...the other evening, Bob asked me what I was going to make for supper ( implying that I should get on with it already! ) when I answered him:

" Well Schatzi, that's a great question and I am glad you asked it. "
and turned back to sipping my wine and watching the latest ruckus happening at that big white house over the pond...

It's nice to see that I can still make my husband laugh out loud!


Tuesday, 6 March 2018

An Unexpected Morning Of Heavy Snow.

Just like that, it's white again...

If it had been warmer, it would have been a morning of rain, incessant rain but with the aid of a few degrees minus, it morphed to snow.
I chose to walk the small route around the local pond as everywhere else it was slippery as can be. The forests are mostly bare of foliage but now and again a few lost colourful leaves dotted the bareness.
Hard to take photos with snow falling all around one, but here you can see the threads of snow gracefully tumbling down to earth...
I had to choose my spots carefully...finding a shelter from the elements had whittled down to standing under fir trees.
Somehow reminds me of Christmas, snowmen and family walks...


Monday, 5 March 2018

A Monday In Paradise.

Dull, grey and beautiful.

Despite the late afternoon flurry of snowflakes-gosh, I thought by now they'd have moved to Denmark and beyond-my thoughts are straying to spring and the new season of vegetables and flowers to be planted.

The other day I noticed in my calendar that the start of spring is mere moments away and for Bob it marks the end of winter. Time, hurrying away from us it seems. This morning the tide of icy weather had turned to a more sedate minus 3 and we're eager for each progressive day of the week. Saturday it might be a giddily hoped for plus 10...

But back to the much longed for gardening. Well, more the planting of vegetables. Last year's crop has stuck in my memory as our cherry tomatoes were divine despite some of them having developed those atrocious black spots. Not this year, I hope.

Thinking of what to plant is fun although also a little bit dicey. Finding the right balance ( last year we mistakenly created a marrow jungle ) is paramount and timing is everything. Coordinating the growth spurts is far from easy. One doesn't want to eat lettuce morning noon and night the one week and pizza the next. Well, some of us that is!

As for flowers, Bob and I want to create a red oasis of tulips along one side of our wall and the rest we plant as the muse takes us but always with ample feeding stations for our local bees. Lavender and rosemary are a definite must have in our and hopefully most gardens.

Good times ahead...


Sunday, 4 March 2018

Laughter Really Is The Best Medicine.

Those who laugh together...

Bob and I laughed so much we had tears in our eyes. A fabulous treat indeed as often we forget to see the funny side to life. What were we doing? Well, we had the privilege of watching an old Robin Williams movie.

Not one for which he won accolades but just the ordinary film called, RV. Gosh, I forgot what a great talent he was. His ability to find the funny side of life was ingenious but also rather sad, as he perhaps couldn't find it in his own life.

Laughing, how divinely soul refreshing. When was the last time you laughed so much that you had to cry? Bob and I often laugh at some of the ridiculous things we do. The other day I put the groceries away before heading out to go to work. When I got back, ready to haul myself into my role as chief cook, I couldn't believe my eyes.

As I opened the fridge to get milk a strange sight met my eyes...the frozen fish was in the vegetable crisper and when I quickly put it into the freezer department, Bob's treat of Weisswurst was busy crystallizing up there! Bob merely raised his eyebrows when I asked him if he'd played a trick on me and muttered about more fun coming his way in the future.

Of course ever pot has an uniquely matching lid...most mornings we re-enact versions of the game called; " Honey, where are my car keys? "

Those who laugh together, stay together...


Saturday, 3 March 2018

The Weather Girl.

Live updates...

Honestly, I think I've become obsessed with the actual degrees. Not so much the weather itself as I can see it through the murky glass of our windows but the actual degrees.

We all have seen the icy hold placed over Europe this last week and we've been doubly updated by actually living through it. Yes, it was bitterly cold inside and I don't even want to imagine what being outside all day would entail and feel like. In awe of you, Schatzi but as you said, that's part of the job and you love it.

Our Gemeinde website has a live weather update and this is where I look as soon as I am in front of my computer. Kind of thrilling to watch the numbers climb or fall as appropriate. The coldest I've gleaned from the site was an icy minus 15,5 degrees and that was during day hours. Those of you who keep on being climate / global warming deniers, might have had a tiny mental door frame cracked open by the icy state of roofs, roads, walls and just about everything.

Speaking for Bob and I, we sadly still accrue an insane amount of rubbish. Glass, paper and plastics. Where does it all come from? Is there any food to be bought that isn't over wrapped in layers upon layers of plastics and aluminium foil? Are we all so scared of a few germs? Despite wanting to save the world one bit of rubbish at a time, I am flabbergasted by the sheer amount that we collect every six weeks.

Those severe weather conditions which used to be the exception to the rule but now have switched to be almost the rule, are perhaps nature's payback or as some say, a regular part of nature.

Now that the warmer weather has returned, it was zero a few moments ago, I hopefully will stop organizing my life around that little number on a gauge as whatever it says, life goes on...


Friday, 2 March 2018

Lidl, Old And New.

A new shopping experience.

Bob and I have whittled down our shopping runs to an art form. A dance through the aisles, a turn to the left, a twist to the right and voila, the trolley is filled and with it our culinary desires with the odd unnecessary treat thrown in.

Today saw us shopping together due to another ice-day for Bob and the last stop is usually the grocery one. Not that it's that vital when it's minus seven outside. No butter, ice cream or cheese would melt even if we tried. Old habits and so forth. For some odd reason Bob decided to stay in the chariot and await my return in it.

Like any wife will know, a man waiting in the car means no dilly dalling, or in my case dithering in the shop. As I wheeled the trolley through the doors I knew that it would have to be a military affair. Quick, precise and bare bones...Like all well laid plans, this one went awry straight away. Everything had changed.

Lidl has gone upmarket and changed the layout of just about everything. The coffee and biscuit aisle stayed the same but everything else was in another place. Don't get me wrong, I love to discover the layouts of supermarkets. Finding new treats, new specials and new ideas is rejuvenating and makes the mind work a bit harder...but not when an impatient husband is waiting outside.

Gosh, I shopped in record time and for the least amount ever- forgot many items which we will find out throughout the next few days. I could see how much Bob had looked forward to seeing me emerge from the store...I had barely wheeled the trolley towards our car when he jumped out to help load everything...To his credit, he not once mentioned the length of time I took and I could see that once I mentioned the new layout, he'd have loved to meander up and down the newly minted Lidl store...


Thursday, 1 March 2018

Bookshelves, The New Awe Factor.

Books, so last century.

Afterwards I berated myself but I can't give up trying. Give up that outlandish idea of making kids enjoy reading. No, more basic than that, making kids read in the first place.

Helping a young boy cram for an English test, has made me wonder about some teachers. The test was today and apart from giving them a huge bundle of stuff to learn, know and write ( at least two essays, many grammar questions, two reading sections with questions and all the vocabulary of the past four units ) they were given an A4 sheet of paper yesterday, typed full of questions that might be asked of the various stories they've read in their student's book. All that in 50 odd minutes makes it no wonder that most kids don't like English.

Going through the question sheet with him yesterday and searching for the answers to each of them, made me realize yet again how vital it is to read for pleasure. Whereas we would be able to jot down a few words to remind us and then elaborate properly during the test, the kids who don't read books for pleasure have a hard time formulating answers to questions that they know the answer to. eg:

"Why did the ancient Egyptians wear big pieces of fat on their heads? "
Short answer: Perfume
Long answer: ( fraught with grammatical pitfalls for non readers.) The ancient Egyptians wore big pieces of fat on their heads because when it melted in the heat, it gave off a pleasant smell.

Anyway, we went through the whole lot and at the end, when I could see steam rising from his brain, eyes closing and yawns escaping, I showed him a post I had seen on Facebook recently.
It showed three columns of readers;

  • those who read 20 minutes a day ( 1 800 000 words and 3600 minutes per school year ),
  • those that read 5 minutes a day ( 282 000 words and 900 minutes per school year )
  • and those that read 1 minute a day ( 8000 words and 180 minutes per school year )

I think the penny dropped at least some of the way when I told him how much easier English could be for him. Homework would be a breeze... Bob, who was sitting in the lounge heard me and said:

" Show him our bookshelves. "
which, when I did ensued in eyes as big as saucers and mouth agape at the amount of books on it. For good measure I told him that we've read all of them and some more than once...clearly, to him we are mad as hatters, outlandish and extremely odd...yet hopefully, also an example.