Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Under The Burgenland Sun.

Another heat wave.

One can tell that there are unusual hot temperatures about when the various ways of cooling down are discussed over the radio. Where on earth did they unearth these heat navigators?

Cold mini showers are a no no, as is cold liquid which of course made all of us listening in a hot and humid car change course for the nearest shop to get something icy cold to drink. Driving into Deutsch Schützen at half past nine this morning was a uncomfortable deja-vu of driving around Morningside in Durban during a hot February trying not to get stuck on the car seat and finding ways to loosen the grip on the hot steering wheel. February, a challenge indeed.

Back to Eisenberg and our extreme heat. The grass has turned that muddy brown overnight, the leaves of most flowers and vegetable crops are wilting sadly and the few cumulus wafting about are more show than substance giving us a few moments of joyful anticipation until we realize that they off to fool someone else.

Mausi has wilted on our bed for most of the day although she does so rather elegantly. When I heed the call of insomnia by migrating through to the lounge and television, she follows suit and lately has made her little sleeping corner next to me on our small couch. Brave little thing squeezing herself next to my knees with her paws dangling precariously over the edge. Turning onto my side has become a team effort. Thankfully she's got nine lives!

Both of our immediate neighbours harbor swimming pools and when I go up to the washing line I can hear the splashes, dares and joie de vivre of kids trying their hardest to displace as much water as possible from the cool blue pool. Sometimes it is the young ones that show us that the glass is indeed half full...


Monday, 30 July 2018

A Solitary Walk No Longer.

Setting the pace.

I treasure my Sunday perambulations around the pristine early morning landscapes of Eisenberg. A time when most are dozing Saturday's excesses away, a time when birds are dangling happily upon a telephone wire and a time when deer feel free to roam streets and fields.

Just past Wingl, heading out to the open road and vista ahead of me, I heard the annoying click & scrape of a Nordic walker. Not a stranger but one who normally doesn't cross my path. Now he was a mere ten meters ahead of me and the only chance to change tack was a few hundred meters further.

Should I walk slower, faster or take the chance that we'd walk side by side albeit on opposite sides...didn't feel like chatting my walk away. Suddenly he spotted a hunter on the side of a field. Yes, it sounds odd and was even odder when I saw him talking to a fully clad hunter with coat and riffle on the edge of a local maize field. But I was glad that I might not have to put one of my various speed options to the test. He must have been gladder still, or so I thought.

I couldn't believe it ! He turned back to walk on the road mere steps from me and we were side by side for long enough for me to give a fleeting greeting whilst firing the turbo in my legs. Before you think me awfully rude, he only gave a short nod and a mumbled greeting that by no stretch of the imagination was an invitation for a conversation.

For the next two hundred meters I put foot but was unable to shake the click-scrape-click-scrape. My gosh, he was fit considering that he is a of a generation born before me. As I was ahead of him, I took the chance and carried on straight hoping that he'd turn up Hofzimmer , which thankfully he did. Fabulous, I was alone again until I came to the next curve in the road...

A couple of young deer were grazing along the side the road before casually crossing it mere meters ahead of me. How divine, how rewarding and how serene. I paused for a few minutes contemplating nature and its wonderful creatures. Just as well the Nordic sticks were pounding the pavement elsewhere.

Stunning sight.
These two must have been young still. They let me get quite close before bolting away. Hopefully not in the hunter's direction.


Sunday, 29 July 2018

The Hot Long Walk To Stubits's.

A Buschenschank was on the cards.

We have had sweltering days and nights which are far from over yet. For the next few days the weather mavens have scared us with predicted temperatures of close to 40 degrees. Somehow I hope they are wrong but even if they are off by a few degrees, it will still feel like moving about in a Sauna.

Yesterday afternoon couldn't have been much less. Bob had suggested that we should go and have some of the usual vine and vittles at Stubits's. Nice alas last year they moved their wine cellar from the village ( a mere hundred meters from us ) to the vineyards, so now a round trip of about three kilometers is part of the deal.

As both of us didn't want to end up on the losing side of Rock paper scissors, we agreed to slowly meander to the Buschenschank. For some odd reason we left when the sun was at its most zealous and as we finally arrived at our destination, the first thing we ordered was a big glass of ice water while surreptitiously wiping our sweaty brows. Thankfully we weren't the only mad ones there. A couple of tables were filled with neon-coloured cyclists. I don't know what's worse...the reflective colours or their tight shorts? Or perhaps both?

The only table out of the sun was next to the bar area which actually turned out to be the best seat in the house...no matter where the sun moved, it never touched our table while outside the great shift from table to table took place.

The two of us had a great time with the odd intercepts of a nod here and a greeting there. A good Buschenschank experience. Walking home a couple of hours later was fun too and despite it being the same distance it felt much quicker this time.


Saturday, 28 July 2018

Mausi Has A Cold.

Chicken soup's on the menu!

The last few days she's been sneezing a lot albeit in a ladylike fashion. If she could hold a tissue she would and if some bachelor tomcat could see her, he'd ask her up like that. Our precious cat is just like that.

Nobody likes to have a cold least of all me. Red nose, feeling tired and miserable for us humans it can't be much different for a cat.

She's been rather quiet finding new napping places but when she crawled up on my lap at lunch time, I knew she felt poorly. Only mummy would do. That I was reading a book didn't interest her. As I couldn't see past her I laid the book aside to give her a much needed cuddle. Great foresight as her sneezes are rather tactile.

Seeing her mope about breaks my heart and if I knew she'd eat it, I would organize chicken soup for her. Bob gave her some honey which he cunningly rubbed on his finger and then rubbed the honey on her mouth. Nothing for it but for her to lick it of. Honey, nature's antibiotic. Let's hope it does the trick.

Mum thought it might be an allergy to grass-Mausi has been discovering the various green treats outside our front door even going so far as to stake out a slug. Don't worry, she never got the chance to pounce because I took her back inside. Under protest of course.

The food we give her is jolly expensive but I am under no illusion that it is anything but industrial muck with a better tasting sauce. Time to put her on a plant based diet too! Only kidding but you know, she loves way out food such as Knäckebrot, plain rice and savoury Hungarian tortillas...


Friday, 27 July 2018

Another Visual Feast.

Summer reigns.

The white house of Deutsch Schützen sets itself apart.
In the shimmering early morning sunlight the roads looks paved with gold.
A batch of cosmos at the end of a gravel courtyard. Stunning, simple and breathtaking.
A cheerful sight alongside the main road. We could hold our own tour de Eisenberg.
Another settlement of cosmos outside someone's garden. Divine diva.

The ongoing heat wave has made itself felt...a lot of flowers are starting to wilt.


Thursday, 26 July 2018

The Quest For A Front Door Parking Space.

Nobody seems to be fond of walking the extra mile.

It dawned on me this morning while I was parked outside the doctor's ( only ferrying a couple to and fro ) surveying the usual suspects edging with dread up the stairs, that the reason our local shop had such busy mornings was the rewards most people would buy for themselves after having survived a stint at the doctor's. Of course finding out the latest local gossip has much to do with it.

Medical mission completed saw us drive around the corner to Wachter's to pick up a supposed pint of milk that morphed into two whole bags full of groceries. Shopping at Wachter's is often a mere ruse to meet old friends and villagers. The shop only has an two isles of twenty meters in length, but my elderly charges can disappear in there for close to an hour. Seriously, but I love it because they enjoy it so much and always come out invigorated with newfound local knowledge.

A chat with this one, a natter with that one and a general update on village news. All the while I stay outside, today standing in a shady spot next to the entrance. Only when I am driving those who can't walk much, do I park right in front of the entrance, if it's available. It is an official parking spot but now and again a pensioner will aim a sarcastic comment my way. Like today's

" Haven't you snagged the best parking. "
which I knew was meant like that as he'd parked angrily off kilter in a no-parking zone...walking an extra five meters? Good gracious no...Little did he realize that I had re-parked my car each time someone left the shop because it was hot and humid today and as my charges are close to ninety I didn't want to have to walk more than necessary.


Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Village Living.

Picking tomatoes and rocket.

I've acquired a routine in the afternoons. The three feline rascals outside get fed and cuddled, the garden gets watered and often a load of washing taken off the line. Usually just after five. Lately I've included searching for those little ripe cherry tomatoes.

We've chosen the oddest of colours which made me overlook a ripe yellow one thinking it still had to lap up plenty of sunlight to turn red. Bob chose reds, yellows and oranges for which I am thankful now because they taste of tomatoes, sweet and juicy. Nothing close to a cardboard taste of store bought ones.

So there I am leaning over our high-bed to hunt for ripe tomatoes ( we've let the plants grow wild ) when our new neighbour spotted me through the jungle of zucchinis and with a wave came over to shoot the breeze. Gosh, we stood at our gate for ages talking about this and that. They are also getting a couple of kittens this weekend and I am most certainly going over to have a peep at them.

Having lived in a small town in South Africa of about 600 000 residents it was a nice transition to move to a small village in Burgenland. Bob, the master of understated comedy used to tell his friends that we were immigrating to a small place in Burgenland of a about three hundred, to which his friends replied; three hundred thousand?...

Despite there being a couple of social circles ( ! ), one can get by without joining in the eternal quest of copying or outdoing the Joneses. Only this morning one of my walking friends said that one should spend, do and travel when young because the older one gets, the less inclination one has to go further than out to the garden, dress in anything but jeans and t-shirt or to participate in image enhancing...wise words indeed.


Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Bottles And Cans.

Recycling behind the cemetery.

Being a good housekeeper includes getting rid of empty bottles and cans the proper way. Taking them for a nice little drive to the cemetery takes care of that business.

Honestly, I am loathe to drop our medley of empties into deceptively acoustic containers
( especially if they are still on the empty side ) as they are literally adjacent to Eisenberger's final hotel. A bit of quiet and respect should be kept but gosh, dropping these empties makes enough noise to wake up the dead. Never mind the newly built home twenty meters up the road that has a front row seat to all of the village's excesses.

Now and again I try and take my empties to the recycling containers in Deutsch Schützen but that too puts me in a quandary. A few years ago some lazy person kept on putting wrong rubbish into the recycling containers ( eg. paper in glass or vegetable peels in the can bin ) and since then a security camera is part of the mix. Oh, I am pedantic about recycling properly but I am not sure if I am allowed to venture beyond Eisenberg's station.

Taking a collection of cans is not for the faint of heart. Having lived in times of water restrictions I refuse to waste water rinsing out cans so that often the bag of empty cans has bits of left over food stuck to it. Rather yukky shaking them out of a clingy plastic bag and then taking the dirty bag back home to recycle as plastic, but Bob and I do it anyway unlike a few who leave their bags behind next to the container...aah, a case for another security camera perhaps?


Monday, 23 July 2018

Country Life.

Flowers & animals.

A rose clothed in raindrops drew my attention on Sunday morning. Hoping that the people whose garden played host to this divine bunch of roses wouldn't be awake, seeing me infringe with my camera.
A few meters along I noticed a brood of chickens pecking up worms which the rainy weather had lured to the top.
A rather rare or should I say strange breed of chickens, as they have incredibly long legs. The way I captured this particular one reminds me of all those school teachers patrolling the halls.
An arrangement of flowers on the outskirts of Eisenberg.
When I came back from work this afternoon I couldn't help but chuckle at the ease and familiarity that our resident feral tomcat has made himself at home. Copying our Tiggi of course.
Tiggi our old faithful dares not leave her perch because both of the other feral cats have noticed how nice a perch it is...part of the family and so forth.
Again, a scene from the rose garden...rain gives a sparkle of its own.


Sunday, 22 July 2018

Our Read-a-thon Continues.

A quiet household.

The only one making a noise is our feline child making herself heard at our front door while at the same time willing it to magically open. Suddenly she has found her voice and has started to use it for all types of requests. Only this morning she irritated Bob with her slightly off key rendition of meows so that he got up to feed her. Mission accomplished and humans trained.

Bob's finished reading his first novel, another delightful visit with Mma Ramotswe and Mr J.L.B Matekoni and has gone on to the next one. His code for an afternoon's sleep-

" Hon, I'm going to read for a bit. "
results in him being asleep within minutes but today, another novel has gripped his imagination so much that sleep was the last thing on his mind.

Vicariously living in different centuries, countries, households and scenes is indescribable. Riveting, at times informative, often funny but always a great way to escape the madness that disguises itself as reality. Who would have even thought that the current going's on were anything but an invention from a skilled novelist? Those engrossing yet far fetched plots of John Le Carre, Dan Brown or James Patterson appear rather blase and normal now. Scary, isn't it?

Reading a good book is manna for the soul. It gets us out of our routine, changes or mental focus and entices us away from time consuming online stuff. Making time for reading should be a must for everyone. So many books, so little time.


Saturday, 21 July 2018

A Delightfully Gentle Saturday.

Sunny as well.

There is just something so wonderful about waking up on a Saturday morning. A day one doesn't have to work. In the past Saturdays were spent manning the work desk and the only times I could sleep in late was on holiday. So, I love the new flexibility of Saturday mornings.

Sleeping in for us means five o'clock and that's great. My walk was later than usual but the only ones who noticed were the neighbourhood pets as everyone else took a leaf out of our schedule. Little Chekov down the road, a tomcat who's had his mobility infringed upon by having had the dreaded snip was trying manfully to climb a tree which wasn't that easy with his ever increasing girth. Gosh, the woeful look he gave me was priceless.

A donkey mostly heard and not often seen was braying a bit and of course the court of birds were awake and busy broadcasting various bits of news. My Saturday route was only intercepted by a few cars and one of the two other crazy all year round exercisers...the cyclist who does at least ten loops of the vineyard on his grown-up BMX.

When I came home Bob had brightened up to such an extent that he announced that our lawns were getting the chop. He with the brush cutter and I with the lawn mower. Being a girl I get the easy bit as my pleading to be shown how to use the brush cutter have so far fallen on deaf ears.

After lunch, we both settled down on our respective couches to read the first of our newly arrived books. ( The DHL delivery chap merely left the parcel on our front step as we were both out. Imagine what one could collect around the neighbourhood? ) Such a pleasure to sit and read, cat on lap and coffee at hand. Is there anything nicer than starting a new novel on a day where one doesn't have to stop reading? Ah, bliss.

To finish off our gentle Saturday we'll be heading out into the Deutsch Schützen vineyards for their annual Berg-Wein-Fest...a staple on the annual festival calendar.


Friday, 20 July 2018

Bob Hatches A Cunning Plan At The Spur Of The Moment.

Not our typical Friday afternoon.

Bob came home half an hour early having worked through lunch but still ate the lunch I packed him, once he had sat down and had taken his shoes off. Isn't it funny how the stresses of work get kicked off along with the shoes? Amazingly, the lunch I had made and packed at five in the morning was still pleasantly cool. Nice to know that the ice blocks work. Absolutely fabulous to have him home a bit earlier.

A few minutes after having eaten a big salad of pinto beans & greens and a sandwich ( tomatoes from our garden, onions not ) he ventured towards our fridge to look for dessert knowing full and well that he'd finished the recently discovered ice cream all by himself. You guessed it, I didn't like the flavour...salty peanut butter ice cream ( plant based of course ) is not for everyone but amazingly Bob seems to love it.

"Honey, I think we should quickly drive to Kohfidisch to get petrol for the lawnmower and a few odds and ends for our larder. "
Fair enough, unwinding from work doesn't always have to involve a couch and a good book. As I was about to put on my shoes he added.
" Oh, and don't forget to take our cooler box along. "
The whole excursion might have been planned around stocking up on more peanut butter ice cream...and wouldn't you know, they had a special on all ice creams...25 % off. Nice, with such an offer I couldn't help but sneak in strawberry and chocolate nougat ice cream too. Oh, how I love our new fridge-freezer. Best buy ever!

By the way, a quick trip to the Kohfidisch Spar is a fabulous way to catch up on the local goings-on as many an Eisenberger pops in quickly to get this that or a whole trolley full. Life mercifully still retains its gentle pulse with people respecting the old tradition of taking the time to have a good old chat in the middle of aisle 3.


Thursday, 19 July 2018

A Few Cheerful Wildflowers Make A Nice Change From Politics.

Grounded in nature.

It is hard to escape the constant onslaught of bad political behaviour but often just walking by a field filled with happy wildflowers allows me to pause and reflect on the beauty of life.
This bunch of happy hippies grows alongside a vineyard. Even in the early morning light they were a welcome sight.
A simple yet highly effective colour contrast.
Alongside our back wall a whole troupe of happy wildflowers have set up camp. Bob keeps threatening to chase them off via his brush cutter, but so far so good.
Tall weeds standing proudly in the sun. Thistles I think? Our newly white-washed wall lends itself as an elegant backdrop.
A great way to escape the new low of politics.


Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Rare Sightings In Eisenberg.

Foxes and tourists.

Late yesterday evening I noticed old Mausi staring quivering out of the bedroom window. A different stance to normal and as I snuck up behind her to see who she was liaising with ( #1 or #2 tomcat ) I almost fell through the mosquito netting out of the window. A family of foxes, well mum and three boisterous pups, were playing not more than fifteen meters up the road.

Our neighbour has mentioned it but hearing and seeing are two different kettles of fish. The recent love of the front window has been explained. Just as well old Mausi doesn't get free reign...she might want to join the pups to cavort about too.

Bob came home from work this afternoon and informed me of an embarrassing incident at work. The vineyards are his office and close to lunchtime he walked up one of them to do his pruning, when out of the corner of his eye he noticed a lady suntanning at one of the local holiday cottages. He only noticed because the sunlight reflected all over the top of her body.
Yes, she topless and Bob speechless.

Apparently she hadn't noticed him, so Bob being the gentleman that he is, backtracked a few meters out of sight only to come back the same way but with much more noise. Gosh, a fleeing deer would have made less noise. He did have to go past this woman's cottage one way or the other and luckily she took note of his approach and covered herself up.

Bob told me with nochalance, that as he marched past her, he said a polite " Servus " and carried on as if nothing had happened but in all honesty, I am sure it made his day. I dared to asked him how old the woman actually was ( he had mumbled about her being an old biddy ), knowing that husbands tend to downplay age, looks and likability of any other woman their eyes fall upon on principle;

" Honey, do you think Julia Roberts is good looking? "
" OH GOD NO! She's not my type at all."
...he'd say despite having seen Pretty Woman more than a few times.


Tuesday, 17 July 2018

It's Not Every Day One Sees Mustering Of Storks.

A colourful slice of country life.

By pure chance did I glance up the road whilst standing outside the local shop. Or perhaps I heard them chatting like a ' gaggle of geese ' .
A normal family breakfast...
My affinity with benches continues. This one is outside a local Kellerstock, perfectly placed to embark on an hour of sitting still.
A sight closer to home. Our first tomatoes of the season have defied the onslaught of an army of slugs. No wonder they are called cherry tomatoes.
I forgot what type we've planted but this one might be rather interesting and ample for the two of us. A few more days...


Monday, 16 July 2018

Soccer Detox.

Another world cup come and gone...

A month of watching matches almost on a daily basis does set the start of a habit. It only takes twenty one days of repeats to ingrain a habit. All well and good, but how to satiate the thirst for more games? World cup caliber ones?

For the last few hours I have been reminiscing about the good times of these last four weeks, those times at the start of the first game of the day, snack at hand and no work to be done. A repast from daily life, a chance to float abroad, observe extremely happy fans and see the best of the best kicking a ball if not each other. What more could one want...

The final yesterday was brilliant, breathtaking and nail biting all in one. Both sides played in a manner to keep us glued sans toilet breaks lest we miss a goal although, somehow I found out today that there were three streakers? Where was I at that crucial moment?.

One side had to lose and the Croatian team handled it with dignity and character. Their president, in fact, both team's presidents did their nations and national teams proud. Enthusiasm without bounds. To witness their sheer joy was priceless and, honestly, when was the last time we saw a head of state grin from ear to ear nonstop? Yesterday was a great reminder that our elected politicians are mere human after all even if some of them have forgotten it.

Well done to France for winning this world cup. Viva La France.


Sunday, 15 July 2018

A Cat Who Thinks She's Human.

Naturally, our cat...

A few weeks ago Bob took Mausi outside on a leash for the first time and as you can guess, it has become a tradition ever since. Those of you that are blessed to be custodians of a feline child, a house bound one, don't need to be told that cats forget nothing. Not A Thing. Do it once, do it for ever.

Twice a day, morning and evening, we take her outside to peruse the garden at her leisure.
Mausi has a tendency to accredit us with forgetfulness as an hour before the scheduled garden time ( cats are the best time keepers ever ) the concert starts. Meouws, a few scratches at the door followed by more meouws. As much as we want to rush and do to her bidding, we dare not because the moment she realizes that one of us sprints at her first meouw to be at her beck and call, our peaceful lives are history.

Cunningly we wait until she stops complaining and has moved to her window seat before we casually get up, fetch the leash whose sound she hones in despite birds tweeting outside while jumping with great speed off the window and rushing to have the collar put around her neck. All the while chatting the hind leg of a donkey.

Once outside, she looks left than right before deciding her chosen path to olfactory heaven. The sound of an approaching car, walker or talker has her sprinting back inside. Into safety. Even if she was only outside for a minute, she's happy until her following walkies.

Of course, her ladyship is as aristocratic as they come...it was raining the other morning but she wouldn't rest until I took her outside. Well, it was too funny for words... she put one paw onto a patch of grass, simultaneously felt a raindrop landing on her face and with a speed only otherwise displayed when the lid gets popped of a can of cat food, raced back inside. Inside where it was warm and dry.

A few days later we tried to take her outside after it had rained...same outcome. Mausi has an aversion to a wet and dirty surface and that made us reconsider letting her out for good. She is a house cat, a happy house cat who is part of our family...who am I kidding, she is the matriarch of our family knowing full and well that we are putty within her paws.


Saturday, 14 July 2018

Clean Air.

A treasure oft forgotten.

It sounds so cliche; breathing clean air, how would we know the difference? Over the years it had slipped my mind. Air, breathable air is something I take for granted and why wouldn't I? Air looks kind of the same everywhere that is until...

On my last stretch walking through one of our local forests I heard the approaching chuck chuck before I saw it. Sounds or perhaps acoustics are very deceptive in the open. The tall fir trees lining the road running through the forest can deflect a lot. Bird calls two trees over appear directly overhead, mice flitting across the moss covered ground create a loud crunchy tread when they step on decaying leaves. A mouse, deer, hunter or boar have a similar effect, adding another dimension to some of my walks.

But, eventually I heard the tractor coming up the hill and I stepped aside to let the farmer pass. These tractors tend to have the most torturous looking machines in tow and it is easier to beat a hasty retreat. Once the tractor had gone by, it hit me. The air was tainted with a heavy dose of burnt fossil fuel. Lingering almost at nose height, made me do two things...cover my nose with my scarf and be ever so grateful for the clean air we have.

So, passing the odd tractor leaving a vaporous signature in its trail is absolutely fine as it underscores how breathable our air really is...


Friday, 13 July 2018

A Few More Quotes.

So much wisdom...

" An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come. "
Victor Hugo
" You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. "
" The mind is everything. What you think you become. "
" Women are made to be loved, not understood. "
Oscar Wilde
" God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers. "
Rudyard Kipling
" I married an archaeologist because the older I grow,
the more he appreciates me. "

Agatha Christie
" Forty, is the old age of youth; fifty, the youth of old age. "
Victor Hugo
" A smile abroad is often a scowl at home. "
Alfred Lord Tennyson
" I was angry with my friend: I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow. "

William Blake
" We owe a lot to Thomas Edison - if it wasn't for him,
we'd be watching television by candle light. "

Milton Berle


Thursday, 12 July 2018

Old Wisdom, Still So Relevant Today.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ( 1749-1832 )

" Daring ideas are like chessmen moving forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game. "

" If I love you, what business is it of yours? "
" There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action. "
" To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking. "
" Nothing is worth more than this day. "
" Divide and rule, a sound motto. Unite and lead, a better one. "
" Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished. "
" Leap and the net will appear. "
" Too many parents make life hard for their children by trying, too zealously, to make it easy for them. "
" Oblivion is full of people who allow the opinions of others to overrule their belief in themselves. "
" The rich want good wine, the poor, plenty of wine. "
" A man's manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait. "


Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Sights Of Eisenberg.

No day is the same...

I had occasion to glance out of our back bathroom window when I noticed a light brown shape at first and on closer inspection saw that it was this dear deer grazing merrily on the luscious offerings on our verge.
The rain was beating a steady beat on the pavements, bending blades of grass and of course making the grass easier to swallow. After a few moments of silent adoration I ran to the front room where her feline majesty was partaking in her morning slumber, picked her up and carried her through to see the exciting visitor on our verge. In her dozy state she took a minute to realize why mummy was asking her to be quiet!
An older leaf I presume? Still unaware of its spectators this young deer took her time eating only choice greens while twitching her ears so as not to miss any footfalls. Rather divine to see such a stunning animal up close.
At the moment most verges resemble works of art upon which bees and insects can hover at their heart's content.
A collection of wildflowers, weeds and insects is a rare sight even in our environs...the need for neighbourly conformity and adoration of verges resembling a short back and sides, makes a natural lawn a rare jewel to behold.


Tuesday, 10 July 2018

An Early Start To The Day.

So much done before eleven...

As you might be aware, the Bobster and I get up at half past three every morning. Or at least, weekdays as he needs to leave home a bit after five. Don't worry, we go to bed earlier, in fact eat supper while the sun is still reigning on its zentith. One gets used to it and in fact, I love it. It means summer, it means waking up before the birds and it means a blissful peaceful morning spent sipping the first pressed coffee of the day.

After assembling Bob's lunch I tend to turn my attention to a few mundane, boring and not such fun domestic cleaning tasks before putting on my sneakers to head out for a long walk. Today I had planned to cut some of the non-conformist part of our hedge instead of walking and though it is not on my list of favourite outdoor chores, it needed to be put in line.

I stood on our front doorstep, having kissed Bob goodbye when he suddenly informed me that he needed the hedge sheers for work today. Oh darn! There went my well laid out plan only to be exchanged for a stint of reading ( yikes, what hardship ), perusing the odd comment on social media and of course taking Mausi outside for her walk. Gosh, that girl is as skittish as they come. Two ladies were Nordic walking with emphatic arm movements thus being heard before seen which gave our child such a fright that I had trouble keeping up with her bolt for home.

Having hung out a load of washing and eaten a nice breakfast made it seem rather late in the morning but when I glanced at the clock, eight hadn't been reached. Our new next door neighbour was just driving off to work. Yes, despite not seeing the car, one adjusts to the various revs of individual drivers. She's still young so that makes it much easier to distinguish her!

Starting the day so delightfully early gives me oodles of extra time and I wouldn't change it at all. That is until winter rears its cold head.


Monday, 9 July 2018

Thoughts From The Past Relevant Till Today.

A mixed bag of quotes.

" Be the change that you wish to see in the world. "
Mahatma Ghandi
" To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. "
Ralph Waldo Emerson
" It is better to be hated for what you are
than to be loved for what you are not. "

Andre Gide
" I have not failed. I have just found 10 000 ways that won't work "
Thomas A. Edison
" A man who does not read has no advantage over the man
who cannot read. "

Mark Twain
" For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness. "
Ralph Waldo Emerson
" I am not upset that you lied to me,
I am just upset that from now on I can't believe you. "

Friedrich Nietzsche
" There's no friend as loyal as a book. "
Ernest Hemingway
" If I had a flower for every time I thought of you...I could walk through my garden forever. "
Alfred Tennyson
" Go to heaven for the climate and to hell for the company. "
Benjamin Franklin Wade


Sunday, 8 July 2018

Breakfast Run Old Boy Style.

Life, there to enjoy.

Sunday mornings possess a quietness and peacefulness that make them irresistible to walking addicts like me. A delight to welcome the day and Sundays are perfect to walk along roads as these are devoid of traffic. Add summer into the mix and the sound of beetles buzzing, buck braying and sounds of hunters give more depth to the day.

I was atop the Eisenberg motoring along while looking at the various Kellerstöckls and mentally picturing the life that was and is lived within them when a buzzing of a different sort tore me away from my contemplation. A buzz almost like a motorbike but more high pitched. Yes, an old Vespa in its distinct pale greenish yellow was cresting the hill and aiming full throttle toward me. Well, not toward me but toward my direction. The rider had hunkered down to minimize wind resistance which eh, shouldn't have been too great on a Vespa.

Before I could process the rider, a second one buzzed up behind him on an old moped. At least from the fifties. When they drove past me I noticed that the mopeds were manned by two old boys. I purposefully say old boys because despite being older, their facial expression was sheer joy and it wasn't hard to imagine their excursions when the mopeds were new. A time of dove tails, white bobby socks, strange hair locks and cigarette dangling from the mouth.

Bob doesn't know it yet but I can predict that he and I will be careering through the vineyards in or on ancient Nike's in a few years time...obviously I wouldn't say no to swapping Nike's for a Vespa.


Saturday, 7 July 2018

What A Cracker Of A Match.

England only two matches away...

Soccer, a game that makes grown men cry. Swedish spectators showed faces in agony and seeing a grown man dissolve into tears brings home just how feverish they follow the sport.

That fabulous England coach has set the new standard for coaches. His attire was magnificent and only reinforced what he stands for; character, manners and fair play. A breath of fresh air indeed and quite frankly, he could easily blend into the cast of Downton Abbey.

The atmosphere in the stadium was electric and once the fans started to sing God Save The Queen, I had goose bumps and thought of all those royal documentaries Bob and I watch. After all, a century or so ago, two cousins ( who could have passed for brothers ) ruled Russia and England.

I have to admit that I slept through all the other England matches but from what I saw today, it felt as if the team decided to play fair. No unneccessary theatrics, no devious kicks and no wasting time. Brilliant and I can't wait for the finals which I predict they'll win!

All the favourites have crashed out of the tournament but you know something, that makes it more fun to watch soccer again. Predictability for fans and players creates boredom and as we've seen, lethal mistakes.

Bob was cross as blazes for he had to leave ten minutes before the end of the game. The fire brigade has set training for six o'clock. At least there were no upsets in those final moments which after what we've seen so far, wasn't a given. An exciting week ahead...


Friday, 6 July 2018

A Typical Friday Afternoon In Eisenberg.

A hive of activity.

Fridays are kind to those employed in Austria as most get an early start to the weekend often leaving already after lunch. Tradesmen especially take off early on Fridays so good luck if you are in need of one. Not bad at all although at the moment there's talk of having 12 hour working days. Talk is mostly just that yet it has given many a bit of a pause.

Fridays see commuters come home for the weekend and today was no different. Roads are inundated with cars sporting Viennese number plates and thus driving with rather more pep and elan compared to us full time villagers.

I recently read a newspaper article mentioning that men living in our districts of Güssing and Oberwart ( Burgenland ) have the shortest life expectancy because of unhealthy eating and commuting weekly.

That last one was interesting as it wasn't so much the driving time but the fact that when the men come home for the weekend, there is no rest and recuperation from a heavy work week, on the contrary...the weekend is spent fixing stuff around the house starting with the lawns, chopping wood for winter and a trip to a Frühschoppen to keep abreast of local gossip. Not forgetting spending time with the kids. All well and good, but recharging one's batteries should be top of the list.

Summer season has started and we've had to drive slowly behind at least two pelotons of e-bikers. Summer season means people taking a long weekend in our vineyards and stocking up at Kainz's. Earlier, I stood behind a couple who obviously stocked up for just that. All the favourites mingled among an attempt to continue healthy habits. There's a long shelf full of the usual tempting suspects...chips, chocolate and biscuits counterbalanced nicely by canned lentils and delicious local wine.

Fridays are upbeat for all of us and as silly as it sounds, there is a happy vibe permeating about, at least until Sunday afternoon when most commute back to work.


Thursday, 5 July 2018

A July Day Awakens Around Eisenberg.

The early morning speaks with an eloquence all of its own.

The mist had decided to venture forth and reveal the jewel called Eisenberg...
An open road ahead, a day for new opportunities, a day for gratitude and appreciation.
The clouds couldn't have positioned themselves more perfectly over the trio of trees. The wheat field had many a surprise in store; a few deer were frightened by my footfall and had hopped to safety.
The big unveiling...no wonder the vines growing on these hills create such superb drops of wine.
A simple apple tree bordering a little stream, yet a perfect exclamation mark for our area.
The apples are still small but the branches are bending under the abundance of them. A good sign for this coming year.


Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Second Hand Clothes Are A Treasure Trove.

Don't underestimate the old.

I have always loved second hand clothes and we all know that vintage does last longer and looks often better. There are so many bonuses to do with second hand that mentioning the attractive price of it seems almost blase.

Walking is priceless in a small village. A chance to meet and greet, a chance to wave, a chance to be seen exercising and a chance to find out interesting tidbits of information. This morning was no different.

In passing it was mentioned that a mother-in-law had passed away and her house had been sold but now needed to be emptied. A woman of the war generation who had liked to collect every and anything. A lot of stuff needed to be sorted and tossed. Sad to think that one person collects a lifetime and the next throws it all away...

When the daughter-in-law told me that it was such a lot of work and she didn't really have spare time for it, I suggested to her the idea of getting someone in to help her. Well, that is when a gem of knowledge was given.

" I can't let anyone else do it. She had dementia and has hidden money and valuables in her clothing. "
Some of the old jerseys had already provided more than mothballs.

It used to be the mattress that was the financial fortress but it had become too obvious for thieves. Considering that the interest rate profits mainly the bank ( account fees trumping interest earned ) it is no wonder that the older generation reverts to the banking of yore. So next time you pass a second hand shop, go and shake a jersey or two...


Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Food For Thought.

Memories of yore.

For some odd reason conversation tends to mostly gravitate towards food at some point during it and then stick to it like overcooked porridge to the bottom of a pot. Once the meal has morphed from the nebulous to a concrete idea there is no end to a conversation and the imagined meal tastes so much better than the real one ever did .

Today I had the fortune of visiting a lady who is nigh on ninety ( don't want to ask but next time I must keep an eye out for the mayoral framed congratulations of an eventful birthday ) who still lives on her own managing very nicely indeed and apart from a hearing aide, is fit as a fiddle. Halfway into our visit the subject of food was broached.

Sauerkraut was one of the foods we talked about and as we did, her eyes glazed over and she looked over my left shoulder into her past until she shared her memories with me. It turns out that sauerkraut was a staple when she was a little girl and just like that, she reeled off the various meals her mum made for them.

From Monday to Sunday she remembered every part of each daily meal down to the bread on the side and or if she like a particular day's meal. Wednesday was pasta day and even though it played out over eighty years ago, it still felt like it could have been last week. Isn't that fantastic? My own childhood reflections upon food tends to gravitate towards Tuesday's Toast Hawaii
( melted cheese over a slice of toast with pineapple and tomato sauce on it...yum! ) and ice cream. Oh well, what can I say...

I asked Bob if and what meal plan he could remember from his early childhood and without much thought he happily reminisced about Thursday's cottage pie and Friday's beef or mutton curry . Isn't it great how most of us use food as a compass of sorts?

If I had to ask this lady about other bits of her life as a child I am certain she could recall everything down to the clothes she wore which goes to show how powerful our minds are. Once we understand and realize it, literally the sky is the limit...

You Think It, You Ink It.


Monday, 2 July 2018

A Bit Of Cattiness About The House.

Jealousy gets you nowhere.

For some odd reason which now in retrospect we regret rather a lot, we started to take the princess out for walks on a leash. Walks is a bit of an overstatement as she sniffs about within a two meter radius from the front door. If she hears a footfall of an approaching pedestrian she high tails it inside.

Twice a day either one of us can be seen taking Mausi out and about the garden. Odd indeed and I wouldn't blame anyone for keeling over in a fit of laughter. I would have. Well, now that we've started her walkies, there is no stopping her. Literally. At odd times she will put on a soap opera in front of the door until Bob gets up to take her outside. Oh yes, a spoiled cat.

Since she has joined our family she has been having nose kisses through the mosquito netting with Tigger the feral queen. Oh, her eyes light up as they alight on the princess so one could safely assume that should they meet without a netting, that a lot of hugging would occur. Not so, the minute Tigger spots Mausi, she throws a great big hissy fit and at times gives her a bit of a swipe with her paw. Cat behaviour, at times easy to read and at others a quagmire of problems.

Our two tomcats have yet to realize that a young maven is parading under their noses. Makes me ponder at their age if they don't give any attention to a young beauty like our cat.

What the future holds or if the future will hold Mausi inside is not yet determined because Bob and I tend to forget that the reason we got her in the first place was to counteract the mice who felt at home in our house. Since she's been part of our family, the mice have beaten a hasty retreat and possibly tried their luck with our next door neighbour. One mice season ( after harvest and through winter ) we managed to evict 16 of them, so you can see our need for an inside cat.


Sunday, 1 July 2018

A Golden Start To The Day.

Peaceful and soul refreshing.

The wheat has been harvested and left a beautiful trail in its wake.
An inviting place to sit and ponder one's thoughts, restore one's confidence and feel gratitude.
Often we forget that bread starts out like this...
Fields shimmering like gold in the morning's sun. Rows upon rows of wheat stalks left behind.
Another look at this bench amid the Eisenberg vineyards...
Part of the swathe left behind after the harvester has done its job.