Wednesday, 31 October 2018

" Honey, What Have You Done With My Favourite Shirt? "

All ado about a T-shirt...

Sporadically Bob will question me about the whereabouts of his current favourite t-shirt. The Interpol one. I use the word question with intent as he has this angst that I have hidden, lost or even worse...given it away. As if!

Today we did our biannual clothes swap - our summer clothes back into a suitcase and the winter ones out of it. It can be quite exciting to reconnect with old faithful winter stand byes. Certain clothes are the adult equivalent of a security blanket. It took us about two hours and the best thing is that we cleaned up our wardrobes while at the same time getting a hefty pile together to donate to the Kleidersammlung. Oh how nice it is to have some space again...

All along Bob kept interrogating me about his Interpol t-shirt. Had I mistakenly thrown it away, had one of our guests inadvertently taken it home or was it hiding at the bottom of our wash basket. Oh, he sent me to check!!! When all the clothes were nicely organized he surreptitiously went through my side of the wardrobe in search of his blue treasure. Honestly, when I told him that I had just rearranged it and no, hadn't seen his treasure, he thought it feasible that I had forgotten that it was there...

Never mind, that sort of procedure regarding his ' favourite shirt / pants ' is a yearly occurrence. As a last ditch effort I noticed that he looked through his pile of t-shirts and lo and behold pulled out a crumpled blue Interpol t-shirt.

He grinned and was shame-faced at the same time but explained his sudden find so;

" Of course I couldn't see it there hidden among all of my old work shirts. "
Bob's treasured find...


Tuesday, 30 October 2018

A Brilliantly Cold Start To The Day.

A stunning time in Eisenberg.

It's almost impossible to not notice the static cold in the air. Somehow everything shifts into focus and shines with beauty.
Our local church misses nothing from its vantage point but has the ability to appear merely there in landscape, lives and time.
One of Eisenberg's suburbs!
How much more romantic could a stretch of vines be? Devoid of grapes yet still mesmerizing in their wintry uniform.
Our local birch tree occupiers wishing all and sundry a good start to their day.
Life seems to be a balancing act not just for us...


Monday, 29 October 2018

A Road Trip To Graz.

An adventure for us.

Bob has a nice bit of leave and we decided to take a day to drive to nowhere and everywhere. Our destination was Graz via the old road but as we got there but during a misty and rainy spell, we converted our plans to sight-seeing by car and had a fabulous time. Not often one gets to send quality time sans computer, TV or phone. Traffic of course made us appreciate the gentle surrounds of Eisenberg and also remember the heady days of Pietermaritzburg rush hour traffic. How on earth did we cope?

Bob is a navigator par excellence and merely needs to look at a map before leaving and with the odd detour gets to every destination. Austria must be going through a rather abundant phase as there was construction everywhere. ( The ' cheap money ' has got its hook into many a company and person who seem to forget that eventually the interest rate will rise. ) Roads were detoured, cars halted and tempers no, not ours. Building, building and more building. With a bit of help from yours truly, we wound our way along the back roads to Graz.

Apart from the rather dampened weather it was great to be able drive through a mix of old and new houses which comprises most villages. Every house encases a story about its owners and some hold the highs and lows of several generations while others are obviously newly erected concrete blocks on old family grounds.

Driving past many a derelict or empty house made me think of how fleeting our time is. Even in our village one can see the stark reminder of end of sagas. Many a family have spent a lifetime in their homes, caring for it, battling for it and raising a family in it but once the hollow existence of retirement homes beckons, the house returns to what it actually is...mere bricks and mortar which outlived lifetimes.

Living in one spot one tends to forget how absolutely beautiful other parts of a country are and Austria is no exception. Today we sedately drove around Steiermark and Burgenland and because we chose to ignore the highway could absorb all those lovely little details that countrysides tend to hold.


Sunday, 28 October 2018

A Warm Feeling Of Abundance.

Feeling grateful.

On Thursday Bob and I drove to the local Lagerhaus in order to buy some sacks of pellets. Yes, it is starting to get cold enough to fire up the old oven and in order to do so we need pellets.

Apart from being a nuisance to buy as they weigh 15 kg a bag so that you have to haul them onto the trailer and off it, multiplied by however many you bought, they are also jolly expensive.

The second winter we were here our purse had tightened considerably so that we only bought a weeks worth each Monday ( bear in mind we only heated six to eight hours a day ) and hoped to have enough left over for other luxuries and petrol. Once or twice we got caught out by there not being any bags for sale. Yes, a bit of a poser indeed. If it hadn't been for the water pipes freezing the Bobster and I might have weathered a winter under a thick wad of blankets.

So anyway, on Thursday we purchased a whole pallet of pellets ( 64 bags ) at once and we felt like kings. The luxury of knowing that the next two months are sorted in regard to warmth is indescribable. So many take a warm house for granted but both of us have a healthy respect of and for the cold or rather warmth. To this day we only heat when necessary and not around the clock as so many are wont to do...honestly, we don't see the point of sitting around in your summer shorts and t-shirts while all is frozen over outside.


Saturday, 27 October 2018

Friday Night Is Curry Night.

A tradition is set.

Bob's favourite meal for the time being is Lentil Curry. Easy to make for me and tasty as can be. Before joining the plant based tribe I had never got to know beans apart from trendy hummus as an appetizer. Cooking beans ( pulses ) of any sort was just not on my radar. Pity really as South Africa has so many spices, recipes and restaurants geared toward vegan food.

Back to the curry...I used to now and again make lamb or beef curry and at the time we loved that. The first time I wanted to make a vegan curry I literally substituted lentils for meat and you know what? It tasted even better.

Most of what I need for this lentil curry is a staple in our house. Lentils ( this time Beluga ones ), potatoes, butternut, onions, garlic, ginger, chili, tinned pineapple pieces and coconut milk. Sometimes I leave out the latter two if I forgot to buy them. Oh and of course a nice hot curry spice. And I forgot to photograph a can of tomatoes which are a must for curry.

It really is so easy to make a curry. I fry the onions, with salt, ginger, garlic and chili then add the curry spice, dry lentils while giving it a stir. A few seconds later I add a can of tomatoes and two of the same measures of water. Then I toss in the potatoes and as I had them yesterday, the butternut pieces. About five minutes later I put a cup full of the pineapple pieces into the curry and let the whole pot simmer for an hour or so. In between I second Bob to add the final touch of seasoning complete with the coconut milk. F.Y.I. if you let your husband spice the food he will never complain that it doesn't taste nice!

In all honesty I forgot to make a photo of the first serving and only managed to put a little left over in a plate to photograph. It doesn't quite do it justice but I wanted to show the finished dish. Another forage into our vegan adventure...

If only you could taste a bit of it...yum yum.


Friday, 26 October 2018

My Left-Overs Burger, Vegan Of Course.

An amazing burger made from what would otherwise have graced the bin...

As you know Bob and I are on the amazing adventure into the hitherto undiscovered arena of plant-based / vegan lifestyle and I thought I might post some of the delicious meals that we've stumbled onto by art of experimenting.

Firstly, let me apologize for the slightly darker photo but getting the right lighting in a kitchen isn't always easy. Yesterday we had added a few more items to an already full fridge ( divine vegetables from Tesco's in Szombathely ) and my first thought at supper time was to whisk up a delicious meal with all the new bought items.

Over enthusiastic indeed, until I stumbled over a few cold boiled potatoes and cooked beans stashed nicely in Tupperware on the lower shelf. Oh, I had bought fresh rolls just in case of burgers but hadn't considered making my own patty. Well, how bad could it taste?

I chopped up three large button mushrooms, an onion, mashed the potatoes and beans and crumbled a serving of smoked tofu. Quick and easy, I added a dash of oil and flour into the mixture and let it rest for an hour. It goes without saying that I added salt, pepper and some dry spices I found. Honestly, the next time I make these they will have a different flavour.

Forming them into patties was easy because I wet my hands with water ( saw that on a cooking show ) and dusted the mix with flour. As you can see they aren't perfectly shaped but still in a nicer form than after frying! Both Bob and I love to have raw onion slices, tomatoes and some form of lettuce on the buns and that is what you can see on the plate. The yellow cherry tomatoes are still growing in our vegetable garden. Wonderful.

Not wrong about their shape, am I...although the combination of all those easy ingredients added up to a most scrumptious meal. The smokey tofu coupled with the earthy aroma of the mushrooms was divine. What I love best of all though, is that it keeps Bob's diabetes at bay, saves an ounce of an animal and let's us do our bit to save the planet one vegan burger at a time...


Thursday, 25 October 2018

Looking For A Yellow Van In Eisenberg.

The lure of books was just too great to wait.

The only items we do order from the Amazon giant are books. Monday was the day we placed our order, which in itself is not easy as the choices are endless, and straightaway we were told that they would arrive on Thursday, today. Like children we had been counting sleeps and were planning our day around the arrival of these books.

For a while we've been needing to get more light bulbs but as they are so ' green ', they are a pain to replace. Hardly any shop carries them, so Bob wanted to run through to Güssing this morning. But, we also wanted those books; Mohammed won't come to the mountain than the mountain will come to him...I have more or less memorized our postman's route and his routine, so at a quarter to eleven The Bobster and I were driving up and down the various side roads of Eisenberg but to no avail. Where on earth was he? A cup of coffee somewhere or had we been driving parallel to him?

Bob was getting impatient so we stopped at Kainz's ( a place where the postman definitely stops during lunch ) and asked if they knew where the postman was as well as telling our woe to old lady Kainz. She, was quick and astute:

" When he comes in at lunchtime, I'll ask him to leave the parcel for you here in the shop. "

Still a bit undecided we chose to drive home ( via all roads ! ) and wait until after two before going shopping. With each and every car that drove past our house I chased Bob outside to see if it was the man in yellow, but no luck.

When we left at half past two, we planned to drop in at Kainz's to see if a parcel was there but on the way we spotted the yellow van. Yeah!!! We double parked behind him, I jumped out to run towards him when he grinned, waved and shouted:

" Hi, I already left your parcel at Kainz's. It is waiting for you. "
Oh, I was so happy I did a little dance of joy, thanked him profusely and skipped back into the car to tell Bob. Both grinning from ear to ear we drove to pick up our parcel, thanking old lady Kainz a few times over and drove off shopping while dreaming of delving into the adventures contained within our new books.


Wednesday, 24 October 2018

The Laundry Lesson Of Life.

From an overenthusiastic laundry person.

Daybreak was dark, windy and emulating the stuff that keeps horror movies in business. Basically, it was as miserable and cold as could be. By eight o'clock the dark clouds and coincidentally, mood had shifted to somewhere else with only squalls of wind left behind. Never mind, walk I did but laundry I dared not.

On coming home from my walk I noticed that the sky was a brilliantly blue hue again with just the odd burst of wind wafting about. Perfect weather to turbo dry washing on the line. Yes, I dared to put in a machine of laundry at half past nine which I then hung up an hour later.

Hung up being the operative word. The wind had started its blustery performance again and that meant doubling down on the pegs. Naturally, I was one step ahead of potential embarrassment by opting to hang up the underwear in our bathroom. Surely, I wouldn't live it down if Bob's briefs or my panties would be strewn all over the neighbourhood. Yikes, just the thought alone...

Over lunch I glanced outside and noticed the strong sunshine. The clothes would surely be dry but yours truley felt a bit sleepy and delayed going outside for a bit. Famous last words indeed. A few moments ago I happened to look outside and noticed drops of rain descending. Oh no, self inflicted stupidity indeed but after hopping outside to take the washing down, I decided to only take a few items inside and let the rest dangle over night, awaiting the promised sunshine of tomorrow.

One could almost draw a parallel to life. There are times when everything isn't going to be hunky dory but if we wait it out, stay the course or put our head down and wade through, obstacle we mistook as problems ( instead of opportunities ) will work themselves out. Maybe differently, maybe better but hardly ever worse. At least I think so...


Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Some Inspirations.

Quotes for life.

" What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside you. "
Ralph Waldo Emerson ( 1803-1882 )
" The age of a woman doesn't mean a thing. The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles. "
Ralph Waldo Emerson ( 1803-1882 )
" We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone. "
Ronald Reagan ( 1911-2004 )
" If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. "
Henry David Thoreau ( 1817-1862 )
" Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around. "
Henry David Thoreau ( 1817-1862 )
" Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem, see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words. "
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ( 1749-1832 )
" Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. "
Marcus Aurelius ( 121-180 )
" Whenever a man's friends begin to complement him about looking young, he may be sure that they think he is growing old. "
Victor Hugo ( 1802-1885 )
" Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age. "
Victor Hugo ( 1802-1885 )
" The purpose of art is to washing the dust of daily life off our souls. "
Pablo Picasso ( 1881-1973 )


Monday, 22 October 2018

Take The Ham Out Of Hamburger And...

Discover the joy of meatless cooking inventions and recipes.

When you think about it, making an ordinary hamburger is easy, boring and often because of it devoid of creativity. Mix mince, bread crumbs and seasoning and that's really it. Not so once you take away the meat part of burger.

I don't know why most people panic when they hear the term - plant based / vegan. Surely they must realize that we eat more than carrots, apples and potatoes. Gosh, once you follow the path of plant based, ideas abound and are limitless for each and every meal. Possibly because of the lack of dairy, meat and eggs does one develop an affinity with creative cooking. Seriously.

Cooking and eating meals has become so much more fun and often I start planning, pondering and preparing meals hours ahead. Take this afternoon, when I considered the options with what we have in the fridge. The old standby of pasta and tofu mince was too normal so I took stock of what was available.

Beetroot, pumpkin, potatoes and tofu translated themselves into a nice combination for burgers. As we speak, the pumpkin is roasting in the oven, the potatoes are boiling away and the beetroot is freshly shredded and embedded with onions and garlic, awaiting the rest of the gang. Making patties is easy-peasy as long as they aren't too dry.

Gosh, there are so many options of what to include in patties which I never thought of in our pre-vegan life. The worst thing that can happen is that it tastes a bit funny ( ginger might be a no-go for The Bob ) but then, if one doesn't try one never knows!

As for the burger patties' enclosure...tonight I won't wrap a bun or tortilla around them but serve them on a nice bed of mixed wild rice, fresh salad and of course oodles of vegan sauces...bon appetit.


Sunday, 21 October 2018

A Leafy Sunday In Eisenberg.

A cold spell ahead...

Some define the start of cold weather by an itch in their little toe, others by a permanent shiver and a few by the crystal clear air that magnifies nature's beauty and hues to a brilliant tone. Yes, the cold is here.
The last of the remainers make quite an impression.
Hay bales have morphed to dry landmarks which are soon going to be little hills to use a sled on.
The stunning Burgenland blue never disappoints in its ability to provide a strong framework for a mere leaf.
A glimpse of Hungary through a wonderful tree branch.
The pale trunk of a birch tree with its beautiful foliage standing at the verge of our main road. A lovely path to walk on.


Saturday, 20 October 2018

A Laid Back Saturday Afternoon.

A nap included.

One can hardly believe that it is Saturday again and in fact almost Sunday. This week like most others has done a gallop rather than a gentle trot. Nevertheless, here we are at week's end.

Funny how Friday evenings feel like starts to a mini holiday, equipped with everything but a suitcase. Plans are spun, garlic tripled in recipes and anticipation for having the time to watch late night movies, in fact any movies. Truth be told, we both nod off after the opening credits most nights and ironically, especially Fridays. Oh well, a way to relax after all.

I had occasion to work in Hannersdorf this morning and with great foresight I stopped in at their local bakery. Not often one can buy real hand made baker's ware. Most loaves we buy at supermarkets and shops are hoisted from an industrial production line.

Does the same thing happen to you when you enter the hallowed premises of a baker's? Forgetting that you only wanted one loaf or two bread rolls... Standing there taking in all the crispy, soft, baked or sugared items asking to be bought and imagining how, where and with what to eat those delectable creations . My plan was to buy four rolls as Saturday evenings are our hamburger nights. For whatever reason, a loaf of bread and one extra bread roll came along but not for long. That delicious bread roll was too fresh not to be tested.

Somehow my meal plans got put on its head and we had homemade hamburger with extra cheese ( don't panic, all plant based ) for lunch which leaves me with a conundrum of what to make for supper. Never mind, something will come to mind.

The rest of the afternoon did justice to it being on a Saturday...both of us nodded off watching some program on television and had a most refreshing sleep until our cat decided she wanted to go outside and for good measure alternated her surprise jumps between our two couches, never missing a chance to land on top of a stomach...Ah, family life-the good life.


Friday, 19 October 2018

Pinks, Blues & Vines.

The magical mornings amid our vineyards.

A special time of the day where clarity emerges, coloured for good measure.
These leaves have been blown away and despite it left a structured view of the valley.
The famous green onion on the right is a great marker to find one's way home!
The older the vine the more tasty the wine...each and every vine has character and strength as you can see by the bendy way it has grown.
The steeple of Deutsch Schützen's church emerges through the early morning mist.
Remenants of last night's rain are slowly giving way to the strength of today's sunrise. The air was clean and fresh with the added bonus of nature showing off it's bare beauty.


Thursday, 18 October 2018

Looking For Vanilla. your labels...

A Thursday in Rechnitz proved to be rather funny. I set off early in order to still be able to visit a newly minted resident of Rechnitz's old age home and managed to find him ready to receive guests. One never knows how long ablutions etc do take.

He wasn't expecting me when a nurse showed me through to the common room where a lot of folks where whiling the time away between meals. As I had previously only seen him reclining at his home in a darkened room, it gave me a bit of a start to see him sitting at a table. Was it him? Hesitatingly I edged closer but the marvelous nurse on duty busy cooking lunch for all, nonchalantly pointed me to the right table.

Shoo, that I felt a bit awkward not being quite sure if it was him or not, but once we started chatting with me throwing in many a mention of Eisenberg, it was great to spend time with him. A bar of nice Lindt chocolate which I had decided to re-gift to him as he loves chocolate, made his eyes sparkle with gratitude and anticipation.

After I left him to enjoy his lunch, a visit to the local supermarket was next on my list. A sedate turn about the various aisles took me the better part of half an hour but reading labels takes time...Finally I managed to wheel my trolley out the door while at the same time glancing over the till slip. Gosh, the second last item was a Billa Topa Vanilla which for the life of me I couldn't remember buying. Vanilla? Not in a million years. Wondering if the cashier had made a mistake, I rehashed my steps and thankfully met a staff member at the entrance.

" Excuse me, could you tell me what this particular item is? I didn't buy anything with vanilla and I have searched my whole trolley to no avail. "
She glanced at the till slip, then into my trolley and straightaway and marvelously straight-faced said;
" Here you are. This packet of loo paper is vanilla scented. "
Well, ask a silly question...I started to laugh at my mistake, thanked her and made my way out to the car imagining a whole month of having a heavenly scented toilet...Let's see if Bob notices the difference a perfumed loo paper makes...


Wednesday, 17 October 2018

A Gaggle Of Geese.

A feeling of freedom.

Mausi and I were just starting out on our morning escapade into the realm of our front garden when we heard a strange sound overhead. So strange in fact that even the princess stopped and looked up.

A sort of swoosh in motion which I first mistook for a neighbourly deed. Our neighbours are of the industrious sort who think nothing of felling a tree before breakfast, mowing the lawn straight after and hammering on a new roof before lunch. Don't we just fit in perfectly! Anyway, after a few seconds I realized that a flock of extremely vocal birds were flying overhead.

The sound was rather familiar as I have heard it often while walking past the goose enclosure outside of our village. A goose farm of over a thousand inhabitants but I never knew that they could fly as why else would they keep on waddling around on the field, never even testing the length and strength of their wings?

When I saw those seven geese flapping their way across our sky I was thrilled for them. They sounded so elated at being on the run to somewhere other than a dinner plate. It wouldn't have surprised me to see the an armada of geese flapping their way to freedom emulating the wild geese flying before them.

Wouldn't it be interesting to know if they had dropped some goose wisdom along the way or if the grounded ones realized that their was another option for them?

Well, of course they have had their wings clipped because otherwise they'd have plotted their escaped to greener pastures ages ago. As for the heavenly seven, they seemed extremely chatty and happy heading for warmer climes intuitively understanding their luck of the draw...


Tuesday, 16 October 2018

If You Couldn't Take Your Smart Phone, Would You Still Choose The Same Holiday Destination?

Who do we go on holiday for?

Everyone and their uncle Charlie seem to be heading to those picturesque destinations such as Venice, Rome or Amsterdam mainly because air travel has become too cheap and perhaps due to the motivating factor of posting real time photos to all friends, acquaintances and country men...Yes, we have become show offs or to use an old fashioned term...braggards.

Watching a few documentaries about the effect of tourists on Venice and Mallorca, I couldn't help but notice a huge chunk of people standing in that artificial selfie pose or even worse, head down looking at their phone whilst the most stunning architecture and scenery surrounded them is totally ignored. Why bother. Wouldn't it be just as efficient to go and Photoshop oneself into a St. Marx square or gondola?

Flying anywhere used to be a luxury when I was growing up and meant saving for years to either head overseas or to another country yet, now for folks in say Vienna it cost less to fly to Rome than a meal at a decent restaurant.

If the temptation of bragging ( let's face it, that is exactly what we are doing by posting holiday albums online ) is gone, would we still choose all those ' must see ' destination or would we be happier merely going for a drive in our own country, clad in jeans, t-shirt and devoid of make-up? Holidays are meant to be a time to unwind and switch off which nowadays might only be achieved by leaving one's smart phone at home...


Monday, 15 October 2018

A Bit Of Vegan Wisdom.

On a Monday of course...

" People eat meat and think they will become as strong as an ox, forgetting that the ox eats grass. "
Pino Caruso
" We all love animals. Why do we call some ' pets ' and others ' dinner ' ? "
K.D. Lang
" When I see bacon, I see a pig, I see a little friend, and that's why I can't eat it. Simple as that. "
Paul McCartney
" You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity. "
Ralph Waldo Emerson
" Violence begins with the fork. "
Mahatma Ghandi
" Becoming vegan is the most important and direct change we can immediately make to save the planet and its species. "
Chris Hedges
" Meat-eater " is an old Indian phrase for " Bad Gardener "
" So you are on heart medication, blood pressure pills and you have diabetes? And you want to know where I get my protein?? "
" Give up animal foods for two months, or even for a week, and I promise you will look and feel better, and you'll want to do it forever. "
Alicia Siverstone
" All we are saying, is give peas a chance... "
" Vegan...because I am being the change I wish to see in the world. "


Sunday, 14 October 2018

A Nice Autumn Day.

A day too nice to be inside.

Thank goodness the clocks are changing back soon. As you can see, the mornings are later than normal which is why I get to picture these nice albeit chilly sunrises.
Whereas last week the field was filled with maize, this week only the forgotten bits are blanketing the fields. Pretty though.
Atop the Eisenberg everything is touched by the golden sunshine.
An old fashioned gingerbread house standing alone and abandoned at the side of the road. Clad in autumn's colours makes it a bit more cheerful and charming.
Again a scene from the upper Eisenberg...romantic and worthy of being painted.
Finally, some more of the perfectly stripped corn.


Saturday, 13 October 2018

The Red Vines Of Eisenberg.

I heard it on the grapevine...

Most of the grapes have gone on their exciting trip of transformation but thankfully have left some beautiful scenes behind.
As far as the eyes can see there is a kaleidoscopic blanket across the fields.
...No wonder a siren is associated with red...
Vibrant, strong and simply stunning.
Isn't it amazing how leaves from the same vines can morph into various shapes and colours?
Last but not least, a bit of a luminous red vine from Eisenberg.


Friday, 12 October 2018

A Fabulous Day Of Dogs And Cats.

Wonderful animals.

Early this morning as I was walking amid thick fog and about to turn the corner, I heard a series of delighted barks and a voice yelling:

" Johnny, Stop! "
which of course was useless as he had espied me and was galloping toward me as fast as his rheumatic legs would move. I hadn't seen him for a month at least but he bounded at me with such joy that it melted my heart. Once he careered into my legs he couldn't stop yapping his life's story at me whilst twisting and turning excitedly. Dogs, they can melt your heart in an instance. He and his owner joined me for part of my walk and if only you could have seen Johnny's face when they turned around sans me! Precious.

Not long after, when I had driven through to St. Kathrein to organize medicine, well fetch it from the doctor's, I stumbled onto my next encounter. The family I was going to had had a litter of five kittens a few months ago and as I was walking up to their front door, several of these little fellas were reclining lazily on the grass in front of it. As I got closer, all except one scattered. Oh, what a cute kitten. He clearly was the runt of his litter but had received all of the charm and character instead. Stroking him for a minute or so was like therapy. He was purring and I had reverted to baby-kitten language. How could I not...

As I was standing in the queue waiting to collect medication, I noticed a proper slightly dusty Land Rover complete with hunting dog on the back seat pulling into an empty parking space across from the doctors'. That took my mind on a trajectory great would it be to go driving about with our dog hanging his head out the window?

Clearly today's been a day of animals and it reminded me of what unconditional love really is. Animals, angels on earth...


Thursday, 11 October 2018

Stumbling Onto A Farmers' Market In Guessing.

A new discovery for me.

Today's shop was actually planned for Tuesday but somehow it wasn't meant to be. Funny how one can stretch a larder if one has to. Granted, we ate exotic food last night ( food that is hardly ever on our plate yet always hiding at the back of the larder ) and I sincerely hope Bob liked his lunch today. Oh well, at least we have food.

As you can imagine, the list was long. I enjoy shopping in Güssing as everything is central. No fighting traffic across town like in Oberwart to get a chance to meander through Hofer and Lidl. And anyway, traffic is very scant in Güssing which equates to many empty parking spaces and a laid back energy.

As I got into town this morning I had to stop for a police man and honestly, I thought it would be time to show my licence and registration papers. Quite exciting until I realized that the road was being detoured by most of their police staff. Or so it seemed when I counted three police cars and at least four men in blue.

Eventually I got to the strip mall and saw a portion of it being used for this farmers' market. I had known of it from various postings on Facebook but never actually got around to shopping at it.

Being plant based it somehow makes me excited when I see vegetable offerings, never mind the top of the range organic produce that was being sold today. The man manning the stall was the farmer who was rather dishy to say the least so that I didn't even ask prices but bought beetroots, minute parsley bulbs ( never seen these before ) and red peppers.

When he totaled it up, I was pleasantly surprised. In fact so much so that I phoned mum to ask if she wanted some vegetables. Apparently, the parsley bulbs are a delicacy,so I got a whole lot for her.

Shopping at this stall today felt good, knowing that the farmer gets a paid well for his work and that the produce hasn't been flown halfway across the world in order to land up on our plates. Well, Thursdays are now the new designated shopping days!

First time I have seen parsley like that.
A sampling of what I bought today.


Wednesday, 10 October 2018

The Jungle Book.

Teachers are a groovy lot.

This afternoon I was overjoyed to espy an English book peaking out of the homework pile of my extra lesson's chap.

" Oh great, is it your class book? "
" Yes, we have to read some pages this afternoon. "
Ooh, music to my ears. The book itself is more of a booklet and of course the story is as universal as can be but nevertheless I was happy to read with him.

They'd read a few pages in class and when I asked him about what he'd read, he told me a very brief version, rather like the movie.

" Did you read the German translation of it or see the film? "
I shouldn't be suspicious but having had a few boys for extra lessons, I am well versed in the art of abbreviation, abbreviation of work that is...well, that's when I realized that his teacher was brilliant and as cunning as can be..
" Yes, I have seen the film but our teacher said that the story in this book is a bit different. "
Ah, what a great move on the teacher's part.

We read a page together but as I hadn't read the first chapter, I asked him if he had could tell me about it. Turns out he hadn't quite got the gist of it in class and thus the two of us were wading through the delightful story of The Jungle Book along with Mowgli and co.

You know, reading English is jolly difficult as most words are pronounced misleadingly different to how they are written. Learning to read and pronounce each word correctly takes time and practice.

  • ...know, knight, knot...
  • ...gnarly, gnome, gnu...
  • ...taught, through, two...
  • ...could, one, read ( past tense )...


Tuesday, 9 October 2018

And The Next Day...

Almost as if yesterday never happened.

I don't know about you but I am rather alarmed at the way our climate is under threat. Hardly anyone seems to care, even reacting in a blase way toward the news of it. In fact, one hardly sees it on today's news cycle.

Is making money so much more important than making sure there is a world left for us to live on and in? Are parents of young children concerned about their future and if so, are they changing their consumption of stuff and their behaviour? One can't keep blaming it on politics or even worse, await for someone else to change first.

Every little bit we do or chose not to do affects the climate. Most of us are so good at sharing innate nothings on social media so perhaps we should encourage our friends to do something worthwhile; change one thing each and every day to fight climate change. One thing that will help to lessen the severity of climate change. It can be as little as making your own lunch, walking to work, forgoing meat for a day/week/month, switching off the tap while brushing your teeth or buying products produced in a responsible manner.

People are so worried about not eating meat as if they would shrivel up and perish in the process. There are a wealth of substitute products available in most supermarkets ( gosh, even here in our neck of the woods the shelves are filled with meat alternatives ) and honestly, eating a few meals a week sans meat is hardly worth arguing about.

Even if you need to become accustomed to food that tastes different to what you are used to, isn't it worthwhile to make the effort so that your children or grandchildren have a chance of living their lives to the fullest?


Monday, 8 October 2018

Things We Can Change Today To Cut Our Carbon Footprint.

Never mind politicians, we have to change our habits from today onward.

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Plant a garden ( flower pot on your balcony ) and include bee friendly flowers.
  • Line or air dry your laundry. Tumble dryers use a lot of electricity.
  • Eat local produce as much as possible.
  • Shop at second hand stores.
  • Stop eating meat and if you can, go plant-based. Agribusiness is a worse polluter than transportation.
  • Recycle as much as possible.
  • Plant trees and stop cutting them down for a two week use over Christmas.
  • Walk more or use public transport.
  • Make your own coffee, good old fashioned filter coffee.
  • Switch off lights when you don't need them.
  • Boil only as much water as you need. Overfilling your kettle wastes electricity.
  • Make your own lunch and take it to work in a reusable container.
  • Cover your pots while cooking.
  • Don't drive too fast. Speeding uses more petrol.
  • Consume less.


Sunday, 7 October 2018

The End Of Harvest.

And then the cold came...

Apart from a few rows sporadically situated about, all vines have been harvested and so far most wine farmers are extremely happy with their yields and are hoping for a great vintage. In a wine making area such as ours, having a great harvest makes the world of difference. Farmers happy, village ecstatic.

Now that harvesting is over Bob will be back to normal hours and be home for supper. After a month or so of not having him home for supper I have to rethink my cooking choices and cooking times. But that is a nice problem to have as it is much nicer to eat supper with him.

The pumpkin fields have also been harvested and that bodes well for pumpkin seed oil and Halloween. Yes, Halloween is around the corner and a huge celebration in our village. Only this morning I noticed our neighbhours having cut out pumpkin faces lining the stairs up to their front door. Gosh, they must have patience and imagination as I wouldn't know how to carve a pumpkin never mind making it appear scary.

The next few months will be a most exciting time for children. The shorter the days are getting the more festive the kids will be. Yes, one can hardly believe that Christmas is mere weeks away. Time to write a wish list for Santa and time to decorate the Christmas tree and time to get ready for all those advent functions complete with Glühwein and Lebkuchen.

Despite the nip in the air and the foreboding of more colder times ahead, it is also a wonderful part of the year. Of course, once the pristine snow has turned brown and mushy the hated summer heat will be the most yearned for time of all...


Saturday, 6 October 2018

An Interesting Revisit.

A long overdue trip to Höll

Energized beyond recognition the two of us made a plan and put a whole lot of building leftovers into our trailer. Stuff one thinks to reuse later on but never does, stuff one takes as decoration never to be moved aside and stuff that has lost its sell by date. In short, a trailer full of rubbish.

The first year we were here that was our main chore on the first Saturday of every month. Pack all the rubbish left from the previous owner mingle it with our newly created rubbish and drive it off to the refuse place in Höll, free of charge.

Bob and I drove there at half past eight and were surprised by the traffic jam awaiting us at the entrance. It seems everyone had hitched their trailer full of questionable choices and everyone seemed to have left patience at home. Goodness me, a minute's wait won't kill anyone.

The layout of the various containers hasn't changed in the last five years; one for general rubbish, one for wood, one for metal and a pile in the center for building rubble. Useful to empty out half used packets of cement.

I love watching people and it was interesting to see who was discarding never mind what. Around the ' general rubbish ' container were a selection of too-good-to-be-thrown-out wares ( stationary exercise bike, iron and a mirror to name but a few ) and only a few iron bars at the metal skip.

The place itself is rather small considering that several folks pitched up in their tractors, most with trailers and some just with car. Everyone wanted to be quick and in the process held up the rest of the queue for longer than necessary.

The skip attendants were irritated to say the least but kept us all in line being like traffic wardens for items carried to the wrong skip. Thank goodness for that because it does get overwhelming trying to estimate if something falls into the wood, metal or rubbish category. Remember, metal trays have wooden handles, a chair might have a cloth seat cover attached and some planks of wood were definitely covered by cement. Once we were home, we wondered why we had waited so long and made a pact to revisit Höll next month.


Friday, 5 October 2018

Wine, Of Course.

A bit more wisdom!

" Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know. "
John Keats
" Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things in the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection,
and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation, than, possibly, any other sensory thing. "

Ernest Hemingway
" Age appears best in four things: old wood to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust and old authors to read. "
Francis Bacon
" It is no coincident that, on all four sides, in all four corners, the borders of the Roman Empire stopped where wine could no longer be made. "
Neel Burton
" Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance. "
Benjamin Franklin
" Wine... the intellectual part of the meal."
Alexander Dumas
" Wine makes a man more pleased with himself; I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others."
Samuel Johnson
" When it comes to wine, I tell people to throw away the vintage charts and invest in a corkscrew. The best way to learn about wine is the drinking. "
Alex Lichine


Thursday, 4 October 2018

Bob's The Man.

A healthy encounter.

Bob and I went to Oberwart today in order to do a stint of shopping followed by lunch at our favourite Chinese. We set off after a leisurely breakfast and eventually landed up at our local shopping mall. To save time and irritation we usually go our separate ways and meet up somewhere later. Men and women have different priorities whilst shopping, haste not often being one of them.

I was in one of my favourite shops, the Health Shop, when Bob found me. The owner and I were talking and she was asking me how our vegan adventure was going when Bob joined us. She looked at me, then at him and out of the blue she stated:

" Gosh, that's your husband. He looks so different now that he's lost so much weight. "
Bob started to grin from ear to ear and I just said ' vegan lifestyle ' to which she turned to me and said:
" Oh, you've not lost any weight with eating vegan. "
Bloody cheek! Of course I have and I told her ( 7 kilos or rather 28 packets of butter ). At least she had the gumption to look a bit sheepish, Bob was elated at being seen as a dishy man and took the time to chit chat with the shop owner giving her tips about our vegan way of life while I had a day of feeling less than fine in front of me. Goodness me, one little comment makes a silly world of a difference. Need to work work on my self esteem.

As for Bob, he was walking proudly next to me, and suddenly became aware of women giving him the once over...


Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Our Copy Cat.

Part of the family.

As you know we are enslaved by our cat. Our child, really! Lately she has been more clingy than normal resulting in my never being alone in either bathroom, kitchen or lounge. Funny how Mausi can be slumbering next, or to be honest, on me and as soon as I head for the kitchen to stir a pot or cut onions, she follows suit and sits on the floor across from me, watching me slice and dice. Naturally I mention old hand me downs of;

" When you have a family, you'll have to cook as well. "
yes yes, cat owners are a bit on the dilly side!

The last few nights her behaviour has cemented my belief that she sees herself as partly human...when Bob and I head for bed she is never far behind and her footfall on the wooden floor is as accurate as a miaow. Bob has three pillows on his side, the last one more for decoration and reading support which is the one that he puts next to his and my pillow.

It's a big continental pillow and fits in nice and snug. Well, the last few nights her royal highness has taken this as a new location for her to rest her weary body. Yes, she sleeps on this pillow right between us. So comically, there are the three heads in a row...Bob, Mausi and I. Too funny for words how she tends to copy most of what we do. Is that normal or are we just fortunate enough to have reared a genius of a cat...?


Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Call-Centers, The Final Frontier For Stretched Nerves.

A lesson in elocution and patience.

Throughout this morning I've had the privilege of phoning a call center. A call center with a technological edge...a computerized receptionist. Is there anything worse?

" Please state what your problem is in as little words as possible. "
Enough to make one break out in sweat and try one's hardest to pronounce with efficiency and neutrality. How do the elderly sans gnashes get by? Oh my, what happened to the good old fashioned punching in the correct number? So much easier indeed and far less stressful. One would imagine that the folks manning a call center would take away any and all frills designed to make the customer more irate than he already is....Well, not so today.

I bravely pronounced my way through four sets of phone calls as to add insult to injury, one put me on hold never to return, the other just put down her phone and left me with a heart-stopping engaged signal and the other transferred me endlessly and I felt like saying:

" Kids, look there's Big Ben. "
The last one had me a bit more alert as I demanded to have his full name before he finished saying:
" Just a moment while I check with someone else. "
At one point I was literally holding on for fifteen minutes ( without any calming elevator music ) before the phone was put down but I thought to myself that in the big scheme of things, it didn't matter. Relax and count to ten...

The trouble with reporting trouble is that one spill one's guts to the operator, seasoned with a nice peppering of irateness and being hard done bye only to have to re-dial, re-pronounce, re-state and re-hash...perhaps that is by design as after talking it over so often, the air is let out of the anger bubble

All along, I would have purred like a kitten if one of them had just said:

" We are so sorry for what has happened and we will sort it out for you as soon as we can. "
Oh well, let's hope that was my call center episode for this year.


Monday, 1 October 2018

Watching The Morning Take Hold.

Accompanying the sunrise.

What a stunning start to the day it was. Crisply cold with fingers on the numb side but at the same time feeling the warm embrace of the awakening sunlight.
Deutsch Schützen shrouded in smog.
A hunter's seat with the best views of the Eisenberg range.
About an hour into my walk the sun had awoken and shed its bright hue.
These three amigos were playing hide & seek with me most of the walk up this lane. The other two were already hiding in the cornfield.
First signs of autumn being here. Green leaves are more of a rarity amid the faded yellow and orange ones.
A red siren supplementing a green hedge opposite the fire station. A nice and unexpected splurge of colour amid the ever paling foliage...