Friday, 30 November 2018

A Measure Of Time.

Hasten it does...

Not only is it Friday today but also the last day of November. Where does the time go? Notoriously Monday is a precursor to Friday but nowadays, July does the same for Christmas. Time, fast, efficient and unrelenting.

Time is mostly wished away when we are young as we aren't patient enough to sit through school, a first date, relationship and retirement in real time yet once our wish gets granted, we understand the folly of our ways. Youth really is wasted on the young. Almost akin to a big tanker throwing out its anchor, once the obvious signs of aging appear do we wish time to stand still and hopefully even reverse.

I tend to use occasions as yardsticks of time. Sunday is the first Advent and as per tradition our village will light a huge candle outside the Gemeindeamt to welcome Advent. The choir will herald in Advent with a medley of Christmas carols and quite a lot of villagers will be there singing along with steamy voices. Yes, at six o'clock it is icy cold. Ironically I can recall being there last year, where I parked, what I wore and how long I stayed yet somehow I find it scary how quickly the year between just flitted past me without such accurate memories.

Tomorrow will be the first day of the last month of the year and what a busy one it is going to be. Two big celebrations and a whole slew of stressful shopping ( for some ) among it. Perhaps it is time to slow down and appreciate the individual moments in December instead of basing it all upon Christmas and New Year. Let's enjoy that cup of coffee, a favourite novel, a walk in nature or a game of cards in that moment and maybe time will slow down after all...


Thursday, 29 November 2018

The Beauty Of A Simple Plant Based Salad.

Feeling grateful.

Yesterday we were talking about gratitude and how most of us forget to be grateful for the things we have. There is always that extra bit we seem to want to have in order to finally be happy. Or we complain to our family about the stuff that isn't perfect instead of being grateful for the things they have already done for us.

So, you might ask what brings me to a mere salad? Well, as you know I have been embracing parts of Suzy Homemaker and try to make a tasty and satisfying lunch for Bob to take to work. Honestly, I love thinking of ideas and often the middle of the night the best ones appear. Two criteria are has to have enough nutrition and energy for Bob, who is now only a mild diabetic, and adhere to our new plant based way of eating.

Leftovers are a great invention and with a few spots of colour from vegetables a most delicious salad can be made. Two or three times a week I cook a batch of beans ( chickpeas, kidney or lentil ) to store in our fridge. Once the mere thought of soaking them for 12 hours before cooking was daunting but now that I am used to it, it seems extremely easy to do. One sachet of 500g dried beans cooks up to an amount that will give us at least 5-6 meals. At an average of 2 euros per sachet, it is an extremely cheap source of protein and energy, not to mention healthy to boot.

That we have discovered this way of eating and that we usually have a broad array of vegan foods in our larder makes me feel very grateful. Not everyone has enough food to get three meals a day, so we shouldn't take it for granted.

Some of Bob's lunch: Leftover pasta, rice, chickpeas, corn, onions, garlic and some rocket...even at seven this morning I got a kick out of seeing this colour combo and thought I'd share it with you...


Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Finding The Brightness Among Wintry Paleness.

Nature, always there to brighten one's day.

Forgotten grapes or ingredients of next year's ice-wine? This morning we walked among bitter cold and rather grey surrounds so that the solid colour of the grapes stuck out.
This made me chuckle...a tempting red apple dangling in front of the local church!
One of the neighbourhood walls is covered with these stunning wee grapes. Edible or not, they made quite an impression as we meandered past.
A well that has been there for over a hundred years must hold many a secret wish...or secret!
A waving shrub of ' feather-dusters ' holds a certain attraction.
How amazing to see those bright red stalks giving life to these bunches of grapes. Makes me think of a musical sheet which is fitting in a way as each wine has a symphony of flavours...


Tuesday, 27 November 2018

A Midnight Duel Held Among Our Shoe Rack.

Our cat earns her keep.

Her heavy tread woke me up. As a cat owner one knows whether she is merely dashing for joy, need of toilet or dashing after an intruder. The latter penetrated my foggy brain and had me quickly hotfoot out of bed in case she decided to jump up to boast with her trophy and also to lure her out to the lounge so Bob could sleep.

Meek and docile she 'slinked' in front of me to the lounge as I high stepped through the dark of our house. Never knowing what was underfoot I closed the bedroom door and was just about to close the lounge door when she growled at me and dared me to take whatever was dangling from her mouth. Eek, my little child was wild and dangerous.

As she refused to even budge from our vestibule I left her in it and made myself comfortable on the couch. Sleep was out of the question as I had to stay alert just in case she decided to jump up to do a feline show and we do feed her well, she seemed to use her bounty as a toy as far as I could gather. The rest of the night I heard the sound of shoes falling off the rack, her running over my shoe-spoon and just a lot of noise as she dashed hither and tither in her duel.

When it got time to get up, I kept an ear out for Bob so that I could warn him about the battlefield outside the bedroom. Nothing like walking half asleep over lingering mouse corpses. Eventually even he couldn't ignore her murderous display and got up. Naturally, I got him up to speed from the safety of my sofa and cautioned him to turn on the light before taking a step further.

Oh yes, he quickly was confronted with the reality of life with cats...a mouse corpse outside the bedroom door with the bounty hunter sitting daringly next to it. Bob, before attending to it, stepped into the bathroom to gather his wits. ( I wasn't going to dispose of it! ) Suddenly, he started laughing.

Our precious cat had followed him to the closed bathroom door and from the outside had flung the little corpse through the bottom gap of the door with such accuracy, that the corpus delicti landed next to Bob's feet.

Before he had told me the gist of it, he had taken said object and gone to toss it out the window with Mausi watching his every move. Even though he was feeling a bit overwhelmed so early in the morning he was pleased at how our cat had gifted him her most precious catch of the night. Yes, for cats there is nothing that denotes love more than to offer a little mouse. Naturally she got praised and was given a cat's treat...


Monday, 26 November 2018

A Rainy Monday In Burgenland.

An abundant start to the week perhaps?

Only a few months ago we were all moaning about the incessant heat. Heat non-stop with nary a raindrop in sight which makes it so comical and ironic for us to complain about the rain...I've noticed myself muttering those sentiments as well.

The ground is soaked but rain it does with more expected for the rest of the week although in a different shape. Snow, as the temperature is expected to drop. Fair enough, it is Winter after all.

A rainy day carries so many positives. Reading under a nice warm blanket couldn't be any more iconic, eating soup any more warming and knowing that a drought is far off any more comforting. Yes, rain should be appreciated and not cursed. Try living without it and see life begin to change.

As we bottled wine on the weekend, the three wooden barrels needed to be taken for a rinse out with a high pressure machine. Easy peasy if you are a strapping man but for us it was a bit of a mission ( but we did it! ) to manoever them sans Bob today. Might I mention that rain accompanied us every step of the way! My parents and I rolled, pulled and half carried three solid wooden barrels from cellar to car ( twenty meters or so ) and car to cellar when they were clean.

One of the local wine farmers offered to help us with the cleaning and it was great to meet and chat with him. A young man who couldn't have been nicer and more polite. Often those impromptu chats help us get the measure of men and this one passed with flying colours.

Curiously enough working in the rain and cold is rather refreshing. Rainy days in Burgenland are just that...a whole day of cold, wet and damp weather unlike rainy days in South Africa where a downpour last for a short time and then is replaced by stunning hot weather. Nevertheless, I enjoy those rainy days precisely because for so many years I only experienced rainy days in the Southern Hemisphere.


Sunday, 25 November 2018

Pink & Yellow

Makes it a mellow morning.

In an overcast morning like today one needs to make an effort to look for the jewels underneath. The fog was soupy and nary a soul astir yet, spots of beauty abounded.
Like each and every year these purple berries made an impression on me. How could they not, when they are a bright spot of colour amid pockets of fog.
There are thousands of yellow leaves still clinging onto their host but each tree sports a particular nice bunch of leaves. Lovely and yellow to mellow wintry doldrums.
Back to my cluster of pink berries suspended as if it was the fly in a spider's web.
Lastly, a yellow of yesterday...a rather goth looking shrub stands to attention next to a forest lane embracing sweet yellow leaves in its middle.


Saturday, 24 November 2018

Bottling Wine.

From the barrel into the bottle.

Wine is so easy to drink yet most of us don't realize how much blood sweat and tears go into making it. We've become spoilt by having wine on tap or rather unscrewing a top and pouring a glass never giving any thought to the labourious process gone on before.

Once the wine is ready to be bottled from vast vats it only denotes the end of a long year of pruning, harvesting, pressing and resting. But of course even the step of bottling is fraught with effort. Nice effort but a hard workout nonetheless.

Yesterday we preset the stage for today. Got the empty bottles sorted, organized the pump and filter machine and put everything into the right order so that this morning we could literally start the moment we arrived. Eight 'o clock was the start and the four of us ( my parents, Bob and I ) got cracking right away. The weather made it comfortable to be inside a warm wine cellar as today was a Baskerville kind of day - foggy and cold.

It took us five hours to fill most of the red wine and an additional fabulous hour to eat lunch at a local Buschenschank. Bob and I were just saying that this is our eighth year of helping out with making wine and it kind of feels great to have a new tradition of something both of us had never dreamed of back in South Africa. You know, drinking wine is easy but being allowed to help in creating wine is a step above...


Friday, 23 November 2018

Being Grateful.

We tend to forget how much we have...

" Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude. "
Denis Waitley ( 1933- )
" Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. "
Marcus Tullius Cicero ( 106 BC-46 BC )
" Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. "
John Milton ( 1608-1674 )
" Gratitude, warm, sincere, intense, when it takes possession of the bosom, fills the soul to overflowing and scarce leaves room for any other sentiment or thought. "
John Quincy Adams ( 1767-1848 )
" There is only one thing that can form a bond between men, and that is gratitude...we cannot give someone else greater power over us than we have ourselves. "
Montesquieu ( 1689-1755 )
" Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. "
Marcel Proust ( 1871-1922 )
" Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. "
Epicurus ( 341 BC- 270 BC )
" If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough. "
Meister Eckhart ( 1260-1328 )
" They do not love, that do not show their love. "
William Shakespeare ( 1564-1616 )


Thursday, 22 November 2018

New Neighbours Up The Road.

A rolling flock of grass grazers.

Climbing over a trench got me close enough to take a few photos and this inquisitive gal took the time to get up and come closer.
Two sleepy woolly white gals taking life one blade of grass at a time.
A tough and hardy ruler of the harem looking ever so smashing this morning.
" Yes, yes, that's my man over there..."

One can almost hear her thinking..."Look what he did to me. " Not long before a little lamb is born.
Their eyes are so docile and gentle making it a pleasure to stand across from them. This flock moves about from one juicy meadow to the next. Much better than a lawnmower, much more peaceful and dare I say prettier.


Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Dale Carnegie Was Right All Along.

What's in a name?

I drove an almost ninety year old lady to the Gemeinde office in order to sort out some stuff and as I was helping her into the car, her son asked me to please get a few groceries at the Deutsch Schützen shop. Not a problem.

After about a kilometer of driving I suddenly realized that the shop was closed until three. Each and every Wednesday which had escaped from my scaffolding of thoughts. I mentioned this to my passenger and because she needed milk for making pancakes, we decided upon shopping at the Eisenberg shop.

This lady doesn't drive and I figured that to her Eisenberg was foreign and actually a nice change of shopping pace. Marvelous how a mere trip of ten kilometers to the other side is seen as an adventure.

I helped her into the shop and was floored when out of the blue the proprietor came rushing out from behind his counter in order to greet this lady by name and enthusiastically shake her hand. Wow, what a divine gesture. There were about four other shoppers there and they stopped to stare at this while my 'charge ' was beaming from ear to ear while updating him succinctly on decades of family happenings.

A moment later the owner's mum came to the counter and he took the time to make introductions...bear in mind that people change as they age and being recognized is not a given.

When we got back to her home, she was chuffed beyond measure to be able to tell her son at how welcome she was made to feel in Eisenberg...a small thing like being greeted by name has made the world of difference and brightened up someone's day if not week. We should all do it more often.


Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Contrasts Make Us Focus.

The bigger picture.

Often we get so embroiled in our own little problems that we forget to see them in perspective. Stepping outside of our own frame of reference is vital at times.

Today the celestial temperature gauge got turned on its head resulting in a jolly cold morning. Far from nice including ice. It being Tuesday I headed out before eight this morning in order to collect an elderly gentleman of ninety for his monthly check-up at the doctor's. He couldn't have chosen a more miserable day as it was icy, rainy with even a touch of snow thrown in. Not much fun when you have to slowly follow your cane.

In anticipation for a longer wait I had dressed warmly yet despite it, my old bones were chilled. But this is where contrasts come into play. The sheer joy of coming home to a warm and cozy house was indescribable. Something so simple as an oven can make the world of difference. In contrast there are so many people who don't have a warm home to come home to, animals who are trying their best to find a cozy nook and workers who have to brave the outdoors all day long.

With the aide of social media we are somewhat removed from reality as most of our friends and family choose to only inform us of the ' enviable ' achievements of their lives. Disappointments and failures are not surprisingly left out from the daily show and tell. Ironic then that we try so hard to emulate that supposed perfect life instead of being grateful for the life we have. Small moments of gratitude accumulate into a life that we like and embrace.


Monday, 19 November 2018

First Snow Of The Season.

Cold too.

Okay, the image of snow is a bit overdone as it was a case of snow flakes pirouetting downwards through the smokey air. At the moment the chimneys are spewing out an overdose of smoke for the cold has taken hold. Funny how sometimes a certain temperature is bearable while at other times it is bone chillingly cold.

The dance of the snow flakes started early morning and Bob went to work dressed for a day outdoors although when he got home just now he did tell me that they had all worked in the wine cellar where it was more comfortable. Bob's adjusted to life with snow even being able to navigate an icy road.

Of course I on the other hand tend to go a bit theatrical at the first sight of snow. This morning one of the local school mothers came to the house to ask whether I could come and help her son learn for an impending exam ( in fact, he asked for me even though he is almost in Matric and rather good with his use of English but still, he has become used to my helping him since the start of high school, which I take as a compliment ).

" I'll be happy to help, but if the roads are snowed in, I'll have to cancel. "
I have got to hand it to her...she didn't bat an eyelid whilst explaining that the snow was far too little to have an impact on driving! When I finally ventured outside I did feel like an idiot as the roads were absolutely perfect to drive on.

Most of the day the flakes have continued to fall but luckily onto a warmish sort of ground. They are still melting and morphing into pesky rain and mud. Nevertheless, the Christmas Season has officially started...


Sunday, 18 November 2018

Outfoxed On My Walk.

A yearning for solitude gets undermined.

Sundays are the only days I can walk up the Eisenberg and do my long route as part of it involves the main road which is hardly used on Sunday mornings. It is sheer bliss for me to walk there as the views are second to none and the hills are steep enough to make a difference to my derriere.

About a month ago I stopped to talk to a fellow walker and his two dogs. Being friendly and so forth is all good and well but it resulted in him joining me for a long leg of my walk. Look, there is nothing wrong with him but I liked my solitude which clearly he didn't. I do know where he stays and that he lives alone ( in small places nothing is a secret ) so perhaps he enjoys drawn out conversations.

That one time he walked with me, a few cars did pass us and only afterwards did I find out that he gave one of the drivers a filthy look because they drove too close to his dogs. How did I find out? Well, someone in the village asked me whether he was a good friend of mine as they had seen us walking together. Yes, village life.

The last few Sundays I have admittedly tried to dodge him by changing my times ( it does sound harsh but I wanted to be alone with my thoughts ) and when I did run into him, I did keep the conversation short and rushed off with an excuse to watch the skiing on the telly. Well, today I saw him in the distance behind me and seeing that it was far enough for me not to stop, I gave him a friendly wave while I carried on walking at my usual pace...a fast pace.

All of a sudden I kept hearing the sound of the dogs' heavy breathing catching up to me and when I couldn't ignore it any longer I turned around and saw that he and his dogs were almost next to me. Couldn't be rude so I stopped and waited for them. Just my luck that his dogs are Huskies, used to being the front runners...


Saturday, 17 November 2018

A Cheerful Saturday.

The many bright spots around us.

Despite it being the second half of November there are many a cluster of roses dotted about the neighbourhood. Unexpected and breathtaking considering that everything around them is a dull shade of winter.
Not to be outdone is this pink stunner. Proud and tall next to the road for all to see yet many don't notice it.
A green oasis amid the splendour of the forest. A tranquil time out to hectic village life...imagine sitting there with a glass of wine whilst contemplating the day?
A Kellerstock in the famous Burgenland yellow brings brightness to an overcast day.
Who wouldn't want to walk along a curvy rural lane like this? Wonderfully rejuvenating and invigorating.
Again a bunch of roses to gladden the soul. Set perfectly against the characteristic wooden barn wall.


Friday, 16 November 2018

The Fine Art Of Being A Silent Passenger Whilst Your Spouse Is Driving.

A lost art perchance?

Yes, I know one should keep shtum while sitting next to one's hubby but unless I put a plaster over my mouth, I fall into the haven't learnt yet category. Driving together is a test in coupledom. Give and take has a whole new meaning.

To be fair I do have to point out that I have a touch of Mrs Bucket about me and when I think back to sitting behind my grandparents in the car, I realize that I my vocal co-driving has been passed down a few generations. I never stood a chance and I won't mention mum and her co-driving skills...!

Most of the time I point out the needle being a touch too much past a certain number which Bob then corrects me:

" Oh don't worry. I am perfectly within the speed limit and it's only because you are looking at the speedometer sideways that you think I am over the speed limit. "
Eh, hardly ever do I point out the car in front of us being too close. Thankfully he still responds in words and not teeth gnashing as I do know what it feels like to have a passenger in the front. He is much worse than me and when I do drive him crazy or rather into town, he suddenly turns into a quantity surveyor telling me what distance I am from the edge of the road and that it is too close!

Anyway, the other day we took a day drive to Graz and some of the time I did mumble about keeping to the speed limit within the village signs. A clear 50 kph is the order of the day but after a while I gave up nagging to enjoy the scenery.

Should have realized that in a tourist area such as Steiermark, it is extremely profitable to put up a radar. Yesterday one of those ominous official letters got left in our post box and as you can guess, it was a traffic fine. Going 9 kph over the 50 limit within a village translated into a thirty euro fine.

When Bob saw the fine he piped me to the post by saying;

" You were right and I should have listened to you. "
Ah, what a great husband...


Thursday, 15 November 2018

Out And About In Eisenberg.

The village awakens...

At times early mornings are just too picturesque to stay in bed. Being a bystander on a crisp clear day and watching the sun wield life into the fields is indescribably beautiful.
A different side of Eisenberg clearly getting the lion's share of sunlight. A house apart, a house of dreams and a house of life...filled with sheep, pigs, cats, chickens and of course a dog.
It doesn't seem like it but all I did was pivot to my right to get this shot of another angle. Sun still there but only haltingly.
Two strong birch trees frame a look upon Eisenberg's 'White House'...yes, a gigantic modernistic designed abode amid the more modest Kellerstöckels of old.
Doesn't this vine exhibit character? Or on second thought, it kind of looks like it is hanging on for dear life.
Halfway on my walk I was thrilled to get this view of my village. The bareness of an approaching winter is rather nice. Winter, a time to hibernate and regroup inside a cozy home.


Wednesday, 14 November 2018

What Marvelous Creatures Cats Are.

The perfect companions.

Being alone, no, not me, isn't easy. As you know I visit a lot of older folks and this afternoon saw me sitting around the table with a sprightly ninety year old in our village. When we are young we don't or rather can't imagine being lonely, so lonely that each and every day seems an endless stretch of time to be outwitted. If one lives alone that is.

He has a cat, a marvelous animal who can read his moods, feel his pain and help him stave off loneliness. It might sound trivial to you, but for him his cat is everything. She gets fed good food, is allowed to sleep on his bed ( in fact she sleeps on the pillow next to him, on the side where his late wife used to sleep ) and as per usual has the run of the house. A lifesaver actually.

Having a precious little being underfoot gives meaning to the day, affords one to have conversations and if one is lucky, the cat will answer back. Sounds outlandish, but even in our house, Miss Mausi has her days of answering back in a rather teenagerish sort of way.

Then there are those older folks who would rather not chance having a pet for fear of leaving it behind someday. Fair enough, but there are so many unwanted cats and dogs whiling the time away in a kennel waiting to be adopted or sadly, killed. Old, young or in between all deserve a chance of happiness although, I would wager a bet that those adopting a pet are going to be the winners in the happiness department.


Tuesday, 13 November 2018

A Grey Day In Eisenberg.

After all there are only 41 days until Christmas.

The day started out as most others this week with a curtain of heavy fog. Fair enough, fog can lift and reveal a stunner of a day alas, not so today. It stayed grey and rather miserable throughout. Even the radio d.j. mumbled about it being a 50 shades of grey kind of day...which he hastily retracted with a naughty giggle.

I drove to Güssing to do a shop and even there the weather kept to script but of course it doesn't really matter if one hops in and out of shops. At about eleven I felt a bit hungry and hastened into a local bakery in search of a Bretzen. I thought I would support a baker instead of buying one at Hofer around the corner. Well, my inquiry after a Bretzen was met with a rude;" What? " which had me wonder how they could stay in business. Not going back there in a hurry.

When I eventually ended up at Hofer I perused the fresh bakery aisle and as I was getting a Bretzen out the ' box ', someone greeted me by name. One of the Eisenbergers was busy shopping too and even though it was a mere quick ' Hello ', it felt good to be greeted. A sense of belonging.

Every week I notice an increase of Vegan products at Hofer, so perhaps the Vegan tide is turning. Brilliant and about time too. Not that everyone needs to eat the vegan way all the time but at least making a few meals a week without animal products is fantastic. The mere fact that there is such a prolific selection of vegan products everywhere makes me very optimistic about the future and once people realize that apart from anything else, eating healthy plant based vegan meals is the best way to lose weight and be healthy, they would eat vegan more often...


Monday, 12 November 2018

Another Surprising Benefit Of Walnuts.

My new discovery.

Walnuts taste great although they do involve a bit of effort in order to crack the shell. Why shell, you might ask? Well buying the shelled nut is out of the question for two reasons...firstly, we have many a walnut tree in our garden and beyond and secondly, they are jolly expensive. Honestly, nuts!!

Living in a small village has many good sides but one not so good one. Autumn means leaves are descending to the ground in mind boggling numbers and need to be sorted out. Yes, a case of raking up the leaves in order for them not to be strewn over one's neighbour's yard due to a gust of wind. Those kind of happenings are frowned upon and could cause tempers to flare...

Anyway, Bob and I decided to pick yesterday to rake up the blanket of leaves at a walnut tree's foot. A huge task that meant raking and carrying many a bag filled with dried leaves to the compost pile at the back of the garden. A long walk indeed and a task that didn't seem to end.

On the bright side it meant that Bob and I could rake and joke together for two hours. Oh gosh, there were so many leaves blanketing the ground. A case of raking, bending to gather the leaves and then throwing them into garden refuse containers. A lot of bending down which brings me to the newly discovered benefit of walnuts....exercise!

Today, the results of it are in because even getting up from a chair is sheer torture. I never knew I had muscles at the back of my thigh never mind on both of them. Clearly walking doesn't work on them, but all the same, I shall stick to sedately exercising them once a year to rake up our walnut leaves. Gardening, much better than going to a gym.


Sunday, 11 November 2018

Early Morning Find.

On the cusp of winter...

Late Autumn might be stark for some, but for me it is a time of pondering while discovering odd spots of beauty. Yes, the forest is almost bare but when one takes the time to really look, wonderful images appear.
A veil of early morning mist translates into a most stunning day. Clear blue skies and warm-ish temperatures were the order of the day.
Magical displays of spiders' art are revealed in the early morning sunshine. A web of diamonds as eye-catching as the real ones.
I wish you could have seen the whole field. A carpet of sparkling dew drops balancing delicately atop each individual petal, stem and plant. Divine.
What would a walk without my favourite companions be? Again they cautiously tolerated me for a bit at least
Standing their ground...can you see how close they are to the road? That is one of the reasons I do drive rather sedately around the village and its outskirts.


Saturday, 10 November 2018

Recognizing Engine Revs.

The right pitch indeed.

Saturday afternoon, especially when it is cold and rainy are best spent on the couch watching a weepy program. Blissful indeed which even Mausi confers as she loves to stretch out atop of my legs. Despite the sound being rather loud over the hum of the oven. Yes, warmth brings many extras.

Bob was hidden behind the computer when I took notice of a sort of steady rumble of a tractor. Look, in our neck of the woods there are more tractors then cars but somehow I can put tractor to person. One drives rakishly, one slow, another haltingly and today I differentiated the idling sound of our neighbour's tractor.

Idle he only does when he needs to see Bob. For some reason he never knocks on the door but rather waits patiently for one of us to hear him outside. At times he gets tired of idling and phones us to come outside. Fair enough.

I hollered to Bob that there was someone outside. Of course he thought I was imagining again - how often did I get him with the supposed postman being outside! - but nevertheless got up to have a look out the window.

It did turn out to be our neighbour wanting to collect stuff and Bob helped him get it. Our house is set on a corner where most drive past. Today being Saturday it is a fever pitch of tractor chucking as everyone who works during the week has only today to sort out any work around the yard. In the country it is frowned upon to do any work about the house on a Sunday. Just as well we don't own a tractor as that would wipe out any chances to unwind after a long work week.


Friday, 9 November 2018

Lest We Forget Those Who Have Given Their All.

Remembrance Day.

" In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
we lived, felt dawn, saw sunlight glow.
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders field.

Take up your quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though Poppies grow
In Flanders field.

John McCrae ( 1872-1918 )


Thursday, 8 November 2018

Creativity Awakens.

The lure of knitting.

The world seems to be righting itself and get better but as we all know, it has to get worse before it gets better. Better, it will get but of course it takes a huge amount of conviction after watching this political theater being performed in front of our eyes nightly on the news. Switching off the telly would be a much better option but let's face it, it has become an addiction to watch this soap opera day in and day out.

As you know I ditched the twitter habit and do have more time on my hands. Time I could use to knit again. For me knitting is either all or nothing. The muse strikes me every couple of years and then nothing is safe from being knitted. Bob has a few hand knitted jerseys of mine hidden at the back of his wardrobe only to emerge in extremely cold spells. Don't blame him about one of them, as the sleeves do happen to have vastly different lengths.

Scarves are an easy way to start again and perhaps a jersey won't be far off. There are at least twenty divine knitting magazines ( in English ) with patterns galore languishing on the back shelf waiting for me to page through and fire up my imagination. Oh yes, knitters are a special breed indeed. Knitting is one of those elusive in the moment activities, a place to focus and let go of any irritations.

Taking the time to indulge in a hobby is pure luxury. A luxury that shouldn't be one. Knitting, walking or reading shouldn't be looked upon as a time waster but should be looked upon as a life saver as they are activities that shake us out of our online clouds and bring us back down to earth. Safe and sound...


Wednesday, 7 November 2018

A Pattern Emerges.

Animal attraction?

Wednesday, walking with the ladies of Eisenberg day. Thankfully the weather didn't exhibit any bad behaviour which might have enticed everyone to continue slumbering in a warm bed, but actually today started in the most beautiful way. Almost a late summer's day with mist rising to reveal sun-kissed fields and a blue sky. Bodes rather well for winter I think. Perhaps we are living up to our name of being the Florida of Austria.

We chose the ' border route ' which is a rectangular walk along the edge of Hungary and about seven kilometers in length. A nice bit of exercise to get the body going. Along this route are a mob of deer never straying far from one field. Sometimes I walk this route on my own and most of the time stumble across them.

It seems to me that they don't scatter as quickly when they hear me approach as they wait until I am very close ( to their mind although I hasten to add that I wouldn't catch them!! ) before gracefully hopping to safety. Even this morning when there were three of us approaching they stayed their ground yet chose to keep a watchful eye on us.

Closer to home is another one of these stories. Our outside troupe of two feral cats welcomes us home each day which does give one a warm feeling around the heart as feral cats aren't used to mingling with us two footers. Even Tigger despite looking forward to be fed does offer me her head for generous dose of stroking and cuddling.

Of course inside the house is another story indeed. Some days our cat keeps aloof to the point of me going to check where she is and making a bit of small talk with her-yes, yes, crazy I know- and other days she is as clingy as a toddler. Right now she is curled up on my lap and in fact has been shadowing me all day. Loo, kitchen, couch, computer and bedroom just to mention a few. Actually, I like having her by my side and I hope it's mutual.

I do talk to her a lot and somehow she must understand me as she follows commands or rather the ones that suit her.... Cats, regal as can be.

Aren't they stunning?


Tuesday, 6 November 2018

A Lucky End To The Day.

Are birds and cats both good luck symbols?

Bob went back to work yesterday after two weeks off and when he got home afterwards, we stood at the kitchen door chatting. Outside it was dark as night and cold to boot. Bob started to tell me about his day while at the same time taking off his work shoes. That's when I spotted it. A bit of extra lining on his sole, complete with inbuilt odor.

" Schatzi, did you stand in poop? "
Bob bravely lifted his shoe to check and that's when we were both assaulted with the unmistakable aroma of cat poo. Those of you with cats will understand and those without, I hope you never get the chance. It pongs and makes doggy doo smell like roses.

Bob started to curse, took off his shoe and hobbled to the vestibule for further inspection. Yikes, half the shoe was liberally smeared in goo. When Bob does something he does it well...

Our Tiggy is now a senior citizen complete with loss of hearing, sight and good manners. Lately she has viewed our front lawn as her personal toilet space and that's where Bob encountered his doodoo. She's an old duck and what can one do! I fetched Bob a bucket of warm water and a little stone-shoe-pick ( a perfect tool to remove goo from a shoe ) and took pity on his retching attempts at cleaning it up. Within minutes it was cleaned and we were both laughing and wondering if it meant the same as being pooed on by a bird...

Anyway, looking on the bright side, it afforded me the opportunity to give the floor a nice once over, whilst being watched carefully by Miss Mausi, who wasn't thrilled with the smell of competition.


Monday, 5 November 2018

A Misty Start To The Day.

Beautiful nonetheless...

The fields are idling away awaiting spring and the leaves have long heeded gravity thus leaving this tree bare for all to see.
This happy mingling of blades and berries has an almost post modernist feel to it.
Far from being modern art this particular assemble reminds me of Monet. Birch trees do make marvelous objects on canvas.
A touch of mystique or a perfect setting of an Agatha Christie's plot. Most leaves are composting on the forest's floor and the odd ones clinging on for dear life make the whole more lively.
Perfect symmetry and harmony. Every day I am amazed at how nature has created such beauty everywhere.
Marvels of nature dotted all along my route and affording me the opportunity to feast with my eyes.


Sunday, 4 November 2018

Greed; Let's Try And Tame It.

Imagine a world with less greed and how gentler life would be.

" The saddest thing I can imagine is to get used to luxury. "
Charlie Chaplin
" From the first day to this, sheer greed was the driving spirit of civilization. "
Friedrich Engels
" The man who has won millions at the cost of his conscience is a failure. "
" A greedy man and a pauper are practically the same. "
Swiss Proverb
" Nothing makes us more vulnerable than loneliness, except greed. "
Thomas Harris
" For greed all nature is too little. "
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
" We have lost our way and allowed greed and excess to become the twin pillars of too much of the financial culture. We became a society utterly absorbed in consumption and dismissive of moderation. "
Tom Brokaw
" Social networks do best when they tap into one of the seven deadly sins. Facebook is ego. Zynga is sloth. LinkedIn is greed. "
Reid Hoffman
" There is sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed. "
Mahatma Ghandi
" We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet. "
Stephen Hawking


Saturday, 3 November 2018

Dinner For One Is Not Easily Done.

The difficulty of eating well on your own.

Most of us might have it in the back of our minds and for me it became reality yesterday whilst I was listening to a lady living on her own. As per usual we ended up on a mutual topic of

Take the easy peasy meal of pasta & mince. A classic, a staple and a dish not without complications for those older folks living alone. When we buy ( or when I used to buy ) mince it mostly comes in a 500g packet size. Fair enough, that is ample for two hungry people with one lunch serving left over. But if you live on your own, what do you do?

Nobody wants to eat mince five days in a row in order to not waste food. Not everyone has a freezer on hand either and thus, most won't even buy mince in the first place because the portions are just too big.

Of course it isn't just mince but most things we eat without giving it a thought that makes cooking a challenge for those living alone. A few shops have stepped up to the plate by providing smaller portions but sadly they seem to believe that the price can thus be inversely set.

Wouldn't it be a grand idea if older folks living alone can find a kindred spirit with whom to go shopping and sharing? Or if supermarkets would stock small individual portions of perishables at reasonable prices. There is an opportunity for an app, if there isn't one already but of course most of the folks affected don't use apps...


Friday, 2 November 2018

All Atwitter No More...

A rather welcome change.

It happened last week. My routine of checking in on my twitter account encountered a stumbling block. A huge one as I had been locked out of my own account. At first it felt horrid to be excluded from the twitter scene, then a bit of anger emerged with me mumbling about the audacity of it. Never have I clicked on anything suspect nor posted of the same ilk.

Locked it was and the first two days did feel a bit strange almost like a void. Perusing the goings on in my twitter stream had become a habit. A time consuming one. They did send me an email of how to unlock my account but was it worth it? Giving more personal information in order to be part of this dubious news avenue which somehow holds the power to sway elections didn't feel right anymore. Yes, I have decided to stay locked out.

Honestly, what a welcome change and what a bonus to have one claw of the cyber sphere unhooked. Of course I am still online quite a lot of the time but now I have recouped a bit of freedom in order to do things I loved doing ten years ago. Reading being foremost. I am too scared to put a definitive time reference on my online excursions but like almost anybody else I know that it is still too much. Collectively we've sold our soul to the internet and sadly haven't realized it yet.

Will it last, my non twitter lifestyle? Should they unlock my account again, would I be drawn back in? Hopefully my off-line hobbies will have had enough time to rewire my brain back a decade or so.


Thursday, 1 November 2018

Nature, Just Because.

A November walk around our village.

The last of Autumn's colours enhance the desire to merely sit and contemplate life while one's feet are dangling over the water's edge.
One can hardly believe that it is November already. The trees seem to still be dressed in October's foliage. A tree spotted along today's walk.
How marvelously inviting to see an offering of wine for thirsty travelers ...
Perhaps next week all hue will have gone and left the starkness of bareness.
For some reason I tend to call this bush a collection of elephants' ears. At certain times during the year they reach heady proportions and resemble a velvety blanket while now, they are an obvious eye-catcher.
A moment in time where life stands still, dreams are nourished and plans formed. As I said, nature, just because...