Monday, 31 December 2018

New Year's Eve Has Suddenly Appeared.

A day of excess for many before the day of new intentions.

So many will make a promise to themselves not to drink, eat or smoke from tomorrow for eternity only to stumble on the first hurdle of breakfast. So many good intentions left by the wayside. Always next year, isn't there!

Today I heard someone on the radio mention that most of us have good intentions, morals and manners yet most us fail to live by them and apply them. No good, is it? But what wise words indeed.

Take tonight for example. Most people the world over know that firecrackers and fireworks are hurtful to animals domestic and wild, yet it leaves them cold. They will either let their fireworks off with a sense of mistaken pride at how much they have bought or stand by and applaud others while they do the deed. If you feel and know it is bad for animals, don't do it or witness it. Pure and simple.

Luckily Bob and I will be home from seven in order to be there for our precious animals when the hurtful firecrackers go off. Cats don't know what and why it is happening only that they are feeling terribly scared. Dogs even more so.

Tomorrow morning will see many a dog wandering aimlessly through the streets, trying to find the home they ran away from out of fear. It breaks my heart every time and every year I live in the hope that folks get more responsible towards animals, because if we can't show considerations for our animals there isn't much hope that we will treat each other with more kindness, respect and courtesy...

Have a Happy New Year...


Sunday, 30 December 2018

Old Homes And More.

Embracing lives.

The wall has been whitewashed but underneath is over a century of history. A Kellerstock up on Grenzlandweg holds an air of mystique.
Derelict and windowless yet I could easily imagine it being done up in an earthy style. Hearth and reading bench...
Not far from these old houses is this delightfully steep vineyard. Could be a stunning hill to ride a sledge during winter.
The rose hips seem determined to outlive winter in their colourful style. A marvelous respite in an otherwise bare winter.
A bit further down in the village stands another romantic cottage. The concept of a Tiny House might have been invented in Burgenland.
Finally, the morning sky was filled with an assortment of blue tinted clouds. A beautiful frame for Eisenberg.


Saturday, 29 December 2018

Early Morning Blues...And Reds.

There's just something so special about a morning awakening.

All about the vines even in their barest form. Seeing a sky coloured in with a sunrise is indescribable and beautiful.
The crossroad heading behind Deutsch Schützen look mighty inviting for a lengthy Sunday walk.
Nature's feather duster don't seem bothered by an icy morning and in fact tend to look more decorative for it.
A pie in the sky or a highway to heaven...? How often does this cut out man startle me!
Such a delightful morning can only bring pleasant weather. Our festive season has been surprisingly warm and almost had more in common with Easter. Even yesterday the thermostat climbed to 13 degrees. Rather pleasant indeed.


Friday, 28 December 2018

All About Animals.

Part of our lives even if not as pets.

  • Copy cat...
  • Bats in the belfry...
  • Chickens come home to roost...
  • A little bird told me...
  • Hold your horses...
  • That really gets my goat...
  • Let the cat out the bag...
  • Quit cold turkey...
  • Like a fish out of water...
  • Ants in your pants...
  • One trick pony...
  • At a snail's pace...
  • Open a can of worms...
  • Get your ducks in a row...
  • Pig headed...
  • Wild goose chase...
  • Drooping like flies...


Thursday, 27 December 2018

Back To Start Again.

Let's countdown to the next Christmas...

All the hype, fuss and excitement is gone in what seems like a blink. Yes, Christmas is a few days behind us and apart from wondering why our clothes are a bit tighter, it is forgotten.

We count it down for hundreds of days and yet, the day passes at the speed of light despite long drawn out family meals. Mothers have given their all and are now entitled to a well deserved break from making sure the festivities have gone off without a hitch. How many mothers have baked, cooked, wrapped gifts and cleaned house to the point of exhaustion while dad is busy navigating the plasma entertainment?

Funny enough this time of the year is where even the least used drawers get cleaned out in order to create a perfectly pristine house for the annual family visit. Curtains are taken down, carpets given a thrice over and table cloths ironed. Guilty of that myself, ironing our table cloth that is. Honestly I don't know why as the weight of all the plates, glasses and food could have ironed out any wrinkle still visible.

Christmas gives way to a new year and after we've navigated that firecracker madness we can settle down to ordinary life again. Perhaps it is the ordinary that gives life meaning and the extraordinary like Christmas and New Year underscores that by making us yearn for the ordinary peace and quiet...


Wednesday, 26 December 2018

A Lunchtime Excursion.

Discovering hitherto unknown parts of Burgenland.

We decided to take a scenic drive to show our friend the area and we thought might end up at a nice restaurant in Hungary. Well, off we drove only to realize that not all of us had our passports on us and none of us had any form of cell or smartphone to be had. Nice under normal circumstances but without identification and phone we chose to rather meander about in Burgenland.

Bob is great at finding little out of the way places that make one glad to be there and see. It always feels as if we've traversed a huge tract of Burgenland when in actual fact we've only gone in a big scenic circle with a 30 kilometer radius. Along the way we saw wonderfully authentic and romantic Gasthauses but judging by the overflowing car parks, not one with any table available.

As we got closer to Oberwart we stopped at two different possible places to have lunch. I was sent in as a scout for a table and I was told almost verbatim by both waitresses;

" You do know it is Stefani's Day today and we are full. You should have phoned ahead and booked a table! "
Oh, there was a tad bit of Schadenfreude involved but I merely smiled. Eventually after trying at two Oberwart restaurants to no avail we headed for Grosspetersdorf and its Strohriegel.

Gosh, I stuck my head through the entrance and hesitatingly enquired about a table. Oh, I was expecting another bit of Schadenfreude but what luck, they had one left and didn't make me feel stupid for not booking ahead of time. Literally the last available table, a small one in the smoking section but we didn't care and took it. No one smoked in any case so it was fine. The smoking areas of most restaurants are full of character and authenticity and it seems unfair to make them smoking areas.

Their menu was shortened for the festive season and I didn't spot anything vegan but no problem, I ordered rice and plain tasted amazingly nice! Isn't it funny how our own backyard still has the best places to eat...


Tuesday, 25 December 2018

At The Pond In Eisenberg.

Another spot to feed the soul.

After lunch today I walked my friend back to her house, we had a nice long Christmas brunch, and on my way back home I stumbled across a pond bathed in glorious afternoon sunshine. The perfect seat of power...taking time out to regain one's personal strength.
A bit of Christmas cheer dangling off the branches. The water looks perfectly serene bathed in the late afternoon sunshine.
Nothing more to say except that it makes a perfect screensaver for the soul.
A moment in time captured by my camera. Tranquil on the surface but most likely a busy hive of activity underneath. The fir tree's scion appears glazed in warmth and colour.
Today might be Christmas Day but the temperature hardly lives up to this fact, although the unseasonable warmth brings forth the most magnetic hue in most studies of nature. Glad I could be there to capture it again today.


Monday, 24 December 2018

A Merry Christmas.

Yuletide is here again.

" For it is in giving that we receive. "
Francis of Assisi
" Christmas is not a time or a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. "
Calvin Coolidge
" A good conscious is a continual Christmas "
Benjamin Franklin
" I stopped believing in Santa Clause when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked me for my autograph. "
Shirley Temple
" To perceive Christmas through its wrappings becomes more difficult with every year. "
E.B. White
" Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. "
Norman Vincent Peale
" Not believe in Santa Clause! You might as well not believe in fairies! "
Francis P. Church
" A Christmas gambol could oft cheer
The poor man's heart through half the year. "

Walter Scott


Sunday, 23 December 2018

A Wonderful Sunday Walk With Bob Through The Forest.

Despite it being a day before Christmas, the weather seemed more fitting to Autumn.

It was as if we were bathed in sunlight. Its beams followed us through the forest and gave us stunning portraits of nature.
Moss clothes just about everything in a seasonable emerald hue.
A giant green foot illuminated by glorious morning sunshine. It was as if a light switch had flipped...
Old trees around our village hold history in their midst. If only they could talk and tell its dwellers' tales.
Not far from our house is this romantic entrance to the forest complete with hunter's lookout and feeding station for the wild animals.
A perfect combination of early morning light, rising mist and natural colours make this a wonderful interpretation of Shangri-la


Saturday, 22 December 2018

At A Car Wash On A Warm Winter Saturday.

A lesson in sociology.

Washing one's car in winter is a tad bit risky if the temperature drops below freezing. It doesn't take long before water droplets in crevices such as keyholes turn to ice and expand. At least that is how I like to see it. This morning was a rare December day with a temperature reading of plus 7 degrees.

Bob and I decided to take our chariot for a spruce up whilst we were in Güssing and headed for the car wash. We and half of Güssing it seemed. At least it confirmed my belief that car should only be washed when it is warm. Gosh, as we turned into the car wash we saw at least ten cars waiting for their turn at the wash bay and thankfully someone pulled in behind us, because I am sure that Bob would have turned around.

As we were queuing behind two cars, with the first one already getting spritzed by its owner, we had a fun time observing human nature. Impatience, selfishness, doggedness and helpfulness. As it happened, the chap washing his car in our lane took forever and a day scrubbing and spritzing until the money ran out ( self service ) and the water dry. We all breathed a sigh of relief until he went and put another euro in the machine. Yikes, how clean did he want his car to be...

Eventually he moved out and the line dwindled quickly. Adjacent to us was a chap who wasn't quite sure which button to press or which lever to press and it was great to see the lady behind him get out of her car to help him. Fabulous. Another chap on the opposite side was doing his best to strip his Mercedes of just about every particle of dust. His wife got so fed up that she got into the car whilst he was still rinsing it. At least she didn't rev the car.

Eventually it was our turn and Bob did the honours. Men and their love of cars. The two of us made a good team with me pressing the appropriate buttons ( 1 for this, 2 for that, 3 for wax ) and adroitly side stepping showers of water disguised in a cloud of vapour. Once it was our turn it didn't take long - actually three minutes - to have the Ferrari red come to the fore again...

A real traffic jam...
Bob looking rather cool with his sunglasses.
Bob worked quickly and thoroughly.


Friday, 21 December 2018

A Chinese Brunch Instead Of Lunch.

Early bird and such...

Today was the start of Bob's Christmas break and true to fashion the two of us planned a lunch at our favourite restaurant. Any objections due to it being the last Friday before the big do, was quickly put to rest by Bob.

" Agh, I am sure it will be fine and a bit of hectic is okay. "
Our Chinese place is right in the middle of one of the busiest shopping centers in Burgenland but the lure of Sushi & co proved too much to resist. We were driving into the center just off eleven and were mildly surprised to see so many parking spaces available. Oh, that boded well and with that in mind we decided to go straight to lunch.

They open at eleven and thankfully we weren't the only ones there so early. The food was still being brought out ( lunch is a big buffet ) but it didn't matter to us as the sheer bliss of munching through our first plate of sushi distracted us of such earthly problems as the chow mein still being tossed expertly in a big wok. Their kitchen has glass walls!

An added bonus to such an early start was that all the food was freshly put out. Throughout our meal we both gave off mmh's & aahs and to an outsider we might have looked like a cool,hip new-age couple meditating. Yes, lingering over food, especially one's favourite one is a soulful experience and helps to recharge anyone's esprit.

The rest of the day was went swimmingly and saw the two of us meandering in and out a few shops. Sadly, or maybe thankfully we didn't find anything that we needed or wanted but sometimes window shopping is more than enough. As for groceries...we made sure to support Oberwart well!


Thursday, 20 December 2018

The Softer The Pitch, The Louder The News.

Heard it on the grapevine.

Where else but at the doctor's does one hear the latest news, views and boos. The waiting room at our local doctor's is small, noisy and often stuffy. Especially now during the cold season. For some reason people are scared of a hint of fresh air and would rather face a room full of circulating coughs and sneezes instead of letting in blasts of freshness. Who am I to argue? And anyway, I try not to breathe in too deeply whilst standing in line.

The reason I stood in line was to get medication for one of the villagers. It was a reasonably longish wait ( 10 min or so ) which afforded me the opportunity to be within earshot of the general news room. Not that I wanted to, but sound does travel. At least I pretended to study the pamphlets that were stuck on the notice board whilst taking in the on-dits of Deutsch Schützen.

There were two friends sitting and having a good old catch-up and the points discussed weren't out of the ordinary. Eavesdropping can't be helped in such small confines.

When I moved to the head of the queue was when the whispering started. Well, who wouldn't equate that audible reduction to oneself. Of course I threw a quick glance but thankfully it wasn't directed at me. The one lady was whispering to her friend why she preferred one doctor to the other and how to ensure that she was seen by the right one, yet the more she tried to whisper, the more audible it became.

The door to the surgery and reception was closed so that not too many ears took note. I did have a wee giggle to myself at the ingenuity applied by patients in order to be seen by doctor of their choice.


Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Off Twitter And Not Missing It.

More time for real life.

The day I had tried to log in to my Twitter account and learnt that they had blocked me, was upsetting - someone had tried to log on numerous times and because it wasn't from my computer, they decided to block my account. Still in the midst of Twitter-sphere I was as addicted as the next person. Panic and irritation set in followed by outrage at having been blocked. Of course they dangled a we can help you to un-block carrot in front of me, but divulging more personal details was a red line for me.

The first week had me double check a few times a day to see if it had all been a mistake or joke but after a while I settled down to life sans Twitter. How marvelous to suddenly have a portion of my day back. Real time off line, something one has to become used to again.

We are so conditioned to thinking that happiness needs to be premised on social media acceptance, adulation and popularity that we have forgotten to hang out with us and the real people in our life. Friends and family that pick us out for straying from our true self, for telling a lie or exaggerating about our achievements and possessions.

Online's social hub can bring the strongest characters to their knees. Understanding that our online friends',families' or acquaintances' postings about their perfect life is mostly a case of what they would like it to be, takes time. And until we understand the stupidity of keeping up with fake online perfection, we are doomed to feeling that there is something wrong with us due to us not being able to measure up to that ridiculous pretense.

Reading a book, visiting family or going for a walk are much better ways to spend one's time...


Tuesday, 18 December 2018

A Tim Allen'ish Christmas Display.

A village cheer.

I was driving back from Kohfidisch this afternoon when dusk was settling. A double edged sword in a way as the light can play tricks on one and ironically the might of Christmas lights are shown off to perfection. Well, unless one drives in the middle of the night.

Each consecutive village had clad itself in strings of cheer. Kotezicken must have dangled a prize for biggest display of Christmas kitsch as a house on the left hand had half an animal kingdom in lights and the one opposite, the rest of it not to mention flickering distractions in each and every window.

Luckily the speed limit is 50 in villages as it did prove rather a distraction to have lights en masse. Pretty but too much. Of course the next village, Badersdorf, wasn't too shabby either because some houses on the hill could be noticed by the reindeer, sleds and Father Christmases on their front lawn.

Next village on the cards was Eisenberg and the only house that stuck out a mile away was the one where smurfs and gnomes reside all year round. A nice beacon if one were lost.

All along I couldn't help but chuckle to myself as I remembered that silly movie with Tim Allen and the crazy neighbourly competition to outdo each other with Christmas lights and decorations. Well, despite some of them crossing over onto the kitschy side, on the whole it does bring about a feeling of seasonal cheer and that wonderful sense of family time that Christmas evokes.


Monday, 17 December 2018

A Bracing Start To The Week.

Nature wrapped in a white blanket.

My favourite forest path covered in a treacherous slippery surface, but romantic nonetheless.
A lucky escapee from living rooms across the village.
The local chapel, a derilict of the past still manages to be a welcome beacon of refuge.
This morning it was a sheer pleasure to walk into the sunrise. The sky was ribbed with pink and red layers giving a particular nice hue to the day.
The water reservoir made a nice plateau for a most spectacular sunrise.
Beauty among the trees...poetic indeed.


Sunday, 16 December 2018

A Week Till Christmas.

" It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."

Somehow it doesn't feel like Christmas is less than a week away. Well, a week for the English Christmas and six days for the European one. Strange how traditions vary around such important dates. At least a Christmas Eve shortens the sweet torture of having to wait to open those conspicuous presents under the tree. Imagine having to sleep yet another night?

Bob as a child had to wait a further night for the presents to ' appear ' and to this day he tells me anecdotes of how he and his brother had to make sure to leave a quart of beer along with a plate of cookies for Father Christmas. Fair enough when one considers temperatures of over 35 degrees for a typical Southern Hemisphere Christmas.

Our village has draped itself in Christmas cheer and lighting which of course we only get to see at night when the lights are flashing their message to all who pass. A few have out or rather overdone themselves but then again, the children love it.

Saturday was the first Glühwein affair in Eisenberg but as the invite was extremely cryptic, we decided to rather go to the one on Christmas Eve at our local fire-house. Walking distance makes it perfect for us. The one last Saturday had been at Schoaga Treff, which both of us couldn't quite translate and were secretly pleased to stay at home as it was bitterly cold outside.

The next few days might be quite hectic for most but also rather peaceful. A lot of grownup children are coming home for the holidays and after the rat-race lifestyle life in Vienna or Graz, a few days of Eisenberg should be just what the doctor ordered.


Saturday, 15 December 2018

Almost A Midnight Adventure.

The magic of snow.

Last night Bob had his Christmas After Party and even though it was mere kilometers away, they had organized a designated driver. Fair enough and at least that meant that I didn't have to venture forth at some ungodly hour.

Mausi and I had the run of the house and daringly chose to fall asleep on the couch after dinner. Big party folks we are! The ringing of the phone woke us up. It was Bob and he asked if I could pick him up after all and even though it was cold outside I was glad to fetch him. One never knows with designated drivers. Usually some younger siblings who still are a bit green behind the wheel. Especially since it had snowed a lot yesterday and the roads were treacherous.

Driving last night with the snow still fresh was absolutely divine. Yes, scary too when one feels the wheels fail to grip the road in places. Most of the village was at home because I was the first tire track in the snow. Bob's party was in one of the Kellerstocks on the Hungarian side of Eisenberg. One way to get there was to go over the hill itself or a round about on an level road. Longer but I didn't want to test the brakes on a steep hill.

The roads were empty of traffic but I still crawled at a speed between 30-50 kph. Eventually I found Bob, who had chosen to walk towards me on foot not realizing that I had taken the other route. But once he was in the car, we headed back through the village of Grossdorf, which looked absolutely splendid in a wintry foil. Romantic, authentic and full of Christmas cheer.

Today we had to drive there again to fetch Bob's company car and I couldn't believe that within the space of half a day all the snow had melted away. Thus I am extremely grateful to have fetched Bob last night, as the winter wonder land I drove through is still on my mind.


Friday, 14 December 2018

The Allure Of Frozen Leaves.

Fringed by ice.

Each leaf seems to have been embroidered by a thread made of delicate ice.
Colourful suspense...
Even whilst drooping under the added weight of ice crystals do they manage to look graceful.
Could almost be an ensemble for a frozen berry smoothie.
The top of the Deutsch Schützen forest turned white overnight. An avenue of sparkling crystals enhancing the charismatic beauty of those leaves refusing to sever their ties.
The elegant birch tree overseeing the path into Eisenberg has an aptitude to look pleasing in any setting or season.


Thursday, 13 December 2018

Chimney Sweep Time.

Preceded by a thorough clean.

Luckily mum uses the same chimney sweep. It can be quite territorial with each village having a particular chap, but somehow despite living in different villages we got the same one who only comes to our area four times a year from Rechnitz. Normally I write the dates into our calendar but for some reason not this year. I'll have to make an effort for next year's dates!

My plan was to do a turn at the Kohfidisch Spar and before I left I gave mum a call in case she needed anything. Well, lucky I did as what she said set me into a slight panic:

" Don't forget that the chimney sweep is coming today. I am busy cleaning the kitchen and stove right now. "
Oh yes, a tradesman of any kind elicits a turbo charged cleaning sprint, at least for me. Especially in a small community news of a less than spotless house can spread like wildfire!

Naturally my plans changed and I donned my cleaning paraphernalia ( gloves, mop and bucket ) and got cracking in the kitchen. Where he needs to clean the chimney is rather badly situated as it awards him a view of the whole kitchen floor and more.

Tradesmen unlock a higher degree of cleanliness than even family does and even as I write this I can feel how stupid it sounds, but so it is and I bet that I am not the only one!

Back in my Salon days I can remember how embarrassed clients were when they came in with greasy or dirty hair, yet, we hardly noticed ( unless extremely shiny ) as all hair was washed before any services and in any case, the back-bar ( wash stations ) were the best part and most loved by clients. A relaxed client was much more accepting of anything done or offered in the stylist's chair.

Well, now our chimney is sorted until spring, the kitchen floor is sparkling and another fabulous year is on the cards. Don't forget that chimney sweeps are the poster boys of good luck and fortune...


Wednesday, 12 December 2018

A Public Holiday That Actually Wasn't One.

The lure of Christmas lucre.

Last Friday I had found out about an impending public holiday that next day. Yikes, we had to scrape our shopping trip and make do ( with oodles to spare, as it turned out! ) with the food we had. Funny and a bit annoying to find out a few days later that even though it was a holiday, the shops at large all had their portals open.

I should have known that it would be hard to turn down a chance of grabbing holiday crazed shoppers' money. Maybe just as well that we didn't hotfoot it into Oberwart as it must have been hectic and overpopulated with irate and impatient Christmas shoppers.

This time of the year in particular we are inundated with adverts on TV and advertising literature in our postbox. Bob and I are still eccentrically old school by preferring to browse and shop in real shops. More than the actual grocery shopping we undertake in Oberwart, it is the lure of browsing that we enjoy...and of course lunch at our favourite Chinese restaurant.

How does one shop for perfume online? Going into stores to test the various perfumes and then going home to order them online isn't very fair at all. Bad karma indeed, although many do without loosing any sleep over it.

Well, the next public holidays will be in less than two weeks time and thankfully those are the real deal with shops closed and their staff having a well deserved time off before the dreaded Boxing Day returns.


Tuesday, 11 December 2018

A Real Little Play Group.

Our cats keep us earthed.

Enough said about our Mausi or a few salient words will suffice; spoilt, loved and regal. After three years I cannot imagine life without her. She of course is only one part of our cat family.

Yesterday I went to give Tiggi her evening meal which normally means we have to be quick on our feet ( and fast to withdraw our hand ) as she likes to act as if it was her last meal. She slings it down not even waiting for us to finish emptying the sachet. I know she cannot be hungry as we feed her oodles daily!

As I was putting the food into her bowl she came out of her house situated on the prime location of our window sill and sat quietly between the bowl and my hands while ignoring the aromas wafting towards her from her freshly filled bowl. Gosh, when she started to lean into my arms, I knew that she had placed a cuddle with me above a mere plate of food. My heart melted instantly as she purred and pushed her little body into my hands while every now and then looking trustingly into my eyes. Although being a feral through and through she has discovered the love of a human and reciprocated. Oh, I wish you could have seen and heard her!

The third stooge in the cat pen is My Boy who has taken to spending most of his leisure time outside our window irritating Mausi to no end ( or a case of love? ), hiding underneath our car or hopping onto the bench underneath our window in order to take a peep into Tiggi's food bowl. All that can be seen are his ears and half of his head as he doesn't want to be too obvious by jumping onto the sill. Should Mausi be alert enough to spot him, she gets extremely territorial and quivers menacingly in front of a closed window.

Will there come a time when My Boy comes for a cuddle I don't know but certainly hope for. As it is, he keeps a sharp eye on the interaction between Tiggi and I. Animals, so special and so precious...


Monday, 10 December 2018

For The Love Of Popcorn.

A mouthful of memories.

Popcorn can render the best memories. Going to the cinema and digging into a bucket of popcorn, salted popcorn that is, while watching reel upon reel of advertising is something I still remember to this day mostly evoked by the wafting aroma of freshly made popcorn. Wasn't it the most annoying when someone would crunch and chew audibly on continuous handfuls of popcorn during the actual movie?

Bob could almost be called a aficionado of crisps and most shopping excursions do end up with a bag of them. When I have to do the shop on my own he puts an order in for a bag to be purchased. Flavour and size too! How often have I hidden said packet of crisps in the most outlandish of hiding places only to be discovered tout-de-suite by The Bob. Running out of hiding places for anything rather quickly.

This morning in an attempt to keep him off this contraband, I told him that under no circumstances would I buy a bag of crisp for him and as we've got plenty of popcorn at home, this is the snack he can dream of at work.

When he came home earlier, he started to do the rounds of hiding places until I mentioned that I hadn't purchased any. No problem, he got out a big pot and made himself a portion of fresh popcorn. Oh my gosh, the kitchen smells so nice.

Popcorn in a pot is the easiest snack to make and cheap too. A bit of oil and a handful of kernels is all that's needed. Retro cooking chic indeed. No newfangled microwave popcorn with its additives but good old fashioned kettle made popcorn. One of those marvels that we have forgotten we could make...

A healthy snack.
A pot, a stove and five minutes of your time...


Sunday, 9 December 2018

A Stunning Start To A Sunday In Burgenland.

Early mornings are really the best time of a day.

The sun hadn't been up that long when I walked past the big twin-tree and thus saw it with a beautiful frame.
The clouds were still debating on whether to dither hither...
Unhindered fields as far as one can see. A breath of fresh air to walk in urban wilderness.
Reminds me of old black and white movies and come to think of it, the best one is not far off...Dinner for one.
A spot of colour on the edge of the path looks more like pale gold hibernating under a layer of early morning frost.
Could almost be an Out of Africa scene...Burgenland and in particular our part of it is a divinely beautiful bit of paradise.


Saturday, 8 December 2018

More Quotes.

Wonderful words.

" Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness. "
" Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. "
Soren Kierkegaard
" Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. "
" In three words I can sum up everything I have learned about life: it goes on. "
Robert Frost
" Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
William Butler Yeats
" Blinding ignorance does mislead us. O! Wretched mortals, open your eyes! "
Leonardo da Vinci
" Words, like nature, half reveal and half conceal the soul within. "
Alfred Lord Tennyson
" An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy "
Rudyard Kipling
" The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries. "
Rene Descartes
" Those that can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."
" Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth. "
Henry David Thoreau


Friday, 7 December 2018

Conditioned To Shop.

A momentary lapse in judgement resulted in a spot of panic.

Gosh it is Friday already and thus the start of our weekend. A weekend of culinary indulgences mostly imagined as the best laid plans usually result in the same old routine of weekend meals, but they say it is the thought that counts. With that in mind I had planned to do a shop in either Rechnitz or Kohfidisch tomorrow to stock up on the essential weekend treats!

I was in our local shop this morning ( and before you wonder why I don't shop there solely, I hasten to add that their assortment of vegan offerings are rather held to a minimum! ) getting a lotto ticket when I heard the woman behind me talk about tomorrow being a public holiday. Aghast I turned to double check and yes, tomorrow is a public holiday and the shops in Austria are closed.

Suddenly, my mind went on a panic loop imagining running out of food Sunday morning at the latest. On my drive home I incrementally calmed down enough to realize that no, Bob and I wouldn't starve this weekend and as soon as I was home I hot-footed it to our larder and fridge to take stock. Sure enough, Bob and I would abundantly survive at least another week on what we have.

What is it that makes us so worried about a public holiday falling on a Saturday? Have the powers that be ( a.k.a. The Advertisers ) done such a good job on us? Now that I have had time to ' adjust ' I have a burgeoning feeling that the next few days the most amazing, inventive and delicious meals will be had by us.

Isn't it a law of nature that when faced with what we have, we make the best out of it without wishing for what we don't have?


Thursday, 6 December 2018

Vegan Variety.

A tiny memory lapse!

Being vegan is fabulous, fun, different and quite tricky when people find out. Any other way of eating would elicit a Jolly well done! yet this particular way of eating brings out the critic in people. Only yesterday someone challenged Bob about the amount of rainforest being cut down for soy production and his tofu being the main cause of it...conveniently forgetting that roughly 70 % of soy is grown for animal feed. But, at least the topic of veganism is on their mind.

Yesterday a kind soul enthusiastically asked me what I meals I cook and if it wasn't a boring way to eat. Oh gosh, I can't begin to tell you how vibrant and plentiful our new way of eating is yet there my mind froze and I could only come up with beans and curry. Not the best of ambassadors, am I?

When I drove home a whole slew of divine vegan meals that Bob and I had cooked flitted through my mind, rather late to the party. I told Bob later on and he had had the same problem. Both of us should take a few photos of our favourite meals along and show them off when asked.

Before I was introduced to this new way of life I would have also wondered what vegans ate and if it was more than a plate of carrots and broccoli. After eight months I've got a handful of old faithful quick meals in my repertoire that I know Bob loves but I also enjoy experimenting with whatever I have on hand and lately as most supermarkets are expanding their vegan offerings shopping and cooking has become a breeze.

" Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food. "


Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Sprinkling Coffee Grounds Over Our Front Lawn.

For the love of cats...

We know the culprit is one of our outside cats but not which one. Both of us have a sneaking suspicion that it might be Tigger due to her age and dare I say laziness but it could also be our new lodger, Roger the Tomcat. Marking territory and so forth with an age old method...leaving a heap of poop.

Yikes, lately it has become rather tricky to walk outside after dark or even during the day if one is daydreaming, because the territorial markers seem to be everywhere. That stuff sticks like glue to a shoe not to mention the olfactory effect of it. After having cleaned several pair of shoes and having developed another octave of shrillness;

" Take off your shoes!!!! "
I decided to do the next best thing and google a remedy.

Not actually expecting one I was rather surprised to find a few solutions and even more surprised at how prolific the cat using the yard as a loo was. One of the easiest tricks mentioned was to sprinkle used ground coffee over the yard. Better than mixing lavender spray as it might be a bit too perfumed at the end.

At first Bob was aghast at the thought of having a black lawn but I balked at the thought of cleaning any more shoes ( with scrubbing brush and shoe pick! ) and therefore I have been busy sprinkling for the last few days. Bob hasn't noticed but the cats certainly have. So far I've not encountered any new nefarious heaps on our lawn or at least not on the bits I've sprinkled.

Of course as these coffee grounds blend so perfectly into the lawn, I need to start drawing a map in order not to over sprinkle some parts and not others...oh, and drink much more coffee.

Life with cats is far from boring...


Tuesday, 4 December 2018

A Picture Perfect Morning In Eisenberg.

A brilliant mixture of colours.

There really is nothing better than coinciding my walk with the dawning of a new day. A bench ideal for enjoying and being in the moment.
Can you hear the wonderful silence? A piece of nature where one's thoughts can run riot or stay dormant. Meditation is a certainty.

As the cloak of nature lifted a feast of colours emerged. The scene is set...
The duality of rural bliss. Soul refreshing and never boring.
Somehow it doesn't look like the first week of December. After last week's cold spell, the weather gods have taken pity on us and sent us a sunny interlude. Today the temperature reached 15 degrees.
A stage of sorts. All along my morning walk a medley of black and white horror movies flashed into my thoughts. At one point I couldn't see further than two meters and was surrounded by a blanket of fog...rather refreshing yet a bit daunting.