Thursday, 31 January 2019

Men Enjoying Life.


This afternoon ( after Sturm Der Liebe had finished, the local staple ) I went to visit one of my elderly Eisenbergers and was surprised but also thrilled to see his neighbour sitting at the kitchen table with him. Company for him and a happy one.

They were shooting the breeze accompanied by a tot of Schnapps. Brilliant, why not indeed. Fortunately I had driven there so that gave me a valid excuse to decline an offer of a tot.

One could see that they have been neighbours for years and were as comfortable with each as if they were brothers. They were finishing each others stories and all in all it was a great afternoon.

Men of course can divulge almost as much gossip as we women are known to. Quite amazing to realize that men see more than we give them credit for! It was very amusing not to mention, interesting, to find out the latest on dits from around the village while trying to keep up with the thread of families.

A lot of local siblings have through the generations married not much further afield than perhaps two villages over which tends to make conversations littered with mentions of cousins, sisters or uncles.

It was nice though to see the two of them make the most of a cold and miserable afternoon and their laughter made it a pleasure to sit and listen for a while. A great reminder to enjoy the little things in life.


Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Happy Feedback!

A nice surprise.

Today was another one of those wonderful mornings. Crisp, cold but thankfully devoid of ice. Perfect for our walk and the walk was perfect for us as the Eisenberg was cloaked in a robe of mystique and pulchritude. Soul refreshing and a visual feast.

The cold made us walk efficiently and when our route took us back into Eisenberg central, we ran into one of my extra lesson pupil's mum. He had recently had another English test, a crucial one for which we had learned for hours. As I hadn't heard any news from him or his mum, I was on tenterhooks as to his grade. Often silence isn't that golden!

So there we walked past his mum and of course I had to ask her. How could I not and anyway, I thought that I might as well grab the bull by the horns and find out how his English test had unfolded. She looked a bit stern so my nerves were on high alert. It isn't as though I am responsible but still, I could be the face of blame.

" Oh hi, hasn't he told you? He got a C. "
Oh my gosh, I literally jumped for joy. For him a C is brilliant although he would easily be capable of getting A's but he has yet to find out how to convert knowledge correctly onto paper.

The last stretch of our walk I was almost skipping along because I understand how important good test marks are for kids and I was happy for him... for me as well actually, because my draconian methods of teaching ( making the kids write out words, sentences and essays ) which they mostly see as punishment are bearing fruit.


Wasn't it a divine morning in Eisenberg?

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

A Bit Of Cheerfulness.

Learning to feel good.

" Moonlight floods the whole sky from horizon to horizon; How much it can fill your room depends on its window. "
Rumi, The Essential Rumi
" People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they are not on your road does not mean they are lost. "
Dalai Lama
" Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and turn ordinary opportunities into blessings. "
William Arthur Ward
" A moment of gratitude makes a difference in your attitude. "
Bruce Wilkinson
" No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world. "
Robin Williams
" Don't wait. The time will never be just right. "
Napoleon Hill
" The most wasted of days is one without laughter. "
" The bad news is that time flies. The good news is that you are the pilot. "
Michael Altshuler


Monday, 28 January 2019

Our Chickens Come Home To Roost.

Can't blame anyone but ourselves for this.

I came home about half an hour ago and as per usual a welcoming grin was laid out for me by our feline children. All and sundry noticed my return and got ready to receive dinner at their various stations. Pecking order and jealous guarding of food is part of their sibling rivalry.

There is a certain routine when it comes to feline feeding time. Usually if I was out, I will first go inside, fetch their food and then go outside to fill the various pots with yummy grub. Of course first I am allowed to pet Tiggi for a few minutes although today I veered of schedule and salted the driveway first. Gosh, she jumped off her perch and came to investigate my tardiness. Cheeky monkey!

Naturally I followed her directions and hastily dished her grub while out of the corner of my eye I noticed his lordship - our handsome tomcat - dashing up behind me and also a fast movement in front of me. Goodness me, he was chasing a wee mouse towards the house but as he saw me standing there with a can of his best in hand, he stopped in his tracks, looked at me then at the quivering beef tartar in front of him and coolly decided to have it another day.

Can you believe the cheek of him? He casually reversed tracks and took up station at his feeding pot. A yummy mouse for the taking but blithely he let it live another day, knowing mummy was on the way with a tasty meal...

Like a fool I fed him but then again, I can't be sure of a BigMacMouse doing a daring daily dash across his turf so I will continue to feed him and all our feline kids...


Sunday, 27 January 2019

The Morning Sparkled...

Burgenland shines in winter glory.

The sun made everything sparkle and appear less cold. The morning was made for a walk. Nothing nicer than to meet the chill head on with a walk.
The cold has ensured that the recent blanket of snow still looks pristine and sparkling.
Deutsch Schützen's church bells were ringing albeit a duller sound than normal to beckon forth the villagers for a Sunday sermon. Couldn't have been easy to get out of bed on such a cold Sunday and a Sunday after yet another village ball...
The local birds didn't bother with me and carried on their frenzied conversations.
The field reminds me of stracciatella ice cream...
Sparkles and footprints...the local deer must have run across here earlier this morning. Snow does make it easier to interpret footprints and footsteps. At times I can even relate a set of prints to owner and dog. Luckily I don't know the footprint belonging to wild pigs because if I did, I might not go forth so merrily each morning.


Saturday, 26 January 2019

Sprouting Away...

Yet another culinary adventure ensues.

It used to:

" I heard it on the grapevine. "
which has moved with the times to;
" I saw it on YouTube. "
What bright new ideas aren't first seen on YouTube? The other day I was reminded of the tremendous health benefit of sprouts. When I was still at school we had a little sprout farm in our kitchen at home. It was the fashion of the day and most hip women had a set of sprouting pots germinating on their kitchen counters. All that fell out of favour until now it seems.

My mind was set on it and naturally the next step was to watch a tutorial on YouTube. Oh, that man made it look as easy as pie. This week I found two sprouting containers in Oberwart and as of yesterday a batch of seeds is gracing our kitchen counter. The jury is still out on whether those seeds will sprout because as easy as it looked online, the harder it is to manage off line.

I was quite pleasantly surprised to see a whole table of sprouting paraphernalia at Bella Flora in Oberwart. Could I be late to the party and is all of Oberwart sprouting away already? Let's hope that my Broccoli and Alfalfa affair is growing according to plan and that I can up my culinary creations game for Bob's lunches.

Our containers are resting at an angel. They have a lid like a sieve to drain off any excess liquid. Hold thumbs...


Friday, 25 January 2019

A Downhill Switch.

A pretend Saturday today.

Blame the weather which of course is a huge proponent of staging a race, in fact it is the only vital proponent of a downhill race that determines it being held.

When I heard late last night that the Kitzbuhel Downhill Classic was moved to today I was at first a bit disappointed but then I thought of the athletes. Racing down the king of downhill races in less than perfect conditions can be life threatening. The wind was the culprit as it is on course too blow to hard tomorrow, Saturday. Not good when the skiers race down the sheer cliffs of Kitzbuhel mountain at over 130 kmph. Wouldn't catch me doing it!

Luckily I had the time to watch the race this morning and it was a cracker. Can't say too much though, as Bob is only going to watch it after work. Yes, this race is one of his favourites and it has turned into a classic in our household. We set our calendar to it and bring it into casual conversation with ease...

" You know the Kitzbuhel downhill is on the same day as the Feuerwehr Ball. "

Watching it is jaw dropping, exciting and thrilling and I think it is awful that those athletes don't earn more money.( Article in Business Insider) When a man dribbling a soccer ball around the pitch can get paid multi millions a year while only facing a toe, shin or ankle being trodden on, isn't it about time to reward these skiers more? Their bodies are honed and trained to perfection yet they do become horrible injured, never mind the lifelong aches and pains they can look forward to after retirement.

Well, today certainly felt like a Saturday but on the real Saturday the Slalom race will be held. Who knew that a couple of Saturdays could hold so much excitement...


Thursday, 24 January 2019

A Busy Thursday Morning In Oberwart.

New discoveries.

The day started of rather leisurely and nice which spurned me on to go for my walk despite the threat of icy roads. The lane I chose was covered in snow and unseen ice patches and suffice to say that twice my derriere met the ground. That woke me up well and good. Close call indeed!

When I arrived safely home after finishing my walk with gingerly mincing steps I got ready for my next adventure. A trip to Oberwart to replenish the larder and pick up Bob's reading glasses! Thank goodness because I got a pair last year and felt a bit ancient next to him. How funny that we are both old enough to warrant nose adornments. At least I can look at Bob when he is wearing his to find out if one's eyes are magnified with them. How else is one to know?

This time I eschewed the shopping center and drove to the middle of Oberwart. Luck found me a parking space near all the places I needed to go. Parking in the center of town can be a challenge at times. After collecting Bob's glasses I located a vegan restaurant but only to see where it was. Both of us have seen it advertised but were never quite sure where it was.

Isn't it amazing that Oberwart has a vegan restaurant considering that it only has about 8000 inhabitants?

Each week more and more vegan products appear on supermarket shelves and today I shopped at Lidl and was amazed at their selection of vegan choices. Well done to them.

Driving to and fro town is an adventure in itself and today I was lucky enough to drive past a very handsome devil who waved vigorously at me...yes, Bob was driving the other way and I must say it is was precious to see him wave and smile at me...imagine if he only had raised an eyebrow in greeting?


Wednesday, 23 January 2019

And Yet Another Snow Day, Hurray!

Waking up to everything covered in a white blanket of snow.

We did manage to have a long walk this morning but as the snow kept falling, I couldn't use my camera. Later this afternoon I donned my boots and walked about outside.
Snow instantly manages to transform dried old pot plants into spots of glamour. Lavender and snow just so you know...
Like the hand of wisdom this branch seems to point towards a sturdy pine tree.
The pond has frozen over in strips and thus creating another glamorous nature shot.
Bits of summer discarded in the corner. Not so long now until this watering can is in full swing.
A splash of yellow breaking up the uniformity of snow. Despite the icy temperature it is a treat to hear snow crunching under one's feet while making lasting footprints in it. Winter despite its icy sidekick is a blast...


Tuesday, 22 January 2019

A Cold And Somber Day.

A day to shiver and pray.

At about ten this morning I dropped in at the doctor's in order to get a villager's prescription filled. A big event as I have to first drive to her house, collect her medical aid card, drive back to the village and queue at the doctor's, drive back to hand over the pills and then drive home. A nice little round trip.

It was blisteringly cold with the temperature gauge in my car never leaving the minus 4 degree mark. That might also explain why hardly anyone was in the waiting room. In icy weather one prefers to languish ill at home!

One of our neighbours had passed away last week and I knew the funeral was going to take place at eleven this morning. I made it with five minutes to spare. Despite the icy weather and the knowledge that the service would be performed outside the church ( ! ) a lot of people showed up. We all looked alike in our black outfits. Well, mine was more brownish but close enough.

Through my work I have ended up attending a lot of funerals and although it is a rite of life, it isn't this B's knees. In a small place such as ours one can't help but read many a thought...
" who is going to be next " which sounds terrible but the priest usually makes a point of reminding all and sundry of it:

" Let's pray for the soul among us who will be next to join heaven "
Honestly, the first time I heard this I freaked out but now I am used to it. Apart from the priest the only constant at these funerals is the undertaker. A dashingly handsome fella in his thirties who always makes sure that everything runs smoothly. At today's funeral everything did and let's hope it will be a long while until the next one.


Monday, 21 January 2019

Making Bread Again.

Cyclical baking ensues...

This morning I had a plan. A cunning plan that would combine my walk with a trip past the local shop. Bread was at an ebb in our larder and so I set off with my clear goal in mind.

The route was the same but my thoughts were centered around the bread I was going to buy and what delicacy I would top it with at breakfast. Fabulous food for thought. Towards the end of my walk I suddenly remembered it being Monday and how to know if today's bread really was today's! At almost four euros a loaf one does expect ultra freshness which Saturday's lot wouldn't be. Touching the various loaves for freshness would be bad form indeed and not my style. My plan changed and I veered off at the last minute.

Our fridge has become a great storing space for cubes of fresh yeast and as they are in the top door shelf, I almost forgot until faced with my conundrum over the bread. Why couldn't I make our own? Granted, it has been a while since the baking muse struck me, but so what if it goes a bit lumpy, for one day it will be the best bread to have.

Late afternoon I got a batch of dough going and a few minutes ago put the risen result in the oven. Time will tell but from the smell wafting about our house already, it should be good enough for Bob's lunch tomorrow...if it survives this evening! Making bread is so easy that I have to ask myself why I don't bake more often. Wish me luck.


Sunday, 20 January 2019

The End Of Yet Another Week.

A new day ahead.

What is it about time emulating the ebb and flow of the sea? How often do the minutes drag as if hours and other times a week is just a memory. My theory is that we are privy to so much information that time can only tick at warp speed. How to slow down...filter information.

Sundays are my best. Peaceful, laid back and restful for both of us. A time to finish a book, go for a long walk and have a special breakfast. Looking forward to Sundays is almost akin to a waste of time as the six days in between are mere shadows of themselves. It was Monday just the other day and good golly, tomorrow a week has passed.

But it is comforting to realize that the much longed for warmer weather isn't as far away as the calendar deems. Three months, what is that honestly?

Since the middle of December our days have lengthened or rather our perception of them. Daylight is around fourteen minutes longer each week and lets us do more outdoor stuff. Getting up earlier and going to bed later. Time will become entailed in a few months again when we have to put the clocks out of kilter yet again. Our French car decided to be rather bolshie and refuses to let us put the clock back. Nice, I am always an hour early!

Mondays create opportunities to start afresh at this lovely bit of time called life and even if we keep to our status quo, that is fine as well because the week got a day less...


Saturday, 19 January 2019

Three Ducks In A Row...

A beautiful end to a gentle Friday.

That feeling of a Friday evening is priceless. A precursor to the weekend and chance to slip into weekend mode with the same ease as donning a pair of sweats. Comfort and ease being treasured facets of a Friday evening.

Fridays are also a chance to veer from the staidness of routine kitchen classics. It is a night were all bets are off and food might consist of pizza, spaghetti or a bag of crisps although often sanity returns and leftovers are used up. Fridays are an institution of relaxation.

It is also a night were bedtimes are vague. No work on Saturday makes it much easier to get drawn into the endless series loop created by Netflix. A curse and blessing all in one! Eventually, when Bob has galloped ahead with episodes that I only view subconsciously, he calls us all to bed.

Mausi and I usually fall out of epic in front of television dreams but still manage to migrate to the bedroom, a room sans TV. Well, last night it couldn't have been more precious. Just on the off chance that her highness will sleep in our bed, I have put a plump pillow between Bob and mine and for the moment Mausi has chosen this as her lair.

So, when the lights went out it took us a few minutes to settle but in the end all three of us lay with our heads in a row...two were snoring in unison ( remember who is telling the tale and anyway, women do not snore ) and it showed me how much our cat is a part of us and how very intelligent cats are because clearly she thinks she is human...


Friday, 18 January 2019

Who To Ask About A Piece Of Spinach.

Conundrum at the mall...

Have you ever eaten a delicious meal only to realize that perhaps either seaweed or spinach might not have gone further than your pearly whites? You know it is there but apart from using toothpicks ( if available ) the only other option after numerous swipes of one's tongue, is to ask your spouse. After so many years together, one can't be sure that they actually see us when they look at us and for all we know, a look at us is a portal to thoughts far far away.

" Honey, don't make it obvious, but can you see any spinach on my teeth? "
is not a question asked on the first, second or third date which brings to mind bland meals sans greens until you get to know each other better.

Gosh, who can still remember those early week jitters every time a meal was had? The slight deception of only eating like a bird, emulating Scarlet O'Hara with pre-dinner snacks until he was hooked and not phased about huge portions eaten.

Well, today I posed the is there something stuck in my teeth question to my honey and I swear that even though he turned his head to take a quick look, he didn't really. Wouldn't he think it funny for me to mingle and greet folks with some teeth blackened out by seaweed? It isn't as though I expected him to look into my mouth like a dentist, but a more thorough visual help might have been in order.

My reply of;

" You will be in huge trouble if I get home and notice greens in my teeth!!! "
only had him guffaw with glee....ah, wait honey, your turn is coming...


Thursday, 17 January 2019

Foxes Abound All Around.

A nightly ritual of late.

A few weeks ago I almost ran into a couple of foxes as they were crossing the road. Scary, cute and a bit too close to nature. The following few days I did change my route because of them.

Two nights ago we heard the most awful bit of howling outside our bedroom window. It sounded like a mixture between a peacock and a bark of a dog, if that makes sense. Thankfully I remembered the foxes and thus both of us were at ease knowing what it was. I tell you, the mind gallops unbridled to all the nooks and crannies of one's brain to drag forth scary bits of movies seen. So much for our minds being like a sieve!

Early this morning they serenaded outside our house again and this time Bob got up to have a look. He couldn't believe how big these foxes were. Mausi must have felt their presence because she curled up over my head atop my pillow and stayed there as quiet as a mouse.

Bob looked up online what the reason could be for them to suddenly be so visible ( we do live in their backyard after all ) and found out that this time of the year is famous for fox-courtships. Well, who'd have thought!

Normally I am not frightened of animals but this morning I chose to take an old walking stick along for a walk. Of course I didn't meet up with any wild animal apart from a couple of cute dogs being walked by their owners. Feeling so brash and bully like stepping about with a big stick, I hastened to reassure the people that the stick was for foxes and not for their dogs.

The two I talked to didn't really believe me but you know, my new walking companions was a real ice breaker and I had two wonderful long conversations this morning...about anything but foxes naturally.


Wednesday, 16 January 2019

A Present From My Husband.

Nice to be thought of, isn't it?

Some get flowers, some get chocolate and I get a loser lamp! Rather nice and slightly romantic as he bought one for himself as well. We can sport a partner look while out and about.

You might wonder what a loser lamp is...a better name for it would be a miner's lamp or a runner's headgear. Long ago, back in South Africa I used to walk at a quarter to five every morning, summer or winter. Yes, in winter the walk started off in the dark and thus my love of a shining headgear emerged.

Actually I have been looking for such a lamp for ages and have yet not been out for a walk before it has been properly light. One doesn't want to slip on an icy patch or a banana peel after all! Now the prospect of walking into a real sunrise beckons although, last night a strange noise was heard outside our window. If I didn't know any better I would have thought it was a hyena, but sanity prevailed and both of us thought it might be a fox.

Not long after Bob had given me my present he also mentioned having run into our neighbour on the way home and he in turn had told Bob about the strange sound and sights of last night. Apparently, a fox the size of a huge Alsatian was seen slinking through adjacent gardens and on the main road.

As much as I am hankering after an early morning walk, I think I will wait until the nocturnal forest dwellers have gone to bed before setting off. As for my striking disco-esque headgear, there are one or two wine events this year and the lamp might come in handy when all of us are teetering back home...


Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Divine Snow Makes An Encore Appearance.

Snow on alternate days...

Let's start off properly with this morning's awesome sunrise. Worth while fighting the slippery slope of a snowed over forest lane...
As I turned the corner further on, I was met with this delightful image lit by the burgeoning sun. The air had that tantalizing crispness which kept the rosiness on my cheeks.
The road was as treacherous as it was beautiful. Each step was accompanied by the crackling sound of fresh snow being trod upon.
Winter makes everything more alive, even the simple display of shadow and sunlight.
Clearly one can see which way the wind was blowing...A set of bare trees cloaked in a silhouette of white.
A marvelous display of basic wintry conditions, those that lend themselves for exercising and absorbing the seasonal beauty.


Monday, 14 January 2019

Some More Wisdom.

Random quotes...

" A good laugh is sunshine in the house. "
William Makepeace Thackeray ( 1811-1863 )
" Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will. "
Zig Ziglar ( 1926-2012 )
" It doesn't matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. "
Confucius ( 551-479 BC)
" If you fell down yesterday, stand up today. "
H.G. Wells ( 1866-1946 )
" What really matters is what you do with what you have. "
H.G. Wells ( 1866-1946 )
" There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self. "
Aldous Huxley ( 1864-1963 )
" Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. "
William James ( 1842-1910 )
" Why should we think upon things that are lovely? Because thinking determines life. It is a common habit to blame life upon the environment. Environment modifies life but does not govern life. The soul is stronger than its surroundings. "
William James ( 1842-1910 )
" Now and then it is good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. "
Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918 )


Sunday, 13 January 2019

For The Love Of Routine.

The balance to life?

I can't tell you exactly when it started but somehow I have fallen into a routine of washing dishes after almost every meal. Hand wash that is. It might sound silly to you and others might wonder why we haven't yet been lured by the ease of a dishwasher, but the ritual of taking care of a couple of dishes feels rather nice bordering on meditation.

Since my newfound love of dishes set in ( ! ) our kitchen doesn't feel right if a few dirty dishes are sunning themselves openly on the counter. Before it wouldn't have bothered me at all to see the ceramic motley crew taking over surfaces while daring me to touch them.

What changed? Well, a feeling of structure lends days depth and meaning and although this sounds dilly and extremely domesticated, it makes sense. In our constant quest for more we have forgotten the tranquility of domestic chores and have frowned upon being a mere housewife / homemaker yet at the same time we have saddled ourselves with two full time jobs, being a housewife after work, unpaid and not appreciated. How many women work a full 8 hours per day only to go home and to clock in for the next 4-6 hours? Is it any surprise that the divorce rate is so high?

One more positive aspect to being in touch with all of our dishes is to have realized that we mostly use the same three things at every meal. Why on earth do we have ten cups, twelve dinner plates, 30 or more pieces of cutlery and uncountable glasses when we only ever use one set? Crazy indeed.


Saturday, 12 January 2019

What A Lucky Day We've Had.

A super dooper day in Oberwart.

Synchronicity is real and alive. Take yesterday for example; One of my had lessons changed to the following day, Bob had the day off and we put enough pellets into the oven before we left. Oh, and we took our newish car for a spin to the shops so to speak.

After we had had lunch and shopped for a few items ( cat food being predominant ) we walked to our parking spot at the Einkaufszentrum Oberwart, got into the car and started it. Snap, crackle pop and that was all folks. Yes, an extremely loud noise that should not ever be made by a car emitted forth from ours. It boded a trip to the chariot's doctor...

Bob and I both have two left feet in regards to motor vehicles' ailments and thus stood there flummoxed. Only for a moment though as from then on all the stars aligned to help us. A passer bye helped us push our car ( it was sideways in the middle of the lane ) back into the parking space although taking any hope from us about driving it home by pronouncing,

" That sounds kaput! "
and I proceeded a long line of phone calls. Luckily I had the number of our car dealership stored in my phone and dialed my damsel in distress call.

They asked me to phone ÖAMTC in order to get the car towed to the garage. Well, luckily we had remembered to pay our yearly dues and all it took was one phone call for the big yellow rig to lord it into the car park. Quite a spectacle indeed. The chap couldn't have been any nicer and took all of our worries away by being cheerful, highly professional and positive. Contrary to our expectations, he didn't find anything too major wrong with our car. Yay!

Bob and I had the privilege of sitting high up in the yellow cab, being driven through a busy Oberwart. Not quite like an episode of Ice Road Truckers but close enough. As we speak our car is taking a breather in a bunk bed at the garage....and yes, it will be fixed and okay! My parents then came to fetch us and drove us home, how marvelous was that.

But, and that is a major one, we were so very lucky to have had this happen when it did. The car was stationary and as Bob and I were discussing, the thought of it having stopped dead in the middle of a busy highway or road, with cars driving at speed in both directions doesn't even bear thinking about. That it didn't happen at night somewhere off grid and most importantly, that Bob was there with me to weather this problem. Even today I have given numerous thanks to the panel above for choosing such an opportune moment to have a car break down. Life, so worth living...


Friday, 11 January 2019

Some More Snow.

Here today, gone tomorrow.

In the past few weeks it has been a case of snow for a day or two, warm enough weather for it to melt and then another bout of cold to form a loop. Anything clad in snow instantly looks more attractive.
As you can see, the warmer weather was on approach and sort of created a layered image of the field.
Walking there is rewarding and a reward. Who wouldn't enjoy meandering about with such views?
The edge of Deutsch Schützen bears witness to the fact that despite only being a few kilometers down the road from Eisenberg, they often have temperatures a few degrees colder than us. Bizarre but true.
The snow tipped mountains are peaking through in the background. Blue sunny skies despite freezing temperatures. Paradise, isn't it?
A view only mere meters further to the right makes one wonder whether this is painted or not. The Eisenberg has so much more to offer than award winning wines...


Thursday, 10 January 2019

A Year In Time.

At the moment I am reading a most insightful and delightful book about a year in time. The year being 1913, with little notes and anecdotes about artists and personalities of the moment... Proust, Puccini, Kafka, Rilke to name but a few. Florian Illies - 1913 A wonderful read indeed.

Naturally one paints a mental scene of the various anecdotes and even though our generation deems everything before the invention of the internet to be old, boring and has been, this book reminded me that life over a century ago was just as normal, mad or creative as it is today. In fact, when one considers that most literary classics, paintings and poetry were created by candle light with mere pen and paper a new found admiration sets in.

How would our great grandchildren describe a year in our life, a year we were creative? I can see the title now...2019. Will it have more to show for our lives than online creation and inventions? Will they talk about Instagram stars, YouTube millionaires or outrageous coiffed politicians? Artists, novelists and thespians would feature too but perhaps not with those groundbreaking works in toe that the 1913 generation had.

Reading about the everyday struggles of artists before they became the household name they are today was priceless...imagine the irony that back then they were worried about making ends meet when decades later their works would trade for millions, books would be reprinted endlessly and musicals performed constantly. Let us hope that 2019 will make for interesting reading in the future.

Some novels published in 1913:

  • Edith Wharton- The Custom of the Country
  • P.G. Wodehouse - The Little Nugget
  • D.H. Lawrence - Sons and Lovers
  • Joseph Conrad - Chance
  • Beatrix Potter - The Tale of Pigling Bland


Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Our Cat Becomes A Conversation Opener.

Another one in our ' mad about our cat ' club.

Most pet food sections in supermarkets are in the last aisle just before the frozen food section. Today I needed to stock up for our princesses and let me tell you, it isn't a picnic to shop for them. Even Tigger has decided to become a budding foodie. Oh no, cheap food is not for her and as for Princess Mausi, she won't get out of bed for anything less than a can of Gourmet. Thankfully I don't have to slave over a hot stove but still...

Whenever I run out of Gourmet, the supermarkets gang up on me and raise the price. They have cottoned on to the fact that this brand is the only one that will pass her lips. Although at times she dares to veto's certain flavours, the cheeky minx.

An elderly lady was avidly perusing the various Gourmet cans and by her thoroughness I knew straight away that she had the same predicament as me. A fussy cat, plain and simple.

Oh, is your cat also a fuss pot? "

" You have no idea! She only eats their mousse. "
As much as we both bemoaned our fate, we couldn't help but exchange cat experiences and learn that we both are equally as besotted by them. Gosh, we stood and chatted for at least five minutes and the woman was so happy to talk ( perhaps at all ? ) with someone about her cat. Of course hers takes the cake or rather licks the butter - a portion at every breakfast - which she does sitting on a chair at the table. Manners maketh the man...

Loneliness gets booted out the door as soon as a pet comes in through it. Many of you might think us mad old dears but these little creatures give meaning and structure to a day...


Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Scenes From A Moving Car.

A roller coaster ride through the vineyards.

A test is a test and I didn't have the heart to refuse a lessons, despite the inclement conditions. Unfortunately I had to go to the top of the Weinberg and just like all roads lead to Rome so all roads had an incline today. Yikes not much fun in this weather. Most of the roads had ambitions to become ice rinks.
I was inching my way slowly down the slope in first gear and thus could do little stops to take photos of a dusted over vineyard.
One has got to hand it to does clad everything in layers of elegance and timelessness. Although for us it is close to a road crisis, in other parts of Austria they would laugh at our antics with such a pithy amount of snow!
The sun was just about to say goodnight but decided to give an encore of seasonal beauty first.
The snow isn't actually the problem when it has freshly fallen. The midday sun liquidating the road's cover and then solidifying a few hours later causes many a motorist to rethink excursions and routes. Living atop a hill is not for the faint of heart during winter.
Every now and again my wheels would slide a smidgeon and give my heart a jolly good workout! Gosh, tomorrow morning is going to be adventurous if nothing else...who said rural bliss was boring?


Monday, 7 January 2019

A Slightly Myopic View Of Generations.

True age is hard to pin down.

This morning as I was passing a couple who run & walk together I applauded them in my mind for their tenacity. Why would I? Well, they are a generation older or at least that is how I see them.

How often do I tell Bob about this person or that one with the premise that they are our age, the next generation or god forbid a younger generation? Age becomes quite relative doesn't it? At what stage in life does everyone look our age, younger or older? Many questions indeed.

Most of us live the age we imagine ourselves to be. We dress, talk and behave in unison with our inner ' age 'compass ...myopic or not. Even though we are surrounded by mirrors real and pretend, we only get a true sense of our physical age by looking at an updated ( much more clearer ) Skype screen, seeing an unexpected photo of ourselves or being told by those who haven't yet perfected appropriate

Logically we all know that our 20's, 30's or 40's have shaped us into who we are today- inside and out - yet we tend to gravitate towards hanging out with a younger generation, that is until we realize that being them isn't what we thought it would be nor a pathway to the eternal fountain of youth.

Don't we all have that moment when we are snapped back to our real age and quite happily so, when conversation is lopsided due to a youthful lack of knowledge, knowledge of those things that shaped us, were important to us and in a way defined us and our generation. A time of Disco's, Bee Gees, teased hairstyles, shoulder pads and thankfully not even an inkling of the impending dawn of Smartphones and co.

As much as at times we yearn for yesteryear, we are fortunate to have become the persons we are and that ( hopefully ) we are comfortable in our slightly stretched skin...


Sunday, 6 January 2019

From Green To Frozen In Mere Moments Of Time.

Frozen landscapes dotted through the mostly warm winter months.

When even mere puddles and streams freeze over one doesn't need the weather man's predictions or suggestions. Cold, icy and slightly dangerous to be out on foot.
Only ten days earlier the little streams next to the road were happily supporting an emerald green floral blanket of algae.
Elegantly suspended over a layer of ice. Nature has a way of presenting itself attractively even in the most abhorred temperatures thus lending us moments of tranquility.
Life in its most basic form. Walking past this stretch of green is a treat and of course refreshing when juxtaposed with a wintry grayness. It amazes me how versatile and inventive nature can be. The only thing missing would be a frog sitting pretty in the middle.
Encased in a layer of ice can't be nice but these blades are used to it and even thrive on it. As much as we at times wish the cold to melt away, we need to accept nature warts and all...cold, icy cold, is a necessary component of nature.


Saturday, 5 January 2019

English, Not That Easy After All.

Formal and informal.

The invention of English came with heaps of little asides:

    Informal - Formal!
  • Anyways.....Nevertheless
  • I think.....In My Opinion
  • Really, Very....Definitely
  • Kids....Children
  • Smart.....Intelligent
  • Loaded....Rich
  • Really Big.....Considerable
  • Get On Someone's Nerves....Bother
  • Put Up....Tolerate
  • Lucky....Fortunate
  • Try....Endeavour
  • So.....As A Consequence.
  • Get Away....Elude
  • Danger....Peril
  • Sweat....Perspiration
  • Enough....Sufficient
  • In The End.....Finally


Friday, 4 January 2019

Skating On Thin Ice.

A burst of seasonal snow.

Only last week I was regaling all and sundry about the weather having peaked in its coldness and that we've had a lucky escape from any sort of depth of winter. Well, how wrong was I. Last night winter decided to bare its teeth.

Snow fell steadily but not all night long yet coupled with below freezing temperatures, the deed was done. A proper winter affair to warm the cockles of any orthopedic surgeon's heart. Even the front steps were so iced over that I could see my reflection in it. Dangerous enough for Bob to ask me to buy salt on my way home from work.

Tigger's lair had an extra layer of snow atop and I don't even want to think about how she shivered through the night. We did buy her an extra blanket on Wednesday but with each of those warm extras the space inside gets less and less thus causing her to almost touch the roof with her head. Bob and I need to redesign it sometime soon.

Driving off to work this morning proved very hazardous. The road even though it was close to ten in the morning was patched over with solid ice. Oh there were small stones all over but these proved rather useless when covered in ice themselves. I could feel the car slipping sideways and hastily dropped down to first gear. Driving in real winter conditions is not for the faint of heart. Each braking distance needs to be lengthened and stops approached more slowly.

Even though I sound as if I were complaining, I do like this new face of winter. The snow is still pristine, the air as crisp as can be and the temperatures low enough to warrant an afternoon spent doing absolutely nothing else but read or sleep. We all need those sort of days that allow us temporarily step off our own well designed hamster wheel of life.


Thursday, 3 January 2019

Vegan In Burgenland.

Making new discoveries daily.

The other day when we were in Oberwart I couldn't believe the change in products at one of the local supermarkets. Whereas last March when we started on our vegan journey we had to look closely at labels and packaging, now a mere eight months later, a plethora of vegan products are piled high on shelves. Not even hidden in dark corners, no, the yellow vegan label is the first thing one notices when perusing the shelves for noodles and co.

A bit ironic when I consider the much loved and ubiquitous Wiener Schnitzel being foremost on any menu and fork. A proverbial Schnitzel Mafia which only recently I was a happy member of. Even our local Buschenschanks are starting to cater for us vegans and if not, they don't mind organizing a meal suitable for me. Without pulling faces or rolling eyeballs.

Every month we get an Oberwart magazine -Prima - delivered to our postbox and a few months ago I noticed a tiny column written by a vegan nutritionist living and working in Oberwart.

Vegan going ' mainstream ' in our neck of the woods. Yeah! Well, this afternoon I read the latest issue and I was thrilled to notice that now a whole page has been taken over for vegan articles, tips and recipes. Absolutely love that and it is an affirmation of a wonderful way of life. A healthy powerhouse.

Schnitzel and co will always be on the menu but I have a feeling that more and more folks are discovering veganism if only a step at a time or now and again. One of my friends when I told her about our change to veganism, wasn't concerned about it but only about where we would get our food...

" Oh my god, where will you find vegan products in the hinterlands of Burgenland? "
...well, how wrong was she!!


Wednesday, 2 January 2019

The First Two Mornings Of The New Year.

A good start to the year.

Our local chapel lends a bit of perspective to the undulating fields and meadows.
The first morning of 2019 was a stunner complete with fog, beautiful sunrise and gentle colours alas not seen by many!
The picnic table outside Deutsch Schützen gives many a chance to sit and reflect on the vagaries of life.
What would my walk be without my faithful companions, albeit still keeping a safe distance ...the deer posse crossing the road on the way to their forest.
Turning home toward Eisenberg was not less divine. A walk into the unknown...often this stretch between our two villages is cloaked amply in a layer of fog.
This photo was taken this morning, the second day of the year and as you can see the fog was left behind leaving slightly colder temperatures along with crisper outlines. It is sheer joy to be able to walk all year round in these beautiful surroundings. Very thankful indeed.


Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Thank God For Bob.

What a torrid New Year's Eve.

Already concerned about the sheer childishness of fellow villagers, we decided to only venture forth from five in the afternoon until seven. Two hours where we left our kitty at home alone. A mere cat you might say, but after experiencing her plight last night, I can only say that animals feel the same as we do.

Some idiots already let off firecrackers in the afternoon and they came across as dull thuds. Most afternoon our Mausi had dashed around our house like a cat pursued. With a slightly heavy heart we left her alone for those two hours and then returned.

Not quite knowing how she had reacted to the numerous early fireworks, we picked her up and cuddled her to no end which is where she was when at half past seven our one neighbour let off a volley of shots. Gosh, they sounded like rockets directly over our house. Scary for us but what wrung my heart was the way it affected our cat. Her heart ( I was holding her at the time ) went from docile to almost bursting out of her chest. She wriggled out of my arms and hid behind the sofa.

When that idiot stopped, it took ten minutes for her to come out from her hiding place but how could we have told her that much more torture was in store for her. Almost every hour loud bangs reverberated through the walls culminating in a mighty crescendo at midnight. We couldn't do anything other than be there for our cat.

Last night she sought refuge from the bad sounds by nestling up to Bob. She slept in the crux of his elbow most of the night and when he shifted position she followed suit, never once leaving his side. Today she is still trying to return to normal behaviour, exhausted beyond words and a bit less trusting of the world.

Tigger outside is thankfully quite deaf but still she cowered in fright with each and every bang. I wish those who delight in firing off these utterly useless firecrackers could feel how much their actions hurt animals. I can't even comprehend the plight felt by the deer, feral cats, dogs and chickens of our village.