So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog


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St Hubertus

St Hubertus is the patron saint of hunters. He was a rich, debauched medieval prince who while out hunting one day suddenly saw a white stag and took off after him. When he finally caught the stag, he saw Jesus. So he was so amazed, he immediately repented and for the rest of his life was a good Christian and person!

This is the Chapel at Mariapfarr.  (I know its a bit crooked, that was me!) There is a big hunting community here, and so there are lots of these chapels too. I particularly like this one. Just love the Haflinger horse and the hounds that are so popular here.

What do you think?

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Hazeley?

So many books these days are set in fictional parts of the world, peopled with characters and towns that are all fruits of the author’s imagination. My favourite author is Elizabeth Goudge, who sadly is long gone, but many of her houses and settings were real with just a touch of poetical licence. I had great fun tracking down a lot of them when I lived in Hampshire and when we visited Devon.

So what have I done in my books? The Baize door is one of a planned trilogy, all set around the mythical village of Hazeley. Where this name comes from, I have no idea! But Hazeley Manor exists, in a former capital of England. It’s just been transposed into a country setting rather than a street.  Maybe someone might recognise it from the photo, do let me know! It’s the house I was born in and lived in until I was eleven.

Then right at the end of the book, Joanna and Ray have a real heart to heart, sitting on the sand at Thorn’s Beach. In the next book, Compromise, Mollie and Chris have a revelatory chat there too. Yes, that exists too, lived there as well. The picture is with our dog, Jaffa from a long time ago. Anyone know this beach?


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Christmas Giveaway One: Ducks!

No, I’m not giving free birds away! I’m promoting ‘The Baize Door’, by giving away a free short story along with an excerpt from the book. Then maybe people might want to read on and buy the book, yup, marketing again.

However, the book is free ONLY from Friday to Tuesday, then there will be another next weekend. It’s on American Pacific time, so if you don’t find it at first, please be patient. All have an animal theme and the final one is a really Christmassy one from Austria.

Happy Reading!

 


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Sharing our horizon by Xenia Tran

Eivor and Pearl

I don’t usually do book reviews, but this book just blew me away!  Like me, many of you followers are dog lovers, Haiku writers and a great many are photographers. This book has it all!

Xenia shares her Highland journey through the seasons with two adopted whippets, a poet and a camera! Beautifully presented in ebook and real book, 60% of the net profits each year will be shared with re-homing charities, what more could you want. Christmas is coming!!!

Of course, she’s a wordpress blogger too!

Home

 


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Can horses really help?

 

In the Baize Door, Joanna, Diane and Ray find the answers to a lot of their problems and begin healing the rifts between them through the equine-assisted therapy weekend they get sent on by Chloe, Diane’s Mum.  Is this really true? Can this happen?

I’ve worked with horses for many years and they certainly do pick up on our body language, actions and voices, reflecting things we are not aware of. Maybe its a product of domestication or self-preservation. If the humans are OK, the horses are OK.  They work for us and are our partners. They reflect our souls. Let me tell you about my first experience of this.

We were a group of twenty or so people in an introductory workshop and had just finished an exercise working as a group to get some horses over an obstacle very like the one in the book. Those who had been working were standing making an evaluation with the trainer and the horses came over to join in and were being stroked. After all, they had taken part too.

The trainer suddenly turned to one of the girls and said, ‘I see that you have a horse standing beside you. He seems to be nudging you and shoving you to move you out of the way.’ He was, with his nose firmly pushing her aside.

The girl looked a bit sad,’Yes, this is how people treat me in life, I’ve had a drug problem and people use me and ignore me.’ We all sat for a moment, gobsmacked. The trainer then skillfully redirected the talk from the girl’s distress and moved on. This was a course, not therapy, but many times when I’ve been in training, it’s turned into a counselling session for more than one student.

I rest my case!


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Swingle is FOUR!

Happy Birthday, Swingle!

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My accident prone puppy is now a more mature lady. We’re now sure her Dad was the Labrador from the farm up the hill, cos someone told us! The accidents go on. This summer she missed the wasp stings, only because there were only a few. Her bladder still does play up every now and then, giving us broken nights but giving her Cranberry tablets seem to help.

This year’s thing was a ripped dew claw on a back leg. The vet said to leave it open to heal, as a farmer’s dog, she hadn’t had it trimmed off at birth, I can see why now. I wasn’t happy with it and was about to return to the vets and Swingle had to chase a cat out of the garden, blood everywhere. Back to the Vets, Stitches. All healed, stitches out, the first gallop, ripped again. Finally, he amputated it and now all’s well. It was a nightmare keeping her out of the water while she had stitches. If it happens again, I’ll insist it’s cut straight off! I wished the Vet Happy Christmas in August, no more trips, please!

This autumn, maybe the moles and Wühl mouses have been more active, and she has been hunting like mad! Four wuhlmouses, three she ate, two moles which she didn’t!

After writing this, she tore her lower lip, hunting in the ground of course, yet another scar!

She still plays like mad with Bella, Kira and Rocky, and my twice a day walks with her keep me sane and fit. Still a gannet, big sleeping, snoring, pest, but I wouldn’t be without her!


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Cow-tober

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I just love it when the cows come down from the hills at the end of September. These are some of my favourite shots from this year. Soon they will all be in the barns, stuffing their faces in the warm, and the valley will be empty of the cowbells. Shame!