So where's the snow?

Muddling through life from Austria to Wales; God, life and a small black dog

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Mutant Foxglove

Saw this up on the golf course. Compared to the others, it has a huge stem and a triple size head! Must be something in the climate, oh dear, what should we do?

Just winding you up, it’s caused by damage to the plant when emerging. In Austria it happened to the dandelions if they got frosted at the wrong moment. Still, it’s a spectacular flower!

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A walk in Dare Valley country park.

One of our first high walks, with lots of sheep and windmills. Ok, I know that’s not the right name! But for all the environmental concerns, animals were grazing all around them. Birds were all around us. All we could hear was the whoosh of the sails.

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The Pond

When we were making a list of desirable things for our house last year, one of my wishes was for a pond. We had had one at our last home in the UK, and I loved the fish, tadpoles and the peace it gave to the garden. Austria was possible but the fish had to overwinter in a cellar in case the pond completely froze, too complicated.

So, when we saw what we called the Landrover house, I was thrilled to see it had a pond, even if it was above the ground. So when we bought the place, I was already making plans. You can just see it in the picture above, the garden was so overgrown and the Landrover that wasn’t in the price!

When moved in we found the pond dead of life and full of rubble. So as soon as we got the house in order, we emptied the pond, using a pump next door gave us. We found not only the aforesaid rubble, but also glass, a pump, CDS (to scare birds away!), a dog ornament and a dolphin filter from an aquarium. I got gloriously dirty doing the job! We filled it with tap water, letting it fall so the chemicals in it evaporated in the air. Then we emptied it again, as we needed to get more of the sludge out and move some stones for putting plant pots on.

Then came the fun with buying plants and getting soaked putting them in. We needed to let it settle before we got fish. I was yearning for tadpoles, I find them fascinating. Dave was less keen! The water was taking a long time to clear, so we installed a filter to clear it.

Then in a warm dry spell, I found a crowd of tadpoles in a puddle on the hill, so I bought a net and with a bucket, rescued them. I also pinched some weed as well. Over the weeks, we’ve watched them grow, and with bought weed planted, the water is slowly clearing.

Yesterday, we found our first froglets and so have put in webbing staircases so they can get out. When tadpoles are all grown, the fish will come.

If they return next year, they will do doubt lay tons of spawn and there will be a natural balance. What fish? Sticklebacks!


Reflections on Austria Two

Of course, one of the main things in Austria was the language. I had earlier spoken Swiss German a bit, and we both had lessons in high German while we were waiting to move. What we hadn’t reckoned with was the local dialect, which caused some re-learning. I found work within a few months and that is the only way to really get a second language.

Even so, over the years as we got more fluent, and I could do courses and teach, my written German was very poor, as I needed it so seldom. But I could get by. I could witter on in dialect, but I knew I made many mistakes, but people who knew me got how I spoke.

It wasn’t until we got here, I suddenly realised I no longer had to check my sentences in my head when it was something complex. I was suddenly aware of this weight lifting, I could speak and understand every word that came my way. I had found Lungau people a little stand offish, but maybe that was me being hesitant, and them with us in case there was a misunderstanding. I did even get annoyed with people who couldn’t understand me when I knew I was saying things correctly.

Maybe it was just the Lungau people, because here shop workers chat and joke with you, they didn’t. We meet people when out with the dog and have some great conversations, we never chatted with anyone beyond the day’s greetings. I love the wicked Welsh sense of humour. I enjoy shamelessly listening in to other people’s conversations in cafes and on buses, without having to get the context first.

Was it me or was it them?

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Look up!


Reflections on Austria

We’ve now been in Wales for seven months and I’m very aware of my looking back at our fourteen years there. I don’t want to go back, not even for a visit at present, but that’s not because I’m angry or sad about there. Some of it’s because I’m travelled out, have no desire to go anywhere except to explore Wales and maybe one day look at my roots in Ireland. It’s more that I’m so much happier here, and the contrast between then and now is becoming apparent.

We were both restless from 2004 onwards. Heading to the empty nest syndrome, work becoming less of a dream. Children growing up, Mum and dog passing. And some of it, my inherent restlessness. I think I get it from my Dad, the thought of staying in one place all my life made me feel like I was suffocating. Not to mention my impatience too. We wanted to go as Missionaries, but Dave didn’t want to study, but when looking we felt God was directing us. Oh, you can read it all in the rest of this blog!

Austria was never home, and maybe that was because I looked back, missing kids, and as we found our selves in a dead church, being in a living one. Our little fellowship here in Wales is so alive and I know God wants us here. Yes, we loved a lot of it, but we had always said we night go back and I knew there was another house for us to live in. This one. I will end my days here.

My overwhelming feeling of being here, is complete and utter relief! More in the next post…