I get asked this so often with the asker also usually unable to understand why on earth we should want to live in the Lungau. I usually say that at first we wanted to come and work as Missionaries but were led here instead!!!!
We lived for years in the New Forest, firstly by the sea near Beaulieu in a tied cottage, which was actually below sea level at high tide, and then in New Milton, about a mile from the coast at Barton on Sea. So I guess it has been a factor in our lives – we also holidayed a lot in the Purbecks, again right by the sea near Swanage. The ozone, the sea mist and the fog horn were constant reminders of its presence in New Milton. I used to take the kids to the beach a lot at Little Marsh and when they were teenagers we’d spend whole days dipping in and out of the sea and sunbathing.
Sometimes you have dreams that stay with you, and one I had years ago was of living and retiring by a river – very like the Itchen at Shawford near Winchester, but I knew we’d never able to afford such a place and it was a dream. Then we felt the call to come here, and when we found this place, I only dimly registered that there was a river just at the bottom of the road, I was too excited at having found what I knew was our new home. When we arrived and began to explore, we found the river Muhr runs over a small waterfall just at the bottom of our lane and on our right, the Thomotalerbach runs on two sides of the property over a weir and joins the Muhr about 500 yards away – when we have heavy rainfall we can see it leaping over the stones and banks. The sound of water is constantly around us, the only time it is muted is when everything is frozen and ice clothes the rivers. My view from my kitchen window is a constant source of joy, especially after the trees at the bottom of the garden were felled and then our neighbour trimmed the willows on the riverbank. From here I can watch the flood waters rushing down, the white water rafters screaming as they go over the waterfall and see if the ice has finally got right across on the bend (Linda said it did so in 1945 and the road was flooded), or just watch the changing light reflected on the water. We can also walk along the Muhr on a footpath to Tamsweg and the stones that stick out of the water cause a rushing that sounds like waves, and the colours reflect the sky just like the sea but on a smaller scale! No seagulls in Lungau though.
So do I miss the sea? Nah!