So where's the snow?

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

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Special Offer!

The first book of my Memoirs is reduced! Click on the link for the special price of 99c, and a bit less on the UK site. This is because the new book, ‘Finding’, will be out on May 1st!

Brought up by a warring Mother and Grandmother, Anna Rashbrook had to make choices that no child should have to.

In this first memoir, she begins the quest to understand the threads of faith, horses, and love, which weave and intertwine throughout her life.

Years of diarying help Anna in this frank and honest chronicle of her childhood and teenage, as she explores the scars and the dysfunction that was all around her. Not to forget pony mania, the Tremeloes, David Bowie, and some terrible teenage behaviour!

Anna travels to Switzerland to work on a farm in Switzerland for a year before college and finds her first true love, but will it all work out?

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The death of a neighbour

img_3404He was a dear old man and lived across the lane from us. We only really got to know him after his wife died and he would take regular walks up the farm track. He would have snacks for Swingle in his pocket and she would hurtle off if she caught scent of him and sit barking until she was fed. I was always worried that she would knock him over as he was a bit wobbly. At the foot of this post are some of the blog posts I wrote about him.

But as time went by, he got a bit better on his feet and over the years, I would stop and chat with him. When the fence fell down, he giggled and said, ‘Schlaganfall’ or stoke. He met up with some of the older ladies who lived nearby who also took and afternoon stroll and I said they were the Pensioners running club.

He stopped feeding Swingle when he ran out of his biscuits, and he was a bit more wobbly. I would give him a bottle of wine and a mince pie or Christmas cake, and he would invite me in for a tea. He had built the house himself, and although its by the road, it has a spectacular view down the Mur.

Then he had a fall and because of his blood pressure went into an old people’s home while he got better, where his family said he was happy, with the photo of his wife he used to chat to.

Then  a few weeks ago, we got the deathogram. He had passed away at 92 from Corona.

To all of you who wont shield, have a vaccination and believe the lies on the internet, feeding a spurious paranoia about the bug. This man didn’t have to die, he had a few precious years left with his family. If not for the bug, he would be pottering up the lane even now.  You are convicted of a selfishness that is beyond belief.

Last Christmas, I took little gifts of cake and my homemade wine around to the neighbours. One result was Mr B, who we had been on hello terms with before, suddenly thawed and now stops and chats to us all the time. Widowed a couple of years ago (his wife was on the garage roof picking cherries a few months before she went), he’s on his own but takes a daily constitutional along the lane.  When it was icy I had constant fear that I’d find him fallen, as he’s a bit wobbly, but I think he goes so slowly he’s OK! Sometimes I see him dozing in the sun. He now carries a pocketful of treats for Swingle and if she sees him or I say his name, she’s off like a bullet – the tart! And I treasure this little friendship. Paggy used to slag him off all the time, but I find him a simple, honest man. I noticed the other day as the lane was  thawing someone had built little canals for the water to flow away- Mr B gleefully told me he’d been playing with his walking stick!

Swingle has now trained Mr B to carry biccies for her. If we’re along the lane, she can scent he is there and rushes off barking as loud as she can. She stops and sits by him, and he drops the titbits in her mouth. Presently I catch up and we chat, and sometimes he gives me a sweet!!!!!!  I took this photo secretly so I can make it into a Christmas card for him!!!

On the way back from walkies the other day, Swingle and I met Mr B by the Isopan factory, and after she had finished mugging him for biscuits, he turned to the tower and said – did you know I built that?  He had apprentices under him , so he  must have been a boss! What is now a brick factory, before the war was a paper factory that made special ‘Hirsch’ (deer logo) wrapping paper that was sold all over Europe, but by the nature of it, very few examples survive. The factory was ahead of its time, creating accommodation for its workers in the 1930s, and folk from all Europe worked here. Our house was the women’s house with a Kindergarten and by the Jagglerhof, another identical block housed the men (so not  far ahead), and the railway station is still so named.

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The factory from the other side of the river Mur

Mr B went on to say there is a tunnel that runs under the road  from one side to the other side of the road- I wonder if that is still there? Mr B was born in the Mur house,which was close to the factory which has since been demolished, I thought because the road was widened, but he said that no one wanted to live in it as the work decreased in the factory. He remembers it flooding and his Dad having to go out in swimming trunks!

You can see the chimneys in the photo, which My B said were dynamited, as either they weren’t safe or the factory was closing. One went down right across the road, the other towards the Mur. On the edge of the factory was the Madlingwirt that is now gone. he said when he worked at the factory lunchtimes were great with a beer (unsaid) they would have chess, chat, harmonica playing. I mentioned the old Fire station that was on the corner of the Thomatal road  (see picture at top, brown building) and he said he’s been in the voluntary fire brigade that was stationed there. All of the things he told me took place in the 1940s, so I guess he was too young for service in the war, but you don’t like to ask an old man his age….

He said that there was wood stored all over the place, but the first fire he remembered was when the Herrenhaus burnt – he said they all had to dash over and they only had stirrup pumps and had to rush to and from the Mur, but they must have got it out, although the building was later demolished.


The burnt Herren house, identical to our block

I asked about when the factory burnt down. He said it happened in the winter, and they were woken in the night in the Mur house by someone banging the door and yelling Alarm! On the river side of the factory, there was a lot of larch planks stored and these had caught alight. He said there were French people working there at the time. So the fire brigade rushed over and by now they has electric pumps for the water. But it was -35c! As they pumped the water, it was freezing, and they had to fight all night, with brigades from all over the Lungau coming to help. The did manage to put the fire out by the morning and save the machinery.  But Mr B said that it was so cold, their uniforms froze! He said the highlight was being brought coffee by the French to keep them going. But I think the damage done meant the factory closed. We have heard rumours that it was an accidentally on purpose fire, meaning it and the various houses could be sold off….

He bought his house and we have always wondered why it had such a big cellar floor although at the side of the road, it turns out it was the village Smithy! He rebuilt it from the cellar up in the 1960s.

I do find local oral history so fascinating and its all stuff that could disappear, Swingle and I will chat with him some more!

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New Book!

Just before Christmas, I published the first volume of my memoirs, doesn’t that sound grand? But this is the book that has me most scared. Revealing myself, rather than playing with the people of my imagination.

However, as a Christian, I have prayed about this and am certain, that it the present situation, this is the main way I can witness to people. The whole of my life leads to God, despite fighting him for years. Maybe someone might learn from my mistakes and trials and find him too.


Brought up by a warring Mother and Grandmother, Anna Rashbrook had to make choices that no child should have to.

In this first memoir, she begins the quest to understand the threads of faith, horses, and love, which weave and intertwine throughout her life.

Years of diarying help Anna in this frank and honest chronicle of her childhood and teenage, as she explores the scars and the disfunction that was all around her. Not to forget pony mania, the Tremeloes, David Bowie, some terrible teenage behaviour, travel, first love, and heartbreak.


Locked Down

Here’s some cow shots to cheer us up!

How are things in your part of the world? This time last year, we were struggling with the effects of the heavy snow,floods and landslides that took out roads and some houses!

Here in Austria we’re a few days into a stretch that ends on December 6th. All shops are shut except for supermarkets, banks and chemists. Hotels and restaurants are closed too, but with a takeaway service.  My library is closed, but I’ve been in doing my annual chuck out of books. People on the whole are taking things seriously, we’ve had cases in the village this time, but not lost anyone.

I’m quite happy, I’m just finishing a new book and the free time means I’ll get it out earlier than expected.

I’m tired of hearing the negative stuff about Corona, why would Governments want to destroy their economies? I see them as people trying to do their best in a no win situation.

Can’t say I’m looking forward to Christmas without family, but at least we have zoom and other things. Roll on when this is all over. I have faith that God will see us through this, we need to trust and pray.

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Something to read for Christmas!

Here is a feast of horse stories to enjoy over the festive period. Lots of snow, celebrations, storms, mysteries, excerpts from novels, and even a steam punk horse! The authors are from all over the world; some new and some you know already. Settle down on the sofa with some hot chocolate and enjoy this wonderful cornucopia of Christmas tales!

It’s available as an eBook now, paperback next weekend 14th November.

Celebration by Anna Rashbrook.

New from the Horses and Souls series. A sweet short story from a paddock near Hazeley Manor. Keith and Challenger chat together about the past year and then find themselves involved in a Christmas surprise.

December by Linda Shantz

An excerpt from Amazon bestseller, Good Things Come. Overwhelmed by the Christmas Eve réveillon, Liv escapes to the barn to visit Claire and Chique, the two fillies she’s planned her future around. When her mentor Geai tracks her down, she shares her hopes and fears.

Christmas at Blainstock Castle by Jemma Spark

This Christmas story is part of Book 4 of Jemma Spark’s Jill Series, “Jill and the Steeplechaser”. These books are set in the early 1960s and are follow-ons of the Ruby Ferguson Jill Books.

The Horse Who Hated Christmas by Hilary Walker

Paula’s horse gets ill every Christmas while she’s away, but why? This year she’s finally able to stick around and find out. The answer is not at all what she bargained for!

The Toy Maker by J.A.Campbell

Every winter Nicholas journeys to the city to sell his clever mechanical toys. This year is no different, except a snowstorm delays his return to his ailing wife. When he is finally able to travel, he meets people who guide him toward a new, and promising calling.

A Christmas Storm by Inge Moore

Christmas is coming to a small Alberta farm. Shelley, a recent widow, yearns to make the holiday a happy one for her young children. When a brutal storm threatens, will all be lost?

A Perfect Christmas by Hilary Walker

Dedicated to her father, this fictitious tale features Kimcote Carlo, her son’s extremely naughty Welsh Mountain Pony, who was however, a whiz at pulling her family’s governess cart.

A Christmas Surprise by Meli DeVoss

Magical surprises are one of the best parts of Christmas.  Come curl up, see the magic that emerges, when dreams are whispered into the ears of the rescue horse who arrives before Christmas, in “A Christmas Surprise”.

Ann’s Christmas by Anna Rashbrook

An excerpt from the new, bestselling, Castle in the Air. Christmas is not often seen as a time for a new start, but for Ann, it’s an opportunity to put her past behind her. What could be better than lots of snow and Icelandic horses?

A Christmas  Dream by Meli DeVoss

Christmas is a time for magical dreams and wishing for the impossible to be true.  Return to this cozy period when you dreamed of sweet whinnies, snow hushed hoof beats and frosty winter rides in “A Christmas Dream.”

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Guest Post; Cathy Walker

Cathy helped me out with the cover of my new book, what a star! I TOTALLY RECOMMEND her to anyone looking for a cover designer. Details below!

Tell us a little about yourself, where you live, family, career, pets etc

Oh, gosh, where to begin? I live in Ontario, Canada on a 50 acre hobby farm with my husband and many animals, mainly rescues. Currently, I have 3 goats, a Welsh pony, mini horse, 4 cats, 3 dogs, various toads who I think come for the free swimming in the bowl I keep out front for them, and various stray cats who come and go. Each animal has a story and reason for being here, but that’s a long story in and of itself.

My husband, Fred, and I owned a martial arts Dojo for 30 years, but recently sold the property and he retired… kind of. He runs an archery range and store from our farm. I was working part time to help feed the multitudes of animals I have, but with the pandemic, my job became obsolete, so I turned to my writing and book cover design to try and build these businesses to a viable income. So far, I’m doing better than I thought I would, though, as much as I enjoy cover design, I would honestly love to focus only on my writing. We’ll see what the future holds.

My life long dream was to have my own horse, live on a farm, and be a semi-reclusive writer. It seems as if I’ve achieved my dream. I thank the Fates each day for the life that I live.

How did you get into both cover design and writing?

I’ve read so many books over the years, starting as far back as I can remember. I’ve always loved reading, but never thought about being a writer. That urge hit me in my early 40’s, yes, a bit of a late bloomer. I just sat down and started writing. LOL. My 1st manuscript has never seen the light of day, though it’s a great story that I’d love to tell, so I may revisit the manuscript and do some major editing one day. I currently have 5 published novels and am working on the 3rd in a series I have about the Salem witches.

Book cover design came out of desperation. We had a few tough years financially for various reasons, mainly my husband ended up having 2 heart surgeries and a tumor removed from his brain. So, life was interesting. Anyway, I needed money and was at the point of selling of household items to put food on the table and hay in the barn. A friend ended up showing me the basics of Photoshop and cover design and I just went from there. I have done covers for clients all over the world (you’ve got to love the internet), and my skills have improved enough that I have many return clients who are happy with their covers and the customer service I provide.

Tell us something about the pitfalls and joys of making a book cover.

Honestly, and I say this with much respect and care for all my clients…the worst part is dealing with the client. LOL.I have worked with amazing people and I have even developed a bit of (online) friendship with some of them. To me, it’s always more than ‘just business’. I truly care that they are happy with their finished cover and will do whatever I can to make that happen. BUT, there have been a few clients who have driven me crazy for a few different reasons. If I could sell premades only and work on my writing, that would be perfect.

Shamelessly plug books and website!

All of my books and short stories can be found on my Author page:

Book Covers can be found here:

Author Facebook page:

Book Cover Facebook Group:

Coffee or tea?

Neither, most of the time. I do enjoy an occasional caramel machiotto, or a latte or cappucino.

Chocolate or crisps?

LOL. I had to look crisps up. I thought I knew what they are but needed to make sure because we call them chips in Canada. But, this is a tough one. If I had to choose, I would choose crisps.

Horses, dogs or both?

There is no way to make this choice. ALL animals. Every single one of them is wonderful and deserves a heck of a lot better than the treatment they get from humans.