So where's the snow?

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


Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra, extra

Spot  the extra!

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Extra extra, but who?


Shame he ate all the birds’ sunflower seeds!

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Some comments please – what would you do?

Am I on the right way and I’m being so attacked because of it and should be rejoicing, or have I just really, really screwed up? Maybe there isn’t even enough evidence to convict me as a Christian!

Edith and I rowed after the last session with the Asylum seekers.  It was hot, they weren’t really interested as they had a Play bus coming, and we had a toddler which shouldn’t have allowed to come.  I also made the mistake of presuming that one of the horses was familiar with the horse ball we were using but he was scared.  When it was kicked, the horse jumped and nearly knocked the kid over. I then had to think on my feet for new games. Edith was out of the arena and no help when we should be together as a team.  Maybe I’m too used to working on my own and my own resources.  We were also being watched by some teacher doing an MA on integration.  So Edith tore me off a strip in front of him twice and I of course responded.  Why she couldn’t wait until after the session and do this in private, we looked like a couple of stupid women not professionals?  It was because she didn’t understand the games and I hadn’t explained.  We did go on after, and she came out with accusations of us needing to assess each session –completely forgetting we have done so each time and it was because of her appointments this time we couldn’t.  She admitted has no idea of working with kids, or the games, and when I suggested she needs to read her EAGALA  manual, she said she didn’t like taking people’s ideas – I gave up.  I tried so hard not to obsess about the whole thing, everything having been said and maybe I shouldn’t have had some beer with Paggy and Dave but I was hurting and lashed out at Dave in my pain.

After a day of calming down and praying, I was due an Erna day.  I was so calm about the whole thing and prayed I would be ok and not take offence etc, and I failed.  It began after breakfast when I said maybe we could do the Rittersaal if the rooms weren’t ready, she turned and looked at me as if I’d crawled our from under a stone and muttered about seeing rooms first.  My heart sank, I was in for another bad day. So I decided to separate myself from them and do the loos and turning the quilts so I didn’t have to be in the same room but working along side. Maybe this was a wrong decision as far as the other two were concerned I’d disappeared. I started sweeping one corridor which was dirty and got shouted at to leave it and go and take the rubbish away.  I was so annoyed, I’m afraid I uttered annoyance as I walked away and she kept on talking.  She may have been telling me they were having a break, I couldn’t understand, so I couldn’t find them where expected and it happened again later, no one said what we were doing, I was abandoned.  Things got late, there was an awful lot to do. And I could see we would finish late.  Now this was the one day I could not do that. I had a changeover to do at the holiday flat and didn’t know when they would arrive although they had been told 6.  I had prayed, used tongues and went around saying to myself I can take being ignored, but the whole day was getting to me.  So it happened, Erna asked to borrow Michaela’s phone to ring home and I had to say, I can’t stay.  So I got shouted at, YOU MUST, and I repeated I couldn’t.  She then said then I had to see Helmuth and other things which I couldn’t understand so I stormed out.  It was such a relief just to shout back in English at the top of my voice ‘Ahh SHUT UP’.  I went straight to Helmuth and said I just couldn’t stay and I’d been shouted at and ignored all day and had found my colleagues rude.  I said I would stay till 3, then I would be gone.  He of course did the tear welling up thing but was ok, so I went and cleaned bogs.  Michaela joined me and gave me all this rubbish about being left alone to finish stuff etc, etc, and I was so far gone I just said I couldn’t care less, I had covered for her when he was ill and had done areas on my own myself. I had told her that morning I had the flat to do, but of course it hadn’t registered. I left, the guests turned up two hours early, there wasn’t enough bed linen and so on.  I felt later I should offer an Olive branch and texted Michaela saying I’d come the next day and help, the reply to which was it was all done, why did I need to help?

So I don’t know what my reception will be.  I go back to work tomorrow, I’ve written my notice.  Will I give it in?  I feel disloyal leaving midseason but they are already advertising for more kitchen staff. Do I stay and hack it?  See what happens on the next Erna day on Friday?  What do I do?  I haven’t slept properly for days, it goes around and around in my head. Do I send Michaela a text asking if I can still have a lift or just say I’m coming in my car?  I have prayed and the answer is I have to follow the peace that God will give me – but so far I cant find it.

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EAGALA at last- yaaaaaaaaaay!

Our partners, Avarkur and Lucca the Icelandics

Last week Edith and I  finally began our work  under the Tu Was project.  After so many set backs, delays and  frustrations, we collected our first little group of four from the Asylum Seekers’ Hostel in our cars. We can get their bus fares paid, but we have to take the money to the Hostel, collect the used tickets and then take them to the Caritas office and get a refund – completely impractical, so for the first few times we’re collecting them and maybe it will sort itself out.

We began with some grooming, just so they could have their first contact in an unthreatening situation.  One girl (the 15-year-old translator) was dabbing delicately at the horse, scared of the dirt and  hurting it.  Two other kids cleaned just the tummy, keeping away from the head, but they all quickly relaxed and got into it.  Unlike most situations, we know nothing about these people except they have been through some sort of trauma to be there. We cannot talk to some of them as their German is limited and we rely on one of the group translating.  They are mostly children and mothers with a few teenagers, I would be a bit worried with younger men, but I don’t think they would come. Asylum seekers have such a negative press these days, but I hope I’m seeing them just as people to help, faith and culture are irrelevant.

 All became accustomed to the horses, so we lead them over to the school, freed the horses and asked them to collect a horse and bring it to us.  We did make the mistake of giving them the headcollars, we should have let them choose how to do it – well it was our first official session too!

The small girl got quite upset as the horse repeatedly walked away from her, then when she came over to us, he followed her.  I asked her what had happened, and after trying so hard not to prompt her in my bad German, she realised she had achieved her goal, having brought us a horse and was thrilled.  The boy was more concerned with working out how the halter fitted, but eventually to his joy made it.  Grandma helped our translator and after doing  the task herself.  She was  talking to the horse and I saw her smile and surreptitiously give the horse a kiss on the nose!  She was adamant she has never worked much with animals, but I would say her body language belies this – but maybe it was only donkeys!   The translator also achieved with some help from Grandma, and was so pleased she wanted to do everything including  riding back to the Hostel! 

We did a leading exercise with cones, but our younger horse read too accurately the boy’s body language and ran away as he was asking her to trot, so we had a break.  After that we did Life’s little obstacle, where one horse quite happily walked over the pole while they were trying to get the other over and they missed it.  They couldn’t keep quiet, but achieved it easily.  We then took the horses away as they were both becoming a bit uptight, it was their first full session too!   The group was so excited, it was so much fun, the only negative aspect was the formerly full of confidence girl  lost it around the horses.   They all signed up for next time, lets hope they will come. Coming with nothing, we’re also having to find some of them  shoes and jeans, to protect them a bit.  We will also never know if they’ll be suddenly moved on, and so have to treat each session as an entirety.

Under their situation in the Hostel and language difficulties, several of those who said they’d come to the first session didn’t, Doctors appointments, something to do, or maybe just fear held them back.  Hopefully the experiences of our first group would encourage the others.  I would so like to find out their stories but as yet feel unable to ask.  Next time, we’ll repeat the haltering with any new guys, then try to get them to find a metaphor the in obstacle for their lives, or we’ll suggest one and try to go a little deeper.

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It was the bananas that did it!

Since I discovered the scheduling button I’ve put a load of blogs on but now have caught up with myself and need some new stuff.  It’s now early July and  lovely summer.   After our friends came and stayed and we had a trip to Tirol, I was exhausted, couldn’t sleep and just couldn’t catch up on myself. This lead to deep gloom and bad temper.  Exacerbated by that Erna too.  There has been one joy, and that’s teaching a young Croatian girl to ride, a highlight!

Michaela and I had a couple of relaxed days working and it was fine, then it was back to the three of us.  Erna’s completely insane about cleaning – it was so embarassing when she went in the Rittersaal which was all nicely laid out with candles by one of the teachers, obviously for some sort of end of course celebartion and she insisited on us putting it all away, and then the teacher returned……..  On the last shift I was ignored, shouted at ( I was actually waiting for instructions!), and to beat it all, she fetches bananas for herself and Michaela and none for me.  Oh the injustice! There’s an Erna ban on me scrubbing,(except when its puke)  I do it too dry apparently, so the two twits do all the work and I’m left hanging around and then they’re tired! I had a day on my own today and as there’s a film company in the Burg it was chaos and I couldn’t do much in the half hour before lunch so I sat with Gabriel in the Hof and chatted, watching the workmen putting up some sort of stage.  Rosie – the head cook and Erna’s main buddy saw us.  So I’m waiting for tomorrow to see if I get a moaning at for sitting.  On our last shift Erna also contradicted everything I said.  I feel if I’m going to be so treated I’ll take my MP3 player with me and ignore them!  If she moans I’m going home. Yet  we don’t have Erna much more this month (twice), and but a few times in August and not in September.  Is it worth making a fuss?  I’m not going back next year, God I’m sorry; whatever lesson you needed to teach me, I’ve got the point.  No where does it say in the Bible that I have to be a victim. I’m at the end of being able to live in peace with her.  I have such a sense of frustration, with the Therapy work , constant delays – Edith having been ill, my shifts not right and now she’s away for a week.  Her old horse really needs feeding up for the winter, he’s too thin now but she does nothing about it, despite my constantly asking her.  Dave has been great but is one of his phases of criticising all I do, the other day it was what I do with the butter knife and so on. I just have this huge rage in me which says WILL SOMEONE JUST LISTEN TO ME? Maybe this is all the frustration from childhood seeping through and maybe it’ll be resolved.

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It was a slightly better day with Erna today.  I’m still having to learn the lesson of returning evil with good and living at peace with all.  However, today I got my head down and worked and tried to be calm.  It was exhausting but it all really didn’t matter because yesterday, Edith and I had our first customer!  I wont be blogging many details because of confidentiality unless something special happens and I’ll get permission.  Suffice to say, it was  a more traditional riding/lunge lesson, but it was so goo to teach and interact with the child and Edith and I worked as a team, did an evaluation after, it was just sooo good!  For the first time,for months I was so relaxed I fell asleep in front of the television!

Then today was the icing on the cake. Edith and I have our pictures in the Lungau Nachrichten (news) and a good quote.  Lets hope the work comes piling in!  We have to wait a couple of weeks before we get the documents (and funding!) from Tu Was and then we can work with the Asylum seekers but what ho, We’re doing more meetings with some psychotherapists and its all good.  Thank you God!



Mobile schnapps maker? Salzburg Freilicht museum

Ok, I admit this morning I was tired. We three set off for work, and then suddenly Erna took off to check for forgotten bedsheets and she came back, spoke to Michaela and they both went down the stairs, I had to yell at them, Oi, I’m here what do I do? I was there – Oh, you finish here.  Then I thought sod it, I’m just invisible, I’ll ignore the pair of them.  Michaela had hardly spoken in the car except to say the Confirmation was a catastrophe.  I really shouldn’t have expected a reaction about  the cards and pressies I’d sent the kids- me approval seeking again. I like to give confirmation gifts as my own was such a disapointment. Then we stopped for a pause, and Erna suddenly pitched into me had I done the loo – didn’t know I was supposed to do it when I’m being ignored.  So I said quite loudly, you don’t need to be so angry. I stayed silent the rest of the morning, then after lunch, Michaela was obviously annoyed.  Rosie has been moaning to Erna who had moaned at us about the loos not being clean.  Not Helmut, but the cook to Erna.  Michaela had replied we’re always guilty and Erna’s response, well nevertheless……….. I had asked Helmuth for my timetable so he did it and Michaela is now mad cos she has some long shifts – well so do I and some weekends. My payment for the holiday we’re having.  I really feel like quitting. Edith keeps on moving the goalposts with the asyslum seekers, one day its we must wait before we start, now she says we should. I feel adrift and fed up and want out of the whole situation. I couldnt reply evil with good today, I completely failed.  Was it a sulk? No shock and sadness and yes pique in the ignoring, but they stared first – naya!  Thank heavens tomorrow off, and my first customer for therapy, if Edith doesn’t change anything.