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 the picture’s 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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Something odd in the woods

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Without my bridge, I’m having to look for new walks to keep us from being bored and this morning I went up the forest road behind the brick factory. Just what all this is, I have no idea, kids playing, or misplaced Catholic sentiments because someone found a dumped sledge and a broken statue? They’ll be saying a Saint or Holy man was there next……………


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Catholics and Protestants

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Our local Priest runs evening talks after the Mass on Monday nights and the proposed theme was  ‘There gives only one Father God’. With great glee, Linda and I decided to go as the radical Protestants and see what he was going to say. We went to the Mass before as a mark of respect – although not all did.

I sat as usual somewhat bemused but felt the Love of God all around me and a touch of naughtiness and what we were going to be talking about- would I put a silly point of view over?  I really began to feel how silly the ritual all was, the bowing and not drinking the wine, and as I’ve thought before, but all this doesn’t really matter to God? What does matter is our hearts and our desire for relationship with him. If we are loving Jesus all these fripperies I don’t think really matter! I also remembered my childhood and always being sat in the front row during Mass with my grandmother, and the utter boredom of it!  Some of the words I could remember too, although in English. All perfectly lovely words to praise God!

So into the Parish rooms to sit around the table and chat. There was no Mrs Doyle bullying us into tea which was a shame…..There was 10 of us, with three men besides the Priest. My heart fell a bit as one of the men I know. Although Catholic he is dead against what the church does and is trying to change it from within. Maybe a noble sentiment. However this has led to an antagonistic attitude and I knew he would try to dominate the discussion from his point of view and so it was. I felt my love disappearing.

The Priest did a historical resume of both churches and we got tied down in the history of the schism and then Bruno pitched in about the Saints. I agree, if people have led a  great life, maybe died for their belief they are great way finders, but when we go to them rather than Jesus, it aint good. You can’t pray to dead people its unbiblical, talk to the living one!

Then the discussion got beyond me, and when Bruno had shut up, the Priest tried to take the reins again and move on. So of course we got into the difference in the sacraments. I was getting wound up by Bruno now, fed up with him and had things to say myself, which I feel were the prompting of the Holy Spirit. So I let rip. Explaining I come from another culture and we have huge churches where the sacraments are not in the services as a rule, and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are very much there. That what matters is love. For one Church or ideology to think its better than the other is arrogant. When we have Jesus at heart all the ritual is unimportant. We have the truth in the Bible (that didn’t go down so well). The talk went on and I again said we must be together. That the devil laughs when we tie ourselves up with condemning theology . together we could do so much for the world in these times, but he keeps us divided. Time was up, all were tired. The Priest finished on the rod of power being passed on down through Peter to the current Pope- I can see that. And why is the Bible not added to – well the Catholics would say it was. Then  we got the Bride for Christ bit – yes, ok, but first we need to tell the people the truth about Jesus. The last bit made me giggle again when the Priest said that he believes that when Jesus comes, he’s going to be Catholic! He hadn’t studied all these years and got these conclusions to change his mind.

So a discussion that wasn’t held together – and I saw Bruno cornering the poor Priest as we left, but Linda said I spoke OK. So at last, I’m a bit usable in little things. Life us regaining its integrity for me. Yippee! I hope that I can make contact more with the ladies that were there and we can show this love.


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Harvest time

P1280311Today, the 24th September, we had our first frost. It’s been such a damp summer that my geraniums are already in the greenhouse drying out ready for the cellar and winter. The Dahlias copped it, but that was expected.

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Today I put the last of the produce in the cellar, sweet pickle, yet another attempt to be Branston for sandwiches, never got it right yet. It all feels like the seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness poem written in my home city of Winchester.

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Despite the cool, very wet summer, the majority of plants have run amok, and we’ve now got a freezer full of peas, broad beans, runner beans, parsnips, sweetcorn and carrots.  In the cellar are, strawberry, peach and blackcurrant jam, the aforesaid pickle, pickled carrots and cucumbers, a couple of marrows, onions on a string.  I have Plums in wine and schnapps,  Mus or compote. In the garden are still leeks , curly kale and some rather pathetic sprouts.

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In the garage I have plum, peach and red currant wine on the go. I’ve made plum, peach, blackcurrant, Elderberry flower  and berry liquor. I’ve still two bottles of the precious Elderberry wine I made last year, and my original Elderberry and apple from last year- still not really drinkable (!).

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The elderberries this year have suffered from the lack of sun and while black, are mostly tasteless. The plums caught up ok at the last minute though, with a huge glut, I think I’ve been given about 20 kilos!   BUT not a single ripe tomato, they’ve gone green into the chutney. Aubergines  were munched by something in the greenhouse. What  a year!

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I even found some Japanese anemones in a garden centre in Karnten, hope they they survive the winter, they will be well wrapped up!   I’ve been searching for them for ages. Such lovely late colour.

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We’ve finally got the pavillion for the garden and removed the old tree stump that was in the way.

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On Sunday, I was at harvest festival with the Trachtenfrauen, and sat in the church, I could give a real thanks to God for his fruitfulness, and it came to me, the stupidity we have in not co-operating together as Christians, under the dodgy label of dogma.

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Harvest party after the service!

The devil is chuckling at our own stupidity. When someone knows Jesus, loves him through whatever church they’re in, who are we to judge? Yup I have issues with Catholics, and I’m looking forward to a talk the local Priest is doing on that there are no differences between Catholic and Anglican could be really interesting!  But most of all, I’m so thankful for the harvest, his richness in our lives, I could feel the love around me as were in the service.  Thanks!

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Georgi-ritt, Thomotal

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Note the guy dodging the whips!!

St George is not only the patron saint of England, he’s the patron saint of horses and riders!

We’ve been going to this ride in Thomotal on and off since we’ve been here, and I seem to have gone from photoing every single horse to finding new angles and something new. These pictures are taken from over the past seven years, not including the time I went without the memory stick in the camera!!

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This year I got some new ideas and discovered the wonder of the church in the village.The ride starts out of the village and the guys with the bull whips come first. A real test of trust. A couple of years ago one of the horses was a tad frisky and I felt the whip get too close, so now I tend to stand well out of the way.

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Then the marching band from the village.

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Then the different rider groups from the area,

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including Lois my old boss with his Icelandic horses.

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Norikers, ridden and pulling carriages.

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Then some families and their horses.

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On the village green, everyone lines up, the riders are thanked and the horses blessed with  sprinkling of water.

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Then the parade takes another route around the village going faster each time!

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Then some horses and riders make their way home, while others stop for a beer break.

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Reflections on a funeral

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God has recently given me so much to write about, especially things for Daily readings, which I’ll get to in due course. I even have softened against my conviction not to write my auto biography, I rarely speak of my childhood to anyone, and maybe it would be interesting for the kids. Enough.

One of neighbours (86) died last week after being ill with cancer for a long time (I’m not going to use the cliché). She was a lovely lady and lived a very quiet life with her husband. They were always pleased to see you, but were self-contained. When I saw her just before Christmas she was in a lot of pain and I think had given up.

So we went to the funeral and waited outside as the custom is here. The coffin was under an awning and you went up, sprinkled some water, took a remembrance card and then went and shook hands with the family. Mr B was there, looking absolutely distraught, and shaking like a leaf. The whole family looked numb. I was glad when they got him a chair. I was thinking about Mrs B, and how the whole process must have been such a relief at the end  for her, I could almost sense it. The Priest duly arrived and we all marched in. I had never seen such outspoken grief, nor it affecting someone so much. Continue reading