So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog


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Doubt

On early mornings as the dog and I wander along the lane, I begin to think, have we made the right decision? The bird song and the flowers have been such a joy. It is lovely here in the summer. I enjoy my library job, my friends. Making wine, walking in the hills, when we get a chance. We have the most amazing health system here too.

Then I think back to winter and ice. Walking the dog is no fun. There’s nothing to do here as we don’t ski and never want to. The church here is dead on it’s feet. We arrived, so full of excitement, but no one would listen or let us try anything new. I was on the PCC and tried to show people Jesus. What I’m getting at is, we have integrated which was always our goal. I have good local friends. Yet, I find it odd, when acquaintances in the village say, we’re so sorry you’re going. But when did we meet for more than a casual chat?

I’m tired of working in another language. But I’ll be proud to speak it when we get back.

We never wanted to get into the Expat gang, but did for a while. I don’t see the point of going to a country and just knowing people of my own nationality. My best friend is English, but that’s because we hit it off, and I will miss her so much, but we have internet communication, and we’ll meet in the UK.

The travelling and sadness when we leave family. Yes, of course, it’s a special situation when you visit. But I would like to see a bit more of the family. Never be so far from them when there’s trouble.

I miss huge, English supermarkets and the choice. Here, for someone who hates cooking, the choice is limited. I miss worshiping in my own language, in a big congregation, arms raised to God. I’ve only see one cautious hand raised here. We will find a loving, full on Christian community and have a study group, a witness.

Then I look at the rust on part of the roof on our block of flats, the larch tree that will eventually block my beloved view of the castle, the bathroom that needs and extractor fan, and feel relieved, I don’t need to think about these any more.

The flat is sold, so there’s no going back.


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The contract

After a long. long winter, things are moving along on the sales front. We had agreed a price in the autumn and after sorting some things out, the buyers have got the contract organised! They will sign it in Vienna, then send it to us, then back to Vienna. Once it is entered in the ‘Ground Book’, we will be paid, Whoop, whoop!

It’s certainly less complicated than the UK, and there’s no Estate Agent as it’s a private sale. No capital gains as we have been here over ten years as our main residency. Then, Covid permitting, we will pack up, maybe truck all our belongings with us and rent somewhere in the UK till we find our forever home. Or we may hang on until the summer when maybe the vaccination passport gets going for Europe, we have an agreement with the buyers that we can stay until October. Or we may store the furniture and come back later for it. Or if we find we dont like England anymore, we can come back here as we wont give up our residency!

It’s been such a long time, I’m a bit numb. The desperate longing rises now and then, but we’ve sort of switched off over the winter. I can’t face another winter here, all that trucking through the snow with the dig, despite my shoe nails. I want grass and snow drops in February! I want a life with more people in it, family. We’re now starting to pack things up as I’m haunted by the last move when we had to clear out sixteen years of family life.

We’ve been watching the market and it’s sad, but there are suddenly a lot of nearly affordable retirement homes for sale, but we don’t feel ready for that yet. A little terrace house in a small town in Wales would be good, where there are lots of churches to find a new spiritual home, and all that coastline, hills and castles to explore. Our home town of New Milton, being on the south coast and near a National Park is now way beyond our budget, although I would love to return to New Life Church.

We’ve looked at park homes, but you have to pay Ground rent, fees etc plus Council tax and we worry that that they wouldn’t actually be that secure.


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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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Decision time

So far, our flat hasn’t sold, I like to blame the bug for that, and we have to make some decisions quite soon. If we expect to stay for the winter we’ll have to buy our wood and store it soon and buy new winter tyres for the car. September is being lovely which helps!

We haven’t been able to get to the UK because Austria is on the quarantine list, in that when we arrive, we must have 14 days isolated. How this is policed I have no idea but we would honour that. The one brief time where the quarantines were lifted, there were no flights.

I really want to see my son as he has had some problems, and I miss my kids like a heartbreak. maybe I just need to see and touch, but it’s there. The thought of Christmas without either of them looms like a spectre.

There is a glimmer of hope, if we have no bookings on the holiday houses, then we could do a trip home, driving, so Swingle comes too, shortly or just after Christmas, then we could stay a month and do house hunting too.

We’re both believing in God’s timing in all this, we’re praying for the person who will buy and keeping ourselves in belief. It just needs time.


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Getting ready!

One of first reactions on deciding to sell the flat was to look at it with fresh eyes. There then followed a couple of weeks of re-painting, cleaning, packing up some of the DVDs and books that dominate the place. Trouble is now we like it all the more, but feel someone is just waiting to come and love this place too.

The only problem is that when there’s nothing on the TV, we can’t get the DVDs out to watch!!!!!


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