So where's the snow?

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


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Reflections on Austria

We’ve now been in Wales for seven months and I’m very aware of my looking back at our fourteen years there. I don’t want to go back, not even for a visit at present, but that’s not because I’m angry or sad about there. Some of it’s because I’m travelled out, have no desire to go anywhere except to explore Wales and maybe one day look at my roots in Ireland. It’s more that I’m so much happier here, and the contrast between then and now is becoming apparent.

We were both restless from 2004 onwards. Heading to the empty nest syndrome, work becoming less of a dream. Children growing up, Mum and dog passing. And some of it, my inherent restlessness. I think I get it from my Dad, the thought of staying in one place all my life made me feel like I was suffocating. Not to mention my impatience too. We wanted to go as Missionaries, but Dave didn’t want to study, but when looking we felt God was directing us. Oh, you can read it all in the rest of this blog!

Austria was never home, and maybe that was because I looked back, missing kids, and as we found our selves in a dead church, being in a living one. Our little fellowship here in Wales is so alive and I know God wants us here. Yes, we loved a lot of it, but we had always said we night go back and I knew there was another house for us to live in. This one. I will end my days here.

My overwhelming feeling of being here, is complete and utter relief! More in the next post…


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A new spiritual home!

One of the main reasons we decided to return to the UK was that we were running dry spiritually. The Protestant church we were in had its head firmly buried in concrete and was battered by constant feuds and personality conflicts. We had a Bible group with some friends of ours, but they neither wanted to move on nor try yet again to build a new fellowship with the Christians in the area. All the things we discussed were treated with wariness until they heard it from an Austrian source! The Lungau might have been a natural paradise, but spiritually it was a desert.

So, when we started looking at parts of the UK, we always searched the churches and fellowships in the area, and Wales in comparison to the UK seemed full of ones to explore. When we looked at Mountain ash, there seemed to be churches all over the place. It wasn’t until we got here, that we found google was listing empty buildings and many that had been demolished, even two in Cfenpennar. But lockdown had us searching online services and we soon picked up that in Rhonda Cynon Taff, our area, there were many free churches and we would surely find an alive fellowship.

We didn’t have a car to start, and so decided to go to those in walking distance, and so ended up at the Baptist church in the town. We walked into the warmth of a living fellowship, small in numbers, and an older congregation, but so full of the spirit, we knew that we didn’t need to go any further, we had found our new home!

There was a new pastor, and we met him and his wife and found fellow hearts for the area and bringing people to the Lord. It’s been such an utter relief to be home! Over the past months things are moving on and we’re so thrilled to be part of this, it was something we came home for. They started by blessing the fellowship that was already there, with love and Christmas celebrations, what a beautiful thing to do. We started a children’s club, which had a slow start, and last week we had a prayer breakfast with other churches which rocked my spiritual socks. All the other fellowships are of the same heart for the area, and out of this are coming a walk of witness on Good Friday, evening services, Mothers’ day teas, all sorts of wonderful things. I’m just leaping about with excitement! Only downside, was that while it was brilliant to sing songs we sang in Lymington Baptist church all those years ago, there are some great new ones…


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Durlston country park, Swanage


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Wareham Forest


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On the way

As you read this, Dave, Swingle and I will be in the UK! I don’t know when I’ll be able to blog properly, so I might re post some oldies in the next few weeks. See you soon!


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Decision!

Dave and I have been umming and ahhing about what to do. Dave had left Finstergruen, I had a week at the Docs, do we take a holiday here or at home while we wait for the house to complete? So I rang the man with van who would take us and the dog, and he did have a vacancy in August. Do we go with him or drive. How would the dog be in a crate in the van? Monumental dithering again. We prayed about it.

Driving home form work, I heard a sudden clunk, and I had no gears, I had to coast into a side road. Got the OAMTC out who towed me to the garage. The coupling on the gearbox had broken. €900 to repair. Neither of us would trust the car again. So we sold it to the garage, along with the trailer. Man and van booked. A definite answer to prayer, don’t take the car!

He’ll get to us the afternoon of the twelfth, load up, and then he’ll go to a hotel. First thing in the morning, we will drive to Calais. Saturday morning ferry to the UK, off that and Mountain Ash by the afternoon. Furniture into storage until the house is ready. Us into a hotel (such hardship) for the first four days. We’ll buy a newer car, and then off to visit family. No quarantine, would have stayed put if that was on.

Of course, its not that simple. The morning the car went, I was thrown off a Facebook group, couldn’t understand why, and an admin I contacted was almost rude. That really upset me – although it was a mistake and I was later reinstated. Then the car. Then I had to wade through all the Covid stuff. PCR tests before we leave. Then Covid tests to buy for our second day. Passenger location form. Inventory of house. Pack house. Clean. Result, major meltdown, throwing things at Dave, and sleeping really badly. I vowed last time we moved, I’d get someone to pack for me. Packing hasn’t been the problem this time, we started last year. But Covid and Brexit-ARRGGHHHHHHH!