So where's the snow?

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

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Happy Christmas!

To all my family and friends, blog followers, facebook groups, and fellow authors.

It’s the biggest birthday of the year and of all time.

In these times, of fear, illness, doubt and people being stubborn about wearing masks, let’s remember God’s grace, and the gift given that we’ve never deserved!

When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2, v 17-20


RIP Paggy


In 2010, last time he really succeeded in getting us all plastered!


Those of you who have followed my blog, will know about our neighbour Hans, and how he befriended us, irritated us, got us drunk, stuck his nose in, criticised all our home additions, but was always pleased to see us.He had had a stroke and so couldn’t use one hand and was also diabetic. He spent a lot of time frustrated that he could no longer go shooting and hunting.

In our strongest memory of him, was when we had our friends John and Liz here, who he also got so plastered that John still can’t remember coming home and eating trout with us. Then on a later visit he had Liz and me making plum jam, (which never set because he wouldn’t let us put enough sugar in due to the diabetes) while the men were eating pigs trotters he had boiled especially for them!

In the past couple of years, he’d had falls, and I forget how many times we had to get a ladder to his bedroom as he was locked in and was laying on the floor, having fallen or was in a diabetic coma. He was taken into the care system and had carers, all of whom he slagged off and accused of stealing things – we often wondered what he said about us! He couldn’t handle it when we didn’t want paying for doing jobs for him, but we did accept a beer now and then.

On his birthday last year he wouldn’t accept a drink and we could see he was losing weight. He was eventually admitted and it was cancer, and the rest is history. Always a difficult man, he alienated most who knew him and he had rifts with the neighbours. I often wonder what had so damaged him in childhood to make him so. We just saw a grumpy old git, not the real troublemaker he once was. He was often very rude to me and took the mickey constantly. There were tales in the village he had beaten his wife too. But that is past, who am I to judge hearsay.

Shortly before we left for the UK, he seemed to be slipping away and we expected the worse, but three days later, he was sat up in bed, he pointed to the crucifix on the wall and said ‘HE healed me’: From that point we had no worries about where he would be, it’ll  be great to have a chat with him on the other side. The last time we saw him he was not so good and as we got on the ferry home for England, he passed away.  He has a brother,to whom he was always been horrible to who will inherit everything. We’ve been asked to carry a cross and a lantern at his memorial service which is an honour. I must admit, I’m breaking a commandment in thinking of what we could do with his flat as a holiday let. It’s said that death brings out the worst in us all.

So RIP Paggy, life wont be the same here without you bellowing out of the window and asking us if we want a beer.


Catholics and Protestants


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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IBQ Writing Prompt: What is Happiness?

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A patch of sunlight

To me, right at the moment, to be happy, I need solitude. It’s been a long hard winter, and there are still no prospects of work. I’m ok at home, when I get the peace and quiet to do the things that I enjoy, without negative comments and questioning.  I’m sleeping badly due to thyroid problems and the menopause, so a complete night’s sleep would make me happy too.  I have Shira the Goldie to look after tomorrow, so walking her tomorrow will make my day.

Yet real happiness would be a day with the house to myself. I don’t want it forever, or at the cost of a huge argument. To bend God’s ear at any moment, seeking his quiet voice.  To write diaries and blogs. To finally tackle painting again. To read a few pages of a book. To eat or not eat when I feel like it. And quiet. There is always the TV or radio on due to my other half’s tinitus. So I want quiet. Where I can hear the thrush and blackbird singing in the garden over the roar from the waterfall. To maybe go to bed at 7.30 and read without justifying myself.  I think back to last summer which I christened  the Cowbell summer, where during the heat wave I sat and read and wrote with all the windows open to the music of the swallows and the bells from the nearby field.  Maybe if I can remember this is my mind the peace will return. Just one day.

Yet despite this,  three things have put a smile on my face today, unexpected blessings. Taking a surprise 85th  birthday pressie to one of our clients on the Meals on Wheels round, an unexpected hug born of real pleasure from one of the neighbours who I haven’t seen for a while, and the black squirrel running along the garden fence, spotted as I sit here at the screen. I can wait for my day.

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‘What a Mess’, her friend and an awful day……….

One of my jobs now includes cleaning the house of the Lady who owns What a Mess, who I usually meet when I clean the Insurance Office in St Michael.  This Afghan is just so typically hound, friendly, bouncy and yet elegant.  She’s got adult her coat so isn’t quite like Frank Muir‘s puppy.  I’ll now call her WAM!  This lady leads a chaotic life as a single Mum of a boy, full-time worker in Insurance (and I know, having worked in it how demanding it is), and she’s into all this stupid numerology and card reading stuff.  So I felt when I was asked to clean her house by my main boss, I could really bless her, give the house a lift and her too.   Apart from the first time she showed me round, I haven’t seen her.

So last week I arrived, and I fully admit I was tired, and so emotions are  bit higher than normal. The two Siamese/Burmese cats were looking indignant by the front door, so I opened the door to let them in and then the inner porch door as one lingered.  To my shock I was greeted by WAM and what I take as a brindled whippet puppy! Cats slunk in, door slammed and I enjoyed being frisked, bounced and slurped on as the dogs greeted me, full gas. I went and sat in the sitting room, of course the puppy shivered as they do, but I cuddled them both and chucked some toys around -bliss.  Then I really knew I had to  work.  I looked around for a note, could I let the dogs in the garden, where was the dog poo cleaning kit?  Nothing.  I had to clear up -I could see WAM looking at the baby’s accident with worry. So in the end I found a plastic sack and left it right by the front door.  It was such fun though, especially as it became obvious that the dogs werent allowed in the bedrooms by the way they leapt on the beds and jumped about, (just like you know who) and all too soon, I was done and gave the two some treats I’d found and slunk away.  I could hear them barking -and hounds don’t bark that much, as I left.

HOW  FLIPPING RUDE! Yes, Joyce, I’d taken offence.  I can only hope there was some huge problem why this woman hadn’t left me a note or rung to explain. If not,as Dave said, remember we’re just slaves here.  It’s the lack of respect, the taking me for granted that I found so bad.  But not only that, it’s the leaving dogs for so long alone in the house.  I had to remove various medicines that the woman had left lying about that the puppy was chewing, there was what just seemed a lack of care.  Not even a newspaper put down. If the silly woman had called me, I could do more if she must leave them in the house. Of course I could have rung her, but I’m nervous speaking on the mobile in German, people speak too quickly, and I would have just been really rude to her.

I wished then I had another doggy person I could talk to about this, but have no real doggy friends in Lungau, I havent spoken to folks in the UK for a while and of course I couldn’t make a phonecall out of the blue so upset.  I wanted to talk to the only person in the world who knows dogs  as I do, Mum.  And she’s dead.  It hit me like a blow to the stomach, grieving for my mum at her doggy best when she wasn’t drinking or depressed.  I grieved for my own dogs, who I’ve given up living in here, in a belief or decision (right or wrong) that I need to keep myself free for the next step in my walk with God.  I so missed my horsey/doggy life that I’ve left  behind.  And I knew I was also jealous of this woman for having two dogs, and I none.  I did talk to Dave, but he’s a man and not a pet fan, he only sort of understood.  I calmed down and finished the days work. I don’t know how I’ll deal this with next week.

I saw the puppy had peed on the bathroom floor, so I left it.

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Self centeredness is the source of all grief

As I’ve said, God really has his hands on my path at the moment, and it feels good at last to feel its the right direction. This doesn’t mean he’s still not dealing with me, oh no, everytime I think he’s going to lighten up, he points out something new. I’m also really getting to be excited that he has something new,  because he is dealing with both of us on somethings, and we’ve felt under spiritual attack (my severe bout of homesickness), we must at last be getting close to our goal!

Joyce Meyer and Andrew Wommack were both speaking  similar subjects last night -thawack again. Basically we see ourselves as the centre of the universe and take offence when someone acts as if we aren’t  eg, someone ignores you – well maybe they’re on a bad day, its nothing to do with you.  Someone cuts you up on the road – maybe they are in a hurry, or cross, but its nothing to do with you, you’re just in the way.  It’s all about dying to self, which I’ve written about before.  Basically being self-centred is the source of all grief  -do  look at their teachings!

So me. God gives me a job where I’m a lot on my own – a relief after last year but it can be a bit lonely. One lady leaves me instructions as if I’m a dope, not knowing what to do each week.  Once I got really upset so I just let all these feelings run through me to examine them.  I’m just a cleaning lady, not her friend.  In some ways down the social ladder and of little interest – that’s just how it is. She also has a very busy stressed life and its her way of trying to be nice, leaving me a note, she doesn’t realise what she’s saying hurts, she doesn’t know Ido all these things anyway. Its her problem not mine, I can decide not to be offended.  Likewise, there’s some special event on in one of the offices – I knew as they left flyers around, but no one said a word to me.  I could get on my high horse or laugh,  so I just kept quiet. Today she rang, asking me to do special clean, so I was polite, didn’t get cross that she was asking me to do stuff Id done already, I chose not to take offence.  Like wise the other  house, they are all a bit shy and unfriendly, I’m not letting them get  away with that, they have the problem,  so I’m always cheerful happy and willing.  This is how God is teaching me to deal with people.  What is the next challenge ?  Getting me ready for when we run our small Hotel?????????