So where's the snow?

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


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Meltdown

Tuesday morning, I woke up so low, after yet another broken night’s sleep. Fed up with just wasting time here, filling days trying to find things to do. Stuck in this room, and all the extra dosh it’s costing. If it hadn’t been that Mark had an opening and we wanted to move before the restrictions changed for the worse, I would have hung on, less frustrated a bit longer. Everything just getting to me, I even ended up in tears, a rare thing for me.

Dave was brilliant and made me tell him all this. We decided to walk down to the Bay and have another look around. This time, we found the old docks. More information would be great, there was none there. We’d had a lie in, so we had at nearly lunchtime cake (yes GF Free) at a café, and chatted to an old lady about her old dog. We followed a sort of path by a hotel which lead us to a marsh area, where Swingle finally got a cooling dip. We then found ourselves on the round the Bay path, discussing which houses we would like to live in, finding out more of Cardiff. Near Cardiff dock, we found a restaurant and feasted on gammon and Dave streak and Ale pie -see my earlier comments! It took us about four hours and it really took me out of myself. We saw so much, ending back up on the barrage, where Swingle had a big swim. Aching feet, but a peace that we had found a great day out, weren’t just killing time. Now crashed out again in the room. Almost the best day yet!


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The Journey#2

It was strange sitting so high in the van, but Mark is a professional driver, so I let go and really tried not to drive with him. He cut in and out in a way I’d never have the courage to do. At the border with Germany, we unexpectedly caught a jam. Two accidents, then we sailed through. We stopped after four hours as we reckoned that Swingle would sleep. After that, we made it every couple of hours. It was a warm day, and we made sure we kept her hydrated. She would be so pleased to see us, then leap out to all the great smells in the stops. I just loved all the changing scenery as we went through Germany and France. We reached Calais, after one major jam for a car accident. Swingle was scared by the sirens, but we couldn’t get her out and it took half an hour to find a place to stop, but she had calmed by then. Mark has been moving animals for years and he was completely right about how she would handle it. The dark place became safe for her.

We got to our hotel in Calais in good time as Mark knew a shortcut that by bypassed a load of traffic. We parked in a compound that housed all the vehicles for the Calais police force. They kept a van permanently parked there. During the night, they set off some alarms and there was shouting; I guess they had arrested someone. We saw a group of non uniformed officers going off on plain clothes duty. And in our room, Swingle’s water got spilled all over the floor! We went for a walk, but there were no parks. We couldn’t find an evening meal so ended up getting snacks from Lidl! The air was warm and it was a hot, close night. Despite having drinking lots on the journey, Swingle downed two bowls of water in the room. That resulted in two trips out in the night and a poop. We went to our rooms in the lift first of all, she scared herself by seeing a black dog in the lift mirror and looked for it behind the mirror. Then her tail stopped the door shutting. In the night, we took her to the huge roundabout opposite the hotel, so much traffic in the day she loved it. She had major sensory overload on each stop, from so many other dogs!

We were zombie like in the morning. We left for the P&O ferry at Calais; the tunnel having gone up hugely in price at the beginning of the summer. Mark was nervous as there had been so many problems with the border control over the Covid months, and he’d just heard that from the weekend, France would be only accepting essential UK travellers.

We went to the first booth, manned by two grumpy looking officers who wouldn’t speak but ordered us to the UK border control. There were various groups from Romania etc, who seemed to be having problems getting through. When or turn came, we had a smile and waved through. Mark had told us we had our location forms linked to our passports, so I guessed all was Ok. We felt a huge relief.

When we got to the P&O kiosk, the proverbial hit the fan. Inside was sat a poker faced guy, with long hair and glasses, and wouldn’t react to Mark’s politeness. We had to do all the forms, and he refused our location forms because I hadn’t put we had come through France, so our form was green for Austria, not Amber for France. I was getting my files and laptop to change it, but Mark did a whole new form. It got us through, but I’m having kittens that on Monday morning I’ll get a call from Gov UK demanding an explanation. Then the chip reader couldn’t find Swingles chip, and grumpy pants had to get another. We queued for the ferry, glad to have left grumpy pants behind. We guessed he was part of the French not liking the UK, and he didn’t want to do all these checks. Then as we were about to board, one of the Marshalls said we were missing a yellow sticker, Grumpy’s bloodymindedness or stress?

Once on, we left Swingle in the van and had breakfast in the lorry drivers’ café, the staff were so helpful and I even got some gluten free toast, eggs and bacon! She was fine, maybe the ferry’s engine’s made her think the van was moving, we certainly didn’t need to dope her. Once off the ferry, we sailed through customs  much to Mark’s relief. I felt a bit emotional at finally returning home, but was so tired, I remained calm. The journey to Wales was uneventful, with few traffic jams. We took all our furniture to the store, and they opened up for us. It seemed so little. Swingle was reaching the end of her tether with the box. She started scratching to get out of it each time we shut the door, only to quieten when the engine started. At the store, I tied her to a trolley and gave her a big chew that cheered her up. At the hotel she was out like a bullet, having been in the rattly, empty bus.

Then in Cardiff, the road was closed to the hotel, and Mark drove us around the block to find it He was so kind to do it, we were all geared up to catch the train into Cardiff. He made all the difference to the trip. I would have gone to pieces with the driving and the problems. But our troubles were over. When we checked in, our Covid tests hadn’t arrived. I rang the firm, who said they had been returned due to a wrong address. I had written in the name from the booking form and had been unable to find a number and had the right post code. The bloke was really helpful, although I was so angry. Why hadn’t I been contacted? I had been under such stress I’d forgotten that I should get a text when they were despatched, it seems royal mail didn’t even dispatch them and the man hinted it was my fault for not writing hotel on the address. He promised to get them dispatched asap Monday, but did hint it was my fault for not writing hotel! But I checked all the documents, and non had hotel on the name. It remains to see if they will turn up. And we won’t take the rest on Monday, He said it was okay to do it on the third, as it was due to courier failure. I just hope.


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Swingle makes it all more complicated!

How do we go home? There are so many options, all made more difficult by Swingle We’ve offered to buy her a ticket so she can make her own back…

Route 1. We drive with our left hand drive car a couple of days ahead of the lorry with the furniture having some friends meet it and help to load, because we have to stop for dog breaks, maybe even an overnight. A van can do it in half the time we will take. Simple, especially as it looks like Boris has said we won’t need to quarantine. We have our green pass for double jabs for getting through Europe. Sorted? Car. No UK left hand drive car buyers will even answer my call, they want sports cars not a Fiat panda. Register it in UK, have found a firm, but it will be a day/overnight from Wales to take it there to get all the forms done. But we can only drive it to the test centre, nowhere else. But it would be easier than trying to swim through all the forms and new MOT etc ourselves, if a bit expensive.Thanks Brexit. Sell it locally in Wales? One local dealer has said they would take it, probably for parts or scrap. We paid for the car, feel we should keep it. We’re not bothered about driving a LHD on the wrong side of the road…

Oh and which way? Cherbourg to Poole, pop in to son en route? Dog doped in car for four hours. Calais and tunnel, easy and it actually seems a shorter journey time. No dog doping. Or go to Zebbrugge then Hull and head south, maybe get the car registered on the way.

Route 2 Sell the car here, buy new in UK. There is a firm that you can go with in the cab, and the dog too. Except she’s never been in a crate, we’d have to dope her…possibly a lot.

Route 3 Sell car and go on train. Eight changes and pee breaks? Muzzle the dog?

Route 4 Swap car for a RHD here, but probably too late for the paperwork.

Route 5 Hire a van and drive ourselves. But would have to do the return journey and many European firms won’t let their vans cross the channel at present.

Brilliant ideas please!


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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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A Good Rotter!

IMG_0300Last Sunday saw the five yearly election of new Mayors in Salzburg and a count of party popularity.  We were here for the last one and on visits from local candidates received honey, a cookery book, firelighters and so on. So I was only joking this year when I said, would we get another free breakfast – and we did delivered on the Sunday before the election!

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Wot the other lot brought!

This time we took a little more interest, having met the Mayor and found him a good bloke.  His was the party that brought the free brekky. (Not getting into names here). He even came round for a chat this time – maybe becasue we are now going to be invlolved with Meals On Wheels in the village  – or he knew he was running into trouble!!!!!  We got a free bottle of wine – labelled with a ‘Guter Roter’ which  I translated for this title , well I thought it funny!

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So no bribery and corruption here, and not every village did freebies!  He had our vote, he has been Mayor for at least ten years, and we thought had done a good job. The other parties had nothing else to offer except to take over the policies and projects he has instigated. So it was a shock when he was narrowly beaten!  It seems that when there was all the argument in the village over a proposed Kraftwerk (power station) people weren’t too happy with how he dealt with it, and this swung the vote. It was academic because in the National elections, a new party against it came in and the idea was dropped. So a new broom. Will the new guy be so happy with us foreigners getting involved in Village life?