So where's the snow?

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


Poor old Paggy!

Action in Madling

When I got back from Bible Group last night, I noticed Paggy  hadn’t put his blinds down or taken the post in, but I’d seen the Red Cross lady leaving earlier that day, so wasn’t worried but thought I’d go and see the old codger in the morning and help put the tarpaulin back on his car which had partially blown off.

No answer to the door or yelling.  I checked with his support agencies ie Red Cross (Amateurs!) and Hilfswerk but they knew nothing nor did the Hospital.  I was now entering panic mode, none of the neighbours were at home.   So I got the ladder, which had been used in his previous emergencies to peer into his first floor bedroom.  Then I wussed out and called our English neighbour (Hi Dave) who went up for me. He could see Paggy lying on the bed, but not moving.  I began to think Paggy might be dead.    So like the previous two times, I called the Fuzz.  They got him to answer, but he couldn’t move.  So this time they had to get a hammer to break the window when the ambulance arrived.  Linda , who was now home  and I cleared the glass and left the professionals to it.

Of course I remained about, and one of the paramedics told me, Paggy was in a Diabetic coma – with his sugar at about 30 when the normal is 100.  He was talking by the time they brought him out, so I guess they filled him with sugar!  I took some photos then wondered if this was a bit ghoulish but they’re only the cars!

According to my calculations, he must have been taken ill in the late morning the previous day.  Too early for major beer and he’s been drinking less. He’s moaned for ages about the Meals on Wheels he’s been having, so has he been eating properly? Was the coma a side effect of being out of things for maybe 24 hours, maybe underlying was another stroke? Poor old bugger!

Tomorrow I’ll be visiting him and giving him a piece of my mind about not giving anyone a key – if they let him home, after all he’s been receiving monitoring.  He’s convinced everyone steals from him and trusts no one. I bet once he gets the bill for repairing the window he will  do something!  Its the third time I’ve rescued the old git because I’ve noticed something not usual. I just hope one day someone looks out for me.  Now maybe you’ll understand why getting old freaks me out!!!!!!!

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%*(“~#+&*^+ Snow

It probably hasn’t got much to the news in England about the amount of snow that has fallen here since late last week.  It started here on Thursday after a day of really heavy grey clouds. We’d been warned that this was the storm that had hit the UK, then tracked down through Germany, named hurricane Andreas.  Its hit the west of Austria mostly, some places having had more than a metre of snow, resorts are blocked, tourists stranded and most places in the west on high avalanche risk.

We had about half a metre here on Friday morning and I had to drive to Mariapfarr  to do Lois’s horses – thankfully for the last time. The roads had been cleared by 7.30 and the drive was no problem -phew! It was blowing a gale and snowing, one of his horses got out of the gate as the wind blew it open, by the time I had caught it, Lois turned up shouting at me for having given the horses too much hay again – I admit I find it really difficult to judge, I’d thought it was a little over the previous day, and so I was at fault but I didn’t need the shouting.  Then when I had a wheelbarrow filled with enough hay for three horses he took it all out insisting I do three trips – taking longer and keeps the horses waiting.  Difficult Austrian syndrome again so I smiled and let him get on with it.  BUT IF I EVER TALK ABOUT WORKING FOR HIM AGAIN, LOCK ME IN A CELLAR AND THROW AWAY THE KEY!

 The snow continues until this morning (9th) but the forecast says by Wednesday we’ll have a high and clear frosty weather. Time to try some Langlaufing again methinks!

The thing that’s really buggin me is the snow clearing.  Linda was out there at 7 am on Friday morning, and Saturday and Sunday and today a bit later.  It makes us feel that we have to go and do so to – we can’t leave her to do it.  Yesterday, the snow was very heavy and her kids actually came to help. I made some comment to her daughter about how we don’t need to clear all the snow in the yard – after all three of the garages and sheds are unoccupied.  Seems daft to me, so this morning I get it in the neck about how we don’t need to help she’ll do it. Perhaps I just will.  It doesn’t help that Dave’s been acting like a spoilt brat about having to get up and help, though I do agree it doesn’t have to be done at the crack of dawn.  I see all over the place people clearing so much snow when actually they don’t need to, if the area isn’t walked or driven on, why bother?  There seems no logic, just a frenzied panic that it’s here, but then I’m a foreigner, what do I know?


A Christmas tea party

The hamlet of Madling, circa 1960

I’ve been wanting to do something to get to know the neighbours a bit better and this year felt I really had to get my act together.  In our small hamlet are eight houses although our is a block of flats, and we’ve found our neighbours cautiously friendly over the years.  Our lack of German -well Lungauerish,  probably was the barrier.  So I set about making far too many mince pies (imported filling) and Christmas cakes but it filled the time. I gave everyone a written invite, and waited for the day.

 The old couple over the road didn’t come because they had argued with the father of their immediate neighbours and he has been accused by Paggy of nicking stuff from his house when he was in Germany.  Paggy wouldn’t come for the same reason – and he’d have to put decent clothes on.  Probably just as well, I didn’t fancy separating warring pensioners.  In the end all the others turned up, except for one husband whose brother lives across the Thomotalerbach because they have fallen out.  What a warring place Madling must once have been! They all brought presents, which I didn’t really expect and we had to explain again to a couple just why we’re here. Then the discussion was general as they pitched into and enjoyed the English food.  At times Dave and I were slightly gooseberries but it was ok.  Surprisingly, none wanted a drink but drank fruit tea. Paggy has said he heard they all enjoyed it, I never expected to get 9 people around the table in our kitchen – being Austrian we never got as far as the sitting room!

A non event maybe?  But they all came and despite the feuds, all chatted together, so I felt great.  Maybe now in a little way we are more of our little community.

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Healthy Lungau?

More from the LungauVolkskultur fest (LVKF), blog to follow!

Sometimes it amazes me how people are cared for here.  I went to visit Paggy the other day and took him his prescription to find him with a huge box of medicines and a shiny box of daily doses on the table.  He told me that a woman comes weekly and sets it up.  later I visited the other neighbours and she was doing there and later was at the other neighbours what care, and it means lonely people get contact each week.  Nice!

When we were first here, having worked with disabled people, I couldn’t help notice how many there were with what I’d call slight birth defects – such as a limp.  Then there are obvious stroke victims who are quite young.  Then as we became aware of the diet here.  Drinking and smoking without any apparent teaching on the dangers – and look at how beer is a part of life.  When Dave worked at the builders they had a beer dispenser in the rest room, and when I was on the Job seekers course, there was beer on sale. The alcoholics were thrilled and were on their first by 8.30 in the morning.  They all think me nuts when I moan at the Burg at having to sit in a smoke filled room….the smoking ban was introduced there this year under much complaining from the staff, I imagine that by October the smokes will have bronchitis and flu from having to smoke in the Hof!!!  They din’t like it when I luaghed at them! You don’t see the alkies on the streets like in GB and most of the local events I’ve never seen anyone binge drinking etc, but we don’t go to the events for the young uns so I can’t say!

And the diet!  sausages in so many form, cheeses of all sorts. (Ok so I gripe a bit having hugh cholesterol and being unable to indulge).  plenty of healthy bread and the ubiquitous semmel- white bread rols that atste and smell like heaven when fresh.  You see kids being given a semmel as a snack – better than sweets?  Yet, they eat loads of salad and fesh veg, make loads of their own jam and in the autumn a lost of places have their own meat in a calf or pig slaughetered on the place.

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Integration in Lungau- have we?


Me being a scared Icelander on Rodi at the Burg Moosham riding festival, 2008

As I’ve blithered on ,we’ve been here four years, so are we now a part of the community?  I somehow expected Dave and I to change with our new life, but although we did loads of stuff when we first arrived, maybe we’re more back to where we were in England – a backsliding into laziness and we need to jerk oursleves out of it.  It was all exciting at first and people were surprised to meet new folks- they just couldn’t understand how we could possibly want to move here!

We know our neighbours Paggy and Linda quite well, but we’re not in each others hair.The others are polite, but not on the popping in for a cup of tea basis (or do I mean beer?).  The older couple across the way only had us in for coffee after we’d given them a lift home and the other has a slightly odd reputation for being nosey.  All the shrubs in our garden were planted to block their view of our window and he spent all day rubberknecking when we were moving in and the builders were here.  Poor man is ill now and although we’ve offered any help, they keep more to themselves.

Most of the real friends we’ve made are bilingual apart from Linda and Paggy!  We know more of the English incomers too and thats been a joy – just to have a girly natter in my own language is wonderful!  Its great to have supplies brought such as gravy powder, bread sauce and malt vinegar which you cant get here – although I’m using these less and less.

We know  a few folks through church and we went to the Bible group but have never really become close – probably becasue the majority were in theri 30s with families.Then  of course, I musn’t forget  my first horse friend, who took me to meet her horses.  It was just after we’d arrived and I was a bit sad for Monty* although I swore I’d given up horses! One came and just stood by me and blew into my hair, I closed my eyes and it was a moment of pure bliss. Horse therapy for me!

Are we still looking at the place with rosy tinteds?  I do read the local papers and know whats about, there’s a very low crime rate – down 33% last year, they must have nicked someone!  The evening news presenters don’t have the cult status as our previous South Today ones did, and sometimes they really struggle for news. Headlines have been about a telegraph pole falling down, is there enough wood and a new design of patio chair! Wonderful! But local gossip and bitching and backbiting we know very little.  Is it due to the language differences or simply the people we are?  All I know is,that in England, even in my own town I felt an outsider, now that I really am one, perhaps I’ve come home!

We do go to some concerts and ocassionally to the pub – but we’re not pub people, it doesnt sit easily.  Now we do get by quite easily- except for deeply spoken dialect, although Dave struggles a bit.  When we start the therapy, Edith and I will know more people, and certainly I know as acquaintances loads of kids and mothers  from Lois’s.  We are happy here, apart from the weekends when we can’t make up our minds what to do.  Roll on when we can get up into the mountains! I thought of moving back recently, how would we do it?  The plan I came up with would be to find a service job through the Lady magazine, they are always seeking couples of our age, and rent here here out so we can come back.   But then I thought, I dont want to, here is where I live.

*Monty was the horse I had on loan in England for about three years, but felt he was too old to try and bring over.  He died from cancer about three months after we arrived so I was right.  He’d had a ling problem with colic and I had suspected a problem.

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What is it about Paggy?

Looking towards Thomatal

I’ve just been looking at my stats and have found that the Paggy saga has been getting overall the most hits this year.  Will someone please comment as to why?  Is it through random searches or an interest in the fortunes of our Mr P?   Is he more interesting that me ????????

He’s enjoying being home, the local artist who does work for him, putting all his hunting trophies on new wall shields came and fed him at the weekend – I get the impression a good time was had by all. Paggy’s had to buy two crates of beer this week………I’ve taken him a beautiful basket of spring flowers from the garden centre as he wanted some spring in the flat, he ws really pleased with that.  The washing machine machine is fixable (phew) but the mysterious cleaning lady has not turned up……….