So where's the snow?

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


I really hate snow!

I know that sounds daft living in Austria, but each year, when the first real fall happens I get like this.

It all started when we came here, and found our neighbour was an obsessive snow shoveller. Sometimes she would be up before light on the yard, heaping it into piles. We would wake up and she would be whizzing past our kitchen window. We do have a big yard and when all the flats were lived in, all the garages were used and it had to be cleared. Trouble was that the only place to put it is around the back of the block, so more heaving and tipping it.

We went with it over the years, but now she’s older and now only clears in front of her door. It’s not just her though. Many people are out manically clearing. The older generation, where they grew up with more snow and cold (so they say) possibly had a case to clear it, but now? The rest of us have to clear all the flipping stuff. Every year I say, WHY do we have to clear it all when three out of the six garages aren’t used? No one  listens to me. Sometimes I go on strike, but they just miss ours out or heap it by our hedge.

For three years, we had a new neighbour who had a snow plough, that was pure joy. But he’s moved, so I guess this year it’s back to the grind. As I write, it’s with a dread that I know Martin will soon be out beavering and I’ll feel impelled to go and help. Then there will be the added fun of having to go and clear the holiday homes we look after. The only good thing about it, is that it makes for a good work out.

But it’s not only that. We’ve had a beautiful November walking in the valley, and now that’s mostly ruined. Lots of the places will be impassable or put down as Cross country runs.

It’s the walking the dog in it twice a day, whether I like it or not that wears me down. Bundling on all the layers.  It does get you fitter when its deep, but when the Council clears the roads, unless its gritted, its like walking on a skating rink. I fell over three times last year, being caught out like this or by sneaky bits of ice hiding under it. When I wear the spikes on my boots in this, they don’t last long.

And don’t talk to me about skiing! My winter sport if anything is going snow shoe walking, if I have the energy after clearing the yard. I will get over this and get carried away photographing when the skies are blue and the light’s wonderful.

But, this morning, I’m longing for a damp, dull, grey English morning, where the ground is green or muddy. I can do mud…

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Bad Snow

This is a shot I took last Tuesday.

And this is what we woke up to.

A low-pressure system had come up from Italy, bringing heavy wet snow. We had 30 cm here by lunchtime and it snowed until the late evening.

As I walked the dog, I could hear branches cracking and trees falling. Many trees drooped as if in agony.

The road to Tamsweg was closed, mostly due to lorries without winter tyres, but also fallen trees.

Eventually, it was cleared, but there were power cuts all day and by the evening we lost all power until the following lunchtime.

I took these shots by moonlight only!

It took the area by surprise, being so early in the year for heavy snow.  We’ve since had heavy rain, the Mur is up 20cm, and tonight (Saturday) another low is due to sweep through, but it’s not certain that it will be rain or snow. Of course, the ski resorts are thrilled, plenty of snow to piste!

My guess that this will be either the nastiest winter in our 12 years here; the plague of mice maybe really was a forewarning. Or this will all blow away and we’ll have hardly any snow at all. Guess which option I’d prefer!!!!


Snow, too early……….

Yuck, and there was more to come!

October 16th

We knew some snow was due as a kindly cold front was blowing our way from the UK.  As we left Keep Fit, it was sleeting, so I thought, here we go!  At about 5 a.m, the phone tinkled which is the sign the electricity had gone off, and it kept coming on and off for the next couple of hours. It was dark outside as our street lamp had gone off, but I could see the glow of snow on the hill behind us.  Daylight showed a heavy fall of about four inches of heavy, wet snow. The garden flowers flattened and the Sun flowers felled.  I gave the birds extra seed and we had to go into Tamsweg.  So many deciduous trees still glorious in their autumn colours now bent  over, broken branches lying along the road.

Now I know where the sunflower seeds are going!

Now I know why the sunflower seeds are going so quickly!

It was too early for the streets to be cleaned as I dropped Dave off, and I had to wade through the slush to the shops. Some shopkeepers were clearing the pavements with the  snow shovels. Suddenly, all the worst that winter means came back to me.  Wet feet= I didn’t have my snow boots on. Slipping and treading like a Pensioner without my snownails attached to the boots (although this was only slush).  That cold nip in the air. Dachlawinen – lumps of snow and melt falling off roofs as you walk along.  How dark it makes it in the morning as the cloud and snow almost seem to absorb the light. How the snow encroaches and covers the world, almost like a personal presence.  And since March I’d forgotten all this.  This snow at its worst, damp and tiring to the spirit.  Too early and its so unwelcome, maybe because its out of context, I’m still geared up to the autumn colours and walking in the hills -that’s out probably till next year now. I’m glad that this lot will melt by the end of the week, once we’ve been through the process of frosts, longer nights, regularly lighting the fires, the trees becoming bare, I’ll be ready even excited for it, but not now.

I know its blurred! However, just look at the cute white tummy!!!!!!

As the snow melted, all around me was the sound of it running down the metal drainpipes.  In spring to me this is a great sound as it heralds spring, but now, wrong.  Why am I reacting so fiercely to this?  Most strange.  Or is it a forewarning of hard winter to come?



I understand that England is experiencing a very warm winter and things have gone a bit odd here too.  Since last week the weather has warmed considerably and we’ve a prediction of +20 for Austria later this week.  It just felt all wrong that suddenly there was the sound of water cascading down the drain pipes and warnings everywhere in the town of roof falls of snow.  The roads came under water where the drains are blocked by snow or frozen.  Apparently this sudden warning isn’t good for your body either.

Then this weekend, things cooled down, to nightly -1 or -2, but still warm by earlier estimates.  On Sunday it began to snow and we had about 2 inches by the morning, and temperatures of +5.  Of course, Linda couldn’t let it lie and melt, she was there by 7.30, and then complained to me that it was melting as soon as she put it on the heap………..

The snow is now what I call play snow, great big flakes being blown down to us from the mountains, which is cute but not making big heaps on the ground.  Maybe it will be an early spring after all, but for the skiers there’s still shedloads of the white stuff on the mountains here.

What I hate the most  when it’s thawing, is the amount of ice.  Our yard is like a skating rink, and at work the other day I stupidly went on a huge patch and couldn’t do anything but slide backwards till someone caught me!  This was at St Martin which I’ve now packed in as she only called me in once this month – it wasn’t worth the petrol money

The main point of this blog, is to say on Friday as the warm front came over us, we had great examples of Altocumulus lenticularis clouds which people often think are spaceships.  As I picked up Dave from work, there was the most stunning sunset and I only had the Mobile with me, so I now have permanently moved my new camera to my handbag!

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Snow storms

We recently had a visit from my son and his fiance, Hi George and Michelle! It was fanastic to catch up with them and their wedding plans.  It’s all so exciting, I’ve never been a Mother-in Law before, I’ll need to get the turban and the heated rollers out!

When they arrived, the Lungau did its best and had a blizzard as I met them at the  railway platform at Madling.  It then chucked it down overnight making about 15 inches – I guess.  So of course the next morning, Linda had her shovel sharpened by dawn, not omitting the fact she had been clearing the snow in near darkness the previous night!  So poor George and Michelle got mustered into the new AustroEnglish snow shovelling team.  With four of us we cleared it in about an hour!  The Red Cross lady came while we were busy, doing Paggy’s pills or something, and got her car stuck at the bottom of the lane. So we went and dug and pushed, but it was only when we hailed the Council tractor driver that we shifted it with his extra energy.  We decided as we had done a good deed for the day we could be horrible for the rest of it!

The weather was changing though, and by the afternoon we were having whirlwinds and blasts of wind that looked like snow storms in the valley – we went up to Prebersee, but at that height branches were coming down and the snow was covered in leaves, we beat a retreat and had a bevvy with  Paggy instead! I guess that set the joke for the trip, all we tried was shut. The  Gunsterwaterfalls, Burg Mauterndorf, even when we went to the Diktlerhutte, the way through the woods was shut.  We did suspect it was due to avalanche danger, but followed someone elses prints, I did feel a bit dumb when the Landlady said the path was dangerous! 

Still we made up for it on Sunday, when we went to Lokwelt in Freilassing, close to Salzburg, and had a great time looking at the trains. Funny for a railway museum, there was no cafe, I can only surmise that where they have many special events there, they have catering and beer stands outside.  We then went to Salzburg itself and a treat for me, I had a Macdonald’s!!!!!  We then went up the Big Burg that dominates the city, using the railcar and it was so good to have a day with something open.

All this had me musing, when the kids were younger and we had family holidays, I’d spend ages researching and working out places to visit – I must have driven folks nuts. This time, I had only the vaguest of ideas, and nothing really set, Dave moaned too last time we had folks here and I had walks planned. Have I chilled too much these days, have I lost the Bossiness, and need to recapture it, not at the old level, but somewhere in-between?

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