So where's the snow?

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

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Back to work


As you read this, I will have actually been back to work for about a month, but to keep my blog regular, I’m cheating and using the timer!  So, this Friday, I’ve had my hair cut, tidied the house, bottled what wine I can, edited blogs, paid bills, checked my preparation over, even changed the sheets on the bed!  Weekend charging the batteries. Ready

I’m back to English teaching with the same firm, but under a new, efficient boss, new building and using a pre-written course. Such a relief in a way to just follow something through and just add on my extras. Each day is sorted, its just how long it all takes and the dynamics of the group that will be interesting, especially as there will be some men on the course. But most of all, I’m working with a fellow Brit!  She’s a far more experienced teacher than me, but not in English, it will be great to have some real companionship and support this time. I’m really looking forward to it.

The AMS decided to run two courses – it really didn’t work with mixed abilities in one big group, but the swines decided to run both courses at the same time, putting me out of a job in the spring.  Never mind. After Christmas, I’m going to look at advertising for Home tutoring.


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Of Mice and Men

Our work with the Meals on Wheels had a nice surprise last week when we were called in for another photo shoot. Of course, they couldn’t put a piccie in the local newspaper with the old Mayor and so off we trooped again. What I was most thrilled about was that we were given little wooden
trophies – as above. The new Mayor is the director of the local Agricultural college, so of course its no bother for him to get a woodwork class to knock these up. Nevertheless its our first Austrian trophy. He is shaping up well, giving us a little speech and he made eye contact. Will he be worthy successor. Apparently in May there will be a big party to install him. Beer and Sausages of course!

Later that day, we went up to the graveyard to plant the grave of the Gautsch family with pansies, as is done all over the Lungau. Again, we grew these ourselves. As I’ve said before, it makes me feel very Austrian and one of the family. However, this time was odd. Dave went to water the plants in and the watering can spout was blocked. He shook it and a very wet mummified mouse head shot out. The poor thing must have been in there all winter poor mousie. It was quite horrible this head stuck out the can, Yuk.  Very apt, a day of mice and men!


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Adding Insult to Injury


I’m sure dear reader, you are all agog to hear the continuing saga of how to be out of work in Austria, so here’s the next installment. We’re having this ridiculously hot summer which makes me feel quite ill, so am glad I’m not working out in the heat!

I waited for nearly two weeks to get my leaving contract and feedback from Ibis acam, and there was nothing. Being in a frail state of mind over the whole thing, I was permanently checking the mobile and then being pleased there was no call.  In the end , I did have to send an email, because I needed stuff for the AMS. I said what’s going on, where’s the promised feedback, told the boss how his prevarication hadn’t helped the situation and how the whole thing had ended up a nightmare for me.

This finally got a response, I was no longer Anna, but Frau Rashbrook so I got it straight away.  It seemed that the majority of feedback forms were ok, but most said that my German wasn’t good enough to explain things about English.  It was a relief to know one way or the other.  I guess I’m not meant or gifted to be a teacher and I’m walking away.  No more teaching English. Riding I can do, but that door is closed.

So I’m thoroughly enjoying time at home, doing some decorating, pottering in the garden, writing a lot, and trying to hear what God has to say to me and not trying to sort this out by myself. Dave and I have both had pictures and bible readings to do with doors, which gives us hope.

I’m also struggling with the self pity and as usual, retreating into a private shell at home which suits me fine. BUT just to  make things better, the effect of my hormonal injection I had after the hysterectomy has just worn off = random excuses to burst into tears – yesterday it was the sight of the tin of birthday cake candles that triggered it and I never know what will be next.  I’m also getting occasional bouts of  nausea like being pregnant.  I must let my body sort itself out, but how long I can stand this insult I can’t imagine!

Dave is having work experience (at his age!) with a firm of gardeners and maybe something may come of it.  I expect I’ll have to take a winter job in a Hotel, but quite honestly, if we don’t find work, we may have to return to the UK, where there is no language barrier to fall over. Would it be better?  I have already realised how the Health care is worse in the UK, I’d miss the snow, but I really don’t know what is next.

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After I took over from Andrea, I found I had a lot of preparing and catching up to do.  They had done  all the grammar they needed, but I thought maybe they could do a little on the past tense. We then spent a lot of time building vocabularies, doing a little basic Business English  and all the time trying to get them to talk. I know I can be a bit slapdash and realised this a couple of times when I’d missed a mistake on a sheet, or  hadn’t checked whether the words were too unfamiliar, but I slowed down and got more thorough. However, I felt strongly that they should do the work themselves rather than be spoonfed, that the group should support each other,especially with the language difference. I found the first couple of weeks really tiring but gradually got more energy.

Now every job I’ve had here has involved my ‘difficult Austrian’ such as Lois and Erna, and here I found I had one who was worse than all the others rolled together. She had come to do a beginners course, and felt this was too hard for her.  Andrea told me she had moaned and complained that she didn’t understand, it was all too hard for her, until in desperation Andrea had  given her a very basic book to work on by herself.  So when I took over, I got the same grief.  Everytime I tried to explain anything, it was ,’Your German is too poor,  I can’t understand you’.  I offered her extra time alone with me to work things through, after all there were 9 others in the group. This she refused as she’d had enough after 5 hours, God forbid that she gave up her smoking break!   So in desperation, I gave her my laptop and earphones so that she could work independently.   She was so hostile that I admit I took the lazy option and left her alone.  When she needed help she asked her neighbours who were patient and rarely me. One woman was very able and helped her, the other was one of the weaker ones, and seemed to join in with the  negativity.  I really considered splitting them all up, but that’s what you with kids isn’t it?  The trouble was that Daniela would be on her own agenda with jokes and sniggering, she even got in a hump when I asked her to be quiet as the others couldn’t hear, I got, why can’t we laugh together and she stropped off.  When I tried to explain something to the group it interfered.  When I was trying something I thought they had done (they hadn’t) she butted in with the, it’s all too hard, you can’t explain it .  She argued with me until in the end I dismissed the group and went home.  I spent a lot of time soul searching and decided to act the next day as if nothing had happened.  I fully prepared the grammar, and eventually went back to it. I said this is simple, had a sheet prepared explained it in English and German and gave them examples to do, which they all did successfully, except of course you know who. For the next couple of weeks, I thought I was doing ok, we worked hard and there was a lot of laughter.  Then came the last week……….

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Teaching – Something new….


For the past few weeks, dear reader, once again you’ve been receiving posts on the jolly old-timer.  This is because I actually landed a teaching job and wanted to be able to concentrate on that!  I’d applied for this post way back in March, but had no response, even sending them a reminder before we left before England.  Of course, then practically, I couldn’t have done the job. The course started in the middle of May, just when I was getting over the operation and before we were off to the UK for our son’s wedding.  It was still being advertised when I returned, so I thought give it one more go and leave it, it’s obviously not meant for you.

To my surprise within 24 hours I had a phone call and was interviewed over the phone – horrible as I hate talking in German on the things at the best of times!  For some reason I hadn’t sent me certificates with the first application but had now, maybe that was it.   Then a formal interview, I needed to convince the boss my English NVQ Assessors qualification would do.  It turned out that someone – Andrea was running the course, but had to leave shortly- as in the following Wednesday for another job.  So who’s hand was on this ?  A God-incidence that I could take over the job from her and she could do it until I was ready?   So there I was all set to be a teechur!

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Austrians are nuts for Christmas!

Christmas is coming!

That might get me some views!  As you know, I have this cleaning job, relatively little stress, I just go home and forget it till the following week.  Great.  My most difficult lady had asked me to do some extra cleaning before Christmas, like a Autumn clean as opposed to a spring clean I suggested and she agreed.

If you’ve seen my previous post, you’ll know I’ve already run foul of this.  It was only when I was talking to the Boss that the full extent of this idiocy has been revealed to me.  It seems it cultural tradition to deep clean the house before Christmas, as in cleaning the tiles with a toothbrush.  She said how she loved doing it and her husband is worse than this, going around with the white gloves and telling her off if he finds dust.  Quite honestly, if Dave tried this with me, he’d not only get a one fingered salute but the toothbrush painfully inserted!

Admittedly, I’ve liked to have my house clean for Christmas and we’d give the place a going over on Christmas Eve when the kids were young maybe a premonition for when I came here.  Maybe this is all part of the Catholic  guilt trip.

I can deep clean, no problem, I’ll do it to make up the hours, I owe the time, but how so stupidly, completely unnecessary!

PS Have just found out that this is in fact a farming tradition, where the whole farmhouse would be cleaned from attic to cellar in the quiet time after they came down from the Alms and before the main work of the winter began.  Then they’d do it all again in spring.  Maybe no housework inbetween????????