So where's the snow?

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


Leave a comment

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.


4 Comments

Swingle has a brilliant day

IMG_2365

Bella and me in the snow

Well, spring is coming and I can lounge around in the garden sun again! While there’s no more snow to roll in, there’s lots of smelly things emerging for perfume and even the odd dead Woozle * to snack on- I’ve even caught and munched a few live ones too.  But yesterday was just a great day.

IMG_1781

Lucy and me

It started with Boss taking me for a quick stroll up the lane, but the Woozles had already gone back to bed even though I poked around in the undergrowth, yet it was a good early morning stretch of the legs. Then she went out and left me with some chews AND a bone to keep me occupied while she was out- she never leaves the TV on for me……

P1310330

Me Woozle hunting

Just after she got back,  Lucy, my best Austrian friend popped round to say she was just going for a walk and she’d be around in the afternoon. We quickly ran around the garden to check for any new Woozles and then she was off. Then to my surprise Boss told me to get in the car, and as I can now navigate, it was soon clear we were on the way to Bella’s House – she’s my best English speaking friend – I’m a bi-lingual dog you see! We had a quick turn around the garden and we were then both told to get in the car! So exciting! We sat together and wondered where we were going, it couldn’t be the vets because we go to different ones. We chatted about some good smells we’d had and then we were there. It was the river walk with the fields and stinky stuff – brilliant. We ran and swam – though Bella said it was still a bit cold for her as she has more hair than me. We rolled in some really fresh stuff and sneaked a couple of mouthfuls of yummy stuff while the two Bosses chatted.  I even swam across the Mur when I thought I saw a huge bone on the island but it was plastic! So we romped back, and into the car, and even better, when we got to Bella’s we had another play AND treats!

IMG_1394

Me and a Woozle I caught and killed last year

Sadly, I was soon packed back in the car, and  we went up to the Castle where He works. I found some interesting bits under a bin while waiting, then we went home for lunch, which I assisted with. I was just thinking of a snooze when Lucy came round as promised. We went to her house but couldn’t find any Woozles, so we came back and played here. I was just beginning to feel a bit tired and so was Lucy so she went home.  So I came in and helped Boss writing from the comfort of the spare bed!

IMG_1281

Me Woozling on sofa

Then the day was nearly perfect. I’d just helped them wash their empty yoghurt pots and was trying the hypnosis as usual, when it must have worked as I heard her saying how much exercise I’d had, and blow me down, she gave me a bit of dinner! So after that, in thankfulness, I gave them the honour of me sitting between them on the sofa all evening, I don’t know why they kept on flapping their hands and the tv pages, but what ho! a brilliant day!

  • Woozle, originating in Winnie the Pooh, it has become a family word!
  •  noun:small wriggling creature such as a mouse that lives in the undergrowth, or verb: a dog or child having a lovely wriggle!
  • In the Urban dictionary
    (verb) to fossick purposefully and with enthusiasm, head down tail up


Leave a comment

The Journey#1

We have been packing for months and I have been missing my books for so long. Dave finished his job at the Castle. We had been dithering about what to do. We wanted to take a holiday and should we do it in Austria or the UK. We could store in Wales and then go off visiting. We prayed over it. We also couldn’t decide between driving over or to go with the man and van who could take the dog. So, I rang him, and he was free for the weekend of August 13-15th.

That Wednesday, I told the Docs that I would leave, regardless of what we decided, and drove home with the electric lawnmower in the back of the car. Over the railway line, and clunk! I lost all drive and drove the Panda right, fortunately off the road and into a car park. The OAMTC was called, and I was towed to the garage where we had bought it. They said they would diagnose and call us back. I lashed out and got a taxi home. When they called, it was the coupling between the gearbox and the engine. €900. It also needed €700 for a new timing belt, which we hadn’t had done after the last MOT. The next day, we sold it back to the garage for €2200, along with the trailer. A friend saw us at the bus stop, gave us a lift in and took all the gear from the back of the car home for us. The garage then picked up the trailer. We then took the train back after getting the money.

Stress went on up. In our last week, we had to do a changeover for a holiday house for a friend, but at least, he picked us up. Then it was a list writing time of all that needed doing. I had to order covid tests for us to travel, which would be done in Tamsweg. I had to fill in a transfer of residence form for the DVLC (thanks Brexit) which meant writing an inventory, so this couldn’t be done until we’d packed most things. Once the tests were done, I had to do a Passenger location form for travelling, and book  more tests, with proof for Day 2 in the UK.

On top of all this, packing up, and we had to leave so much junk, because we couldn’t get to the tip.I was overtired and got in a panicky stress about the timing of the forms. Dave said he was worried about me, as I struggled with all the information, but he wouldn’t lift a finger to help me do the things because they were on the computer. I had a complete meltdown, threw things at him, and stormed out. It was good to clear the air, but didn’t lessen the load, but at least he was good at packing.

We walked in the heat to the Covid test station at Tamsweg, to find they had only noted one appointment. I was really worried about doing the test, but they were helpful. The next day, while in the last flurry of packing, I left to meet my best mate, Jenny to have lunch and say bye, only to get a phone call saying the van man, Mark, had made great time and was nearly there. Dave wasn’t amused. I got back, asap. Swingle even got into the box in the van, so that worry lessened. Then Mark saw the pile of boxes and books and DVDs. We got them in, and he said he was worried that the van would be overloaded. So, we went to Lager haus, who had a weighbridge. The van was 400kg overweight, without most of the furniture. We had to leave one or the other behind. It broke my heart to think all my books that I had already missed for over a year, might have to be lost. Then I remembered some friends of our who run a freight company and rang them. They could get them back! So we piled them on a pallet ready for collection. Soon, the van was packed, but even so, we had to leave more furniture behind than planned. Door shut, Mark was off to sleep, only to find the bloke at reception of the village Pension I’d booked, hadn’t heard of the booking and for a while, we thought we might have to find another. We went on packing the last things, and putting rubbish into bags. I thought the vet had forgotten Swingle, and we didn’t get there till nearly nine to get her passport done. More stress. On top of this, the Red Cross had sent only one text for the results, and while the QR codes worked, I couldn’t tell which one belonged to who0. In the end, hoping I wouldn’t cause them to be blocked, I put one set of details in, then found which one was which. BUT, I needed to print them out, they were on the phone as PDF files, and I couldn’t get them to the PC to print. Finally, I found a way to convert them to word and could save them to email and print. Maybe if I had been less tired, I would have worked it out quicker. I had already woken early in the morning stressing that I hadn’t a QR code reader on my phone and didn’t know how to use one. It turned out I just needed to download the test company App, but as above could only do it for one test.

In the early morning, I got fed up at not being able to take so many of our things, hiding my favourite mugs in the bedding. Mark arrived at 3am, and in the darkness, we put the last things in. Swingle, with her smelly rugs, jumped happily into the crate. It was in the dark and padded with the mattresses, so she shouldn’t be too hot. I had filled out all the forms, working late into the evenings the night before, but I had it all ready in my folder. We left Madling in darkness and it wasn’t until about five it got light.


Leave a comment

On the way

As you read this, Dave, Swingle and I will be in the UK! I don’t know when I’ll be able to blog properly, so I might re post some oldies in the next few weeks. See you soon!


Leave a comment

For Martin

For Martin, who once lived here too!


Leave a comment

Decision!

Dave and I have been umming and ahhing about what to do. Dave had left Finstergruen, I had a week at the Docs, do we take a holiday here or at home while we wait for the house to complete? So I rang the man with van who would take us and the dog, and he did have a vacancy in August. Do we go with him or drive. How would the dog be in a crate in the van? Monumental dithering again. We prayed about it.

Driving home form work, I heard a sudden clunk, and I had no gears, I had to coast into a side road. Got the OAMTC out who towed me to the garage. The coupling on the gearbox had broken. €900 to repair. Neither of us would trust the car again. So we sold it to the garage, along with the trailer. Man and van booked. A definite answer to prayer, don’t take the car!

He’ll get to us the afternoon of the twelfth, load up, and then he’ll go to a hotel. First thing in the morning, we will drive to Calais. Saturday morning ferry to the UK, off that and Mountain Ash by the afternoon. Furniture into storage until the house is ready. Us into a hotel (such hardship) for the first four days. We’ll buy a newer car, and then off to visit family. No quarantine, would have stayed put if that was on.

Of course, its not that simple. The morning the car went, I was thrown off a Facebook group, couldn’t understand why, and an admin I contacted was almost rude. That really upset me – although it was a mistake and I was later reinstated. Then the car. Then I had to wade through all the Covid stuff. PCR tests before we leave. Then Covid tests to buy for our second day. Passenger location form. Inventory of house. Pack house. Clean. Result, major meltdown, throwing things at Dave, and sleeping really badly. I vowed last time we moved, I’d get someone to pack for me. Packing hasn’t been the problem this time, we started last year. But Covid and Brexit-ARRGGHHHHHHH!