So where's the snow?

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


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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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Leaving and letting go

I’ve run the village library for over five years now and have loved every minute, especially the training weeks in Strobl, which were almost like a holiday! The only downside was that all the books were in German, snigger! I can read them, but it’s such a long, slow process that I’d rather be in English on my Kindle.

I ran it a lot on my own as no one would come and help (was it me?), and so was limited on how many events and meetings I could do. But I had two teenagers for a couple of years, and we did the Advent market in Burg Finstergruen, standing in the cold for two days at something minus selling our discarded books. We did a Fairy tale day there too with a picture book cinema on the projector. I moved the rooms so all the children’s books and adults were separate, started our own Picture book cinemas, got a road sign, as half the people didn’t know where the library was. Offered a book delivery service to no interest.

We had special advents in the library, with cakes, biscuits and coffee. We wrapped discarded books for surprise Christmas presents which went down well! Put a sofa in one corner so people could relax, I think it was mostly bounced on by the kids! A highlight was when the kindergarten kids would visit, bringing a welcome noise and chaos, I would ask them their full names when they got their books, that the pace was a tip afterwards was better than order. I did read to them sometimes, but that was difficult as they didn’t understand my accent! Readers’ summer, where the kids would have a little books and got a stamp, after three visits they got a free ice cream at the shop. Ran it for adults too, and the most active got a bottle of wine at the end of summer!

Then Ingrid came along and for a while it was wonderful, we ran summer events for the kids and had a ball. Then the bug came along and Ingrid returned to work. We used the time to do an inventory, but something went wrong and half the books we thought had gone, later turned up! Then I was on my own again, then with the move, trying to find a successor. In the end, I put an ad on a local Facebook group and I now have two ladies taking over, sharing the library between them. We had the Mayor and deputy mayor come and do a farewell bit, speeches and flowers which I loved and a voucher for the restaurants in the village, Dave and I will feast for the next couple of Sundays. I just wish I had known that the council had a huge store of photos and documents that need cataloging, would have been a job right up my street.

So, I’ve trained them in the system, them doing in six weeks, what I did in eighteen months, and I won’t be sad never to have to do the yearly registration form again. I’ll miss the quiet air in there, the friendship of other librarians, we’re a special lot, and the fun when we had events. I hope I may find a library near our new home, and all the books will be in English, I can shop for second hand ones again, collect horse books….


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What a week!

We’ve been working so hard at it all this week. We’ve spent hours trawling through our areas. Selected several. Even had one walk round viewing. All sold. Then another came back up again that I fell in love with back in April but was sold. Sale had fallen through. So we had a virtual look around and put in an offer for the asking price…

As a Christian, I believe that God has already prepared a place for us, I just need to come to terms with my ingrained intolerance of uncertainty.

As we wait, I am so chronically tired that if it all falls through, I am walking away from the whole thing until next week. Have a lovely weekend.


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Rent or buy?

We have been searching so much of the UK houses on the Net, as we’re still in Austria. We hear about how the market is crazy. And it seems true. We have seen houses all over the country we like, and they are sold within a few days. We need to be on the ground so we can go and view quickly, it’s unfair to ask our daughter to take time and drive miles. The last one was a real gift horse, all the way to Lowestoft, for the house to need major work, which had all been carefully left out the photos. Some agents do virtual viewings, others don’t. Some say the owners’ wont accept an offer form someone who hasn’t viewed.

We’ve extended our search to Great Yarmouth, Gainsborough, Cleethorpes, Skegness. We took Wales off the list as we heard you can’t get in quick enough, but there are some places that haven’t sold even so. All these seem to be further away from family, which is the aim of coming back.

So now, it’s do we delay until things calm down? Do we rent -using our capital? Or just jump in and buy somewhere on spec? What if we hate it when we get there? I’m all geared up and looking forward to living in a town. But, deep down, I would like to go back to New Milton where we used to live. We could just about afford a garage there. I just cant see my way out of this.


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House moving is never easy…

I think this corona situation is making what would already be fairly difficult , even worse, not to mention Brexit. Firstly the UK housing market has gone nuts. We’re looking at Wales and the places we can afford and like are being swept off the shelf in a couple of weeks at asking prices.

We decided that as we can’t get over to view due to the quarantine hassle there and back, and that we want to see the place ourselves, we would rent. All those we that are in our budget (as this will eat into our capital) are either snapped up, only for a years let, or not dog friendly.

And the car, do we sell it here? Or drive it back and flog it to a Left hand drive company in the UK? We will need to drive because of the dog. And then, as we wouldn’t do it in a day, can we stop anywhere in France overnight?

We have quotes for moving our stuff, and one really on the ball company told us the Transfer of residency form which stops us having to pay import tax when we enter the UK. We have to have a complete inventory of the household good, details of us, the car and the dog. I’m just pleased they told us.

Or do we leave the furniture here and collect it later ourselves in a truck? Except Austria has now banned entry from the UK due to the Indian variant, for all except business and residents, and we’ll have to give up our residency when we leave…

So it goes on. It’s a bank holiday weekend, so I’m going to forget the whole flipping thing. We can now go out for a coffee and maybe we’ll just take off for a trip somewhere!


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Being creative

This is on one of our afternoon walks in Tamsweg by the Mur. Two guys have been beavering away for ages, making this little pond off the river. Not sure why. Maybe they just had time on their hands. It’s grown since these pictures with flowers and sculptures from things found in the river. Note the Salzburg land flag, and bird box. Wonder if kids will paddle in it in the summer?