So where's the snow?

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


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Swingle has a brilliant day

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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.

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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……

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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!

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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!

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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


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For Martin

For Martin, who once lived here too!


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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!


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Nine weeks more?

I’ve been checking on the jolly old net about the situation on completion in the UK, to find that due to the stamp duty tax, and the housing boom, some houses are taking up to SIXTEEN weeks to complete. We’re seven weeks in, help! But there is the good news that we wont have to quarantine when we arrive, just do tests, that makes it easier.

Today is a big day for Dave. He leaves his job at Burg Finsterguen, and in October he finally gets his UK pension. So this may be his last day of work. He’s certainly earned it. We’re packing up the house until we can pack no more, then we’re going to enjoy ourselves, do some mountains and explore. Usually in summer we’re too busy with work and holiday houses to do much.

Other news is that we can take our Austrian pension to the UK. But in a fine display of bureaucratic sexism, Dave can have his paid into our joint UK account, I have to have a separate one. Can I set up a new UK account without residency? No. But I have got an extension of when my pension is paid into the account here, so maybe we’ll be in the UK before that happens, at least I can transfer it manually.

And the holiday houses are still chasing us, we’re helping out a mate who had taken one over, but is stuck now in the UK for a while. I’m just hoping this really is the last time I have to muck out after guests!


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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….