So where's the snow?

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


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The Baize door is published!

I’m soo excited!  You can’t imagine the buzz from having a book on Amazon. Do have a look and maybe have a read!! It’s what I call rural romance, with countryside, romance, horses, equine assisted therapy, of course, dogs and Christianity!

Joanna has been sleepwalking through life living in her family’s ancestral manor house and running the Hazeley horse show.

Then a childhood friend, Diane, reappears, ruining the glorious isolation Joanna and her father have created. Diane opens a riding stable literally on Joanna’s doorstep.

So begins Joanna’s descent into a life of pain and frustration but then two totally disruptive puppies enter her life, and she needs Guy to help her with their training. They seem ill-suited until a tragedy sparks something more.

It is when Diane commits the ultimate betrayal that Joanna realises she must radically change her life.

But how?  Is there a way to reconciliation with Dianne? Can horses help? Will she finally overcome her past and pain to build a new life built on faith and love?


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Stripey paint

What a job, going around Austria with a tin of stripey paint!

This was originally written abotu a year after we moved here, but I think it still applies, with more I’m thinking of!

Things I love about Austria and the Lungau

*Walking in the mountains following footways marked in red and white stripey paint

* Driving into Tamsweg in the early morning in winter and seeing the moutains literally pink in the sunrise

*Eating Kasierschmarrn in mountain huts

*The fields full of dandelions in May, covering the whole valley in shades of yellow

*Burg Fintsergruen, although working there was a little stessfull at times last year, the old place has got a bit of my heart – maybe because I see it out of the kitchen window everyday.

*Seeing farmers going to do their shopping on their tractors with a crate of beer in the lifter behind

* Spring flowers in the mountains and the smell of the meadow flowers below our flat

*Cows going to the Alms in spring

What I don’t like

*Smoky restaurants and Pubs

*Ice


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Troadkasten

Yes, you’ve guessed it, a Troadkasten!

My apologies if this is misspelt!  They’re also know as Getriedkasten, maybe Troad  is Lungauerish! A poor region, with many house fires in history.  Lessach was burnt down and bits of Tamsweg  too – open fires I suppose!  The poverty meant that all food was needed.  So a remedy was sought.  They built a small house near the main building to keep food safe.  At first built from wood, people would drill into them and nick the grain inside.  So late ones were built of  stone.  They’re still here and I think are particular to this region.  Some are beautifully decorated, some falling down.  often with the local motif called the running dog – which I think is Roman, they brighten up the area.  There is a tale that the decoration came from a group of artists travelling from Rome to Salzburg who painted their wy there.  I don’t know for sure! Another bit of unique Lungau.


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Niedermohr – a place without culture

View from Guest house window

Niedermohr, the village we stayed in, I found fascinating and found out what all I could. The whole area is very low-lying and is obviously drained water meadows with thick black soil.  Yet at the top od the hills, the land is red, like in Devon, and I found they think it is full of sand, copper and iron. 

The houses I soon noticed had their cellar windows above ground and asked the Landlady if this was right.  She said the area is prone to flooding and where they are converting an old house, the earth cellar is constantly wet and they have to lag it.

She herself offered the idea that this area is without culture.  They local population was wiped out by every plague that has swept Europe, with only a resurgence in the 16/17th century before another bout of illness.  It’s not surprising with the low lying, swampy nature of the land. There  was a couple of battles there in the 18th century and a couple of castles still survive.  Farming is decline apart from growing Maize for heating fuel. So how do you attract people to an area where there is no culture?  Is this an attraction in itself?  The village looked just like a commuter belt place, no shop, just the station and many old farmhouses either abandoned or converted into flats. Most of the income in the area is generated by working for or coming from the USA airbase.There is the attraction of miles and miles of unlimited riding or walking.  But this would have to be marketed, with maybe a marked path such as the Niedermohr route if you see what I mean.  The couple who run the Guest house where we stayed have just built extra flats, and maybe they can bring the riders in if they create a riding centre – but the buildings at the Riding school require a bit of investment to get up to licensed standard, at the moment it’s just half livery,maybe if someone needs to invest in a whole new centre! Yet I feel they are on the right way, maybe Niedermohr will just have a horsey culture of its own!

Maybe you could visit to for a ride!

www.husarenhof.com


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Der Lungau, Four Years along -Winter

Schneeeeeeeee!

I wrote this last year, so may be a bit repetitive, we’ve more snow now too!

Four years, my the time goes by.  Life seems to be settling into a new, seasonal routine which makes all seem familiar and like home. It seems to be that the months after Christmas are the most boring, almost a time of hibernation.  I’d rather have the summer off like when I as at the Fortune Centre.  New Year begins with loads of fireworks like in England, but sometimes, they are just chucked about in the big parties in the square.  They’re never sold from a locked cabinet, although teenagers are banned from buying them. If you want you can buy Children’s fireworks – smaller versions of the adults ones -ahhh! If there’s enough snow, Dave and I can go Langlaufing or even falling over in the snow. 

This is because he works so many extra hours in the summer, he gets almost all of January and February off.  Even when I was with Lois it was quieter with him too.  Yet it’s so easy to get bored and into lassitude. Cabin fever even.  We did a lot of DIY last year, having tiled the kitchen, so much better than laminate, they actually seem to catch the heat of the wood stove – luvly.  We can’t garden until maybe the end of March as the ground is frozen! 

The year roles out thus. We have the Star singers – the three Kings come in January  (and always one blacked up!).  They raise money for charity, and get a cut, carefully negotiated with the Priest.  All the events I am talking about can be no doubt more accurately read about on the links I’ve put on the Blog.

The Stern singers

 Then it’s party time as there is a season of masked balls and then it’s Faschings or Shrove Tuesday, when there’s lots of parades in fancy dress – not quite like Rio de Janiro, ready for fasting time. We had a real laugh at the Mayor dressed as a Smurf.  These parades go back into folk history and have had people dressed as dancing bears and strange masked costumes.

Fasching parade

There’s Icestockshiessen parties- skittles on ice which we must learn how to do. Where England descends into debt and gloom after Christmas, Austria parties!  The farmers cut loads of timber before the sap rises, mainly by continually thinning, a far prettier way of clearing, but its amazing how they slide the trees down the hills for collection.


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Healthy Lungau?

More from the LungauVolkskultur fest (LVKF), blog to follow!

Sometimes it amazes me how people are cared for here.  I went to visit Paggy the other day and took him his prescription to find him with a huge box of medicines and a shiny box of daily doses on the table.  He told me that a woman comes weekly and sets it up.  later I visited the other neighbours and she was doing there and later was at the other neighbours what care, and it means lonely people get contact each week.  Nice!

When we were first here, having worked with disabled people, I couldn’t help notice how many there were with what I’d call slight birth defects – such as a limp.  Then there are obvious stroke victims who are quite young.  Then as we became aware of the diet here.  Drinking and smoking without any apparent teaching on the dangers – and look at how beer is a part of life.  When Dave worked at the builders they had a beer dispenser in the rest room, and when I was on the Job seekers course, there was beer on sale. The alcoholics were thrilled and were on their first by 8.30 in the morning.  They all think me nuts when I moan at the Burg at having to sit in a smoke filled room….the smoking ban was introduced there this year under much complaining from the staff, I imagine that by October the smokes will have bronchitis and flu from having to smoke in the Hof!!!  They din’t like it when I luaghed at them! You don’t see the alkies on the streets like in GB and most of the local events I’ve never seen anyone binge drinking etc, but we don’t go to the events for the young uns so I can’t say!

And the diet!  sausages in so many form, cheeses of all sorts. (Ok so I gripe a bit having hugh cholesterol and being unable to indulge).  plenty of healthy bread and the ubiquitous semmel- white bread rols that atste and smell like heaven when fresh.  You see kids being given a semmel as a snack – better than sweets?  Yet, they eat loads of salad and fesh veg, make loads of their own jam and in the autumn a lost of places have their own meat in a calf or pig slaughetered on the place.