So where's the snow?

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


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Ghost Golf Course!

A few days ago we had heavy, misty cloud, and as I took Swingle for her afternoon stroll, it was quite eerie. We had the whole course to ourselves, apart from a couple of crows.


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Free this weekend!

These frank memoirs follow what should have been a privileged childhood, pony mania, a badly behaved teenage, a year out on a farm in Switzerland, working as a zookeeper, running a smallholding, marriage, and family. Yet, it wasn’t until a traumatic eviction that I found faith, my way back to horses and a new beginning.


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Swingle is Seven

A belated happy birthday to our sweet hound, who was faithfully with us throughout all our waiting to get into the house, having to sleep on hard hotel floors. She had nightmares for weeks after her journey to the UK. She was kept in the dark in the van, and was happy to go back in, but after three days, she began to understandably refuse. For the next few weeks, she would wake us in the night, not to go out, but for confirmation we are here and she’s okay.

On her first train journey, she shook and was terrified, but soon got used to it and now loves the attention she gets, she even got a treat from a guard once! She sits and waits patiently on platforms, hops on and off with alacrity.

She just loves her new walks, the village field, the old tip on the hill with its dingles and streams, and the golf course where she runs around like a nutter.

In Cardiff in the park, she learnt all about hunting squirrels, but not that dogs can’t climb trees!

But being Swingle, her accident prone ness has hit again. I wish I had followed up the thought about getting her insured. We were clearing the garden on our terrace, there were holes and roots where woozels and mice had been making nests. Trouble is Dave was cutting with sheers… need I say more?

Her ear was cut in a jag across,and on the other side of the ear too. Blood flew around the kitchen as she shook her head. Could we find a local vet on a Saturday? Only an accident line. A wonderful neighbour who is doing a house up a few doors down, took us nearly all the way to Cardiff to a 24/7 vets’ clinic. One anesthetic later, she came home with about six inches and the collar of shame.

She took it all in her stride and after two days is legging it around the rough on the golf course as if nothing was wrong, except I keep her out of the long grass. She’s now VERY insured after the huge bill. English vets really are onto a nice earner.

She now has beds upstairs to over the street and bark at people like she did in Madling. She’s lost weight with all her galloping and seems to love Wales!


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Christmas Edition

My Memoirs are on sale together as a special edition box set, just over the Christmas period.

Anna Rashbrook used to be a person who would proudly boast, ‘I am what I am.’ It took nearly forty years of the hard knocks of life before she found God, and that much of what she treasured was actually caused by damage.

In these totally frank memoirs, follow Anna through what should have been a privileged childhood, pony mania, a badly behaved teenage, student placement on a farm in Switzerland, working as a zookeeper, running a smallholding, marriage, and family.

Then, through a traumatic eviction, she finds God’s love and begins a new journey. Yet, it is only when her marriage comes under threat that she must come to terms with her past and find healing. Out of this comes a new job, where her passion for horses is reignited.

Has life finished with her, are there more hurdles to overcome, or even another new start on the horizon?


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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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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.