So where's the snow?

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


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The Church of Saint Nicholas, Studland

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After a wonderful walk on Studland beach with the family, Dave and I caught sight of this Norman Church and left the kids for a quick peek!

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There were many Medieval Corbels around the roof edge, I could have spent hours wondering what they were!

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Maybe it is better to take piccies quickly and seize the moment.

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Rather than plot and measure and scheme.

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I was just bowled over by the grey stone,

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the reds and green of the decorations

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and the light.Yes, I know at times overexposed but what ho!

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I just loved the merry, warm feeling in the building

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and the sense of overwhelming Englishness.

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Home or away?

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Regular readers will know that many times I’ve used the view from our kitchen window,here in Austria, in snow and summer as I waste many idle minutes pondering on life, talking to God and just watching the birds and the weather.

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When we were in Swanage, we rented a small cottage on the High Street. Completely unexpectedly we found the most incredible view over Swanage.  To the right we could see the sea over the rooftops, in front all the lovely grey stone cottages and the Swanage Railway and bus station. The hills behind the town beckoned me to walk them again. We could even sit on the loo and watch the trains steaming in and out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was a view to engross and always something new.

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Then it struck me.  Here out of my window, I see and hear no sounds of life apart from the waterfall, nor see people apart from cars on the road. Here, as I sat in the garden was the noise of trains, buses, cars, but most of all, LIFE.

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I could hear people in the street talking as they walked past, people going to the church over the road, people pottering in their gardens, doors banging, birds singing. And people are life. Suddenly my home seems like an empty wilderness.

Jeremiah 29, v 10-14


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Blighty Trip!


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I’ve been cheating and put all the women’s stuff on a timer, while in fact we were in the UK for our son’s wedding.  All the lovely photos are on Facebook!

This time we flew with British Airways, and it was nice not to have to worry about the weight of our suitcases and get free nosh on the flight!  We flew into Gatwick and as we came in over the parking lots I was a tad worried to see our yellow Fiat Panda already parked there, it was also in Barton on sea when I was out for a walk with Liz, in Swanage, and in the airport parking at Stansted, what was it up to I wonder??? Or maybe that yellow is so rare as a car colour it stood out.  My daughter said I was totally sad for noticing this!

We then took as train to New Milton, our old town but had a pause at Clapham junction where we enjoyed the first on our culinary list, a fresh, warm traditional Cornish Pasty, with a cup of proper tea, fantastic. We then munched our way through our list during the trip, all stuff we can’t get here. Oat weetabix, Scones and jam in a Dorset cream tea, curry, a proper roast beef with all the trimmings, apple crumble with custard, sausage rolls, Bath buns, Steak and Kidney pie, Chocolate and ordinary Hobnobs,  Victoria sponge,  Lamb shank, Sausages, Pork and lincoln, full English breakfast and of course in Swanage, fish and chips!  We haven’t dared weigh ourselves,but it was worth every mouthful. This is all part of the ex-pat thing I suppose, we rarely mention these delights at home in Austria, apart from an occasional whim.  Most of these are also relatively high in fat and unhealthy!!!!

If we went back to the UK, we would soon take all these for take them as the norm and probably not eat them, so what is better, to enjoy as a treat or take for granted???????


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Curing the homesickness?

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The best known cure for homesickness; SHOPPING!

We haven’t been home to the UK for two years and in hindsight it was too long. Hence the bouts of homesickness I’d experienced  last year.  I’ve  had hints of wanting to return as well, so our trip this Christmas was a real test. The pre-Christmas weeks were frantic and I was exhausted, but it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the process of catching a plane and doing all the stuff.  As we landed at Stansted I was completely choked and wanted a boo!  Oh, no, I though, I do need to come home, then I remembered that I do this every time.  Back through Passport control, I was thrilled to be in a queue where I could understand, and was vastly amused at the couple in front of us who were ringing home to find a party of some sort had taken place and the resulting chaos….. On the bus I found I couldn’t understand a word around me, just like being in Austria!

We were based in Stratford (more of that later), and for the first couple of days I drank in the houses and streets and the familiarity. It was so good to see my daughter and catch up, just like you can’t on the phone. Down in Dorset, it was so exciting to meet with my son and his fiance and discuss all the upcoming wedding plans. Unlike London I could once again understand all the conversations around me and enjoyed the soft, warm (comparatively) wind and the damp air and rain, not to mention the sea.   Back there, it was like putting on a comfortable old shoe, that hugs and soothes. I got used to speaking English the whole time and feeling  a part, not an outsider.  It was a wrench to leave there to go to  Aldershot to see the rest of the family.  But it was all still familiar and welcoming, especially the shops filled with familiar stuff, enjoying a curry and Fish and Chips, though I didn’t get to the pasty I havered for!

I’m such a nut, I still felt homesick in an odd sort of way when I was there as I knew I’d have to leave, I stamped on that silly emotion. I didn’t want to come back to Austria, but its difficult to leave family anyway.  The time we spent with the kids was magic, but we were all enjoying a holiday time together, having looked forward to it and Christmas.  The reality of the in-laws tuning up on a weekend when tired  is different. It was real quality time and so sweet.

I felt nothing as we landed in Salzburg, I wasn’t as tired as when we left.  I wanted to get home as by then I’d had enough of travelling.  But no, I don’t want to stay here forever, life here is in a bit of a rut and I’ll have to find some more friends, jobs and hobbies this year.  Austria will never be home, I don’t want dual nationality, I’m English and at some stage I will go home.

A few days on, despite the down of returning to work, I’m really at peace. Maybe because we’ll be back in the UK for the wedding, which I’m so excited about.  the jury on Austria is still out…….


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Off to London

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Not quite Austria……..

For a short while, I’m becoming a travel Blog writer as I blither on a bit about our trip to London this Christmas.  Having costed it out, we took a taxi to the Airport. We  flew from Salzburg to Stansted with Ryanair,  then took a National Express coach to Stratford, near where to Olympic games were held.  We rented a Marlin apartment nearby and spent quite some time in the nearby Westfield Shopping Centre.  After an exhausting few days, we took the train to Wareham in Dorset and spent  some time in a lovely Bed and Breakfast, Easter Cottage, and  the days chilling with our son and his fiance, and tripping on the Swanage railway.   We then all drove to Aldershot to see Dave’s family, and  stayed in a Premier Inn. It was all highly organised, unlike last time when I forget the Credit card so we couldn’t hire the car, all went smoothly.  It sounds a big rush, but compared to other trips it was ok and we didn’t arrive home exhausted!

I admit, two years are  too long to stay away from home, and it was so good to be back.  We returned in some ways quite unsettled as I’ll explain………..


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Travel Theme: Oceans

Living in a landlocked country means we always make a beeline for the coast when we go back to England.  This was taken near Tilly Whim Caves, Swanage. Not very original but nostalgic for me

On the same walk, we were buzzed by the airsea rescue, can you see them???? The sea can be so dangerous, we need these guys!

Lastly, How many oceans has he flown? (corny I know!)

http://wheresmybackpack.com/2012/06/08/oceans/