So where's the snow?

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

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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


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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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New Job

At the end of my first week, I feel a mixture of happiness and doubt over the work. This week hasn’t clocked up the expected hours, but I will not wobble, I’m still being a rock not a wave.  He gave me this work, and he will sort this out!  The thought of it not working out doesn;t bear thinking about.

I cleaned one office, nothing really to say.  The first house has the most wonderful outlook, a dog and cats and the lady has a baby due in a couple of months.  Turns out her son is going to work at the Burg this summer – Lungau is a small world.  I told her my tale of coming here and it was pleasant to clean a clean house, compared to the run down dirt of the Burg.

My second house has a similar view, and is new and beautiful and is a joy to clean.  There is a teenage daughter whose room took me straight back to my own daughter’s when she was a teenager, though not quite a bad.  Loads of ironing, I hope it’s up to standard!  I jumped out of my skin when I switched the contraption on – it’s one of those boards with a reservoir and huge table – it inflated with air, which once I’d got over the shock did make it easier!  Friendly people, when I see them and that’s good. I daresay it all may be a bit lonely, but I’ll load up my MP3 with Mr Wommack and music!  I also get some responsibility as I get paid  when I take cleaning stuff home to wash and buy things. I just want to fill the hours I was given, next week will be better!  Maybe I can do some gardening.  There’s a summer job doing the garden at St Martin which would just bump me up enough to earn my share.  STOP WOBBLING!

Paggy is still in hospital as I write, getting better, joking and being cheeky.  I found out too that I’ve been a little anemic, so am on those black pills and I’m feeling better, no, not just because it’s spring.  I’ve got higher thyroid medication too but I’m waiting to start that as my body gets over the iron shock.

Life is good, and its down to one person operating in my life, thanks Jesus!

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Snow cobwebs

As the snow rapidly disappears in the garden, there seems to be this mould  – or as I would rather romantically call it cobwebs are lying on the grass. Dave reckons it’s where there was poor drainage under the soil and the water lay there for a while. I like to think of it as ghost snow!!!!!  As if we didn’t have enough of it!   Having  been a bit dismayed at the rapid thaw, as I can now sit in my garden in the sunshine, I’m getting used to the idea!  Hopefully at this rate by the end of the month we can do our annual first walk up behind the Diktler hutte and see all the frogs at play!

I start my new job on Monday, apparently their existing cleaner has gone sick.  Makes me think they are maybe not so easy to work for, but she’s already agreed that I can do the Offices on a Friday afternoon, so no evening working as normal. I’m still amazed at God’s hand in all this. This Monday it is an evening because I have to clear up after the decorators!  If it doesn’t work out about the hours, I still have the offer of ten hours a week gardening at St Martin, which appeals a lot!

So why do I keep on thinking and dreaming about the Burg?

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Der Lungau, Four Years along -Winter


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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Still no snow!

The forecast says its coming tonight, and certainly the tops of the mountains which we can see  have their coating of icing sugar, so maybe the snow panic will be over this week. The only thing I really don’t like about the stuff is driving before the ploughs have been out and its rutted.  And of course as we’re newcomers to the game, we tend to drive more cautiously than the locals and they get so impatient.

I’m getting quite childishly excited over Christmas, we’ve got a small tree by the porch with white lights I’ve only seen one other in red here, and I’ve got the deccies ready for the tree but that really will wait a couple of weeks. The main thing I’m building towards is my planned party for the neighbours.  I’m inviting all the houses in our little hamlet and to this end have cooked several Christmas cakes and will have a mince pie making extravaganza next week.  The tradition here is biscuit baking but surely I’m allowed to cling a bit to my cultural traditions? My only problem is Paggy, we cannot not invite him but he has alienated himself from most of the people here by being obnoxious and difficult over the years and I’m afraid that because of him the others wont come.  We did think of having it on two days but as Dave may be on selling Christmas tree duties on Saturdays its not practical. I’m going to tell Paggy it will be an alcohol free zone (except in the cakes), maybe he wont stay long.  Oh I hate being in the middle, I seem to have been there all my life – between my mother and my Grandmother, Mum and my brothers, kids and father, I suppose I should be experienced! What would you do?????

Dave had some unexpected time off last week, and so we have a new project of insulating our wooden porch, polystyrene then laminate – which we found  was cheaper than wooden cladding and it looks good! I may have the chance of a job in St Martin, with an English family who run ski chalets, working as a cleaner again, I have to find something. Is it a backward step as it’s a bit in English although I’d be working with local people?