So where's the snow?

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

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Getting carried away!



I may have mentioned that we’re in the UK this Christmas and its been on my mind all the year around.  I had spoken to our son and wife about if we could stay and that was OK. Then I was thinking about our drive over and started looking at the ferries. The Cherbourg crossing means Swingle will have to stay in the car, so it wont be that route, couldn’t leave her that long! We can go to Dunkirk/Calais for an hours crossing, which isn’t so long to leave her, or the tunnel, which costs about three times as much!!!

Then I got in a discussion with my daughter in law and breezed on about being over during the first week in December. She seemed a bit odd about it, so I sent an email to them both. George replied, um, we were just expecting you for Christmas.

I was devasted, as I realised that I had been so carried away with mz own need to see them and have lost my ability to communicate, I’ve been so wrapped up in my own self. A little part of me also said, well they haven’t bothered to come here for come to see us for two years and they have had lots of holidays…..But I was so at fault, and I so miss them.

So I wrote a very sorry email and had to wait two days till he replied that he had night shifts the first two weeks. Could understand that, so have said could we arrive the weekend before, am waiting for a reply………

PS All was Ok, due there there weekend before Christmas, phew!


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Walls by Stef and Me!


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As Stef is here this week, we have made a montage of walls that mean things to us, enjoy!

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Oral Tradition


When our son and his wife visited recently, we had a discussion about my Dad, who was ‘One if the Few’ in the Second world war. I was able to show them some fairly boring photos, which I must get my brothers to have a go at identifying, but could tell them the family tales my mother told me about him.

It then struck me that the kids know nothing about my childhood. I talk about people but never tell them about lives. In this day of media and laptops and everyone taking selfies, or going on the ancestry sites, have we lost track of the simple tradition of telling family stories to our kids. Telling them of the wealth of their heritage, how our families are formed. Writing it down has no guarantee of being passed on. Yet in a generation that is constantly recording itself, we need the family tales told before they are lost forever. There are family shots in my Mum’s album who I have no idea who or why they are there, and now never will do.

Talk, pass it down.

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I don’t think I can go on like this any more……


We recently had a visit from our son and his lovely wife. We hadn’t seen them since the wedding, 16 months ago, although we had exchanged infrequent emails, texts and face time on the phones. But not enough.

We had a time that was intense, such fun, chatty, learnt stuff about each other. Caught up.We even discussed what our future is here and how all we have in the UK is the kids. When they left, I decided that this time, I will let the emotion out, but I was in such pain at the Airport, I had to keep a hold on that in front of them.

I know it’s a reflection of how we are finding work and life here difficult. How would it be if they had moved away?

The next day Dave and I were both tired and ratty, and the following day I started the morning miseries, mild panic attacks, fear, light palpitations. Just like when our daughter left us in June.So it wasn’t a hormonal thing, it was my head and grief stepping in. This morning I cried. I prayed in tongues, letting it all out, and I was healed.  I am calm. But I can’t go on like this. It doesn’t change the situation. I don’t want to step on their toes or be the intrusive mother, but 16 months is too long. My family is my life. Sacrifice apart, God, you brought me here. I am a Mother, I will see my kids. If you want me to stay here, you have to trump up more money so I can go to see them more often. If not, next year, I’m leaving Austria. And going home. To where I can see them maybe every couple of months, or even more.

Have I talked to Dave about this – no. and I know that’s not good. I will not be putting this through Facebook either. But he doesn’t want to leave here. And it would be a great wrench to go to. We have quickly slipped back into our calmness and doing stuff, pottering about, filling our days and in six weeks I will be teaching again, having a shift on Meals on Wheels focuses our day.  What is the solution? Dave has been given a verse, about what is sown in sadness will be repaid in joy-he sees this as a us getting loads of money in the autumn, I see it as my situation, but I wasn’t given the verse.

I’m hanging on for Christmas, when we all get together in England. It is my focus.

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These two boys have caught my eye over the past seven years at the Georgi-ritt, what an interesting view of people growing up!

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Lungau musings

An abandoned but famous locally, farm house in Ramingstein, still filled with flowers each year by the owners.

I suddenly find myself with a lot to say about the Lungau.  To us, such a special place and I want to tell people about it so they visit here, but no more in-comers please, we’ve already got 4 English couples in this parish, although only we’re here full-time.  I have a thing against holiday homes, it’s happened so often that they turn villages into ghost towns, ruining the place for the locals.  There are a few here, Salzburgers, Italian and Dutch.  The village of Thomotal is such an example, no shop any more, one guest house and the school.  So I believe if you want to have a house in another country, go and live there, integrate, joining in, assimilate, don’t bleed the place dry. Some councils have even sold land here with a prohibition on non locals buying to build or selling on, good thing too!

Each area has its identity, Edith tells me the people in Mariapfarr are very proud and one up -manship, while Ramingsteiners are more laid back.  nevertheless, everyone is linked family wise, if you know one person, you no doubt will know their Aunt or Nephew too.  People are always telling me who is related to who and so on.  They’s all part of big village clans, such as Lankmeyers, Mosers and Paggitiches. One might say they are a tad inbred , I’m told it used to be a major prize to find a wife out of the Lungau!

Some things strike me, and of course, I can’t say if these things are particular to here or over all Austria. Here there are many small, one man businesses apparently making a living.  There’s been a boom here in building after the financial crisis, people now rather than saving building  a new house or putting the new roof on. However, most young uns leave here to work in the bigger cities as there isn’t a huge amount of work, unless you’re in the tourist industry.  In winter the number of foreign workers are capped so that there isn’t an influx.  Yet saying that, the Hotels in Obertauern are filled with workers from Eastern Europe…..

In Ramingstein there are a lot of empty derelict properties which are just being allowed to decay, often as a newer,warmer house has been built. I understand that sometimes no one knows anymore who even owns them if you are interested in buying.  As I said, hence the influx of foreigners buying these places and doing them up, none of the locals want these places.  So a bit of a catch 22 really.   Some places do get bulldozed eventually and so of course there goes a bit of Lungau history!

However, there is a great sense of pride in property as seen in the flower filled balconies in the summer, which in winter are often filled with dried flowers.  I’ve wondered why there isn’t a best kept village competition here!