So where's the snow?

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

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We chose to walk to the tube station when we left each morning on our travels, and it was just as well I just had the little camera, I drove husband and daughter a but scatty as it was!  The road was a microcosm of Vienna’s history. A lot of the buildings had dates on them. There were plaques remembering famous Austrians who had lived there, who built the house, and reminders of different forms of architecture.

What had me most enthralled was the old carriage doors, leading to the yards behind, where the stables had been: Sometimes I got a sneak view. Horses and carriages of course long gone. But echoes. And the height of the building, as we found in ours was a real sound barrier to the street. In our hotel there was a rampant Blackbird madly in love singing his heart out, and he seemed loud. These back yards were maybe the real life of the street. Even when walking past the shops, the present day stories, failed businesses, new one staring up, cheap store, the market place where all the down and outs gathered all day even had its own bit of contemporary art. The old town museum was now a bank -sign of the times.

Yet we concluded, this is a microcosm of European city life, and made me glad of the quietness and greenness of Madling. Still, I did wish for some time alone with my old camera, making a study of the older part of the street, sneaking through doors and gaining insights – maybe another day!

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Der Hochofen in Bundschuh

Having wittered on about the lack of information about mining in the area, we had a great afternoon out at the newly restored museum in Bundschuh, just up the hill from us. 

 Enough information and they’ve restored what is possible. 

 I would have like some more maps of the area and pictures of the mines – but maybe they didn’t have cameras in the Lungau then!! So thumbs up for these guys!

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Austria and Advertising and Mining History

Following our trip up to Turracher Hoehe, we stopped in the lower village of Turrach and explored its fascinating buildings. Obviously late 18th, early 19th century and industrial, but no information. We found ovens at the back of the village, and one plaque which said very little.  Also, compare the buildings here to those up the hill! 

Obviously a town built on mining.  The village pub was shut (this was the Whitsun holiday) but loads of traffic was hurtling through the village – mostly bikes.  Yet we did see a Dutch guy taking the same photos as us.   There is a mining museum in the village which no doubt has the info – was it open?  Of course not.  It only opens once a week on a Thursday afternoon ,and it had what appeared a Guest house behind it. What a missed opportunity! Now I must state I’m an ex National Trust and English heritage member, so I’m probably a victim of information overkill but……

We did look at the Website of the Museum but a lot of the information was two years out of date and the photos there had no information with them. How completely stupid.  At the minimum they could have a leaflet about the village and buildings on the council offices with an honesty box.  There’s so much passing trade they miss out on. Don’t these guys want visitors?  Bring trade into an almost ghost village,  In England there’d be an information centre, trails, tours, and open hours.  This is so typical of Styria and Karnten.  Up in the hills are so many mining works, in Schonfeld they’ve even restored miners accommodation, any signs to tell you? Not on your life!

Ramingstein  in contrast has a wonderfully marked way around the old mine workings in the valley and Tamsweg has just opened a way in the woods where witches and a werewolf were burnt -not exactly my choice for an afternoon out but at least they’re trying to inform and encourage people. Of course, the Lungau is an area of gimmicks,silliest of all was the ‘Family friendly council’ lots of signs on posts,  but it means squat – the Mayor isn’t out  welcoming people, ok, there s a playground but you see what I mean.  The Lungau’s  also a Biological park because of the good air and water, but apart from a few signs and stuff on advertising, no one is actually doing anything! Of course, it won’t remain so clean etc when all these visitors turn up in their cars and spread litter! There’s also the neglect, for example  a footpath with sculptures of the planets along it needs restoring but no one is interested.

Come on Austria, get your act together, learn about advertising and marketing and maybe there’ll be more jobs and money in the region and people wont have to leave to work elsewhere.

Postscript:  We visited the newly rennovated mining museum in Bundschuh (Salzburg of course), and were talking about Turrach to the Guide.  He said the difference is that Bundschuh has a Verein or club, and they have organised the rennovation and preservation of the mining artifacts around Ramingstein. (Not quite up to UK standards but brilliant nevertheless).  Turrach is owned by the Schwarzenburg family who have no interest in promoting anything which is why nothing is done.  Funny, I thought most people liked a chance to make some money!

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At the bottom of the garden are three sycamore trees, which I watch throughout the year as they come into leaf and are brushed by storms and when they are filled with seeds, to when they go brown and sleep for the winter.  They tell me when a storm is coming along the valley and hide the singing birds.  They are there in one of the oldest photos of here that we’ve got.  What they must have seen, the building of the factory, all the workers who lived here, the tyranny of Mr Hart , who’s father owned the flat upstairs,  a Nazi ,who terrorized all the local kids and whose taint still is on his son.  

Our block of flats was built in the 1930s as accommodation for workers in the paper factory that was across the river. It made Hirsch packing paper that went all over the world –  now long gone.  In the picture above, our block is the long building in the left hand corner.  Our flat is at the far end.  You can see the baby sycamores to the right of it. We think the picture is about 1950.

The factory was accidentally (hmm) burnt down during the war, and the flats sold off – to guess who, My Hart who was a leading member in the council. I remember our Estate agent saying our flat has no history – but I think it must have loads.  Workers came here from all over Europe.Yet it was the young Mr Hart who planted the pines that blocked our view of the river, and planted fast growing pines that block one side of the garden and he under planted the Sycamores, strangling the life out of them – the middle one this year looks weak and ill.  What does this say about the man?

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Sea Skimmer by Larry Jeram

You can now click on the picture to see more or even buy!!!

I must admit to being biased in this review as its written by my brother and I spent quite a lot of time reading it before it was published!  The reviews on Amazon say it all, its a great fast packed read, a really brilliant , funny baddy meets his just deserts, and the hero Jon Hunt is great.  Only thing I didnt like was when they shot the dog…….

The Falklands war took place inconveniently when I was due to be married and Larry missed the cermony. He nobly said go ahead anyway!  I can’t believe its thirty years ago, it makes me realise how when I was a child, the Second world war  was still so close to my Mum in the 1960s.

We’d watched the QE2 sail down the Solent, but had little idea really of what was going on.  News reporting was quite different then with the lack of  digital technology that we have today.  I can still remember news reports that such and such a ship begining with the letter A or so has been hit/sunk, must have been a nightmare for the families- compare that to the coverage coming out of Syria today.  Larry spoke on his return of nearly being shot down by an Exocet, which has taken all this time to make its way into the book!  He’s also blogging his was experiences  from  his Flight log book. We seem to be becoming a literay  dynasty

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Why getting old freaks me out!

Mum, Gran and my brothers, pre me!

Telling you about Gran, is a beginning of my explanation of why I just see getting older as a negative thing, that in it there’s nothing positive.  This drives Dave nuts, but I can’t help it!  Seeing both Gran and Mum’s world shrink around them as they got older, makes me so conscious that this is trying to happen to me too.  Mum increasingly wouldn’t drive out of her comfort zone. I’ve never been a confident driver, resorting into panic with the unexpected, but I’m making a conscious effort of trying new places, when we go on holiday not leaving it all to Dave.  I’ve seen it in Paggy too, as his world in the past five years has shrunk to his flat.  He talks about visiting his farm in Czechoslovakia, but he never goes.  He bemoans about his stroke that stopped him driving and I think, didn’t you foresee that at some stage your life might change, did you really imagine you’d go on forever? I can’t see anything positive in being old, someone think of something?

Clothes are another old thing too.  I still see people dressed as they were in the 1940s and 50s,but  maybe they’re just being carefull. Now I’ve never been one for fashion, but I hope what I wear (mostly jeans and jumpers)  isn’t dating, but when I see how little my daughter wears, and the skimpy it is, I just couldn’t face wearing the stuff, I’d feel naked.  So am I already the equivalent of the Granny in the old straw hat and brown coat?

Music, Mum used to go on about Glenn Miller, and I’d think that’s soooo old, but maybe I’m no better in liking 70s stuff. But then again, look at how many radio stations still belt out the stuff.  And I do like Trance, and bands such as Hurts, so maybe I’m not too bad on that one. I hope I wont be stuck in a home being made to sing stuff from the second world war – Dave’s Dad caused a real upset in his when he wanted some Eminem played – good for you John!

Then I’ll think what will it that will get me – illness or heart?  As if I could be prepared for it.  I use my faith as I’ve talked about to rebuke such thoughts! I see a close friend of mine becoming steadily more forgetful and fear to speak to her about it. Something will get us, the best to hope for is an unexpected swift end, at home in bed!

Yet I see myself parked in a home one day, and I wont expect duty visits where the kids look at their watches.  As long as I have a window on a garden or a view it’ll be ok. I dareasy I’ll have my Ipod and digital photo frame and will live in my head! These may be the only possessions I’d need!!!! I wont be grumpy about whatever gifts I’m given like Mum,  thanks heavens for Amazon wish lists.  I’ll always accept fresh flowers and soft centred chocolates and bath creams!    I will always be changing my place around so it doesn’t look set in one era. Eating well and exercising, maybe they’ll keep all this at bay!