So where's the snow?

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


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The dangers of driving in Austria

IMG_0364 Just around the corner from us us a sharp bend in the road which leads to Tamsweg.  The road was widened during the war but being pure rock, bits fall off it now and then. Today the gang was there hewing the winter’s weak bits off. Not a job I fancy!  Just makes you think with all this rock around you, let alone local drivers who consider the best way to overtake is on a bend while on your mobile……….


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Sooooooooo busy!

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After Christmas I fully expected to hit the boredom rut that we usually do, especially as there’s no snow to speak of down here in the valleys for Cross country skiing.  Wrong!  I signed up for an online TEFL course to boost my teaching skills and what an eye opener it is. Although I can’t use a lot of it because I speak German,  I’ve many new ideas. Trouble is, there’s not many scenarios in the course for those who have to teach for an entire day either!  Still I’m chuffed to find that the grey cells are still working and I’m rediscovering my enjoyment of study.

Then I was asked to translate the website for our village, Ramingstein, I’ll tell you when its live and you can laugh at wot I wrote!  Then I was asked to run three courses at the Volkhochschule, (evening classes) from the middle of February to Easter, so just as little preparation there. It has bowled me over how many people I know say they have seen the ad in the brochure, so how many that don’t know me have too? Fame at last!  One course is already full!

Then trying to get fitter, I have a new elliptical Cross trainer, which means I can now make it harder and even go backwards, so I try to work on that. Ok, so I broke the last one, the foot broke!

Then there’s the holiday houses we look after (well all two of them), but a changeover takes 2-3 hours, plus washing and ironing, Dave and I do this together,  but have found it better to work in separate rooms so we don’t criticize each other and argue! The bookings keep on rolling in on these.

Then there’s trying to write blogs – I’m giving the book one a break as there’s such rubbish on the free lists at the moment. Now I’ve finished the translation hopefully there’s more time for this!

Then there’s just life and shopping and day to day stuff and trying to spend time with Dave as  he’s bored out of his skull as naturally there’s nothing doing in the garden.

Then there’s the church and Housegroup, and loving God. This should be first I guess!

So now I’m really hoping that I’ll get the course for the AMS again in May, so I’m now dreaming of  another long summer off like last year…….


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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

*Ice


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Troadkasten

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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Der Lungau, Four Years along -Winter

Schneeeeeeeee!

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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Jesus and the Wall

 So  after all I had been listening to, I was experiencing a renewal.  My doubts about the path we’re on here were gone and I now needed to take more steps and explore the way.A teaching of Andrew’s talked about using your imagination to see God’s will and plan, and that positive imagination is HOPE. Together with my renewal of using toungues I decided to battle with that wall.

 I had been reading  about Jesus being the shepherd (John 10 v 1-7) and how he goes into the sheep pen collects his sheep and then leads them out into pasture, funny I’ve only just understood this picture of practical sheep keeping!  So I sat and saw this wall, and could see a brick wall with some trees behind.   So I began tearing down bricks, and some had names on them, self, arrogance, family, Erna, horses, disbelief, self pity (I’m good at that!)  and I could see them lying on the ground.  The wall grew neither smaller or shorter although now 30 brick were on the ground.  So I decided to give it another go and went back to reading. 

 Matthew 7, v 13-14, and John 10, v 7

 I don’t need to destroy the wall, I have a gate, Jesus, I just need to find the small and narrow gate in all that undergrowth!