So where's the snow?

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


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In Cardiff

All three of us slept like logs, and spent Sunday exploring Cardiff. We found the city centre and the shops; it was great to be shopping on a Sunday! On Monday we went on the train up to Mountain Ash, the town near where our new house is. Swingle had never travelled on a train before, and was totally stressed, and panted like mad. It didn’t help that we were right by the engine. She calmed a bit, but was eager to get off. It was a small local train. We walked through the town to the estate agents and found it as run down as when we were on Google streets. When we got to the agents, we found we should have rung before to arrange, but we made an appointment for the next day. We were told that the owners were fed up with the lack of progress, and said we were too, having been ready to move for ages. We found a chip shop on the way back to the station, but they were so fatty. But Swingle enjoyed helping us. She was calmer on the way back. I then got myself in a state about the non arrival of the text for the day two covid tests, especially when I called the helpline, and they said they had been delivered. They hadn’t. In the end, there was nothing I could do but wait, in case they turned up and eventually I received an email saying they had only just been dispatched. So what hadn’t been delivered the day before?

Stef had received the surveyor’s report that said the house needs some work done on the roof, there was rising damp and some electricals needed checking. We decided we would wait and see. Larry said that all old houses have rising damp, his had and they had even had it fixed and it hadn’t worked! I felt quite calm over the whole thing.

The next morning, Swingle was much quieter on the train, but not 100%. Dave and I had fun getting our photos done for our railcard in one of those old booths. We walked up the hill to Cfenpennar and discovered an old abandoned railway line for mining on the way up. When we got to the village, it was sooo strange seeing somewhere we had seen in the photos. We found the owners there clearing the garden. They looked very typical working class, and I didn’t believe all they said. But the problems didn’t seem to bad. The rising damp was around the fireplace in the front room, maybe the coldest room in the house. Oh I loved it after all this time. Swingle nearly jumped in the pond. And they aren’t including the Landrover. They even offered us to move things in, but we felt we had to chat to Stef first. Tired and elated, we went back with a much calmer dog. The tests arrived, we did them, and posted them off. I even go into Primark for five minutes!

Wednesday, we went to Cardiff castle, only to find we couldn’t go in anywhere with a dog, so we took turns in the keep, then walked miles along the river Taff, and then down to the Cardiff sea front. Dave and I have discovered what were old canals leading into a huge wharf. They are a source of fascination and I will photo later. I was so tired that we bought burgers and collapsed in a heap here. We extended our stay in this hotel as we haven’t been able to find anywhere else, it’s a cheap budget hotel, with dogs allowed. We’re now watching Midsummer murders, the UK tv now we have it seeming a bit of a letdown, not found anything we like yet! I sent Stef her money for the deposit on the house, we’re just hoping the solicitors get their fingers out, and we get in soon. Apparently, the owners got on at theirs yesterday and the two actually spoke yesterday. Still no news as I wrote!

Thursday we walked along the Cardiff barrier and then the beach to X. I’m trying not to think about the non arrival of the tests. What if we need to isolate? NO, they will be negative. I’m not going in the website to track their progress. I’d rather not know! I seem to be moving on a bit at last. But they were posted Tuesday afternoon, so it’s now 48 hours… I didn’t read the bad reviews of the company, really!

Dave’s test arrived Thursday evening, and mine the following day, both negative. I really thought we had reached the end if the stress, I’d even been planning what we would do if one was left in quarantine, but surely, being so close together, we’d both be clear.

Friday had us walking to a laundrette, who thankfully, did a service wash. We spent the day, moseying around Bute park by the Castle, and laughing at the display of dinosaurs being set up for the ban/k holiday. They were to scale and did actually move, but the fake roaring, while it impressed all the dogs walking past, had me in giggles. They sounded like bad actors doing roaring from70s films. I had finally given the kids their inheritance, which had been promised, and sorted out a UK bank account which I would need for my Austrian pension to be sent here.

Then came an email from the Gov UK saying they were considering rejecting our Transfer of Residence because I had sent one form in the wrong format, not a PDF. My world fell apart. I had screwed up yet again, after the passenger location forms, not putting Hotel on the test booking, although it wasn’t my fault that the tests in Austria had only had one test notification. Back at the Hotel, I was in a panic as I tracked down the form for our tenancy agreement. Jpeg, not PDF. In desperation, I found a firm that would do this online, but it didn’t work. Eventually I found the method I used with the test forms. I now rang GOV. Man said that they were all working from home, and then couldn’t open my file. So I explained the situation, and when I said that we were already here, and the furniture in storage, he said don’t bother! It was meant to be used at customs when we arrived. (*&^%$£”£r%£!”! After all that stress. I sent the form anyway, said what I had been told and tried to forget it. But the company who was supposed to have done the altering for me, never sent. I emailed them, no reply. In the morning, I checked reviews and found most said they were a scam. What a twit I had been. I cancelled the credit card so they couldn’t take any more money and rang Steph. She said that our tenancy form didn’t have enough info on it for someone to make mischief. That helped a lot. Then I got an email with a document from the company, unchanged, so they were a scam. Enough said.


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House moving is never easy…

I think this corona situation is making what would already be fairly difficult , even worse, not to mention Brexit. Firstly the UK housing market has gone nuts. We’re looking at Wales and the places we can afford and like are being swept off the shelf in a couple of weeks at asking prices.

We decided that as we can’t get over to view due to the quarantine hassle there and back, and that we want to see the place ourselves, we would rent. All those we that are in our budget (as this will eat into our capital) are either snapped up, only for a years let, or not dog friendly.

And the car, do we sell it here? Or drive it back and flog it to a Left hand drive company in the UK? We will need to drive because of the dog. And then, as we wouldn’t do it in a day, can we stop anywhere in France overnight?

We have quotes for moving our stuff, and one really on the ball company told us the Transfer of residency form which stops us having to pay import tax when we enter the UK. We have to have a complete inventory of the household good, details of us, the car and the dog. I’m just pleased they told us.

Or do we leave the furniture here and collect it later ourselves in a truck? Except Austria has now banned entry from the UK due to the Indian variant, for all except business and residents, and we’ll have to give up our residency when we leave…

So it goes on. It’s a bank holiday weekend, so I’m going to forget the whole flipping thing. We can now go out for a coffee and maybe we’ll just take off for a trip somewhere!


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What now?

New Year, new starts, blah,blah,blah. We got through Christmas with peace, and had lovely chats with family. Now, maybe it’s the lack of direction, nothing on the horizon, that’s bringing me down. Nothing to look forward to. Lockdown here until 17th January. No holiday houses to do, so not even frantic February to dread/ look forward to. I don’t even want to get back to writing, I’m struggling with the second part of my autobiography as it is.

It’s not often that I get down or lose hope. This afternoon, Dave and I had a look on the net at properties on Wales to see if the prices have gone down; there still seems to be properties about. I felt so low and wanted to cry. I love this place, but want to go. No sale in sight, its just a lost dream. Or is it safer to stay here, as this stupid bug is still storming around?

I know God has a plan, we are in his hands, I know I’m impatient. God, couldn’t we have just a little hint of the way forward? Many years ago, when we were waiting to be re-housed after the eviction, I went to look at a house to rent. On the way home, I cried to him, could you please do something so clear, that we know what to do? I was in a real dilemma. An hour later, we had a call offering us a brand new council house that became our family home. I could do with a bit of that now Lord.