So where's the snow?

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

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Early birds

Not seen him this winter either

I’m writing on March 25th, although this blog will go out later. I can’t believe it, and we’ve just had our first thunderstorm of the year.  Even knocked the power out briefly!  This warm weather makes it so easy to get to think that it’ll be warm and sunny all spring, now its dark and gloomy and raining, but the garden needs it. I’m not going to be caught out this year planting stuff too early! This is our sixth spring here and I’ve never seen the like!

Also amazing, yesterday I  just saw a family of  Alpine Martins flitting around the eaves of the house, one was sat in a nest right up in the eaves, I hope I didn’t scare them off, it would be great to have some here.  But so early,  the swifts and swallows don’t usually get here until late May, early June. I’ve given the garden birds all the tail ends of the winter’s fat balls out of the nets on the table, they’re going nuts about them.  I’ve also  had to stock up of bird food as the shops now are stocking barbecue stuff, and I’ll need reserves for another month or two yet!

Does this all have any link to the ash in the atmosphere or the sun spots?  Thing is we’ll never really know, I just think its more of this wacky weather which started last spring!

I did my second office in the new job and am beginning to see a rhythm to the week and how I will fill the hours. There was ample evidence of a dog there – when I asked the boss, she said it’s an afghan puppy, maybe I need to go a bit earlier next time to see it!  Still, if I do the offices twice a week,-especially with the dog hair, I will get my hours. I just need one more day filled! And compared to the Burg, I have FOUR hoovers, and ones a Dyson!!!!!!!!

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Shame on you Burg Finstergruen!

I may be shooting myself in the foot here, as I’ve just been in contact with the Burg peeps about offering our therapy to the guests – as team building for kids and family strengthening.    But I’m writing this any way.

Last year,  one of the cooks didn’t return and we found out she just didn’t get a letter of recall, just nothing, she was left high and dry with no idea. This year,  I’d already sacked myself , but when I was talking  found out they now have two full-time cleaners, who must also work in the other areas – my ears will be burning no doubt when they begin spring cleaning as Erna slags us off!  I should have asked about Michaela but  didn’t.

Yesterday I had a call from Michaela, to quote herself, burning in Gas mark 500, she’d not heard from the Burg in writing, though admittedly she hadn’t attended the Christmas meal when the return forms were dealt with.  So she’d rung and found she has no work.  She could have hung on for weeks waiting, so now she has to deal with the Job centre and find a new job. 

There is no doubt ample legal reasons for this being ok to do. But the management were quick enough to sack someone in person when the Naschkammer wasn’t making enough money last year. All it would have taken was a letter to say not needed, especially as the job is now full-time.

So shame on you management of Burg Finstergruen, run by the Protestant church, what a good witness.  I hope one of you reads this!

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Another new job day

Dining hall in Burg

I’m due for my first shift on the new job tomorrow, going in on a late afternoon to do an office, I think this is just due to the leaving of the last cleaner and usually I’ll be able to do them on a Friday afternoon.

The job centre sent me the details of a place for a Riding Instructor at a stables nearby and for the summer, English needed – very good wages too.  Too late, but oh,what a temptation!  To be back with the horses – although they’re mostly Norrikers.  But the hours are 40 plus a week, six days a week, I would never have the time to do the therapy work or have the life I’ve so longed to lead in the summer.  God answered my prayer so specifically, now that little voice says why didn’t you ask for a part time job with horses?????  Ungrateful brat!

I’ve been seeing signs of activity at the Burg from the kitchen window  and its haunting me, I keep seeing the rooms and wishing I was there – I was even thinking, how will they find stuff we left in cupboards?  How easily I forget the stress of last year. Maybe its just because I’m at home and not much else to think of, once I have this work place filled in my head!

So yet another new start, I’m so tired of these.  This time, there will be no new staff to meet, just the Boss. Will she change from charm to a dragon, like Lois does once I’m her employee?  I imagine she will have high standards. How will I cope with so little hours?  I’m sure God has stuff in mund, and there’s never been a job yet that didn’t need more than asked.  And being me, I’ll be immediately thinking how to improve the job, and making myself more than a cleaner.  I’m always the same, when I went to the Burg and there was chance of  the guided tours, that really appealed to my sense of self-importance.  Still I feel God has given me these folks to love, and that I’ll do.

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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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Scary new job

Corfe castle from the train at Christmas

I took the bus to Obertauern on Tuesday with a pleasant sense of anticipation. This was going to be another new start, new people, new challenge. I didn’t like the cost of the ticket, but found out later there is a week and a monthly ticket which saves loads.

After arriving in the reception, I met Evka, the Hungarian chief  ‘Zimmer madchen’.  We went to the laundry where people were ironing table cloths in the machine.  There was Elizabeth, a Malasian woman, another Checkoslovian Anna and Waltraud, a Lungauer.  I was a bit taken aback at the aggression I received as to why I wasn’t working on the weekends.Why had I come on Monday when I was needed Tuesday to Friday – I’d only done what the boss said!  I responded that all  was agreed at the interview and I had other stuff to do at weekends. It is understandable as it’s the busiest time, but I’m not going to budge!  I was sent to clean rooms with Elizabeth and  this at least was familiar and I could do the quilt folding – thank heavens for my temporary job last year where I’d learnt a lot rapidly!  When I’d done the rooms, I found Elizabeth, who told me I was too quick and at this Hotel things were easy.  Then she and Anna drank a small bottle of wine left in the room and they had a fag.  Gob smacking. Then it was back to the laundry and I was showed the machines and given basic instructions.  Lunch  was meat and pasta with gravy, so there wasn’t much I could eat and the smoke – urgh!  The women were friendly in a sort of blunt way and I chatted to them.  The afternoon went by quickly and then it was back on the bus – I went with Elizabeth and Waltraud, the stop being right by the hotel.  It became crowded with skiers, all getting stroppy with  each other as they packed in.  Getting on the bus was a bit like a jumble sale – elbows to be sharpened! 

The next morning I was alone in the laundry and had to iron the table cloths in the large ironing machine, I was very slow and the dining room staff came back twice to collect stuff.  Then Evka walked in a shouted because  I was washing the towels, not the table cloths – well no one had said there was a priority.  Then one of the machines stopped and the ironing machine switched itself off.  It was near lunch and I eventually found Evka, who crossly showed me the trip switch and sorted the washing machine out.  I was alternatively feeling like booing and then cross. After a less smoky but lean lunch, we were all back in the laundry, I let rip. After all,  if this job is not good, then I walk.  I said it just wasnt polite all leaving me alone all morning, to which Evka replied they had told me everything the previous day. I replied no one had mentioned the bloody table cloths and didn’t back down.  So begrudgling we went through things again. When I was ironing she suddenly came over and was as nice as pie, she knew she’d overstepped the mark,  It was unfair just dropping me in it wasn’t it?  Nevertheless every time I have a question for Evka she gets the being annoyed at the village idiot look on her face…

Wednesday I  got it wrong again because I waited for the table cloths to arrive as I thought I was supposed to, and didn’t load the machines up with towels I felt I couldn’t win!  Thursday was better, being back in the rooms, except Evka (who lives in) came in to turn the machines onduring the morning – kindness or self-righteousness?  The afternoons are the worst when there’s not much to do once the tablecloths are done, the other women alternatively grouch at each other then are friendly.  This smoking and the drinking, at work is a whole different culture and a shock to me.  Although when I look back, it was there to some  extent at the Burg. What did I really expect?

I felt alternatively ok about the job, and then a deep sense of unease -which was getting a bit better by Thursday. I wanted desperately to be back with the horses, even ready to put up with Lois again.  But I talked to Micheala and Edith and both sort of said stick with it.  It is just the hours I want, and the costs of travelling are now ok. I have another  week on trial.  I’m going to take rolls for lunch as even when I can eat the pasta, I find its covered in butter.  I really can’t stand the smoke and that’s my problem, I’m not in my own land where its forbidden. I have prayed and still can’t get to whats bothering me, except that it just so isn’t me. Next week there are few guests, so maybe I wont even be needed. Maybe something better will come across.  It is better than being stuck at home all week.  What would you do?

UPDATE:  I went into my second week quite at peace.  Then the Boss came in all apologetic and said that there just wasn’t enough work for me to be there during the week and as I wont work weekends,  she didn’t need me.  She seemed embarassed, but I was so relieved, I couldn’t wait to go. Signed on again the next day and hopefully some time at home, unless somehting good turns up….