So where's the snow?

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


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Blighty Trip!


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I’ve been cheating and put all the women’s stuff on a timer, while in fact we were in the UK for our son’s wedding.  All the lovely photos are on Facebook!

This time we flew with British Airways, and it was nice not to have to worry about the weight of our suitcases and get free nosh on the flight!  We flew into Gatwick and as we came in over the parking lots I was a tad worried to see our yellow Fiat Panda already parked there, it was also in Barton on sea when I was out for a walk with Liz, in Swanage, and in the airport parking at Stansted, what was it up to I wonder??? Or maybe that yellow is so rare as a car colour it stood out.  My daughter said I was totally sad for noticing this!

We then took as train to New Milton, our old town but had a pause at Clapham junction where we enjoyed the first on our culinary list, a fresh, warm traditional Cornish Pasty, with a cup of proper tea, fantastic. We then munched our way through our list during the trip, all stuff we can’t get here. Oat weetabix, Scones and jam in a Dorset cream tea, curry, a proper roast beef with all the trimmings, apple crumble with custard, sausage rolls, Bath buns, Steak and Kidney pie, Chocolate and ordinary Hobnobs,  Victoria sponge,  Lamb shank, Sausages, Pork and lincoln, full English breakfast and of course in Swanage, fish and chips!  We haven’t dared weigh ourselves,but it was worth every mouthful. This is all part of the ex-pat thing I suppose, we rarely mention these delights at home in Austria, apart from an occasional whim.  Most of these are also relatively high in fat and unhealthy!!!!

If we went back to the UK, we would soon take all these for take them as the norm and probably not eat them, so what is better, to enjoy as a treat or take for granted???????


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God’s hints and how he soften our hearts!

Canoeist on the Mur

Sometimes I think the Holy Spirit shows me things and I think its good to share them.Whether its a softening of our hearts, or a prophetic event it doesn’t matter to me. I’m always on the look out to follow God‘s plan and theses incidences are to me such strong indications of his working things out for me. There were so  many God-incidences about buying this flat that we knew it was right, but here’s some of the other stuff in which he’s been active in over the years.

In the 1980s, we were evicted from a Tithe cottage in the New Forest and went through the process of eviction and living in B&B (maybe I need to tell this story some time, anyone interested?).  We were waiting to be rehoused and in this time, I had to do some trips to New Milton, a local town we had never really liked. However, on these visits, I realised that it wasnt such a bad place, and I would come back to do some shopping. So what happens?  In the next few months we’re offered a new council house there and accept with alacrity – this is also maybe God softening our hearts!

When I was working in Art Insurance and my Boss was such a bully, for some reason I got interested in  horse competition called Le Trec and went to a demonstration at the Fortune Centre.  While I was waiting,being early as usual I saw some of the students and thought these kids are ok -until then Disabled people had really freaked me out.  Result, three months later I was working there!

Last year I took a job as a laundress in Obertauern, which didn’t work out but I got some ideas about ironing and stuff.  So what does my new job entail? About 4 hours ironing a week, and its never been a favourite occupation for me – I’m so glad Dave never had an office job and needed shirts!


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Fish and Chips and Homesickness

Not so happy cows, just turned onto the Alm, June 2010

One of the few programmes that Dave and I enjoy on the Austrian TV is Sarah Wiener and her cooking adventures as she gathers the ingredients for a meal, usually taking part in harvesting them, she takes an instamatic photo of herself and then beetles off in her car to cook them and of course everyone loves them.  She now has a new series set in Englandwith Gary Rhodes offering tips.  I just wish I could cut off the translation as she speaks a lot in English as do obviously all the people she meets.  She started in Whitby, at the Magpie Café, cooking fish and chips.  We were quite unsurprised to see she had tartare sauce with them as most people here go a shade of green when we say we have vinegar on ours!  Oh it looked so tasty, Dave and I fantasized about Greasy Nicks in New Milton (not the real name) and family fish and chip meals in Swanage, especially the restaurant by the quay whose name I can’t remember, or sitting in the ozone filled breeze by the beach.

Homesickness hit me in the guts.  I missed my kids. I mourned that we’ll never be a houseful on a Sunday for a roast, my kids have their own lives and even now its maybe too late to re-create the links.  One of the costs of coming here.  And no bloody fish and chips in the Lungau. Don’t   know if I can face watching more of the series!


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Houses

I don’t know whether I’m alone in having a special place in my heart for all the houses I’ve lived in.  The house in Christchurch Road in Winchester, where I was born has a very special place. In our day it was called Shannon House, but now is known as Bolton Lodge, but I thought they lived next door!  It deserves a blog of its own which will come.  My point in writing now is to reflect on changing times. When we left Winchester, I never went back to the house, but certainly drive past it every time we are there.  I’ve had it’s ‘for sale’ details, but that had only an external picture. I lived here for the first ten years of my life, then it was Priory Cottage in Martyr Worthy, but this house have I less memories of, maybe because I was hitting teenage the years we were there.  There were other houses my mother lived in, but they never became part of me as they weren’t my home, in fact when I came back from Switzerland I didn’t know where I lived!  When Dave and I were first married it was Little Marsh Lodge, near Beaulieu, for six years, during which our kids were born and then Chaffinch Close in New Milton.  This was a council house which we moved into as its very first tenants, here the kids grew up and we eventually bought it and then sold it to move here. 

Our garden 2002

The point of this?  As I said, I’ve never returned to Christchurch Road, but due to the Internet, I’ve seen the selling details for Chaffinch Close and have even seen what the rooms look like now.  So I’ve shamelessly nicked the pictures off the net! I suppose I’d better not put the indoor pictures on.  Suffice to say, after all my kids said about our kitchen, no one has replaced the units!

2010

 Our kitchen had the kid’s pictures all over the units and my shelves were filled with decorative plates and we hung our Christmas cards on the edges, this has  turned into something more orderly but to my eyes less homely.  Our sitting room which was full of books is now a pale uncluttered catalogue piece, with the telly in front of the window, never thought that would work! Maybe we were just messy or they have dressed the house to sell – which we had to do too, I now have an allergy to magnolia paint!

2011

In the garden you can see the trellis and bird box Dave put up, and our cherry tree, not much has been done.  They’ve even left the Ivy which Dave kept trimmed grow up the wall over the roof – it’ll wreck the tiles.  My kids look at the house every time they go past it in the train (the line is at the bottom of the garden), maybe they’ve caught something from me!


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Do I miss the sea?

The Muhr from my kitchen window

I get asked this so often with the asker also usually unable to understand why on earth we should want to live in the Lungau. I usually say that at first we wanted to come and work as Missionaries but were led here instead!!!!

 We lived for years in the New Forest, firstly by the sea near Beaulieu in a tied cottage, which was actually below sea level at high tide, and then in New Milton, about a mile from the coast at Barton on Sea. So I guess it has been a factor in our lives – we also holidayed a lot in the Purbecks, again right by the sea near Swanage.  The ozone, the sea mist and the fog horn were constant reminders of its presence in New Milton. I used to take the kids to the beach a lot at Little Marsh and when they were teenagers we’d spend whole days dipping in and out of the sea and sunbathing.

 Sometimes you have dreams that stay with you, and one I had years ago was of living and retiring by a river – very like the Itchen  at Shawford  near Winchester, but I knew we’d never able to afford such a place and it was a dream. Then we felt the call to come here, and when we found this place, I only dimly registered that there was a river just at the bottom of the road, I was too excited at having found what I knew was our new home.  When we arrived and began to explore, we found the river Muhr runs over a small waterfall just at the bottom of our lane and on our right, the Thomotalerbach runs on two sides of the property over a weir and joins the Muhr about 500 yards away – when we have heavy rainfall we can see it leaping over the stones and banks. The sound of water is constantly around us, the only time it is muted is when everything is frozen and  ice clothes the rivers.  My view from my kitchen window is a constant source of joy, especially after the trees at the bottom of the garden were felled and then our neighbour trimmed the willows on the riverbank.  From here I can watch the flood waters rushing down, the white water rafters screaming as they go over the waterfall and see if the ice has finally got right across on the bend  (Linda said it did so in 1945 and the road was flooded), or just watch the changing light reflected on the water.  We can also walk along the Muhr on a footpath to Tamsweg and the stones that stick out of the water cause a rushing that sounds like waves, and the colours reflect the sky just like the sea but on a smaller scale!  No seagulls in Lungau though.

So do I miss the sea?  Nah!