So where's the snow?

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


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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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Easter reflections and more decisions!

I am going to blog about the PCC and Bible group, as God seems to be giving me this time to write and I have this urge to do so, having more than once given it all back to him,  But I will write it from my point of view, and seek just to glorify God with it. Last week, we had a great discussion on forgiveness and being a Living sacrifice.  I knew the Catholic Bible is different to the Protestant but didn’t know it had so many extra books, I’ll have to get a copy and have a read.

I’m going to do more book reviews which seem to be popular.  Tom has sold…….0 copies so I’ve put it on  Kindle select which means it’ll be free for several days, plug, plug. plug.  I just want it read!

April 1st  was Palm Sunday, marked with these Palm bushes made from coloured paper and Pussy Willow (Palmweide). There were church processions with some even having kids riding on donkeys, one in the snow! Still at least people can celebrate their faith here, none of this  worrying about offending people!   Good Friday is only a day off if you’re Protestant here, Dave will no doubt work though! The kids have just been around with the football rattles to scare away the bad spirits, poor blighters are out in the pouring rain andhave to go round the whole village and come back tomorrow for sweets and a reciting of prayers. Like most of Europe, people are colouring boiled eggs, and on Sunday will do this bashing them together before eating them, at least they’re not so bad for the Cholesterol these days!

The Lungau is full of these traditions over the Easter weekend, some of which seem to be more Pagan than Christina. We had a good chat last night at Bible Group at how the traditions have taken over the meaning, is this any different from losing the meaning due to commercialisation?


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What the Lungau does in spring!

Easter graveyard

 The year in Lungau has its set events, part of its local tradition, of which people are proud, and I dont say that lightly!

Spring can tarry and we can be into May before we can do anything in the garden, orsomehtimes  the snow is gone by the begining of March. Its as if the plants have a timetable and rush to grow to catch up to a deadline of flowering and fruiting.

Spring

Palm Sunday is celebrated with more parades, and the children make a special bush on a stick from Pussy Willows and have this blessed. Easter comes with its the traditional fires, and the noisy rattles, as I’ve already talked about. The green party has been trying to ban the fires as when there’s no wind the valley is filled with smoke the next day as people use it as an opportunity to burn all their garden rubbish which they’re not allowed to do at any other time! This is followed by Mother’s day in May when every graveyard  is filled with pansies.  Dave’s garden centre sold 65, 000 last year and that wasn’t enough, that’s more than three per head of the living!   There’s the traditional Maypole, the one in Tamsweg is about 30 metres high and there’s no dancing to tangled ribbons rather a competition to chop another villages pole down!  The pole is  climbed by means of a rope and a small harness but mostly with sticky glue on the  hands and feet – oh and a small mat , in case you make a mess on the ground, H&S eat your heart out!

At the top of the Maypole!

Yet when spring comes and every where is filled with dandelions and blossom, it’s like heaven. The scent that rises from the small meadow below our flat is better than any scent I’ve sniffed!  Going back, April has the Georgiritt in Thomatal, he’s the patron Saint of horses, but there are other odd pagan things going on with bits of cooked pig being left in the church – cant get to the root of that!  There’s the band and the bullwhip creacking which seems to be over all Austria at these events, the horses really don’t seem to mind!

Resting after the Gerogiritt

May sees  the big riding festival at Schloss Moosham, more a  load of displays  from the local riding clubs as there’s no competitions as  such, I took part as a poor Icelander being attacked by Vikings for Lois’s talk on Icelandic horses………

One of the locals at the Burg Moosham festival

In early June the mountains are awash with flowers, a covering of paradise, and walking can really start for the year!


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Spring

getting rid of the itches!

Apparently the first official day of spring has been moved to the 20th of March  and will eventually be the 19th. It certainly seems early here in the Lungau. We’ve had temperatures of 20c and warm sunshine.  I was riding yesterday and it was so good to be without all the extra layers of winter jackets and over trousers.  The Icelandic horses have hair coming off them like they’re leaking cushions, and however much you use the metal scraper, more hair flies off. I remember pulling it out in lumps from my horse in the Uk too.  Trouble is, until they lose their winter jackets they get so hot with even a little work.

That morning as I drove Dave to Tamsweg, there was thick fog, but the morning light was yellow and bright when it cleared. There were blackbirds and thrushes singing. I still have a dearth of birds in the garden, and those that are there are suddenly going mad for the fat balls and peanuts.  It may still be too early for the Jays and Woodpeckers that usually come and eat the fallen seed around the bird table.  The other day one of the Marsh tits was sat in a bush shouting its head off, so I went to look at the table which was empty –  was it telling me off??? In the afternoons, when I sit on our bench, there is the sweet scent of my violets, more than ever this year, yet the scent of spring isn’t in the air yet. Our buzzards have just returned, I’ve seen them wheeling and diving over our hill.

The Pussy Willows are all in bud, and many will soon be picked to make the traditional Easter tree decorations, hung with china eggs – all very pagan if you ask me, but I’ll have one!  Some easter fires are already being built bu the council is saying they’re not allowed, after there were over 300 last year. The attempt t reduce them by getting people to register with the council failing spectacularly, now you have to have a licence – but most people I expect will still have one – or will there be a Lungau Easter fire Police, who will come and call the Firebrigade to out them out? 

Well, its definitely spring and already I’m thinking of getting up in the mountains, but this is Austria, you must never think its all settled, it could snow again next week. The farmers are already rumbling about there being a drought and the snow hasn’t even melted yet!