So where's the snow?

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

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A Good Rotter!

IMG_0300Last Sunday saw the five yearly election of new Mayors in Salzburg and a count of party popularity.  We were here for the last one and on visits from local candidates received honey, a cookery book, firelighters and so on. So I was only joking this year when I said, would we get another free breakfast – and we did delivered on the Sunday before the election!


Wot the other lot brought!

This time we took a little more interest, having met the Mayor and found him a good bloke.  His was the party that brought the free brekky. (Not getting into names here). He even came round for a chat this time – maybe becasue we are now going to be invlolved with Meals On Wheels in the village  – or he knew he was running into trouble!!!!!  We got a free bottle of wine – labelled with a ‘Guter Roter’ which  I translated for this title , well I thought it funny!


So no bribery and corruption here, and not every village did freebies!  He had our vote, he has been Mayor for at least ten years, and we thought had done a good job. The other parties had nothing else to offer except to take over the policies and projects he has instigated. So it was a shock when he was narrowly beaten!  It seems that when there was all the argument in the village over a proposed Kraftwerk (power station) people weren’t too happy with how he dealt with it, and this swung the vote. It was academic because in the National elections, a new party against it came in and the idea was dropped. So a new broom. Will the new guy be so happy with us foreigners getting involved in Village life?


There’s gold in them thar hills!!!!!!


The Lungau in the middle ages must have appeared a bit like Dante‘s inferno, as all over it were mines and processing works, from iron to silver, to gold to aresnic.  Up on the hills behind Ramingstein the old silver mines still lie on the side of the hill, unused since the 1800s, but to the inquisitive open to investigation.  One ‘Stollen‘ is now re-opened to visitors as a tourist attraction.


So I guess its no surprise to find that a company is now making bore probes in an old gold mine in Muhr. It has been unused since the middle ages and I’ve heard also contains arsenic. It will be five years before they can begin real mining, and all of this because the price of gold has escalated. It’s  always been said and people have played at panning for gold in the MUr river……….so  I’m just off with mine to give it a go!

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The Austrian Red Cross Garden Party with Speed Olympics


How’s that for a mouthful!   In German, ‘Österreichisches Rotes Kreuz Gartenfest mit Geschicklichkeitsolympiade’ This was our local Red Cross in Ramingstein and it was really a team competition for prizes such as a night at a local hut!  Later there was music, and of course there was beer and sausages.


The games were all done with beer tables  a ramp and bandages. They used a dummy on a stretcher for one game.  Such fun, no H&S, but there were the occasional peeps  who could do First Aid there!


I asked what it took to become a member of the local group and you can’t do anything until you have done 100 hours training,  and then its all service. so it’s not as fun as St John in the UK, so I thought stuff it.  I’d imagined it as something good to get to know people and do something to help. P1230794

Of course, the Red Cross has a completely different role here, being the country’s ambulance service, although staffed by volunteers.  Still the party was fun and maybe we should get the English gang to form a team next year!!


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A market in Mariapfarr


I’m no catholic but I’m quite happy to use their holidays, and this one was for Mary’s ascension -nowhere to be found in the Bible, but what ho!  This annual flea marker (no Car boot sales here), takes up most of the village centre. This time I remembered the camera!  I was comparing it to what I’d find at sale in the UK.


There were of course many stalls selling the outgrown kids toys, new stuff,


china knick nacks,  old postcards and  books, plus the dealers.   But what I found fascinating, but understandable was the amount of mlitary stuff,


holy stuff,


hunting stuff,


fur stuff.


 I don’t think in the UK you would be allowed to sell bayonets


or axes on the street!


I saw this wonderful picture of some deer charging a hunters party, but she wanted 60 euros

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for it, I’m glad I got a sneaky shot of it before she saw me! In this close up above, you can see one guy has managed not to spill his drink, shades of my mother who would never spill a drop!


There was of course a marching band,


beer and sausages,


and cakes.


There  was also a huge mix of languages and I heard others speaking English but was content to be a bystander. We bought some old postcards of Ramingstein


and scanned them in so we could have a better look.  Its a shame that the dates weren’t on the stamps, nor could we read the messages!


There were also some intereresting scarecrows entered in a competition for Bauernherbst that is coming up (Farmer’s Autumn). Can’t help thinking its the wrong time of year for them though!


Still, it was a great day out.


Fire in the Lungau!


Despite having had a bit of rain this week, the ridiculous temperatures are shrivelling our garden. Being on a water meter, we conserve each drop.  I suppose we could haul buckets out of the Thomtalerbach, but there’s such a huge drop to reach the water.


When we lived in England, our house overlooked the mainline railway to Bournemouth and despite it only being diesels and electric trains we had trackside fires.  We’ve now had three this summer on our curve here at Madling, all seemingly caused by the steam train which runs on the Murtalbahn.  The last two were in sight of our house and both on a Thursday, must be a link here.  However, someone called the fire brigade pretty quickly and this time I saw people running with buckets too. I suppose it’s because we’re on a slight rise here and the engine has to work harder, so more soot and sparks come out of the chimney.  I wonder who pays the bill for this????


Ramingstein was wiped out in the 18th century by a forest fire that burnt for several days and got nearly all the way to Tamsweg, what would happen if no one spotted  a fire along the railway line doesn’t bear thinking about.  There’s been several forest fires in Salzburgerland too. Roll on the snow!

Since I wrote this, we’ve had a forest fire, which generated so much smoke, the valley reeked of it. A helicopter had to be sent to find where it actually was before they could put it out!!!!!

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The World day of Prayer

Ich war fremd und ihr habt mich aufgenommen

I guess I was feeling a little sore from having just lost the job, it had in many ways suited me, my last day in the evening, it was the International day of Women’s prayer.  For some obscure reason it’s always held in the Crypt of the church in Mariapfarr.  No heating, underground and a bit grim.  It’s also the war memorial and there is this stunning crucifix, its draped with pieces of leather which are slowly drooping. Its atmospheric  and sad, just like the loss of war. The service was run by the local Catholic ladies and there were only three of us Protestants there!

The service did go on a bit long and the lady (Barbara) next to me, who had got the bad deal of being next to the damp wall was more than ready to go to the Agape meal. I had brought her and Linda over from home, quite a little gang, it felt like a little bit of serving God for me. There was another car of ladies from Ramingstein and we all sort of congregated together.  As we left the Crypt, a white haired lady who I’ve seen quite a lot around the village came up and grabbed my arm and said how pleased she was to meet me, having already met Dave loads of times in the Garden centre. She was so kind and interested.  So we all sat in a group and tucked into the bread and spreads, there was much excitement about the Quiche, seems no one makes them much here, now I know what to produce to impress folks!  It was a general chat, then we somehow got onto the subject of not sleeping well, someone said salt under the tongue went well. Another how she goes into the kitchen, and another suggested that the best cure was to go to Church, everyone dozed off there sooner or later. Much laughter. We talked about baking, various neighbours , my Wuhlmaus eating the garden.  It is difficult to pick up dialect when there’s so many people were chatting but I felt a part of them.  On the way out one of our group, a little like my Mum, also grabbed my arm for support.  The whole evening had me overwhelmed by the love of these ladies.  It was like being surrounded in a loving, Godly circle and I felt included and loved. Maybe this day of prayer takes many different forms.