So where's the snow?

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

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At last, Castles in the Air is out as EBook, Paperback with a video of the places featured on You Tube! Links below

A year working with horses in Austria. Dream or nightmare?

Needing to put her past behind her, Ann travels to Austria hoping this time away will bring healing and build new dreams. She throws herself into her job and is quickly immersed in the new experiences and culture. The Icelandic horses are, as ever great soul mates, but the people complicated.

Falling in love again was never in her plan. Has she made another wrong choice?

Follow Ann as she explores the deeply traditional culture which is tied into the seasons of the Lungau in Salzburgerland. This vibrant tale of love and life is a must not only for horse lovers but also for all who love travelling.

Much of the story is based on the real experiences of the author.

A spinnoff from the Horse and Souls series. A video of the horses, countryside, and events is available on Youtube;



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It was a slightly better day with Erna today.  I’m still having to learn the lesson of returning evil with good and living at peace with all.  However, today I got my head down and worked and tried to be calm.  It was exhausting but it all really didn’t matter because yesterday, Edith and I had our first customer!  I wont be blogging many details because of confidentiality unless something special happens and I’ll get permission.  Suffice to say, it was  a more traditional riding/lunge lesson, but it was so goo to teach and interact with the child and Edith and I worked as a team, did an evaluation after, it was just sooo good!  For the first time,for months I was so relaxed I fell asleep in front of the television!

Then today was the icing on the cake. Edith and I have our pictures in the Lungau Nachrichten (news) and a good quote.  Lets hope the work comes piling in!  We have to wait a couple of weeks before we get the documents (and funding!) from Tu Was and then we can work with the Asylum seekers but what ho, We’re doing more meetings with some psychotherapists and its all good.  Thank you God!

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Disapointments and FRUSTRATION!

Good times, sadly passed!

This Blog is slightly out  of order, but I wanted to publish now!  Today was due to be the second lesson for our one and only candidate,  Edith and I were ready for her and she never turned up, nor did her mother respond to my phonecall.  All she had to say it was too expensive, or I can’t come, or something. Now I have to face her at work to our mutual embarrassment. Edith was saying so Lungau, all’s ok till they have to part with the cash!

Yes, I was frustrated and upset by this, but the worst was just being back at the  yard.  Familiar faces and meeting with some dear friends. There was a woman there who had ridden with me and others, and they asked me questions and for help, and it was all so familiar. One pony mad 8 year old, (so shades of me), was hanging around and asking questions and itching to ride again.  I’d seen her earlier have a tantrum and didn’t rise to the bait and give her a ride, but would like to see her ride and find out what the problem is.  Then I saw a girl who I had started to ride, a nervous girl who I think is pushed by  her parents and may actually not want to ride.  She was put on a youngster who naturally reacted to her nerves and I could see she was having trouble controlling him.  All I have taught has been lost with her sitting on the back of the saddle with he hands in a vice-like grip.  After the ride, Lois shouted at her for her nerves, and after feeding her horse decided to roll.  She was terrified so I took the little blighter and turned him out for her, I hope it helped.  I just want to help these kids, teach them to enjoy riding and be safe around horses, all this Icelandic tolting and passing doesn’t interest me.  It produces riders who ride badly with no appreciation for the horse as all they seem to want to do it belt around the place as fast as possible.

I’m sure God has a solution for me. Today we met a great Physcotherapist who was really on the ball, asked me for an example of how we work and really seemed keen – except for the problems of finance as she is partly funded by the government. Edith and I planning some ‘Schnuppertags’ ie trial sessions for people just to try us out, maybe that will help.  The money from Tu Was still hasn’t arrived…….

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Tu was – Jury Decision day


I put all the tension behind me and nearly enjoyed an Erna day at work (she’s getting better or we are!) and really apart from praying and leaving things in God’s hands to move people to do his will and break down any barriers to our project, I was calm. Then  Helmuth came bounding up and asked how it had gone and the nerves kicked in!  The Burg also had a presentation but had done it in writing because so many were there.

Edith had spent the day listening and networking while the other presentations went on.  She said some were good, others a bit daft, such as using telephone boxes as libraries in the villages…hmmmm.  There was music for old people in care homes, and car sharing, all good stuff.  So we sat and listened as each judge gave a talk on the succesful projects and gave a pair of gardening gloves as a symbol of getting down to work.  I think I sat with a smile on my face – remembering Micheal Caine saying how he does this at awards ceremonies and how you have to keep it going when you lose!   There was lots of clapping and happy faces and photos.  However, there was soon only one judge left and I suddenly had that stomach wrenching moment, what if we didn’t get anything?  How do you face people in the embarrassment?  Only 50% were going to get cash, although everyone would get a letter offering some sort of support.  It was more a fear of the moment rather than a failure of the whole idea that was gripping me. The Professor from our church got funding for his part time minister for the local orthodox christians which is brilliant. Then at last, we were named me being an incomer and how we are going to help people, and the photo with the gloves -PHEW AND YAY!!!!!!!!

Edith enthusiastically wanted to start work the following Tuesday so great was our excitement, but we  were caught up in people congratulating us, and wanting to talk to us.  I chatted some more to the ladies, and it was great but I was suddenly so tired, I had to go home.

We need to visit the Asylum seekers again, open a bank account, book the school, but over all GET GOIN!  I praised and thanked God.

The next day, the kitchen ladies all congratulated me, and when Michaela and Erna heard they looked at me with total disbelief especially as the Burg didn’t get through.  One of the ladies wants me to work with her daughter – customer One!

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Tu Was -presentation day

Edith and I in action!

I worked the day of the presentation, so I guess that kept any nerves at bay.  Edith was far more nervous and had planned a quiet day with a snooze, so Lois sends someone round who’d brought a stallion to the stables and she had to entertain them!  She wa not amused.

We had a run through of what we were going to say in my garden and I was so impressed she had it off by heart.  I was a bit thrown when she said I should do my bit in English, but I was OK.  So we set off to the Jagglerhof (local farm that has a restaurant and bar) and headed to the bar for a non alcoholic drink and a bit of a calm down.  I saw some familiar faces and thought how English we’d all been, not telling each other we were putting in for the money, because that’s a bit embarrassing!

Each group had ten minutes, 7 or so for speech and 3 for questions. The Jury was a mixed bunch with a local singer and bodies from various government agencies.  We heard projects for another cook book, a nail Samsun (whatever that was) by a German, who’s only connection with the Lungau seemed to be his brother, lives in Salzburg – I’m of course interpreting this through dialect and my knowledge of German.   There was a couple of village projects for supporting old people and those in need, and one I really liked for a ‘Meeting point’ Second hand shop.  The idea is not only to buy stuff, but to meet there for coffees and allow young and incomers a chance to work, a really good idea I thought. There was a great presentation for a language school, which had peanut butter handed out!  Then came on two body builders in purple tee shirts with a project for kids, to give them courage. I’m afraid my instincts on seeing those two had my hackles up.  One looked definately gay, and of course that doesn’t mean anything but its a start for odd behaviour.  Would they have a Police check? Who would monitor them – I wouldn’t leave my kids alone with those two.  Edith said she felt exactly the same.  interestingly, I saw one of them in the paper the next day, he’d won something, and was a member of the ‘Bent Club’.  I fell about laughing and had to explain to Michaela, but even so…….

So out turn came, and Edith was mega. She explained how we had both migrated into the Lungau, had seen this need as well as having done the EAGALA training and with her horses wanted to help. She then asked if I could speak in English, so I slowly said how the Asylum seekers are only our starting point and we want to help everyone in the Lungau.  There were a few questions about funding and what exactly we would do, and thank heavens it was over.  Nerves had hit me about 5 minutes before we started, but now we headed for a glass of wine! 

There was a pause and two ladies of the Jury  came and talked to us, they were really interested in our project and were horsey, and will be coming to visit us and ride WOW!   I went home in a really hopeful turn of mind!

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Birthday Reflections

1969, me on Buttons for my first riding lesson, Headbourne Worthy stables

Oh, where did it come from – 51!  I’m not old, though my kids insist I am.  When I look at characters in Elizabeth Goudge novels, who are often  about this age, they are already acting old, not me! I feel much as I did when I was 18, except calmer and without the angst.  I wouldn’t want to be back there again.  Maybe the best time was the 40s, with a career and kids growing up and at last some financial security.  Now I’m a bit lost. I don’t want any career, I’m happier to lead a quiet life with riding ,gardening,walking and blogging.  But at times I do miss the company of the girls from the Fortune Centre. Maybe I’m simply at peace with myself at last…

Birthdays past.  I can remember childhood birthdays, the best being when I must have been between 8 nd 10, and I’d have maybe  two or three pounds, and I’d go into Smiths in Winchester and buy every pony book I could lay my hands on! I still have some of them now. 

My 18th was at Prices College in Fareham, and I met up with the gang  for  a now  legal drink, but also had a party at my Swiss boyfriend, Ruedi’s house.  Don’t think he quite realised what was going to happen. It was a bring a bottle and there was loads of music, couples slipping up to his spare room, gate crashers, people chucking up – a good time was had by all! Seem to remember getting lots of birthday snogs, wonder what he thought of that!!!

Then birthdays went down hill. When I was in Switzerland, I didn’t get a pressy , nor the special cake because we were all so busy with spraying the cherry trees.  The new girl a month earlier had got loads. I was homesick and upset. My 21st at  Seale Hayne was a disappointment, I’d booked a hall for a party and handed it over to the year  group to use as I was so depressed and unhappy. It seemed to set a trend for the next few years when a birthday never lived up to the mildest expectations. When the kids came along and we were skint, their birthdays took precedent.

The worst came when my mother died and the funeral was actually on my birthday.  I came down with flu the same day, which I didn’t shake off for months.  The next year I refused to celebrate it, and it was actually quite a relief to go into work knowing it was the day but I had no expectations to be disappointed.

The year we left England I wanted no pressies as we were just about to leave and so it was filled with the excitement of the new start. Then when we came here, they improved.  All the greetings on Facebook were a great bonus in the first year. The next year we were Langlaufing and had a great day falling over in the snow in the sunshine. The next year was my 50th and the kids were here and we had a meal at the local pub and friends came to tea.  Lovely day.  This year was quieter, but a peaceful one with no sense of dismay as of old.