So where's the snow?

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


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Flying to England

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Could I live again in a place like this????

We chose the cheapest airline to travel back to the UK for Christmas and we fully expected the cattle truck treatment, and it was as usual, except that you can now actually book tickets on Ryanair. The flight leaving Salzburg wasn’t full and the staff were a mixture of English and Eastern European accents, but cheerful, one even daring to wear tinsel.

What made me laugh was the amount of selling that went on during the short journey. Firstly drinks and refreshments.  Then twice scratch cards (for charity haha), then smoke free cigarettes, then luxury goods from the catalogue, then train tickets from Stansted.  Talk about the Del boys of the plane world. Oh, and Newspapers, which you could buy yourself as soon as you landed.

Coming back was different, an evening flight.  I knew about the restrictions on the cabin luggage, it’s all over the tickets and the website and you can’t really miss it.  We’d measured ours and put them through the little measure box and ours were smaller than most people, but it didn’t stop me panicking as we saw several people being checked and having to pay.  But I’m sorry, you are told quite clearly, over and over again.  Then in the hold, it was quite a job getting all these little cases in, with coats. You can see Ryanair’s point, but if they didn’t restrict the main luggage, people wouldn’t try to get away with hand luggage.  I didn’t really relax until we were on the plane and I knew our holiday loot was coming home uncharged.


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Snow, too early……….

Yuck, and there was more to come!

October 16th

We knew some snow was due as a kindly cold front was blowing our way from the UK.  As we left Keep Fit, it was sleeting, so I thought, here we go!  At about 5 a.m, the phone tinkled which is the sign the electricity had gone off, and it kept coming on and off for the next couple of hours. It was dark outside as our street lamp had gone off, but I could see the glow of snow on the hill behind us.  Daylight showed a heavy fall of about four inches of heavy, wet snow. The garden flowers flattened and the Sun flowers felled.  I gave the birds extra seed and we had to go into Tamsweg.  So many deciduous trees still glorious in their autumn colours now bent  over, broken branches lying along the road.

Now I know where the sunflower seeds are going!

Now I know why the sunflower seeds are going so quickly!

It was too early for the streets to be cleaned as I dropped Dave off, and I had to wade through the slush to the shops. Some shopkeepers were clearing the pavements with the  snow shovels. Suddenly, all the worst that winter means came back to me.  Wet feet= I didn’t have my snow boots on. Slipping and treading like a Pensioner without my snownails attached to the boots (although this was only slush).  That cold nip in the air. Dachlawinen – lumps of snow and melt falling off roofs as you walk along.  How dark it makes it in the morning as the cloud and snow almost seem to absorb the light. How the snow encroaches and covers the world, almost like a personal presence.  And since March I’d forgotten all this.  This snow at its worst, damp and tiring to the spirit.  Too early and its so unwelcome, maybe because its out of context, I’m still geared up to the autumn colours and walking in the hills -that’s out probably till next year now. I’m glad that this lot will melt by the end of the week, once we’ve been through the process of frosts, longer nights, regularly lighting the fires, the trees becoming bare, I’ll be ready even excited for it, but not now.

I know its blurred! However, just look at the cute white tummy!!!!!!

As the snow melted, all around me was the sound of it running down the metal drainpipes.  In spring to me this is a great sound as it heralds spring, but now, wrong.  Why am I reacting so fiercely to this?  Most strange.  Or is it a forewarning of hard winter to come?


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Shooting!

Recently we had the 40th anniversary of the local militia. They even had the local kid’s group with wooden guns!

 Each village has one and to us they look like the Toytown soldiers.  This is the Tamsweg group above.

The Samsons and the twins were there too!

For a neutral country, Austria could easily defend itself with old rifles!  In Tamsweg we have a gun shop, no bars on the window and all sorts of guns and devices displayed.  In Murau, they even have the ammunition in boxes in the window (though of course they may be empty).

We always show these shops to visitors – how long would such a display last in the UK?  They even had a cannon, but we missed the firing.  It was 36 degrees and no one fainted, the red cross was going around with water though (but not beer!)


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Ducks! Romantic Short Stories for Animal Lovers

Yes, I’m shamlessly plugging my next opus.  This is just a little it of light reading to enjoy with a coffee, or even in the sun on the beach. Its only on Kindle at the moment but things will change.  Here’s a snippet of the first story, maybe you’ll want to read more!!!!! 

DUCKS

Waking up to a cacophony of bird song in a narrow, lumpy bed was not my idea of the best start to a summer holiday.  The sun was already burning its way through the gingham curtains, yet my watch swore it was only six a.m.  A hard shake didn’t change its mind, so I sank back beneath the quilt to try and recapture that evasive sleep.

It was no good.  From the next room I could hear rustlings, scrapes and muffled giggles. Why should I be overwhelmed with dread?  Surely I should be filled with joy, but the next two weeks yawned like an abyss in front of me.  The concept of quiet leafy woods and idyllic picnics had felt like heaven in a slushy February city, but the reality was as disheartening as the mud I’d trodden through to get into the cottage.  What do you do with two eight year olds for a fortnight when there are no playgrounds or burger bars?

Then I noticed the rustlings had grown ominously quiet.  I couldn’t believe they’d gone back to sleep and sat bolt upright, hitting my head soundly on a quaint oak beam.  Dazedly I staggered into the other room to find only a deserted bombsite.  They’d escaped before the day had even begun.  Rubbing my bump I went to the window to see if the horrors were in the garden.

At first I thought I was hallucinating, so I rubbed my eyes in the best film star fashion and looked again.  There really was a large white goat lying in a flower bed contentedly chewing on my best T-shirt.  I must have dropped it while unloading last night.  I didn’t know what to do – would the     T-shirt be swallowed before I could reach the garden?  As I dumbly watched, a tall dark haired man leapt over the wicket fence between the two cottages and grabbed the goat by a collar on its neck.  He pulled the sodden cloth from between the chewing jaws, then tugged the goat towards the back gate.  My blood began to boil, he could have at least left the T-shirt dangling on a bush rather than shoving it into his back pocket.  So much for honest country folk I snorted with indignation as I made my way back into my room to get dressed.  I was scrambling into my shorts when a loud screech came from the other side of the house. Leaving my nightdress on, I slithered down the steep stairs and into the back garden.

The children were huddled together on the path, slowly backing away from a monster which hissed and snapped at them.  Its black and white body had webbed, yellow feet, its head a fiendish red mask and gaping jaws.  The irate duck was bearing down on my terrified nephew and niece, who for once were silent, dumbly appealing for rescue. Overcoming my own fear, I ran towards the duck, shouting and waving my arms.  My actions only made it angrier, it now flapped huge wings and struck repeatedly at me.

‘Get off you brute!’ and various expletives had no effect either but at least I was between it and the children.


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Those Sparrows

They saw that I’d been busy, weeding and topping at the soil on my flower bed.They know also that the supply of seeds has run out and all I have is Sunflower seeds and peanuts, which they struggle with.  So what do they do, they chose a nice afternoon and spend it making earth baths in the soil, they’ll be expecting me to do it every year now!


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My way home by Cynthia Lee Cartier

I pushed the wrong button on Amazon.com and bought this by mistake, so felt I’ll have to read it on principle.  It started out with yet another marriage break up, but something in the style kept me going, and I’m so, so glad I did!

Here’s a couple who get back together again and work through it – how completely refreshing, and its well described with all the pain and doubt.  Then Cammy decides to move to Saint Gabriel, an Island somewhere off the USA. Now I have absolutely no idea where it could be, I can’t find it on the Internet, so it’s another place, someone enlighten me?   I loved the descriptions of the Island, which usually is a thing that easily bores. I think the difference is that its set in reality which makes writing so different compared to when you are creating a place in your mind’s eye.

The way the text was written made us know that Cammy settles here, for example saying Sara is her friend rather than became a friend, see what I mean. The book really does read like a personal account of someone doing a move and settling in a new place – now that’s not easy to achieve.  Cammy’s character, for example her love of lists is so simply displayed, cos there are lists in the story!

The only bit that didn’t quite gel for me was her finding her relations, I don’t think there were enough hooks earlier in the plot, but it did explain her fascination for the Island!

I’ve always loved stories of someone moving to a new place, making a new start, and can’t for the life of me imagine why. I looked back to books such as the Little White Horse, and the Herb of Grace by Elizabeth Goudge,  and The Black Hunting whip by Monica Edwards, and this is also a theme in Howard Spring‘s work, another favourite of mine.  maybe its the excitement of the new and they are all set in real places too.  Anyway, this book had it all for me!

PS.  The author herself says its Mackinac Island, Michigan , so I’m off to explore on the net.  I’m so smitten with the descriptions in the book, I just have to see!