So where's the snow?

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


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Mud

It’s only since we’ve been here in Wales that I’ve come to reluctantly admit just how much the winters were getting me down in Austria. It’s lovely if all you have to do is skim down a mountain and have a drink at the end or just watch it fall and take photos (Well I did love that).

But. When you have to live day in day out with it, as it compacts and hardens into ice underfoot and you have to keep your eyes on the ground, or like me put spikes on your boots all the time, the thrill wears off. Or the obsessional snow clearing of the stuff, when you have a huge yard, and the neighbours are tearing out with shovels the second it stops falling, it becomes an irritation. I always felt we didn’t need to clear so much, most of our neighbours weren’t even there in winter, so why clear their garages?

Let alone, when you get ‘Tau wetter’ when it rains then freezes and the whole place turns into a skating rink. Walking on ice had me permanently in a panic, although the nails helped.

The day in day out, changing of layers of clothes to take the dog out and the paths that became inaccessible in the woods. Yes, I really was going to pay 20 euros to go up in a lift, walk on a piste and get mown down by skiers! There were lovely walks, which we did find, but few and far between. But daily runs with the dog lost their appeal.

Here, it has been raining since Christmas day, now over 2 inches. There is mud and slush over the paths, the dog comes back wet, and I’m quite often soaked. Do I panic when I slip in a bit of mud? No. It’s a soft squelchy landing. I’m happy slinging wellies off, towelling the dog and as it’s not so cold, no need for layers of coats.

I’m home.


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Fake Spring

After a couple of warmish weeks, winter suddenly returned. On Sunday we had another 10cm.

Now it’s coming on the wind, tearing down the valleys and disappearing. I feel sorry for the birds who had been so full of joy.

Hopefully it will blow away in the next few days. Some of my author friends in the US have had the same, but more so.

I just hope it means it will finish and there will be no late, sudden surprises that nip the buds off the fruit trees and bushes!


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Snow Muse!

This year, I’ve been mostly photographing this view from the kitchen window!


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I really hate snow!

I know that sounds daft living in Austria, but each year, when the first real fall happens I get like this.

It all started when we came here, and found our neighbour was an obsessive snow shoveller. Sometimes she would be up before light on the yard, heaping it into piles. We would wake up and she would be whizzing past our kitchen window. We do have a big yard and when all the flats were lived in, all the garages were used and it had to be cleared. Trouble was that the only place to put it is around the back of the block, so more heaving and tipping it.

We went with it over the years, but now she’s older and now only clears in front of her door. It’s not just her though. Many people are out manically clearing. The older generation, where they grew up with more snow and cold (so they say) possibly had a case to clear it, but now? The rest of us have to clear all the flipping stuff. Every year I say, WHY do we have to clear it all when three out of the six garages aren’t used? No one  listens to me. Sometimes I go on strike, but they just miss ours out or heap it by our hedge.

For three years, we had a new neighbour who had a snow plough, that was pure joy. But he’s moved, so I guess this year it’s back to the grind. As I write, it’s with a dread that I know Martin will soon be out beavering and I’ll feel impelled to go and help. Then there will be the added fun of having to go and clear the holiday homes we look after. The only good thing about it, is that it makes for a good work out.

But it’s not only that. We’ve had a beautiful November walking in the valley, and now that’s mostly ruined. Lots of the places will be impassable or put down as Cross country runs.

It’s the walking the dog in it twice a day, whether I like it or not that wears me down. Bundling on all the layers.  It does get you fitter when its deep, but when the Council clears the roads, unless its gritted, its like walking on a skating rink. I fell over three times last year, being caught out like this or by sneaky bits of ice hiding under it. When I wear the spikes on my boots in this, they don’t last long.

And don’t talk to me about skiing! My winter sport if anything is going snow shoe walking, if I have the energy after clearing the yard. I will get over this and get carried away photographing when the skies are blue and the light’s wonderful.

But, this morning, I’m longing for a damp, dull, grey English morning, where the ground is green or muddy. I can do mud…


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Silage in October?

We’ve had a warm, wet summer, in fact a normal summer. As you know, I love to follow the farming season.

This year, there has been loads of grass, and some fields have been cut three times. I was surprised when farmers cut a couple of weeks ago.

Now we have a bit of sunshine, they’re at it again. Surely there can’t be much nutrition in it? Snow is forecast on Sunday, so there has been much scurrying around with bakers today.

How late do you cut in your part of the world?


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Christmas over

How was your Christmas this year? We had the most wonderful time with family. Catching up and making new friends.

Now as the new year gets going, life is piling in again. Two books planned for this year, three short stories in note form and at last someone to translate my books into German. Holiday house cleaning season. More English students and my 60th birthday party to plan. I’m feeling snowed over mentally and physically already!

How’s your new decade showing up?