So where's the snow?

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


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In Cardiff

All three of us slept like logs, and spent Sunday exploring Cardiff. We found the city centre and the shops; it was great to be shopping on a Sunday! On Monday we went on the train up to Mountain Ash, the town near where our new house is. Swingle had never travelled on a train before, and was totally stressed, and panted like mad. It didn’t help that we were right by the engine. She calmed a bit, but was eager to get off. It was a small local train. We walked through the town to the estate agents and found it as run down as when we were on Google streets. When we got to the agents, we found we should have rung before to arrange, but we made an appointment for the next day. We were told that the owners were fed up with the lack of progress, and said we were too, having been ready to move for ages. We found a chip shop on the way back to the station, but they were so fatty. But Swingle enjoyed helping us. She was calmer on the way back. I then got myself in a state about the non arrival of the text for the day two covid tests, especially when I called the helpline, and they said they had been delivered. They hadn’t. In the end, there was nothing I could do but wait, in case they turned up and eventually I received an email saying they had only just been dispatched. So what hadn’t been delivered the day before?

Stef had received the surveyor’s report that said the house needs some work done on the roof, there was rising damp and some electricals needed checking. We decided we would wait and see. Larry said that all old houses have rising damp, his had and they had even had it fixed and it hadn’t worked! I felt quite calm over the whole thing.

The next morning, Swingle was much quieter on the train, but not 100%. Dave and I had fun getting our photos done for our railcard in one of those old booths. We walked up the hill to Cfenpennar and discovered an old abandoned railway line for mining on the way up. When we got to the village, it was sooo strange seeing somewhere we had seen in the photos. We found the owners there clearing the garden. They looked very typical working class, and I didn’t believe all they said. But the problems didn’t seem to bad. The rising damp was around the fireplace in the front room, maybe the coldest room in the house. Oh I loved it after all this time. Swingle nearly jumped in the pond. And they aren’t including the Landrover. They even offered us to move things in, but we felt we had to chat to Stef first. Tired and elated, we went back with a much calmer dog. The tests arrived, we did them, and posted them off. I even go into Primark for five minutes!

Wednesday, we went to Cardiff castle, only to find we couldn’t go in anywhere with a dog, so we took turns in the keep, then walked miles along the river Taff, and then down to the Cardiff sea front. Dave and I have discovered what were old canals leading into a huge wharf. They are a source of fascination and I will photo later. I was so tired that we bought burgers and collapsed in a heap here. We extended our stay in this hotel as we haven’t been able to find anywhere else, it’s a cheap budget hotel, with dogs allowed. We’re now watching Midsummer murders, the UK tv now we have it seeming a bit of a letdown, not found anything we like yet! I sent Stef her money for the deposit on the house, we’re just hoping the solicitors get their fingers out, and we get in soon. Apparently, the owners got on at theirs yesterday and the two actually spoke yesterday. Still no news as I wrote!

Thursday we walked along the Cardiff barrier and then the beach to X. I’m trying not to think about the non arrival of the tests. What if we need to isolate? NO, they will be negative. I’m not going in the website to track their progress. I’d rather not know! I seem to be moving on a bit at last. But they were posted Tuesday afternoon, so it’s now 48 hours… I didn’t read the bad reviews of the company, really!

Dave’s test arrived Thursday evening, and mine the following day, both negative. I really thought we had reached the end if the stress, I’d even been planning what we would do if one was left in quarantine, but surely, being so close together, we’d both be clear.

Friday had us walking to a laundrette, who thankfully, did a service wash. We spent the day, moseying around Bute park by the Castle, and laughing at the display of dinosaurs being set up for the ban/k holiday. They were to scale and did actually move, but the fake roaring, while it impressed all the dogs walking past, had me in giggles. They sounded like bad actors doing roaring from70s films. I had finally given the kids their inheritance, which had been promised, and sorted out a UK bank account which I would need for my Austrian pension to be sent here.

Then came an email from the Gov UK saying they were considering rejecting our Transfer of Residence because I had sent one form in the wrong format, not a PDF. My world fell apart. I had screwed up yet again, after the passenger location forms, not putting Hotel on the test booking, although it wasn’t my fault that the tests in Austria had only had one test notification. Back at the Hotel, I was in a panic as I tracked down the form for our tenancy agreement. Jpeg, not PDF. In desperation, I found a firm that would do this online, but it didn’t work. Eventually I found the method I used with the test forms. I now rang GOV. Man said that they were all working from home, and then couldn’t open my file. So I explained the situation, and when I said that we were already here, and the furniture in storage, he said don’t bother! It was meant to be used at customs when we arrived. (*&^%$£”£r%£!”! After all that stress. I sent the form anyway, said what I had been told and tried to forget it. But the company who was supposed to have done the altering for me, never sent. I emailed them, no reply. In the morning, I checked reviews and found most said they were a scam. What a twit I had been. I cancelled the credit card so they couldn’t take any more money and rang Steph. She said that our tenancy form didn’t have enough info on it for someone to make mischief. That helped a lot. Then I got an email with a document from the company, unchanged, so they were a scam. Enough said.


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Decision!

Dave and I have been umming and ahhing about what to do. Dave had left Finstergruen, I had a week at the Docs, do we take a holiday here or at home while we wait for the house to complete? So I rang the man with van who would take us and the dog, and he did have a vacancy in August. Do we go with him or drive. How would the dog be in a crate in the van? Monumental dithering again. We prayed about it.

Driving home form work, I heard a sudden clunk, and I had no gears, I had to coast into a side road. Got the OAMTC out who towed me to the garage. The coupling on the gearbox had broken. €900 to repair. Neither of us would trust the car again. So we sold it to the garage, along with the trailer. Man and van booked. A definite answer to prayer, don’t take the car!

He’ll get to us the afternoon of the twelfth, load up, and then he’ll go to a hotel. First thing in the morning, we will drive to Calais. Saturday morning ferry to the UK, off that and Mountain Ash by the afternoon. Furniture into storage until the house is ready. Us into a hotel (such hardship) for the first four days. We’ll buy a newer car, and then off to visit family. No quarantine, would have stayed put if that was on.

Of course, its not that simple. The morning the car went, I was thrown off a Facebook group, couldn’t understand why, and an admin I contacted was almost rude. That really upset me – although it was a mistake and I was later reinstated. Then the car. Then I had to wade through all the Covid stuff. PCR tests before we leave. Then Covid tests to buy for our second day. Passenger location form. Inventory of house. Pack house. Clean. Result, major meltdown, throwing things at Dave, and sleeping really badly. I vowed last time we moved, I’d get someone to pack for me. Packing hasn’t been the problem this time, we started last year. But Covid and Brexit-ARRGGHHHHHHH!


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Equine Assisted Therapy workshop

Following our training for EAGALA, Edith and I decided to run another Workshop to highlight the Equine Assisted L earning, (EAL) and went for it. This time we invited  people directly, did a Facebook page and invitations, advert in the paper and in the local tourist office – result, three people and two kids from the stables.  I guess its time to re think, we either have to go down the line of going completely professional, doing more workshops, more plugging around offices and officialdom, or maybe just have an open therapy session, such as a de-stress day,or relaxation day, but do things regularly. The other option is just leave it as it is – we get occasional people coming to us.  The changing situation at the stables where there’s more and more liveries who expect to use the arena 24/7 makes it difficult with privacy  and safety. Maybe its time to move on from the horses, despite my love of teaching riding, I’m determined this time to stay on God‘s agenda not mine.

Still it was fun working through the  basic EAGALA exercises and  seeing the dynamics and personalities of our victims, no,I mean volunteers, who were mostly complete strangers to each other.  We’ll see!