So where's the snow?

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

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Fish and Chips and Homesickness

Not so happy cows, just turned onto the Alm, June 2010

One of the few programmes that Dave and I enjoy on the Austrian TV is Sarah Wiener and her cooking adventures as she gathers the ingredients for a meal, usually taking part in harvesting them, she takes an instamatic photo of herself and then beetles off in her car to cook them and of course everyone loves them.  She now has a new series set in Englandwith Gary Rhodes offering tips.  I just wish I could cut off the translation as she speaks a lot in English as do obviously all the people she meets.  She started in Whitby, at the Magpie Café, cooking fish and chips.  We were quite unsurprised to see she had tartare sauce with them as most people here go a shade of green when we say we have vinegar on ours!  Oh it looked so tasty, Dave and I fantasized about Greasy Nicks in New Milton (not the real name) and family fish and chip meals in Swanage, especially the restaurant by the quay whose name I can’t remember, or sitting in the ozone filled breeze by the beach.

Homesickness hit me in the guts.  I missed my kids. I mourned that we’ll never be a houseful on a Sunday for a roast, my kids have their own lives and even now its maybe too late to re-create the links.  One of the costs of coming here.  And no bloody fish and chips in the Lungau. Don’t   know if I can face watching more of the series!

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Wrong information!

Still plenty of ice about!

We were travelling around the Lungau on Easter Saturday admiring the different designs of the fires that were being built around the valley.  I think this year is the first when it has rained on the day.  One was done in a complicated twirl, another looked quite lopsided.  Then someone asked me about what I had said in a blog about the children coming around with the rattles being a way of warding off evil spirits.  So I checked up and in the book of Lungau Traditions, I stand corrected. The bells in the catholic church during the sad time from Thursday evening to Sunday morning, are turned off.  The bells fly to Rome (!), and so the rattles were to tell people the time!  So who fed me the false information, or was I privvy to some Lungau secret – is this how customs or  folklore start??????

You’d have also thought that we’d learnt about shopping here.  On impulse on Saturday we went to buy some outdoor carpet for our porch, at one of the biggest home furnishing shops. We wondered why we were served in such a hurry, only to hear an announcement that the shop was shutting at One o’clock for the holiday – how have we managed not to find this out in over five years -duh!!!!!!!!

PS.  I’ve just had the spirit thing confirmed by someone else, so its both!

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Its all a bit not white here!

St Leonhardiritt 2011

I’ve just been chatting to Linda who says she can remember one year (but not which!), where there was no snow until Christmas eve when it chucked it down at about 4 o’clock and laid about a metre – well I hope that’s not again this year as we have to do two airport runs!

Some of our resorts are open, for example Kreichberg in Siteirmark, although not all of it, and St Margarethan in Lungau, being north facing  has loads of the white stuff, although not to the top.  We had a blast of warm air from the mediterranean at the weekend which must have caused fits as the air turned so mild it must have melted lots of the heaps.  Yet most people here are quite happy for the snow to stay away as long as possible!

We drove back through Thomotal last night and as it was the first Sunday in Advent, lots of people have put up lit Christmas trees with white lights in their gardens and as the night was so clear, it looked wonderful, especially as we were listening to Carols played on a Zither on the car CD player.  I also went once again to the Advent service at Ramingstein, and did the bobbing up and down at the Mass before the concert.  I’ve probably already said but this is to bless the advent crowns – having had ours leak through and nearly burn the table last year, maybe it’s needed!  There was so much incense waved about I felt quite light-headed! Why is it we have four candles here for each Sunday before Christmas, but in the UK five -one for Christmas day??? Linda and I left the church and as we walked back to the car the really deep frost sparkled like a fairyland, the crystals were so big they looked like jewels, and from a distance like snow – we don’t usually see this as the snow covers all this.  I’m really getting in the mode for Christmas, Stef’s visit and the tea party I’m planning for the neighbours!

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Cuckoo in the nest?

We’ve just had a wonderful hot phase here, practically every blade of grass cut for hay by the farmers (ok, that’s an exaggeration!)  and wonderful weather for when Dave’s lot came.  They finally understand our decision to move here when we took them up into the mountains and showed them around. They left vowing to return when there was snow!

This Sunday, when we went out into the garden we were assailed by loud chirping (for want of a better word) from a tree in the garden, right by the swing seat.  This conical conifer is called Wizbit after a kids programme we used to watch.  Anyway, the cacophony was still going on in the evening, and it quickly began to shred my nerves.  Is it I’m getting older and can’t stand noise?  Maybe.  But the noise was distress.  Had a clutch of birds lost both parents and were starving to death?  We looked into the tree but couldn’t see them.  Dave firmly shut the door on them.  Overnight it rained and they were quieter.  However by the evening they were yelling again and no sign of visiting parents.  I was in a dilemma.  I could get a ladder and rescue them, to hand rear them.  But such birds are often not thrifty and become too reliant on humans.  The thought of them slowly dying of hunger was equally abhorent.So I left them guiltily on Sunday night.  The chirps were still going as I left for work and when I got back.  Now I was really upset.  I tried again to see them in the tree but they are too high.  Dave said I was just being daft, the noise wasn’t jangling in his nerves, it was just birds singing to him ( oaf!).  I didn’t know what was the best to do.I prayed to God to show me and common sense was saying leave them be.  How could I neglect a so obvious call for help? It was tearing me apart this helplessness.

 Then later I stood at the front door and in flew a brown bird obviously into the nest to feed.  I’ve never felt such a sudden lift in my spirits.  There was a lot of row from the tree and the bird flew off.  Had it attacked the babies, or was it just another bird?  I was so silly at what was so apparent. I wanted to see the bird again but didn’t last night.  Then this morning a sparrow flew to the top of Wizbit and stared at me as I hung out the washing.  and stayed there till I went, and a few moments after, then it flew into the nest and was obviously feeding the babies.  Alleluyah!  It’s still a bit odd, nestlings aren’t usually so darn loud.  That’s what had alerted me.  Maybe it really was a rescue by another bird after the parent’s death?  They are quieter today, maybe as its now rained there’s more insects about.  Three weeks or more of this racket to come but now I hear it was joy!  I can’t help feeling this has some import on my life, there’s a lesson here that will become clear soon.  We have a meeting this weekend about starting housegroups in the area, which could be one of the purposes of God in bringing us here. It will become clear.    I’ve just read on the internet that cuckoos often choose sparrows nests to lay their eggs and the nestlings have a ferocious appetite, that sparrow did look a bit ragged….

Update: The fledgeling flew the next day, I could hear it sqwawking all around the garden and at one stage it was in the hedge.  Still don’t know if it was a cuckoo!

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Easter and Anna gets angry!

Completely spurious piccy of happy sleeping pig we saw when out walking!

I’ve been very lazy following Easter, and having had a prod from my totally brilliant daughter, I’m back typing.  It snowed just on the Wednesday before and the garden was under three inches by the morning.   I was quite surprised at how cross I felt, I just didn’t want snow any more, I wanted to play in my garden!   In a way it was my own fault, 30 minutes before the blizzard struck, I was out there spreading compost on the flower bed!

We had a lazy time over the holiday, enjoying each others company, walking n the hills, going shopping – but ending up not buying anything!  Having just been editing my diary excerpts for this, I realise how far we’ve come since we’ve arrived.  Praise God! The mountains seem to be clearer of snow earlier this year and there were loads of fornicating frogs in the streams as we walked.

Good Friday had me feeling under attack as BT decided to cancel my email address – ok so I’ve not been a customer for a few years, but they could have warned me!  So with this hanging over me, we went to   the Church Service.  Everyone was lovely and Heidi the assistant pastor said she hadn’t known about my 50th birthday because we’re not members.  Duh, we hadn’t thought of it either, we seem to have slipped through the net.  So now we’ll meet up and do the paperwork – and being Austria it’ll be about ten forms in triplicate. Maybe now we’ll get more involved, is this simple thing what has been holding us back, or has God kept it back until we were ready?  So I sat in the service, constantly going back to what to do about the email address, when I began to realise, I was under a form of attack.  So I just said, right, you ain’t going to spoil things for me and I rejoiced. The thought also came that I must be getting close to something if the devil’s (it) having a go at me.  When we had communion, I felt that lovely closeness of such love surrounding us all, we were all truly celebrating the greatest gift of all.   

Dave was blighted by a migraine so he missed the Easter fire, but for the first time for maybe years, I wasn’t cross and didn’t do  the self pitying –  we came here to do stuff together, I’m always on my own, blah, blah,  I actually felt sorry for him! There was wind this year, so the smoke blew away from the Lungau in the early morning.   

Its with some trepidition that I write this next bit, wouldn’t wish to alienate anyone but………Easter Sunday and the attack continued.  I never usually bother too much about news, but Sky came up with some Government minister having said that following the reported case, Christian couples should have the right to refuse to board gay couples when the B&B is in their own house.  Then news man trotted out a token gay who gave all the usual hard done by rubbish they come out with.  I was SO cross, England just panders to the minorities, it’s not equality for all or a democracy anymore. Orwell was right in Animal  Farm, all are equal but some more than others.  I’m not banging gays and their rights here, but the inequality. Christianity is the faith of England, and every time another excuse arises for Christian bashing the press are there. Perhaps we should say we are a minority group now too.  We are being prejudiced against, it’s always the rights of everyone else, gays, muslims, wombats etc over the Christian.  We have the same religious rights as other religions (see Bill of Human rights) but that is forgotten. Bet the story wouldn’t have made even a murmur if the couple had been muslim, its ok for them to do what they flippin well like.   Then Brian Houston preached on TV how all is not what it seems to be, as on the Cross. To the disciples it seemed that all was lost, but in fact it was the greatest thing in the world that was happening.  This gave me peace, and later in the day, Sky actually had the lawyer for the couple on, who said whatever law the gays were using, it equally applied to the Christians applying their religious rights and it could even go to European courts. I’M SO GLAD I DON’T LIVE IN ENGLAND ANYMORE!

And the attacks go on, it took me a whole morning on the phone and net to get a new Austrian email address, and sort out my mobile.  Dave didn’t get paid as much as expected, so we’ve really got to watch things for yet another month.  I had a real tantrum when I saw the bank statement, then for perhaps the first time realised how childish I was being!  We have more then enough. The washing machine filter got blocked and I nearly flooded the hall as well as the bathroom.  I’ve broken a plate and the loo brush holder.  Our daughter was ill and it was tempting to descend into worry and frustration, but we prayed for her and rebuked the illness, result, the next day she was better.  Maybe its just life and I’m ascribing (it) too much power.  But I prefer to believe, something great is happening soon!

Yesterday I got a letter saying the new job starts on Monday, two weeks earlier than as expected, so my blogging may be a bit erratic for a while, but I’ve got some things stored!