So where's the snow?

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


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Reflections on Austria

We’ve now been in Wales for seven months and I’m very aware of my looking back at our fourteen years there. I don’t want to go back, not even for a visit at present, but that’s not because I’m angry or sad about there. Some of it’s because I’m travelled out, have no desire to go anywhere except to explore Wales and maybe one day look at my roots in Ireland. It’s more that I’m so much happier here, and the contrast between then and now is becoming apparent.

We were both restless from 2004 onwards. Heading to the empty nest syndrome, work becoming less of a dream. Children growing up, Mum and dog passing. And some of it, my inherent restlessness. I think I get it from my Dad, the thought of staying in one place all my life made me feel like I was suffocating. Not to mention my impatience too. We wanted to go as Missionaries, but Dave didn’t want to study, but when looking we felt God was directing us. Oh, you can read it all in the rest of this blog!

Austria was never home, and maybe that was because I looked back, missing kids, and as we found our selves in a dead church, being in a living one. Our little fellowship here in Wales is so alive and I know God wants us here. Yes, we loved a lot of it, but we had always said we night go back and I knew there was another house for us to live in. This one. I will end my days here.

My overwhelming feeling of being here, is complete and utter relief! More in the next post…


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Caerphilly castle

Starting to explore the Welsh castles. There’s more here to the square mile than anywhere else!

Not sure I’m happy about keeping dragons in captivity though!


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I know I keep on about it…

This first spring back in the UK is a wonder. I’ve been so used to the Alpine seasons, and the late snow that can wipe everything out. Now I’m jumping about as if I’ve never been in England before!

The birch and beech trees as they newly unfurl give off this most glorious scent. It reminds me of when I would ride Monty through the enclosures on the forest.

Here on the golf course, there are so many species of trees. It’s as if they are all new. And as they are masked in their green splendour, for a while, I almost missed they skeletal beauty from the winter.

There are loads of bluebells here, but they somehow, just aren’t so exciting. I am more bowled over by the profusion of wild strawberries on the tip and hills.

What season are you in? What’s your favourite?

Each day as I walk Swingle, I praise and thank God for bring me home.


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Adapting

Before the joy of the EU, Dave and I would both have retired in 2020. But Dave had to wait till last year and I’ve another four to go, UNFAIR! Our move to Wales has changed things. Dave now gets his UK pension, and we both get small ones from Austria, plus my income from the books. Providing we are prudent, we can live on this and I can effectively retire- although I still have to pay my National Insurance stamp.

This has brought many changes, firstly, we don’t have to get up early and so, stay up later. No worrying about being up for work, or being flaked out by 9.30. All the things I want to do, such as the books, there’s not such a rush to do them around work; I have three planned for this year. This isn’t so good, I need some sort of timing to make me get on with things, if no deadline, won’t bother. I want to begin painting with water colours and that is on the list. I just need to find Dave a hobby so I can disappear into my writing cave and not be expected to do house things. But I’m so looking forward to container gardening this summer. We do now have a car, but this time, we’re finding it far harder to adapt, despite having bough another Fiat Panda! When we get confident this summer, we’re talking about taking off in it with dog and tent to explore Wales.

Hang the housework, we can do it another day. Walk the dog, well if we take off for another of Dave’s mammoth hikes, it doesn’t matter if we get late. We do have a new church, so that is the highlight of the week. But we still press on with the jobs for the house, there are still things we want to adjust and decorate.

We’re on a long holiday, and I love it!

Welsh Oaks

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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.