I have heard tell that the state of a garden can be a reflection of a persons state of mind. Well, I have shared my last few homes with somebody who, like me, had a dream of developing a blousy cottage garden. In reality we ended up with this in each place we shared together. A far cry from very manicured pretty garden in the home I had of my own.
Sometimes love just isn’t enough to sustain a relationship. Sometimes you have to accept that things need to change despite how much you are going to hurt the other person. Making the decision to end a relationship doesn’t make you immune to heartbreak.
I have spent the last three months struggling to come to terms with lost dreams, shattered illusions and hurting somebody who I love still. No matter how heartbroken I am I know that I have made the right decision for both of us.
I had big ideas for my garden and had started working on it late last summer before the snows came and before I began to realize that I wouldn’t be the one to paint it brightly with roses and azaleas and honeysuckle. I will be leaving this garden for somebody else to nurture but before then I need to tame it a little. After all, they say that a garden is the reflection of a persons state of mind.
Early Saturday morning and I opened my curtains to be greeted by a low level cloud whiteout on Achorn. The rain is relentless. I had to fight to stay upright when walking Barney early this morning as he chased the streams of water running down the hill in front of him. He was so funny. Max used to hate stepping out in the rain but Barney seems to love it. He finds joy in everything and having him around is reminding me that life is full of wonder as he finds something new to chase, pounce upon or try to eat.
As it is Saturday I have decided that the housework can wait. I feel as if I am on a treadmill of housework lately and don’t know how the house gets so messy. Well, maybe I do but I won’t linger on that idea. In the kitchen I have a cupboard full of ingredients to bake with but I can’t decide what to bake so I may just have to pull out some of my recipe books later.
So, here I am in the living room, its dark and gloomy and I am debating if I should put the lamps on. It feels like a grey winters day and I find that a difficult thing to deal with. Instead of lingering on that thought I am going to have a cup of Chai Tea and read my magazines for a while.
I have been writing every day since I moved my desk to this spot.
Not only have I been writing I have actually given myself permission to enter some competitions.
It is rather amazing how one little change in space can create a really big change in mindset.
My bedroom still needs to be redecorated before I really feel as if it is my own space and I do want to repaint my desk at some point. For now though I am enjoying sitting here and watching the sun light up the fields.
Any day soon there will be cows in the field and that will be rather jolly.
I have recently settled into a routine of waking between 4 and 5 am. I have no idea why this is but I am getting to quite like the peace and calmness of the village before the farms start work for the day. I admit, I was getting quite grumpy at being woken every morning before 6 am by the starting up of the machinery in the dairy sheds across the way, the road sweeper whooshing up the lane and the horses neighing to be turned out. Not to mention the church bells chiming from 5am and getting louder on each 1/4 of the hour. All of these things were a novelty when I arrived and I found great pleasure in them but I recognised that I had settled into a cycle of negativity as I got a little bored of chunnering to myself about the least little thing. Maybe this shift in thinking is what has brought on the waking earlier. Perhaps my brain has decided to take control of how I wake up and eases me gently into the day. I have been making the most of the early hours by listening to some mindfulness podcasts and reconnecting with my meditation practice.
This morning I decided to make the most of the early morning stillness and took a drive up to the High Alm with Barney.
As I walked to the car I noticed that the crickets had returned to the verge by the car park and the cacophony of chirping brought a smile to my face.
The road up to the Heutal is quite precarious and it was the first time I had ventured up there on my own. I kept up a dialogue with myself about how I had always managed ok in Wales so this was no different. It seemed to work as I made it to the top with no major setbacks. The strong smell of wild garlic on the side of the road as I drove up had me thinking about foraging, something I haven’t done in such a long time. I must find out where the best places to collect elderflower are. I imagine that homemade elderflower cordial would taste divine here.
We parked up at the very top car park and met up with some other early morning adventurers. They were camping there in their van and I thought about what fun it may be to bring Hermann up one night but I am not sure if he would make it up such a steep road. Barney loves it up there, it is one of the places that he can be let off lead and run to his hearts content.
We stayed up there for a while wandering along and enjoying the total peace and quiet. We met a couple of mountain goats wandering along by the ski lifts. They were very interested in Barney but he was more interested in what they had been depositing on the ground. As we walked along one path we met a lady who was out gathering flowers to make some herbal beauty products. She tells me that there is a guided walk up there in a few days with lots of information for making face creams etc. Given my early ponderings of foraging and starting again this felt like a very serendipitous meeting.
Arriving home about an hour ago Barney wanted to stay outside so I put his bed out on the verandah and left him to watch the world while I got on with a few chores. Suddenly the skies darkened and the rain arrived so I had to hustle him inside rather sharpish but he wasnt too happy about that. As I type he is curled up on the sofa sleeping, the temperature has dropped considerably and the rain is coming down hard. I am so glad that I made the effort to go out early this morning and enjoy the sunshine whilst it was here.
I am making a commitment to myself to stay positive irrespective of what is going on around me, I am going to look at the small things and focus on them. The big things will fall into place when I am more able to look at them positively.
I have had a difficult few weeks with more downs than up and some very difficult situations to deal with and decisions to make but one thing that keeps me going at the moment is the sunshine.
It has been a little too hot for just sitting out most days but I have tried to spend some time in the garden. Luckily the house is very cool given its age and the thickness of the walls so it is lovely to retreat indoors and cool off. Not so lovely to have to put on a cardigan when it is baking outside mind you.
Barney had me up really early this morning. A friend had posted some photos of a place I hadn’t heard of before so I looked it up first thing this morning as it looked just the kind of place for a little solitude and meditation. Once I had the details I packed a bag and headed off in the car
Ritzensee is a beautiful small lake on the outskirts of Saalfelden with walks around it that give you panoramic views of the surrounding area. I admit to going the wrong way first time and driving through the shopping streets thinking that I was in the complete wrong place. Then a “sharp right turn” as dictated by the sat nav and it was “on the left”. What a surprise to find it nestled there so close to so much activity in the town.
Once parked up it was a few steps to the park leading into the lake area. I was excited to find a cygnet who came right on over to meet us. It reminded me of my days back home when I would visit the swans daily with Max and they would always come over to say hello. Barney wasn’ t too sure about him at all but I perservered and sat down on the grass with him so that he would know it was nothing to be afraid of. . As I walked on along the path I was suddenly bombarded by some ducks taking off from the water. They didn’t care a hoot that there was little old me on the path and I had to “duck” out of the way (sorry), a wing caught the side of my face as I dropped down giving a passerby the giggles, I am so happy that I cheered somebody up today.
Barney found the perfect refreshment station by the Lake in the form of a manmade waterfall. He is the strangest dog I have ever known as he is obsessed with drinking water, he would choose a drink of water over a treat anyday. Needless to say when we got to the lake the first thing he had to do was take a drink and I almost was pulled over in his excitement at spotting the waterfall.
Climbing up the hill a little way I sat on a bench whilst Barney had a good dig around in the soil and took in the magnificent views. I wish that I could say that I heard nothing but birdsong but I had chosen the moment when the lawnmower started up. I doubt that I would have been able to do any meditation anyway with Barney scratting around in the dirt behind me.
Austria is a pristine country and I am fast learning that all that beauty is thanks to workmen who are out at 6am in the morning preparing the landscapes for its visitors.
Sadly my camera battery died after taking just a few photos and some of those haven’t transferred onto my computer so these are the only ones I can share right now.
By the time I got there the sun was coming up and it was getting quite warm. Barney doesn’t really cope with the heat so well so I just did a short walk around the lake before heading back. It is definitely another one to add to my list to revisit when I can.
Back home and I decided to sit out on the patio to eat a simple lunch of salad barms. Freshly bought from a farm shop that I passed on the way home it was a veritable feast.
I noticed that Barney was mesmerised by something so I looked down to see an ant carrying a piece of bark twice its size. I sat quietly with Barney and we both just watched the ant going about it’s business. It struck me that the thing that I have been struggling with over the last few weeks is probably relatively as big as that piece of bark so if an ant can take the strain then why can’t I?
It is early evening and the sun is shining on the village and the birds are singing in the trees.
In the distance I can hear the band playing, the young people singing and the constant chatter of all the villagers as they drink beer and catch up with each other on this spring bank holiday.
Early this morning the band passed the house heading towards the church for the First Communion service. The procession of villagers in their traditional costumes was a joy to behold as I watched from the window. I did wander down to the centre with Barney mid morning where the villagers had gathered after church but I am afraid that the noise and the hustle and bustle was a little too much for my befuddled brain and I found it difficult to engage with the german language (I struggle at the best of times) so we came home and sat in the garden for a while listening from afar.
I had wanted to spend the day at the festivities but I am nursing a 2 day old migraine. It seems to be becoming a recurring theme lately.
I have no photos of the festivities today and so I am going to share with you a photograph that I took a few days ago. The rusty heart stands in the grounds of Schloss Oberrain, I believe it was designed and manufactured by the pupils there. Surrounded by dandelions I find it a thing of beauty. It brings to mind my Heart of Stone photo and again I am reminded that no matter where I go I find the same things over and over again.
Maybe I had to go down a very long path only to discover that I had always been where I was meant to be.
I have said this before and I will probably keep saying it. The Austrian’s know how to celebrate life.
This is the village May Pole. I am not quite sure how tall it is but I think that you will agree it is a bit of a beast. I can also testify that it is made of one tree trunk so I wonder how old that tree was before it was chopped down for the festivities.
Yesterday the young men in the village helped to erect the Maypole which is donated by a local company. I am told that it is traditional for the men of the village to stay out guarding the pole all night from the men of neighbouring villages who may steal the pole. I am also reliably informed by a neighbour that it was, in fact, stolen once. The day before is known as Phillipinacht when young men enforce order in the village by roaming the streets at night gathering up anything loose or untidy. That explains why I was woken at 4am this morning by voices out in the street. I have been outside and checked the garden and all seems fine. I really wouldn’t relish having to go to the church to pay a fine to get my belongings back.
It is my first May Day Festival since I came to live here so I was rather looking forward to it. I set off this morning for the traditional May Day festivals. The promise of traditional music and dancing and men climbing the pole was too much to resist. It was all due to start at 11am so I even managed to get out of my pyjamas early enough to make it out on a Sunday morning.
I only live a short stroll away from the village square and it all seemed eerily quiet for a festival day. Sadly, as I reached the centre, I noticed a big sign saying that the festivities were postponed. I can only assume that it was due to the forecast rain. Here in the village they have a tendency to cancel things at the slightest hint of rain where other villages tend to go ahead. So, I have the whole thing to look forward to on 5th May instead. Let’s hope that it doesnt rain or the pole isnt stolen before then.
As I was already out and the rain hadn’t arrived yet I decided to carry on for a walk around the village. I love being out and about and today I was really excited to see that the fences have all gone up in preparation for the cows to be turned out. Indeed there was one herd that was already enjoying a taste of freedom
They were as curious as ever but I decided to keep a distance as Barney hadn’t met cows before. There will be plenty of opportunities over the coming months as they roam free in most of the places that we will be walking.
I think that I have mentioned before that the Austrian’s really know how to celebrate right? Well, it isn’t only the seasons and festivities that they celebrate. Here in the village I started to notice that some houses had huge storks outside and wondered what it was all about. Well, the other day I noticed that one had been adorned with a notice stating the date, time and weight of a BABY GIRL named Sarah. How sweet is that? Today, the house by the Cows had a new Stork so I am guessing that they are expecting a new arrival soon.
I particularly enjoy walking down by the river and today was no exception. There were lots of cars parked alongside the entry point for the kayakers so I assume it was a good day for the sport.
All of the trees are beginning to blossom and I love the colour that they provide on my walks.
Barney loved being free in the meadow, darting here and there, rolling in the meadow and smelling all the flowers.
As I came towards the house I stopped at the farm and looked back over to the maypole. It is hard to miss it as it towers over the houses.
I am really looking forward to the fun of seeing the young men shimmying up that fueled with drink on Thursday.