332: Some Good Things During 2018

 ~Update~

2018 has started out reasonably well for me.¬† My German is coming on leaps and bounds from almost nothing to next to nothing.¬† For instance a sign in a local supermarket stated “Ihr Markt“.¬† Natascha¬†put me straight when I said that one hour was a short time for shopping in the supermarket.¬† I now know two German words¬†Your and¬†Store. ūüôā

 Paperwork was at the forefront of getting settled in Graz,  Austria.  I am now certified.  Yes,  certified as a permanent resident of Graz.  I also have a pretty e-card which gives me access to free medical treatment.

Amazingly, some more good things are about to happen during 2018.

 ~Western Union~

Many of you may remember my post about being scammed by the notorious Nigerian, Bongo Bongo Banana, out of Ottawa, Canada.  He pretended to be Tammy who loved me enough to try to empty my bank account.

The other day I was reading the Daily Mail online and I had a wow moment.  It seems that Western Union (WU)  had not been verifying the identity of many collectors of transferred money.  WU has been ordered to pay back money to victims of scams.  You can read about it here.

I had a big sort out of my old paperwork when leaving Spain.  For some unknown reason I kept all my WU receipts and, boy, was I glad I did.  I filled out the remission form with copies of all the receipts and sent them off, online.

It may take a few months and hopefully I will get back a few thousand euros.¬† I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

 ~Our Marriage Shenanigans~

All Natascha and I want to do is to get married in Graz !¬† ¬†Simple ?¬† ¬†Not here !¬† ¬†It seems that because I was divorced things become really complicated.¬† The Registrar here wants proof that I am free to marry and there is a complicated process to go through.¬† ¬†We went to see the Registrar clerk in this building ……..

……..¬† who sent us away on a quest.¬† Going through all the British government web pages about marrying in Austria after a divorce ………

…… off we went to the local British Consulate a few minutes away from our home to make an oath and sign an affidavit saying that I was free to get married.

We took all our paperwork.¬† Everything !¬† ¬†Natascha’s kitty shopping trolley was full and heavy !

We rang the doorbell.  No reply.  The door was open and we ventured into the darkness of the building.

We explored every floor and corridor.  No British Consulate !

The stairs were so dark and dingy.  Dragging the heavy kitty trolley, we expected to see Errol Flynn having a sword fight.

There were no signs pointing to the British Consulate or even warning signs about the stairs.

We gave up !   Natascha went into a store to ask where the British Consulate was located and was told it was a couple of doors up the street from where we originally looked for it.   We rang the doorbell.  No answer, but the door was open and in we went into the darkness.

The lift could only be worked by having a key.  The spiral stairs were even worse dragging the heavy kitty trolley.  Puffed out, we climbed round a corner and a couple of electricians blocked our way with all their tools and cables on the steps.  They told us that the Consul was away on vacation and would not be back for at least a week. Oh boy !   Disheartened, we returned home.

Many days later, after no reply on the British Consulate door bell, we climbed the stairs dragging the heavy kitty trolley.  There were no signs for the British Consulate or warnings about the stairs.

Puffed out climbing the spiral staircase, we stopped by an office where a very kind man unlocked the lift which took us directly into the British Consulate.¬† Beautiful carpet, polished brass work, a polished picture of the Queen, a smiling receptionist and a glowering Consul greeted us.¬† We explained why we were there.¬† The Consul looked at us as if she had trod in something nasty and all she said was, “Go to Vienna !”.¬† ¬†I asked her what she actually did there ?¬† ¬†She replied by telling us that all she did was British subjects in prison,¬† hospital or loss of passport.

I am sure that this is where she, the Consul, spent her vacation !¬† ūüôā

When the time was right, early December 2017, 6:30 AM, a cold morning, Natascha and I boarded the bus from Graz to Vienna.

We had already arranged a meeting in the British Embassy, Vienna and we were looking forward to getting the papers which the Austrian Registrar asked for. I wasn’t really terrified when the top deck of the double-decker bus passed under low bridges. Duh !

The meeting went well.  All my documents were genuine.  I made the oath that I was free to get married, signed the affidavit and a waiver that the British Embassy was not to blame if any of my paperwork was not up to scratch.  A notice of marriage was pinned to the notice board in the Embassy (which is totally useless as nobody can wander in there to read it as security was so tight).

We arrived home late in the evening, almost ‚ā¨200 out-of-pocket.¬† The British Embassy charged over ‚ā¨100 for their work and the rest was for meals and travelling expenses. All this seemed to me to be completely unnecessary as I have been single for 25 years and the British government knows that anyway as I am receiving a UK single person’s state pension. Anyway, we now had to wait for the certificate from the British Embassy which was coming by registered post.¬† It never came !¬† ¬†I emailed the British Embassy and was told that it was sent a few days before.¬† Natascha went to the local post office.¬† No registered letter !¬† ¬†I then emailed the British Embassy again asking for the registered letter number so that the Post Office here could trace it.¬† A few hours later I received an ooops email from the British Embassy.¬† It seemed that the clerk was on vacation and the document was never sent.¬† A day later the registered letter arrived.¬† Yay !

Oh yes, there is more ! The Graz Registrar wants all my marriage and divorce documents translated into German.  Natascha is in the process of translating them as her English is perfect.  Will we get married ?   Is there more to the quest ?    Will we come out of the wedding service gibbering idiots ?   Time will tell !

 ~Cats And Things~

The main reason why I moved from Spain to Austria was that Natascha has awful daily migraines and needs to go to the pharmacy twice a day on a bicycle to take a special concoction which blocks the migraines.  Since I have been here in Graz she has had very few migraine attacks.  Love seems to help her.

The cats and I watch her pedal off down the road from our window.¬† Murli must be thinking, “Why is mummy out in the street ?”.

Sonic and Samantha love it in the apartment.   Samantha never stops talking !

China Cat and Coo Coo are still wrapped up in bubble wrap in the cupboard.  They never stop complaining.

Oh, Natascha has not died climbing the ladder¬† ūüôā

 ~My Spanish Apartment~

I really must get on and advertise my now empty apartment in Spain.

Is your 2018 going to be a good one ?

I hope so !

Ralph xox ‚̧

331: Merry Christmas From Graz, Austria

~Apologies~

I know !¬† I KNOW !¬† Slap my wrist !¬† It’s been weeks since my last post and you must be wondering what’s going on.¬† Well, everything really.¬† My move from Spain has totally screwed up my hands and balance.¬† I couldn’t get my head around blogging, answering comments and doing the simplest things are almost impossible.¬† So I am sorry that many of your comments in previous posts lay unanswered. I have read them and love you all for putting yourselves out to write.

Life so far has been revolving around government paperwork,¬† some easy,¬† some brain frying.¬† Still,¬† almost finished.¬† My UK pensions are coming to Austria, but Brexit has been ruining the exchange rate.¬† I am now officially a permanent resident in Austria and not classed as a “gay pride 40 year old bearded child migrant with no paperwork” who is given everything.¬† Yes,¬† craziness is a norm in Europe.

Paperwork is delaying Natascha and I getting married,¬† but we are almost there !¬† It will need a full future post¬† to tell you what “fun” we had.¬† The following 3 photos were taken in Vienna,¬† part of the game governments play when we had to visit the British Embassy for a bit of paper needed for us to get married.

~Natascha Is Awesome~

Yes she is !  I love her to bits.  Never having done any DIY she is willing to have a go at anything with my guidance and does it well.

“Will I die ?”¬†she asked before climbing the ladder to hang curtains 12ft high.¬†¬†

She does everything for me and the cats and loves doing it.  She is awesome and I am so lucky to be with her. 

~Sonic & Murli, Our Christmas Lights~

It cost me a fortune to move from Spain to where I am now,  so as part of my cut-backs the cats now have to chip in and work for their living.  They are now Trainee Christmas Lights Cats (TCLC) unpaid ! 

Sonic on the bed

Murli flashing at the birds in the back garden

Samantha blew a fuse !

~Christmassy Evening In Graz~

A cold evening.¬† My feet felt like penguin’s feet,¬† but worth the tram ride into the centre of Graz to see the lights.

~Happy Cats~

“Merry Christmas everyone !”¬†

Love Murli,¬† Sonic and Samantha ‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧

Samantha surrounded by stuffed friends

Natascha playing ball with Sonic

~Flying Truck?~

Bouncy truck ?  I had some fun with my photo editor.  Click on the photo to see the stabilisers, needed as there were men high up on a cherry-picker installing the city Christmas lights.  

What does Christmas mean to you ?

Wherever you are in the world, whatever your faith or belief, have a lovely Christmas. Be kind to each other and that includes you crazy politicians !

Love, from our home in Austria

Ralph xox ‚̧

330: What’s Going On Sonic ?

~Day Out To An Aircraft Museum…No !~

Last Saturday was our first day acting as tourists in Graz, Austria, when we planned to visit the aircraft museum at Graz airport.

After a long bus ride ……..

…… and walk, we arrived at the gate to find the museum closed, only opening Sundays and holidays.¬† Ooops !¬† Natascha missed that info on the website !¬† Still, we did see a garden full of ducks while waiting for the bus back to Graz.

Of course, Sonic didn’t tell us !

~18 Days In A Hotel Room~

Our room lit at top of the hotel
View from our hotel room

Most people would have gone mental camping in a hotel room for 18 days waiting for the apartment contract to be finalised, but we rather enjoyed the experience.  Breakfast became a race because a group of Koreans usually got in there first and ate everything.  Sonic knew that !

Little things are entertaining such as don’t open a box of Kelloggs Smacks upside down as it might make you really ill.

Right way to open the box
Wrong way is enough to make you spew

I even watched a drug deal going down in the street below.

~The Big Move~

Cats back in their carriers, suitcases packed, a lovely morning ……..

……off we all went to our new apartment.¬† I waited there in the empty rooms ……

….. while Natascha met the removals van at the storage unit.

~Let Me Show You Around~

I know you know everything Sonic, but we don’t !!!

Our street window bottom right

Can you see Samantha at the window ?

Let’s go inside.

Turn right !¬† “Hello !”

What massive doors to our apartment !

Let’s look out into the back garden.

~Control Freak~

Almost immediately on arrival we watched an old Austrian woman roll the communal trash bins under our balcony.

She was adamant they stay under there out of the rain as they have been there for 50 years.  Humm, it was a sunny day and the bins were elsewhere for ever.  Pointless arguing, so Natascha emailed the new, keen building management stating health issues from fumes and that we were unable to hang out our washing to dry.  They ordered the staff to move the bins to a more sensible location.

We later found out that she ordered a neighbour not to park his bicycle with the rest of the bikes.

So not wanting trouble the neighbour locked his bike in the street and it was immediately stolen.  Oh boy !  Talk about a control freak !

Yes,  you as well Sonic !

~Unpacking and minor problems~

Oh boy !¬† You are so helpful Sonic !¬† China Cat, you will have to remain in bubble wrap until it is safe for you to keep a door open.¬† Coo Coo, you will also stay wrapped up as the walls are really high.¬† I have ordered a step ladder from Amazon Austria and guess where it’s coming from ?¬† SPAIN !!¬† And it’s going to take weeks to come by Correos Express (on the back of a donkey ?).

 

Without the step ladder we cannot hang the curtains as the rails are at least 12ft (3+m) high.  We are also on hold for hanging pictures and putting up shelves and lights.  Come on donkey !!

~Plumb Crazy~

The washing machine I brought from Spain would not fit into the anorexic space by the shower.

Thanks to Amazon stocking 5m water pipes we have a working washing machine in the kitchen.

And, boy, did we need it working !  18 days of hotel clothes, curtains, blankets and piles of unnecessary messed up sheets and pillowcases from burst bags after the bed was emptied into bags in Spain.  And this lot was just a small portion of what had to be washed.  All done now !

The kitchen sink drain was blocked,¬†but within hours the building management plumbers unblocked and replaced the system under the sink and even installed a new tap (faucet, to those Americans who can’t spell tap ! lol )

~And There’s More !~

The first major buy was a wardrobe.  Natascha is thrilled that she has her own hanging space and drawers.

Natascha’s cat, Murli, came to apartment the same time as the rest of us.¬† It’s all new for her and at the moment doesn’t get on with Sonic & Samantha.¬† She hisses at them and they totally ignore that silly Austrian cat !

Sonic on the bed. Murli on the window sill
Murli hiding from Samantha
Murli birdwatching
Usual work surface spot of Murli
Sonic, at the door, knows that Murli is in the chair. He knows everything !

I must apologise for not replying to emails and your lovely comments in my previous post.¬† My back hurt too much while sitting by the laptop.¬† Well, that’s my excuse !

This is me now ……. still camping out at home …. my back much better.

Still lots to do.¬† Empty boxes to be disposed of …….

…… and getting married !¬† That’s another post !

I am now registered as a Graz resident.

They even gave me a freebee pen !

We are very happy.

 

Samantha loves the top of the fridge ….

……. and sleeping in her new basket.

While Sonic ?

….. say no more !

Will we be finished by Christmas ?

Sonic knows ! 

Ralph xox ‚̧

 

329: Take The Cat OUT Of The Box !!!

~Last Day In Spain~

What a day ! ¬†A loooong day ! ¬†A day of ups, downs, no-no-no-no’s¬†and by the time my NIKI airline Airbus A321-211 took off from Malaga, Spain for Vienna, Austria I was wacko, totally stressed out and a gibbering idiot ¬†(no change there then !). ¬†

And it all began so well !

~Take it ALL out !~

I got up at 6am, did the final packing, bedding put away under the bed, everything ready for the removals van arriving at 8am with five friends to load the vehicle. A totally international crowd, two Belgians, one French man, two Englishmen, and the Russian speaking Ukrainian driver from Poland. ¬†65 items were loaded onto the van, and before I knew it someone suggested that the bed was to be emptied …. blankets and sheets put into plastic bags and the hinges removed. ¬†At the same time a cupboard with all my electronics was also emptied. ¬†Everything I had beautifully packed was scattered everywhere. ¬†I began to panic. ¬†Two hours later, all packed, the vehicle left Spain for Austria.¬†

The actual removals van

~Cat Carrier fell to pieces~

After sitting around in a totally empty apartment for a few hours with two cats saying, “What the hell is going on ?” Thierry arrived to help put Samantha and Sonic in their carriers. ¬†Samantha was easy, really easy, whereas Sonic !!! ¬†He really stressed us out by escaping capture. ¬†Eventually he was contained in his carrier and taken out to the car. ¬†On carrying Samantha downstairs, the front of the carrier fell off and Samantha luckily ran upstairs, where I picked her up and put her back in the repaired carrier.¬†

Thierry had the brilliant idea of buying tape to repair the carriers. ¬†The carriers looked beautiful on Amazon, but were totally useless for transportation. Thank heavens they didn’t fall to pieces in the huge Departures Hall at Malaga airport.¬†

These cat carriers look nice, but fall to bits easily

~Take the cat OUT of the box !~

I checked myself and the cats in and was told to go to the airline office to process the cats. ¬†Because the aircraft was late arriving I had to wait an hour. The girl told me to take the cats to check-in 265 where a Spanish security guard told me to take the cats out of the boxes and put the carriers through the x-ray machine. ¬†I told him no, no, no, no,no, no ! ¬†No way was I going to take Sonic out of the box. ¬†I went back to the office and asked for an animal handler to help me. ¬†After phoning around, there was no such person at the airport. ¬†By then I became a gibbering idiot. ¬†Then suddenly angels appeared in the form of three Ladies from Animal Care Espa√Īa. ¬†They took over completely, trying out different combinations of removing Sonic from the carrier. ¬†In the end they gave up and told the security guard. ¬†He phoned his boss who told him to put the cat and the box through the x-ray machine. ¬†Whew!!!

Similar animal security at Malaga airport, Spain

At the aircraft gate, the ground staff woman put my boarding card into the machine and it flashed up red, not green.  Oh no!  Not another problem!  In fact all she was doing was making sure that I was boarding the aircraft so that the cats could be loaded into the hold.  On entering the aircraft I asked the Stewardess if my cats were on board.  I phoned Natascha to say I was seated, but did not have time to tell her, as the plane was about to take off, that the cats were actually on board with me. Yay !   What a relief when the plane lifted off from the Spanish runway.

~Meanwhile in Austria~

During the 5 weeks we were apart Natascha had been busy getting us a storage unit for my apartment contents as we had not got anywhere to live in Graz as yet. 

Natascha sent me this lovely self made card. 

While I was flying to Vienna, Austria with the cats, Natascha was on a bus from Graz to Vienna.  She checked into the hotel she had booked previously.  A sensible idea as the plane would be landing around midnight. 

She watched us flying on flightradar24

And then she panicked !  The aircraft flew over Vienna airport and kept going north.  With a sigh of relief she watched the plane return and land from a northerly direction. 

Happily she saw the plane land.

~Arriving in Vienna~

Meanwhile I had a mile walk to the baggage claim, picked up my suitcase and Natascha had informed me that the cats should be in a special area, Band 1. ¬†I went there and the cat carriers were on a table with rollers. ¬†The cats were so happy to see me and I walked out into Natascha’s arms.

The cats looked absolutely terrified after such an ordeal of 10 hours. 

~Vienna airport hotel~

We didn’t get much sleep at the hotel, but the cats had a little freedom in the room over night.

The following morning we had to put the cats back into their carriers, but they were hiding underneath the huge bed.  The only way to put them into their carriers was for us to lift up the bed against the wall exposing the cats. 

OMG !!   WHAT A DAY !!!

~A simple train ride to Graz.  What ?~

Of course the train was late departing from Vienna to Graz.  With help from other passengers we got the luggage and the cats on the train. 

An easy ride ?  No !!!   Halfway to Graz everyone had to get off the train, walk to buses, an hour on the bus and back on a train to Graz.  Luckily for us, there were men who helped us with our luggage. 

~Phone when you are 2 hours from Graz~

The removal van arrived on the Monday, two days after we arrived in the hotel in Graz. We asked the driver to notify us when he was a couple of hours from Graz so that we could prepare for his arrival at the storage facility.  No no no no no no !  He sent a text that he was already at the facility which gave us no time for breakfast or coffee. 

The Russian speaking Ukranian driver leaving Graz

We met up with the driver, but we could not find any help to unload the van and move the contents into the unit.  Natascha and the Ukrainian driver were fantastic. They basically moved everything themselves.  The little bit I did drew blood on my leg and destroyed my back.  Oh boy !

My Spanish apartment contents stuffed into the 20sq.m storage unit in Graz

~Hotel in Graz and our future~

At the moment we are staying in a small room in a hotel in Graz.  Hopefully we will be getting an apartment tomorrow, Monday.  Also tomorrow we are visiting the British Consulate for me to sign an affidavit saying that I am free to marry.  With this piece of paper we will go to the registry office and book a day for our wedding, then back to the Consulate with the date.

We are all exhausted ……

Sonic & Samantha

…… so¬†GOOD NIGHT !!!

Samantha
Sonic in bed, asleep with Ralph

Do you want to read more ?

I have no idea what is coming next for Natascha, myself and the cats.  Watch this space !

Ralph xox ‚̧

Goodbye Spain !

Busy,  busy,  busy !  This month was heaven and hell in preparing to leave Spain.  

HELL: ¬†Not being able to find a sensibly priced removals company to move my apartment contents from Spain to Austria. ¬†Requests either ignored or quotes of ‚ā¨6000+. ¬†Cat couriers ignored emails, or one wanted ‚ā¨2000 to transport my 2 cats to Austria. ¬†The vet said she was coming, then not coming. THREE TIMES !!. ¬†to microchip Sonic & Samantha and give them their rabies shots for their passports and health certificates. She is due to give them their final rabies shot, ¬†but I have had no reply from her to my email. ¬†2 phone calls and 13 emails it took to cancel the Internet. ¬†A morning’s trip to my bank to transfer funds. ¬†And THEN I hid ‚ā¨1000 contained in an envelope in a blanket in a cupboard ….. no idea where it has gone … packed in a box I hope. ¬†Oh boy !

HEAVEN:¬† A removals company popped up in my inbox, ¬†quoted ‚ā¨2500 to move my stuff with a 20 cubic metre & 1000Kg strict limit…. I took it. ¬†My flight booked. ¬†Friends: Christine, To√Īi & Pedro, Linda & John, Monica, and finally, Louise came round and packed all my stuff. ¬†Thank you fantastic friends ! ¬†Thierry has and will be driving me around and he has organised personnel to load the removals vehicle. ¬†Thanks Thierry. Great friend ! ¬†My Spanish lawyer is acting for me concerning the sale of my apartment. ¬†The Internet equipment will go this week.

This is what the removal vehicle should look like ……….¬†

Luton Van

…….. but knowing my luck this is what will turn up to move my stuff to Austria.

The Beverley Hillbillies

As soon as the removals vehicle has left I will leave for Malaga airport.  Hopefully they will get the plane off the stand before it takes off !

Model of a Niki A320-200

Then it’s goodbye to Spain as the Niki flight takes off for Vienna. ¬†I will be so relieved and happy !¬†

But what about my cats you may well ask ?

You have given me months of grief, so it is payback time guys ! ¬†China Cat & Coo Coo, you will be in that box for a couple of weeks, whereas Sonic & Samantha ……. brace yourselves ! ¬†You two will be put in your own cat carriers ……….

Catit Design Cat Cabrio Carrier Flight/ Airline Approved, Pink/ Grey/ White

…… where you will be in a car for a couple of hours, ¬†hang about at Malaga airport, ¬†put in the hold of the aircraft (‚ā¨100 each), ¬†a 3 hour flight, ¬†taxi to the hotel where you will let out overnight. ¬†10 hours in your carriers !

The following day,  back in your carriers,  taxi,  train,  taxi to your new home.  Another 4 hours in your carriers !

I am loving this.  HEAVEN !!

As I gradually turn out the lights on living 15 years in Spain,  memories flood back;  parties,  great friends,  wonderful days,  screwed up goverment paperwork etc.. 

Natascha & Ralph
Sonic

Goodbye Spain !

And so begins a new chapter in both Natascha and my life.  Marriage,  new country for me,  new home and 3, yes, 3 cats.  Our new family !!

Ralph
Natascha

Natascha will be waiting for us at Vienna airport Arrivals as the cats and I emerge after midnight.  There will be lots of hugs and kisses,  then we will walk out of the airport hand in hand to begin our new life in Austria.

Vienna Airport

So, look out Austria !!!!  Here I come with my CATS !

Meanwhile,  back in Graz,  Austria >>>

OH NO !!!!   Not another one !!

Have you made big life changes like I am doing ?

Ralph xox ‚̧

Please bear with me as I may not have time to answer comments and goodness knows when my next post will be (and stay safe my Florida friends).

327: ūüá™ūüáł Spain, ūüá¶ūüáĻ Austria, ūüá®ūüᶠCanada …. WHAT !!!

~Resa’s beautiful Art Gown~

My dear friend Resa from Toronto,  Canada, has dedicated her latest creation to me.  I am really thrilled and honoured.  Thank you my friend.

This is her story of how it came about.

“I want to tell you about this Art Gown I’m making.

Quiet Samantha !!

It goes back to the beginning of May. That is when I began to think about an idea for the gown. ¬†As I knew I would be dedicating it to Ralph, the first thing I thought of was a “cat” theme. ¬†Then I thought of a humour gown, which made me think of court jesters and harlequins. This lead to thoughts of the Venetian Ball, where many of the gowns seem to have a harlequin effect.

However, there are challenges for the Art Gowns, and this is what helps define them as art.  I am not allowed to go out and buy expensive fabrics. I am only allowed to buy bargain bin leftovers for not more than $2.00  a meter. I can use expensive fabrics, but only if they are already in my stash.

I have used many things to make Art Gowns, including wine corks. – La Vie en Rose

I have used my scraps and rags – Empress D’Amore

I have used old curtain lace. – Autumn Orchid

So, I went out searching for fabrics for my ideas. Everything was 10, 20 or 30 $$$$ a meter.

All I could find was an off white stretch poplin (now I know why it was $2 not $15 a meter. You’ll read about that in the post. ¬†I also found curtain sheer for $2.00 a meter, but what could I do? They did not support my original ideas. ¬†Then I read about a Canadian female artist, the late Joyce Wieland.

In 1967, she was made famous by a lithograph she made by using red lipstick and forming her mouth into an O and imprinting it on her canvas … for Oh Canada. It was Canada’s 100th birthday.

¬†This year is Canada’s 150th birthday. So the idea was born. I would make 150 flowers, imprint an O in the centers, and attach them to a gown.¬† As Ralph lives in¬†Ca√Īada¬†del Real Tesoro, I figured I could make a poetic connection.

I sent Ralph a first inspiration mock-up a while back, before his post on that he had met someone. I thought this reminds me of a Victorian era wedding gown.

It looks more like a Victorian era (1880-90-the short lived bustle era) than ever, at this point.”

~And then ….~

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!
I’m honored to be one of the first to know of your engagement.

Now, I find out you are getting married.

I never meant to make a wedding type gown, but I am, and I can’t help but feel that the Art Gowns are somehow psychic.

Well, that’s it!

Much love to both of you, and I am so looking forward to your coming out post!

Hugs, love and kisses to both of you! (and the cats)

Resa xoxoxoxo”

~It’s true !~

Yes, it’s true ! ¬†Both Natascha and I are going to be married, ¬†to each other, ¬†which is important !¬†

Yay ! ¬†But not here in Spain …. Austria !

As you can see I am the marriageable type.

I love my meals ….

…. and doing nothing.

We both love each other so much and we are so alike in everything we say or do.

Natascha immediately said “Yeeeeeesss !” when I proposed to her. ¬†

So I bought her a gorgeous engagement ring …..

….. and some pretty things.

 

~So what now ?~

It’s really simple ! ¬†Owing to Natascha’s medical conditions requiring specialised medications in Austria and if she moved to Spain would have to go through months of tests from scratch without the right medication she needs, I am moving to Austria.

So, I have already put my apartment on the market ….

…. set up preliminary arrangements to move all the contents, cats etc. to Austria.

Natascha returns to Austria on the 4th August and will immediately find a place for us. ¬†As soon as I have an address, off to Austria go Sonic & Samantha ….

….. followed almost immediately by the apartment contents and myself.

As I have drafted this post on the 30th July, we will spend our last few days together in Spain enjoying each other’s company.

Sonic  !!!!

~5 years with WordPress Com~

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 5 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

Thank you old and new blogging friends for being so awesome.  

It was $10 a Like and $20 a comment, yes ? ūüėČ

Please do visit Resa’s Art Gowns blog. ¬†There you will see her wonderful creations.

Ralph & Natascha xox ‚̧

~ps. Natascha Flies Back To Austria~

Click for the big pic

Goodbye sweetheart.  See you in Austria in a few weeks !

Click on this picture to go to Natascha’s post about her trip to Spain

We do need to be together !  Love you !

326: Footprints In The Sand

~Footprints in the Sand~

While Natascha is sleeping in a Vienna airport hotel I thought I would have a go at Frank Angle’s challenge of 150 words. ¬†Natascha will be checking-in at 3 AM for her flight to Malaga, arriving at my home around midday today.

So here goes >>>

The old man had planned this outing with his grandson for months.  He knew exactly where to take the young boy.  Treasure Island was the beach that he played on as a child, imagining Pirates, great battles and treasures lost and found.  He would take his grandson on the journey he played seventy four years ago.

The great day arrived.  The day was perfect as he set out with his grandson along the beach telling stories of gold, dubloons and cutlasses.

To the old man the day was perfect.  The slight breeze filled the sails while the Jolly Roger flapped the skull and cross bones.

He never felt the searing white flash !

World War Three was started and finished in an instant.  All that was left of humanity was footprints in the sand.

(133 words)

Ralph xox ‚̧

I may not be able to answer any comments as real life and Natascha must come first now.

 

325: This Is LOVE !

LOVE had decided that she would break cover and tell you all who she is when we are together here in southern Spain in a few days time.  

On reading your wonderful comments in my previous post LOVE has decided to tell you all NOW who she is.  LOVE is so thrilled that you are so happy for us and thanks you so much for your kind words and love.

So please say hello to my new love of my life,  Natascha.

Click for Natascha’s post telling you about us. Yay !

Natascha is 37, has lived all her life in Graz, Austria, speaks German and perfect English, loves her cat Murli, has a few medical problems which are improving day by day since becoming my girlfriend. Fantastic !  

We are both WordPress Com bloggers,  have so many things in common that it is uncanny and love each other  so much and unconditionally.    We both are now an item, one, together for ever.

Click for Natascha + Murli’s About page

Please visit Natascha’s blog post and say hi.

Ralph xox ‚̧

How Love Found Ralph On WordPress Com

In a few days I will be coming up to 5 years blogging on WordPress Com.  During that time I have met on the internet so many wonderful bloggers,  too many to name and I love you all.

A few of you expanded from WP into us sending each other emails, having fun, sending each other presents and one even visited my home !  Wonderful !  The remainder of you I know very little or nothing about you at all.   I have no idea what your circumstances, illnesses, lives, worries etc. are.  All I read are your words, poems, single pics, reblogs etc. on your blogs.  This is the story of one such anonymous blogger who has taken my heart, filled it with her love and I am totally in love with her.

In this post I will call her LOVE.  Why not ?  I am not including pictures and am keeping her anonymity until we have photos taken together to put out to the world of WP for you all to see in the future.

I know that many of you will be happy for us. Others will be devastated, almost suicidal that their Ralphie has a real girlfriend now. ¬†So sorry, but you had your chance, 5 years of chances and you blew it ! ¬†Please don’t cry ! I still love you !

Here we go then.  

The story of LOVE and Ralph !

So, here I am in my lovely apartment in a valley surrounded by mountains in southern Spain.  Day by day I am getting older.  All I really have are my health issues, my aging cats and blogging.  Nothing to look forward to except exist and have fun with my cats and blog. 

But, out there in another European country, unknown to me, was a woman who one day stumbled across my blog and immediately, totally fell in love with me.  She was smitten.  Nothing else mattered but remotely loving Ralph.  LOVE knew in her heart that Ralph may never love her as she had daily migraines and other things which may immediately put me off her. 

Even so, she wrote lovely comments on my posts, as many of you do and she was thrilled to bits when she read my replies. ¬†I hadn’t a clue what she looked like, her age …. anything, ¬†except the love for her pet on her blog. ¬†She sent me a link to visit her internet album in her first email to me. ¬†I waded through photos of her old European town, ¬†hundreds of her pet photos, then ¬†WHAM !! ¬†almost at the end of the album were two selfies of a gorgeous young woman ! ¬†She was beautiful ! ¬†I just had to know more about her.

As the weeks went by we emailed, messaged, had hours of coversations on an internet phone. ¬†Initially, I was worried as I had been scammed a couple of years ago by the Nigerian Bongo Bongo Banana, posing as a Texas 42 year old woman with money problem after money problem and I was the sucker who fell for it. ¬†He is probably still pushing a full wheelbarrow with a big sign on the side shouting out, “RALPH’S MONEY : HAHA !”.

LOVE was completely different.  She wanted absolutely nothing from me.  All she wanted was to tell me of her overwhelming unconditional love for me no matter what I do or say.  She loves me beyond words.  

Total pure love !

Due to the stupidity of Social Services LOVE can claim nothing because she is living with her pensioner Dad.  If she went to live with anyone else she would receive the full spectrum of benefits.  Crazy, or what ?

LOVE ticks over with a few euros from her Dad, most of which goes on her pet.  She has asked me for nothing.  She loves her old clothes, repairs them herself and is so sad of the loss of her grandparents and most of all her Mama who died of cancer.  She was existing day by day just like me.

It was uncanny how similar we were.  We blog, love our pets, smoke, go to bed late, hate curry and so much more.  We were finding ourselves fitting snuggly together like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  It was amazing !  Our thoughts, words, actions and reactions were exactly the same.  We talked for hours on the internet phone and it seemed like five minutes.  We were both in a dream. 

LOVE wants nothing from me.  She is a giver,  she pours out her love for me unconditionally and all she wants is to see me happy.  Nothing else matters except for her pet.  How could I not fall in love with her ?

What could I do to make HER happy ? ¬†I thought long and hard, then sent a few euros to her bank for her to buy some new clothes to make her feel better in herself. ¬†Do you know what she did when the money arrived ? ¬†I am almost in tears thinking about it. ¬†She asked me if she could use ‚ā¨5 of the money to buy some food for her pet. ¬†God, I love her so much !

Time went by and I asked if she would like to visit me. ¬†I’ll show her Gibraltar and Ronda and hopefully she would have a fun vacation. ¬†In an instant she said yes. ¬†We talked about her sleeping in the second bedroom. ¬†In an instant she said no because she wants to cuddle up to me, be with me, kiss me and make me happy. ¬†Wow !

The flight is booked and confirmed. ¬†LOVE will be arriving here in a fortnight’s time, staying for 24 days. ¬†Yay !

Due to our unconditional love for each other, amazing things are happening as I write this.  My vibrating hands are a lot better ie. instead of my usual morning 8 messy attempts to roll just one wrinkled trumpet cigarette, yesterday every one was almost perfect.  Yay !  LOVE has only had one migraine attack in the last week.  Yay !  She has had daily migraines since she was 6 years old.  That particular migraine was caused by moving heavy things.  

Maybe we were both due good karma and healing.  Maybe we were brought together by Forces Unseen who I call my Dear Ones.  Who knows ?  But what I do know is that if it was not for WordPress we would never have met and fallen so deeply in love.

Thank you WordPress Com

So what do you make of all this ?

Ralph xox ‚̧

323: Stag Night On My Doorstep

~Stag Night~

This is what a man looks like when he realises that he is getting married in two weeks time.

GULP !

Jim
Jim

~The Friends~

Last Friday at very short notice, ¬†really short notice, ¬†friends of Jim met up in a local Spanish bar for his “sort of” stag night. ¬†It was daylight !

Ralph & Einar
Ralph & Einar

As for the women, they were organised ! ¬†Einar left his home for the bar with tales of Louise’s hen night in full swing. ¬†Table strewn with “confetti”, ¬†champagne bottles already empty downed through penis drinking straws. ¬†Erect jelly babies with added calories. ¬†And they were only a half an hour into it !

The men,  another kettle of fish !  Well, three of them went fishing in the river (caught 6 barbel, returned to the water) then onto the bar for a beer or two, or three !

Adrian & Ralph

That was the extent of male organisation.

Einar & Jim

No stripper,  not even paint stripper !  And the sheep ran away !

Ralph, Einar, Jim & Chris
Adrian, Ralph, Einar, Jim & Chris

~Guess Who I Am ?~

You know the game !  Someone sticks something on your forehead and you guess away !

Am I male ?  Yes !

Am I upstanding,  but generally hangs himself ?  Yes !

Is hair a feature ?  Yes !

Do I do one thing and then do something completely different ?  Yes !

Am I Donald Trump ?  Yessss !  You guessed it !

Cheers Jim & Louise !  Have a wonderful wedding in the UK on the 16th !

Jim & Louise. Did you notice Jim’s magical spectacles ?

~On My Door Step~

So I slowly made my way home,  singing that after party classic !

I arrived outside my home. ¬†What’s going on ? ¬†My young Spanish neighbour Pedro, ¬†his three children and pet dog Ni√Īa were standing on their front balcony in total shock. ¬†It transpired that the new neighbour’s wife went mental over Pedro’s children doing things that children do. ¬†She shouted at them, ¬†saying things like, “Go home to Africa !” and promptly emptied her street sweepings on our door step.

It was Friday night !  Pedro called the local police.

Guess what I saw in the street over the weekend !

Oh boy !  

Monday arrived.  Jack hammer day !  All day !  Pretty much every square foot of the new neighbours house front has been ravaged by the jack hammer.  The noise was awful and then it suddenly stopped.  Yay !

The local police arrived to visit the new neighbours. ¬†Two and a half days after Pedro’s phone call, it must be a serious matter !¬†

We could hear what the policeman was saying.  Things like,

Please be calm lady. ¬†Forget cleaning the street as the Town Hall has people to do that !“.

(She’s out sweeping the street now, ¬†3 hours before this post goes live. ¬†So much for the local police advice ! ¬†Oh boy !)

As soon as he drove away the jack hammering restarted with a vengeance. ¬†For heaven’s sake. !

The new neighbour gave me the finger when I complained to him about the awful noise. ¬†That was a no-no. ¬†I have initiated payback. ¬†If it works I’ll update you my friends !

Remember:  A great friend is a treasure,  gold,  a keeper;  whereas an enemy is dust which is easily blown away and forgotten.

One of you ladies please sweep me off my feet and take me away from all this madness !

Oh no ! ¬†Not her ! ¬†ūüė¶

Ralph xox ‚̧

322: Home Help ….. HELP !

~The Form~

Toni, ¬†my young Spanish friend and neighbour thinks it’s a good idea to get me a Home Help from the Spanish Social Services, ¬†as Toni and her family are rarely home during the day and I might do something stupid like stand up and breathe I suppose.

This week,  Toni brought me the four page form to fill in.

Hello ! ¬†I can’t write ! ¬†A two year old is a calligraphist compared to my Picasso inspired signature. ¬†So Toni filled in the form for me.

~The Blonde~

I wonder what the Home Help would look like ?

 

Will this blonde have an intelligent conversation with me ?  

(Watch this video.  So funny !)

 

Dream on Ralph ! ¬†Knowing me this is probably the Home Help I’ll get !

~What Would She Do ?~

I am quite capable of doing large things around the apartment such as washing the dishes (sort of !), ¬†making my bed while the cats are trying their best to wreck what I’m doing, ¬†and brush the floor.

I haven’t a clue what a Home Help does. ¬†Wash the dishes, ¬†make the bed and brush the floor I suppose.

It’s the small things I find almost impossible to do such as organising paperwork and picking up a coin on the floor.

The Home Help could sort out my paperwork (transfer my Last Will & Testament into her name). ¬†She could pick up coins and if caught emptying my wallet she would probably tell me that ‚ā¨50 notes look untidy in there.

I have no idea what a Home Help does !

~I Bet My Cats Know !~

Oh boy ! ¬†You lot are a real help, ¬†aren’t you ?

Would you like to be my Home Help or girlfriend ?

I have no idea what you would do ! ¬†Tell me ! ¬†ūüôā

Ralph xox ‚̧

.

321: Karma At Her Best

This post is the latest on my New Neighbours (NewN) and how I had some payback with the help of Karma.

Please enjoy this very highbrow song which is relevant to what is coming.

~A Quick Recap For My New Readers~

Eastern European NewNs arrived from California to this quiet mountain village in southern Spain and purchased the house next door last year. ¬†Then all hell was let loose. ¬†The wife glared and screamed at villagers from her street balcony, banged on our walls late at night, played a scale on her piano for hours on end (nothing else) etc. ¬†Parked across the road, the 4 tyres of a Spanish friend’s car was slashed one night. ¬† An unknown villager retaliated, throwing old engine oil all over the front of the NewN house. ¬†The NewNs reported me, my young Spanish neighbours plus another to the Spanish Guardia Civil police and activated a denuncia stating that we did what they were actually doing themselves. ¬†I understand the police took no further action as she was crazy.

 ~Update~

One:  The other afternoon the Guardia Civil police were in the street taking photographs of the NewNs four CCTV cameras which are monitoring the street and public pathway to the river.  In Spain CCTV monitoring of neighbours and public areas is totally illegal.

Two:  The NewNs got permission from the Town Hall for a yellow line outside their garage, but not the yellow line across the road.  He parks his car on it !

 

Three: ¬†Verified information is being sent to me about his “business” in California. ¬†A home rental agent. ¬†Post Office drop address in Camarillo. ¬†No office. ¬†Complaints of not refunding deposits when he didn’t activated rentals. ¬†His workmen stole from properties…. and HE COMPLAINED TO ME that his US$1.2 million Thousand Acre home had to be sold for US$800,000 ! ¬†Karma did her bit in the village by breaking his ankle when he was unloading his pianos and Regency furniture out of the huge shipping container from California.

 ~Payback~

.

Oh, an email from the NewNs ! ¬†That’s a first !

.

Ralph,
 There is a pipe in the common wall by the ceiling of the hallway going to the studio that is constantly hissing, like water is going through it.
I have shut-off the water in my house and my counter was not moving and the hissing continued.
In your water cabinet there are 3 counters, and I presumed that the top one is yours and it was this only one moving. I have attempted to shut-of the valve for that counter, but unfortunately the valve doesn’t shut-off the water completely, only half way. I noticed that the counter was moving slower and the hissing diminished.
There are blisters on the ceiling of the hallway by the common wall, but more importantly I wonder where all that water is going. You might and up with a high bill.
You are welcome to come and check it or send Pedro for it, but you need to call a plumber.
You can make arrangements for the plumber anytime as we are home all the time.
.
.
What he doesn’t know, is, that in Spain, nothing is as it seems. ¬†My meter is the BOTTOM one ! ¬†Time for a little fun and payback ūüôā ¬† (Stay strong and to the point, Ralph). ¬† I replied with >>>
 .
After all your nastiness, you not responding to my three emails and
you denouncing myself plus Toni and Pedro plus another, you expect my
help ?   No way !   Keep out of our property and that includes your
workmen and our water valve box.  Do not touch my water valve without
my permission !
.
.
.
Ralph,
I see that your hate for me is clouding your judgement.

I did not ask for your help because I do not need it, on the contrary, as a good neighbor, I pointed out a problem and in spite of your foul words for me anytime you address me, I treated you with respect and in a civilized manner. I have just informed you, that your leaking water pipe is destroying my property and I am sure the property on your ground floor apartment and I gave you a chance to fix it. If you do not send a plumber today to fix the pipe and my ceiling, tomorrow I will inform the authorities that you are intentionally destroying my property and that you have insulted me in your previous emails, that is the reason I have not answered you.
I will inform the owner of the first floor property, I will bring a structural engineer to survey the damage done by you to my property, a plumber to fix your pipe, a mason to fix the wall, a company to kill the black mold and any other damages the you have created and I will take you to court to pay me back for all of the above plus personal damages to me and my wife.
.
.
Oh boy !  He has dug for himself a massive hole.  Time to go for the jugular !  So, I gently replied >>>
 .
Stop harassing me and threatening me !   Get your facts straight !  So
sue me !   You will lose and any damages will come to me !
I want a written apology from you.
.
 I think then he had an oopsy moment, a sort of I screwed up moment as his emails suddenly stopped coming that day.

~The Following Day~

Someone’s in my water meter box ! ¬†Probably listening to them singing ! ¬†I sent an email.

At 12:11 I saw Cameron, your “builder”, fiddling in the water meter
box of 137 Ca√Īada d r Tesoro. this is more evidence of tampering with
another property without permission.
BTW does Camarillo ring a bell ? Oh boy ! It’s all adding up.

.

.

Ralph,
I am sorry and I need to apologize, the water meter at the top belongs to Luis, the owner of the apartment on the ground floor and Camaron was working with Luis to replace the broken valve that shuts-off the water to the ground floor apartment.
The leak was in his bathroom toilet.
.
,
He APOLOGISED !  *faint*  I replied >>>
.
Accepted ! That’s great that Luis’s problem is fixed.
I just wish that Pedro being ‚ā¨240 out of pocket (for 4 slashed tyres)
will be fixed ! Maybe it will.
.
.
However did it did not do me any service, on the contrary.
.
Well, that’s Karma and payback for you ! ¬†I then exclaimed >>>
.
Good !
Karma is working well, isn’t she ?¬† She gives it out in spades to
anyone who upsets me, or wonders to those who are good to me. She used
water this time for those who upset me. I just had to be patient.
Thank you Karma ūüôā
Pedro’s money really upsets me. So, to the person/s involved in
slashing his car tyres, she is coming big time. I will be patient.
.
Deathly silence

~This Morning~

.

Ralph,
I don’t think I told you that when I moved here and I was parking my car outside, because of the remodel, someone slashed my front tires.
That was my “Bienvenido a Estacion”.
.
Uh ? ¬†What ? ¬†On asking around I find that nobody who understands what the heck he’s talking about. ¬†I don’t ! ¬†So >>>
Erik Mark Hansen and your wife, Ann, you have been named and shamed !
You, dear Reader, can read a couple of awful comments about his Californian “business” on this website. ¬†Just the tip of the iceberg I expect !

Have you had a run in with anyone ?

I hated to do this post, nothing like me really, but I will not be trampled on.

Ralph xox ‚̧

 

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