336: Revenge Of China Cat +Plus+ Wedding Cards And Presents

~The Revenge Of China Cat~

While drafting my last post of my wedding to Natascha I missed adding someone to our family.  Kate so kindly reminded me.


Oooops !¬† I’m in BIG trouble now !

I’m so sorry China Cat.¬† You are our family door STEP Cat and you are now known as >>>

China Cat¬†“doorstop”¬†Whillier

~Wedding Presents And Cards~

Both Natascha and I would like to thank everyone who Liked and made such wonderful Comments (200 approx.  Whew !) in my wedding post,  plus,  thank you to >>>

~All My Friends In Spain~

Your emails were lovely.  Thank you !


Talking of emails,  Al sent us this lovely poem >>>


“Hi Ralph and Natascha! I just wanted to say again how happy I am that all turned out well for you, in spite of all the roadblocks you encountered. You look like a very happy couple and I wish you much love and happiness in the coming years. I didn’t get a chance to send you anything, but I thought maybe a little poem would help convey my sincere best wishes to you both. It has been a pleasure blogging with both of you. Here it is:

Natascha and Ralph were in love, and fit like a hand in a glove
The quest was then started, to be married, not parted
In the ceremony required thereof.

With so much at stake, they were required to partake
Filling out so many forms, which came at them in swarms
That they hardly had time for a break.

With red tape galore, much angst was in store
For quite soon they found, that mistakes would abound
But they always kept up ‚Äúesprit de corps.‚ÄĚ

After much tribulation, there was cause for elation
For approval arrived, and their spirits revived
Henceforth, it would be all celebration.

City Hall now awaited, as their marriage was slated
And it happened were glad, to this sweet lass and lad
And thus, here’s this rhyme, though belated!

Awesome !  Thanks Al !


Thank you so much Amanda for the lovely electronic candles.  So realistic !


Of course,  Samantha found a use for the box the electronic candles came in.

~David & Hilda~

Thank you so much for your lovely card dear friends in Spain. 


Your e-card made our day.  Thank you.


~Einar & Jenny~

Thanks for your wonderful thought my friends in Spain.

~Jim & Louise~

A very special hand painted 3D fold out card by Jim, of where you live in Spain.  A card to treasure.  Thank you so much !

~Natascha’s Dad~

A Lovely card Dad ! Thank you so much for the card and the awesome gift.

~Ralph to Natascha~

Love you to bits ! xx


Thank you so much for the lovely card dear friend and ….


… thank you for the beautifully packed special mugs dear Ute.¬†¬†

Oh, and Murli loves the box !

That is everyone.  If I have missed you, please tell me in comments.

Are You Happy For China Cat ?

Ralph xox ‚̧

Photographs taken by Natascha.

335: Natascha And I Are Married. At Last !


Our big day arrived….24th of April 2018.¬† ¬† Don’t panic !¬† ¬† In fact we did not panic.¬† ¬† Natascha was awesome as she wanted a no frills wedding.¬† ¬†All she wanted was to be with me for the rest of our lives, the marriage certificate and to wear a wedding ring.¬† Nothing else mattered.¬† ¬†She chose to wear her favourite dress with boots (as we thought it was going to pour down with rain all day).¬† ¬†Other than the wedding ring which we purchased a few months back, the only thing we bought for the day was a lovely bouquet of flowers for her.

~Arrival At Graz Registrar~

Natascha was quite happy to go by bus to the Registrar in the Graz city centre, but I put my foot down and we got a taxi, met up with Natascha’s dad and eventually found the office by taking a lift and getting lost in miles of corridors.

~The Wedding~

The Registrar is a lovely lady,¬† most apologetic for all what we had to go through during the last few months.¬† She wanted to see our passports, nothing else,¬† not even the papers we struggled to get legalised.¬† 20 minutes of more paperwork to do !¬† ¬† She’d checked all our details and that the wording was correct on the documents.¬† We signed for this, that and the other.¬† I am sure that I bought a timeshare beach hut in the Gobi Desert as my German is exceptionally awful.

Before marrying us, she sent us off to the Cashier in another office miles away in the same building.¬† On our return she married us.¬† I kept saying, “Ya !¬† Ya!” and she kept responding,¬†“Not yet !”.¬† The service was lovely.

I had a bit of fun making this gif from the two photographs above.

The wedding ring.

The Graz marriage certificate and International marriage certificate were presented to us in this beautiful “Congratulations”¬† folder.

We never did get married in this shipping container outside the, now, being renovated Graz Registrar offices.  Whew !  And the rain stopped.  It was to be a lovely day.


~Schloss Eggenberg~

Between them, Natascha and her Dad decided that we should visit Schloss Eggenberg in Graz for photos and our Reception.

Natascha’s Dad.¬† Can you spot him ?

Random shots of Ralph & Natascha.

We held our Reception in the Schloss Eggenberg Cafe.  Coffee and awesome Austrian cakes finished off our lovely day. 

The rain never came, so we did not need our umbrellas.¬† ¬†On the leaving the cafe we checked to see if we had everything.¬† ¬†Dad’s umbrella, a present from Natascha, was missing.¬† ¬†Oh no,¬† it meant retracing our route to see if we could find it.¬† ¬†No sign of it anywhere.¬† ¬†Luckily, someone had handed it in to the girl in the entrance ticket¬† office.¬† ¬†It transpired that Dad¬† (who is six years younger than me ….. work that one out !)¬† had left it in the toilet when we first arrived at the park.¬† Whew, I wasn’t to blame after all as I was the one pulling the cat trolley around the park.¬†

So our wedding ended well with everyone happy and not one worry or stress to be seen after such a lovely day.  Awesome !

~Meet The Whillier Family~

Finally, we are now a true family unit.  Natascha now has two step cats, Sonic & Samantha and I have one step cat, Murli.

Murli¬†“I fuss about everything” Whillier

Sonic¬†“I know everything” Whillier

Samantha¬†“I eat everything” Whillier

Natascha “I do everything”¬†Whillier

Ralph¬†“I don’t do nuffink” Whillier

Are You Happy For Us ?

My next post contains presents & cards we received (thank you everyone), plus previous paperwork costs, plus now MORE paperwork to be done.  Oh boy !

Ralph xox ‚̧

Photographs taken by Natascha and her Dad

334: Press One For ….

~What If … ?~

What if I could speak German and I telephoned the Austrian Graz Registrar about marrying Natascha and myself ? I am sure that I would hear this

 Church Bells 

*10 minutes later*

“Welcome to Graz Registrar, the perfect place to marry your loved one with tranquility and ease.¬† ¬† Let us take the worries of being married out of your hands so that you can enjoy your special day.

Press One for anxiety.

Press Two for stress.

Press Three for an easy way to empty your bank account.

Press Four for wasting months of your time.

If you wish to speak to your own personal Registrar, please wait about a week as she is on holiday.

 Church Bells 

~OMG !  Will We Get Married ?~

Everything the Graz Registrar asks us to do with the paperwork takes time.¬† ¬†Remember when I had to get a new certificate of my old marriage from the UK and then send it immediately back to the UK to be legalised ?¬† ¬† That took almost a month before we got it done.¬† It was quite stressful, we knew everything was genuine and correct, but it’s the not knowing if they find a fault and not legalise the document.¬† As you can see in the following image, it took days to get the envelope back by courier to Austria.

Natascha opened the envelope and we were so relieved to find that the final document had been legalised.¬† ¬† She immediately scanned all the documents, translations and legalisations and emailed them to the Graz¬† Registrar.¬† ¬† It took them almost a day to reply, saying that our personal Registrar is on holiday for another week.¬† ¬†Oh boy !¬† ¬† When she returns we will still not know whether everything is acceptable as our main worry is the legalisation is in English, French and Spanish …..¬† not German !

Will we get a date to get married ?   Goodness knows !

~What Is Going On In The River ?~

I have no idea what they are doing just up the road in the River Mur.   Any ideas ?

~China Cat Meets Murli~

Although we have not put up the pictures and lights yet, Natascha decided to unwrap China Cat and put her in the salon.  Murli was instantly drawn to talk to her.

Is Your Life As Boring As Ours ?

Ralph xox ‚̧

Natascha took all these  photographs.

333: My Cats Are Scientists And I Can Prove It !


Before my main post, a little update for you.

Noooo !¬† Natascha and I are still NOT married !¬† We are waiting for my documents to be returned, rubber stamped as genuine, from the British Government in the UK.¬† That’s the final thing demanded by the Graz (Austria) Registrar.¬† Then we can get married !¬† Everything is taking so long and costing us a FORTUNE !¬†¬†

~Update of the update~

My documents have just, this moment of writing, arrived from the UK.¬† Two of them, my birth certificate of 71 years ago and divorce paper of 25 years ago are fine,¬† BUT my marriage certificate of 28 years ago is a copy (which was what I was given then) is not acceptable.¬† Duh !¬† How can I be divorced if I wasn’t married ?¬† So I have to get a new one.¬† As soon as it arrives here in Graz in the mail, off it goes AGAIN to the UK by mail to be legalised.¬† ¬†OMG !¬† Brain frying !¬† BTW we might be getting married in a shipping container ! That’s another story.¬† Oh boy !

So while we are waiting, we are off on holiday to the sun this summer.  Not us personally.  Our names are going on the Parker Solar Probe and our cats are going along too !  Natascha will have my surname by then, we HOPE ! 

Join us.¬† It’s easy and a bit of fun for this summer.¬† Fill in¬†¬†this simple form¬†,¬† a couple of easy emails and you will get a certificate like ours.

It would be pointless to apply if you are a Flat Earth believer, because to you the sun is probably a hot pizza with double cheese and no anchovies.  Would you like coke with that ?

Flat Earth pizza sunrise
Flat Earth pizza sunrise

~The Main Post~

Graz  is well known as a university city.  A place filled with brains, not like HER !!

Sonic, Samantha and Murli, our cats, should be university professors.  Sonic is a theology scientist, licking his lips in anticipation of telling you all about his latest discovery.

~Sonic’s Stringy Things~

Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose ….. Garrison Keillor

Sonic explains,¬†¬†“In the Beginning God Cat found a motionless length of string in the void.¬† God Cat patted it, knotted it and tore it into trillions of pieces called Stringy Things.¬† Trillions of other cats joined in and had fun with Stringy Things and so the universe was born.¬† When the cats play they call it day.¬† When they sleep …. night !¬† Previously, a Dog God tried to create a universe with a Big Bang which frightened all the cats who went and hid.¬† The length of string in that universe lay motionless for ever.¬† A dead universe.¬† Strings create everything we know for the sole purpose of cats on Earth to play with string.”

Sonic demonstrating his purpose in life.

Samantha & Sonic doing practical stringy thing science

Sonic knows everything and normally tells no-one.

~Samantha, Bottom Physicist~

Intelligence in the cat is underrated ….. Louis Wain

Samantha always has a bottom problem.  Remember this post where she sat in a water leak ?

The cats have the use of two covered litter trays.¬† I don’t know how she does it, but Samantha stands up and pees out of the entrances of the litter trays.¬† EVERY TIME !¬† ¬†Floor tiles and pieces of kitchen roll laid on the floor usually save the day !

I digress !  Samantha watches the sparrow eat the food Natascha put out for the birds.

Samantha spies an icicle and …….¬†

…. a bicycle which gives her an idea.

She ponders,¬†“How long would it take to melt the snow on the saddle on a dark night to wet the bottom of the rider to create a human expletive ?¬† Start the stopwatch !¬† Must go to the toilet now.”

~Murli, Mathematician~

The mathematical probability of a common cat doing exactly as it pleases is the one scientific absolute in the world ….. Lynn M. Osband

Murli is always searching for her next mathematical discovery.

Constant thinking makes her look a little crazy.

She thinks outside of the box when inside the box.

” Got it !”

“The volume of the inside of the box equals a bed.¬† The volume of the music turned down outside of the box plus a flat surface also equals a bed.¬† Therefore as both equate to a bed, the inside of the box must equal the outside of the box plus a flat surface.¬† QED !¬† My head hurts.¬† Bed !”.

So sleeps Murli, a great mathematician.

~A Blip In The Catrix~

In the middle of a world that had always been a bit mad, the cat walks with confidence …. Rosanne Amberson

Look at this photograph of part of our courtyard garden.  What do you see ?

Is a tree growing in the rose bed ?  Is the rose bed behind the tree ?  Or, really spooky, a blip in the Matrix Catrix ?  Is the rosebed floating half way up the tree trunk ?  (Clic-the-pic for the full size image.)

Are you still sane after reading all of this ?

Ralph xox ‚̧

Cat, snow and garden photos taken by Natascha


332: Some Good Things During 2018


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


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 !!!

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

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 !!


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 ….~

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 !

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