Swings and roundabouts, ups and downs…

This week has been a roller coaster for me. Last weekend I was transported it felt like almost back in time to a music festival in Slovakia, The FFUD Festival! Back in time because I used to go to many small festivals, do stalls and camp out but that seems like ages ago. Transported because I was picked up by an old Polish friend from the NNNW distribution that back in my “Marta days” I had many dealings with. It was great to hang out with Uszaty (Big Ears) – or Michal as his passport says- and get to know his partner and his 14 year old son who’s in to punk rock too! Many old memories were stirred. Part of the reason for going to the festival was that my old chums DOA from Vancouver were playing there. For the last 20 years or so they have pretty much always crashed at my place in London when passing through on tour so this was a different encounter for us and a good chance to catch up. Joey from DOA is a grandfather twice over and when he arrived on site I was happy to no longer feel like the oldest person there.

Uszaty and I endure severe heat for the cause of selling dodgy t-shirts to the punx!
The DOA boys get spoilt with booze and food at the FFUD festival.

I got a lift with a bunch of punks back to Vienna and stayed there doing one of my fave decadent things…. Vegan Tourism! It was amusing to me to be staying with a renowned vegan author and his vegan partner and find that they did not know of or hadn’t visited several vegan outlets in the city that I was keen to try out. It put a hole in my wallet but it was fun. Imagine how many Jon boxes were ticked by my ‘Tuesday morning cycle ride to an all vegan bakery’ !!! Veganista is a small chain of vegan ice cream parlours in Vienna offering fantastic flavours like Cherry Cherry Lady, Lavender, Basil, Cookies, Pineapple Crumble etc etc everyday new flavours and some were refined sugar free!  Marvellous!

Gerfried and I in Vienna with one of only seven horse rider statues in the world that only have two legs supporting the horse. Usually there is a bit of horses tail, a spear or lance touching the ground to add extra balance and stability to the design! Gerf knows these kind of things!
Tito lives with Gerf and Anna in Vienna, Gerf is a nervous little dog that is adored by Anna. He can be very cute.

Flix Bus brought me back to Zagreb and Croatia Bus thence on to Karlovac, there is little comparison tween the two! In Karlovac I met up with Vanja and we spent the subsequent 36 hours saying good bye in the best possible manor. She has finally realised that however good I am at building kitchen shelves and other domestic duties I am not the “right” one for her and its time she went looking for that being. It was a joy and relief after many weeks of not knowing what was going on to talk and spend time together and finally part on good loving terms. Still a bit of a downer though!

My VIP Vanja – sporting her new glasses – takes our last selfie together!

The kids left for the Island of Pasman and their annual summer holiday and I opted to stay here and chill out, hoping it will be cooler here than it is on the coast. I thought I had settled down to some serious P&Q and then today became a monumental day, a rite of passge, the fulfillment of a long held dream coming true.  Renata and Mira called to ask if I wanted them to hire a van and come and pick up the pool table that I put a deposit on several weeks ago but had as yet been unable to transport the 50 odd km back here. I said yes please! I cycled to Karlovac this morning, took the 7.50am train with my bike to the Zagreb station. There I had the joy of riding my own bike in Zagreb at last, but only for the 30 meters from the platform to the waiting van! Oh well next time.

Dining out in Barabrith.

My pool table is a vintage “English” style table that was bought by Maggie’s Croatian parents when she was little and they were living in Australia! They brought the table back with them and then moved 8 times around Croatia with it. Having lugged it in and out of a van today I know that this was no mean feat.  Maggie’s mother marshalled us and directed us and generally took charge of the removal operation in a formidable style that was quite awe inspiring. Back at Barabrith after a cautious drive, Mira, Renata and I failed to get the 200kg slate bed section through the front door, Damn that thing was difficult to lift! Luck was on our side though as Renata’s sister and family were at that moment driving through the area on their way home from the coast. A nineteen minute diversion brought them to Barabrith and enabled my table bed to be carried in to the lounge and on to its legs! A 40 year old dream realised, I have my own pool table at last, pool players welcome!

My life takes another step towards completion
Crazy guy gets super excited about a table with balls and a stick!

Our old dining table is now in the gazebo.

The gazebo dining now seats 10!

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