Been here done this, Jen and Mark.

September has been a busy month at Bara’ for visitations from friends. A bit like the proverbial London bus they keep you waiting for ages and then three come at once. First to sample the autumnal joy of Kordun with us were my old(est) mate Jen and her partner Mark. Jen I have known since the days she lived in the Leicestershire countryside and I used to visit her and abuse her screen printing equipment with vigour.

Jen and Mark sit down t a welcoming cup of tea, which neither of them drink!

Jen brought me a new tote bag printed with Poison Girls style crow’s on. A top present. She also brought me a couple of books, The Skin Gods and The Alchemy of Murder to add to my pile of “to read”!!

We did a couple of walks around our woods visiting the little ruined castle hidden away nearby. We also checked out our other bit of woodland that required a rather daft walk through tall braken and brambles that I hacked at with a walking stick. Jen and Mark gamely followed!

Jen debates the wisdom of trying to squeeze through a rotten tree stump.
Jen walks round the old ramparts of the little fort in the woods.
Mark and Jen climb through our woods.

The weather has changed and the summer has gone taking with it the Croatian holiday makers. This meant we were alone on the sunny day we went for a dip at the local river Korana swimming spot or “beach” as it’s known here. The picture below is a panorama shot of one side of the beach. There is a bar on the otherside of the river next to the bridge but that had closed for the season last weekend. We were alone in the cool clear(ish) water. The little fish that like to come and nibble at your skin were very pleased to see us!

This is the spot on the river Korana closest to Barabrith where people swim most. Though th locals pretty much all cease to go in the water once September arrives!
Jen captured the moment I relived my youth and swung out in to the Korana river on a rope. Perfect!
Barilovic boasts a picturesque litttle castlecthats currently under renovation, a “beach” on the river Korana and a cave!

One day we took the dying van up the river to Barilovic where we inspected the inside of the castle that was unusually open because some guys were working on the renovation project. Imagine that in the UK, workers not batting an eyelid when you wonder past them into a historic monument that is officially closed!! Accross the river from the castle is a cave, a muddy cave but this is what the local tourist office says….”There is another very well-kept secret hidden at the Vražića cave near the Korana river, in the very heart of Barilović. Legend has it that a big white catfish lives in the middle of the cave! Is it just a legend or is there more to it? If you are brave enough to step into the darkness of the cave and go towards the hidden underground lake, you might get a chance to discover the secret for yourself” Needless to say neither Mark nor I saw the fish!

Jen stands safely at the entrance to the Barilovic cave as Mark and slip and stick in the muddy interior.

No visitors to Barabrith can escape the ‘de rigueur” trip to Pretrova Gora. Unfortunately the ‘peoples monument’ is currently being rented out by a German film company and so access is restricted to walking around the outside of the building. Which is not quite as impressive! Thankfully Jen and Mark have other interests and that includes birdlife! Pretrova Gora has a large birdwatching platform and a walk through its woods with a bunch of information signs about the birds that one might see there. This was a relief because they had remarked how quite our area was for birdsong.

There is a bird walk at the Pretrova Gora monument that has a bunch of signs nicely illustrated but allin Croatian.
Mark spotted how this generator at the Partisan Hospital complex was nicely reinforced with steel plates and bolts.
Jen wanders back down the tree loggers track that narrowly misses the old Partisan Printing house.

We did the Partisan hospital trip and stopped at the printing press where Jen found some typeset under the leaves that made a great little souvenir. But all of these experiences will be lost and forgotten as nothing in comparison with the excitement of taking Ena – our dog- for a walk around our valley.

This is the view from the house at the top of our valley, that made me a tad jealous.

Jen had been making a fuss of Ena, as visitors do and as Ena loves. So when Ena saw Mark and Jen heading off own our field towards the woods she followed them. I had said she might. Jen called me a little later to ask about taking Ena past the house at the top of the valley that has three big dogs. “no problem” I reassured her,  “just keep her close and they’ll leave her alone, and pick her up if that fails!” When our distant neighbour saw them arrive with Ena in tow he threw down his strimmer and ran to shepherd his dogs indoors with a very worried look on his face. All good, except as they passed the house the dogs got out and came for Ena with gusto. Jen carried Ena away in to the woods and most of the way home as the dogs continued to persue them. Who said country life is boring?

Jen made five of the biggest Cornish pasties I have ever seen and took three for their 18 hours journey on to Hamburg. The other two kept us going for the next few days.

The next day came Igor and Sanja.