The Dutch Invasion

We have been busy, busy being inspired to try aerial acrobatics, cut the grass shorter, eat gluten free food, play darts, pool and visit a centre for alternative and sustainable building amongst other things! Yes “the Dutchies” as we affectionately refer to TK -who’s actually from Texas- and Dylan – who is Dutch! –  made a considerable impact on our quiet lives here at Barabrith for almost a fortnight. I hope the pictures tell the story. The two or three darts evenings are not featured because we played them at night with “atmospheric” lighting and so photographic recordings opportunities were limited.

Here we go…

TK makes shinning up the silks look effortless…. She teaches this stuff and has already done several workshops using her portable rig during their tour.
Sanja tests her natural monkey like abilities climbing the silks
It was all going so well till the silk got caught on her left nipple.
This part of swinging in silks is more like emulating the experience of a bug breaking out of its larva and wondering which bit to stick out first.
I had to have a go too, well its not everyday you get to play around in a huge silk crimson hanky  is it? Does my tail look good to you?
Our path along the stream (that at present has dried up!) was impassable last time Sanja and I tried walking that way, but those weeds were no match for the Dylan and TK machette crew!
This fallen branch is one of those left by our neighbours that carefully blocks the pathway alongside the stream. There are a variety of fungi growing on them but these are by far the most colourful!
Dylan is Pathman, a peasant superhero! doggedly working his way up the pathway along the brder of our land scything the long grass and weeds into oblivion.
The sun sets have been spectacular recently….. even when captured on an old mobile phone camera they look pretty good! Very ‘Betty Blue’ don’tcha think?
Whilst wandering out in the woods with guests the subject of what animals might be lurking around ready to pounce on us regularly comes up. We mention the deer and the wild boar and the possibility of snakes but only the deer are ever seen and then only very briefly as the scramble away with a speed and agility one can only admire. I like to show the scuff marks in the soil as proof that boar have been here recently but this skull – found by TK – was a much firmer proof of boars in the woods, even if not necessarily recently! Once cleaned up s/he will be on display.

We are unsure as to the veracity of the information but our neighbours told Sanja yesterday that a bear was spotted in the village and hunters report sightings of wolves! This information came from two “elderly lads” who had heard that Sanja had been out walking in the woods on her own. I suspect a wind up is in play but it would be exciting news if true!

Much to my amazement one morning Sanja was up early and outside in the gazebo being instructed by TK in the art of pilates……before she had any breakfast!!!
One of my frequent comments when taking visitors around the partizan hospital and Petrova Gora monuments is how they have changed is some way everytime I visit. Well I didn’t expect quite such developments in the few days since I rode there with Robert! The partizan printer house is finally being refurbished!, Slightly overdue one might think but hey lets just be grateful its happening at all!
Sanja and TK approach one of the partizan hospital buildings or are they stopping to perform an impromtu dance routine?
Here are Dylan and TK being shown the spot on the third floor of the monument from which the opening – drone-  shot of Tribes of Europa was filmed. The riser they are standing on is not the green concrete it looks like but actually part of the TV-set thoughtfully left behind by the production company.
TK, Dylan “the robot” and Sanjah – as Dylan tended to call her – all get the sillhouette treatment on the top of Petrova Gora monument.

and on one of our trips to Zagreb we took in Samobor too. Samobor used to have an excellent vegan ice cream outlet that sadly is no more so I have little reason to visit this picturesque town anymore unless I have guests to entertain!

TK fearlessly participates in the assault on Somobor Castle by cadets of the “No, lets take the other path to get in to the castle” school of artists.
Somobor castle perched on the side of the hill just outside Somobor, 25 mins by car from Zagreb is a great tribute to the school of thought that castles and such like historical places should not be sanitised in to boredom as so often is the case in countries where the values of health and safety come before the values of fun and freedom. No I’m not talking about wearing Covid masks!

back at Barabrith Dylan is making himself very useful in the gardening department once more.

Dylan earned himself a healthy dose of respect and extra museli for breakfast by not just offering to work around the house but by actually doing it!!! Here he is digging out the compost containers! Please note his red star hat, he’s very proud of it!
Then one day the peasants realised they had nothing to lose but their chains and so they took their pitchforks and chased the landlord out of his hammock and a global vegan anarchist utopia was begun!

Back in the Barabrith kitchen TK is serving up GF food for all….

When one of our guests was belatedly announced as gluten intolerant I was slightly unnerved at first as I have been relying on bread, burek and seitan as staples of my Balkan diet for some time. TK however guided me easily through what she can eat and what products are ok without a fuss. She also made several meals that were terrific, the one above included a lentil dahl, flavoured tofu and corn bread in a pan.
There are times when you just wish your “subjects” would turn in to mannequins so you can be sure they won’t ruin a perfectly nice photo with silly expressions of disinterest and faux ennui. This thankfully is not one of those.
Sanja was rather taken by this artistic platform set amongst a group of trees at the Vukomerić permaculture and sustainable housing village thingy.
Dylan tries to work out how to get level with a superior but significantly lighter being!
And here we are half way through an impromtu “Gluten Free Pizza ” making workshop on a Saurday evening hosted at Barabrith and taught by TK.
TK took a bit of a liking to this new baking tray and used it to make her GF cashew cheese cake. One half was fruity flavoured and the other was aronia rakja flavoured!!! Very good it was indeed!
There are times when the slight age gap tween Sanja and myself becomes more obvious. Similarly the chasm between the life styles and privilege of our two upbringings. When those two factors collide there can be either amusing or frustrating consequences. An amusing one was the reaction of Sanja to the wonders of TK’s Polaroid camera. Her expression and exclamation of joy and awe as the image of us slowly materialised on the white square was a true delight to behold. The picture wasn’t too bad either. It was a fun throwback for the rest of us to the joys of taking a group selfie with no self timer or reverse camera image. For Sanja it was a moment of magic!
The Dutch pair drove up on us unannounced the neighbours dogs were caught out, their ears failing to identify the gentle hum of tyres slowly coming up the road as a vehicle to be barked at! Yes Dylan and TK had the quietest car the village has never heard, by far. An electric hybrid with many mod cons it made Stonkys tractor look or rather smell like Bhopal and Dehli combined. It was verbally noted by neighbour Nada that TK was driving as they left for the next leg of their Escape from the Netherlands tour, women drivers, whatever next!?

and now it’s all gone quiet and started to rain which is great as now I can replant some more fruit tree saplings once the ground becomes diggable once more.

Till next time.