May the weather settle down a bit?

The British do like to go on about the weather but the erratic weather the Croats  are experiencing is making such conversations very common here too!. Recently it went from 5 degrees one day to 30 the next! Today it has switched from rain, to sun and then apparently both with plenty of wind all day long! The grass is happy, growing like a teenager on steroids.

Below are some photos from Barabrith recently. We’ve had a few visits recently and bookings are beginning to come in!

Seems my dodgy old back is not capapble of swinging my strimmer into battle against the rampant grass at the moment. So I invested the not so hefty sum of 50odd euros in a Lidl electric lawn mower. Its not meant for lawns !?! like mine but so far we’re doing a great job together. But boy do I feel old!
Not sure what this is (I will activate my Picture This app soon, promise!) but it was a gift from a friendly plant seller at the local flea market. Josip is his name!
If ever a cat needed a box to feel content with his life then that cat was Nancy! Here she demonstrates the art of tipping over the paper recycling bin in order to climb into it and rummage around in the rubbish till she’s content and able to gaze out at the world from a perfect posistion of satisfied security! Nevermind the mess!
Hard to believe that such innocent looking beasts as these two could cause anything any harm as it may be the truth is that if you have an allergy to cats please be aware that these two roam around the kitchen dining room and the gazebo but are now allowed in the guest bedrooms. Sorry Dirk!
This is where I used to live. Almost at the top! in Hackney, London.
This colouful beauty is doing nicely and seems to have been ignored by the deer so far. Fingers crossed! I wonder what it is?
The wisteria covering the bench has flowered for the first time and now is so dense that it works as a proper giver of shade too! Cool!
My lastest arboretal addition is an Olive tree. Hopefully this one will survive a bit longer than the last one!
Macabre it may be but for those of you who havent seen a mole up close here is the first of three that our fiendish felines have frightened to death inthe last fortnight!
Sid has started to ask to drink from the basin whilst Nancy still only wants water from the shower! Not sure though what he was thinking he was doing here, a bath maybe? Ours is not to reason why but merely to serve.
Nancy surveys her domain with all the dignity that a mad cat with funny rear legs can do.
The new mower is doing an amazing job of helping me re-cut my paths. Pity I keep running out of cable.
The black bush (I will activate that app soon I promise!) is doing well even on the crap bit of garden when the soild is stoney and shallow.
So there i was trying to finish off planting my spuds and toms when I got an inspection from Sid and Nancy. Thankfully they were preoccupied with murdering another mole and left me to it pretty quick!
A happy guest relaxes on a recliner (name and address withheld for fear of reprisals!)
It was warm and sunny so we went for a walk. At the top of the valley it started to rain. After 5 munites of hiding unsucessfully under trees we opted to brave the walk home in the rain.
As we reached the sanctuary of Barabrith the rain decided to cease, of course! But we still looked like a drenched version of a dodgy Metal/HC crossover trio. Not hard to spot the drummer is it? Don’t mess with this lot is my advice, they look like desperado escapees from an underwater leper colony! Though I’m not sure the drummer is actually human, reminds me of a killler cyborg from Bladerunner.

HA! The goddess is having a laugh at me!

So yesterday I declared the winter over and spring is here! And what do the powers the be do? Sent an overnight thunderstorm followed by snow to remind me how inconsequentiial my opinions are! oh yeah!

Amusing to think that yesterday I was relocating fruit tress down the slope and worryimg about how much I should water them!
The overnight snow is melting quick as the trees drip water on to it and the sun does it’s job.

and here’s one I made earlier….

This was taken a fornight ago, on an evening bathed in glorious pink sunlight.

Spring is here! I’m calling it!

So yes we live in chaotic climate times. What happened to the Croatian winter of snow and ice? It’s hardly worth changing our tyres anymore!

And yes we fear a sudden late cold spell as happened llast year that kills off the blossom buds but despit that I’m gonna call it “spring time” cos that what it looks like today!

Sunny , breezy and with lush grass growing like it’d never heard of the vengeance of a lawnmower and with flowers and trees bursting into life… tis spring indeed!

Plum blossom is out and beautiful to behold but only so far on some of the trees!
This red n green beauty is growing back nicely despite the unauthorised pruning done by the local deer population on its young branches.
The bees are back! Well a few seem to have started buzzing around, this one though seemed to be on a hiatus from flying and unnerved by my close proximity!
I can’t remember what this bush is but it’s certainly always has the brightest and earliest flowers of the year.

 

Winter wonders at last

There was a few days with enough snow for  good snowball fight but sadly no one to through them at! Clearing paths through the snow was enough however to do my back in.

The big apple tree looks truly majestic , doesn’t it?
Moving some boxes around with the snowbarrow!
This is the view from the wooden steps to my room looking west over the tops of my little trees and down the valley.
The washing line is out of action.
What a goof! But hey it’s not often your washing line is 10cm thick!
These dangly yellow seeds are one of the few bits of colour out in the garde at the moment.
The woods have gone grey!
I was told to wait til January to prune the kiwi vine, so here it is in all its winter glory.
Here are the fearsome felines lined up on my legs, close to the stove, as I plough through Rankin.

A day in town

Today required some bureaucratic b.s. to be done so I knew I had to go into town and decided to make it worthwhile. Paperwork done I walked across Karlovac to the Nikola Tesla Experience Centre and paid my 8e to have a mosey around this brand new museum.

The Nik Tesla Experience sounds like a Hawkwind offshoot band but is in fact situated on one of the road heading out of Karlovac towards Barabrith, It’s one the newest ‘things to do’ in Karlovac thanks to EU funding and it’s pretty swanky with all mod museum cons.
Inside the Tesla experience you can give yourself a minor electric shock courtesy of a giant Tesla figure’s finger! The museum is very much based on short films about bits of his life, focusing unsurprisingly quite a bit on his Karlovac days as a student. But truth be told the Tesla experience is nicely done and well worth a visit even at 8e for adults.
You can tell this is not in a UK town because no-one has tried to roll Nikola’s balls away as yet. I like these ” the EU paid for this” signs dotted all over Croatia reminds me of why I jumped from the sinking UK ship and if anything can keep the nationalists at bay over here it might be pure self interest.
The Nicolai Tesla car park opposite his “experience” was funded by the EU and has some pretty fancy Tesla inspired installations in it !

Tesla done I wandered back into town in the bright warming sunlight. What happened to winter? On the way into the old town I passed this staute and decided to check it out properly.

I was kind of hopinng this statue was another antifa spomenik from the Tito days. This would explain the lack of a plaque or information board but it turns out to be a local painter from the early 1800’s who commited suicide by jumping in the river Korana. His paintings are ok, loads are a boring catholic pieces but you can see for yourself at

 the Galerija Vijekoslav Karas in Karlovac.

Since a couple of my summer guests went to Bistro Špajza  I’ve been meaning to check it out and today seemed a perfect day to do so. I was not disappointed, chiefly because I wasn’t expecting much but to be fair the burger and chips did the trick fine. The staff spoke ok English and said that they could make up other vegan options if asked. Ooops I’m slipping into my Happy Cow reviewer mode…..

This was described on the meniu as a soya sandwich with salad and fries! But the folk at Bistro Špajza seem to know what vegan means becuase they took the cheese out of the burger! Vegan cheese not yet may have not quite reached Karlovac conciousness – or should that be conscience – as yet! Still for a hungry bugger like me this lot went down a treat.

Then back to the car and a bit of shopping, our locals Lidl’s are still without the vegan cheese or mayo they used to do and half the things advertised online as part of Veganuary appear not to have made it to Karlovac, oh well. At least the tofu is on offer again!

cheerio

December is cold

Having failed so far to get a new stove for my room I am tending to spend most of my time in the kitchen which has  a working wood burner and stays relatively hospitable even when its minus something outside. Still there have been some gloriously sunny days of late.

Who would have though that a breakfast (oyster mushrooms on toast with extras) in December could be taken outside !?
Can you guess what this is? or rather was? I was told I was a “lucky man” when they found me a replacement! Answer at end of post!
Happiness is ones feet resting on the warm wood stove, a new Rebus story, a cat keeping ones stomach warm and a nice cup of Earl Grey!
The Monkey Puzzle tree has made little headway towards the sky but it looks strong and healthy – and boy are those spikes sharp! – so I trust its growth will speed up sooner or later.
This little “Red Tree” was serverly eaten by deer or perhaps rabbits last year but its come back and appears to be doing well, lets hope it survives the winter ok.
How much closer can a cat get ? I took this pretending to be asleep and then dozed off only a few minutes later with Sid still whisker to whisker with me.
Will this be the last winter I can risk the big pear tree leaning like it does?
The sunset last night seen through the big small pears tree and the small apples tree!
Yesterdays breakfast was courtesy of the vegan pastries one can get frommost of the Milnar bakeries in Zagreb. Reheated in a pan and sitting atop a pile of baked beans this was a perfect fast food brekkie! And the view wasn’t bad either.

Answer, it’s part of the wood stove, a kind of ceramic or brick lining for the air outflow at the back of the fire. Apparently the company that made the fire ceased production of the “Eco” model 15 or so years ago and stopped producing spare parts such as this a couple of years later. Lets hope the replacement bits – that cost me 40euros – will last at least another 15 years.

Winter is here.

I have lit the stove, the wood is burning and the kitchen/lounge/pool room is now the warmest space at Barabrith! Outside there is still a bit of snow on the ground, I do hope the courier will not be put off driving up our hill tomorrow. So no more “gardening” , well at least not whilst the snow is on the ground, so its’ time to lie under my duvet or by the fire and read my newly arrived selection of Rebus/Rankin books courtesy of the charity shops of Brechin and my good friend Jen.  When I’ve finished those I have  a new stack of The London Review of Book’s to read (thanx to comrade Jane) so yes I am ready for the winter!

A late November sunny day. The leaves on the bushes have turned brown and the grass seems to have thankfully finally stopped growing giving me and my strimmer a well earned break!
Yeah I might be a godless atheist but I know I have a purpose! To be precise I am part of Sid’s purpose, I am a comfy cushion, oh yeah!
The morning after the first snow here of the year and I promptly did the path cleaning, let’s see if I can be as dilligent for the rest of the season!

Four months later…

So I’m not doing very well at keeping this blog up to date regularly and for that I apologise. Here in random order are photos from the last four months, if I get a chance to add more text I will do.

Due to a short stay time Gabriel and I had to play a game of pool in the daytime and why not? As with everything Kuhn he took it rather seriously!
Taking a party of visitors, Canadians, Brits and Serbs around the Partisan hospital and all of them refusing to cooperate with the camera!
I’ve never know a group of people take so many selfies! I took it as my duty therefore to mess them up as much as an aging punk is able. Funnily enough they seemed to find it funny! But I bet I get cropped or photo shopped out of the tour diary! This was taken outside the Paris house we stayed in.
These were a revelation and also very amusing. For those who don’t know the rest of the world tends to call crisps chips and so these are quite confusing but also tasty!
The tour took us to an incredible variety of different venues with differing standards of food and accomodation (thanx to tour organiser Lil – front right !) and this night in Hoorn, outside Amsterdam was one of the best meals we had amongst many very good ones.
Imogen recovers from another day/night of alcohol abuse by dosing in the hammock under the big pear tree with a beer to hand.
My sister’s youngest who is now as tall as me if not taller proved that he could occasionally be useful and climbed the walnut tree to do some pruning of dead branches. Thanx Loz!
As usual I offered to show my Czech comrades around the local Partisan monuments and here they are on the top of Petrova Gora cameras in hand!
On eof the fun things about the Petrova Gora monument is how each time I visit there is something different about it, including ways in being locked or closed off which previously were open. This time we had to resort to a method of entry not needed for a few years or more, climbing up to the first floor window!
I love it when guests take choosing their mugs seriously.
Almost brothers in arms! Sid n Nancy what a pair?
After being away for a month my paths were in dire need of re strimming!
My niece and her mates mess about in the Mrežnica river just outside of Duga Resa!
Imogen show the correct way to cut up a birthday cake for an undeserving old uncle! It was a very nice cake, thanx Twitch!
After a month apart, we rendevoused in the botanical gardens of Prague and as you can see she was overjoyed to see me again.
This is the band (plus one boyfriend/roadie/translator) Tomar Control from Lima Peru whom I had the pleasure of driving around Europe for 3 weeks in July. It was quite an interesting and fun experience.
The romance of being on tour rarely includes the reality of the drivers lot. Here for instance I am stuck in an admittedly very scenic Swiss traffic jam whilst the rest of the van is asleep. Fun it isn’t!
After three weeks of non-stop driving my hammock was a really welcome sensation.
The fancy looking newly tarted up (refurbished) Kino Edison in Karlovac.
Can you believe some folk (friends) turned up to stay and slept in their van rather than my comfy beds!! Still it is a very nicely kitted out van!
My apple trees in the early twilight
Scrambled tofu and mushrooms for breakfast .
Sanja does a little dance to try to trick Luke the unlucky cat into the cat carrier.
The back garden of Petra’s mum”s place show how different the gardens are on the Croatian coast from the ones around here. It’s rocky and dry but full of fig and olive trees and every bit of soil is used to grwo something in.
This was the most expensive food I have paid for here in Croatia, almost as expensive as fancy places in London. But boy it was good. Le Botanist in Zadar, try it out if you can afford it.
I love this cat, probably because she is such a wonderful weirdo!
Si made my day by explaining to Rosa that the real purpose for Rose hip buds was for obnoxious youngsters to break them open and then rub the contents down their “mates” neck which is guaranteed to itch badly! I was beginning to worry it was only I who did that!
Simon (old mate from London) treks through my woods with Sid intow miaowing and wowling like a real wuss of a puss!
Half way through making enough burek to keep my guests happy for two if not three days! It turned out Si was still eating them 5 days later!
Given how easy it is for the locals around here to start fighting each other it wouldn’t surprise me if the next war is over who has the rights to Nicky Tesla’s image, name or t-shirt concession! Anyway Karlovac has a fancy new Tesla museum which I must check out at a more appropriate time than when I took this photo.
The really good local news is that Karlovac has afunctioning cinema once more. Kino Edison was one of the first cinemas in Europe but has been empty for decades. Now thanx to the good old Eu it’s been renovated and is a rather swish cinema and art centre.I cycled into town to see Doghouse and was knackered but happy on arriving home late that night after a night out at the flics!
Dad’s room in the guest house has a new rug.
I gave up looking for this potato peeler many months ago and bought a new one so I was amused to dig it up all shiny and in good condition from the compost bin approximately a year after “losing” it! Gotta check the peelings before I put them in the bin!
Royalty, a lion in his prime.
I almost picked this book up without noticing him! I think changing to a black and white colour was too much even for him!
When I grow up I hope to have a cooker with this many rings and space. Somehow I don’t think I’ll get away with trying to sneak out of my Dad’s place with this under my jacket!
There’s not a lot to commend Ilminster but this mug is a good start despite the image the two handles are very stylish. This I might get away with tucked under my jacket!
Dad agreed a little walk down to town, a coffee and cake at The Street cafe and back woould be a good challenge and if succesful good exercise. If he failed and didn’t make it then, well I’d get the blame not him!
By the time Dad had strimmer framed his way around Ilminster the long way in order to call in on his latest squeeze it was dark and I was knackered!
My old man cast’s his eye over a new book I brought for him.
This liitle fella, and he was quite small, was wondering around the cat house doing weird circular defensive movements, and quite scary he looked too!
Nancy decided the parasol provided the ideal spot out of the wind an dwas lucky I didn’t pick it up without noticing her tail before doing so!
Sid heads off down the path on one of our walks down the hill.
And wherever Sid goes Nancy is sure to check it out straight after. Though this being Nancy he managed to fall off the compost bin fence and into the wet soil!
This morning, 12th of Novemeber I discovered that the local wild boar are digging up the land increasingly closer to the house an dmessing up my pathways in doing so! Thankfully they didn’t mess with the Magnolia or any of the trees, so far! What to do?
More boar diggings, on the main path from the house to the Wisteria bench!
Sid came to oversee my compost bagging and filling the ‘bins’ back up with cut grass, looks like he approved but I’ve not seen the officail report as yet.
Sid took advantage of my removing the skirting board (?) under the kitchen cupboards so I could clean under them to hunt for mice and the like.
Back to my usual pace at home after the busy busy time in the UK.

My brother, figs and Marmite

Now I have  a new excuse for not updating this site. A trapped nerve is making everything simple from typing to washing up painful to do, or at best “worrying” with the weird sensations it creates in my limbs an dhow my back seizes up. Still for you I struggled to do another post….

Figs grow all over the coast of Croatia but they are less frequently found inland so I’m rather pleased that these are coming on nicely. Especially as they are on a tree that sprouted from the base of original fig tree I planted but subsequently died!
I started watering the trees last week, focusing on this years new replants like this chestnut. Then we had two thunderstorms and I had to go around restaking the young trees that had been blown sidewards by the winds!!
This fearless hopper jumped on to my breakast table, stalked towards me and then hopped off on to my slipper!
Surround by overgrown paths thanx to my strimming woes this Maple tree was struggling last year after being attacked by rabbits. But now its doing great. Those cute blue flowers have been exorcised for being too close and threatening the Maple’s water supply.
Nance likes to lie with here throat being tickled by the edge of the hammock as she gazes out at nothing. She is an expert at gazing at nothing, possibly a sympton of her early years in flat captivity.
I bought and planted a bumper pack of bulbs from Lidl and these two are the first to bloom. Kinda don’t look real do they?
There is a quaint English expression ” like all your christmasses come at once”. Needless to say I never use it seeing as it refers to things I would rather did not exist but if anything in my life represents the idiom then it is the feeling I have when I see this photo of my current Marmite stock and think back to only a few weeks ago when I ran out of the ESSENTIAL stuff!
This was taken atop the Petrova Gora monument but in keeping with how old a decrepit my brother and I now are I decided to play with the filters a bit, it didn’t help !
Ploggoff (aka Chris, my brother) spent a good long time trying to fit in the smaller hammock but once done he spent a good hour or two reading copies of the LRB and feeling suitably smart after doing so! At this point in time he’s still trying to settle in!
It’s become a thing that guests should choose their own mugs from my collection. Then I crack a joke about doing a psychological profile based on their picks. These are the mugs my brother used whilst here, what do they reveal about him …?
Little brother proved quite useful in the week that my trapped nerve was playing havoc with my ability to stand up straight let alone rake up grass and dump it on the compost heap! Thanx Plog.

More feline photos for your delight.

Yesterdays blog pix were all taken on my knackered old Iphone. Todays pictures were all taken on my knackered old Ipad! See if you think there is any qualitative difference. They are btw in reverse chronological order, like that any makes a difference!?

There is it would seem nothing better that a dusty, dirty old pair of my knickers in an equally dusty and dirty old box for Nancy to sleep all afternoon on! Cute eh! Or maybe not now you know the context.
Here’s moi, trying not to follow the urge to cut the grass but instead to follow my fizio’s instructions and rest my beleaguered back! Cool shirt eh!
Nancy is a funny cat by any definition and so the colloquial term “tool” might be applied to him. This picture is thus titled “A tool amongst the tools”. What a wit I am. These gardening tools were not staged, they were in situ, as is, and Nancy joined them, promise!
One of the beings in this picture is a confident, successful and happy being the other is just about scraping by. I’ll let you deduce which is which.
Who would have guessed that Nancy wouldn’t get todays Wordle in four lines?
Sid stalks stealthily off down what is meant to be a path but is now long grass in search of something to play with.

 

And finally to cool you off after all that hot cat porn, here is hairy Jon and scary Sanja sorry that should be smiley Sanja, should be!