Today I rode the road in to Karlovac and back and went to a church in Tusilovic.

I went to see the guy in the office that helps people running tourist businesses in this area. He’s super helpful with all kinds of advice. I took the days mail to the main post office in Karlovac only to discover that the box to go to Ireland can’t be sent because they have a mail blockade on post from here. It makes no sense!  I had to bring the damn thing back! On the ride back I bumped into a snake, said hello to a stork and I investigated the ruined church in Tusilovic. For the photographers amongst you, yes these pictures are less sharp than usual as they were taken with one of my old Sony Erricson C510 pre-‘smart phone’ era mobile phones and not my Ipad that I normally use.

Storks are funny birds to look at and no more so than when they stand in their huge nests that are perched atop lamp posts and electricty posts. They are considered to be bringers of good luck although seeing as this is one of those ridiculous religious based manias that says we must breed breed breed I would say they are a sign of short sighted selfishness and foolishness! Whatever, that is why this telegraph pole has a special structure on the top to encorage storks to build their nests there. This stork refused to stand up and take a bow for my photo but if you look closely you can see his/her bright orange beak.
I almost cycled over this poor geezer. But seeing as s/he is an ex-snake that has ceased to be I guess it wouldn’t have mattered much. I’ve not seen a live snake here as long as this beauty which I guess is maybe a good thing for me but not the snakes!
Just to give you an idea of the size of this poor snake.
Given the messed up history of the Balkans and the area of Korun who knows what might have happened to this church and why but I quite like the result.
Not a bad spot for a picnic! Finding information about this church is difficult but “we” think it was destroyed in WWII, too bad.
A window that was. How the hell is that arch still supporting that weight? And how do aeroplanes fly?
There is no escape from the Jon selfie when you look at these blog posts!

The view from the road of the church ruins in Tusilovic. Just down the road from us!
I think thats more than enough pictures of a ruined church… no hold on, that doesn’t sound right! Well anyway this one has my beautiful Cannodale bike in it so I’ll slip this one in too!

Closing the barn door.

I spent the last two days making some shelves in the barn. During the night in between I could not sleep and found myself watching the 1995 six part docuentary series The Death of Yugoslavia. It’s pretty harrowing and makes the bullet holes in the buildings we pass on the way to the supermarket rather resonant!

Below are photos of the shelf construction and a few inevitable silly selfies one has come to expect from yours truly.

These doors are pointless as far as we can tell. They can’t open more than a few centimetres because of the fence on the other side  and they are opposite two doors just as big that open on to our “yard”. So they are ripe for redundancy! The space is a good spot for some shelving so we can start sorting out the stuff in the barn and bring in some of the non perishables from the workshop space in the wooden house.
A bit of product placement for my drill. These shelves were built with wood salvaged from the roofing work we had done last year and some bits left over from the gazebo construction. I had an initial plan but I ended up building them pretty much as I went along! I favour screws over nails when it comes to construction and with this job that meant a lot of drill use. I’ve burnt my way through a few power drills over the years but this one is by far the best. It was probably quite expensive but then it was a present from Vanja who has a very generous streak, I made quite a few shelves for her with help from this drill and it’s still going strong.
These last few weeks I’ve been experiencing that wierd audio effect when ones ears block and unblock at random. This means one moment I have extreme clarity of sound and the next reduced volume. In the past I have tried hippy solutions like ear candles with no success so this time I tried something more hardcore.
Doing the drill dance!

It’s a tad annoying how quickly shelves can get filled up and the thought of needing to build more creeps in!

 

A back route and a fire

The other day Marko drove us back from the local post office by a back route to see how easy it was to avoid the police check points. When I mentioned that my cycle ride to and fro to Krnjak was a bit hairier than usual due to the increase in big trucks on the main road Sanja suggested I should find a safer back route. So today I cycled back via a route similar to Marko’s but a little shorter, unfortunately it involves a couple of hills that are not on the main road route and two dogs that chased me. It is however rather pretty as the photos below and above show.

The track above is the last bit of the route that takes you down the hill from Donji Budački to the main road and past a very large white labrador that came tearing out of a garden and strangely ran just ahead of me barking madly! It comes out on the opposite side of the main road from our road.

We had a bonfire the other night for some old pre Mayday reason that I can’t recollect. It was a made up of a big pile of twisted branches and twigs that we could not do much with, well that was our excuse for a good dose of pyromania!

 

Vegetable time!

It finally rained properly last night so maybe our vegetables and fruit trees will survive after all! The first three photos are from the lower veg garden, managed by Sunni and Marko

Sunni and Marko’s super organised and productive veg garden is now producing all our salad greens fresh to the table!
Tomato plants in the lower vegetable garden!
The lower veg garden.

The following five photos are from the upper vegetable garden in the future orchard area as managed by yours truly!

My garlic plants seem to being doing well.
My little onion jungle. No matter how often I weed between the onions those little weeds keep coming back up!
These are cherry tomato plants in one of my “veg graves”.
Two of the sweet potato plants I have planted in one of my “veg graves”!
These prickly damn things are really easy to grow! I don’t have to lift a finger these just pop up all over the place! The only good thing about them is that they are pretty easy to pull out.

and on another note….

Its not everyday that Matchka, Ena and our “wanna be” other dog all fit so neatly in the frame.

Books shelves are done, or are they?

Its been rather sunny outside of late, with no rain. So every other night I water the veg patch and the fruit trees and bushes.  During the day I’ve been staying in doing “book” related things!

Matchka came stalking up the garden from the lower field this morning whilst I was having my brekfast in the gazebo. She gave me her customary headbut and then plonked herself down to survey her fieldmouse hunting grounds, only looking round when asked to say “cheese”!
The lacquer now dry, the shelves are pushed in to position and ready to be filled. I have no intention of putting them in a “proper” order. I think physical size and maybe vague “topics” will be the order for now. I just hope thats enough shelf space!
This is almost as satisfying as the sorting and storage of all my cassette tapes!
Whilst unpacking the boxes of books that have remained shut since March 2018 I found this piece of packaging around a particular valuable book. It is one of my oldest shirts, threadbare, worn to bits and full of sweet memories of great times spent at Damned gigs 30 or so years ago! One day my t-shirt collection will be photographed and put up for sale unless the vegan tourism business here at Barabrith takes off with a bang!
Wow all the books that have sat downstairs in the corner of the dining room fitted quite neatly on the shelves. Yipee I was expecting to have to make another “island” shelf.
The elation of finishing my book shelves and getting all the books from downstairs to fit on them died a sudden cruel death when I turned round and remembered that there are two banana boxes and at least one more box of books on the other side of the room waiting to be unpacked! Damn! Drat! and double drat!

Books, shelves and cake.

A crown of apple blossom for “treeman” Jon!! …………….Damn Hippy!
The tape project comes to its end almost. All the K7’s are in order and the boxes labelled but now it seems they don’t fit in the space they did before so I might have to make another shelf for a few tape boxes!
Once again we are likely to win the Inter – Balkan Dandelion Growers Award for Best Newcomer in the category of Leaving Ones Lawns Alone and Seeing What Happens!
After procrastination the like of which would make Sanja look decisive I finally decided to have at least some of my books in my room rather than all downstairs in the pool/dining room! So I started making some shelves. These are for big books! I chose this form of shelf so I can move them around the room if necessary. They fit nicely under the window sill too!
This the the second “dragable” bookshelf for my library space under construction!
The second long bookshelf all but completed (I forgot to put in a support triangle and they need a lacquer adding) I started on the fun shelving. Creating shelves in and around the existing wooden beams of my room is kind of fun for a passionate DIY shelf builder who has known for a long time that the best way to cope with loneliness and a lack of sex is to build a shelf or two!
A “late” photo capturing the process of amalgamating the 10 pallets of books the printers produced on to 4 pallets to be sent to “my distributors”. This was hot work in the blazing sun and my back seized up halfway through. Which made the rest of the day unpleasant.
A promo pic – no less! – of the new titles and reprints that Active published this week! Currently on pallets winging their away across the world to the UK and the USA.
This was last nights Marko and Sunni cake creation. A rather succulent – we started it whilst it twas still warm – dark choc and forest fruits cake. Very light and fluffy it was and now its settled in to a good brownie texture which is what it was meant to be! But it won’t last long!

Snow way!!

I noticed a chill late last night and heard a bit of wind rattling the tiles but I didn’t expect …….

This mornings surprise was a thin layer of snow covering the vegetable garden and everything else. And it was still coming down!!
A sprinkling of snow flakes!

In and out

 

It got so hot yesterday that I came back inside and carried on with my tapes. Then went back out in the evening and did my first grass scything of the year!

One of the young trees in the future orchard has gorgeous white blossom.
My tapes! Some of these are dated inside as 1980! The year I got my first piece of hifi, a JVC KDW5 twin cassette deck. I couldn’t afford an amplifier so I bought a pair of headphones with a long cable and listened to my tapes up loud but in a quiet room! That tape deck was the best I have ever seen. I still have it but it needs some repair work that I can’t afford that yet. Anyway after a few years of recording new records and then selling them on (because I couldnt afford to keep them and buy more) and then a few years on the fringes of the bootleg live tape business I ended up with a lot of cassettes! Now at last they are all in order and I’m playing them more than I have for many years.
These are some of the finished tape boxes all labelled up and ready to stack. The final stages of a long standing dream coming true!

 

Sunsets are back!

Here are a bunch of photos from the last two days, with comments.

Last night our first beauty of a sunset this year came on strong behind the red apple tree.
The sunset silhouettes one of our young apple trees branches.
I’ve been feeling guilty about not having made anymore nesting boxes for the local birds since I blocked up many of the holes in to the attic of the wooden house.
So I made two nesting boxes drying in the sun.
A bird box on the ground in the sunset.
The original bird nesting box on the right is finally joined by a second on the western face of the wooden house.
This third bird box is on the big apple tree.
Digging another odd veg bed.
One of the self propogated plum tree saplings that I moved to somewhere more useful.
This is a future potato circle in progress.
I filled the circular trench with old twigs and branches covered with dried grasses. Hopefully when left till next year and with a layer of this years grass cuttings on top this will make a fertile spot or rather circle!
My ride to the Krnjak post office is a little hillier than the ride to my usual office. It is situtated in the local government building and so I tend to see some other humans – somethhing that doesn’t happen much up our road – hence the mask!
This is one of the views from the road coming back from Krnjak.
Last nights super moon battles it out with “our” street light for luminescent supremacy.
Yesterday I emptied one of the compost bins in to a bunch of plastic bags.
If you fear I might be short of grub in these strange days well here is tonights meal. On the left is the rest of yesterdays lentil shepherds pie, squashed flat and grilled with some home made mozarella on top. On the right is broccoli flavoured with lemon fried with Serbian fake bacon. Finished off with a chunk of Sunni’s delicious walnut, chocolate and lemon cake. I’m eating well
Today I finally started phase two of sorting out my cassette tapes. When finished they will all be in order and each box will be labelled.

 

 

Pictures and a few words

I’ve been an atheist for 40 years or more now but I’m seriously thinking of asking the spirits to make sure Boris, Bolsarno, Orban, Erdogan (damn this is could be a long list!) Assad, Putin and Trump all die horribly courtesy of the Corona Virus. Boris getting sick has been the only good news from the media for a long time.
Vanja’s raspberry survived the snow to fight another year! This plant originally came from the allotment that Marta and I did in Chingford. I transplanted some to Vanja’s little garden in Shepherds Bush and then after it exploded there I brought a couple of seedlings out here. They have not “exploded” here, maybe they miss Ms Penca’s little green fingers or maybe our soil is not quite so rich as Roxy’s dog toilet was! Fingers crossed this will be the year that they settle in and take off!
Two years ago (or was it one?) I planted a couple of little oaks, very little. They don’t like being moved much but this one still lives and I hope it will one day look me in the eye.
The bed of courgettes or hopefully will be courgettes! Still looking good the soil is so nice and light that pulling weeds out is relatively easy.
A little plum comes out of the ground quite easily, but will it survive? Who cares I was “gardening” regardless of future sucess or not!
This is another little plum tree that has grown all by itself but in a totally unsuitable position so I rehoused it to a space in what I hope will one day be an orchard!
The upright shoot on the centtre right is another little plum that was growing all by itself below one of the old plum trees. It’s now on our Eastern border fence and hopefully will grow into a tree there embellishing the boring border that also needs de-barbed-wiring!
I rarely buy new clothes. I haven’t for a many years. When I came out of a Killing Joke gig at the old Astoria in London and was confornted by a load of dodgy t-shirt sellers with these slightly misprinted rejects in piles on the pavement I couldn’t resist shelling out 8 quid! Ironic -maybe?- that I almost died in this top when Marta and I were attacked by a macho psycho motorist. I was repeatedly punched in the face whilst unconscious on the ground. It was a bit tough on Marta watching my bloodied limp body being beaten. Onlookers said they thought I was dead. That was back in 2008 and like the no good hoarder I am I kept the top even though it was blood stained and cut open across the chest and own both arms because I had a plan! I could say that the curent virus crisis has given me the extra time to do such projects but I’d be lying. Half the point of moving to this dead end road in a dead end country was to give myself time to do these kind of things and so I am, at last sewing up my favourite punk rock hoodie and embellishing it with big red stitches. In this picture I have just got to the point of finishing using the sewing machine to attach the top to a long sleeve tshirt so making a two layed extra warm top ready for next winter.
Back to my sewing. Now I’m adding the chunky stitches that are ornamental rather than functional. Hopefully the sewing machine stiching will keep the thing together. But this embroidary thread is a bugger to pull through two layers of cloth.
The trick to tough sewing other than doing some serious martial arts type traing to strengthen my fingers grip is to employ a pair of pliers with some tyre inner tube attached so they don’t ruin the needle. Simples!
One arm and one side done I’m feeling quite please with the result so far. Give me a kind of Frankenstein look, which is NOTHING like I usually look, ok!
I have recently been spreading the evil English cultural tentacles in to the Serbian capital Belgrade and one lovely womans flat in particular. Now the familiar tones of Radio 4 presenters and the aroma of Lady Grey tea mix in a heady Angloaroma with the cat litter and her smelly socks! However having got the poor dear hooked on the better things one can drink with soya milk she has quickly run out of supplies and you can’t buy that stuff over there! Prince Charming – thats me!- wrapped up a box of Twinnings teabags and headed for the post office defying the Covid19 threat and police check points in order to get the precious parcel to my precious punkette. But alas the Serb government has closed the borders so tightly that even the humble postie can’t pass through. What will, Sanja do?