Some of Joan Baez’s work moves me to tears (good ones! not from boredom you cycnical punk!) but I can’t quite bring myself to spend £50 on a ticket to see her last world tour show in London this coming Feburary. It’s an anguishing personal battle betwixt the DIY anti-capitalist frugal anarchist on one shoulder and the devil may care, you only live once punk rocker (we’re talking about a Joan Baez gig?!!?) on the other. Maybe I should stick to second hand LP’s from the flea market?
The last few days have been shelf buildung days (and fixing the wall thatbthe plumbers messed up wheninstalling my new boiler). The first thing I install on arriving in a new space is my hifi but I didnt have the right wood for my plans so a set of shelves for my day to day clothes came first this time, closely folowed by the Hifi and Lp shelving.
Since escaping the family nest many years ago I’ve moved around quite a bit, mostly within the confines of the London Borough of Hackney but still. If asked to pin point one of my “rites of passage” in my miserable life, the purchase of my beloved KD-W5 JVC twin tape deck back in the early 1980’s is a defining moment. I couldn’t afford an amplifier and speakers to but with a pair of headphones plugged into the front of the deck – which had an headphone output level control amongst several features that made this machine stand out.- I could listen to tapes of my more affluent mates records late into the night. I gradually built up a little stack of HiFi seperates that now look archaic but still make the floor vibrate happily with my “music”. When Sony brought out their ground breaking Walkman cassette players portable music has been a big feature of my life. I was one of the bicycle couriers who shot around the London streets on two wheels with headphones in only just not loud enough to stop me hearing my company’s “pager” alerting me to phone the office for another job. A world of my own! I cycled from London to Glastonbury in a day once and I’m prett sure I wouldn’t have made it without The Ruts and Killing Joke giving me a beat to pedal to. In recent times as a van and truck driver my nano ipods plugged snuggly into the vehicles stereo system. I lost two Nano’s during my time as a delivery driver but I still have two and they are perfect for the cycle ride in to Karlovac from here.
The point of this ramble was to say that ever since I spent all my paper round and Sainsbury’s saturday job savings on my tape deck I have felt that my home is where my HiFi is. Now I have The Interrupters blaring out from the one set of speakers temporarily set up on my window sill, I feel I have a new home at last.
The flea market of Zageb is stuck between an army base and a land fill hill next to the river Sava only a couple of miles from the city centre. It is huge. The only one I have seen larger was in San Francisco and that was a long time ago. Anything and everything is for sale at Hrelić, I have seen wooden dildos, Olympic mascots made of lego, vintage machine guns, pianos, and white elephants amongst the piles and piles of clothes, books, tools and tat! The weather and the season effect the nature and number of stalls that set up each Sunday, Saturday and Wednesday morning. On average it takes about 2 hours to walk up and down every row but allow 3 hours if you want to look properly. This time of the year there are masses of skis and ski boots on offer in the summer there are more sunglasses available than on could possibly imagine!
This market is the source of most of the books that are sold in the Sto Citas bookshop. Markos and Sunni have been “doing” the Sunday market for so long that the are well know by most of the regular stall holders (as is Ena their dog who begs an incredible amount of bread and bad dog diet stuff from stall holders and customers every week!) Some give them advance warning of new books coming and even invite them to come and collect books from their houses or storage units. There are many “business stalls selling new stuff mostly cheap clothing and tools my favourites are the wooden product stalls from where I recently replaced my wood dining plate. The rest of the stuff is second hand, “knocked off” or in some way “shady” as all the very best flea markets are. (RIP Hackeny Wick car boot sale!).
The Barabrith crew tend to go most Sundays. We get up early enough to make it to the books before most of the other book dealers do. There are several hideous cafebar’s around the edge of the market in shacks that I doubt would pass any H&S inspections and stink of dead burning animals but thankfully some only do drinks. Inside the market are two mini bakery outlets one of which often has vegan croissants! They are vegan by default rather than intent, the margarine being cheaper than butter, we guess! The best local speciality food wise though comes from a little stall in the middle of the rows stalls that do large flat Pogacice which are a cross between a donut and a pitta bread, most folk have them with nutella on, I have mine covered in garlic oil, lovely!
If you are visiting Zagreb and want to see something real and maybe bag a bargain I can’t recommend Hrelić too highly.
Yesterday we had visitors from Banja Luka, which I think is a great sounding name, not sure why but there you go! The snow remained all around and I reckoned it was time to go visit our woods whilst they are covered in this photogenic white stuff. So off we went….
Back in at the house Matchka was getting a bit annoyed by the “attentions’ of the visiting infant. She tried to escape by climbing on my shoulders and stayed there for 20 minutes or more even remaining in place when I got up and started doing the washing up!
The weather forecast said it would snow last night and they were right.
Sunni and I dug out the snow shovels and cleared some paths.
Ena loves to run around in the snow and bury her snout into it in search of something live to kill.
Access to my room is by two outdoor steps both of which needed clearing of snow. Untill I get my ‘bathroom’ plumbed that means a rather tricky trip down snowy stairs at night to reach the toilet ( or I just pee out of a window!).
As I said before it’s pretty but cold stuff and my poor feet had had enough of being outside. Now I’m staying inside, keeping the stove lit and putting draft excluders on my door frames!
Over my last few visits to the flea market in Zagreb I’ve been picking up random rugs and carpets that caught my eye. I was bit unsure about what price to pay for a rug but when the stall holder for the first rug I bought started the negotiation at 50kuna (about 6 quid) I knew I was on to a bargain. Further purchases have cost the same or less so I now have the beginnings of a small collection of rugs to cover my shiny, cold and rather unwelcoming laminate flooring.
Anyway my rugs have come from ‘who knows where’ so I decided to give them a good scrub before introducing them to my home. A bright sunny day, washing up liquid in a bowl of warm water, on my knees with my right hand in a rubber glove, my rugs proved thankfully to be relatively clean. The rugs stayed out for the remains of the day and were dry enough to bring inside by sundown. I’ll give them a thorough going over with the vacumn cleaner and then cover up some of my new laminate floor. I think I’ll keep an eye out for more rugs and rotate them around occasionally.
or should that be flawed?
The laminate is all down, tomorrow once we have returned from the Zagreb flea market – that is the source of much of our wealth! – we will install the stove and then I will begin to fill this virgin space with my stuff!
Both Marko and I are still suffering from the hours spent on ours knees laying this stuff out. Well that and getting old.
Today I did the plumbing supply shops with the son of Mr Voda Karlovac’s premier plumbers. It was like visiting sweet shops with the son of Mr Cadbury! We ended up at a store calle Frack which although unfortunately named is very friendly and “good quality” according “son of Voda” . After choosing my sink, pipes and shower base, I asked if I should leave a cash deposit (the shops computers were out of action due to a stock check) and was told that “Mr Voda was my deposit”, Mr Voda beamed.
Anyway here is my room all floored and vacuumed and ready to be filled with my stuff. There is gonna be a lot of shelf building in the next month!
The last two days have been “flooring” days. We checked out the options and prices at the local wood supply places and ended up choosing to get a laminate that looks pretty similar to the wood on my ceiling. We calculated that we’d need about 92 square meters to do the whole room with a bit left over for mistakes. That was 43 packs which at 15kg each proved to be too much for our little van to manage and so we left half behind and slowly drove home, very slowly in a struggling first gear on the final hill!
It cost me about 5000 Croatian Kuna for the laminate and the green underlay, that’s about 600 quid in “real” money which besides the plumbing bill I hope is the last of the large financial outlays I have to make for the foreseeable future!
The laminate is pretty easy to lay once you get the hang of it as long as there aren’t any pesky beams in the way or awkward un-straight raised platforms. Yeah we have a few of those, so the jigsaw got a lot of use. Today we picked up the second half which is now acclimatising to its new residence and tomorrow we will click it in to place where according to the 25 year guarantee (if used in a residential space) it will probably out last yours truly. There’s a happy thought!
The green stuff in between the chipboard and the laminate is for sound proofing. But never fear I’ll be able to make the ground floor chandeliers shiver and swing once I get my HiFi system set up. Then I’ll finally feel like I’ve moved in properly.
The last two days have been incredibly bright, warm and sunny. Difficult to believe how cold it was a few days ago and that it’s December. Anyway this gave me the chance to get on the gazebo roof and finish the shingles whilst they and the glue were not all but frozen solid as they were last week.
The top of the gazebo provided the last tricky bit to sort out. Maybe we’ll get a metal cap and weather cock later! In the meantime let’s hope that this combination stays put over the coming winter months.
The view from top is rather special a 360 degree vista of our house, land and the hills and forest further away.
Black cat white cat! Now that was great film.