Images from The last 48 hours

The easterly view this morning, 24th March 2020.
The veg patch has been whitewashed. Let’s hope all those little shots survive todays chilly awakening!
Well maybe I won’t be doing any gardening today after all!
A couple of days ago I tried out the reclining deck chair type thing that my Dad chucked out …. in my direction! Maybe not today!
Those of us living in almost permanent self isolation sometimes resort to desperate measures.
I took two little clementines to bed with me last night. Well the may have been tangerines but I didn’t ask their names. I lost one for a time and then when she popped up alongside me I discovered a surprising sticker attached to her and thought… photo and what does that mean?
Ever since I rescued one of my fave hoodies from the hospital floor I have intended to try and resurrect it. This top was cut off me by a nurse when I was unconscious and badly beaten way back in the days of Marta. Now, finally, with excess time on my hands I have started the project to make it wearable once more. Progress reports will follow.
A selfie from last night whilst using my fancy electric toothbrush (thanx Vanja!)

Isolation is a relative term.

My favourite line as a couple of close friends have pointed out to explain why I moved out to this backward bureaucratic Balkan zone is that when I look out of my bedroom window I can see no other buildings. That is a significant difference to the view from my  19th floor Hackney flat.

Sunni prepare the ground in the vegetable garden for seedlings yet to grow. She spent several hours out there today hoeing and weeding.

Today Sunni and I where out working in the garden but rarely came within 10 meters of each other.

These mega scissors came from the Kaufland superstore in Karlovac but have proved remarkably effective in tackling the branches that I cut down from the large pear tree. Here I am taking off the twigs and cutting the small branches in to wood stove size pieces.

Sunni and Marko have been industriously working on the lower vegetable garden and at the moment it looks seriously organised. I have started planting seeds in some of my vegetable bays or “graves” as Stonky calls them. The first full bay has garlic, onions and carrots. A second smaller bay has courgettes planted along the top of its ridge.

My first full veg bay stuffed with carrot seeds, onions and garlic. The garlic has already started to sprout.
These fancy carrot seeds come in easy to plant paper tissue strips. Shame then that both packets said 4 pieces inside and both only had 3!!!

Yesterday we threw caution or Covid-19 to the wind and went in to Karlovac to see if my court case was would go ahead. No such luck all courts are closed. We did a little shopping hoping to buy some seedlings from the food market but we proved a little too early for them. From there we went to the Dacia car dealer garage to see if they could stop our breaks making a funny noise. The young guy there I spoke to when I took the car in a few weeks ago with the same issue (when of course the breaks failed to make the slightest hint of any unwanted sound) came straight up to me and shook my hand before I had time to think ‘elbow bump”!!  Oh well. An hour and 680 kuna (80 quid) later our front breaks shoes had all been replaced and the grating noise was gone. To celebrate we took the car to the car wash next to the garage.

This DIY 25 hour car wash on the edge of Karlovac has space for just three cars at a time. Some have space for 10 or more!

Croatians are as car mad as anyone else but when it comes to car cleaning there is a significant difference tween the UK and the Balkans. In London and I presume most UK cities going to get your car cleaned is in part about the spurious joy of driving through a car wash whilst feeling superior to the underpaid precarious car wash workers poisoning themselves with cleaning chemicals as they rub away at your muddy wheel caps. In Croatia and other Balkan countries I have only seen DIY car washes, where for a few quid you get a powerful water jet that has soap added and then clean water and a there’s a vacuum option for the insides too.

DIY punk with big water pistol fights the dust, grime and dead bugs that decorate our car.

Anyway I let Marko play with big water pistol whilst Sunni went back to her latest book and pretty soon the car was a gleaming white again.. hooraay!

The car roof is not left out.

And before I sign off an apology for being a bit slack with the blog of late. No I’m not down with Corona virus. I’ve been spending a lot of time of late at my computers doing layout and maths i relation to a new Active Publishing print run. I’ve also been seriously distracted by my new love Sanja in Belgrade, Serbia. She is now stuck there under a curfew and with the Schengen border closed for the foreseeable we are using FaceTime to keep in contact, a lot. The rest of you, reliant on my blog will just have to wait, ok?

This the the homemade mushroom, potato and spinach burek that Sanja in Belgrade made for me. Not at all greasy like the bakery bought ones and with that all important special ingredient… love! Ha ha 🙂

Snow

After having told everyone that we’ve had practically no snow this year and its really quite warm… it snowed! Not a lot but enough for a few pictures.

Snow water drips off the garage roof.
The snow slips quickly off the solar panels as the sun comes out!
The water barrel in the snow

A late winter (?) walk in the woods

The second week of Febuary is still winter is it not? Maybe not anymore! We still haven’t had any proper snow here this year. My plans of learning to ski slalome down our slope appear to be receeding into a climate changed unlikeliness!

Still its nice to be able to go for a walk on a bright sunny afternoon, to admire the size of the trees atht were blown down in the recent strong winds an see the first flowers breaking through the leaf covered forest floor. The tree roots featured below belong to the “big Pine” that used to stand out when one viewed our estate via Google. The green pine stood out admid the brown deciduous trees, now it awaits the indignity of the chain saw but hopefully we can turn its wood into something more than just firewood.

The roots of the big pine.
I,ve forgotten what this beautiful purple flower is, but unlike people flowers dont get offended when I forget their names which is quite a relief!
Snowdrops in the woods on Feb 14th 2020
More pretty forest flowers, the yellow one is a wild primrose. There is nothing prim about the one in the background.
Sanja takes charge of the forestry work and rips a tree apart with her bare hands.
I find the pattern of the crack line in this dead tree trunk fascinating.
Barabrith in the winter sun seen from the woods on the other side of our valley with bozos in foreground!

First planting of the year!

Our lower vegetable garden was ploughed over a few weeks back by our tractor enabled neighbours and we now have a large area of virgin soil to plant loads and loads of vegetables and the odd fruit in. Today Sunni deemed was a day we could plant some garlic and so we did. We are gambling that there won’t be much in the way of severe winter weather coming this season.

The Barabrith Agricultural Comrades go in to action.
Digging out holes for garlic cloves.
An old clove is buried in compost in its own little hole!

Caved In!

Whilst I was pigging out on vegan cakes in the UK Stonky took Marko and Sunny deep into the woods and showed them the “Gypsy Cave”.  Sunni remembered the trail and so with our since departed guests Thierry and Monika from Paris we went to investigate it the other day. There are actually two small caves one of which requires a bit of a climb in and is thus relatively clean inside and actually has 3 small chambers within. The other is more open and easier to access. I think they’d be fun to sleep out in and will try it some time.

The dark shape to the right below the rock is the lower cave. The dark shape above and to the right of Thierry and Monika is the upper cave.

Fear not the scary heads seen in the photos below are not wild cavemen but Thierry and myself.

Caveme!
The view from the front room chamber of the upper cave with Thierry’s head

 

Looking out from the back of the lower cave

I’m back from Blighty

The sunset last night taken from my room

Back from the land of many vegan options! It was as ever interesting to be in London, where I fit in easily but feel out of place, where I am free but everything is so expensive, where there’s lots to do but I now feel purposeless. Back in in screwed up Croatia where this morning the friendly post office worker informed me that now one must use a “proper” envelope , new rules! I had to buy a new envelope to put my homemade envelope inside…. that’ll be Croatia working hard towards climate catastrophy as usual. When I discussed this idiocy with the woman at the stationary shop -stocking up on regulation envelopes – her final comment, so often heard over here to explain such incomprehensible bureacratic numbskullery was “That’s Croatia”. Too true but at least I’m not in Brexitland anymore.

Tis the season to keep the burner burning all day and all night!
Two boxes of new Anarchopuzzle jigsaws arrived today so I have some online selling to do!
My last taste of London for a while! I managed to save a Greggs Vegan steak bake all the way back to Barabrith and then it was gone in a few moments!

A quick catch up

How do, its got a bit cold here, not too bad but enough that I lit my wood burner for the first time this ‘winter’? just to take the chill off when I got back from Belgrade. Belgrade!! Yep I took a train down to the Serb capital to do some vegan tourism and work out exactly who the comrades are down there that I know! Belgrade was warm, I was walking around in a t-shirt on one day! The flat I was staying in was an old school block with a centralised hot water and heating system that was on all the time. Thanx to Sanja, I had a grand time and look forward to returning to Beograd again soon. Check my Happy Cow reviews if you want to find out just how suprisingly good it is for vegans!

In an alleyway in Belgrade a shameless egotist fell for a shameless selfie gimmic!

Anyway back at Barabrith the neighbours cows have had their morning grazing  field extended up towards our upper garden.

The cows are munching the grass and farting methane outta their arse. Still saves on “grass” cutting!

I have been busy on our Ebay accounts selling stuff to keep the debts at bay. I have also started an Etsy account to sell the Anarchopuzzles jigsaws that are my latest “get rich slow” scheme. I got my latest box of puzzles from comrade Sned, the other half of the puzzle project in Newcastle today.

My box of our latest jigsaws, The Mob, DOA and Oi Polloi arrives beautiflly packed and wrapped by Sned.
My room with its endless wooden support structure and beams offers quite afew places to store stuff.

The most recent bit of shelf construction completed in my room was the long awaited photograph album shelves. Yes before the arrival of digital camera and smart phones ‘we’ used to have photographs printed on paper and we’d store them in albums for future perusal and amusement. How quaint! The problem with hard copy photographs from ones past is pretty much the same as with digital ones though! Who the hell is that? Where was I when I was doing that? When did that happen? You gotta label the photos asap. In the old days you either wrote on the back of the photo or in the index of the photo album. The album below is my shining example of best practice, sadly never repeated, where I typed out descriptions of each picture on a sheet that is stored in a pocket in the back of the album for that very purpose! So here my, now deceased, mother makes a belated appearence in my blog with the pink umbrella I bought her for her birthday in 2004!

My prize photo album, one of almost 100 albums I have. Thats approximately 7000 photos to keep me entertained when the power fails!
Just managed to squeeze all my photo albums on to these shelves which is good because its unlikely Ill need anymore space for such albums in future.

 

 

Outdoor pursuits

The weather changed for the cooler and it rained quite a bit this last week but the last few days have also had some glorious sunny days that were not too hot to be outside doing some gardening in.  First I had a quick snack out in the gazebo, Kaufland’s soya yoghurt with fruit and cornflakes added in.

“Take it Veggie” is Kauflands badly named veggie and vegan line of foods. You’d think they’d ask an English speaker if it makes sense first wouldnt you?
Digging over what I hope will be future veg plots. It was so warm I did most of the work topless but put my shirt back on to show some photographic decorum! Amusingly I can’t get this image to rotate the right way up!
This shiny fork was a gift from my folks long ago when Marta and I started doing the allotment. The handle broke years ago and I finally managed to fix a new one just last week. I can’t resist a dramatic image or should that be “stupid pose” – don’t all shout at once!
A slightly too oversized comb for my whiskers but good for a serious scratch!

It also gave me a window to do another section of the repainting the concrete walkway around the house. I chose to do the steps up to my door.

Or in deed to take out a bike to deliver my latest ebay sale to the Krnjak post office in the short 4 hour window it is open in the early morning each day. Then I had the chance to try the track that comes off the main road near Krnjak and follows the ridgeway along the top of the valley around to the woods and then back down tothe top of our road. Unsuprisingly the road is  a bit steep to start with but once up high its a nice ride till you reach Slatko’s big white sheep dogs (time to get off so they recognise you as human rather than an alien intruder!)

My dear old Cannondale has not been off the security of tarmac for sometime. We both felt rather adventurous!
The leafy and slightly muddy track through the woods back to our road from the top of the valley.

It was a short ride but enjoyable and a nice change to the main road.

Free time

My folx have gone, Marko and Sunni have gone to Sibenik and so I am free to do what I like. A week or so ago we heard a wierd noise that sounded like some animal attacking the structure of the house. The next day I discovered a load of the polystyrene insulation and bits of wood and plaster on the walkway below an enlarged whole in the wall below the underhang of our roof. Something was trying to get in, or out! I put sealing up this route in to the roof cavity on my list of things to do.

The ladders go up again.
The gap begins to get smaller. You can see where some animal has been attacking the insulation and waterproofing material.
The gap or should that be entrance, is sealed off and painted over.

Now I’m going back to painting the red walkway, it’s time to tackle my stone stairs.