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.
Today Sunni and I where out working in the garden but rarely came within 10 meters of each other.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fear not the scary heads seen in the photos below are not wild cavemen but Thierry and myself.
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.
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!
Anyway back at Barabrith the neighbours cows have had their morning grazing field extended up towards our upper garden.
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.
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!
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.
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!)
It was a short ride but enjoyable and a nice change to the main road.
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.
Now I’m going back to painting the red walkway, it’s time to tackle my stone stairs.