So slack but I’ve got a bad back!

It’s true my back is causing all kinds of trouble for me with its trapped nerve but tbh that’s not a good enough excuse for how slack my blogging has become. Still here’s a bunch of  new pix, plenty of cat porn and not too much of me you’ll be glad to know. More soon, I hope.

I showed some guests around the Petrova Monument and was able to use the open gate to the basement area. Note there is a piecee steel covering high up that has recently come loose and swings in the wind, eyes up!
One of my older fruit trees doing its best to brighten up the area wih its blossom.
There’s nothing quite like a good cardboard box to sit in, is there? Well apparently not if you’re a cat!
Our hedgehog is back!! This little fella was sitting on the path as we headed down to check out the woods, he didn’t seem particularly bothered by us but we were glad the cats were not with is this time.
Sanja heads back up home after a long afternoon toiling on the land or Sanja picks up my rake to hurry me up so I can make dinner! Either way its a nice shot of my tree defences before the long grass took over!
Caught on camera by Sanja and watched over by Sid as I plant one of the fruit trees dug upp from around the house and transplanted down the hill.
Time for a hair cut.
From left to right, there’s plastic recycling, metal recycling and then cat recycling!!!
We had some serious flooding recently in Karlovac. The Radonjia almost flooded our road but not quite!
This super bug moved slowly, was unfazed by me or the cats in close proximity and has since disapeared! Any ideas what s/he is?

I have been reliably informed that this is none other than a ‘Morimus funereus’ which is a rather cool sounding name innit?  Thanx Grrt!

Thanks to typically crap Croatian customer service I was without my strimmer for almost three weeks when the grass was growing like mad. So when I fianlly got it back I hadto switch to metal blade for the first time. It looks a little like a Laibach logo but it cuts through the long grass like a dream.
Piles of cut grass along my freshly recut pathways, so much grass to clear and not enough battery charge in me or the Makita to do it!
There are loads of rosehip plants on my land and they are a bit of a thorny problem but they look very pretty when in blossom.
I felt a tad guilty destroying loads of wild strawberry’s whilst strimming my paths in the lower field.
Despite or perhaps because of Marusa’s devastating pruning of the kiwi plant it has bounced back and is now spreading its tentacles all over the place.
There’s a cat on my shirt.
This beauty popped on to a bed as I was stripping it of sheets, but it kindly hung around long enough for a decent close up portarit before buzzing off.
Inbred royalty (and by golly doesn’t he know it!)
I took my latest guest for a walk around the valley – sounds like an innuendo, but ain’t honest! – and the furry freaks joined us for the first bit but decided against following us through the woods (thankfully).

Febuary and March just flew by…

and I failed to keep up with my blogging once more. I’ll post a bunch of pix and add some more and commentary later. These are in a random disorder!

I finally got around to deicing the main freezer and decided to take advantage of the piles of snow outisde to bury my frozen food in whilst doing so! It worked, kind of, but was a bugger to get stuff back out of the icy pile!
Nancy’s mug (and paw) and a few other mugs too!
One of the last bit of snow to go was this line that had graually slipped off the garage roof and then been “holed” by the subsequent drips from the corrugated roof.
It was Nebojski’s birthday so i made him a special breakfast! Mega mushroom with melted cheese and toast soldiers!
Sid and Nancy follow us down the hill !
Who said there aren’t bears in the Plitvicka National park?
One of the best known monuments in Belgrade horrendously shamed by perverted punk!
And its back! Snow getting away from it! The end of Feb and its snowballing time again but sadly no one to throw it at!
The light is thankfully obscuring the less pleasant part of this pic but just what is Nancy thinking – if anything? I carefully maintain that stomach just for the cats benefit don’tcha know?
Oci Bube and I attended the Belgrade Film Festival. (Yes they let all sorts in nowadays!)
We take Sid and Nancy out for a stroll and Sanja disguises herself as a monkey in case we meet any bears or wolves!
It’s that time of the year in the woods! Snowdrops are back.
We know the furries love running water but this was the first time we’d seen Sid drink from the stream.
Spotted quite a few of these in my woods and I assume they are Scarlet Elfcup. which means we have elves in the woods, cool! Scarlet Elf Cups have a subtle earthy flavour with a slightly woody texture. They can be stir fried and sprinkled in salads for colour. I’ll see if I can pick enough to try this. Good bye cruel world!
Another sapling stockade built to defend my new trees from the deer and rabbits! Funnily enough it seems some of the yound branches I have cut and stuck in the bground as a fence hve taken root and are growing there!!
As if we didn’t know!!! Actually my beloved is just wearing a prop from the board game War on Terror that we finally tried out.
Sid broke the mould of sleeping in obvious places like beds and chairs by trying out the paper recycling bun and now Nancy has caught on and is there everyday!
Sanja liked pushing the wheelbarrow around untill I explained that we did have to take it back up the hill.
If you can take your eyes off the beautiful bird behind the bush you may notice the cute little birds nest no more than a metre off the ground but well hidden inside this thorny little tree.
I had a visit from an old friend – one not seen for decades!- and we went for a walk in the woods. The area we are standing in will be inpenetrable in a couple of months time as the brambles etc rise. So here is an uncommon view back across the valley at Barabrith. More about Dan can be found at his website – https://www.danmilner.com/ – I hope he sends me his photos from his stay here and then maybe we’ll get some proper snaps uploaded here!
These two are getting well into the spirit of the season!
Not seen poor Dan for 30 years and within 24 hours I have him painting my balcony fencing ! Those glasses make him look a bit geeky, but he’s not really!
One gets more mature with age …. allegedly!
Not quite enough blossom to start a Japanese festival with but tis a pretty picture and a good start for this new tree.
What’s going on over there then?
The late Feb suden snow that then froze on the trees broke or partially snapped loads of branches and now I’m cutting them down before they fall on someones head!

 

Ice Bucket no challenge

It was a bright and sunny today, I actually unzipped my jacket and took off  my scarf at one point! But it was cold in the shade. However it was worth putting the laundry out to freshen up. There are plenty of hard white piles of ice stubbornly hanging on dotted around on the ground. A bucket of ice was just asking to be emptied out into the sun and here it is…..

More snow!

I recieved a few rather good photos from my visitors from last weekend and thought I should share some of them.

Andrej sets off on his snow board after a little push from the beast behind!
Maroosh took this great shot of the snow game paraphenailia left behind as everyone went inside to warm up.

The next morning we dug out the cars and headed off…

That’s me slowly pushing through the snow in first gear all the way down the hill, trying to stay on our narrow road. Photo courtesy of Maroosha.
Me driving cautiously along the main road towards my early morning hospital appointment in Karlovac captured on camera by friends following behind.

These two are from yesterday when the sun was out and it was quite warm and very bright with all that white!

This snow is now icy enough on top to stand on it, unless you’re as heavy as I am! but the cats are whizzing across it! Lets hope the trees both protected by stockades and not so survive.

And here is a Spot the Cats picture for those who enjoy looking for pussies.

Both furries are in this picture, enjoying the warmth of the sun surrounded by snow!

The highs and lows of snow

We had our first proper snow of the season. Funnily enough the weekend when my snow loving Slovenian friends decided to visit. The first batch came down on Saturday and Sunday morning and was quite sufficient for fun and games.

This was the first real snow of the year and it proved enough to look pretty, sledge upon and tur into snow balls!
My post box reveals the depth of snow the first day brought.
The pomegranate plants heavily decorated with snow. A study in grey whites!
Who says radicals can’t do traditional stuff? Sunday the day after the first proper snow fall bizarrely brought me two sets of visitors on the same day, the first for two months!
Croatia and the UK will be fighting over whom I should represent at the next winter Olympics.
Our snow sporty Slovenian guest show us how it is done, sweeping down the snowy hill on a board like a pro. The snow wasn’t quite the right sort fro snow boarding he later informed us and so we felt much better about having thrown snowballs at him as he swooshed away.

The second wave of snow came down on Sunday night and brought with it a power cut in the middle of Sunday night that lasted until late Monday evening.

Seven oclock in the morning and it has snowed all night, our cars, left strategically by the entrance require digging out. No time to lose as I have a hospital appointment at 8.15am.
Its not a great photo, but it was taken through the windscreen with one hand as I negotiate an invisible road covered by 20-30cm of snow. It was only possible because we were travelling downhill but it was tricky.
The view of our bit of the road as I walked back up the hill having failed to get the car to drive up it! The only car tracks were the two sets we made on the way out going downhill in the morning.
When I got back from the hospital, having left the car at the bottom of the hill and walked back. I found the electricity was still out and that another even bigger branch had succumbed to the weight of the snow and crashed down thankfully only just grazing the house but freaking out the cats considerably. It took a couple of hours the next day to cut a path through the branches so I could walk around my house again without having to respass out into the snow.

I was snow tired after all the hassle caused by the weather that I went to bed at 7.30pm Monday evening ! It’s now Wednesday evening and though its a bit thawed there is still a lot of snow on the ground. And we had another long unexpected power cut today!

A path through the snow to my spring water tap for my elderly neighbour who collects a bottle or two most mornings before I awake.

and to end with, a snow clown, asking “now what?” having mastered the art of standing upright on a wooden board!

Down and not out!

Hey folks, there’s not much to report as I’ve been down with a cold – flu – covid (?) for the last month. Can’t talk for long without my throat getting irritated. Can’t go out and do much physically without getting exhausted. Used up much of my food stocks trying not to go in to town. It’s raining so the cats are fed up too! So much for the security of rural isolation!!

Not better late than never!

After two years of living in relative isolation surrounded by  Croatian fresh air rather than virus riven people I went over to the UK to check up on my old man. A week in the little town of Ilminster was quite nice even in the company of my siblings! I had an evening in London on the way back here at a wonderful vegan eatery. A few days after I returned to my solitary space I came down with a sore throat that became a headache and then Covid for sure. Two weeks since I am still weak and breathless and wasting a lot of time doing very little.  Here are a few images from the last fortnight. If they were to be accurate then they should be full of pictures taken from the perspective of my bed!

Having left the poor cats without proper attention for sometime I decided to treat them to their favourite environment…. an occupied bed overnight that they are allowed to sleep on. Here Sid stretches out his paws lying on his back and rubbing his whiskers on my chin.
Bara Brith with a big bite taken out of it. I finished this chunk off a week later having cut it into pieces and mixed it into ‘pudding’ aka custard, twas rather good.
Barbrith Pizza! left over Bara Brith mix was poured into a baking tin and ended up as a slightly over done large fruit biscuit. Went down nicely with a few cups of tea over the next several days.
A little panorama view of my late breakfast on the 24th.
The wooden house is surrounded by a deep blue winter sky. That white wall will need some proper fixing this year.
Sid bounds down the path between newly planted and protected trees. On the right in the stockade is the new willow tree. On the left in the little black rabbit protection is a tree which I have already forgotten the name of…. Doh! This picture show the full extent of the angle that the large pear tree stands at between the house and the old smoke hut. As you can see I do wonder how long it will stay standing.
When I could gather the energy I dug up a few sapplings that are growing up from roots of various trees, plum and apple. It’s a long shot that they will survive now they are severed from the parent trees roots but I have had some success previously. This is the first time I have transplanted them in the late Autumn rather than the spring. Sadly even this simple job left me feeling exhausted.
This is a little plum tree dug up from the trees right by the house where they are a touch too populous! If it survives here I’ll be well chuffed.
Yeah yeah it’s gratuitous cat porn I know but hey Beauty and the Beast portraits are always a winner and I think the beast looks quite cute too!
As I may have whinged once or twice before I no longer live surrounded by the latest fancy vegan products as I did back in my Marigold days. Nowadays I get excited when the local Lidl deigns to stock one of their new vegan lines. It’s super annoying that Lidl have loads of vegan products made under their own brand name Vemondo. I don’t know if its the Croatian’s being blockheads or just Lidl policy but there are rarely many lines available in Karlovac and so it’s a treat when something new comes in. These rather badly named ‘balls’ are seriously good and succulent. I ate them all with spaghetti sauce last night despite my continued lack of appetite.

Better late than never!

Yes I have failed to keep this blog up to date of late. I spend too much time in front of the computer doing all the other things I need to do and my eyes often ache having done so. Hence when it comes to the blog I tell myself I’ll do it tomorrow when my eyes are fresh and guess what…  I don’t! Anyway here we go again with a bunch of snap shots from the last  weeks. I was away for  a week visiting my Dad who’s getting a bit old n frail. Passing through London was weird, I felt a weird mix of being a stranger in a place I used to know like the back of my hand! Twas good to check a couple of great vegan restaurants with old friends and eat copious amounts of Gregs sausage rolls! Now I’m back and trying to keep my room warm. Enough waffle, on with the pictures….

Beware Nancy is watching you!
All you need is a nicely pre dug hole in the ground, some compost, a trowel or spade, a new tree and if ya feeling soft something to rest your knees on so they don’t get cold n damp.
Innit beautiful? My Sugar Maple tree kept some gorgeous colours as the rest of the flora went dark and dead looking, besides the grass that revelled in the rainy onslaught and grew greener than ever.
Sid often comes to inspect what I am up to in the garden. Here he is checking out the replanting of some chestnut trees.
We scrounged some furniture from a neighbour of Sanja’s in Belgrade. With the fireplace ablaze the felines gave the pair of chairs their blessing and promptly settled down and went to sleep.
Sanja got her magnificent konk skewered and a ring inserted. As a consequence she had to bathe said protuberance is an anti septic salt solution for a week or two. She found the perfect sized mug from my collection and gave her nose a bath.
Sid n Nancy came to inspect the tree planting around the wisteria bench, Nancy got the right idea for a bench but Sid just had to keep standing!
I like this one, the picture not the bloke!
What is it about cats and boxes? Sid spent ages investigating the possibilities of this banana box and it wasn’t even on its base!
Lined up and ready to plant a selection of trees and bushes I bought from the Karlovac flea market and got from friends who are starting out in the plant business. See their website! www.bifurcaria.net. Nancy gave them all a thorough sniffing but eaaly liked this one! So much so that I thonk she might have weakend the stem in her ardour because it broke whilst I was planting it. We’ll have to see whether or not Nancy’s tree blooms in the spring or not.
This dark looking picture is of the last defence fence I constructed before heading for the UK. It surriounds on eof the new trees I just planted and will hopefully keep the rabbits and deer off untill its big enough to weather their attention. I stopped work because the light was fading and wielding the machete in the dark is risky!
For those of you wondering if my fear of deer is a tad too much the above was found within 10 meters of the house this morning. Deer poop, clear as day. How do I train Sid to scare them off? Pain black stripes on his side?
Not long after I first turned veggie back in the 1980’s my familly went on our usual trip to my mum’s sisters for a Christmas meal, I think it was probably on Boxing day. I don’t remember much of these occasions but this time my aunty Anne had made the effort to source on of the few ready made meat alternatives available back then. It was, she showed me the can afterwards, Granose peanut loaf. I liked it alot but pretty much always considered it too expensive to buy for myself. I’ve had a can sitting around in my kitchens for years awaiting a special occasion. Maybe Aunty Ann payig me a return visit! Anyway I noticed the can had begun to rust at both ends, its sell by date was over a decade ago! But after a bit of judicious excising of mouldy bits and a good fry they tasted great! with a bit of mash and my signature broccoli and mushroom dish.
I spent a fair whack of my time with Dad in hospital with him. During the last visit we ended up in a little room on our own for what seemed like hours. I suggested we reocord some of his memorable “funny faces”. This one is titled ‘Meeting Uncle Fester’.
Scarlet obliged with a tourist photo of me and Tower Bridge. I needed a walk after considerable over eating at the Unity Vegan joint in Spitafields and so I escorted her back to London Bridge before hopping on a 149 to Hackney.
Obviously one can buy chips or french fries all over the world but it rare that they remind you of “proper” UK chippy chips slavvered (!) in salt n vinegar. I’d been day dreaming about my reunification with a bag of such delights and finally got some in Ilminster. My sister popped down to the local chippy whilst I fried up three new types of vegan sausages I’d never seen before! She even got a pickled onion!
Sid appears to be never happier than when he is stretched out next to or on me, flexing his claws, eyes half closed and purring like a dinosaur (!).
I made a Barbrith cake as a thank you present for the neighbours feeding the cats whilst i was away. This was one of a few Bara Brith mini cakes I baked with the excess mix. Not bad even if I say so myself.
My work rate in the garden came to an abrupt halt when the snow came down. It stayed cold enough for it to remain on the ground for about a week.
I was sleeping in the kitchen with the working fireplace and two very happy cats (they don’t usually get to sleep on my bed with me in it). One morning I woke up early and thought wow it really light out there! I opened the door to let the cats out and discovered everything had turned bright white! This was the felines first experience of snow. Sid just ran across it, Nancy pawed it gingerly. Then they both decided to poo in the workshop when I wasn’t looking rather than risk getting their bits cold out in the snow.

So there you go, I’m back!

Spot the Cat

As promised Spot the Cat and Spot the Bug will now be on this blog rather than Telegram. And here is  a special one which will be explained by my next blog post due in a day or two.

My computer died!

My 2012 Imac finally went black and effectively stayed that way. I spent a long time agonising about what I could afford to do and eventually opted for a refurbished 2015 Imac shipped from the UK through a EU company, which so far is a joy to use. Long may it remain so!

So these photos are from the last month and I apologise for the lack of text but I think the pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy.

We are the best of mates me and Nancy, brothers almost!
I have dug about 15 holes ready for the next batch of trees and bushes which I hope to purchase in the next two weeks.
This rice was going cheap because of its date, otherwise it’d have been a bit too expensive for my shopping trolley, but its really rather tasty. The tofu chunks were long fried with spices and then a dash of tommy ketchup thrown in….. wonderful!
The leftover rice from the night before fried with damp cashews, garlic, lemon and melted cheese. I mean overkill perhaps but twas gorgeous. The saucy thing included potatos dug straight from the garden, old but still good.
Sid will sleep just about anywhere but nothing is quite so comfortable as I am to a cat in search of a centrally heated cushion with whiskers.
The mornings have become misty and damp and these sometimes illuminate the amazing spider web structures within the tall grass.
My little raspberry bushes have not produced much in the way of fruit yet but just look at the richness of this colour, wonderful!
This fluffy little critter was crawling slowly along when I noticed it . When I got close it curled up into this intmidating circle and so I backed off and searched for lunch elsewhere.
Sid has taken to accompanying me on my recent daily trips down to cut fence posts from the woods. It’s a bit out of his usual territory (I think) and he tends to wowl a lot but obvioulsy finds the thrill of exploring greater than his fear of the unknown.
Sid follows me down the winding path, through bramble alley, over the red gate – or in his case under it! – and into the woods!
There’s a bunch of different mushrooms popping up all over the place at the moment but these are by far the whitest I’ve ever seen! So white indeed that the camera has trouble registering their detail.
One can just imagine a little pixie , wood nymph or somesuch hopping off these and hiding as I approach! (Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten that other little mushroom!)
I don’t remember what these flowers are called but I planted them back in April and they finally came out this month and quite a splash they make too!
Aww how cute is that?, brothers greeting each other with a little kiss! Although that might once again be optomistic human projection on to a sinister “clear off bitch” quietly hissed through gritted teeth!
This is the river in Karlovac that runs alongside where the flea market and out door festivals are held. As you can see it tends to flood and this bit has flood defences, good thing too!
The Friday after the flood!
Spot the Bug! Hidden in this photo is a well camoflaged Preying Mantis. Can you find him? No prizes other than a minor sense of glory and confirmation that your eyes are still functioning well.
These beauties are popping up all over the wild field and stand out brightly amongst the more sobre autumnal colours. I wonder what they are called? These ones are just inside the fence surrounding my Indian Banana plant.
This is my Sugar Maple tree that appears to have survived the rabbit attack back in early spring. Just look at the different colours of its leaves, magnificent!
This Preying Mantis is a bit easier to spot climbing up the outer wall of the house but see how its adapted its colours to blend in as best it can, wicked! Actually after a bit of googling the colour change maybe just a stage its going through rather than intentional camoflage! Still, cool innit!
Its all in the timing as the actress said to the bishop and in this case when you are about to take a picture of a flower in bloom and your cat is heading your way…… well why not wait and see if you can get them both in the pic!
There was a week recently when every evening the sunsets were just superb.
Who knew that ladybirds eat apples?
More good looking but probably dangerous mushrooms in my wild garden.
My compost bins needed attention. One was ready for emptying into bags ready for tree planting. Then the empty fences needed a serious upgrade and I decided to recycle some metal posts from an old gazebo , they work a treat. The other bin was topped off with a pile of grass and will now be left alone to rot down for a year or so.
Take a guess at what this is…. I’ll be impressedif you get close! This is a dessert concoction of a Croatia ‘pudding’ mix which is pretty much the same as custard powder but with more additives! Then there are slithers of banana added and crumbled walnuts. The walnuts are freshly collected from under the tree by my gate which was condemend by my neighbour as in need of cutting down – the tree not the gate ! – and I think is doing rather well! I did prune some dead branches off it and will try to cut some more in the spring.
Nope its not photo-shopped its still out there decorating the front fence!
These have got to be the tallest thistles I’ve ever seen probably 2.5m tall maybe a little more!
Why oh why has Sid taken to sleeping in the paper recycling bin? Maybe becuase he knows it makes a good photo? Today I went into the kitchen and noticed just his two ginger ears poking up out of the blue plastic, sadly I didn’t have a camera on me!
A plate of walnuts collected from the ground around my gate. They make quite a noise when I drive over them!

A couple of weeks ago I was a bit worried that my guests from southern Croatia might feel the cold so I lit the first fire of the year. I haven’t lit one since but winter is coming!
Old friends and a mother of one (a new friend!) came for a night. We were blessed with fine weather and they went around identifying all the plants I have planted and many I have not! The interesting thing was how much they appreciated the woods and water I have. They live on a Croatian island and have lots of figs, olives and sun but less firewood or sprng water. They took home loads of my apples and left behind a jar of homegrown grated aubergine in oil which is superb.
Raking the grass off the freshly ‘Makita’d’ path in preparation of guests arriving. That brown patch above my head is a giant anthill!
Ever wonder what a wooden block sees last thing before it is cut in two? Well now you know!
The furry fruit have lost their hair and become brightly coloured quince. Next year I will work out how to prepare them for eating.
I’m still digging up spuds planted in the spring. I know its a bit late and many have strated to sprout, but with a bit of deft knife work they are very roastable. Nancy came to see what I was up to.
When I find myself wondering why I’m stuck out here in a cultural dessert with no mates I remind myself of moments like this, breakfast with a view.
Sid casts a shadow. Is it his dark passenger come to life?
My fig trees have been behaving wierdly what with growing the dying then regrowing. But I did get to eat two gorgeous home grown figs this year for which I am very grateful.
Last year when the car was registered for the first time in my name I was issued with new number plates in green lettering! Why? “Because you are a stranger!” or rather because of Brexshit. At registration this year after a long long consultation and much reading and rereading of a wad of bureaucratic notes the same office decided I should switch back to black ones! I somehow feel less special now.

And here you are the first of the Spot the Cat games on this blog.

The first Spot the Cat on the Barabrith blog. This was taken today when Sid and Nancy joined me for a trip down the hill and in to the woods.