I’ve discovered a pair of flower sellers in the Karlovac open air market that speak English. Unfortunately they don’t sell vegetable seedlings but thye did advise me to wait a coupl more weeks before investing in any tomato or pumkin plants, cool! Similarly I discovered a geezer at the flea market who sells flowers, shrubs and trees speaks the language of Marlowe – that one was for you Dad! – pretty good too! I was tempted by this dude cos he was wearing a Rage Against the Machine shirt and trousers just like mine which is not the usual attire for market vendors in Croatia. I was so enamoured in fact that I spent (£30) way above my plant quota for the day on just three plants!
Still lets get the obligatory cat picture out of the way first and then there is a pictorial resume of almost all the newly planted things.
Sid stares out of the studio flat window past the flowers at the strange creature reflected in the glass. Its not Sids best pose but I rather like the composition and the special effects / reflections that adorn him.
Ha! only a day later and I cant remember the name of the two flowers I was assured by the Karlovac market stall holder – Yes I found one who speaks good English – would develop in to a little bush and should reappear for a few years… This one’s situated outside Sanja’s studio to help inspire her creative juices when composing punk rock songs about pretty flowers and the like.
This pretty thing has been strategically placed on a spot that was dug up the pipe when we were looking for the water leak and the grass has refused to regrow there ever since. So lets see if this – forgtot the name – flower does any better!
Now this little beauty is called a “Diabalo” or something like that and of course I couldn’t resist. I was looking for plants with some colour and this has that for sure! It should end up as fair sized bush, but then again the guy who told me that didn’t know I was gonna need a mallet and spike to help create a decent sized hole in the stony ground for it, so we’ll see!
A long time ago I took a bunch of cuttings from a Privet hedge in the East of Zagreb. Last year I put a few out along my front border fence, two nights later the snow returned and all my little babes bought it! I had four left and they have remained inside on my window sill for another year till now when I am pretty damn confident that the winter is over. So here is the beginning of my Privet hedge that will one day prevent nosey neighbours from peeking in to our yard, ho ho!
This little may not look much as yet but its just settling in and one day will bloom into a Passion flower vine that will transform an otherwise boring wire fence. Oh yes it will!
Who says old paint pots arent worth keeping, eh? Just take a look at these beauties.
How to make one of your fave mugs live on…. and the same with a boring plastic food pot too…. These are on the kitchen window sill facing north so they might not fry in the midday sun as plants on the opposite side of the house tend to do in the summer.
This luscious looking lemon balm plant came from friends who have a very ecologically sound garden/estate growing in the commuter belt of Zagreb. I hope to get more plants from them in future as they indeed hope to begin to make some filthy lucre from selling them. This is positioned on the east side of the gazebo ready to be picked fresh and scrunched into a jug of cold spring water perhaps…
Looks like a weed dunnit? But this little plant once it has got past it’s puberty stage will potentially be of great benefit to our peace and tranquility. This is a young Evening Primrose plant and I’m really hoping that it may offer up that powerful E.P. oil soon! Like maybe before next month! Please!
This rose had been rather neglected and unpruned and I’m rather pleased that only a few weeks after being pruned it already looks healthier and if I’m lucky some of the cutting I took will sprout roots and be ready to plant in the autumn.
I’ve been debating what to do with the long grassy area onthe south side of the house and now I’ve decided it will not become an outdoor badminton court after all! Nope, there will be bushes here, including this one which I bought from the guy at the flea market this morning and so of course I can’t remember what it’s called but I do remember that the leaves change colour in a continuous cycle of green to red, exciting eh! And it will grow quite big if I let it, bit like my paunch!
Here at the beginning of a new path, one that winds its way through the old clover patch is a Japanese Quince courtesy of my green fingered friends in Brezovički near Zagreb. It might not look much yet but you should see what they told me it may grow to be….!
The Japanese Quince is only about 30 cm tall at the moment but as long as the dear leave it alone and I remember to water it it should end up as a 3 meter tall shrub with brightly coloured flowers! Come on!
More of the clover patch path with two replanted fruit trees visible, strategically planted along its way. There are loads of little fruit trees popping up from the roots of the established trees and I’m quite pleased that they seem fairly happy to be cut free from there parents and escape to far off places… sounds strangely familiar!
Is it an oak? Im not sure but there are a bunch of these little things under the canopy of the big oak so maybe. If its not I will brutally rip out the imposter and replace it with the real thing when I am sure of its veracity! I like oak trees.
So this dramtoc looking young tree is one of the most expensive I have ever bought. And yes I did haggle, but I only managed a paltry 20% discount. And I can’t remember what it is but I think its a loquat or Kumquat or maybe a Persimmon! I guess we’ll find out if the fruit grow and ripen, at present they are just little green balls. This beauty sits at the bottom of the clover patch path where the old lower field begins. It should be plenty big enough to be seen above the long grass but I gotta put a fence around it so the dear don’t ruin it.
and then there was that weird mist one morning when I was up unexpectedly early.
Early morning mist is common at this time of the year but this solid bank of fog was so densely packed in to the valley I thought it worth a picture.
and then there was the day I got all “organised” and serious about being a host.
It’s time to spring clean! Get those blankets out and aired, dust off the tables and chairs and do the rest of the boring – but necessary – side of having guests.
and then there’s the car. I used it way more this week than I usually do. One trip was aborted when my reason to go to Zagreb was cruelly cancelled just as my excitement at going to eat vegan burgers and watch Holywood films in a real cinema was reaching a fever pitch! But I had to visit Karlovac three times this week by car and not one bike ride as yet! Shameful!
Today was a good day, not only did I continue to play the new
La Fraction CD that arrived in the post yesterday – a lovely suprise, thanx Thierry! But also I discovered a new episode of the wonderful adventures of McLevy played by Brian Cox on Radio 4. Aural bliss the both of them.
So I know I said I’d not let this blog get taken over by the cats but…
Sadly my Ipad has gone on the blink so I am unable to access the photos I have on it. All these were taken with my Iphone which I inherited from my lil’ brother, thanx Plog.
These are in no particular order, but they do represent my finally catching up and so I’ll try to return to a more regular posting from now on. The pictures do show that I’m spending most of my time gardening or tinkering with things on the estate that need doing.
I got fed up with the whole “gardening” palava, digging, composting, watering, waiting, more watering etc etc So I decided why not just put a nice picture of a flower on the ground in the spot where you would like a flower to be, much easier!
The pear blossom that greats me as I step outside my bedroom door at the moment.
A family that eats together…..
Proof that I have managed to do something other than entertain the cats! I am slowly clearing out ad painting the floor and walls of the workshop in the wooden house basement, so that it becomes a more user friendly space.
One indication that all is not roses in the Sid and Nancy camp is the fact that Nancy has taken to spending a lot of time in the kitchen on his own whilst Sid in comparison rarely hangs out in there. Nancy really likes to burrow in to duvets taht should have been put away long ago!
These two have yet to rid themselves of the fascination with drinking from running taps. They demand it everytime they are fed, sometimes more often. A double tongue shot is a coup!
The relationship between Sid and Nancy always was a little complicated, often fractious. On occasion though they seem to be best of mates, high on life out of captivity and what better way to show this than to sniff each others butt! This pic is of an eveing walk, well outside Nancy’s usual comfort zone, Sid on the other hand, we think, goes everywhere!
Sid surveys his domain as the evening draws to a close.
Sid will always come for a walk down the hill as lonhg as he’s not engaged in stalking some poor rodent. Here he is engaged in waiting for us to catch up and giving the oak tree a hard stare. Why do oaks come in to life so much later in the year than other trees?
Sanja, wearing her gorrilla gear to ward off any bears we might come across encorages the ever slow and cautious Nancy to keep up with the team as we head off on an adventure. Nancy is almost always “the one at the back” , you know the type!
Photographic proof of the rare occasion that Nancy took the lead, it didnt last long!
Gorilla giirl and Sid on the way back up the hill, taking the less often used west side path!
Sorry for the pitiful posting rate of late, I blame it on Sanja, but I guess it’s up to me to me work out a new timetable /routine that includes time doing things with her and also the things that I do alone. Sanja is taking a well earned break from me back in Belgrade for a couple of weeks so blogging is back!
These photos are not in date order and range over the months of Feburary and March.
An sunset lit evening stroll with Sid and Sanja
We saw this wicker cat basket in the Karlovac flea market, I said “not worth more than 50kuna” and we got it for 30, after I’d cleaned it out and left it to dry in the sun, Sid gave it the ultimate seal of approval.
Trying to come to grips with basic Serbo-Croatian grammar and failing. This local language is universally recognised as “difficult” but I have the feeling that my old brain would have trouble learning any language however simple it might be.
Sometimes I wonder why so few folk visit me and then I realise I should stop forcing them to chop wood and the like!
This is the view of our house from the otherside of the valley. At most times of the year it would not be visible due to the foliage.
Sanja leads the pack on the scenic way back from the Post Office.
Burning fields and brush is I think illegal, its gotta be bad for the environment, but it can make an interesting picture!
Sanja and Andrje admire the local farmers arsonist handiwork.
We have a hedgehog shuffling around in the grass just outside my door. This is a nighttime shot but we’ve seen him out and about in the day time too.
Sid gave us a bit of a scare, he got in a fight and was walking funny. We ended up in a specialist xray unit for pets in Zagreb!! Of course a day later he was fine, grrrrr!
One of Sid’s xrays that showed no broken bones, rather beautiful innit. If only my back was that flexible!
Both Sid and Nancy love drinking from dripping or slightly running taps. Sid is rather expert at this but Nance almost always ends up with water all over his head and having a coughing fit!
Sanja’s birthday was celebrated by a trip to the Plitvica National Park. This was opportune as it much cheaper to enter the park in the winter months and there are relatively ver few people there as these pics show.
Plitvice lakes with snowy spots in the sunshine in March.
One of the things I love about Plitvice is the pristine clear water of the lakes that allow you to see the underwater view if trees that have fallen in to them.
Sanja provides a splash of red amongst the wonderful winter colours of the Plitvice Park.
The snow was still quite thick on the less used paths on the shady side of the lakes.
A selfie at last! And a double one at that, so cool! You lucky lucky folk!
In the summer one just wants to stip off and wade in to the Plitvice lakes, in March this was not so much of an urge I had difficulty resisting.
Wooden crocodiles bask in the winter sun.
Nancy to a liking to my huge Yugoslavian flag that I found in the flea market. She is after all a yugocat!
Sid relaxes behind the bars of the wooden house steps hand rail.
This beauty was found in our woods. If we were unsure there are wild boar in our area this proves there are! Just look at those tusks! Now to find a bear tooth or wolf fang!
The Barabrith houses in the early spring late afternoon sun.
One day in Febuary I heard some birds squawking and momentarily couldn’t locate from where it came. Then looking straight up I saw a flock of what must be geese of some kind. They were circling around in a noisy chaotic looking mass and then when others joined they started forming in to V lines and headed off north! It was amazing how loud they were at such a height and also how many there were, quite a spectacle!
Ever wondered what a gardener digging over a veg patch looks like from the point of view on an unsuspecting worm?
Those of you who ignored the reviewers and went to see the latest Matrix film will have been rewarded by a good film that Sanja and I much enjoyed, especially as we saw it on an IMAX screen – Sanja’s first time as proved by her many ‘oohs’ and “ahs”! If you sat through all the credits at the end you will understand the above title! If not lets just say here and now that I do not intend to let this blog be taken over by pussy ‘cat’ porn! But Sid and Nancy’s recent arrival at Barabrith is big news in our quiet little life and so this blog is unashamedly Catrixy! Here goes, dog people look away now.
Sid and I pose for the camera in the kitchen of Sid’s old three room pad.
Sid is a ridiculously friendly and affable cat, he will get in to the most bizzare positions and purr away like mad as long as he is getting attention.
Then he and his brother came to Barabrith..
Here sits Sid, looking out of the mucky studio window in wonder at the world of grass, trees and so many other things he’s never seen before.
Nancy with one of her typical dopey looks sits in a blaze of light in the studio room. The bed in this room provided a space similiar to the one underwhich the they used to hide so it was their favourite new hideaway but now the bed has become a couch again they cower under the blankets instead.
I like this photo for the use of the reflections as much as for capturing Nancy’s dopey stare once more. Here he is looking out of the studio windows – after I gave them a good clean and so they reflect a little clearer.
Here is Nancy in his favourite spot ensconced deep under a warm duvet.
These curtains are ones I brought from my Dad’s when he was having a clear out. I tacked them up to fit the flat windows and Sid seems to appreciate them.
Then we blew open their furry little minds, by opening the door to the world outside…
The door was opened and SId – in the ginger fur coat – and Nancy – in a black coat with odd white patches – took a long cautious look. We had feared they might bolt out the door and make a dash for the road back to their old flat! Sid as usual was at the front and Nancy barely made it across the threshold this first time. Thankfully both ran back inside whenever something spooked them.
Sid makes it as far as the corner of the concrete whilst keeping a very wary eye on the source of all the barking from the neighbours opposite.
Nancy is abit of an enigma. Is he a dopey dunce who is always several steps behind his brother or is he just on the spectrum , the “slow” end of the spectrum! Or has he got cat life cracked and knows there’s no need to do anything even slightly stressful or difficult, why bother investigating new things, why bother saying hello or being friendly when you know you’re gonna get fed anyway? Those eyes could be of either nature.
For that last twenty years or more I have been using the same phone. Not exactly the same one but the same model. My Sony Ericsson C510s were great. The batteries lasted for days, I had 600+ phone contacts saved on them and loads of music that the little thing played remarkably loudly! It also had a great camera. But these two above are my last, the black one was my UK phone that has been out of use now since my UK provider realised I was no longer based in the UK. The Croatian one -silver- has been replaced by an Iphone 6 which is a refurbished cast off from my brothers teenage son! I am now seriously connected by Apple products but I will miss my little old phones. Sniff!
I have been preoccupied of late with working online, teaching folk how to talk proper English like, and also working on the ground floor apartment in preparation of Sanja’s imminent return with her cats. Here are the photo’s I did have time to take….
Love the way the sun caught these grasses on a winter evening half way down my field.
Just who is that grumpy old git reading his newspaper out in the garden?
It was a beautiful day, chilly but bright and I had to try sitting out in the aftenoon sun and reading another fascinating issue of the London Review of Books – thanx Jane! – The copies I have are well out of date now but just as engrossing, except for the occasional article about poetry that just goes straight over my head!
Sanja’s studio apartment has been taking up most of my free time of late (its the main reason why I have been failing to post here, soz!) there have been heaters and shelves installed, tiles regrouted, tiles replaced, tiles, a bath, a sink and a toilet thoroughly scrubbed. Laminiate flooring installed, curtains cut and hung, furniture refurbished and viewing platforms for cats added to otherwise too thin window sills. Vintage punk artwork has undergone cat protection measures, wooden chests have been cleaned, fixed and lined, cat boxes prepared and beds prepared – we can’t leave the little buggers alone at night apparently! All in all its been fun and some times tricky job for one, but being a total amateur its’ probably bes no one was watching!
Sanjas’ studio might also get called the Cat House as that’s where her two cats will be imprisoned for the first few weeks after they arrive -soon – untill they have acclimatised to the fresh air and sudden sense of ‘space”.
Certain ungrateful Polish readers of this blog complained about all the pictures of nature etc. Well this is for them, a panorama shot from my bedroom window of nature and snow, bet they’ve never seen the like….
When it snows you are meant to get straight out there and clear all the paths you can before the snow hardens or gets squashed in to ice. I did one path across to my tool shed and decided taht would suffice! Snow fun without someone to through snowballs at !
I love how my little post box has a proper wedge of snow on top just like all the surrounding roofs!
I bought a bird feeder, and put it up on my fave tree. Everytime I walk round the corner of the house or come out of the kitchen door I see birds fly away from it but you can just make out one hanging one to it in this photo carefully taken whilst standing very still!
I wandered in to the kitchen one morning and noticed the little white cat sittng out in the snow waiting for some poor creature to stick its head out of a hole in the ground. I mused on how the local cats will deal with Sanjas pussies arriving on the scene. After breakfast Ilooked out again and thought how strange that the little white cat had been replaced by a big ginger one! When the cat stood up I realised it was a fox! Which is the first time I,ve seen a live one since leaving London where you see them literally every other day! Quite exciting. I tried creeping out to get a better shot but it must have heard or smelt me and legged it. Interesingly as I scanned the horizon to see if I could see where the fox had gone the little white cat stalked back across the scene obviously determined to show she wasnt that scared really! Look carefully and you can see the fox hidden amongst the grass.
I love these two ageing trees.
The view through the kitchen window, the one with the mosquito grill still on, on a snowy morning, black n white and grey in between!
I dunno what these little flowers are but I do wonder if they realise its early January and way too early for coming out so bright and bushy tailed!
Here is another of the terribly tame stinky martin bugs that fly wobbly around in my warm room instead of hibernating as they should be. This one spent a long time sitting in my mandarine until I remembered that they eat fruit! On closer inspection its proboscis was stuck in my mandarine and the two were then banished to the cold outdoors.
It’s been on my “to do’ list for ages, Peanut Cookies and biscuit making in general, I gotta stop buying biscuits just cos “they’re new and vegan!” and this seemed like a good ‘compromise’! It would have been if I hadn’t gone and baked so many I had to use a bigger bowl than this and I didn’t manange to eat them all before got too old and needed rescuing by being soaked in custard! What a terrible chore it was to eat that, peanut cookies soaked in custard mmmmmmm….
Sorry to announce but after much soul searching we’ve decided we need to increase our base rate prices a bit. Our basic rate is now £30 or 35euros per night per person. Please see the Guests section for details and discounts.
Blame our previous guests! Almost all our feedback from previous guests who were travelling around Croatia told us that our prices were very cheap compared to everywhere else they stayed. Often we were told that their accommodation cost more than ours and didn’t have any food options let alone vegan options!
We have obvioulsy suffered along with the rest of the “tourist” industry because of the Covid Pandemic whether due to the restrictions or just peoples wariness to travel. But we need to make the effort we put in to having guests pay or else we need to do something else – probably less fun – to pay our bills.
Forgot to post this lot….
Looking like balls of wood three acorns stick resolutely to a small oak tree.
One tireless sprig of oak leaves now a late autumnal lime green bathes in the winter sun.
This is as big as the pool has got so far, I doubt it will get any bigger but….. we’ll see.
The following eight photographs I have pompously titled “A Study in Wood”….
An intriguing piece of bark hanging off a rotten tree.
Does anyone else see the large grey eagle perched on the side of a tree ruffling its feathers?
This piece of bark is hanging by the meerest slithers of wood quite amazing.
And with the sun in the background the outer side of the hanging bark looks quite different. Two sides to every…
What is going on here, is this an enchanted wood? Are those long limbs about to come to life and reach out for me..?
The sky’s the limit but these tall spindly plants are making a good effort of getting there.
Nothing ‘straight’ forward going on here.
A protusion or a penetration?
Sorry there’s no Sanja to brighten up these pictures but we are separated once more by the cruel dictates of nation states and their inhuman border policies. But hey here’s some other colour….
A blast of bright purple brightens up the blanket of fading greens and browns.
There’s thirty two purple berries sitting on a stalk, There’s thirty two purple berries sitting on a stalk, and if one purple berry should accidently fall, there’ll be 31 purple berries sitting on a stalk, There’s 31 purple berries sitting on a stalk, 31 Purple berries sitting on a stalk and if… repeat ad nauseum till you get to two purple berries or until your will to live runs out.
Little funghi growing on the jagged cut we made through the log blocking the path through the woods a year ago.
The view of the house looking through the gap in the trees caused by the fall of the big pine.
An oily blue patch on a carpet of dying leaves.
A heavily camouflaged bench.
Two inconspicuous holes in the ground hide are the entrances to an underground wasp next. You can just see one coming out of the darkness, photographing flying wasps is a bit beyond my ken.
A splash of violet in my overgrown and rapidly wilding field.
Ghostly, ethereal these seeds catch the afternoon sun from behind.
Red rose hip buds hanging on in to the winter months in the hope of being picked, crushed and pushed down my little brother’s neck.
After this intense session of phlora and phauna fotography and in order to satisy the – so it would seem – insatiable demand for more selfies I laid myself down in the afternoon sun and took a nap, I did actually doze off though admittedly not whilst this photo was taken!