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!
Well ok I’m not sure if next week with just two days in it or this week with five days included within counts as the last week of the month or indeed if I should ignore the Monday to Sunday mode and think in terms of the last 7 days!?!?!
Whatever….. here we go…
Jack is back! the first frost of the year – or perhaps the first that I was up early enough to notice, came this week. My stove now burns all day long and late in to the night.
This was probably the first day of the year that my solar panels were actually saving me money, thanx to the incompetence of the local E.B! See my nice new and very tall electricity pole and the equally new white meter box at its base. Now when the sun shines my panels are suplying electricity drectly to my houses rather than straight to the power compnay, any excess is sent to them, not exactly blue sky thinking and it took them almost three years to sort out! Still better late than never I guess.
As previously mentioned this was my second week of liquid food, and here is one days breakfast. Spot the super cool glass from Mexico made from an old bottle with Zapata etched on to the side, a highly treasured memento of mine.
Most of the hardy apples left on a few trees are shrivelled up or eaten out by wasps, hornets or similar but this champion rosy cheeked fella still shows off his smooth bright red skin against the blue winter sky. Good on ya Mr Apple. (Have I been alone here too long?)
These are a couple of the last chillis disguised as tomatos that I grew unknowingly now they are rather chilly too!
I wonder if the Indian Banana tree, centre stage, will survive the Croatian winter? Having carefully watered it all through the summer and kept it shaded from the suns rays I do hope so.
Thanx to Jen my mate in Scotland for finding these in her local charity shops and sending them over VERY much appreciated. I especially like the large size print versions all the better for reading in to the wee small hours with.
and so I am finally back on solids and enjoying every chew, chomp and bite with a relish that always takes me back to that first time I ended an elimination diet of 7 weeks of nought but Elemental E01 as food. Bit like banging your head against a wall repeatedly then feeling euphoric when you stop!
Anyway, now I am spending most of my lesiure time in Edinburgh with the grumpy DI Rebus as good company and the rest of the time wishing I could get get back there! I should ease off the reading pace, spread out the joy, but that’s like telling a kid with an ice cream on a hot day to take it slowly.
On the 25th of last month a mate of mine in the UK posted an envelope with 17 lovely new button badges in as a surprise present to me. The design are mostly based on the jigsaw images we have made or are thinking of creating.
Today the 15th they were finally delivered. The customs declaration says they are a gift and that the value is £1.70. Yet as you can see from the reciept I had to pay the postie 27 kuna which is more than £3!!!
So once again a big pat on the back to all those free trade advocates and other idiots who voted for Brexshit. Sterling work!
After dropping Sanja back in Belgrade I had to come back to host my latest and perhaps last of the year paying guest. Pavel, a Ruskie who lives in Utrecht was a great guest.
The latst batch of burek made in honour of Pavels visit. These were really good on the second day, we ate them whilst still too hot on the first day! With lots of flavoured and stuffed polenta inside and some of the new vegan mince from the Kaufland supermarket.
Pavel, was an interesting paying guest. He worked from 9 to 5 each day online in the “office” we created in the small appartment. He sorted out and identified all ancient Russian books I have to sell on ebay and he asked if he could chop up some wood for me!!! With guests like him who needs friends?
Who would have thought that we would still be eating meals out in the gazebo in late October?
My new hobby is mowing the lawn, very very gradually!
I present the Mower…. The latest Barabrith sport and exercise regime encompasses upper body strength work outs and leg stretching. This old hand powered lawn mower works a treat and when confronting long grass – more than 10cm in height – it requires some serious effort.
I got this marvel of non petrol driven grass cutting from the flea market. It needs so much force to cut the grass on my uneven “lawns” that the handle bars broke fairly soon. A bit of DIY fixing with an old broom handle, screws, string and glue and its working again!
Go on take a guess at what this is…. My favourite toast enhancement is a German thing called Apple and Onion spread with yeast extract and peanut butter on top. This is my own fresh version of apple and onion spread. I also make my own peanut butter, yeast extract is however a bit more complicated and supplies from the UK are running dangerously low!
On my list of things to do for a long time has been repainting the outside of my ‘new’ windows. Finally done!
The wood pile is down about 30 percent from its original 6 cubic metres. I do a bit of wood chopping every now and then and stack it away where it probably wont be neede till next year when by it should be nice and dry!
But the big surprise of the week/month/year was the sudden but seriously belated arrival of HEP (Croatian Electricity Board) at my gates with a new electricity pole!
HEP the electricity supply folk finally turned up today. Perhaps mindful of being approx two years late and expecting withering sarcasm from me, they came in force, 7 guys, and erected a large wooden pole. Thye promise to come back next week and install the new fuse box after which my solar power generation will kick back in again. This story is too long and frustrating to detail here but lets just say its been a real PIA.
Drilling a nice big hole, I was hoping they might strike water but alas not.
The new pole is guaranteed for 10 years but may last 30! The one which is coming down is probbaly 50 years old according to the HEP guy who spoke English. A good old fashioned plumb line was used to judge its vertical accuracy.
We have been busy, busy being inspired to try aerial acrobatics, cut the grass shorter, eat gluten free food, play darts, pool and visit a centre for alternative and sustainable building amongst other things! Yes “the Dutchies” as we affectionately refer to TK -who’s actually from Texas- and Dylan – who is Dutch! – made a considerable impact on our quiet lives here at Barabrith for almost a fortnight. I hope the pictures tell the story. The two or three darts evenings are not featured because we played them at night with “atmospheric” lighting and so photographic recordings opportunities were limited.
Here we go…
TK makes shinning up the silks look effortless…. She teaches this stuff and has already done several workshops using her portable rig during their tour.
Sanja tests her natural monkey like abilities climbing the silks
It was all going so well till the silk got caught on her left nipple.
This part of swinging in silks is more like emulating the experience of a bug breaking out of its larva and wondering which bit to stick out first.
I had to have a go too, well its not everyday you get to play around in a huge silk crimson hanky is it? Does my tail look good to you?
Our path along the stream (that at present has dried up!) was impassable last time Sanja and I tried walking that way, but those weeds were no match for the Dylan and TK machette crew!
This fallen branch is one of those left by our neighbours that carefully blocks the pathway alongside the stream. There are a variety of fungi growing on them but these are by far the most colourful!
Dylan is Pathman, a peasant superhero! doggedly working his way up the pathway along the brder of our land scything the long grass and weeds into oblivion.
The sun sets have been spectacular recently….. even when captured on an old mobile phone camera they look pretty good! Very ‘Betty Blue’ don’tcha think?
Whilst wandering out in the woods with guests the subject of what animals might be lurking around ready to pounce on us regularly comes up. We mention the deer and the wild boar and the possibility of snakes but only the deer are ever seen and then only very briefly as the scramble away with a speed and agility one can only admire. I like to show the scuff marks in the soil as proof that boar have been here recently but this skull – found by TK – was a much firmer proof of boars in the woods, even if not necessarily recently! Once cleaned up s/he will be on display.
We are unsure as to the veracity of the information but our neighbours told Sanja yesterday that a bear was spotted in the village and hunters report sightings of wolves! This information came from two “elderly lads” who had heard that Sanja had been out walking in the woods on her own. I suspect a wind up is in play but it would be exciting news if true!
Much to my amazement one morning Sanja was up early and outside in the gazebo being instructed by TK in the art of pilates……before she had any breakfast!!!
One of my frequent comments when taking visitors around the partizan hospital and Petrova Gora monuments is how they have changed is some way everytime I visit. Well I didn’t expect quite such developments in the few days since I rode there with Robert! The partizan printer house is finally being refurbished!, Slightly overdue one might think but hey lets just be grateful its happening at all!
Sanja and TK approach one of the partizan hospital buildings or are they stopping to perform an impromtu dance routine?
Here are Dylan and TK being shown the spot on the third floor of the monument from which the opening – drone- shot of Tribes of Europa was filmed. The riser they are standing on is not the green concrete it looks like but actually part of the TV-set thoughtfully left behind by the production company.
TK, Dylan “the robot” and Sanjah – as Dylan tended to call her – all get the sillhouette treatment on the top of Petrova Gora monument.
and on one of our trips to Zagreb we took in Samobor too. Samobor used to have an excellent vegan ice cream outlet that sadly is no more so I have little reason to visit this picturesque town anymore unless I have guests to entertain!
TK fearlessly participates in the assault on Somobor Castle by cadets of the “No, lets take the other path to get in to the castle” school of artists.
Somobor castle perched on the side of the hill just outside Somobor, 25 mins by car from Zagreb is a great tribute to the school of thought that castles and such like historical places should not be sanitised in to boredom as so often is the case in countries where the values of health and safety come before the values of fun and freedom. No I’m not talking about wearing Covid masks!
back at Barabrith Dylan is making himself very useful in the gardening department once more.
Dylan earned himself a healthy dose of respect and extra museli for breakfast by not just offering to work around the house but by actually doing it!!! Here he is digging out the compost containers! Please note his red star hat, he’s very proud of it!
Then one day the peasants realised they had nothing to lose but their chains and so they took their pitchforks and chased the landlord out of his hammock and a global vegan anarchist utopia was begun!
Back in the Barabrith kitchen TK is serving up GF food for all….
When one of our guests was belatedly announced as gluten intolerant I was slightly unnerved at first as I have been relying on bread, burek and seitan as staples of my Balkan diet for some time. TK however guided me easily through what she can eat and what products are ok without a fuss. She also made several meals that were terrific, the one above included a lentil dahl, flavoured tofu and corn bread in a pan.
There are times when you just wish your “subjects” would turn in to mannequins so you can be sure they won’t ruin a perfectly nice photo with silly expressions of disinterest and faux ennui. This thankfully is not one of those.
Sanja was rather taken by this artistic platform set amongst a group of trees at the Vukomerić permaculture and sustainable housing village thingy.
Dylan tries to work out how to get level with a superior but significantly lighter being!
And here we are half way through an impromtu “Gluten Free Pizza ” making workshop on a Saurday evening hosted at Barabrith and taught by TK.
TK took a bit of a liking to this new baking tray and used it to make her GF cashew cheese cake. One half was fruity flavoured and the other was aronia rakja flavoured!!! Very good it was indeed!
There are times when the slight age gap tween Sanja and myself becomes more obvious. Similarly the chasm between the life styles and privilege of our two upbringings. When those two factors collide there can be either amusing or frustrating consequences. An amusing one was the reaction of Sanja to the wonders of TK’s Polaroid camera. Her expression and exclamation of joy and awe as the image of us slowly materialised on the white square was a true delight to behold. The picture wasn’t too bad either. It was a fun throwback for the rest of us to the joys of taking a group selfie with no self timer or reverse camera image. For Sanja it was a moment of magic!
The Dutch pair drove up on us unannounced the neighbours dogs were caught out, their ears failing to identify the gentle hum of tyres slowly coming up the road as a vehicle to be barked at! Yes Dylan and TK had the quietest car the village has never heard, by far. An electric hybrid with many mod cons it made Stonkys tractor look or rather smell like Bhopal and Dehli combined. It was verbally noted by neighbour Nada that TK was driving as they left for the next leg of their Escape from the Netherlands tour, women drivers, whatever next!?
and now it’s all gone quiet and started to rain which is great as now I can replant some more fruit tree saplings once the ground becomes diggable once more.
Till next time.
This weekend we played host to another friendly Austrian vegan but also one who most impressively arrived by bicycle. I prepared my signature dish of uniquely filled burek – or pita if you prefer – and he devoured them with relish and some umak! It didn’t take long for our conversation to turn to bikes and potential local rides that he could do and I find myself agreeing to spennd Sunday riding to Petrova Gora and back.
This is one of the two trays of burek that I made for Robert’s visit to Barabrith. They include my second batch of polenta based pita and were much improved than the batch if I say so meeeself!
And so after a hearty museli breakast washed down with fresh divka. With some left over burek and fresh water in tupperware we head off for the Partisan Hospital and the monument beyond.
Look at the zest and zeal of the naieve old cyclist that has yet to realise his physical abilities, strength, stamina even spirit are about to be squeezed out of him. Yes I’m talking about the git on the left who gamely took up his guests invitation to join him on days bike ride to the local sites! I can’t blame Robert he was a perfect gentleman, keeping at my pace, slowing to allow me to catch up and walking with me when I couldn’t manage the inclines. This is the definition of getting old. Still I’m perversely very glad I did it.
Some days the hospital looks quite lovely spattered by sunlight, hidden amongst the tree trunks.
The Partisan hospital can have strange effects on those who visit it. Some are moved by the natural surroundings, others wonder at the sacrifices partizans and people made fighting the fascists. And some odd folk become momentarily schizo, their other half physically mainfests itself bizarelly mirroring the originals clothes and mannerisms…. scary eh?
One of the delights for me on visiting the partisan hospital is to see what has changed since my last visit. Usually this means checking out the damage wrought by fallen trees and storms on the old buildings. This time I was really chuffed to find someone has done a good DIY job of putting up information about the hospitals history in the first building. I had intended to do something on a much smaller scale myself but this is much better.
A close up of part of the new information display at the hospital, it is in Serbo-Croatian but most is also translated in to English.
and then on upthe slow long incline to the Petrova Gora Spomniek. TBH I had to walk up the last kilometer of steep hill and Robert graciously accompanied me, even though he could have ridden it.
It’s an amazing view from the top of the monument from all sides.
Robert goes through his Hokey Cokey routine on the edge of the monuments perilously high top floor!
Proud boys with bikes – well I was having cycled to Petrova Gora for the first time. My beloved Cannondale zipped back down the hill and over the creased and cracked road surface, I love that bike.
But all good things come to an end and some rather horribly…
There was a time not so many years ago when a bike ride of 60km or so up and down a few hills and trying to keep up with the pace of a much fitter younger person wouldn‘t have been much of a challenge for me but…….. now it leaves me totally knackered, half dead and barely able to move. Sanja had a malicious look of joy when she took this pic, can‘t think why.
Sanja has been making herself useful of late helping with the neverending battle against Balkan bureaucracy and even also cooking and such things. Now she’s also started taking photos of yours truly so maybe the selfie era is drawing to an end….!!?
It’s rare that Sanja takes pictures of me that aren’t just for her to laugh at but this one was obviously inspired by my sartorial elegance and exquisite poise, innit!
The puddle that was the result of my damn is very slowly becoming a small pool. It has rained a bit of late but the stream going through our land is still naught but a trickle thanx to the weeks of dry weather before.
Black among the leaves more than blind amongst the flowers…. a picture by Kiki.
In this case an injury would be entirely predictable and have no common cause with anyone else at all, but hey thats what posing for photos (pretending to bend metal bars etc) is all about…. daft egotism…. innit! Nice shirt though, thanx Ramsey.
Apologies readers for the break in communication but other things tend to slow down when I have to serve my punk princess. These photos are chiefly taken from my mobile phone and some date back to our time in Zadar at the beginning of last month when Apsurd (Sanja’s band ) were meant to play at a festival. We slept in the car by the beach for two nights that was a lovely change to the previous night of being disturbed by drunk punks all night.
Zadar is rather over run by tourists but we found that a short drive along the coast out of the north of the town found us in an unofficial campsite area. It doesnt look as warm as it was, the proof of that being that Sanja was soon stripped off and in the sea.
And the next morning…
One of us was up at 8 am and swimming around in the clear water with no-one else in sight, t’other eventually rose and stumbled to a rock with her book where she perched and read until her servant had made breakfast. Such was life in Zadar.
Back at Barabrith
This edible parasol mushroom was a solitary beauty standing in the woods amongst a load of others that had withered and shriveled, this one was a survivor till we came along!
These magical looking mini fungi are growing like mad on a fallen tree crossing one of the paths in our woods. The focus is out on this picture which adds an extra psychedlic atmosphere, I think.
It might be legitimately asserted taht there are already a couple of weird looking animals resident at Barabrith but this one is a definite weirdo! It likes to just hang on to the outside wall and seems oblivious to how close my phone gets to it!
After the failure of their last three gigs to materialise Apsurd finally got to strut their stuff in Zagreb on the 4th September ….
Sanja‘s band Apsurd finally got to play a gig that didnt get cancelled by the forces of nature or of law n order! Here they are performing a soundcheck in the court yard of the Medika complex in Zagreb. The gig was outdoors and the numbers were limited and all in all went pretty well. A video is available on YouTube.
This is the view that the humble merch guy gets from behind his stall selling t-shirts for the band. Actually I sold quite a few books that night which always warms my heart.
Back in Karlovac …
Sitting on the banks of one of Karlovac’s less attractive four rivers Sanja prepares to defend her fritters from theft by Jon. But I mean why would you leave them till last like that? Surely it can only signify that you don‘t really want them? And when Jon finished his portion approx ten minutes earlier! Not of course that I had anything like theft on my mind I just offered to help……. The food came from the marvellous Chandra which is the only vegan food outlet in Karlovac, it does one take away lunch each week day.
Back at our local “beach”…
Sept 12th might well be the day I went for the last swim of the year in our local river. Sanja captured my silhouetted head and hand from the bank. She valliantly took a dip which lasted approximately 25 seconds and ended in her begging me to help her out of the alledgedly “seriously freezing” water. The look of surprise on her face on falling in (her diving is best described as ‘awkward’) was a truly hilarious composition of shock, horror and incomprehension that I was swimming around in the same water and had been for sometime!!! Priceless!
Cycling back from the Post Office along our little road today I spotted a big n beautiful bird of prey sitting atop a roll of straw. This photo as with most of this post was taken with my old 2009 C510 mobile phone so it struggled to capture the bird in the sunlight but I like the photo anyway.
When one walks ones bicycle up the steep hills on etends to notice the victims of carmageddon rather more than when one is hurtling down them! this little snake was so close to the safety of the grass but didn‘t make it.
One I should have posted last month….
One of the few regular pieces of anarchist publishing still in hard – real life – format and a joy to take a break to read is the Cunnigham Amendment that I am lucky enough to have a subscription to.
One I can’t resist….
Look at the curves on that! Isn’t nature beautiful.
Yesterday was 26 years since Emma Cray died, never forgotten always loved.
Last weekend Sanja insisted we go to the legendary Monteparadiso Punk Festival in Pula.
Yes it’s on of those bizarre panarama photos that mess up the distances and perspectives. But it does give a nice idea of the relatively upopulated bit of flat rock we found to hang out on (aka hide under the parasol on) just outside Pula. And yes the sea was warm.
The beach at Valabadon is pretty boring and full of tourists – with children! – but it is quite good for playing my favourite shallow water game… crocodile!
On the short walk to Valabadon beach (Pula) we noticed this interesting “feature” by the side of a creek. There used to be another item near by but it has been removed. This mirror “thing” was quite amusing to try out but quite difficult to capture the resuts on photograph.
It was 19 years since I’d been at the Monteparadiso Punk festival in Pula. This last weekend, as back then, I was stuck next to the NNNW mega stall run by Uszaty and Kasia and also with a “teenage” punkette who thinks “helping” means acting like Rik in the Yound Ones!
Whilst in Pula we had the distinct pleasure of staying with the mother of an old friend of mine. I had stayed there 19 years before and alledgedly made a good impression (probably Marta’s fault). This photo is of her (grand)mother as a young Partizan fighter during the second world war helping a wounded English soldier. Anyone recognise the guy?
Ruža Petrović was helping Yugoslav Partisans since the very beginning of the occupation of Istria by the Italian Social Republic. On July 22, 1944, 25 Italian fascists from Svetvinčenat broke into Režanci and searched Petrović’s house because they suspected that she, her husband and his two brothers were helping Partisans. Since they found more clothing and food than they thought her family needed, they arrested her, and forced her to carry all of the extra goods that she had stored in the house to the army garrison in Svetvinčenat, where they eventually brutally tortured her. Despite severe torture, Petrović didn’t reveal any information about the Partisans. After being released the next day she went home, but a group of fascists stopped her at halfway and started beating her again. After she was hit in the forehead with the gunstock, she fell to the ground so fascists tied her around a tree, after which one of them dug her eyes with a dagger. She was found by the villagers and first taken to the village of Skitača where Partisans had their headquarters and hospital, and afterwards to the surgical ward of the General Hospital in Pula where she spent 70 days rehabilitating. After she was released from the hospital, Petrović again rejoined antifascist movement, and, although blind, was helping the Partisan fighters by knitting socks and warm shirts and giving them moral support. (Thanx Wikipedia) This bust of Ruža is part a larger memorial (Spomniek) to Partizan fighters in central Pula.
Look what crept out of the sea! Seen last weekend on the Croatian coast by the old fortress on the headland outside Pula, approach with care.
Back from the coast.
Since I got back from Pula I have been watering my trees everyday. Some of them didn,t take kindly to being abandoned for 4 days and produced brown dead leaves in protest. One morning I managed o get up at 5.30 am and do some scything too. This early morning mist was beginning to dissolve as I did so.
I have often stopped or looked down at the muddy patch a couple of pigs live in from my bike ride back from the post office. Last week though I noticed there were new little pigs and that the family were at the other end of the muddy patch happily scratching around in the ground. How different their lives are to most of the pigs around here who spend almost their entire lives cooped and cramped up inside. I doubt the young ones have a long life ahead of them but at least…..
One of Matchka’s (the cat that used to live here) siblings who used to stay over the road is now taking advantage of Matchka’s forced deportation and gradually moving in. This process include sthe leaving of “gifts” for me, such as this sadly deceased slow worm, whose corpse I almost stepped on this morning. Thanx cat.