The Dutch Invasion

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.

We rode there, we walked up, we rode down and we rode home.

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.




Catching up since Zadar

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.



A punk rock holiday and aftermath.

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.

Surprise visitors!

We’re open! I took a phone call and said yes! So officially we have reopened and our first guests were a couple from Austria who brought a baby.  Babies are not our forte but little Fil as we are gonna call him  was a treat.

Here is the happiest baby I’ve ever met and the first ever to get positive reviews from both myself and Sanja! His name is Filippo and he’s growing up vegan in Graz.

At the same time as Fil brightened up our day with his beautific smiles these flowers popped open.

Another of the bulbs that has grown despite being stuck in the gravelly ground around the bamboo and watered only a couple of times.
The bamboo has spent a year or more doing very little and now is spreading! Which is both exciting and scary given its potential to grow under concrete and the like.
Despite the drought this bright beauty has survived and bloomed! This is one of the bulbs I planted back in May around the bamboo on the miserable bit of scrappy earth in front of the barn.

and here’s another of Fil…

Baby barrow boy Fil prepares to take a barrow full of nothing in to the long grass.

An update and an excuse

I have ceased talking to my self!

I am no longer alone!

Sanja is back! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Guess who’s settled comfortably back in to Barabrith life?

The three months of our enforced nationalist border separation (aka celibacy) is over and as you may have noticed this does somewhat inpact on my blogging frequency. But as a special treat to make amends I am posting a video or two.

Joey of DOA has been kind enough to supply me with stylish punk rock caps over the years, which used to be quite good at keeping the rain out of my eyes back in blighty. Now Sanja claims them as hers, all except the new “trucker style” one which is “the wrong shape” for her head and so suitable as a cast off for me. Unfortunately however proud the peek is it doesn’t protect my eyes from the effects of my dust allergy hence the weepy tired look I have in this pic.
Masked up and ready to shop… as Joey (DOA again!) urged us all…. don’t be a bonehead don’t listen to the conspiracy nutters, covid kills old folk (like Joey) and that ain’t funny. What is funny is to think what reaction the security staff in the shops would have had pre-pandemic if we had walked in masked up like this before!!!
We have been amusing oursleves watching GLOW on Netflix, quite amusing at times but overall what a sad picture of the recent American past it paints. I was trying to describe the 70’s English wrestler Giant Haystacks to Sanja some time ago and now I think I have a photo that wil do it! Well almost!

The weather continues to swelter, too hot even for us two lilly livered ‘blancs’ to go down to the river! Though there was one day of stormy weather last week that ruined Sanja’s band planned gig in Zagreb, typical!

Proof that I’m now too old for birthdays came in the form of an empty post box and very little incoming messages. But Sanja spoiled me rotten, or maybe that should be even more rotten given the sate of me, and even as I type this a day later she is still intent on making me a sweet potato chocolate cake once we find all the ingredients and equipment.

My birthday evening was however celebrated in style. Sanja and I played a game of Scrabble with my sister and her man care of Zoom. During which Sanja nd I consumed the above two pots of ice cream (the B&J is much better btw). I knew it wasn’t a good idea given my last few years experience of eating ice cream – especially late at night – and consequently got very little sleep. Reflux when lying down is easily cured by sitting up and so I read my new book of P.K.Dick stories untill the sun came up and my stomach had setled. Thanks must be given though to Beka, Rich and Sanja for allowing the birthday boy to win at Scrabble.

I also had a surprise – well almost,  lets say a – spontaneous late decision – visitor in the form of Sophia from Berlin. Not seen her for seven years, two days was hardly enough time to catch up especially as her primary driving force seems to be lying in the sun and mine is hiding from it!

Sophia was our first visitor of the year! She chose to lie on the concrete of the gazebo. I did offer her the use of either a chair or a recliner but this determind young woman wanted just to lie in the sun and I guess feel its warmth seep back up from the concrete!

There arre of course frequent other visitors we get to Barabrith…..

This beauty is about the size of a golf ball when hiding in her corner. When she comes out to wrap up its prey she looks MUCH BIGGER! Sanja is using her as an excuse to enter my room by the other door!
This bugger shows up every now and then on a kitchen window to scare the beegeezus out of us! The picture doesn’t do him justice. I was hoping to hold a ruler next to him whilst taking the picture but neither of us are that brave!

The weather is still too damn hot for doing much besides eating and reading and then the evening ritual of watering the new plants…..

Sanja helps with the vital task of watering the new trees and bushes.

and here are the videos..  I think they are self explanatory







No rain till …

I know I go on about it but the weather is ridiculous. I can’t even remember the last time it rained properly.  Certainly there hasn’t been any decent amount since I planted the news trees back at the beginning of May and so I’ve been watering them every other evening. The tomatoes I planted start to wilt if I don’t water them every evening!

Well you know its too dam hot when the grass starts going brown. It hadn’t rained here for a month or much more when I took this yesterday. This is a pathway that needs tidying up but after doing an hour or so scything I was just too knackered to do anymore so this path will have to wait. But its kind of cute that you can see where animals have been using the path and worn a narrow path in the middle of the wider path.
Not a pretty sight I grant you but this was taken at 8 in the evening at the end of my scything / path clearing session and I was so knackered, hot and sweaty that my arm was giving off steam as I reached out to take this selfie! I did wonder if it might be visible on the photo.

But tonight it is raining,  properly! Hooray! So tomorrow I’ll take some pictures of what will hopefully be a revived greener landscape!

Lizzie, bugs and gaps – no more!

It has become too hot for me to be outside – unless I’m in the shade – during the day. The temperature is in the mid 30’s  ugh! So my days are stretching in to the night when the temperature is acceptable. During the day I am doing my Engoo English teaching and scampering up and down between the kitchen and my room. Both rooms remain relatively cool if I keep the doors and windows losed during the day.  Hence not a lot has been happening. Every other night I go out and water all the new trees and the tomatos and do a little other gardening.  Once a week I go to town for supplies and have brief interactions with real people – cashiers, shop assistants and the occasional bureaucrat!

The little gooseberry bush has been struggling to survive since we planted it two years ago but it is now producing fruit, three of them and pink!
One of my fave big mugs took a tumble and broke in a rather unusual way, so I was able to reconstruct it in such a way that it makes a good flower pot but sadly no longer “a cuppa”!
This is the main grass pathway from the bench to the house. It is proving quite a challenge to keep these paths clear but I really like the effect that is developing.
This bright green little lizard scarpered away when I lifted up a bag of compost it was hiding under. He was not terribly quick or clever or perhaps the word has got around that there are only vegans living at Barabrith nowadays!
Cute little thing isn’t he or she!
Not sure if lizzie thought he was hiding here but I didn’t want to get any closer in case I gave him a heartattack.
Having linked three hoses together I can now reach the furthest away new plants – the Wisteria – in the far corner of the left hand side of this photo.
The next day Lizzie was dead and laid out in the middle of the gazebo. I wonder if one of the neighbours cats is trying to move in and left me this offering as a way of impressing me? Failed! Still it gave me a better photo op.
Its been a long time since I mixed wheat paste for anything other than putting up posters. One of the jobs I’ve been putting off for “ever” is how to fill up the long thin gaps between the wooden cieling and the wooden beams and the walls in my room. Some time ago I decided to try papier-mâché but only this week did I start the process.
This is part of the gap between the ceiling and a wooden beam. The black cloth visible in the gap is the waterproofing layer that covers the upperside of the cieling panels.
And here we have the final destination of various Croatian supermarket weekly offer catalogues, mashed up, sticky and soggy and nicely filling the gap! I was thinking of painting it over when dry but now I’m thinking of just putting a couple of layers of brown parcel paper over it instead.
The second day after death Lizzie had been overturned and the bugs had started to feast. I said good bye and sent him into the long grass.
This is an old boot that has lost its partner – ok I lost it!. I tried growing silver dollar plants in an old boot back in the 1980s when that was the only plant I grew! It’s so easy! This time I have loads of marigolds grown from seed and here are three in one of the original Dr Martin vegan boots!
A couple of weeks ago the potatos were doing fine and I kind of left them to it! Unfortunately the Colorado “Bastard” beetle did not. Almost the entire crop 30-40 plants are now dead, stripped down to dying yellow stalks by these voracious little buggers. As you can see from the surrounding vegetation they don’t care for anything except the potato leaves. I might try planting another late crop of spuds but it looks like the summers mash and chips will be coming from the supermarkets again!
Colorado beetle bugs in action destroying my potato plants just before I swooped and forcibly evicted them if only in retribution as it was obviously a tad late to save the plants.
Finding a corner of the gazebo which is in the shade is a real bonus for my “al fresco” evening meals.

Old Hi-fi, maps, tree care (watering) and another little snake!

Barabrith has been mapped by a friend who’s good at these kind of things! One of those thngs is not being so reliant one Google as I tend to be. OpenStreetMaps are I am assured better for walkers and cyclists and also I guess for not helping with internet dominance by a few major corporations!

So check it out.

One of our buildings appears as a bed rather than a building but thats where guests sleep so no biggie!

My wooden house appears as a small blue bed! but this I guess is an incentive for me to sign up and participate in this project! The red dotted line is the path that runs alongside my land and is in fact totally overgrown so that‘s another thing this map is incentivising me to do!!
Tending to Jen’s pomegranate tree this evening, * which means watering it! I got a bit of a shock when looking up new tree care and seeing how much watering is recommended during the summer months! Now I know why some of the trees we planted two years ago did not do so well!
* or finding a selfie excuse, you decide!
The setting sun catches the top of this fruit tree as I did the watering rounds this evening. There is some fruit on it but it‘s green not reddish and the photo I took came out all blurred – next time.
I was blissfully scooping up the scythed grass the other day when this fellow appeared in my wheelbarrow. I guess I chucked him in the unbeknownst! S/he is a slow worm but snake sounds better than calling it a “limbless lizard” which technically it is.
This was one of those rare moments when the sun was out at the same time as the rain pouring down. Boy does it look green!
The paths through the increasing tall and wild field are now quite distinct.
This picture is of my most treasured piece of hi-fi. Yeah I know its geeky but give me a moment. I bought that tape deck in 1981. It was all I could afford at the time and I had just enough to invest in a pair of headphones with a long cable and thats how I listened to my music for a long time. It was a satisfactory arrangement for my folks of course as they were not disturbed by the noise. It worked for me too as I could listen late in to the night with no one the wiser. I have memories of watching those super responsive green and red leds lighting up my bedroom, well almost! I have made friends with a guy in Zagreb who likes the challenge of trying to fix electrical equipment and he has so far fixed my amplifier, the above CD player and now my beloved JVC twin deck. This evening I was listening to a tape of the Clash I recorded back in December 1981. I have CDs bought 15 years later that are now uplayable due to old age, so much for that progress.
The amazing thing about this tape deck is that it has features that became impossible to get on anything other than very expensive tape decks. My favourite story about this deck is that when I went back in to buy an amplifier and speakers to go with this they were conducting a survey of how one found out about the shop – Richer Sounds. They were rather startled when I told them I had ducked in to the shop when I was avoiding the police during a Stop The City demo.
It‘s nice to be eating out again, even if it is on my own. Well me and the birds and butterflies and a few annoying flying bugs!




Topsy Turvy

I sometimes have trouble falling asleep. My mind just keeps on thinking about things , things to do, things I should have done, things I shouldn’t have done… perhaps! Like a computer with the power button glued solid I lie awake for hours.

Last night I went to bed early (10) with the intention of getting up really early (5!) so I could do some scything before the sun made outdoor work unbearable. I fell asleep but something woke me up and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I tried the usual tricks and nothing worked so at 3.30am I decide to give up and just watch You Tube till 5 and see if I was in a condition to scythe then! So at 5.30 this morning I was out in my red work gear, headphones on and scythe in hand causing mass grass genocide. It was lovely and cool and still slightly damp, which is when the grass cuts best. I had hacked (not the correct term or method of scything) all the way down to the stream, cut the plants around the benches when I noticed that the sun was beginning to come up. My working time was numbered.

I redid most of the path that winds its way up along the western side of the field. The fields are now looking and feeling quite wild and beautiful which is just how I want them. I did notice two young trees that had been savagely attacked by deer and though they were both a long way down the hill I am a bit worried about my new trees if Bambi becomes braver.

Before I could cut my way all the way back up the hill the sun turned the exercise in to a sweat bath and I called it a day.  Almost three hours work done I headed for a shower and back to bed.

The sun shining on the bottom of the field at an angle I have not seen before! Taken at 6.56 am!
For a famously vain and sartorially sensitive soul as I this is a difficult photo to post, but it captures nicely the inner feeling of someone who’s had stomach issues for a few days then no more than an hours sleep before heading out to do battle with weeds for an hours or more at a time when one should be soundly asleep in bed! Just look at those eyes… !
Spotted this little yellow snail on the red gate as I headed back to work. Would never have noticed him if he wasn’t on the bright red background his shell was only about 7 or 8 mm in diameter!

I slept till 3.30pm!

This is from a few days ago but was captured on my mobile phone and forgotten till today when I used the phone to take the above photos.

The other day some one triggered Sanja with a question about snakes in Croatia. It resulted in my patiently reading through a couple of websites about what species there are here and which are potentially dangerous. Needless to say there are only three dodgy ones and only one of those is very dodgy, but they will all scarper rather than attack if they see you coming. So it was one of those weird synchronicities that the next day when I was pushing my bike up our hill I came across this geezer. I didn‘t notice him at first, I think he may have stopped moving when I approached and I was looking up to see if Sanja‘s favourite dog was going to come and hassle my eardrums. But as I passed by it moved and then when I stopped to look back at him he stopped to look at me, which I concede was a trifle unnerving. I took a step backwards and he slithered remarkably quickly off into the undergrowth. But as you can see at full stretch quite a long bugger. I‘m now wondering if thats a discarded skin on the road just above him!
And then I came across another later the same day whilst doing a quick bit of scything in the front garden when the sun went in. I think I hit the poor thing with the scythe, as it curled into a coil rather than slithered off but I decided not to offer it first aid.
Snakronicity or what?