November, the month in which…
…Steve put himself to work. He & 3 locals did a big land clearance job for an ex-pat, which took him a few days and was very physically demanding. The cramps and aches were decently financially rewarded tho. Here he is on an easier job, helping friends:
… the days & views variously looked like this:
… we picked the last of the produce from the organic garden:
… we had some fun times with mates, notably: an epic evening with Fi & Dave, playing Super Scrabble until 3.00 am; our pre-Christmas curry night at Jack & Hayley’s (now quite a tradition with us!) during which we sampled some of Hayley’s yummy beetroot chocolate Brownies, as well as the usual spicy delights; a fun evening at Carrie’s with great company and enormous amounts of food & drink (the parsnip soup was a triumph) at which I was brought to my knees, literally, when I missed the bottom step in the darkness. As with all photos on this blog, click the pic below to get it to open in a new tab in full size (particularly relevant for this one in which the scabs don’t appear until full size!)
… I was VERY busy!! I flew to Scotland this month for a week’s work with Who Cares? Scotland. For the first time ever I flew direct to the UK (Stansted) from Montenegro (Podgorica) thanks to Ryan Air’s cheap, twice weekly flights all year round. As I flew into Stansted, Lewis Hamilton was driving the last few laps of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. I wanted to avoid hearing the result as I intended to watch the race the following day and see for myself how the championship was won, but there was no avoiding the news as the TV’s blared out Hamilton’s victorious celebrations. Hurrah! (Thanks to Lewis’ official website for the photo below!)
The work with Duncan and his organisation was as inspiring, infuriating, exhilarating & exhausting as ever! Click here to visit their website & become a friend. We packed a lot into our time together, including a visit to Duncan’s Mum where we tasted the delights of Haggis Lasagne and I got to sleep in the ‘Faraway Tree’ and enjoy a soak in the Best Bath Ever. The next morning on our drive from Anthea’s house to Lagganlia, we saw a red squirrel and a herd of red deer. Altogether a very beautiful, very Scottish experience. (Thanks to wickipedia for the photo).
Back at work, I ran development sessions with management teams & facilitated the organisation’s residential by day and performed Karaoke and ran the bar by night… Remarkably, not only was Duncan still talking to me at the end of the week but he even treated me to a delicious Chinese feast and escorted me & Jess to the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh where their mate Scott was playing in a funky band called ‘The Retrophones’. I had the full range of drinks that I yearn for in Monte: a pint of cider, followed by a Pimms, followed by Port! Saturday we went for a walk with Islay, Donald & Mila & I relished the last hours with the kids, especially Islay who is now officially my friend. She beams her special (& rare, apparently) smiles at me and follows me around chatting.
Back in the UK I stole a few precious days to be with family & friends. I got drunk with Nik & Mick; hung out for a bit with Lil’ & Hugo; had Sunday lunch with Mum & Dad; helped Dad with some chores; had Sunday dinner with Becky & family; was reunited with old friend John C after 10+ years and supped the best half pint of cider for years; had dinner, wine & conversation with John A (I did have a full set of John’s but John B died); had my annual service (Dr, hairdresser, optician, massage & reiki) & had an evening with my sister Chris & hubby Dave in their cosy new temporary home. I flew back & fitted in a business lunch and coaching session before I finally arrived home! 13 appointments in 4 days!!
… I made onion marmalade. The only thing to do when life gives you onions. More of this in a separate post!
… I visited Trebinje in Bosnia with my friend Daca, was wowed by the old walled town, enjoyed the markets and the super cheap produce (but not the pushy street peddlars!) and bought a lovely hand-knitted hat for €7!
… I struggled through this weighty tome & made it to A Place of Greater Reality regarding my adoration of Ms Mantel.
I do however have increased respect for her. This novel about the French Revolution is a triumph in so many ways – the research, the dedication, the effort! It conveys the madness of those times so wonderfully and brings to life the world-shaping characters so brilliantly. But for all that it is not as accessible and un-put-downable as my previous reads (Wolf Hall, Bring up the Bodies & Giving up the Ghost). I did blanch halfway through and question my commitment to go on. I’m glad I persisted but it bordered on a chore towards the end – until the very last section, which is gripping & moving.
… I experienced further disappointment with the reading of this book:
I had been urged to read this book by Jim, whom I’d consider a literary coach of mine. Disappointment struck in the very first lines when I realised I had seen the film and remembered how the story was going to end. I consoled myself with thinking that I could focus on the writing instead but frankly, found the quality lacking. I’m sure the book has a massive impact upon reading when it’s magic has not been previously revealed – the concept is clever, compelling, disturbing… However the writing style for me left me a little cold. An annoying pattern is established early on of referring to an event and then going onto describe this event – it felt clumsy & childish.
… I continued to get interesting, fulfilling, well-paid work here in Montenegro. The months ahead hold workshops to be designed and delivered and coaching programmes to be run. The foreseeable future feels secure and financial worries are receding. The month ahead has a fun-packed, busy, productive agenda – our first Christmas & New Year’s Eve in the UK with friends & family for 8 years! We look forward to telling you all about it in 2015.