The month in which…

… We harvested all the onions – a whopping 35.5 kilos!  Courgettes continued to crop well (made a lot of courgette fritters this month!) but tomatoes really slowed down.  We’re hoping for a late summer/ early autumn revival… Sad to be having to buy tomatoes already & all the homemade passata is finished too. Hmph!

… We started pulling carrots.  We’ve had a few forked and stumpy ones but a lot of good sized, well formed ones too.  Guests have commented on how flavoursome they are.

August - carrots

Lovely bunch of carrots!

… Our chillies flourished & grew super hot and the fruits on the Hungarian Pepper started to swell:

August - Hungarian peppers

The gorgeous coloured Hungarian Pepper plant…

… Steve’s sister, Dawn, came to stay!!!  Her first visit in 9 years of us being here was quite an event.  Bro & sis did a drive around the Bay, dodging the storms, so Dawn got to see the dramatic beauty of our adopted home. I managed to organise a boat trip with some of the locals girlies, on the same boat we’d been on for my birthday:

August - Dawn 1

Swimming in the sea off the boat at Mali Rose

August - Dawn 2

Dinner as the sun was setting, at a restaurant on Rose

We motored back to the marina, arriving just before midnight and me, Dawn & Goca went on to the Rambo Amadeus gig at Pivnica – a popular bar along the seafront.  Rambo is a real local character and the atmosphere at his gigs is always amazing.  Sweaty & salty, we drank beer and danced around to the catchy beat before eventually making our way home in the early hours.

Dawn’s birthday was a few days after she arrived.  We spent the morning on the beach together and then went shopping.  Dawn found this in the local supermarket that made her chuckle:

August - Dawn 3

Dawn & the slag

In the afternoon I cooked a big Indian feast for us, our guests and volunteers.  There was gooey cake and plenty of beer:

August - Dawn's bday meal

Indian feast in Dawn’s honour

August - Dawn bday chocs

The birthday girl!

August - Dawn bday cake

Ahhhh – lovely evening

Thursday 13th August we hosted a party to watch the Perseids Meteor Shower in the moonless, relatively unpolluted sky above the campsite.  It was a great evening – plenty of guests and lots of mates turned up too.  Steve executed a fabulous BBQ.

August - shooting stars night

So many people sitting down to eat we had to fit a 3rd table on the end!

August - shooting stars 3

Goca finally made it to the campsite again – it’s been 4 years!

August - Megan

Megan – our lovely volunteer from Germany

August - Mario

Mario – volunteer and pasta chef!

All the gazebo covers were pulled back for the full view of the sky and we had lain mattresses around the site, as well as the double hammock and sofas, so after food & cake (early celebration of Jack & Marko’s birthdays) we took our spots for star gazing.  What an amazing night!!!  Spectacular meteors – moving slowly enough to follow their descent across the sky.  Really, truly WOW.

The following night was Mich’s 50th birthday party.  Fi & Dave picked us up on the RIB and whizzed us across to Tivat Bay, much to Dawn’s delight:

August - Mich bday 3

Another boat trip for Dawn!

We arrived just as the sun was setting…

August - Mich bday 1

Sisters (kinda) in the sunset

Around 60 people turned up at the restaurant to celebrate Mich’s half century.  Wonderful food, free bar, dancing on the beach.  Amazing fun & Dawn got to meet all of our mates.

August - Mich bday 20

Me & Cecile – Mich gave all the ladies garlands to wear in their hair…

August - Mich bday 27

Dawn & the birthday girl

We finally made it back to HN (after waking Dave up to drive the RIB back!) in the early hours.  The day was dawning by the time we actually made it to bed.  Thank goodness for the volunteers who were minding the site for us so we could crash out at the house, sleep late and then take Dawn to our favourite restaurant for food & a hair of the dog:

August - Dawn 4

Catovica Mlini – one of Montenegro’s best restaurants

Sunday was Dawn’s last full day in Monte and we’d booked a trip on the Monty B with our mates Katie & Tim as a birthday treat for Dawn and a special way to end the holiday.  Sadly the weather was grey & stormy and not a day for sailing.  However, we made it on to the boat anyway for a swim, some booze & a couple of hours of fun:

August - Dawn 5

Dawn on the Monty B

We’d made it over to a restaurant ashore by the times the storms hit and sheltered there eating scrummy food whilst the worst of the weather passed.  The next day we waved Dawn and the volunteers goodbye and the campsite was strangely quiet again…

… We had a steady stream of lovely guests, including repeat customers from last year who dropped in for a night & showed us the new guide book we’d made it into:

August - Supermonte 1

Officially ‘super’ now we’re in Super Monte!!

August - Supermonte 2

And the guests loved the sights & sounds of nature that our campsite provides – the Eagle Owl stayed near and hooted us to sleep most nights…

August - eagle owl

Queuing up to look at the Eurasian Eagle Owl thru the binos

 

Flocks of Bee Eaters, hovered over at times with their distinctive chirping and flashes of bright hues.  The BIG toad impressed a few people.  The crickets & cicadas continue to amuse & enchant.  The garden and the tyre wall of flowers delighted and inspired many:

August - tyre wall

You can’t see the tyres anymore!

August - garden

Organic garden – end of August

… The Rock Garden grew and many a guest lost themselves in painting a rock for our walls:

August - painted rocks

Look carefully & you can see Dawn’s lion and Steve’s pirate in the wall

August - Kim & stone painting

Painting a stone is a lovely way to spend a sunny morning

… We had a holiday at Camp Full Monte! It went super quiet towards the end of August. The weekend of 21st August the queues leaving the country were long.  Backing up far, far down the road and effectively cutting us off for a couple of days.  We had plenty of food & supplies so we decided to embrace the emptiness of the site, try & ignore the sound of horns being blasted by frustrated tourists, and have a holiday.  We did a lot of lazing in the sun in our new favourite spot:

August - yoga space

Yoga space in the morning, sunbathing spot in the afternoon, star-gazing platform at night…

… Even Steve read some books!

Mr Phillips

Both Steve & I read this funny, easy to read & enjoyable book

Defying Hitler

Sebastian Haffner’s memoir, Defying Hilter, is an important, insightful, powerful book. Remarkable. A must read for anyone who’s interested in how things could have gone so wrong in Germany.

Murakami

Jim bought me more books! Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland had the usual elements I’ve come to expect from Karuki: a bonkers storyline, a great mix of the fantastical and the everday and exceptional writing. It was thoroughly enjoyable.

 

We now have only 3 weeks left on site and the summer is slipping away already.  Time is definitely speeding up these days!  September promises to be glorious weather so we may yet get a few projects ticked off before we pack our campsite world up again and re-open the other…

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The month in which…

… We picked kilos & kilos of yummy stuff from our organic garden.

July - toms + black

An abundance of tomatoes! Look carefully and you can see the first BLACK tomato in the midst of this little lot…

July - toms courg & pumpkin

More tomatoes – this time with courgettes and small sugar pumpkin on the side…

(Incidentally we grew 7 different varieties of tomatoes this year: Purple Russian, Black, Pink, Tiger (striped), cherry, Grbalj (local) and Novi Sad ‘Apple’ (Serbian).  We did a taste test of them all – the sweetest was the Purple Russian, the tartest & tangiest (IMHO) was the cherry and the texture of the Pink was noticably different – much fleshier and less seeds…This of course is MY take on the matter – if you ask Steve he will snort and say: ‘Can’t taste the difference!’  No matter, they ALL taste really yummy and have been commented on by all those who have feasted on them this month)

July - red chillies

Lots of red chillies – i shove them straight in the freezer until I’m ready to use (hence the ice formed on these beauties!!!)

July - courgettes

Courgettes have cropped well so far. Thankfully they keep fabulously in our cool store…

July - onions

Half the onion harvest braided lovingly by Steve and hanging in the porch. We stopped buying onions in mid July so lets’ see how long our bounty lasts…

July - carrot

Our first carrot of the season! And what a fine specimen…

and because there was TOO many tomatoes to eat, I processed a lot:

July - homemade passata

Homemade passata! Got this off to a T now: pour boiling water over the toms & after a few mins skin them; chop up and chuck in pan with garlic (to taste) and salt, reduce down until thick, stir in a little balsamic at the end, pour into hot jars & seal.

July - gtc

Green tomato chutney – an amazing recipe with the end product tasting like Branston pickle but even better.

July - chilli jam

Chilli Jam – perfect way to use up those cherry toms and red chillies!

… The cycle of death & re-birth was evident in the garden.  Tho’ most of the tomatoes flourished, many shrivelled and died.  We are not sure why – it may be they had come to the end of their growth period, having been planted early; lack of care in watering by volunteers (we’re pretty sure that their leaves being sprayed with water caused the lower branches to shrivel and die); the contrast of freezing cold stream water after each steamy hot day is one of Steve’s latest theories, along with potential poisoning of the beds from the creosoted sleepers and lack of specific nutrients.  Me, I think they were under-watered by volunteers and we didn’t feed them enough.  I got ruthless with the plants whose growing tips had perished – hence the green tomato harvest & making GTC early.  Thankfully nature had planted plenty more – plants springing up in the flower beds from seeds in the compost so I carefully transplanted them into gaps in the beds.

There was plenty of stuff going to seed in the garden and time to start collecting for next season’s re-birth…

July - seed collecting

Collecting seeds… Here: sweet peas, coriander, rastan (local greens), chard, lettuce and more

I had a good sort out of my ‘seed box’, cleaned, re-labelled and re-stocked… I have fresh seeds from nicotiana, petunia, snapdragon, pansy, wild violet, nigella, hibiscus and mesembryanthemum.  I need to let some zinnia and cosmos flower heads dry out now for collecting their seeds.

In the flower gardens, things looked like this:

July - tyre wall

Sunflowers start to show in the tyre wall in early July

July - waste garden

The ‘waste’ garden looks lush…

July - carpenter bee

The carpenter bee loves the flowers

July - amaranth & nicotiana

The amaranth & nicotiana look stunning in the fading light

July - hawk moth 1

The hawk moth, collecting nectar at dusk

The sweet peas are over.  I think they are one of my favourite flowers. I adore their scent and it’s been fab having the table decorated with them through June & July.  My challenge next year is to keep them going longer – the intense heat seemed to finish them off…  Any tips anyone???

… It finally started to feel busy on site!!

July - blackboard

A busy blackboard is always a good sign!

We had some fabulous guests – people who hired our tents and planned to stay awhile, many who just passed through for a night or 2 and some who dropped in and then found it hard to leave and ended up staying for many night.  Our guests came from all over: UK, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, France, Sweden, Australia, Finland, Turkey…  And here’s some of our cutest guests this month:

July - Anja

Anja – she had a sweet spot in the hammock for naps…

July - Lena

Lena – loving the compost toilets!

Franziska & Phillip were 2 very special people who stayed with us this month.  They tackled part of the Coastal Transversal Way and walked from Herceg Novi to Ljuta.  Here’s the link to their blog: Philipp & Franziska’s blog

We’ve had some nice comments in the guest book and a few drawings too:

July - guest book 1July - guest book 2And back for their 5th year with us (!!!) were Jonathon, Mare, Tjeerd & Meyn from Amsterdam:

July - jonathon & kids

Tjeerd should have been in this shot but he was having a 12 year old male’s melt down instead…

July - meyn & daisy

Meyn continues to be Daisy’s biggest fan…

… We did a LOT of socialising!!!  First up was a big gathering to bring our local friends together.  Mia was in town with her partner & cousins and since this is a rare event we managed to get most of the gang to come visit for the same evening too – Toma, Ankica, Kristjan, Alena, Ogi, Maja, Nik….

July - Nik & Ogi

Nik & Ogi boogying in the kitchen whilst Alena & Mia catch up on old times

The next big bash was a BBQ at Carrie’s place to welcome Fi home after 4 long & challenging months in Malawi.  It was a fabulous evening with mountains of barbecued meat and salad, not to mention Jan’s amazing desserts and copious amounts of alcohol.  Fi had a slideshow of her photos running on the big screen all night and they were astonishing.  Steve and I were totally unprepared for how HOT it was in the evenings ‘normally’ (in other words for anyone who isn’t up our mountain, 300 ms above sea level, where we can wear as little as possible at any time of day or night)… Meanwhile Louise & Rob, our 2 capable volunteers enjoyed the relative cool & held the fort for us.

Tasha & Rachel from the USA joined the Danish/ Austrian couple to give us a four-strong volunteering team so we could comfortably leave the campsite for a couple of nights.  We had a mini holiday, using  the Seadance Festival as our excuse…  We escaped from the camp by early afternoon and got over to Tivat where we parked the car and were picked up by Tim in the tender and taken aboard the Monty B.  A motor over to Sveti Marko and a few drinkies along the way.  Once anchored there safely we piled in the tender and motored over to Durasevici for a pick up by Mich in her jeep.  Seems like no lessons were learned from last year, so the traffic was still insane.  We got Mich to drop us off a few kms away and walked in, via a really good feed at a nice restaurant along the way.  We got to the Festival with food in our tums & plenty of time to get in the festival mood.  The drinks at the bar were a bit limited to say the least – beer and alco-pops mainly but I was high on life and didn’t need the alcohol.  It was fab to hang out on the beach and soak up the atmosphere, tho it quickly became clear that we’d chosen the wrong footwear for dancing on a beach!  We made it over to the main stage half an hour or so before the headliners Prodigy came on.  Lots of manic dancing ensued.  Steve was NOT a fan, it turns out…  Back to the beach to hang around the Dance Stage and bop to Gramatik.  We finally quit at 3.30 am and managed to score a cab back for a reasonable price with no drama at all.

Motoring back to the Monty B in the day’s newest light, in the stillness and silence that only a few early birds were breaking, was truly special.

We had tickets for the second night but decided to spend a chilled night on the boat instead.  During the day we swam, sunbathes, ate nice nibbles, drank Pimms and fizz.  Katie & Tim treated me to a delicious meal at Konoba Maestral as an early birthday present.

A couple of nights later on the eve of my 45th birthday, we escaped the campsite again for an evening in the foothills of Orijen with our local friends:

July - local picnic 1

Ogi and her Dad Chedo, chillin…

July - local picnic 10

Happy couple – Aleksa & Kristen

July - local picnic 2

Stevo – or ‘Deda’ (Grandad!) as Ogi calls him

July - local picnic 11

Ogi learns to dish out the beers!

The following day, it was just me socialising – as Steve’s birthday present to me was to give me a pass for the afternoon and evening and let me go off & have fun with my Herceg Novi girlfriends. And what a lucky girl I was that day!!!

July - bday pic 6

On board a lovely speedboat with my girlfriends, sipping pink fizz…

July - bday pic 1

Jen and her friend, our sexy Skipper Natasa

July - bday pic 2

Me & Caroline & my new bikini’s inaugural outing

July - bday pic 4

More friends joined us for the meal at Konoba Forte Rose – amazing food, unforgettable evening, awesome chocolate cake prepared by Berni…

July - bday pic 3

Me & Jen & birthday necklace from Maja…

I was utterly spoiled by my very lovely girlfriends.  And the best was yet to come – we were so hot and sticky after all the food & drink and sitting around we all stripped off & went skinny dipping off the boat & then danced our way home to Natasa’s funky tunes.

Having just about recovered from turning 45, the Lane family arrived on a visit from Florida and created some chaos for a while.  It was fab to see them all and see how grown up the kids had become.  Here’s some photos from a big gathering at the campsite a few days before their departure when we managed to bring a lot of good friends together, including Amy & Adrian, Kit & Jasper who we hadn’t seen for 4 years and their new addition to the family, Cecily….

July - cecily & theo

Cecily and Theo getting into the spirit of Camp Full Monte and enjoying the sprinkler!

July - lane party 3

Rare shot of Marko relaxing

July - lane party 5

Den & Hayley

July - lane party 7

All the gang!

July - lane party 9

Our gorgeous Goddess Daughter, Gracie with her new friend, Kit. And little Miles photo bombing in the foreground!

July - lane party 6

The boys at the BBQ…

Amy, Jen & Den

Amy, Jen & Den – good times…

… It was TOO hot to do much work.  Just keeping the campsite running and keeping on top of our busy social life was enough of a challenge this month when it was mostly 38+ degrees in the shade.  Phew, we’re trying not to complain after last year’s wash out but OMG, we’re melting!!!  Here’s some projects our volunteers completed anyway…

July - mosaic table

New mosaic table – a re-purposed electrical cable reel and left over tiles…

July - mosaic

The mosaic is finally fully grouted! It looks wonderful…

… I caught up on some reading!

John Wessel book

An outstanding book. Can’t believe it’s his DEBUT!? Brilliantly written, gripping, great characters – I am a fan…

David Guterson book

Another first novel but not a patch on Wessel I’m afraid. It got interesting in the last few pages but it dragged quite a lot along the way. Not overly impressed.

George Pelecanos book

Got into a mystery/ thriller groove and wasn’t ready to leave it yet. Enjoyed this book and raced through it really fast – discovered later that he was one of the writers on The Wire, which explains the ‘street talk’.

… We enjoyed a Blue Moon!

We had planned a party to celebrate 2 Full Moons in one month but hot on the heels of all the partying with the Lanes and mates, neither us, not our friends had much interest.  So, Once in a Blue Moon we had a chilled evening on the campsite – just us and our lovely guest Minna from Finland, whom I am very sure we will meet again (hopefully in Helsinki):

July - Blue Moon

Lovely moonlit evening after a delicious BBQ…

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