The month in which…
…Easter came early and we shared it with good friends. Despite a heavy night’s eating, drinking and deep discussion on Good Friday, Dave was chipper enough on Saturday morning to make hot cross buns:
Steve did the crosses:
And they turned out great!
Steve & I made a compost heap for Fi. She’s in Malawi but it’s her home-coming pressie… We’ve been talking about making one for yonks and finally got around to it.
Meanwhile Caroline nursed her hangover (she did take photos for us tho!):
Saturday night we feasted at Caroline’s with Jem & Kit, the couple who’d come to dog sit for Dave whilst he visits his wife in Malawi. Another great evening – slightly less booze this time tho’.
We returned home on Easter Sunday, via a disused farm full of well rotted, if somewhat dry & compacted, manure which we shovelled into the van. Here’s Steve giving it a good soaking in our newly repaired compost heap at the campsite a week later:
… We took a trip to Belgrade with friends Katie & Tim:
Steve & Tim went off to the military museum whilst Katie & I went shopping and then sat in the sunshine on the main ‘walking street’ in Belgrade drinking, chatting & people-watching. Later we met up with our friends from the Boka, Chedo & Alena (& little Oggy, coming up 2 years old!) in the Miner’s Bar:
Steve got nicely squiffy on his Adnam’s Tally Ho! and then we were joined by Paul who took us to a great vegetarian restaurant, Radost. No signs, no lights (until you were well inside) – you’d never know it was there! But what a great place (& this from avid carnivores!). The food was inventive & tasty, the service was warm & friendly, the atmosphere was cosy & intimate… The house red they recommended – a 2012 Prokupac – was exceptional! We were joined by Paul’s girlfriend and had a very pleasant evening, eating, drinking & chatting until we were too full & too sleepy to continue. We headed back to the apartment we’d rented in central Belgrade for a good night’s sleep.
The next morning we took a cab to Novi Sad, just over an hour’s drive north of Belgrade in the Vojvodina region, where our friends Pete & Masa were getting married.
We had a few hours to kill in between the marriage ceremony and the wedding party so a few of us went off to a fab restaurant, Aqua Doria, for a few eats & drinks.
Back to the wedding party venue for ceremony number 2:
… We celebrated Orthodox Easter with the locals! Pete & Masa got married on Veliki Petak (our equivalent of Good Friday) and the next morning Steve & I travelled back to Belgrade to be with our local friends for Easter.
We shared a cab with Dave & Danny & spent a fab afternoon in Belgrade, whiling away the hours before their flight & our meeting up with Toma & family, first at an Italian restaurant and then onto a cool bar where we played Dice:
We headed over to Ada Ciganlija to meet up with Toma and spent a wonderful evening with him, Ankica and her son Kristjan – a lovely young man who spoke better English than our Serbian! Yes, you guessed it – more food & drink… this time delicious Proja made by Ankica, salads and sliced meats and homemade loza. Us girls beat the boys at Tac Tic.
The next morning we enjoyed a traditional Easter Sunday:
Back to Monte and to reality… and really hard work!
… We began the big project of creating a level (ish) patio for our easting area. See the full story here. This is the progress by the end of the month:
During the patio project we emptied 3 of the 5 baths we use for our DIY greywater removal system, so that’s most of a big job jobbed too! Daisy & I frightened a big green lizard that was basking in the sun next to one of the empty baths. He fell in & couldn’t get out because the sides were too slippery!
… I worked hard in the garden & grounds: planting up the tyre wall;
tidying the herb garden and sowing new seeds;
planting out all my veggies;
tidying the orchard
… We enjoyed the first produce from the garden:
We used the sorrel thinly shredded in salads to give a nice sharp kick but there’s kilos of it so I made a potato & sorrel soup and put lots in the freezer.
… I experimented with quinoa and made a great gluten-free quiche with it rather than pastry. It was YUM.
… I read a few books!
My dear friend keeps sending me these massive tomes, through the post. It must cost her a fortune! I am so grateful tho. I really do enjoy these books, tho I’m constantly surprised by that fact!! I wouldn’t say this is a genre I am usually drawn to but these are rocking great yarns – packed with full & feisty characters, intrigue, love, lust, betrayal, magic and blood, guts & gore. I’m not selling them well – reading back this description I wouldn’t be attracted to this book! But it is SO engaging. I absolutely lose myself in the writing. The way Martin picks up the story from the last is brilliant. There are so many characters and ‘Houses’ and plots & sub plots I fear I won’t remember them all but they have left a deeper mark than I realise and I’m fast back into the fray. I particularly love the female characters who are full-on and brilliantly crafted – I love the fact they are not ‘predictable’ and are full of surprises.
From fantasy to reality:
Not a book particularly notable for anything other than the real story of a young woman being convicted for drug smuggling and spending time in Thai and then English jails. I won’t spoil the story by telling you where the real horrors were found…
And then back to my old friend, Murakami:
Wonderful, engaging, strange – as ever. This book felt very ‘grown up’ compared to some of the others I’ve read of his. Not to say they were childish exactly – simpler maybe and with young people being the main characters… hard to explain but our hero this time seems older & wiser and is a great vehicle for some cool adult views on life, love, death which I really appreciated. I just embrace each Murakami book as if it’s an old friend – confident that I love to hear what he’s saying and will savour each moment. I think weirdly what I especially like is the loose threads, the unresolved stuff, the things that kinda work but don’t really when you really puzzle over them and somehow that’s all life’s real vibes bouncing back at me through Haurki’s fantastic and fantastical writing…
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… It was a pink & purple kinda month! The wisteria in HN at this time of year is stunning – the scent, the shade, the form, all exquisite. Sadly I DON’T have a photo of that! But here’s some I took on the campsite:
… We hosted a Sunday lunch for 13 adults & 6 kids. We move up to the campsite imminently so end of April was our last chance for a get together with friends at the Topla house for a while. – roast ham and all the trimmings and our friends brought desserts galore! It was a glorious sunny day & we kept the kids entertained by making paper airplanes which they flew off the top balcony.
… Daisy got attacked by another dog. It’s usually tethered up guarding goats near to the campsite but off the leash with it’s owner when Daisy & I went walking. I always feel sorry for the poor hound when Daisy trots by, all carefree & happy, peeing on it’s territory and stealing away any of its bones she can find. This was revenge! And territory protection…
It was scary as hell watching ‘Lindi’ the mad bitch chase & bite Daisy. The goat herder was kicking his own dog to get her off & screaming at her. The really sad thing was that Daisy usually with the bitch’s puppy, now a grown-up 2 year old. He follows us on walks and is really affectionate & friendly. But because Mum was attacking Daisy, he adopted to pack mentality & joined in too.
Daisy was proper poorly for a day or 2 but the antibiotic injections from the vet every 2 days have worked a treat and she’s back to normal. The infected wound on her belly is healing well and it looks like she’ll avoid stitches too. Her mate Aoife came to stay for a few days whilst her owners were gallivanting in Croatia, so that cheered her up.
… Bookings continued – a good few folk wanting to go camping in Montenegro & hire our tents! With less than a week to go before we move onto site & begin the big job of opening the campsite for the season, we have SO much to do. A patio to finish, tables to build, a kitchen to refit not to mention all the usual cleaning, furniture moving, gazebo erecting etc that goes on. Gulp. Wish us luck people!!