Hot, bothered & super late again. Apologies, as usual…
From the store:
- Watermelons. Still overdosing on ljubenica, since every guest that comes buys one because they are so novel and so cheap…
- Lots of green leaves – pak choi, swiss chard, silverbeet, beetroot leaves, wild & salad rocket, sorrel & tiny amounts of spinach & lettuce (struggling to grow in the heat…)
- Tomatoes – kilos of them, including the green grape variety
- Onions – some nice big ones this year too. This baby was half a kilo:
- Carrots – mostly funny shaped (forked due to planting in freshly manured soil – doh!) but sweet & carrot-y as can be
- Sweetcorn – small but absolutely delicious. Probably the best thing I’ve eaten from the garden this year is a plate of these babies, dripping with butter and well seasoned. Heavenly!
- Herbs – chives, basil, parsley, mint, rosemary, sage & tarragon
The continued heat & lack of rain has sucked a lot of life out of the bo-flow-grove, with things looking wilted and parched. The lavateria came & went, but the nicotiana are still providing scent & colour:
Marigolds & Zinnia continue to be good value, their vivid petals providing regular splashes of colour. And in the tyre wall, the lavender finally flowered!
Sowing & Planting
The belting sun is a killer. I had nursed a few more passion flower cuttings but they all got fried and out of the 6 Echinacea seedlings coaxed to life, only 2 remain and they are very stunted.
Baking & Making
Not me (well, aside from the usual daily chore of feeding the campsite, which this month included some particularly yummy dishes for our vegeterian guests). But our Chilean wwoofers, Fran & Yocelyn made a cover for the 2nd gazebo:
And here’s the finished article, on the frame:
And the 2 gorgeous girls cooked us a fabulous, traditional Chilean dish one evening: “Pastel del Papas” (Potatoe Pie with minced beef & olives inside):
Nik crafted a net covered frame for sun-drying tomatoes:
We now have one small jar of tomatoes baked in the Montenegrin sun and look forward to enjoying them soon with Nik when things calm down enough & find us in the same place at the same time for long enough…
Khaled Hosseini’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns” was a gift from Becky when she visited last month. Having read “The Kite Runner”, I was expecting an impactful, compelling book that tugged on my heart strings & I wasn’t disappointed. Miriam & Laila’s stories revealed the horror of life for women in Afghanistan. This was a sorry tale, laden with violence & cruelty and although love & sisterhood shine through in the end, it’s almost too incongruous to succeed as believeable – with all that sadness, I didn’t feel like being happy at the end…
The Kite Runner still has the edge for me though. The story of the young boys growing up together, but miles apart, made a big impression on me & there is something lacking from Hosseini’s female characters in this book. I wonder if it’s just that he was able to tell a tale from a male perspective much more fully…
I think I’ve commented here before that having started a book I feel compelled to finish it. Not so with Kathy Lettes “How to Kill Your Husband”. I began reading it at a time when I actually wanted to kill my husband but after several chapters of dull-as dishwater, over-cliched prose that was tripping over itself so hard to be funny it simply fell flat on its face, I couldn’t bear to proceed. Luckily, there had been plenty of blah about how awful husbands were: selfish lovers, unfaithful & absolute experts as taking women for granted so I already felt better about my (apparently) only slightly imperfect hubby and was ready to love him all over again!
Moving swiftly on… to David Nicholl’s “One Day”. Enjoying it so far but jury’s still out.
What’s the vibe?
August launched itself into our laps with a fizzle of mini dramas: minor car crashes; sickness & diarrhoea amongst friends & guests and quite a few folk around having a crap time one way or another, giving me plenty to fret & frown over whilst trying to hold it all together in the searing heat.
August looked gloomy on the bookings front and we weren’t hopeful of banking the cash we needed to. Thankfully, drop in business made up for any short-falls but lovely guests turning up all the time meant no relief from the Stick on Smile. I began to lose the plot a bit as I toiled to fit all the jobs in every day: cleaning, cooking, watering the garden, emptying the compost tea tank – and though I know I wasn’t doing it all single-handedly, I did feel (rightly or wrongly) that I was taking the brunt of the chores. Steve would be distracted by a conversation or a project and wander off whilst I frantically tried to cook dinner & water the plants (garden duties could only now be attempted when the sun was starting to fade after 5pm ish, precisely the time when I needed to start the prep for the evening meal!).
In a bid to fit everything in I started preparing the evening meal earlier but this wasn’t practical as people would arrive half way through the day and decide they wanted to eat with us so I had to remain flexible and also with the temperatures up in the late 30’s the poor gas fridges were struggling to perform. Food was going off fast if left outside and the basement was no longer a safe haven, after we discovered a trail of mice-nibbled tomatoes… The evaporation fridge at this stage was utterly useless and since water was now so, so precious we couldn’t afford to waste any cooling down the bricks regularly enough to make it work.
The frazzle-factor went up a notch when combined with interrupted sleep. Daisy got close to being throttled a few times in the middle of the night with her mental barking & howling. To be fair to her she was doing her Guard Dog thang, hyper-aware of all the potential threats and constantly patrolling the site on her mission to serve & protect. We tried to explain to her that at 3.00 am we really didn’t care if there was a rustle in the bushes, but she didn’t get it. Thank God for my dear friend Ditsch, who sensibly suggested we tie her up on a shorter leash around the back of the building.
And in August the inevitable happened. Our first ‘difficult’ guests. I guess it was impossible to expect all guests to be like-minded dudes who we feel comfortable around, but it was still an ‘ouch’.
Amy Winehouse c/o Yocelyn’s iPod whilst chillin’ with the Chilean’s.
Sarah, Hazel, April, Adam, Lily & Fern & all the associated drama & laughs that went with them…
Chilling in our comfy outside living room with our wonderful guests, loving their first camping holiday in Montenegro…
The “Dutch Invasion” – as plenty of folk from Holland turned up and fitted right in: Ella & Tjipke; Jonathon & Marieke & their 3 fantastic kids; Rob & Renate; Saskia & Teus… We made special connections with these people and we very much hope to see some of them again here or in Holland.
One lovely family we literally had to push out, though we wanted them to stay! Here’s girl power as Marieke, Mare, Renate & Ella (& me when I’m not taking photos!) push the Schenk family’s trailer tent out…
We enjoyed quality time in the sun with dear friend Ditsch…
We had a very precious 24 hours off site when Nik returned from his many travels and agreed to let us leave the camp in his capable hands to get some time away. Katie & Tim picked us up in the Monty B and we sailed over to Sveti Marko in time to watch the sun set. We drank, ate, laughed, swam in the phospherence under a bright moon and generally came down a couple of notches, freed from all duties for a day.
Sad to say it’s not a happy tale this month. Karim & Claudia, motorcyclists who travelled to us from France, left their bikes & expensive Bell helmets on the roadside outside the camp. Someone came along in the night & cut the chain locking the helmets to the bike & stole them both. Probably €1,000 worth of kit – gone. No-one ‘randomly’ ventures up to Prijevor or Malta. It had to be someone from the village who did the dirty deed and as I was exploding with fury to every villager I met the next day and swearing (in local language) at our local community policeman, Zeljko, the mild mannered copper agreed with me but made a pathetic “what can I do?” gesture… As I couldn’t persuade Karim to lodge an official report with the police (he probably realised it meant wasting a day sitting around & being worn down with boredom & red tape), I had to let the matter go. But this experience has left a bitter taste in our mouths & made us think long & hard about our place in the community.
One Green Thing
Under our direction, Fran & Yoce crafted a cover for the open space in the kitchen where the rain lashes in if the wind’s in the wrong direction (it seems hilarious to be rain-proofing, when we’ve almost forgotten what the wet stuff from the sky is all about, but still…). We had saved the canvas from the old army tent we used to camp in before it got struck by lightning & shredded in a storm. Here’s proof that it pays to keep random bits of material to recycle in useful reinventions. I’ll share a pic of the finished article in place once it’s painted as it looks a bit of an eyesore right now, but here’s a photo of Steve & the girls with the rain cover in the making:
Still HOT. It got insane for a while in the midst of August when temperatures peaked at around 36 degrees in the shade and even the nights offered little relief for a while as cloudy evenings seemed to hold the heat in & we still sweated in the late 20’s late into the evening. It hasn’t rained properly for 2 months now. We and the garden are gasping. Mare’s picture of the campsite is pretty representative – bright and stark & not much greenery: