Thursday, 26 May 2011

Big news & black humour

Today the big news from this part of the world is making the headlines around the globe. It's always difficult to know what if anything we should write about such things. If we've learned anything in these past few years it is that war stories are really as simple as most news outlets like to paint them. We were in Croatia last weekend and there were plenty of visible declarations of support for General Ante Gotovina. A UN war crimes tribunal recently sentenced him to 24 years in prison for persecution, murder and other war crimes during the conflict in the 90s, but that doesn't stop him being a hero to many Croats. Likewise, in Bosnia and Herzegovina the arrest of Ratko Mladic will be met with different reactions. It may bring closure for some, reopen old wounds for others. And then there are those who will think he's being falsely accused. Discussing it could prove a conversational minefield; a sad reflection of the physical minefields that still litter the country.


In the light of all this, perhaps it is permissible to quote a light-hearted tweet on the subject. Like the British, many Bosnians we've met do a good line in black humour. I think they'd get a smile from this, if they could get their heads around the pseudo-archaic English of DrSamuelJohnson: Gen. Ratko MLADIC / Both evil & tragick / Vanish'd from View / 'til SERBIA wish'd to adjoin the EU.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

A First Swim


This weekend saw Rowan and some friends taking a first swim for 2011. I know that three months from now the waters of the Adriatic will be beautifully warm, which does little to tempt me to plunge into the cold. I did, however, get as far as getting my feet wet.

We were in Gradac, Croatia, for the Novi Most team retreat. I should, of course, be showing video of all the thought-proking sessions but I was too busy leading them to get the camera out so instead you're left with a glimpse of how we spent our spare time, although what this video does fail to show is how good the ice cream was!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A wake up call.

Summer has not even arrived yet and we're already preparing for winter. This morning we were woken by the persistent ringing of the door bell, announcing our first delivery of wood. It was ten to seven. So we started the day, under the watchful ear of six or seven swallows, stacking this pile of logs into something neater and altogether more tidy.

Although the instructional videos on YouTube tell me wood should dry for a year before being burned it doesn't seem to work like that here. However, this lot will get a minimum of four or five months which should put us in a lot better starting position than we were last October. Here's hoping fires start quicker and are distinctly less smoky come the autumn.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Biciklijada



I should have got this online about a week ago but I needed a little longer than a moment here or there to get the video edited. So in the spirit of 'better late than never' here is what the outward leg of our recent 60k cycle ride looked like. I didn't film the way back so you miss out on the increasingly heavy rainfall the accompanied our journey home, and the collision between a brake-less BMX and the rider in front of me that left one of them tasting tarmac!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Burnt out


At a time when there are fears the actions of politicians on all sides are fanning unwelcome flames in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jajce experienced its own unwanted act of arson. We were told today these mills by the lakes survived the war unscathed but last night they did not survived what was surely a very pointless, and mindless, act of vandalism. Although, lest they perished in vain, perhaps they will provide a timely reminder of how beautiful environment is too easily scarred. Nobody benefits from that.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Worst Post-War Crisis

If Wikipedia is the place to go check 'facts' online then Twitter is certainly the first port of call for breaking news. When I noticed the phrase 'worst post-war crisis' appear with alarming regularity is my 'Bosnia' keyword search I figured we probably had something worth investigating.

It seems this is the verdict of the International Crisis Group. One might argue that given their name they were unlikely to find the situation in Bosnia as anything other, but nevertheless these kind of reports are a timely reminder that nothing should be taken for granted.

You can read the way the BBC reported this story if you want a bit more background, although it really contains little new news. However, I was left wondering where hope and optimism are when you need them. It is a brave man who says he understands the ins and outs of the political machine in Bosnia and Herzegovina; it will take brave men to see it provides ongoing peace and prosperity for all people here.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

An R-rated barbecue?



This video really needs very little introduction although it may benefit from a film-like classification. It's been labeled as 'the most gory video I've seen' and I've been told it should be R rated for violence. I feel I should say "you have been warned" but can a barbecue really be that bad?

Sunday, 1 May 2011

May Day Barbecue

In the next couple of days I'll edit an hours video footage into something watchable but until then I present this photograph as evidence of our May Day celebrations. That's a young goat being spit roasted and, yes, that's me taking my turn at slowly rotating the highlight of our barbecue lunch.

I'd never eaten goat before. Now I can say I've been party to tearing a freshly cooked one limb from limb and chewing it off the bone. Civilised dining it probably wasn't. However I now know goat doesn't taste like chicken, it's, unsurprisingly, lambish.