Sunday, 19 May 2019

100 days...

As you walk along Rue du Sermon in Sark, heading from the Clos à Jaon crossroads towards Le Port, you'll see a little pink stone farmhouse nestled behind Mon Plaisir Stores. 100 days ago as I write this, I saw this cottage for the first time.

100 days.

In the far flung former colonies there is great play made of the first 100 days of a president in office, or, of course as it is now, the Wotsit in Chief. So when I realised it was 100 days I had to write. Let's face it, I've been threatening to write about the move itself as well as the realities of living on a rock in the middle of the sea.

Wet. Very, very wet.
I often fret that I've not managed to "do" much, let's face it, whenever I'm asked how I'm settling in I usually include the fact that I've still got three boxes to unpack. I have. They are being singularly stubborn and refusing to distract me from other things to get them done.

But it got me thinking, just what have I done? Well...

I visited Sark for the first time, I discovered just how wet and windswept I can get and still keep smiling. Location might have made a difference. I put in an offer for a place, arranged removals, slept little, panicked a lot, packed endless books, lost my marbles and yet somehow managed to get from there to here.

Not Sark.
In the 40 days between visiting and then moving here I also managed to squeeze in trips to Barcelona and Nice as well as forays to different parts of the UK to deal with various issues.

The funny thing with these trips, as well as my final bumble in to the West End for going away drinkies, was that they helped me realise that I really was ready to not being constantly surrounded by endless noise, chaos and... Anonymity.

Don't get me wrong, I love the experiences and no doubt I'll be travelling again soon, but for now I'm happy to adjust to a new way of life.

Un rock star.
The last trip to Nice was memorable for a couple of reasons, one because we stumbled on a fabulous little restaurant, Chez Moi, the other... turns out the Hotel had a dark past as the former Gestapo headquarters in Nice. I guess they liked how convenient it was for Gare de Nice Ville...

I did try not to dwell on the connection.

Ooh, what am I thinking, now we're talking about food... In Barcelona I rather inevitably went back to Bar Restaurant Victòria on Carrer dels Àngels, it's as good as ever, especially if like me you're allergic to tourists... Another highlight, foodwise and if you like dead things, was Arcano on Carrer dels Mercaders. The steak was really good and the view... *fans self*

Somebody will check the address and see that it's down a side street. Ladies, just go, you'll understand.

Bloody bear.
Finally, cocktails, I can't recommend Pura Vida, again on Carrer dels Mercaders, enough. A fantastic, if tiny, wee place.

I really need to do more blogging, I'm way behind on trips!

Where was I? Oh yes. Back in the realities of oh-feck-not-long-before-I-move I had three weeks after returning from Nice before I would be handing over the keys in Epping Upland. But here's the thing, as I will write at some point, to move to the Channel Islands requires a certain amount of logistics which means I had 16 days before the boys from R&R would be turning up to pack everything...


Epping Upland
Wait, when did that happen? I must have booked them at some point in the previous few weeks. Keep in mind that it was 40 days between arriving on Sark and arriving on Sark to move in. Come to think of it there were a mass of things I organised. How did I do that and manage to keep working? Perhaps I'm not as hopeless as I think.

In this time I managed to also take a trip to see my surgeon for a check up to see if the prolapse repair worked (it did) and, more importantly, the travelling one rolled back to the UK for a couple of weeks so that she could organise her things and give me moral support. By organise things we mean sort out anything that needs to be dumped or taken to the charity shop, moral support though? Giggles, morning natters and evenings in the Traveller's Friend, my nearest pub in the next village.

Missy was sent packing the day before R&R turned up and I went from worrying about all the things I had to do to feeling helpless as they were now doing the actual move. And very impressive they were too.

For the avoidance of doubt, as you can see in the picture to the right, Epping Upland was lovely but quite isolated.

The packing went over two days. Well, a day and a half. Fortunately more moral support turned up in the form of my lovely friend Paul. Also handy as he would go to Epping in search of emergency supplies.

I never want to move again.

Way to stressful.

Somehow though I made it to handover day, said goodbye to Rosie next door, managed not to cry too much and then jumped in the SLK and headed to Yorkshire...

For fish and chips. As you do.

Here's another number.


60 days since I moved to Sark. But there was one day in Guernsey.

After the fish and chips in Yorkshire it was an early start for the flight from Manchester. Monty was happy as there was fizz on the plane. Monty is always happy with fizz. I'd also arranged to meet up with a friend of mine and former flatmate of my former flatmate, like a friend of a friend but with more insider knowledge.

As my friend Ermin lives in Guernsey it meant I had a quick run down of things I should know, or not, and a brief tour of St Peter Port.

I also found my trusty boots had decided that they didn't want to be with me anymore, they heel developed a puncture and I was listing to one side. I'm sure there will be a few people that will wonder how this is even slightly different from normal. Fortunately, Millets were selling off their old stock so I picked up a pair of sensible rough walking shoes ideal for life on Sark. Goodbye slingbacks and ridiculous heels, I'll miss you.

The only fly in the ointment was I received a phone call... From R&R, only two of the three containers had made it to Sark...

After a fabulous evening in Da Nello as guests of Ermin and his brilliant and lovely wife Laura a good night's sleep was had before yet another early start.

Moving day.

February sea...
At least the rain was holding off and it was no way near as rough as it had been 40 days earlier in February. I was glad to see the removals guys on the boat.

I was slightly fretting, in the same way that the sea is slightly wet, about what the third container contained. I just hoped it wasn't my bed, or worst still, the kettle.

As is my wont, I spent the hour trip preparing plan B, there wasn't a lot else for me to do other than meet the estate agent and stand there telling people where to put things.

I'm bossy like that.

So what next? Well, over the next 60 days I've simply made a home. It took some effort as first I had to get past the enormous pile of boxes, the pile that grew when my neighbour Jimmy turned up with the missing container.

Eventually the scaffolding came down from the chimneys, the boxes were mostly emptied and, most importantly, I got back to work. At first I was in the lounge as the third bedroom which would be my study was, well, full.

Progress seemed interminably slow as, of course, I was also working during the days which meant I mostly did a sorting at weekends with a little in the evenings.

And Friday is meat draw.

And sometimes you just have to go for a little walk.

The lounge was made ready just in time for the littlest offspring to visit over Easter. It's not quite how I'd like it as the daybed is for my study for when I need thinking time. But it would do until I can afford another sofa.

The dining table, well that's currently my desk. And will stay so until I can manage to order the desk I'd like, which, this being Sark, is really tricky. But that's for another blogpost.

The important room though was pretty much sorted, the kitchen. As with Epping Upland when I first arrived I pretty much lived there.

Needless to say other things have happened. I've had visitors on four of the weekends, which has been lovely. One was written off after spending the entire day in the pub, something I just don't do.

I've explored a little, particularly when the littlest offspring was here. Friday's are the night I always go out-out as I love how busy the Bel Air becomes for the meat draw. It doesn't hurt that I've managed to have a winning ticket a few times.

Lunches have been had in the Island Hall or even a solo picnic on Port à la Jument beach. There have been pizzas at the Bel Air, fish and chips at AJ's and even supper at La Seigneurie were I was fortunate to meet some fabulous new people.

Closer to home I've bought a lovely British racing green bicycle called Imogen, the first I've had in years. She's not quite as quick as the SLK but she does have the advantage of being far easier to park. And cheaper on fuel (about a pie a week). I've baked lots and lots of bread and this has me pondering a mad idea.

I've also managed to re-discover my creativity. Maybe not with writing yet, I'll get there.

I also know there is no rush.

A photo.
For example, last week, I think, I did something I've not done in ages, I planned a photograph. On the perfect day, sun just right, windy and the tide coming the right way, as the Guerns were partying away on their Liberation Day I climbed down to Port à la Jument with my tripod and took a photo. And you know what?

I felt at peace.

I've even restarted running. Now I've not done that in ages owing to, well, injury, surgery and then moving somewhere where it was very difficult, ploughed fields are impossible. So I'm restarting and whilst I'm only at week three I can't think of a better place to go for early morning runs.

There are definite upsides. Whereas in London a 6am run means you have to deal with seeing all the really fit and toned people making like gazelles as I do my award winning interpretation of a hippopotamus wearing Nike, here all I have to deal with are the sheep laughing at me and occasional free range chickens executing their right to roam.

It's truly horrible.

Yes the roads are not perfect. And perhaps a little stony. None of that matters. The air is clear, the breeze keeps me cool and the view is calming.

Yesterday was momentous. At day 99 I discovered that the potatoes I'd planted had started to grow. This was a massive surprise as I wasn't sure whether I'd done things quite right. I'd wondered how best to deal with some sprouting potatoes and found an article that seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

Time will tell.

So what next?

Well, more of the above. But none of it in any particular hurry. As I finally finish the last of the jobs needed to make the house just right I will have more time for activities other than just working and sorting. What direction these take I don't know and I'm not sure whether it matters. If you move to a place because you want a more peaceful life then why create artificial stresses?

I'm sure all will become clearer over the coming weeks and months. My days will continue to be punctuated by the rising sun as the birds, horse's hooves and occasional tractors provide a soundtrack.

In the meantime I shall sign off, I have bread to make, the rest of my washing to put on. And, of course, I need a cup of tea.


And there are three boxes left to unpack...

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Mystery, minarets and mint tea

Happy Ferry Face
It started in Bosnia - like most exciting, earth-shattering things do. That country has a magical draw and I need to spend more time there. Of course, it could just be the melancholic thoughts caused by too much beer and burek. But I digress already.

Many years ago I made a friend there, and on the rare occasions we meet, he still manages to challenge and expand my mental horizons; some people just have that effect. May 2016, sat in that dim* Sarajevski Celtic bar, he revealed he was from Turkey and it sowed a thought-seed. He said he was never coming back to Istanbul...but I’m happy he was here to go out for an epic pizza with me, although that’s his story.

Friday, 15 March 2019

You're moving where?

It's been a while since I last wrote.

In fact, looking at blogger I see there were several posts that I never published. I'm not sure why. So you must forgive my complete lack of writing mojo, it's something you have to do often to let it flow easily. This isn't going to flow easily.

But I do need to write because I keep getting asked the whys and whats of "you're moving where?".

Several weeks ago I wrote to my landlord's agents to ask what the scores were about continuing in Epping Upland. They were fine, no changes, I'd move to a rolling agreement with just a month notice and I could start thinking about doing boring things like repairing the skirting board and perhaps a little light redecoration. It wasn't ideal, for many reasons, but I was relatively settled.

And then...

Well then missy decided that she, quite rightly, would like to fund a more permanent place in Croatia. It had to happen sooner or later and meant that I could think about somewhere that didn't have the issues which came with the place. Namely... traffic noise, no easy way to get to the pub in the next village and a lack of community in winter. It wasn't too bad in summer, but winter... Well winter was rubbish and fairly lonely.

Don't get me wrong, I knew it would be like this, but I wasn't getting to see anyone.

So I started looking, something big enough for one but not shoebox, something affordable, something with a community. A veritable Kinder egg of the accommodation world. Yeah, right.

Affordable for one meant nowhere nearer than a stupid distance to London, which meant that any savings I might make on the accommodation would be utterly broken by the travel budget. And as I'd already learned community is something impossible to measure unless you've spent time somewhere.

I even looked at a few places along the south coast and was left with that sinking feeling of being a parody of Waiting for God without a Tom as a foil to my inner Diana. I was definitely not ready for that.

Which brings us to Sark... I'd been fortunate enough to visit the island in February during a gale force 8-9 storm with hellish rain. And I loved it. There was most definitely a community spirit. I had more conversations with people in a simple walk than I ever did in weeks in Epping Upland or even Epping. And definitely not in the two years I lived by Limehouse Marina. Did you know that in those two years I could count the conversations I'd had with my neighbours on one hand. Three of those were with the same chap in number 88.


And then there is the UK. I'm fed up with it. I'm fed up with the rudeness and how selfish everyone is. And the endless anger. When did it become acceptable to have stand up rows in the street because people don't let you do your own thing in a world where everyone is centre stage. But also... brexit. A simple idea that has directly contributed to a rise in the unpleasant index of a once supportive country. When this all kicked off two years ago I had a very clear vision of what was to come, nothing has happened to show I was wrong. At the time I decided that I would get out, leave the UK, I just didn't know where and I knew that it would be potentially impossible to move to mainland Europe in the meantime. Okay so there was a point where it wasn't just a possibility but was the plan. But like people, plans die.

So a lovely place with friendly people, pubs and no cars or streetlights. Outside of the UK. It was sounding good.

Especially as I lay there at 5am listening to the beginnings of the constant drone of vehicles driving past the cottage that wouldn't abate for several hours before starting again in anger.

There was something else. As much as I theoretically lived in a bucolic idyll it was not ideal with the littlest offspring to visit as he couldn't just go wandering off exploring the lovely countryside without  crossing an incredibly busy B road with no footpath. It simply wasn't safe.

Food is available...
So what if he could visit? And those visits could be weeks at a time with him being able to go off, hang out with other kids and explore? The kind of thing I did growing up in the 70s. And on an island.

It sounded... perfect.

Okay there were problems. Getting there is a bit of a pain, but this is not unsolvable.

So with this in mind... I found a place and put in an offer.

It was accepted.

...and proper tea!
Since then things have fallen in to place and, incredibly, the dots of steps have been joined by tenuous lines. And those tenuous lines have become solid. So solid that as I write this my worldly goods are in a lorry heading to Portsmouth and I'm working wherever I can find a place to sit. I think the move has to be the subject of another blog about the realities of moving to an island. In the channel. With no cars.

It will be worth doing.

It will be exciting.

It will be an adventure.

First though I have to complete the move and paperwork. For now I'll leave you with the latest thing I've changed; The marker on Google maps for... home.

I arrive next Wednesday.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Surprises, love and laughter

Mama Mia, here I go again*. I'm writing in the sun. On an island, in a cafe by the sea. The locals are talking more than usually incomprehensibly, and I have had a couple of beers, which means I probably will be writing in dialect shortly. All that is missing is the other contrary one writing opposite me.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Going backwards; or up the creek without a paddle

There is something magical about canoeing; the gentle plap-plap over the waves, the swirl of the water under the paddles, and the light fizzing around like pop on a hot day. Leaning over to look in to the deep blue-turquoise water is as close to heaven as I can get. So this is why on Thursday after an obligatory trip to Pomena for some cash, I popped in to our local Little Heaven and asked for paddles. The sensible one had gone to get water and put her money in the apartment; mine would have just got saltily damp in the event of an emergency landing. My water would have just got wet.

More of that later.

So we had a vessel each (I don't do sharing), appropriate clothing, everything stowed in the wrong place (me), and were ready for launch. We shoved the first one into the water, then the other...luckily one had a leading rein so we could stop it making a bid for freedom. Being chivalrous, I assisted the careful one to clamber elegantly aboard, and off she went proudly displaying walking boots as figurehead. Astonishingly I got myself settled without mishap.

Although having my rucksack - containing phone and bottle of water - utterly out of reach was annoying.

Off we went, boldly striking out into the blue. There was no longer a gale blowing but the stiff breeze was still making paddling a challenge. My shoulders were pre-emptively groaning in anticipation of the next morning's physical effort. The athletic one was already miles away and heading for open sea; I was happy to let the wind guide me and I gently drifted to the other side of the lake. The goal was to get to Veliki Most and possibly to moor up for a swim.

The Big lake for the most part is more like canoeing on the open sea, though we had already noted that there was unlikely to be a contretemps between us and a high-speed catamaran. My 40-something birthday canoeing trip to Lopud for tea and a bun had obviously stayed in our memories... But this was a far more peaceful experience; paddle, stop, paddle, drift, stop, paddle, ooo swat wasp. I was getting a little thirsty but the bridge was coming into view.

I have wanted to paddle under the perfectly elegant bridge for a while. It marks the change from Big Lake into Solinski Kanal and the direction of water flowing underneath changes depending on the tide. In this case, we shot through without need for a paddle. You emerge into the calmest aquamarine pool of perfection - it is this colour simply because it's sandy underneath and not too deep. The long nosed fish which I have just failed to identify were happy to mill around beneath me.

The highlight of the trip was the flash of copper and deep iridescent blue...a busy kingfisher was taking advantage of the stillness and was catching his lunch. He flitted between the foliage and disappeared into the undergrowth. Stunning and a moment to cherish forever.

The moment of calm turned into something else as suddenly the wasps decided that they wanted to come canoeing too. Whether it was the warmth, lack of wind, or moisture on my skin, there was an increasing annoyance of them. And it got worse. I was following the speedy one to the channel's barrier and there looked to be a sensible spot to pull up and retrieve my water - which as you recall was inaccessible, stowed in the back of my vessel.

Never before have I had such a tussle of wasp v dehydration. I was in a swarm. I grabbed my water bottle, not caring if anything was re-waterproofed and leapt back in to the canoe in a complete cloud of the evil ones. Inevitably I was stung. Shaking, I paddled away as fast as possible, eager to escape back on to the water. It wasn't the most pleasant of experiences but it could have been worse.

We headed back through the channel and under the bridge. We waved to the people above us as they were the lovely couple who would be sharing a taxi to Sobra the following morning. As quickly as they appeared, the wasps ceased to trouble us - they must dislike the wide open deep water. We paddled back towards home, and hysterically disembarked. There was much slipping on the rocks, and a paddle splooshed into the sea. Oh. There was no quick way to retrieve it and it just floated there, taunting us. Out of reach.

We stood there, doubled up laughing, unable to move . Finally I yanked on one of the dry canoes as it was in the way, having forgotten that it was tied to one of ours, safely bobbing about. Dithering, some wise-spark yelled to get my shoes back on. In this way I could negotiate the rocks to retrieve the still-in-the-sea one's figurehead boots. Ah yes. She was getting impatient with my continuing hysterical giggles. We hauled one of the canoes ashore, and fished out the errant paddle. Finally everything was out, and bags were safe and dry.

Unlike my bum. I think at this point it resembled a prune. A salted one, with an extra sprinkling of salt.

We retired to our favourite bar, hot, sweaty, wet and the older man laughed at my mokra guzica... With this hilarity in mind, I had to attend my company's annual meeting. So it was a very swift beer before heading back to make myself respectable and serious. Work over, I rejoined the sunny one, and was more than ready for the goat pekar. Kakve dan je bio!!

Up the creek with a paddle.

The plan.

Go to town. Get cash. Hire a pair of kayaks. Try not to drown. Eat goat.

So, confession time. It's really difficult writing about things that have happened a few days ago, especially when the most reliable dataz is in the Mali Raj. Where there iz booze. The confession is I got my days wrong, we didn't have goat last night, it was something that would happen tonight. How could I forget that? Easy... Airhead.

Anyhoo. Kayaks.

The last time I was in a kayak was for Missy's birthday two years ago. Now that was a fab day. Getting up at how early and then borrowing some of Marija's kayaks to head to Lopud for tea and doughnuts. All before returning before the fee paying tourists turned up. Amazingly I didn't write about the night before at the time. Maybe one best kept for my posthumous memoirs. All I'll say is that rumours of me dancing in Teo's bar in my nightie are entirely true...

The walking was definitely getting easier, though I still arrived in Pomena looking a little like somebody had thrown a bucket of water over me. It's never good being a fat lass. Funds secured we headed back to Babine Kuće. Our intention was to hire from our local favourite bar. The fact that it was our only bar was quite academic. As we approached I decided to nip back to base to collect my water bottle because I'm an idiot and I'd forgotten it earlier.

By the time I returned the nautical one was standing with two paddles and her best confused face. She wasn't sure where the kayaks were. Fortunately, in a rare moment of being observant, I'd noticed them earlier so off we trotted to chose our rides.

Yet again I was reminded that I really ought to get some of those whizzy shoes you can wear in water as frankly my Gore-Tex hiking boots weren't exactly the ideal thing for plodging. Which was why they were redeployed as a figure head on the newly named "VJS Old Boot". A fine vessel. Shame I hadn't noticed that I was sitting on a buckle. More on this later.

Missy paddled off like a duck to water as I faffed putting things in to a sealed bag. By the time I finally started moving I realised she was a duck to water that likes going backwards. I don't think she'd read the manual.

It really was a horrible way to spend the day.

What was also really horrible was that we kept having to share it with wasps. Quite why so many would be wandering around in the middle of a lake was utterly beyond me! Stupid creatures.

We vaguely paddled off in the general direction of Soline so that we could go under the lovely bridge and through the Solinski kanal - not a euphemism. Normally we would be taking many photographs but the constant swatting of the wasps made this a precarious thing to do. Every now and then we'd get a fabulous breeze which would make things difficult for wasps so there would be a little relief. Trouble was, it was also difficult for the dainty one, she'd given up fighting the breeze and was now a couple of hundred yards away. Oh. Bye!

We regrouped as the bridge loomed passing through in perfect formation, well, perfectish. With swatting. But it seemed to impress people on the banks. The good thing is we could now actually see the bottom. The Veliko Jezera is incredibly clear but also incredibly deep so it was quite a novelty. Unlike the wasps. Which weren't.

In the distance I could see something across the water which looked vaguely like an obstruction, as I approached I could see that it was actually navigable, you just had to do a couple of turns, a bit like the sort of thing you see on paths to stop cycles, only bigger. I at first presumed it was to stop vessels from entering the lakes, which to be honest seemed unlikely as the water was, well, rather shallow. Later I read that it's a mechanism to let rubbish leave the lakes but prevent stuff from getting back in.

Frightfully clever these Croatians.

As I turned I saw that the adventurous one had beached her kayak and was busy pull it higher on to land. It wasn't as I thought so we could go for refreshments at the bar we'd been to a few days earlier, but rather because she'd put her bag with water and phone out of reach in the stern of the boat. Daft mare.

But before I realised this I thought I'd also best beach the kayak only to find she'd discovered every wasp that we'd missed whilst out on the water. And they liked her so much. It was all a bit scary. He pushed me back so I could at least make a get away whilst she desperately tried to get going as quickly as possible. It was not going well.

Amazingly she was only stung the once.

We headed back. Passing under the bridge once more we saw the couple that she'd accosted the other night to share a ride to Sorba. I think they might have by now realised we were a bit mad. Better than being dull.

Somewhere on the Veliko Jezera we found a spot to just sit. Little breeze. No wasps. We nattered. I went to take a picture and saw the boss had messaged me on Skype so I replied and said I wouldn't be able to look at the problem just then as I was not in the best of places. Needless to say I then sent a picture of us on the lake.

I think he now hates me just that little bit more!

Paddling back was a mixture of wasps and no wasps, but still a lovely way to spend time, however we decided enough was enough, navigated back to shore and once we were out and the boats carefuly stowed we scampered off to Mali Raj for much needed refreshment.

Eventually my guilt kicked in so I scampered back to base to collect the iBastard and do a little work. The busy one was going to be working later anyway as she had a company meeting to attend - virtually - so it seemed like good timing.

She had a little time to play though, but one thing puzzled me, she kept wittering on about making herself look presentable. I really couldn't see what the problem was.

Well, okay, maybe her glasses were a little salty.

And her skin. And clothes. Actually, come to think of it, I could probably do with a rinse too.

Of course I didn't at all troll said boss with pictures of Hildebrand's Croatian office. That would have been mean...

As it turned out there wasn't a problem as such but it did highlight something else I need to do to prevent user generated issues. Now this is the point where most people express amazement that I'm working on what is most definitely a holiday. But this is normal, when things happen they have to be dealt with and if I don't I'd only worry about it all.

As the afternoon wore one I did two things, one was practice saying još jedan molim, probably the wrong thing to say, but I didn't have a handy polyglot to check with. And it's important to practice. The other was to write. I'm slowly getting back in to the swing of writing again though I'm still struggling to find my mojo.

As day drifted in to evening and the sun began to set Goaty McDinnerface made its appearance. Of course you will know this if you read yesterday's thrilling instalment, but this time it actually happened. And there were pictures. Brief ones as we positively stuffed our faces.

A meal so good it had to be blogged about twice.

I could have happily had it again, but, y'know, diet...
Now normally this would end with tales of late night cackling as just had one more. And then one on the house. But tonight we had to head to bed early. The ferry would be leaving at jeeeeeez o'clock from Sorba which meant our taxi would be arriving at 5am.

If the doesn't like getting up early one complains even once...

Saturday, 29 September 2018

My kingdom for a loaf

This blog isn't going to make much sense. We are once more back in Mali Raj and it's Antonio's birthday. Antonio is the barman/waiter/goodness knows what else. He's lovely. As are all the staff here. They've just brought us cake, it must be true.

Back to the blogging. You might recall that yesterday missy had been out and found she couldn't get bread because, well, too late. Today though, she went with lashings of time. Trouble was, even though she asked in her best Croatian and was extremely polite, she received a very firm no. Oh dear.

Not to worry. There was a pekara in Polače. And that was only 2.4km away. OVER A BLOODY HIGH HILL. AND ROCKS. Did I mention the rocks? It must be said, there is nothing like a gentle 3 mile round trip over a BLOODY HIGH HILL to make you really appreciate your breakfast.


So I pulled my boots on and even though I was still aching from the walk back the night before, we headed off in search of bread. Now normally we'd make this ourselves, trouble was we had a distinct lack of oven and frankly that's a problem.

Bread and manic grin.
Again, obviously, I didn't complain about the walk over said hill, don't believe anything she says to the contrary. The good news is the pekara did a) open and b) have bread and c) would sell it to us.

It really doesn't get better than this.

Low aspirations? Maybe. Anyway, we headed back over the hill for breakfast. If you happen to be on Mljet I can thoroughly recommend the experience. Best done first thing before breakfast, or in the dark. Great fun.

We decided that as breakfast was done we needed to walk round the little lake and, for added excitement, we'd pop in to Pomena to hit the cash machine as, well, cash is a good idea here. Rather inevitably we scampered round the really difficult parts rather than use the easier paths. It's a matter of pride.

It was also rather civilised as it means you can mostly avoid people making things feel just that little bit more isolated. And it feels just a little more adventurous. The bonus was that I stumbled on some discarded sunglasses. Or lost. Well, stupid people, leave them in the woods and they will be recycled. And the glamorous one did need some new glasses.

In Pomena missy decided it would be a really good idea for us to to a place at the end of the front. She'd been there a couple of years before. When it was summer. You can imagine how that went...

...still the extra exercise is always appreciated. And we ended up back in the place we'd been in a couple of days before.

This time with extra wasps.

Questioning life's decisions.
Seriously, what is it with these stupid little feckers, do they actually like beer? Do they end up in it and think "ah, perfect, just what I wanted" or is it more a case of them questioning their life decisions and wondering whether the queen wasp will remember them as their life slips away. Or worse, after I extract them and demonstrate just how cross I am.

It wasn't pleasant. Not a single patron found it pleasant. We're just more belligerent.

Heading back the short way, though no less rocky and after the usual stop in Studenac for supplies, we even had to scamper past about a million kids that looked to be heading out way.

On the far side of the hill we saw a couple of ladies with bikes who seemed determined to carry them up the steps. The nice one warned them that said million kids were heading this way. I somehow forgot to mention that they'd passed the sign for the actual cycle path 200 yards before. To be fair I heard them say something about it probably being about the same.

Readers, they were about to be very disappointed.

Sure it's longer, but oh my goodness, it goes round the hill not over it! The moment passed and meandered back with the intention of going for a swim. As you do.

Of course having changed and set off I got to the first big drop in the path before realising that I needed Sticky Mc Stickface or I'd be in trouble. Irritating. By the time I caught up with the advanced party she was already splooshing around like she always does. This was apparently much to the disgust of a german couple. One that was even less impressed that she had a friend. Whatevs.

We'd decided the night before that Goaty McDinnerFace would be perfect for 7pm, so as it was nowhere near that we headed down to Mali Raj nice and early to do a little writing and watch the sun set. Which it did. I also checked in on "Swarm" and saw a comment about there being "nothing good here". What utter bollocks. This place is brilliant. And the baby goat when it was served up? Brilliant. Honestly, if you're ever on Mljet head to Babine Kuće and the joys of Mali Raj. If you are lovely to them they will be lovely to you. Simple really.

It was at some point during the evening that we heard a couple talking about going to Šipan and asking the waiter (Antonio) how best to get to the ferry at you-are-kidding-me o'clock. He picked up his phone, called his mate and arranged a ride. The luggy one heard this and we quickly agreed that the theoretical trip there should be a reality so she danced over, introduced herself and the deal was struck, we'd go halves on the fee. Once Antonio sorted it with his mate.

Perfect. And just the sort of thing you'd expect in a decent place. So there.

All in all a thoroughly acceptable day. And tomorrow? Kayaks...