I should get up early and travel more often. In this way I may actually get more writing done because there is nothing like being on the move to get the creative juices flowing. Some friends and I in Split were once discussing the places in which we feel most inspired, and now have an answer. For me, I think anywhere which is moving, or a place where transit is immanent. Ironically once settled in a place, the recording process becomes, not a chore but certainly a little laborious.
Here I am on my way to Dubrovnik for the day, primarily to meet someone from the UK, but also to get some plug-in mosquito repellent. Oh I'm also out of yogurt and shower gel. Strangely I'm not suffering the feverishness and allergic reaction to the buzzits and wickies that I used to have in previous years. There are only two explanations for this; acclimatisation over the past few months, or more likely, the blessed HRT. Whatever it is, I may still be a meal for them, but I no longer get sick, thank goodness.
It's been a week of ups and downs, and some extreme emotion. Just don't get me started on the refeyredum. The transition from city to village has taken some mental adjustment and I still don't think I'm quite there yet. People are friendly and pleasant, indeed, I expected nothing less from such a hospitable place. The fault lies with me I because I'm missing friends - both in London and in Split - so much. You don't have such an incredible three and a half months, experiencing everything in a city and becoming a part of people's lifes, then retreat to a quiet island alone without a certain level of culture shock. Still, you make your own entertainment and I haven't been bored!
Monday evening saw an important bargain fulfilled. I was appointed chief washer up at the celebration BBQ in payment for the trip to Dubrovnik earlier. Events are definitely hazy...the wine is lethal, but the Norwegian guests were lovely, and fireman's hoses are as innuendo ridden in Croatian as they are in English. Didn't laugh much... And it wasn't a late night. Oh no.
A week or so ago after the football - the cracking Croatian team sadly fell victim to the perfidious Portuguese last night - I met a Slovenian nurse in the little village bar. He is over here with his best mate for 3 months and they are working in a new beach restaurant just around the bay. The idea of a nurse giving up hospitals for the summer months is rather novel, but least if you fell on your steak knife or swallowed a fish bone, you'll be in safe hands. Anyway on Tuesday after a morning of sleep, bread making, radio 4 to catch up with the world, I decided to take my lazy bum out for a walk/swim. I took a detour to see what this place was like.
Remote. As I stumbled off the 'main' track and down the goat path behind the monastery, the buzzing undergrowth was seriously alive - I'm constantly reminding myself that the snakes aren't poisonous but, goodness they make me jump. I imagined wandering back in the dark, tipsy on the local brew. I wonder if a boat would be better!? The restaurant is truly beautiful and has little wooden and canvas constructions on tiny individual terraces, though I'm told that the beer is Dubrovnik prices! Special occasions only then... The beach is small and I had no wish to make a tit of myself in front of everyone so I headed round to my second favourite beach. Stunning views along the way, as ever.
The village is probably getting used to me coming back from the beach looking like a drowned rat. I scuttled home for BBQ veggie pasta, a shower and some suitably patriotic clothes for the football. As I got comfortable in the old mill - forgetting about the hour time difference on the BBC sports fixture *le sigh* - I was greeted by the Norwegian guests. We spent a pleasant time nattering whilst the atmosphere erupted around us. Scoring goals means letting off red flares; celebrating a draw requires diving into the shallowest part of the harbour. More red ensued...as did a trip to the hospital. Turns out the local doc was on the next island, having a quiet beverage. Who can blame him?
Wednesday was already shaping up to be a good day as I had a catch up with a friend from Split uni planned. She works on one of the many cruise ships, and had contacted me to say she was unusually coming to Šipan for the night. I combined the walk over to Šipanska Luka with a few hours on my favourite Maslinovica beach, for swimming and yoga. I was more than ready for food and drink by the time I got to the village at 6ish. We had a lovely evening and inevitably had too much red wine...by 12.30 it had seriously started to dawn on me I was walking 5km home. Alone. In the dark. I remembered the wild boar road sign...and spooky looking ruins. And ordered another drink. Drinking buddies said I should call my landlord...with the bicycle fiasco fresh in my mind still, he already thinks I'm a trouble maker! On the bright side I wasn't going to get lost - and the moon was incredible. I had a very happy meander home, and the only wild animals I saw were in the sky as constellations.
As a direct response to far too much wine, walking, wow, look at that sun burn, I thought a day in would be in order. So I baked some sunshine instead. I don't know what other people think when they see lemons, rosemary, olive oil and polenta but I thought cake! After the icy wind mess, I was slightly nervous - cake making and no scales never normally has a happy ending. However I can report 100% international success. And mere crumbs left by sunset...
At 1pm I received a message asking if I wanted to kayak later. Daft question when you have sunburn, so I covered up and went out on the perfectly flat sea. Marija is an incredible tour guide and she introduced me to sea urchins as a snack. I've never actually held one and they are actually a really beautiful deep purple colour, and can use their spines to walk across the rocks. Limpets also have snack value...who knew!? We snorkelled the afternoon away, before she went back to her vineyard, and I headed home for sausage and potatoes. And cake...and nervous referendum watching.
But the highlight of my week was undoubtably the cave of aquamarine light. Apparently it was only accessible if I was accompanied by a hot young Croat...and he would meet me at the apartment at 9ish. Bugger. Little did I realise that I would be distraught by the turmoil at home. Thankfully it seems that there is a cure for political depression; speed boats, crystal clear waters, panic induced by claustrophobia, extreme diving and being hauled back into the small boat like a landed tuna. Not sure about needing the hot Croat but I felt privileged by people's generosity and care. Even if my dignity is in tatters after aquatic manhandling!
All of which nearly brings me up to date. Oh and I still haven't been shopping today! Next week I shall be attempting to return to some intellectual normality and continuing my research on current awareness in the legal market. On the bright side there is a trip to Split planned. And who knows what else!