A tale of two poles?

My expat life in Istria

In my hectic expat life in Istria a quiet, relatively uneventful week makes a nice change: I managed to spend quite a bit of it in bed. When I finally got moving, I pottered in the garden, clattered at the typeface and pondered ‘The Arrival of the Two Poles’.


Monday 14 November

The weather’s been beautiful, sunny and still, but how much longer can it last? Wet, wintery weather has to set in sooner or later and, with a long, garden ‘tidy-up’ list, I feel driven to make the most of it. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to start on Monday.

Nicky in bed under duvetGetting out of bed proved a mistake, I was too tired to do anything. After a short battle, I conceded defeat and retreated back under the duvet for the day. Unfortunately that was not to be – Karlo called at the end of the morning to see if he could come round with Zladko, his planning guy. “Of course,” I replied, levering myself vertical. They came to confirm what needed to be done to make our house comply fully with planning regulations – which we thought it did when we bought it, but now know different (the fun of life in an ever-changing Croatia). When they’d left, I curled up on the sofa in front of the fire with a book.


Is it a sign?

A lazy day was all I needed, it seems, as Tuesday morning saw me back to normal. After some gentle weeding, I was back in the office for a lovely surprise – a two-week booking in Brnobici for next year :). Wonderful! Of course I celebrated with a booking dance, as usual (if you must, see My Life for a look at the dance …). And that proved all the excitement for the week, until Friday, except …Blank poles outside village

… we went for a walk at the end of the afternoon to find two poles have appeared on the edge of the village. We’re not sure what they’re for: they seem too tall for a village sign. Odd things appearing like this are not unusual here (like the van and two trucks – all fairly new – which have been parked for over a week now in the field in the middle of the village). We’ll wait and see.

Nicky using the leaf vacuumWednesday saw me emptying the leaf bin and spreading mulch (how dry, brown leaves turn into rich, fertile, black soil I’ll never know – true alchemy), and Thursday I started refilling it again, with leaves vacuumed up from around the pool. At the typeface, my main achievement was creating a Facebook page with summaries of all the articles. I’m still not sure what the benefit is, but everyone says we must have a Facebook page: now we do! So go on, all you Facebook users, check it out and click ‘Like’ on everything – it’ll help our Google rankings, apparently. Back in the real world, I also posted several articles on-line, mainly catch-up My Life pieces.

Pole update: they remain resolutely bare.


Tiny, little houseFriday morning and Azra called with another house to see – this one too small, unfortunately. Then, just after I’d got back in, Karlo called about Maria’s house opposite. I’d been waiting all week for his news, so my heart was in my mouth as I answered the phone. It was bad news. As Phil suspected, Maria’s sister has proved to be completely intransigent, not only unwilling to negotiate, but in fact declaring schemes to take over what would be ‘our’ land and build an apartment complex, complete with pool! I really don’t know what planet she’s on.  “Bloody peasants,” is all I can say :(.

Not quite back to square one, though. We’re back off to Kaštelir on Monday for another look at the house I saw with Azra just before we went away: it seems the price has become more negotiable than we first thought. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Our walk saw us heading into the woods today, so no pole update. Can you stand tension?


It’s official – we now live somewhere!

Matulini signSaturday started as another duvet day. I guess all the work setting up Live Istria over the past months and then travelling all over the place is catching up with me. At least I hope that’s all it is.

But there was some excitement in the afternoon as we visited the poles again and found the village now has a sign. So now I know where I live! Why we need it for a collection of 21 houses (and only 18 people – just think, we could each have our own house and still have three spare for visitors), I don’t know. And why did the poles need to be so tall?

Sign showing what a dangerous road we live downThe mystery was finally solved on Sunday:  a large, second sign has now appeared on the back of the village name, a warning about the various types of danger on our short, tiny road – most odd. Like many small Istrian villages, Matulini lies at the end of a road which goes nowhere else and simply loops round the village. To see the sign, you need to have already driven down the road! P’s opinion is the Government has bought a job-lot of signs and is doling them out. Glorija says it’s because elections are coming (the standard Croatian response to any such nonsense). She might be right: they were out mending road verges elsewhere earlier in the week – perhaps we just got a sign instead.

P barbequing fish on the open fireAfter our walk we lit the fire early and, going native, P grilled fish for lunch on our open fire – an indoor BBQ, a real Croatian treat :).


The tales continues next week, when it seems we may finally have found our long-sought rental property.


Read my blog in the right order – from the start in July

First published November 2011


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