Picking up the threads again

My expat life in Istria

Our first week back sees me making the most of beautiful sunshine in the garden and starting up Live Istria again, after a dormant few weeks while we were away. We evict a couple of animal interlopers, plan Christmas and try moving our latest property project forward. In other words, get life back to normal!


Monday 7 November

Being away, feline and feathered visitors have taken the opportunity for some easy pickings.

Normally Baggy and Tally are fed in the house, but while we’re away, Srdjan puts their food down in the konoba (cellar/garden room), where they have a cat flap. Unfortunately this also means there’s a free lunch for any other wandering moggy – my two are hopeless guard cats.  When I went down to put the washing on last night, The Interloper (a friend/enemy of Tally’s) had obviously come in for a nap and, when I opened the door, I don’t know who got the biggest shock, him or me – he shot out through the cat flap, making me jump out of my skin. I think he’s now got the message that we’re back full-time and will move on.

On the feathered front, I suspect a heron of snacking on our goldfish – one flew out of the garden when I opened the shutters this morning and it took several attempts to make it leave permanently. (Have you ever been close to a heron? They’re bigger than you think!) Now I know why we seem to have less goldfish than before, but luckily it didn’t get them all :).

The first day back to reality is always rather a culture shock. It’s amazing how much one forgets, even in a short time away. Back at my desk this morning, tried picking up the threads of my life – catching up on e-mails, chasing up Karlo about Maria’s house opposite, and kicking the architect who is looking into the legalisation for our house.

And then .. an afternoon of ironing, one of the ‘joys’ of going away for three weeks :(. But as it was a miserable grey afternoon, with rain that looked set to stay, it was an easy decision to iron rather than garden. One pile down, several more on the way.


Tuesday 8 November

Cleaning day today and Glorija gave me a shock, waking me with the door-bell at 8:30 am. I was sure she came at 9:30,  not 8:30. How could I have forgotten something like that? Obviously my mind has switched to winter mode and just forgotten to tell the rest of me.

Robin that just sat at my feet, posing for it's photoMuch nicer weather today. Planned to go in the garden and tidy up the veg patch – but in fact spent the day playing with words, writing about our trip away. Rather  self-indulgent, but nice to know the fingers have remembered their way around a keyboard.

Robins have appeared in the garden and seem remarkably tame. This one flew onto the terrace and just sat at my feet while I photoed it.

Wednesday 9 November

What a beautiful morning – an amazing 15°C at 8:30 am! Started the day with breakfast on the terrace, rather than at my desk, much to Baggy’s appreciation, who sat on my lap, purring loudly to make her point – lovely :). 

Today I did get round to tidying the veg patch, clearing away old tomato and courgette plants. But knackered after only an hour and a half: no gardening for a month and it shows how quickly you get out of condition.

Christmas is coming – yes, I know it’s only early November, but we’ve left it very late this year to start planning our trip back to the UK. As we drove back so recently and did a car-load of shopping, we’ll fly this year (which even with the added cost of car hire, is cheaper than driving :)). Got everything researched and booked in an afternoon … and then started worrying about what we’d overlooked, as it all seemed too easy.

Karlo came this afternoon to discuss Maria’s house opposite and our legalisation process. He had some good ideas so we may be able to get this sorted 🙂 (She’s the eternal optimist – P). He’ll call this weekend, so maybe we’ll even know next week (see, told you – P).


Thursday 10 November

Nicky digging the veg patchLife is slipping back into the old groove – gardening, then desk. Today it was all about compost: shifted most of the contents from one bin to the other to expose the fertile layer at the bottom, which I ferried up the garden to the veg patch – hard work, I can tell you. As I retired for a well-earned coffee, P went out for his daily wood chop. Who needs a gym, when you have a garden and wood pile?

With the sun shining we managed lunch on the terrace. It’s cold in the shade but in the full sun, it felt almost like summer – an amazing treat so late in the year :).

At the desk it was admin and organisation. Had a planning review meeting with P and updated the Live Istria to-do list. I’d initially hoped to put six or seven new items on-line each week, which might be possible if only writing was involved. But as there’s also SEO, planning, posting and promotion, I now realise it’s totally unrealistic. P’s aim was always two to three pieces a week and I think he’s probably right. (Glad she’s finally seen sense – P). Also time to shift the focus from background ‘life’ pieces – the fun ones to write – to more practical, ‘how to’ items.

Lovely afternoon, so just before it got dark, P suggested a walk – he’s full of good ideas at the moment.


Friday 11 November

The wood pileP again out wood chopping, before getting on with life’s admin. It’s amazing how much builds up in just three weeks, even with just a small business to run. Today’s pile of paperwork – mainly bills of course – is nearly a centimetre thick :(.

While his emphasis this week has been catching up on admin, mine has been laundry. With the drying weather, I’m racing through it 🙂 … which has resulted in another mountainous ironing pile :(. I had a major, five-hour session, after which my feet (and the rest of me) were knackered. But it’s always a good  when the ironing’s behind me – until the next batch, of course.


Saturday 12 November

Can’t believe it, we still have lovely sunny gardening weather. I want to start vacuuming leaves off the lawn but need somewhere to put them, so before that I’ll have to clear out the leaf bin to get at the compost layer at the bottom. And as this will go on the new front garden bed, before that I have to prepare the ground, digging out weeds and aerating the soil. I love weeding (no really, she’s serious – P), it’s so therapeutic and relaxing, working methodically in the sun :).

Tally obscenely comfortable on the rugI make sure the cats come with me when I go gardening, otherwise they’d spend all day asleep inside (they’re back into their winter mode, Tally on rug, Baggy on dining chair). Usually they’re quite happy and spend the time chasing around. Today however, Baggy just flopped, following me from spot to spot and always looking obscenely comfortable – must have been a heavy night. Tally was in perkier mood, repeatedly getting in the way as I cleared the leaf bin, trying to see what was going on.

Finally moved Live Istria forward today, posting My Life for the week before we went away. Naively, I’d hoped to do this on our trip – of course there wasn’t time and, hey, I was on holiday. I also wrote up the ‘posting procedures’ so it’s documented in case P has to do it. It’s surprisingly complicated and together, posting and procedures, took me all afternoon.


Sunday 13 November

Meant to take the day off. Instead, spent the morning trying to remember how I write this thing called My Life. Managed a first draft before P dragged me off for a walk in the woods (so glad he did). Hoped to pick some mushrooms, but it’s been too dry – maybe next week, if it rains. Of course I’ll write something on it when it happens.

Then it was back for lunch and an afternoon snoozing in front of the fire. That’s what Sundays are for!


The tale continues with a quiet week where I ponder the arrival of two poles.

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


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