Ups and downs, but summer stages a comeback

My expat life in Istria

After an Autumnal start, sun makes a welcome return. We focus on spreading the word: P battles with Facebook and I collect Twitter followers, but Google’s page one remains a distant dream. Get our first rental booking for next year, see friends and even get a swim – but our oven and my computer both go ‘tread’s up’.


Monday 19 September

Had huge sleep-in: didn’t wake until 9 am – WOW. 🙂 Storm overnight with lots of rain, and the day dawned wet and cold: 18°C and falling. 🙁

Nicky performs the booking dance - not a pretty sightTrying to get more organised, so spent most of the day sorting out planning and ‘to-do’ issues. It’s clear we must boost our Google rankings. Among other things, this means we need ‘back links’: the more links from other people’s sites, the more Google will like us. On that front, P spent a frustrating and irritating afternoon battling with Facebook, but did get one personal page and a page for Live Istria set up. There’s nothing on them yet: that’s a challenge for me, for another day.

Baggy in sin-bin today – found her curled up in the middle of the bed!

But got to do the booking dance this afternoon (I’ll post a video of it, if I get enough demand.) Someone’s already booked one week in September next year, easily the earliest we’ve ever had. Fantastic! 🙂

Ate lunch and dinner inside today. 🙁  First time we’ve had a meal indoors for months.


Tuesday 20 September

Forgot the ironing yesterday and so guests in Little House didn’t have ironed sheets – oops! So quick, panicked early ironing session.

Then I stepped out into the garden – just as it started raining. Tried again about 11: sunny, but now blowing a gale. “After lunch”, I decided and typed up some interview notes instead. Finally got into the garden about 3 pm for weeding but, unusually, didn’t enjoy it much. (Weeding is normally good for the soul – no, honestly – if bad on the back.)

Lunch and dinner indoors again and, as if the cold weather wasn’t bad enough, the oven broke – the eighth time in six years. Depressing end to the day. 🙁


Wednesday 21 September

Breakfast at desk at 7 am. Decided I must start rebalancing my life: I tell myself Live Istria is not the be-all and end-all of everything.

Getting into the garden was easy today – it was a cool but gorgeous morning. Wasn’t sure where to start, so simply attacked the first thing I saw – weeding (it usually is). Took it gently and that was a nice change. 🙂

Nicky in mis-matched flip flopsHalf way through gardening one of my flip-flops gave way (I live in flip-flops most of the time), so I simply found a spare from a previous pair and continued. This only gets a mention because all my Istrian friends have been teasing me about it, saying I’m a cheapskate and demanding I put a photo of my mismatched footwear in my blog. So here it is! I don’t know, the things I do for my friends. 

Started having doubts about how to proceed with this column, so spent an hour chatting with a UK-based friend who’s my ‘every-woman’ reader. I thought I should cut it back, but she’s got rather hooked and involved with the characters. In other words, My Life is a soap opera! Anyway, for now we’ll continue as we are, but do let me know if you’re getting bored.

Glad to say, Tally now seems fully recovered from her cold (apart from the odd few sneezes) and is back to being a perky, Happy Trotting Elf.

Weather perked up as well, so we had a swim after P cleaned the pool. It’s dropped to 25°C, which feels freezing in contrast to what it was a few days ago, but is very comfortable (if a bit chilly getting in).


Thursday 22 September

Up before the sun … again. 🙁 Tally curled up on my lap and she may be small, but it’s difficult typing with her sitting there. Turned out she wasn’t after attention, just food – her bowl was empty. I’m a neglectful cat mother.

We’re going into town this afternoon, (a trip out!) so I skipped the garden and concentrated on ‘housekeeping’ for Live Istria – checking and updating all the search engine optimisation (SEO) data for Google’s web crawlers. Boring, tedious job, but has to be done. I also wondered what’s happening on Twitter, in English, for Istria and Croatia, so signed up to follow a load of Tweeters (or are they Twitterers?). It’ll be interesting to see what they’re saying – I hope I don’t get too inundated.

Went into Porec for lunch (shared a pizza), to fortify us ahead of an afternoon running around town. Had a long ‘to-do’ list, and was stunned by how much we got through, especially as it involved trips to two banks and two phone companies (looking into internet and mobile phone possibilities for Brnobici and holiday makers), as well as the Tourist Office (trying to promote Live Istria, of course). Ended up at our local agricultural/garden centre, just as it was closing, so quickly bought slug pellets and fertilizer, but not the thick hose P needs for his water feature tests (another project that looks like it will run and run).

Playing Mexican trains with friendsShattered when we got home – but before long we were out again for dinner at RnS’s. The busy lives we lead. 🙂 (Or is that :(?) Met Philippa and Dave, who live mainly on a boat. Immediately thought “They’ll be really useful for my ‘Boat bits’ column” (I’m obsessed with Live Istria, if you hadn’t noticed). They also proved a great, fun couple – bonus!


Friday 23 September

Very tired today: all this hard work’s getting to me. To spread the word, I’ve started contacting total strangers. Did you know there was a Western Australian Croatian Chamber of Commerce? Neither did I, but now I do – and they now know about Live Istria.

Zio and sheep pass our front gateGot my first Twitter followers today! Seems if you follow them, some will follow you.

Zio and his sheep came past this morning. Haven’t seen him for a while, he must have been grazing other fields recently.

My computer broke down at 5 pm 🙁 just after P ran the back-ups. It collapsed about the same time I did. Fell asleep on the sofa at 8, with Tally on my lap. When I staggered up to bed at 10, P was still swearing at my computer. Fingers crossed he’ll get it sorted for tomorrow.


Saturday 24 September

Up at 7 am – made myself have a lie-in. Let the cats in and was surprised to see Tally on duty.  It’s usually Baggy (a.k.a. Plumpy) at the door claiming to be starving, but clearly she had business elsewhere this morning.

Approached desk with trepidation this morning, but P got my computer up and running again – relief! 🙂 Turned out some of the network connections had got confused. Took 3 hours to find the problem and 2 seconds to sort – computers, grr!!

Checked Google rankings this morning – still nowhere. P keeps saying “Back links, back links (and patience, patience).” I know, he’s right, but I feel awkward contacting strangers and asking them if they’d like to link to my baby site – I keep thinking it needs to be bigger. Find some confidence woman! 

Snjezana takes a dipAnother Twitter follower today – someone from New York. This is getting exciting.

Knocked-off work at lunch-time and switched into entertaining mode, getting ready for an afternoon BBQ with friends. SnS and FnV came round and, of course, we had a lovely time. François and Snježana even went for a swim. They all also agreed with P that Live Istria was quite big enough to promote for back links – gave me a bit of a boost. 🙂


Sunday 25 September

Baggy in her orange (fruit) boxShattered! Hardly slept last night, so felt like a zombie all day :(. After some clearing up from yesterday, spent most of the day on the terrace with a book recharging batteries. Baggy joined me at the end of the afternoon for some sun-bathing in her orange box.

Went to bed at 8 pm!


The tale continues when Summer runs on and we dash all over the place.

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


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