Tuesday 26 May 2015

Spring rituals

Autumn was always my favourite season but maybe now it’s spring, for many reasons. I love the brilliant green of the fresh new leaves on the trees... The different birdcalls I hear in the morning and during my long walks in the hills... The wild flowers... And the heady fragrance of elderflower and the white flowers of the black locust trees.

Spring also means rituals associated with the passing of seasons. It’s nice to finally turn off the central heating and sit outside in the sunshine. So far this spring I’ve eaten a lot of wild asparagus and last week I made fourteen litres of elderflower syrup.

In the village there’s a strange tradition that happens on the first Saturday night of the month of May. When we woke up on Sunday morning the wooden tables and benches of the village restaurant were scattered across the square and the entrance to the village was blocked with more benches. Other roads were obstructed with large potted plants and random pieces of furniture while the porch of the small church on the square was decorated with tree branches. Apparently this was the crafty work of the young people living in the village who were busy organizing this prank overnight. But some of the older residents told me that this tradition used to be more romantic and less of a practical joke: on this night, young men used to leave flowers on the windows and balconies of the young girls they fancied. Moving things around and leaving them in random places and blocking access roads seems to be a new development… But the village residents mostly take it all in good humour.

Spring is also time for outdoor projects. The house renovation is largely complete, with just a few small projects left. A friend said I should post more photos of our house… I haven’t posted very many because I don’t like posting personal photos but I may share a few discreet photos of the house interior soon. We still have a wooden countertop to install between the ‘window space’ we created between the kitchen and the living room, but the bar stools are ready and waiting. And we’re now in the process of putting down paving stones in the courtyard, a space we’ll be spending more time in during the next few months.

Another big project is the renovation of the façade of the house. Since the village is under heritage protection, we need to request permission from the conservation committee and provide a detailed project of our plans which must be approved in advance. Months ago I had written to the committee and included two proposals. It only took three months to receive a reply so I wonder how long it will take for final approval before we can start work. I have a feeling this won’t be a spring project but an autumn project! Until then, we have plenty to keep us busy!

Monday 11 May 2015

My window on Instagram

Maybe you noticed the link to my Instagram page in the right-hand sidebar…

I was resisting joining Instagram at first because it meant spending time on yet another social media network in addition to Facebook and Twitter.

At first I joined so that I could follow photographers I like. Then I started following other blogs I enjoy. Then I decided that I may as well start using it more actively.

So when I see something that strikes me and I whip out my smartphone to capture it, I now often share it on Instagram. So if you would like an almost daily peek of life through my window in Istria, follow me on Instagram.

I don’t have a top-end smartphone (it’s more bottom-end) so the quality of the photographs is not great and nothing like what my DSLR produces. But some of the colours and spirit of the places I shoot are captured.

The images I share on Instagram are mostly of the lovely Istrian houses I come across, the nature, flowers and landscapes I see during my walks, the South Indian cat of course, and there’s also a huge fish head I came across in the woods.

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