Tuesday, October 22, 2013


I feel we are being watched and it's not subtle.
As we walk through the town we see heads turn, conversations turn to whispers, and strangers walking past become even more strange when their eyes lock contact to yours. Even when we are in the car other drivers are determined to see your face. 
I laugh it off and smile or even wave.
Back a few decades and this would have been pretty normal here, as pockets of information or mis-information was constantly passed on during everyday life. But it feels like the old habits still exist. Those preying eyes are still out there, be careful how you step and what you say. 
When we see a light aircraft flying over on regular intervals through the day my paranoia now extends to the thought that we are being documented for one reason or another. 
Occasionally a different car passes the front of our gate and slowly drives by, to where it is going we don't know. There are only a couple of houses occupied past our place and they don't own a car. 
I also believe Slovak telecom purposely censor some of the pages we would like to see when using a search engine on the internet. Constantly when we ask a question we only get a vague answer back.
Bizarrely, I got thinking that everybody hides behind the terrifyingly difficult Slovak language and that truthfully everyone speaks English. I even started to imagine the accents all our neighbours may have! Far-fetched? Well maybe, it has been a long day painting floorboards.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Another year's dose of trimming the woodland finished. Not without the scars and  aching limbs. But to make up for any dis-comfort was the journey on the back of our neighbour's tractor pulling our tree load home. Despite the occasional head height branch and thorny hedge on the verge that we barge through, to see all the rich and vivid autumn colours in glorious reality  makes me wonder what sort of holiday this place has become in our lives. The compact camera broke down a few months back, no more snapshots of these memories at the moment, only in our minds will they stick. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

T-Mobile and Slovak Electricity

Many thanks for the typically terrible customer un-friendly service Slovak Telecom (T-Mobile)  and Slovak Electricity (S.S.E) have provided us over the last few days.
It unfortunately is pretty normal to have to bite your lip whilst talking to these cretins who have no knowledge on how to deal with a customer. 
When we had no internet working for a day or so in Havran, we took the internet box and laptop to a different location and as expected it worked. We go back home and it doesn't work. We visit our local T-Mobile shop to explain our situation. They follow procedure and ask to take the internet box from us to check if it needs repairing, even suggesting if it has been damaged.. We say the box works and that there is a problem with the signal. They say there is no reported problem with the signal in our area. We say we are reporting a problem with the signal in the area. They say that they can take the box away to check if it is working properly. We say just plug it in to find out. They were unsure whether to do this at first but finally relented. They see it works, good we think. They say that they can't help. We say thank you for your customer service. We get home and find the internet now working. Magic we say!
Slovak Electricity switch off our electric and all the surrounding area for today, tomorrow, and Saturday and maybe Monday too from 8am-6pm for essential maintenance. Great we say, nobody knew anything about this. Not true when Jana rings, it's written on their website! Most of our neighbours don't even have the internet.. Now we know we must not only check our email, facebook pages, etc everyday but also the S.S.E website, just in case they are about to switch our electric off. 6.05pm and still no electric switched on, Jana calls to ask why not. They say they have to switch it back on gradually. We ask why do they say electric off until 6pm then? They say it take's time. Ok then, we wait. 6.20pm and still no electric. We ring again. Same answer, in fact we can hear someone in the background feeding the answers to our increasingly angered customer service operator. We ask if we can complain to some department, but there is no one to complain to by phone, only by writing. Fortunately at 6.44pm we have our electrics back on, just before we were to ring again. We can blow the candlelights out and wait for another day of the same. 
We might mock the customer service in this country but it is never afraid to provide examples of how bad it can still be here.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fuel gathering

I am being stared at, it wasn't my idea to paint the front door such a vibrant blue colour! 
Now that winter has drawn closer with the arrival of frosty white mornings and a steady flow of fallen leaf arrival for the composting area, wood has very much been the focus of our attention of the last couple of weeks. Even my excuse of a slightly sprained wrist which either came about from some manly task around the house or more likely I slept on it badly has not stopped the sweat and pain of pulling, cutting, slicing and stacking the timber for the essential warmth needed over oncoming months. This year has certainly been more difficult with our allocated space stuck in the ravine, not helped by the assisting mouthy neighbour who still won't take no for an answer. 
Two days ago we witnessed wood that had been stacked by another being stolen onto a trailer and racing off into the distance before we could gather evidence on a low Mb mobile phone camera. An evil smell of revenge enters my head if they lay a finger on our wood.