It is noon on day 3 of 2014 and I can't keep up with events.
Firstly, there's New Year's Eve. In Bohinjska Bistrica there is a large Nissen hut-like building (looks like a place for indoor tennis or for growing mushrooms) which attracted most of North West Slovenia. It was free to enter, included a traditional um-pah um-pah band and lots and lots of beer. At first the um-pah um-pah band was so traditional we wanted to leave, so we left. We went to a bar nearby that was perhaps the smallest working bar in the world. If the customers were dressed as clowns, squeezing together for charity or attempting a world record it would have been truly marvelous, but really it was just very very small. After one beer we returned to the Nissen hut.
Where, you will be relieved to hear, the traditional music had changed to such favourites as Mississippi by Pussycat and The Green Green Grass of Home by Tom Jones. Sung in lederhosen and accompanied by a man on a tuba, the night was unforgettable. We drank the night away until the appointed hour, when large numbers of fireworks were set off in no particular order (outside, thank goodness). The place was by now crowded and fairly raucous. We got home just in time to turn on the telly and watch the new year celebrations happening live from London, a mysterious benefit of being one hour ahead of them.
Yesterday, a mere two days into the new year, I went cross country skiing! This happened because Frank and Sally have English friends, Simon and Michelle. They own a house up the mountain and they suggested we all go on a skiing adventure, then made it happen. Never before have I attached skis to myself.
We all met at Andre and Alinka's ski-hire hut and Andre drove us up the mountain. At the level of Frank's house there is no snow but at the ski centre, high up amid the fir trees and clouds it's a winter wonderland. The skis were attached to me and for the first time in my life I had to abandon walking and embrace sliding. I stood motionless for a few minutes wondering how on earth this could be accomplished. Andre is a good teacher and we slid about for two hours, the snow falling harder around us. I had some great moments of going downhill but I never got the fluid, graceful slide of a cross-country skier. However, the going downhill parts, despite being short and not too steep, were enormous fun. I loved it and I can't wait to try it again (there are photos on Frank's camera which I shall post when I can get them).
After the lesson we returned to the little hut and drank schnapps and beer and whatever else we could find to make the afternoon last a little longer. The company was excellent and it was the most concentrated enjoyment I have experienced in a long long time. One has to concentrate so hard when skiing, and the surroundings were so beautiful that I had no time to reflect on anything other than the happiness of the occasion. We ended the day by going out for pizza because tiredness overcame the urge to cook.
This morning my tax number arrived in the post, and to celebrate, I picked up the phone and called a number I had found for an apartment here in Bohinjska Bistrica. It is very close to the Nissen hut where you can play tennis, grow mushrooms or listen to Mississippi with tuba accompaniment. To my relief, the man on the other end spoke very good English, so this afternoon I went to see it. It is small and he wants a whole year's rent up front. But I took Tyson and he liked him, and when the landlord likes your dog you don't take that lightly. Also it's an apartment but he has a wood-burning stove, which is both wonderful and unexpected. It has all the furniture I would need and a small balcony with a view of the church. The monthly rent is low, despite having to give a whole year up front. I said I would let him know, because the pros and cons are 50/50. Tomorrow I might be seeing another which is cheaper, but it's a good cycle ride from the shops and might be smaller. I'll keep you posted.
So far, 2014 is going very well indeed. Long may it continue.
[ps...Have you tried the Armchair Detective Challenge yet?]
Slovenia, writing, other things