Thursday, December 23, 2010

OK an update. I flew from Slovenia to London Stanstead last Friday, the flight was delayed 3 hours because of the weather, but all in all things worked out pretty good. The day after I got here all kinds of travel problems began, but In was nice and comfortable at my sister's house. I have been trying to fix my red eye problem for a while now, but it just does not seem to want to go completely away. Well I went to see a doctor in Penkridge yesterday and he gave me some antibiotics which he reckons will fix it. He did say that there is no infection in the center of the eye. So hopefully this is it this time.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Yesterday I got to enjoy my 57th birthday and was quite overwhelmed that I got so many well wishes. At one point I remembered back to my 27th birthday which I celebrated in New York. I was living in an attic room and a friend Of mine just a few days earlier, had come to me and said that he had just heard John Lennon had been shot. We spent the next few days following the television reports and here we are 30 years later. I am in a different country and there is a very strong visual reminder that Christmas is just around the corner.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

When I was growing up I lived near to a town where there was a brewery, it was on a hill and on some days when the wind was in the right direction, you could smell the hops when they vented them. I have been living in Ljubljana now for 19 months and they also have a brewery here. This morning for the first time I could smell vented hops as I walked into the city.

Over a 9 day period we had a lot of snow and this past few days we have been getting rain and warmer temperatures. As a result there has been a lot of snow melt and it kind of feels like early Spring with the river high and fast running. When you walk over bridges you can hear the river rushing through them. Probably soon the snow will come and stay and the snow melt will be repeated in the Spring.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The temperature dropped to -8C overnight, so I decided to wait until late morning to go out for my run. It was still -1C when I went out, but the sidewalks were most clear with the occasional icy patch needing to be careful of. I have decided that since I am approaching my 57th birthday that I need to work on my flexibility a little more and have this plan to introduce yoga back into my life. I have not really practiced it for quite some time, but will do a few exercises each day and slowly increase the range as I become more comfortable.

Friday, December 03, 2010

For the last 8 days it has been snowing on and off some days are light snow some days more. We have accumulated about a 1/2 meter of snow during that period. At the beginning of the week it kind of reminded me of New York and say January of February, but this morning on the way into the city it reminded me of the 3 weeks I spent in Montreal, Canada one winter. I know from a city point of view it is probably a pain, but to me it is what winter is all about and I am sure it is really beautiful in the countryside.

Happy Birthday to Purupriya

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Well I spent a week in Bosnia, half of it in Sarajevo and half in Banja Luka. As it turned out I took the beginnings of a cold with me and it got worse after a couple of days. I was taken well care of by my friends and it gradually got better.The first part of the week was rainy and the second part colder, but we did mange to avoid the snow that was forecast. However when I got back to Slovenia it was a different story and I was greeted with about 20cm of snow and it has stayed near freezing so far.Part of my trip has hopefully opened up the possibility of some coffee business in the future and we will see how that goes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sometimes when I am walking through the city I see groups of school children with teachers telling them something about the history of the city and stuff. This morning I saw one group and standing with them was a street person standing near to the teacher and listening to what she said and sometimes pointing to where she pointed, as if mimicking the teacher and pretending to be an interested bystander. It was quite amusing to me and brought a little joy to the start of my day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The last few days have been quite busy for me as far as my coffee business goes. I have the opportunity to get a good customer in the near future and I have been looking at suppliers. One of the things that I have noticed is that in these modern times in Slovenia coffee grinders, are not so available as in the past. If people want to enjoy my coffee to the best of it's flavour they should grind the beans freshly before brewing. So I am in the process of finding a supplier of coffee grinders so that we can sell them along with the coffee. I have just found a company that looks promising and they also have milk frothers and I think the price is acceptable. So there you go things are moving along slowly.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

It has been pretty rainy here this last week or so, but on the weekend I was in Germany and the weather there was really nice. I was visiting with some friends and also trying to make some potential business arrangements for the coffee. I was also had a surprise when I saw an old friend from New York, who it seems is in Europe for a week, so that was nice. I have had a problem with viral conjunctivitis in my right eye, which I got while in Russia. I was given some Homeopathic medicine and it seems to be working.
Looking forward to better weather later in the week.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Where was I. Oh yes during our second night in Vaasa the rest of the WHR team arrived from Iceland. So in the morning we started at a ceremony in the city square near a market. Then with a police escort we ran once again to the park where the statue was. On the arrival of a local runner we made our way to a nearby stadium where the Vaasa marathon would begin. We were introduced to the runners, did a lap around the stadium track and started off on our run towards Helsinki. Some time after our departure the marathon began and as our runners ran with the torch we were joined by the the competitors as the first part of our run covered part of the marathon course.
Since the full team was now here and we had 2 vans we split up into 2 teams we use a method called leapfrogging to cover the distance and also make various ceremonies along the way. The final ceremony was near the place where we would stay the night and we were greeted by a former winter Olympian and medal winner in cross country skiing. We spent our first night on the road in a log cabin

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On arriving in Helsinki and finally getting our bags we drove with 2 of our friends to Vaasa in the north, where we got to stay in another friend's apartment for the night.
We had 26 schools to visit on our first WHR day in Finland, we split into 2 teams of 3 with one team visiting 17 schools that were close together and the other visiting 9 schools further apart. It was very cold and windy, but at each school we had a warm welcome. There are 2 official languages in Finland, Finnish of course and Swedish. each of the schools spoke of these. I was on the team that visited 17 schools. We ended our running in a park where we joined with the other team, some school children who came with us and some local officials, near a statue of Sri Chinmoy, the founder of the run. There was a ceremony at which a Peace tree was planted and everyone got to have their photo taken and some interviewed by a local newspaper.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

So I have been back from the WHR for 11 days now, so here is the start of my report.
We were scheduled to fly on Baltic from Belgrade to Riga and then on to Helsinki on September 1st.
We arrived at the airport and proceeded to go to check in, but there was no check in. We then looked on the departure screen for our flight and it was not there. After an inquiry at the information desk, we found out that Baltic does not operate flights to Helsinki via Riga between September and February, even though they let us book a flight for September 1st. It seems they had been trying to inform us of this without success. So they had an obligation to give us an alternative flight and booked us on an Austrian Airlines flight through Vienna for the next morning. This did not create a big problem with our Finland schedule so we were happy and we had a better flight.
We arrived in Helsinki mid afternoon the next day instead of late evening the day before and apart from the fact that our bags were delivered to another terminal everything was good. I was in Finland for the first time ;)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I have just come back from spending the last month of the European leg of the World Harmony Run as part of the team. I got to go from Finland, through the Baltic states, Belarus and to the closing ceremony in Moscow. Spending a month living out of a van during the day and having to go out and run several times during those days can seem like a tough deal. That is so far from the truth. Yes there are days when the body is telling you it maybe does not want to run so much, but I am a multiday runner and I am used to that. Even if you struggle a little bit some mornings the feeling you get when people greet you on the road, or the look in the faces of people ( especially children ) when they get to hold the torch, takes away any tiredness that may be present.
Over the next few posts I will try describe what it has been like and focus on each country I ran in. I hope you will enjoy my journey.

Monday, August 30, 2010

So this morning I picked up my visa for Belarus and I am now ready to go. We fly on Baltic Air through Riga to Helsinki om Wednesday afternoon. I am not sure if I will have any internet access during the trip, but when I do I will post something. You can check out how I am doing here .

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I have been in Belgrade now for 2 days, the bus ride was quite pleasant, but the temperature seemed to get hotter and hotter the closer we got to Serbia. I finally got access to the internet so I am now able to make this post.
My 2 WHR team mates and I had a very nice meeting with the consular general for Belarus this morning and will have visa's on Monday. So now I have a few days to relax and there is a possibility that tomorrow I will go on the boat of a friend of mine for a trip around Belgrade, which should be pretty cool.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Today I picked up my visa from the Russian consulate, tomorrow I go by bus to Belgrade where I will get a visa for Belarus and in 11 days time I fly with 2 friends to Finland where we will join the final leg of this years World Harmony Run. Starting in Finland we go to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus. Before entering Russia via Smolensk and finish in Moscow late September. It should be quite an adventure. Not sure if I will have much internet access, but when I do I will try to post something.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It has been 15 years since my mother was killed by an intruder in her home.It is quite a long time but at this time we can easily see how strongly how our loved ones remain in our hearts.
Yesterday I spent around 4 hours at the Russian embassy in Ljubljana applying for a visa for an up coming trip there. A few hours after returning home I got a message that one of my Uncles had had a stroke and is now in hospital, but quite stable and even making jokes. So life has it's challenges, but we go on.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yesterday I went to the Russian Embassy here in Ljubljana to apply for a visa, but was a little surprised to find out that I needed to give them a photo. So back again today only to find out that my visit constitutes a Humanitarian visa and needed to say that on the invitation. They were nice enough to call the WHR guys in Moscow and arrange for a new invite to be faxed and told me to come back tomorrow. They were actually quite nice to me, but it seems it is not so easy to get a visa for Russia.

Friday, August 13, 2010

First of all it's Friday the 13th. I need to catch up on a few things. Two days ago August 11th was my sister's birthday, so of course Happy Happy Birthday!!!. She just recently had elbow replacement surgery, so I imagine this one was not quite as happy as previous ones. But I am sure she will ultimately be happy with her unusual present of a much better functioning elbow.
Also on that day 2 friends of mine from Serbia came by on their way back from the English Channel, where one helped and the other successfully swam the English Channel. When I was young and growing up in England it was always magical to me to hear that someone had swum the channel. So it was really nice to hear their story of this great feat.
By the way this Friday the 13th is a rainy one here in Ljubljana.
These are some of the White plums at my place in Croatia, in the photo above.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

So on Saturday morning I got a ride out to the 3rd stage of the Trans- Slovenia Mountain Edition race where my friend was running. There was some tough mountain running and I got to do some of it with him. I also got to stay in the Youth Hostel where the race ended on Saturday night and where the runners and organizers stayed. On Sunday I got to share the running and helping duties with my friend Milan. The last 30Km or so of the final stage was on the same road as last years classic race so it was familiar to me and I liked the downhill section into Koper.

Friday, August 06, 2010

It is amazing to think that this time last week I was at my place in Croatia and it was raining. Here I am now in Ljubljana and once again it is raining. I was really happy to spend some time there even with the rain, but as you can see from this photo it was quite sunny on the Sunday just before I left. In the photo are my neighbours Vajo and Majca who kept me fed during my visit, though I did buy some supplies from the one store in the village. It is nice to think that I am now adding to the economy of the village where my father was from. OK more to come.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

I spent 2 days at my place in Croatia. When I got there it was raining and rained on and off for the first 24 hours I was there. As you can see from this photo I managed to cut down some of the grass and weeds. I eventually removed some of the trees from around the side and back of one end of the old house. It was so nice to sleep in my own house and my neighbours kept me fed by inviting me for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I still have a lot of work to do. I have many white plum trees and gave away many plums during my visit. I had to leave many to be eaten by the birds who seem to love them. It is very peaceful there and the roads are pretty quiet for running on. Over the next few days I will try to post more photo's.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Yesterday was the last hot day this week, the temperature once again was 32C. In the afternoon it rained and everything changed. I had gone into the city in the morning to deliver my coffee sample to the cafe I had visited the day before and was quite exhausted when I got home. By late afternoon there was a strong wind developing and then the thunderstorms came, it was quite refreshing.
This morning it was so much cooler than previous days and as I went out to the 2 mile race I could see that there was rain heading our way. In the middle of the race there was a big downpour.
This is the headstone of my grandparents grave in
Donje Dubrave, Croatia

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I had a short meeting this morning with a possible client for my coffee and will return tomorrow with a sample. It is a small organic cafe but could be a nice step forward.
Another hot day here in Ljubljana once again in the low 30's C.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Yesterday I had an express train ride to London and an easy trip across the city to the Stanstead Express, arriving with plenty of time to check in for my flight. My flight to Ljubljana was only 5 minutes late, so not a problem. This morning I woke up to the same hot weather I left behind over the weekend. I am quite happy for this because I did my laundry today and it dried quickly in the hot Sun.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The party for my sister's Ruby Wedding anniversary went really well. I got to see some relatives I had not seen for quite a while and the weather stayed good, it is much cooler than in Slovenia. Managed to get a good run in the morning, nice pleasant country roads.

Monday, July 12, 2010

It is a hot day here in Ljubljana in fact it is supposed to be hot all week with maybe the odd thunder shower later in the week. Friday I will fly to the UK , maybe it will be a little cooler there ;)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

This is my barn and as you can see it has a little problem with the roof. I hope to rectify this pretty soon. You can also see that there is a lot of hay in the barn this belongs to my neighbour, actually he cuts my grass and stores it in the barn, it's an arrangement he had with my Aunt and will continue by me.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

So I finally got to my place in Donje Dubrave and as you can see it's a little over grown. I got to visit with some of my neighbours, which was interesting since none of them speak English. I manged to understand most of what they were saying to me and to some degree speak back. I plan to go back there for a weekend at the end of the month or beginning of next month. I only spent a little more than half a day there this time, it was really for orientation purposes and gave me an idea for what I need to do next time.
I go to England in 10 days for my sister's wedding anniversary ;)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I am spending a few days in Rijeka, Croatia visiting with family and some friends. also all the paper work involving my place has now been settled and I will be making a visit sometime this week. I will of course take some photo's and hopefully post some of them here. I got to spend an hour or two at the beach yesterday and of course plan to spend more as the week goes by also a chance to swim in the Adriatic for the first time any a few years ;)

Friday, June 25, 2010

In a couple of hours time I will take a train to Rijeka in Croatia. This will be the second time this year that I have gone there, but hopefully this time I will also make a trip to my place in Donje Dubrave, actually I have to make a visit one way or another. There are some things I need to look at there and I need to talk with at least one of my neighbours. I should get the chance for a little beach time and a swim in the Adriatic, which will be nice, so it will be part vacation and part business. Anyway I am looking forward to it ;)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Spent the weekend in Hungary helping a friend of mine run the Ultrabalaton race, a 212km race around lake Balaton. He did great finishing in 26 hours and 15 minutes. I ended up being awake for almost 40 hours.
Lots of things happening for me right now. I just got my resident permit for Slovenia, bought a ticket to London to go to my sister's 40th Wedding anniversary in July and will be going to Croatia in few days to take care of some stuff on my place there ;)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I spent 9 of the last 10 days in Zagreb, where I was helping with a free concert of spiritual music. I also managed to sell some of my coffee while I was there, The weather has been very hot and the Sun quite strong during this period. I also managed to see the England v USA game and was a little disappointed with a 1-1 draw, but in the end 1 point is better than none.
This weekend a friend of mine will be running in the Ultrabalton race, which is a 213 Km race around Lake Balaton in Hungary. Last month he asked me if I would be his handler and I agreed, so I will be in Hungary this weekend.

Monday, June 07, 2010

I was in Zagreb for 3 days. There was a 4 day street festival and on the 3rd day an old friend of mine had organized street drawing I went along with some friends and participated. Check out the little video I made.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

I have been back from the World Harmony run now for a couple of days and just wanted to post something.
It is always a great experience to participate and this year was quite interesting for me. The International team included an American, a Canadian and a Guatamalan along with the usual Europeans. The run, which is organized mainly by my friend Marjan, can be quite intense at times, but really takes care of the runners. We had some great meetings with lots of schools and such dignitaries as the President of the country and President of the parliament.By the time the week was up many great friendships had been made. Personally after the first few days I had more soreness than usual in my legs, but this improved over the week and the whirlpool and swimming pools in our hotels really helped. In September I get to run in the final leg of the European run which ends in Moscow, which should be quite an experience.

Some news on the coffee front to come shortly.

Friday, May 21, 2010

This week has been quite interesting for me, there has been a lot of back and forth with my coffee roaster in Holland. The label is now done I have now placed an order and we should be getting soon. Oh by the way I don't know if I mentioned it, but to start with we are getting the majority of our coffee roasted for us in Holland. We already have a few customers and will slowly grow the business with a mix of home roasted and Dutch roasted coffee, it's a start and we think a smart start.

Monday, May 10, 2010

So I was in Palic near Subotica, Serbia this weekend, I visited with some friends and spent some time in the Zoo there. I have been to the Zoo a few times. The first time was not long after the embargo on Yugoslavia was lifted and because of which the animals were pretty sparse. Now things are looking much better, the number of animals has increased mostly through new births and I think more people are visiting. I sold my first small amount of roasted coffee and have quite a bit of interest, so we will see how things progress.

Friday, May 07, 2010

After only 4 days back in Slovenia I am off early tomorrow morning to Subotica in Serbia. There is a special event at the Zoo in Palic this weekend and I will be going there with at least 3 of my friends. It's a bit of a drive but it will be worth it. I have some very good friends in Subotica and Palic and it will be nice to see them. I am hoping to run near the lake there, where later this year their will be a 12 and 24 hour race. Hopefully the weather will be good, it seems to be improving here. Anyway, check back for my post on Monday about how things went.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

I am alive, I know it may not seem so since I have not been posting for a while, but I am. On April 19 I managed to fly out of Trieste airport to Rome and then on to New York. The airport had been closed for 2 days because of the ash cloud, but opened that day and then apparently closed the next day. I went to NY to run in the 6 day race which started on April 23. It was an interesting experience which I will talk about on my other blog iliketorun, you can get there by going to my profile and clicking on the link at the bottom of the page. When I arrived in NY my bags did not, they were still in Rome and arrived the next day. When I came back on May 4 my bags also stayed in Rome this time they were flown to Munich than to Ljubljana and delivered to me the next day. Which my journey from Trieste to Ljubljana a little easier.
Well now I am in Ljubljana, a little jet lagged and still a little sick from a cold I had developed, but happy to be home.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Sunday I drove with a friend up to Maribor to participate in the last Pohorje winter cup race of the season. It is the 13th race for this edition. This was the 3rd time I participated. With the recent problem I have had with my back and hip I was not sure how I would hold up, but I felt pretty good at the start and the temperature was quite mild. The race started and within the first few minutes my breathing was hard, this is normal and usually settles down after a time, then I lose my legs which also settle down. This time my breathing never got better, I had a problem the whole race, but my legs stayed strong. It was only after I finished and developed a chesty cough that I realized, I had a cold. I was happy that I had a good workout and finished the race. To cap it all off we got free pizza after wards.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Friday the 26th of February was a really rainy day here in Slovenia. I had to walk into the city to get the book for my Slovenian classes, at the Filosofska fakulteta and got quite wet in the process. When I signed up for the course I got a temporary student card and this allows me to get a discount at the school book shop.
In the evening it was the Premier of the Opera/Ballet season in Maribor and a group of us were given free tickets. The opera was Werther by Jules Massenet, which I am sure is a good one, but I have to say I was a little disappointed with the production. It was very sparse, everything was done on an empty stage. It was nice to have a night out though with some friends, so it was pretty cool.

Monday, March 01, 2010

This and a few of the following posts are on a time delay. Well it's just that I meant to write them on the day the things happened, but...
February 25.
Today is the day of my first official Slovenian language class. I was thinking about it all day, I ran early so that I did not have to get in a quick last minute run.
The class consists of 8 people, 2 from China, 2 from Italy, 2 from Finland and 1 from Romania and of course me from England. I am the oldest in the class.
It is a beginners class though most of us have some knowledge of the language.The length of the class is 90 minutes and it went by really fast.We start with the basics and for me it is great that we worked on word structure. It's relaxed group and the teacher admitted that her English is not so great, so while she was correcting my Slovenian I was correcting her English. For which one of the class joked I should get a discount.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Last week a Slovenian friend of mine ran in the Trans Slovenia run Winter edition. It is a 220km run across Slovenia.The original plan was for me to help him for the whole race, but for various reasons that did not work out. On Friday the race came within 3km of my place, so I ran out to meet it. I then ended up running and also getting rides with a helper to the end of the stage. I got to meet some old friends from last years Summer race and then got a ride back to Ljubljana with one of the crew.
On Sunday I took an early train out to Sevnica, where the last stage would start another friend with a car had driven down from Ptuj and together we acted as support for my friend Tomaz. It was only Tomaz's second Ultra race, having previously run a 100km. Out of a field of 34 runners which included 4 women, he finished 9th among the men.

Friday, February 05, 2010

The week as gradually become warmer as it has gone along. My runs in the afternoon have been reasonably pain free, a little after I get home I seem to get some major pain from my sciatic nerve. This goes away eventually and then does not bother me.
After a chat with my business partner ( it was kind of a meeting ), we are looking at different ways for our business to operate and everything is very constructive.
At the moment I seem to like being mobile and will once again be out of town this weekend, well part of Sunday anyway.

Monday, February 01, 2010

I was in Serbia for the weekend. When we left around 7:30 Saturday morning it was snow, When I got back around 1:30 this morning there was quite a lot of snow on the ground and actually up in the trees. Before I left I had some problems with my Sciatic nerve down my right side, as a result I did not run the Half Marathon I had planned to run on Sunday. It turned out that the organizers ( who are friends) needed some help, so I worked on the set up and then did some counting. I made the decision to not run the 2 days I was there and this broke my streak of 5 and a half months. I do feel much better for it and will now resume my running.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

OK so it seems the gap between my posts is continuing to be long. I have been back in Slovenia for almost 3 weeks now and quite a lot has gone on. I had a meeting at the Chamber of Commerce and have all the information for starting my business. The plan is to get all the capital together by the end of February and then register the company.
I spent a few days in Croatia, where I got a copy of the transfer of ownership for my place and also had the Electric company put my name on their billing records. I also got to spend a couple of days in Rijeka with some family. Where it was reasonably warm, especially compared to Ljubljana.
On returning to Ljubljana I signed up for the beginners course for Slovenian language at the Uni, the classes start next month.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I was supposed to fly back to Ljubljana non Saturday, but a missed train connection got me in too late to check in. for a small fee I was able to transfer my flight to Sunday. So I spent the day in an hotel near the airport with dinner and breakfast included. No problems with my flight on Sunday, except for a 35 minute delay. I am now back in Slovenia, where there is quite a lot of snow on the ground, but it is not as cold as in the UK.
I must also mention that had he still been alive, some people think he still is. Elvis Presley would have celebrated his 75th Birthday a few days ago and I am sure many of his fans celebrated on his behalf.