Archive for May, 2011

Scolytus Intricatus

31 May 2011

The nights are warming so I opened a window in the çardak to gain a flow of air.  I turned my head on the pillow and stared into the face of a Scolytus Intricatus that had headed for the light.  I was amazed at its size, at least 3cm in the body.  It is otherwise known as the European Oak Bark Beetle and is responsible for the maze like channels dug between the bark and the wood.  Quite docile.

Pristina Maltings?

30 May 2011


The Pristina Palace of Youth and Sport escaped destruction in 1999.  In 2000 there was an electrical fire that burnt out the roof and damaged the (rather tired) inside.  A donation led to its repair.  However, the property has the unfortunate designation of being a ‘socially owned enterprise’.  This means that in a blanket-ruling from the United Nations it had to be privatised and until such time managed by the Kosovo Trust Agency, the bête-noire eating up municipal properties and spitting them out cheap.  The legitimate reason for the Trust was to finance compensation to persons unfairly denied rights to their property or salary.  However in the case of the Pristina Palace of Youth and Sport there do not seem to be any property creditors as it was purchased fairly from public subscriptions of the Prishtina population (salary creditors there may be but not sufficient to warrant random disposal).  The consequence of all this: the poor place at the heart of Prishtina sits dormant and sad, the municipality cannot touch it, donations for it cannot be approved, and the people lose.  My view is: give it back to the municipality and stop messing.  Pristina needs its (proud Yugoslav iconic architectural style) maltings back… let’s brew some more football, basketball, gymanstics and music!

Kosova Railways

29 May 2011

Norweigan train, Swedish carriages, Kosova village, Erblina riding by….

Philately Kosova

29 May 2011

Mary was to the local post office to buy stamps… she brought me a present of the Kosova 2006 Philatelic Program. We have left to right top to bottom: The animals; wolf, pigeon, swan, dog and cow. of these the Sharr Mountain Dog is the one of real interest being endemic to the Sharr area of Kosovo and is fiercely strong in defence and gentle among friends. The tourist features: Brezovica ski centre, Gadime limestone caves, the lake overlooking ‘red-rock’ and Germia park. I think the inclusion of Germia Park is a political sop but nevertheless the place offers some lungs to Pristina. Children: ha ha, definitely political, playing happily in water, swaddled in the crib, modern didactic primary school and ballet. Well, on ballet we agree because the build and strength of children here lends itself remarkably to dance. Finally the ancient artefacts, Dardania etc., sadly many residing in Belgrade (the way that many reside in London? although they at least would seem to be safe if in the wrong place). Well another poorly wrought fad of mine is an interest in stamps – and I am waiting Mary’s postcard to Kosova from St Helena.

Train Tunnel

29 May 2011

Something definitely happened to the trains yesterday.  However, the 19.54 from Stagovë  due in Kaçanik at 20.01 did eventually arrive about 10 minutes letter: a single diesel rail-car with a weak hoot shooing people off the track (the rail track is the favoured short-cut walk from Runjevë to Kaçanik).  This morning there was a much healthier
hooting and shooing – but I was over-slumbering and missed the photo.

Great walk yesterday with Mary’s dad.  At the close we hit a ‘Y’ in the track and stumbled into the yard of Avdyl.  We politely asked the way to the road and he replied with an invitation for coffee and we sat happily with him and his wife and his niece discussing houses and dispersed families, vegetable gardens and the English-Kosovo old tradition of the country orchards having a quince, apple, mulberry and walnut.  I want a mulberry tree!

Water Crane

28 May 2011


If you cannot secure the future of archaeology at least draw or photograph.  For ten years I have noted the Kaçanik Water Crane and dreamt of ‘the Kaçanik industrial museum’ capturing the history of stone breaking and lime making and railway connections… poor dreamer to not have the energy to get dreams off the starting block.  Of trains I only have a distant sense of boyhood fascination (actually I confess to having the 1968 book of Bradford municipal bus registrations and tried to find them all including the last of the 1940’s trolley-buses).  So here I am sitting in the çardak meditating on public transport and waiting for the 8.24 train which – either I missed – or, curiously has not arrived.

Power Cuts

5 May 2011

Here we are in the cardak with one of the frequent village power cuts. The inverter is driving the music machine and Emily Smith is singing Scottish ballads. The May temperatures have dropped to a disturbing 4 degrees and the Kamin Prity (photo) is keeping us warm. “Turn our backs in from the damp.”