Medlars - Mušmula
I have often wondered what the weird looking fruit was on a tree we have in the garden. The fruit is called Mušmula, or in English, Medlar.
Hello and welcome to this edition of our newsletter from Čardačani, in the north of Bosnia and Herzegovina, written by an “InBetweener”, someone who is neither a tourist or a citizen.
BIG THANKS and shout out, to Trevor and Brian who recently supported us through
We very much appreciate it.
Going Back to England
I haven’t seen my ageing mother, children or grandchildren for 2 years or so now.
My mother lives in East Anglia, my eldest daughter with 2 granddaughters in Oxfordshire, my youngest daughter with 2 grandsons in New Jersey USA and My Son in Singapore with a grandson.
The plan was to base myself with my eldest daughter, and where the rest of the family would meet up for Christmas Lunch. Themselves travelling back to England.
I could also travel onwards to visit my mum during my week there.
Ticket was booked back in October.
Now everything is “up in the air” due to this new virus variant. The UK looks like it’s going to be hit hard between now and Christmas and further into January.
I need to get a “Booster” vaccination. Can I get that in time to fly? Safety issues regarding health need careful consideration.
As I write this, my youngest daughter has cancelled her visit. My son will need to take in total, 10 tests between leaving and returning to Singapore. Will he still want to risk travelling?
It’s a torturous time.
You’ll know my decision in next weeks post.
In the meantime please do stay safe where ever you are.
It’s a Dog’s Life
A rather chaotic week here in the ‘Shire”, with a lot of time being dedicated to our dogs.
We love the dogs to bits.
Even though when things get stressed, we do shout out “Never Again!”. We don’t mean it of course, but stress is better out than in!
If you didn’t know already, then here’s a small introduction to “Los tres amigos”.
1. Cooper. A sort of Istarski/Posavski Gonić mix. In simple language that’s a local/regional breed of scent hound.
Wiki says this about him:
The Posavac Hound (FCI No. 154) (Croatian: posavski gonič) is a breed of dog, originating as a hunting dog of the scenthound type. Croatia is the home country for the breed. The name translates into English as the Scenthound From The Sava Valley, but is usually translated as the Posavac Hound.
We live some 34 km south of the River Sava at the end of a river flood plain, part of which, if I am not mistaken, is the Sava Valley.
Cooper is getting on now and, depending on weather conditions, isn’t satisfied just being outside the house, but prefers patrolling for as much as he feels, around the village. Problem is though, that he either comes back stinking to high heaven (as he’s been foraging through the massive manure heaps that the neighbouring farmers have) or causing us stress, if we hear the sound of gunshots. Farmers can shoot “pests” as they see fit in this country.
He’s been with us since shortly after birth. He was born at a neighbours not too far away, up the hill. So he’s quite well known in the ‘hood
2. Linda. A Labrador/Unknown mix.
Linda is about 15 years old now (that’s 105 in human years). She’s got what we think, is the onset of dementia and she is incontinent.
Challenging. Very Challenging.
She came to stay some 10 years ago.
Sleeps a to these days. Like you do!
3. Fibi. A tiny “Dodge”. Theres no other way to describe her. She’s the result of the roaming dogs that are everywhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
She arrived in the garden one day and wouldn’t leave.
Safe to say though that she’s spayed, so no more “Dodges” from her.
She does suffer with chronic gastritis, so we have to be aware of what she eats when out of our site.
She’s uber slatki (sweet).
So these past 7 days or so have been spent with visits to our local Vets, who are, really great and helpful.
Thank goodness they are just a 20 minute drive away.
Vet bills are regarded as expensive here, but in all honesty, even factoring in the cost of living in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it’s cheaper than in northern Europe. A lot cheaper.
I have often wondered what the weird looking fruit was on a tree we have in the garden.
Was it edible, and, if so, what does it taste like.
Tamara’s father picks and eats the fruit at this time of the year, but apart from that I really haven’t paid any attention.
This fruit appears I think in late summer, and then has always seemed to be rotting away on the tree.
The fruit is called Mušmula, or in English, Medlar.
Medlar originally comes from the South Caucasus. So it's that range of countries between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. It first pops up, I think in written history, as being something that the Greeks used to use a lot. And the Romans were very much into Medlar. It was popular in England for centuries. The Romans most probably brought the Medlar to the British Isles.
Tamara told me that in the 1980’s, in the former Jugoslavija, that people started to purchase small parcels of land to build vikendica’s (weekend cottages). The trend or fashion if you like was to have Mušmula trees.
I have made a video about our Mušmula tree and what we are going to try and make with the fruit.
The video will be LIVE on YouTube at 1145 CET on Sunday 12 December.
But in the meantime, here’s a teaser for you.
Craft Beer and the former 1984 Winter Olympic Slopes
If you visit Sarajevo, be sure to stop by @gastro.pub.vucko and enjoy a phenomenal meal and a huge selection of beers.
The famous Vučko, who was the trademark and mascot of the 1984 Olympic Games, has his place and his beer.
While on the topic of Skiing and Sarajevo
India has started to promote the former Olympic slopes.
Great news for tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
What We Have Been Watching
To be honest, this has been recommended by so many of our friends.
It is certainly a series that we won’t forget anytime soon, and we are just about to start the following 3 season series of “Narcos Mexico”.
However, it is beyond violent at certain parts. So that might be a show stopper for you.
Another downside is that we have taken Colombia of our places to visit list.
We’re not sure which is more deadly a virus or narco-trafficer incident!
From the Kitchen
We are now firmly into the run up to the end of the year here, followed by Orthodox Christmas and I have to say, a host of Serbian Saints Days that are called Slava’s, as each Orthodox family has a patron saint.
We’ll talk more about Slava in future posts, but for today, here’s how Tamara makes Sarma, something that is eaten so much at this time of year and also an integral part of a meal for Slava.
And finally this week
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THANKS SO MUCH ❤️