Thursday Doors, March 24 – anniversary edition

Norm’s Thursday Doors photo challenge is one year old. My blog will be two in under a week. Celebrations are in order.

I thought it would be good for the occasion to have a look at what kind of doors I published in the first year of my blog before landing the perfect challenge for me.

The first time I participated was on May 1 with the typical title Thursday Doors on a Friday, wondering if this was allowed, but it took me a month to grow into a regular. Since then I think I only missed one Thursday, early on, it just flew by too fast. Door-spotting has become a family sport and a source of joy. Thank you for that, Norm, and to every contributor for making it fun.

The following photos have all already been published before I found Thursday Doors. I am too lazy to edit them up a bit and upload them once again with the watermark. They will have to do as they are.

And this is a recent revisit to my favourite local door used for the New Year’s Day edition of Thursday Doors. I had to take some new photos because they are in bloom. Let our Thursday Doors bloom on too!

Photo: a © signature mmm production

For the anniversary edition of Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors challenge.

WPC: My life normally doesn’t imitate art

…but sometimes my camera gets painterly in a way I’d never thought anything of mine would. Maremma helps. Benvenuti!

Photo: a © signature mmm production

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: Life Imitates Art

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Trees&Houses

Frankly, there must be trees and houses everywhere I look, seeing that I’ve got this combo on most of my photos. Some of these images have been waiting for some time to be posted, and now I’ve got an excuse. Thanks, Cee.

The trees have come to mean Italia to me. The Guinigi tower in Lucca, with seven oak trees on top, was built for this challenge.

Four trees in Roma:

An Italian and a Croatian church:

A few views from Slovenia – Ljubljana, Maribor with the oldest vine in the world, and Piran:

To finish, trees around the corner with the oleander to point the way home.

Photo: MM



My blog is one year old

It was on this day one year ago that I settled on the Volkswagen-looking sign (above left), chose my profile photo and published my first blog piece ever.

It is not an easy piece but it’s quite symbolic. Not symbolic of my blog, which I do my best to keep upbeat, but of my original country. It concerns a certain escaped lynx and what happened to her. As for me, I’m still roaming wild.

These are four of my favourite photos that have not been published yet. This one is Flying Carpet, in Monticiano.

It is rather strange to be me and have a blog. I don’t feel like advertising. I don’t strive to make myself seen. I joined Facebook a mere month or so ago for the first time and now at least my posts are published there as well.

It’s rather like when I was travelling in Greece, around the Peloponnesus and several islands. In more touristy places the restaurant owners were loud and obnoxious, it’s true. They were also quite slick. I remember one of them, standing at the entrance to his restaurant. His game was trying to determine the origin of each group of tourists before they reached his place, and then barely audibly uttering a name of a sportsman from this country. In our case it was Jure Zdovc (basketball player), perfectly pronounced. And this is how he got us to chew on his mediocre calamari.

Domestic Bliss, in Porto Ercole

Another example is the lady in a restaurant in Ljubljana, Slovenia (it was Brinje, for the locals). She had just served my family and me an entire lunch full of national dishes and we were ready to start emitting Slovenian after-meal noises, which are so perfectly described by Mr. Michael Manske (his radio programmes on How to Become a Slovene deserve a special entry).

When she asked us whether we wished any dessert, all of us started to plead incapable of swallowing anything more. She smiled and already turned to leave but then turned her head a little and whispered almost audibly: “We’ve got strawberries.” Guess what followed.

I took this approach at the time when I was selling my mom’s book of poems for children at a fair. The fair was full of toys and this was what most of the kids were interested in. I could see how they looked away as soon as they saw books. And yet, the stall next to me was occupied by a highly successful, cute and productive book seller who put a child or two in her lap and her first question was: “Do you like to create?”, while her aid, dressed as Noddy (hugely popular cartoon and book character), took care of attention-drawing.

I stood there, with one single book on the stall, looking at all the passing children and thinking things over. Then I started to whisper at the passing parents: “We’ve got poems!” At least three fathers bought the book.

And it is not because the book was somehow not worthy. It is one glorious book, if I say so myself, and my plan is to translate it one day and see what the world thinks. Because in Slovenia people love it, children love to learn the poems by heart and colour in the illustrations (provided by Mina Fina) which have been left in black and white for this purpose.

Looky here, in Orvieto

The point is that I prefer the tactics of the restaurant owner on the island of Karpathos, just to the right of Crete, where I had dinner every night for one week years ago. The most memorable meal consisted of a calamaro – yes, in the singular – because one specimen was so huge that it covered the entire plate.

Nobody stood at the entrance there, they were too busy serving. The guests were not tourists but rather locals, and the permeating emotion was that of quiet pride: “Nobody is forcing you to eat here but when you do, you will be served excellent food and you will want to return.”

In this way I have been quietly waiting for a year to see what will happen, but also not really waiting since I put here stuff that I wish to see myself. To have it at a ready.

A few times it happened that a single piece gathered much more attention than normally: one time it was a poem by a Slovenian politician that did it, another time a writing site decided to use my entry with a poem by Tomaž Šalamun as a teaching aid and I still have people flocking over on account of it. Thank you, Tomaž, for writing it.

Beside own writings I have here several own English translations of famous Slovenians who probably have no idea that I have done them, but this is better than have them complain 😀

I have here plenty of own photographs which I can only hope nobody is stealing – but if you do, watch out, Karma is off and running!

I have here birthday wishes for my family and friends, and now we can start the year again and slowly repeat them.

Magliano selfie with uncle’s arm

Photo: MM

Thank you to everybody who have somehow managed to find your way over here despite. And I hope you are well fed.

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈

Pridi cai uncle

In Magliano

Today is the birthday of my pridi cai uncle. The story goes that a long time ago, when he, my mother’s brother, met my father’s uncle for the first time, that uncle made the historical error of saying Pridi kaj to him (which translates roughly as Do come over, but not quite yet). A bit later my uncle did just that with a big rucksack and stayed for a week.

Ever since, Pridi kaj has been uttered with a dose of fear in my family, but they have been almost the first words in Slovenian that my Italian amore learned and is happily repeating them left and right (hence his Italianised spelling pridi cai).

And my uncle has come to visit us in Tuscany, twice, stayed for a while, and then kindly informed us that he was having a too nice time to leave just yet:

In Pitigliano, photo: MM

The olives on the pizza were ten, the foam in the glass was just right (provided that we let him wash the glass by hand), the bestia was waking him up on time, and he – forever an avid reader and student of languages – needs some more time to learn the map of Tuscany by heart.

And this is the best thing he could say.

However, some things have been left for the next pridi cai (for example, those ancient Tuscan caves).

Happy birthday and here is a little blast for the past, which probably I would have never heard of if it wasn’t for you, translated by me on the spot. Enjoy and cin cin.

 ≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈

The Rolling Stones get to meet my grandparents (Stonesi spoznajo moje stare starše) by Marko Brecelj, translated by Manja Maksimovič

In late afternoon they arrived 
In late afternoon they arrived 
Please come on in, have no fear 
Please come on in, have no fear 
Late afternoon is the best time 
The best time for a polite visit 2x

Late afternoon was drowned in darkness 
Mom was serving, we ate alone 
Late afternoon conversation was flowing 
Conversation was flowing and flowing was the wine 
The wine was flowing, the conversation was flowing 
The conversation was flowing, the neighbour flew in 
The neighbour flew in and said 

The walls are thin and the work starts at six 
The walls are thin and the work starts at six 

Dear neighbour, calm down 
Dear neighbour, don’t get upset 
Dear neighbour, calm down (why so quarrelsome) 
Dear neighbour, don’t get upset (why so quarrelsome) 

Who is this man, this man in the painting 
This stern, stern moustached man 
The painting on the wall is an old painting 
And the man in the painting is old, too 

This is my grandfather 
And the woman next to him is grandma 

What a nice picture
What a nice couple 2x

Shortly after midnight they left 
Their chauffeur Joe Smith was already sleeping 
Joe Smith, wake up!! And he started the car 3x

I opened the window and threw out the ashes 
The words and the smoke exited the room