In Case You Were Wondering . . . .

We are entering our fourth week with no electricity, which makes me realize how fast I adapt to things – oh, I don’t mean that as a self-congratulation – more like I get much too comfortable too quickly.  It’s pitch dark at 4:30 pm, at which point Alfred and I take to opposite ends of the sofa in the kitchen (getting tangled up somewhere in the middle) under a big blanket and he goes quietly to sleep while I read, knit or shush the mouse (Alfred is NOT as sentimental as I am about animals, and I suspect he would take a dim view of the fact that the mouse seems to have made off with two big baskets of chestnuts which I suspect he’s squirrelling – mousing? – away inside the sofa, judging from the busy noises he was making underneath me last night . . . )  ANYHOW.  It’s been raining constantly all month, which means that another chunk of road fell into the river two nights ago.  People from Dragobi dug a sort of route through with shovels, so we made it back to Bajram Curri today but to do so we had to cross a bridge with only a thin thread of road (pretty much exactly one car-width wide) leading onto it – the rest has fallen down a precipice and into the river on either side leaving a rather thought-provoking tangle of what looks like water pipe or something hanging in space which seems to be all that’s holding up the bridge on the Valbona side.  It’s noticably worse than it was a week ago which makes me suspect that we may not be crossing it again soon . . . Alfred’s gone off to Kosovo to buy 500 kilos of flour as he says “just in case.”  It seems to me like 500 kilos of flour might be just what’s needed to knock the rest of the bridge into the river, but then I’m sure he knows better about these sorts of things . . . . Stay tuned for more exciting news of our stone-age adventures when the power eventually comes back.  I’m reading up on microhydropower systems at the moment, so if worst comes to worst we might be able to hook a sort of pinwheel up to the car’s alternator and shove the whole thing under the old water mill . . . .

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5 Responses to “In Case You Were Wondering . . . .”

  1. Laura FinlayNo Gravatar says:

    Soooooo jealous!

  2. MomNo Gravatar says:

    I sent two packages yesterday, including the requested “delicate instrument.” Hope the 500 kg of flour makes it to Valbona–otherwise it’s macaroons. My skype is out of commission but will get it up and working soon–though THAT will not help us with no electricity there. I forget about details like that. It’s all so confusing–all these “means of communication.” I think I’ll write you a letter, but how will you get to Bajram Curri to retrieve it? We’ve had ten feet of snow! Margaret has sent Tod and Wills warm Woolrich coats–tartan red. You should see Tod, looking like a chic stuffed sausage in a warm, red and black. checkered coat! And Wills leading us both, with the coat raised like a fan over his curly tail. The lake was almost all frozen, dotted with Canadian geese–all azurine light and soft gray mist. The only color on the snow was the dogged red-coats, skipping purposefully toward no particular goal. And, oh, Tod LOVES snow–it must feel like urban cement. None of that nasty green stuff called grass. He LOVEs it–loves the narrow paths along banks and walls of snow against which to perch his piddles. We send you love. I just realized you will not read this any sooner than a regular e-mail. Bother. I just read the UNDP proposal. Impressive–excellently articulated. Margaret also bought thick warm socks for Alfred at Woolrich. Two pair. You all keep warm.

  3. Ani from BostonNo Gravatar says:


    Hoping that you’re well and safe and healthy and enjoying the beautiful harsh winter up in Valbona. Happy holidays to you and all the people there who are lucky to have you around!


  4. Hello CatherineNo Gravatar says:

    Hello Catherine & Alfred
    My name is Kujtim , i live in NY and i am from Kam, Tropoje. My best friend here in NY is a cousin of Alfred, his name is Altin Selimaj dhe son Ramiz Selimaj. My wife’s uncle lives in Dragobi , his name is Baram Metalia. I never been in Valbona, been once in Cerem. Thinking this year to visit Albania, i haven’t been there in 7 years.
    Wish you and Alfred good luck with the tourist business.

    Best Regards
    Kujtim Mulaj
    Yonkers, NY

  5. CatherineNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Kujtim! What a nice email to receive! I know Alfred Metalia & Drita – I’m SURE Alfred knows Baram and Altin – can’t wait to tell him! I hope you do come visit – 7 years is a long time! Thank you for your good wishes, and all the best to you! Say hi to NYC for me!

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