500 Year Vision

Take pleasure from walking lightly on this Earth

Bohemian Flapjack

April28

We try to avoid buying junk food at Nový Mlýn, and instead encourage our visitors to bake when they have the urge to eat something sweet.  This is a super-easy flapjack* recipe for those with absolutely no baking skill or experience – or if you want to make something really, really quickly. We use honey in preference to sugar because of food miles, and oil is easier than butter, as you don’t have to melt it first.

Ingredients

  • Honey (a couple of hundred grams ish or  2 cups)
  • Olive oil (a couple of hundred mls ish  or 2 cups)
  • Rolled oats (up to 500 grams or 5-6 cups)
  • A hand full of  dried fruit, nuts, orange or lemon peel, chopped – what ever you have in the kitchen.  If you choose just two,  it’ll have a clearer flavour.

(or – equal parts honey and oil, with equal parts dry to wet ingredients)

Method

Heat the oven to 200 degrees c. and oil a metal baking sheet.

Combine the olive oil and honey in a large saucepan and warm over a medium heat. When it comes to the boil, turn off the heat and add the two or three types of flavouring ingredients – I normally stick to two so that it’s ingredient A and ingredient B flapjack – Almond and Lemon flapjack, or Walnut and Ginger flapjack etc … three flavourings becomes too much of a mouthful to say, if nothing else. Once these are mixed together, add as many rolled oats as you can – ie completely coated by the honey & oil.

Turn the mixture into the baking sheet and pack it down with the back of a wooden spoon. It needs to be an inch or 3 or 4 cms thick. Once it’s packed down, you can use a spatula to cut it into portions, then pack it down again. This’ll make getting it out much easier.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at a medium heat  for 20 minutes, or until it’s a nice golden brown. Let it cool before eating.

* Traditional Flapjack is something like American Granola bars.

Eating the weeds

April16

Over the last few weeks since Joann left the house has seemed very quiet.  We’ve been outnumbered by the animals. Jaakko has been concentrating on building the hen house, and I have been moving rubble out of the garden by the wheel barrow load. I’m really happy that reinforcements arrived yesterday in the form of American Chris and Hollander Michiel – it’s great to have the house busy again and hear interesting stories of other lives.

Slowly things are becoming green, but as yet there are no leaves on the trees. Some of the seeds that we planted inside have germinated – the broccoli, onions, wild rocket and sorrel have made an appearance, but none of the others… it’s possible that they didn’t react well to the cats climbing in the boxes. Today we’ve transplanted broccoli, and companion planted Nasturtiums with it (another edible plant). Michial has built a sturdy frame to protect the puny seedlings, and we’ve experimented with a few different techniques of plant protection using the cuttings from the apple trees and old net curtains. Read the rest of this entry »

Speakovame dobry čekliš (Czechlish)

April22

We spent the weekend with Jerry and his family in their cottage. We had not been very sure of the invitation – it says a great deal about our level of Czech that at first Mike thought that Jerry was phoning to remind him that he danced like a chicken. However, when we arrived in Slabčice, we realised that it was simply a common Czechlish error.

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Maybe we’re going away for the weekend?

April20

Things seem to be going slowly at the moment. It’s hard not being able to get to the house & I’m still waiting for responses from lots of people about lots of different projects. I try to work to my enthusiasms, but projects seem to be slightly adrift at present.

We think we’ve been invited away for the weekend! A guy we met at a bar a few weeks ago phoned & probably arranged for us to join him & his family at their cottage. Thing is, we’re not completely sure about it, only about 87%. Will have to wait & see what happens tomorrow.

A very odd coincidence: I did a search of images on  Google for ‘tulip cafe prague’ and on the first page is a picture of the guy who I am working for at The English Centre. No explanation as to why. Is Google far more sophisticated than I think. Could it be something to do with our geographical location? Mysterious.

Holes in buckets

April17

The paperchase continues. In order to purchase a car, one of us needs a residence permit. I can’t as I still have my unmarried name on my passport (we need the marriage certificate to change this – and that’s in the UK).

M can, but needs to have an officially stamped copy of our rental agreement, the company formation documents for Passer s.r.o. and a letter from himself saying that he is an employee of his own company in the UK (I think officially translated and stamped as well). Once we have gathered said documents, we will go back to the foreign police and see if they like them. Then, all we need to do is find a car, organise our insurance – povinné ručení (maybe from UNIQUA – 800 120 020) & register it.

In the mean time, we’ll buy  another bike once M is paid.

Exhausted & crying

April16

Yet another incident fraught attempt to travel. This time via bicycle. We bought M a bike on Friday, so that we could reach the house (20km, no Saturday bus, no car because we don’t have paperwork yet). After 5 km it had started misbehaving – the bit the pedal was attached to had worked loose.

Luckily we were able to fix it – with the help of a stranger innocently working on his garden in a small Czech village. He even gave us the tool we needed! Some people are so nice. We managed to get to Novy Mlyn, though stopping every so often to tighten up the loose fitting. The countryside was beautiful (something we’re nearly taking for-granted now) and the journey felt like very good exercise (i.e. it is nearly constantly up hill from Tábor). Read the rest of this entry »

A very sunny day in Tábor

April13

It’s been a lovely week. The town looks pretty with blossom and new leaves on the trees. And every little restaurant is gearing up for the tourist season by constructing decks for tables and chairs on the pavements and around the square. I have even managed to drag M away from his computer on occasion!

This week I began teaching for the English Centre in Tábor. The lessons have been very enjoyable. I have met very interesting people, with varied & exciting lives. I’m really pleased about it. I was nervous, but I think it went okay – I hope my students got as much out of it as I did!

Quote from M yesterday ‘what kind of hell hole did we come from!’ – after yet again seeing something and saying ‘well you wouldn’t get that in England’.

Today we visited the foreign police in Tábor. They were lovely and even spoke to us in English. We needed long term residence in order to buy a car, however we need proof of employment and officialised copies of our rent agreement to get this. So, the upshot is that we won’t be buying a car this weekend.  Instead we are going to buy a bike for Mike & attempt to cycle to our house – it’s quite a long way, and quite a big hill – but if we take our time, we should be okay. This is eco friendly, however will mean that we can’t just ‘nip over’ there for a few hours in the evening after work.  It’ll get us fit!

Joke from yesterday – listening to bird song – what are they shouting about – “there’s a sale on at nestsRus”  M “everything’s going cheep, cheep, cheep.”

Not Good Friday.

April9

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The purchase of a car is always going to be a controversial decision for the eco conscious.  I believe the best solution would be to buy a second hand diesel powered vehicle, and use biodiesel as fuel.  I really need to meet some local greens who would know how to go about such a scheme.  In the mean time, I am desperate to get to Novy Mlyn and start working on the project there.  In the mean time we will buy something old, then resell it once we have a greener alternative available.  And, of course, right now 500 year vision has no income to speak of.

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Novy Mlyn – what first?

April3

First of all, spurious pictures. Something I’ve not seen before – balls hanging in trees to celebrate spring:

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