Just so that we’re clear, I came equipped with the usual set of pre-programmed physiological responses and they’re all here and accounted for; I assure you that I am just as fazed by the sudden sight of anything potentially dangerous as the next person. My fight, flight or freeze reaction is alive and well and easily triggered by creepy crawlies, the fact I am willing to extend my hospitality to an occasional charismatic arthropod notwithstanding. It’s just that I don’t continue panicking after having judged a stimulus mostly harmless and as far as I know, all central-European arachnids including my flatmate Brunhilda the diadem spider are harmless to the point of being helpless against humans, save for their potential to send us running by the sheer power of their presence. I am not fearful of Brunchy but if she catches me by surprise… Well here’s a video of what transpired when her delicate claw-foot made contact with my fingertip as I was attaching a snack to her web:
As demonstrated here, the FFF response of this particular human is accompanied by an alarm call. The volume of the distress signal may range from a loud gasp if the room acoustics are deemed adequate to a blood-curdling screech reserved for open spaces, but invariably there is some degree of vocalisation. (Yes I’m a shrieker and unabashedly proud of it. As luck would have it, one of my neighbours wails like a banshee when startled and hilarity ensues each time we unexpectedly bump into each other in the basement. Since the birth of humanity, it was people like us who had kept their fellow humans safe by instantly alerting them to threats real and imagined. These same individuals also excelled at obliterating the element of surprise from hunting expeditions whenever a scary bug moved into sight, which just might have been the driving force behind humans largely giving up on hunting for their meals and settling down to take up agriculture instead. So yeah, we shriekers have shaped history in ways you can’t begin to imagine.)Continue reading Brunhilda and the hand that feeds her→
I love it when Mother Nature steps forward to solve my problems. Until quite recently, a prominent grievance of mine were germ-taxies (houseflies). I’m locally famous for my knack at capturing them, which I suppose is fine. The thing is I’m keen on recycling and I felt bad for having little choice other than flush perfectly edible insects down the drain as I had no pet I could feed my prey to. That was, until Brunhilda came to my rescue.
The first time I saw her was when my darling lured me over to the bedroom by announcing he had something to show me and directed my gaze to the window above my side of the headboard. I was thrilled to see that while I was out, a newly-arrived friend had fitted it with a pure-silk, certified-organic flytrap that cut right through the airspace so cherished by insects. Brunhilda was sitting at the centre of her creation, looking a bit tense. I stood up on the headboard, inspected her up close, looked at my man and said, “Her butt looks flat, we need to fatten her up.” From then on, each captured fly has been presented to our new pal and she seemed to approve of this arrangement because Brunhilda, also known as Brunchy amongst her flatmates, is a diadem spider. And fatten her up we sure did.
It’s official, animals have lost their last remnant of respect for us. We people have changed and shed some of our feistier habits that used to keep them in check. In the old days, people went vegetarian only after they’ve run out of animals to hunt and any beast foolhardy enough to wander into a human settlement was facing two possible outcomes. In the highly improbable case it was judged too ugly to eat, the creature was greeted with a hailstorm of sticks and stones and sent from whence it came, its self-esteem curbed somewhat. Given that people weren’t such fussy eaters in days of yore, it was massively more likely the intruder was interpreted as a surprise food delivery and treated accordingly. After the humans were done picking its bones clean and rhythmically banging them together thanking the God of Foolishness for the feast, they tanned its hide and made it into warm slippers and a new handbag for the village First Lady, and if the creature had antlers or fangs of any consequence, they were repurposed as spear tips to welcome the next rambler of its kind with added efficiency.
It’s a tough contest but if I had to say which animal made me laugh the hardest, the honour would go to a dog I had when I was little, Fia the Doberman pinscher. It used to be quite common in Slovenia for parents to let their small children keep big animals. I suppose they hoped such a responsibility would instil some wisdom in either the kids or the pets, not to mention the added benefit of having would-be child molesters reconsider their life choices after losing a limb to a protective pet.
(Admittedly, keeping a dog wasn’t always the complicated affair it’s cranked up to be nowadays, as pooches used to have a set of clearly-defined duties – to chaperone the children, to protect the house, to abstain from mauling people without due cause and to refrain from passing gas indoors – which gave them a sense of purpose, and effectively prevented the likes of Cesar Milan from making a career trying to talk some sense into people who don’t know what a dog is for and what to do with it.)
In the rural areas where parents continue to expect their children to be smart enough to make it in the world without grown-ups constantly shielding them from all potential sources of harm, you can still see tots leading huge dogs, horses, cattle and whatnot, and when they’re not doing that they’re likely driving a tractor. From what I gather from my recent explorations of the Slovenian countryside, the age of eight is still considered ideal for country children to start operating heavy machinery. Anyway, my Fia was super clever about many things, a keen student of human nature and an astute exploiter of its soft spots, but like so many animals she tended to come up short when met with certain pitfalls of physics. Continue reading The breakdancing dog→
A funny thing you can’t help but notice if you happen to wander into the country called Slovenia is that it’s almost impossible to leave. It’s not like anyone is manning the borders; the country is in the Schengen Area which basically means everyone and their sister is roaming around freely. The traffic connections are superb and, with Slovenia being so tiny, you can step on it and find yourself somewhere else in a matter of minutes. Our neighbours the Croatians – who lay claim to a somewhat larger country which is as pretty as they come but shaped like a pair of spaying tongs – will gladly tell you that Planica (where our rather famous ski flying hill is) will never get a permit for a higher hill as then the skiers would be landing on Croatian porches, wreaking all kinds of havoc in the process.
Prostor prispeva lady Tanja, žare in organizacijo prispevamo Celjani, par prenocišc pod trdo streho Alenka in jaz, hrano in pijaco vsi po vrsti. S sabo prinesti kaj za jesti, piti, sedeti, ležati, kakšno kitaro in kak šotor, ce je želja po spanju zunaj.
Do prostora za piknik se da priti z avtom, vendar pa je verjetno najbolje, ce se lepo parkira pod brano (tam je dovolj veliko parkirisce) in potem lepo sprehodi mimo razgledne tocke, brane, luke ter cez most. Na koncu mostu je na desni colnarna, kjer so igrala, klopi, mize, strežba & izposoja colnov. Na levi pa je prostor za naš piknik! V bližini sta dve kemicni stranišci; eno je povsem blizu (pri colnarni), drugo pa malenkost dlje – pri luki.
Šmartinsko jezero je eno najvecjih umetnih jezer v Sloveniji (površina 117 ha), odlikuje ga zelo razgibana in dolga obala. Datum poznamo, tocno lokacijo in nekaj pripadajocih atrakcij pa si lahko ogledate na spodnjih fotkah.
Turisticna ladja na zgornji sliki odpelje iz luke vsakic, ko se na njej nabere deset ljudi. Cena 5 eur. Plovba traja kakšno uro, ves cas strežejo pijaco. Razporeditev sedežev je prijazno gostinska – ne guliš klopi kot v šoli, ampak se lepo posedeš okoli mizic, na katere si potem seveda narocaš pijaco po želji. Kapitan je faca in mislim, da lahko brez problema ladjo dobimo samo zase, ce je interes.
Ladja na sredi enega od zalivov; je kar hitra, malenkost piha, ampak ni hudega. Za popolno doživetje se daš na zgornjo palubo.
Taka je pa jezerska voda (da ne bo kdo rekel, da nismo povedali). Od dalec lepo modra, od bliže malce bolj kavne barve. Ni ravno za piti, za plavanje in pedalinckanje je pa cisto dobra. Še posebej zato, ker je prijazno topla.
Sprehajališce ob ribiski koci. Ta je od nasega prostora za piknik oddaljena le par minutk, ce si sposodiš colnicek ali pedalincek. Seveda se pride tudi po cesti, ampak tisto ni tako kul 🙂 Za ribiške navdušence je to ena od najboljsih lokacij.
Tisti križec tamle v levem kotu oznacuje lokacijo nasega piknika. No, od križca do polotoka z ribiško se lepo pride s pedalinom.
Pogled na jezero z ribiške koce. V živo je še lepše!
Ena od promenad; tale je ob ribiški koci. Na sploh je obala jezera prepredena z lepimi potmi, ki so ponoci delno osvetljene, in gosto posejana z romanticnimi klopmi in pocivalisci.
Ribiška koca. Spet. Zanimiv plac; pijaco strežejo, hrano pa s sabo prineseš oz. uloviš in jo sam pripraviš.
Simpaticne stare lupine.
Saj sem omenila, da je jezero polno rib?? Karte so od 17 do 19 EUR, obdržiš lahko eno ribo; ce je ujeta riba težja od 5 kg, jo moraš izpustiti. Rules are rules. Sem pa pozabila vprašati, ali so mislili 5 kil pri še živi ali že ocisceni … tako da zna biti tukaj nekaj manevrskega prostora 😉
Tale drevesa varujejo naš prostor za piknik pred radovednimi pogledi. Smo pa deset sekund od obale, luksuz!
Plovilca za izposojo. Colnarna; 10 metrov od piknika. V ozadju luka z ladjicama in nasip, ki drži vso to vodo stran od Celja.
Jezero je zelo priljubljeno zbirališce psov. In njihovih lastnikov. Skratka, the place je animal friendly.
Ena od urejenih sprehajalnih poti, tik ob prostoru za piknik.
Pogled na colnarno. Levo od njih smo mi.
Nekakšen zemljevid bi se lahko temu reklo. X marks the spot. Rjava crta je moje umetniško doživljanje mostu.
No, tole je ta most, cez katerega je treba iti, da se pride na piknik. Pri prehodu se tale stvarca simpaticno ziblje.
Urejena galerija, po kateri se nad obalo sprehodiš na most.
Alenka šeta mimo plaže.
Tu in tam najdeš ob jezeru kaj tako simpaticno starega; meni so tele stopnice všec, komu drugemu bo pa kaj drugega. Priložnosti za fotografiranje je dovolj. Cisto blizu prostora za piknik je na primer drstišce, kjer se zadržujejo mnoge vodne ptice.
Urejena plaža (pozno popoldan).
Pogled na brano od spodaj; visoka je 18,5 m in dolga 205 m. Sedaj so jo preuredili v sprehajališce.
Pogled na enega bolj divjih delov obale. Ampak bolj na videz; med drevesi se vijejo urejene sprehajalne poti.
Alenka se smuka prek skakalnice.
Vecina ljudi pripelje s sabo kužke, tale dama pa je jezero razkazala svojemu dihurcku.
Prostor za naš piknik! Klopca, miza, kamin. Ljubka crna kepica v ospredju je Ajša.
Jezero kljub urejanju obale in razvoju turizma ohranja svoj na trenutke divji videz.
Ce bi se hotelo resno uliti, lahko vedrimo tule pri colnarni.
Igrala za otroke so na dveh lokacijah; zgornja je takoj zraven, pri colnarni, druga pa ob luki.