Monsieur Alain Rolland The French 2011 Rugby World Cup Referee



WALES   24      THE ALL BLACKS   11


Here we go then, I said this blog would not be just about the beautiful sites that Croatia has to offer.

So lets make no mistake, I am biased, Welsh, 65 years old and have waited all my life for Wales to win The World Cup.

I played and watched through the previous Welsh ascendancy in the 70′s. Regaling my squash buddies (SOGSS)* of recent years with the memories of the Pontypool Front Row, the 1971 Lions team that had 15 Welshmen (perhaps only 13, I’m old now and the memory fades) and Phil Bennett’s 95 yard singlehanded tries against the All Blacks or The good doctor’s (JPR) bonecrunching tackles in 1974.

This World Cup has been a showcase for the management skills of Warren Gatland and the outstanding effort put in by his Welsh squad both on and off the pitch as ambassadors for their Country and the Game we love. The boys both youngsters and old stagers trained and played their hearts out, unlike England who never really showed up or France who only excelled in their usual disorganisation and petty bickering amongst themselves. There was little doubt in my mind that the final would be Wales versus the All Blacks and that undoubtedly would have been the Match of the Year if not decade or even millenium.

What went wrong?
Several things really,

1) A jobsworth who hid behind a rulebook
Why? Well Alain Rolland does not sound like a very Irish names does it.
That’s because his Father is French and his name is Alain Colm Pierre Rolland. Colm is an Irish name.
He undoubtedly took advantage of the vagueness of the Rule Book to advantage his home country.
2) An ill thought decision from a dubious referee who already had several doubtful calls in this tournament.
- The player is lifted and then forced or `speared’ into the ground (red card offence)
- The lifted player is dropped to the ground from a height with no regard to the player’s   safety (red card offence)
- For all other types of dangerous lifting tackles a yellow card or penalty may be considered sufficient.”
Q) 2 other tip tackles were punished with a yellow card and a penalty in this tournament, why the red card only for Wales?
Q) Why did Monsieur Rolland not consult with his fellow officials?
Q) Or use any of the high tech video options open to him?
3) A serious mistake by the IRB
The whole competition runs on neutral referee and touch judges from Countries other  than those playing the match.
Sensible really, obviously a referee has to be impartial. So why place temptation in the way, someone might just take it.

Anyway it is over now, the boys played their damnest but 14 against 16 at this level are impossible odds.

*SOGSS = Stately Old Gentlemens’ Squash Society (or Sad Old Gits, some would say).

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The Serbian Orthodox Monastery at Krupa

Whilst visiting Kudin Most last week we stumbled upon an old and very beautiful Monastery. Deciding it would be worth trying to get inside for a look around we returned a few days later and pressed the electronic intercom button.

We were immediately admitted by a very charming and personable young man who explained that he was a Theology student from BIH helping out for a couple of weeks by acting as a guide. His English was immaculate and his knowledge both of the Monastery and his Religion very extensive.
Our guide a view towards to altar
Frescos in the vaulted ceiling
Moving through the entrance lobby we exited into a beautiful courtyard in full bloom and containing a fountain and pond with a ledge to sit upon and relax.
Bob and Chris at the fountain
Next we were shown the chapel with its beautiful although now rather faded frescos that cover most of the walls and the domed roof.
Close up of a wall fresco showing 3 archangels

The chapel dates from the 13th Century and the frescos to the 16th. When the Ottoman empire ruled the Frescos had to be plastered over and then the plaster whitewashed so that no trace of them could be seen.
Wood painted Altar screen

There are also 4 large Icons that make up part of the “rood” screen in front of the altar. Only the faces show on these icons the rest is covered by a beaten silver sheet that mimics in every detail the painting that they obscure. The door through the screen to the alter is wood and painted both elaborately and most exquisitely. The icons on display are in fact copies as the originals were stolen many years ago and were discovered quite recently in Holland. They have now been repatriated and are kept in the Monastery Museum a few yards away but now under the strictest security, they are viewed as part of the museum tour.
 Icons with their protective beaten silver protectors

Photography is allowed inside the chapel but only without flash as the frescos will be even more damaged it is felt. The museum tour is the only cost here but at 20Hrk (£2.50) it is a must do. Photography is not allowed inside the museum for security reasons but as I am British I was allowed a quick shot (no flash) of an Icon of St George killing the Dragon.
St George killing the dragon
Must research how a Maltese myth became a Canon of the Orthodox church and the Patron Saint of England, one day.

The original icons which were stolen will take your breath away when you get to see them, the colours are as crisp and fresh as the day they were created.



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The swallows that entertain us each year

Our apartment house has 3 apartments for rental and they all have their own populations of swallows. The birds arrive in late March early April already paired up and have several nests built over the years to choose from.

The first few days there is great hubbub and fuss as they decide who is going to use which nest. Then the renovation and improvement  starts, Madam is in charge and does all the building work from within the nest, Hubby simply flies around bringing back fluff small twigs and moss as well as beaks full of mud. He gets the mud by mixing soil/dust together with spit. To help them we do a bit of out of season irrigation to create a small boggy area.

This brood were particularly hungry and as I walked past I noticed that a “click” to tell a dog to pay attention would produce this reaction. It went on for about a week before they realised it would produce no tasty insects.

Click link  Feed me Now


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What’s appropriate on and off the beach?

There has been a lot of fuss around the seaside areas of Croatia this season with regard to what is/isn’t appropriate wear when off the beach in Cafe bars, supermarkets and the town centre shops.

In Split, Dubrovnik and several other places many people have been asked to cover up even when walking on the street and at least in one case in Split; arrests were made, of 2 attractive young ladies in Bikinis, albeit very brief ones. I believe thay were escorted back to their accommodation by the police and given the chance to cover up.

Generally Croatia is regarded as being relaxed about nudity except on town centre or village beaches, however this ……

Croatia News -appeared in today’s 24SATA.

On a lighter note (so sorry about the pun)

The images below were taken at Walmart apparently not at the seaside but in the USA

Maybe this could be regarded as covering up

Butterscotch Chip
Butterscotch Chip

But this is definitely not

The flowered bra just pulls the whole outfit together
The flowered bra just pulls the whole outfit together


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A View To Die For – Kudin Most – Kuda’s Bridge

As we have visitors and they are “family” it seems to be the done thing to take them somewhere both different and exciting. They have visited several times before so a bit of effort is required to find new things to do.

My all time, full time favourite neighbours, Robin and Wendi (Glasgow Rangers and Maple Syrup, gives clues to their Nationalities) suggest Zrmanja Canyon. It is within 50km of Starigrad Paklenica,  not regarded as difficult walking and extremely beautiful.

So off we jolly well go, Robin and Wendi in their car with Zdenko their neighbour who is from up country (Slavonia) and holidays at his family cottage each year in the village. Me with Christine and Bob, who has a very slight heart problem in my car.

Zdenko's Cafe Fix

Zdenko's Cafe Fix

Stopping in Obravac to give Zdenko his morning coffee fix we are still on time for a nine o’clock start as the temperature today is expected to be in the high 30s.
Our actual destination is Kuda’s Bridge (Kudin Most) purported to have been built by a lovestruck young man to reach his beloved who lived on the other side of the River Krupa.

To get there you take the Knin road up out of Obravac for about 10k then turn left towards Krupa village , left again signposted to Golubic (after the 700 year old Orthodox monastery that will surely be another blog subject) and turn left just in the village by the Skola. This road dead ends at tiny car park outside the house of a charming lady who sells excellent honey. The track is clearly signed and shows the bridge at a 20 minute walk, you are within 1 kilometre of your destination.

Descending 1

The Sherpa's even use carrier bags


Sherpa Zdenko

Sherpa Zdenko with the food

The goat path down to the bridge is easily accomplished by all in around the suggested time even with “look at that” and “WOW” stops. Although steepish in places lightweight trainers were the preferred choice, Christine and I, in sandals, coped fine too and I met nobody who told me that my footwear was most inappropriate which did make a change.

The views on the way down and at the bridge will take your breath away. The water is excellent to swim in although you can’t help looking over your shoulder for the official who will jump out of a bush to tell you that what you are doing is forbidden!!

View to meadow below the bridge from half way down

View to meadow below the bridge from half way down


Kudin Most Bridge

Kudin Most Bridge


First cascade up river from the bridge

First cascade up river from the bridge


The first cascade with reflections of the canyon walls

The first cascade with reflections of the canyon walls

The walk back up is a little more difficult although Bob who gave himself a 5 minute start was able to cope fine even with his “dicky ticker”. Robin caused a few minutes of worry with mild heat exhaustion but a little resting, fanning and Wendi’s tender loving care got him safely to the top.

Robin with fans on the way up

Robin with fans on the way up

I shall definitely go again with Mandy next time she is over and if the weather is a little cooler the dogs can come too. There is no livestock to worry about and the cliffs are not too steep nor the drops too dangerous.


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Hello world!

Who are we?
The quote below is from our about us page
“After surviving 25 years of British weather and British politicians we have escaped from the rat race to enjoy some sun, some relaxation and some quality time together. We intend to do this for many years. Perhaps you’d like to join us for a fortnight?”

Why are we starting to blog?

  • There are many reasons so here are just a few
  • The holiday season in Croatia is mid July to the end of August, 6 weeks
  • The Winter is only from early November to Mid March
  • So for almost six months either side of the season we have 20-25C but no visitors
  • There is much I want to tell people about the beauties of Croatia
  • I feel there maybe a book in there somewhere so practice is good
  • There is much in the world to be passionate about
  • There is much about the world to be angry about
  • Nobody is listening but even if the truth hurts it should still be told
  • I can sit glowing with self righteousness knowing I have said my piece

What will we blog about?
Subjects that will be covered are endless,
from“Didn’t we have a lovely day the day we went to…………….”


Just about anything political, economic or social that affects and particularly contrasts the situations in Britain, Europe and Croatia. Although I have left the UK probably never to return there are still many things that cause me grief. I have, as the sociologists say, “issues”.

A good example is when I hear someone say today  “It is my right”. I was taught that “I have/had duties and responsibilities”.  It was implicit at home, school and for many years at work, that if I carried out my duties and lived up to my responsibilities then “rights” would be acquired. No rights were ever, as far as I remember, either free or automatically a given, they always had to be earned by expending effort.

In closing

Welcome to the ABC blog. We initially just wanted the blog option for guests who have stayed at “Apartmeni Lastavica” and wish to add comments, but if you have stayed in Starigrad and would like to share your experience, met Graham in a bar or just have something worthwhile to contribute feel free. In fact even if you just live in this beautiful world and want to agree or disagree with anything posted add your comment.

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