Saturday, 14 December 2013


Flying with British Airways  I am now in Zagreb, in Croatia, seeking out the ancient side of this magical city.  I promised myself last week not to fly with them again as a manager was rude to me, but have forgiven them as he must have been very tired to treat me so badly. They simply would not let me be upgraded, and then let someone else instead of me. I thought they were very unkind as there is nothing I like more than sitting with my ex husband between cities. We get to know each other all over again.

Anyway, Zagreb. Between the 14th and 18th century, 250 witches were burnt in the upper town. Walking through the freezing fog last night, we came to a shrine to Our Lady, built on one of the many old witch-burning sites in the city. Strangely, behind the bars of the shrine is a blackened portrait of the Virgin Mary - the only thing to survive a great fire here a few hundred years ago. Witches for me are wise women, it is barbaric, that they were killed just for being clever and interesting.

It sounded like a coven through the fog. But when we got there, they were saying the rosary. Hail Mary's, over and over again – people praying and hurling themselves to their knees – they prayed for the healing of dear, ill friends... and for themselves.


This is a peculiar place. (On another corner there was the Museum of  Broken Relationships of all things.) In a glass coffin in the cathedral lies the corpse of a bishop, waxen with death and clothed in his finery. People touch it hoping their wishes will come true. The people of Zagreb are welcoming yet distant. I ended up in a Bosnian restaurant with folk singers.

I am here to see Comrade Popovic, artist poet and writer. A manufacturer of many things fantastical. In truth he is my virtual best friend and it feels sometimes weird to meet him in person.  I truly love him and realise there are many friendships thank goodness. He helps me do my websites, gives me advice, sort out my computer. I was completely computer illiterate when I met him online with my poetry. He loved them and helped me put them to music. With Tim Willis we plan big things, no weddings, possibly a funeral,  and hope they come to fruition. I should get advice from some older wiser women!


mdial said...

It's always odd when you pass from a URL friend to IRL... Sometimes, the URL relationship is heavily linked with the media we use... My wife often talks of her "Facebook friends". We can say/post things differently online... and it's not necessarily any less real. In fact, sometimes, I would argue that it can be more authentic, stripped of the pomp and circumstance of our routine protocol.

Vinnes said...

I am amazed that you use that hilarious term "virtual friend", it is all but virtual through all these years meeting in many countries. "Fixing computers"... You're totally mad. Taurus with horns. Okay, I'll put you in my blog now, on Watch out virtual friend. Want virtual, you will get virtual! Ha ha ha!