Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.
The festive time of the year is just around the corner and it’s a time to spread goodwill. Every year The Dubrovnik Times gets involved with a number of charities and we are always happy to help.
The Bone Cancer Research Trust from the UK are an organisation that we have supported before and this year they are kindly asking for you to get involved in their Christmas action.
Here is the letter in full that we received from them, please help if you can.
Letter to Editor: Christmas Stamp Appeal for Bone Cancer Research Trust
I am writing to you on behalf of the Bone Cancer Research Trust to ask for your help this festive season. More postage stamps are used in December than any other time of the year. We are appealing for your support this Christmas by asking your readers to save their stamps and help to fund life-saving research into primary bone cancer. It’s really easy for your readers to get involved and I’ve included some copy below to include in your publication or even share across your social media channels.
Christmas is coming and soon you’ll be getting Christmas cards in the post! But what are you going to do with all those used stamps? The Bone Cancer Research Trust has the answer… The Bone Cancer Research Trust Stamp Appeal.
Getting involved could not be easier! All you need to do is save your used stamps or horizon labels from the UK or overseas. If you are a business, shop or public service you could even have a collection box for people to drop off their stamps. Your stamps will be recycled and turned into lifesaving funds.
Primary bone cancer can occur at any age, but affects mostly children, teenagers, young adults and the elderly. Every 10 minutes somewhere in the world someone is diagnosed with primary bone cancer. Collecting used stamps is a simple way to make a huge difference.
You can order a free Stamp Appeal pack today by visiting –
Or join their Facebook group: Bone Cancer Research Trust Stamp Appeal
Please send your used stamps to BCRT Stamp Appeal, 20 Bowers Road, Benfleet, Essex, England, SS7 5PZ
Thank you for your time and consideration in this urgent appeal.
About Bone Cancer Research Trust
The Bone Cancer Research Trust was established in 2006 and is now the leading charity dedicated to fighting primary bone cancer. The charity’s mission is to save lives and improve outcomes for people affected by primary bone cancer through research, information, awareness and support. The Bone Cancer Research Trust provide a free Support and Information Service for anyone affected by primary bone cancer and bone tumours. For more information, visit www.bcrt.org.uk
“When you had 30 cases a day you had a complete lockdown and now that you have 3,000 a day you are open. Could you please explain that logic to me,” asked the journalist from a French newspaper to me via Zoom last week. I could have probably explained but it would have taken half of his newspaper and would be filled with politics. “It seems that your politicians have to be seen to be doing something so they are slightly altering the Covid-19 regulations,” he added. From his Paris base he was hitting lots of nails on the head.
It would appear that Covid-19 in Croatia is Count Dracula and only comes out after dark. Is there really any point in moving opening hours from midnight to 10? Either leave businesses to work or close them completely. This halfway house is only prolonging the problem.
It isn’t brain surgery. We all know the rules. If you want to play football you know the rules of the game and play by them. If we just stuck to the rules, then our Covid-19 would be easier. But thankfully we might all get the Christmas present that we wanted under the Christmas tree, a vaccine. Santa and Rudolph will be flying over smoking chimneys and dropping presents from Pfizer down them.
So with the promised land so close let’s not drop our guard. Covid-19 vaccines are like number 6 buses. You wait and wait for one to arrive and then three arrive at once. One is 90 percent effective, the other 94 percent, another doesn’t need to be stored at artic temperatures. Does that mean that if I take the 90 percent one and the 94 percent one that I’m 184 percent safe? We are getting close to the Shangri-la.
Thankfully common sense has floated to the surface and the Winter Festival has been drastically cut down. It was a pretty dumb idea to hold it this year anyway. Not as dumb as the Vukovar procession, but pretty close. I mean I personally wouldn’t eat a sausage that’s been drowning in oil for hours even if there wasn’t a pandemic. Although those sausages are so tough they could probably kill all viruses. Something like Trump’s idea of injecting bleach.
So the festival wasn’t really on my radar with or without having to wear a mask. We all need and deserve some Christmas cheer. And as Mariah Carey belts out her Christmas hits on my radio I can’t help thinking that Christmas 2021 is only a year away. Will we have forgotten coronavirus by then, no. But will it be a memory as opposed to a reality, yes! Optimism is rising.
And this year Christmas has come a little early to the Thomas household with a new member of the family a bouncing 8-month-old puppy. And bouncing is the right word. Nothing makes you forget a global pandemic than a puppy’s eyes waiting for you to throw his ball. Toto is the latest rescue animal to join our growing zoo. Pretty soon we’ll be selling tickets to the Thomas Župa zoo. Maybe we’ll get one of those brown tourist attractions signs on the main road. And I’m pretty sure that Toto will keep me fit. He is a mix between a Croatian Sheepdog and a Golden Retriever. Making him the Usain Bolt of the dog kingdom with the appetite of a dinosaur.
Our cats have yet to fully welcome Toto’s enthusiasm and exuberant friendliness, although I expect that with time they’ll be his ruler and not his toy. We are now in the phase of making the home puppy friendly. You can buy a puppy all the toys you want but there is nothing as interesting as a slipper or a remote control. I have already lost a sock. I am just presuming he didn’t eat it but just hid it. He might even eat one of those festive sausages. His undoubtable intelligence is a double-edged sword. You can just see the look in his eyes as I open the fridge possibly thinking to himself “Hmmm, I wonder how I could open that in the future?”
The next decade won’t be boring with Toto around that’s for sure. “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself,” once said the writer Josh Billings. And Toto is certainly following this phrase.
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to
In the last 24 hours, 3,987 new cases of Covid-19 virus were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today has reached a total of 23,573.
There are currently 2,221 people in hospital across Croatia and 262 people on ventilators.
Unfortunately, over the last 24-hour period a further 55 people have passed away due to Covid-19 in Croatia.
Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 123,693 people have been infected with the new coronavirus, of which 1,655 have died, a total of 98,465 have recovered, of which 2,767 recovered in the last 24 hours.
There are currently 51,247 people in self-isolation.
To date, a total of 736,102 people have been tested, of which 11,282 in the last 24 hours.
In the last 24 hours, 66 new cases of coronavirus infection were recorded in Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
These new cases include 27 people from Metković, 17 from Dubrovnik (of which two are from the Home for the Elderly Dubrovnik), five from Korčula, four from Župa dubrovačka, three from Orebić, two from Konavle and the Dubrovacko Primorje and one person from Kula Norinska, Opuzen, Ploče, Pojezerje, Slivno and Ston.
A total of 38 males and 28 females were infected, and an epidemiological link was found for 37 individuals.
Unfortunately, one male person from Dubrovacko Primorje has passed away (born in 1948).
On a positive note 44 people were cured - 16 from Dubrovnik, ten from Metković, three from Vela Luka and Župa dubrovačka, two each from the Dubrovacko Primorje, Konavle and Zažablje, one each from Blato, Korčula, Lastovo, Lumbarda and Orebić, and one person who has no residence in the county.
54 people tested positive for coronavirus are currently hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital. Six patients require intensive care, one patient is on oxygen, one is on non-invasive ventilation, and four are on invasive ventilation.
In the last 24 hours, 364 samples were processed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 24,825 samples have been analysed.
There are 916 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours one violation of the self-isolation measure was recorded.
Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, addressed the public last night to lay out the new Covid-19 restrictions that came into force at midnight last night.
"The coronavirus pandemic that hit the whole world this year has changed our way of life. Croatia - like other countries - has adapted its social activities, economy and governance to protect the health and lives of its citizens. With the arrival of autumn, the pandemic has accelerated, as elsewhere in Europe, which is why we have gradually tightened measures,” said the Prime Minister at the start of his address.
“We base the fight against coronavirus on trust between citizens and the state. With the measures taken so far, we have tried to preserve the normal life of our fellow citizens, trying to avoid a complete closure and curfew that many European countries now have. Although the weekly growth in the number of infected people slowed down at the beginning of this month, this week we record an increase of 15 percent, and the daily number of infected people exceeded 4,000 for the first time yesterday,” added Plenkovic.
“As of midnight tonight, new, stricter measures will come into force to combat the coronavirus epidemic. The new measures aim to protect health, save lives and reduce the burden on the health system. To succeed in this, we must do everything we can to protect the most vulnerable among us and therefore we must re-realize the danger posed by this virus. Today we know that on average one in 58 confirmed infected persons and one in 9 hospitalized unfortunately dies,” stated Plenkovic.
Adding that “The new measures will be in force until December 21 - and maybe longer if we fail to reverse the current trend by then. We are sorry that the measures will affect a number of workers and entrepreneurs, who have already made sacrifices this year. I understand the dissatisfaction of all those who will temporarily suspend their normal business due to the epidemiological situation.”
The new Covid-19 measures across Croatia until the 21st of December are –
- ban on public events with more than 25 people
- a maximum of ten people allowed at private gatherings
- mandatory use of masks outdoors when it is not possible to keep a distance
- public gatherings can last up to 22 hours
- weddings are suspended
- there can be a maximum of 25 people at funerals
- obligation of tenants, employers, etc. regular disinfection of surfaces
- 4 square meters of space must be provided for everyone at gatherings
- maximum occupancy 40% in public transport
- drivers and passengers are required to have masks in public transport
- at the entrance to the shops, a notice must be displayed about the largest number of customers in the area
- limitation of working hours for shops selling bakery products until 10 pm
- ban on the sale of alcohol from 10 pm to 6 am
- casinos and bookmakers are suspended
- fairs are suspended
- restaurants and cafes are closed (except in hotel facilities)
- catering facilities are allowed to prepare and deliver food
- sports competitions and trainings are suspended with some exceptions
- competitions and training without spectators
- the work of gyms and sports centers is suspended
- amateur cultural events are suspended
- performances of complex musical and stage works are suspended
- children's and dance workshops are suspended
- a ban on the consumption of food and drink in cinemas and theaters
- foreign language schools can only operate online
- driving schools - the theoretical part of teaching exclusively online
- Holy Mass whenever possible via radio and TV programs, a maximum of 25 people in churches
- ban on coming to work with a fever
- introduction of sliding working hours, organization of work in groups
Dubrovnik is a photographer’s dream, let’s face it you can throw a camera in the air and capture a stunning photo. And every day Instagram is filled to overflowing point with some absolutely blasting of the pearl of the Adriatic.
We have selected our top five “wave goodbye to November” photos from Instagram. Check out our top five inspiring Dubrovnik Instagram photos from last week and keep sending us your own photos and videos of the region. We just love your feedback!
And don't forget to follow our Instagram page
An increasing number of us are embarking on a more tech-savvy lifestyle to keep up with the fast-paced 9 to 5 lives we lead. Intrigued by this notion, the experts at Homedit.com conducted a study to calculate the European countries embracing smart home technologies the most.
After finding smart home appliances and analysing Google search trends from 20 of the most populated European countries – the figures were in!
Top Smart Home Countries of Europe -
Already home to one crown, the United Kingdom, earned another title as the leading smart home country in Europe. With a whopping average of 229,860 searches a month for smart home appliances! The most searched for smart home appliance is a ‘Smart TV’, with an average of 165,000 monthly searches made.
In second place is Germany, with an average of 107,480 monthly smart home searches. Like the UK, ‘Smart TV’ is the most searched for item with 90,500 average searches per month.
The Netherlands places third with a monthly average of 66,640 searches for all smart appliances. 60% of those searches were from people looking for a ‘Smart TV’, an average of 40,500 monthly searches.
Bottom Smart Home Countries of Europe -
Hungary is third from the bottom with 110 average monthly searches for smart appliances, 229,750 less than the top European contender, the U.K. Although, unlike the top five winners the most searched for smart equipment, is a ‘Smart Thermostat’ & ‘Smart Camera’, both equating an average of 30 monthly searches.
Greece is penultimate with less than half of Hungary’s average monthly searches. Greeks each month on average search just 50 times for smart home appliances, with their top searched item a ‘Smart TV’, a total of 20 average searches each year.
In last place is Serbia, with only 10 average monthly searches for smart home equipment. Even though their top searched for item matches that of 14 other countries, unlike those 14 countries, Smart TV was the only searched item, with 10 average monthly searches.
Top Searched Smart Home Appliances -
Beating other smart home equipment by more than 483,000 searches, the ‘Smart TV’ was a firm favourite. Offering internet-connection, a range of on-demand and app features, it’s no wonder why there are an average of 512,950 searches made throughout Europe a month.
Keeping the European people cool and toasty, the ‘Smart Thermostat’ comes in second. This home air temperature system receives an average of 29,500 European searches each month.
In third place is the Wi-Fi engineered ‘Smart Plugs’ with a monthly average search of 19,250 across Europe.
• The top 20 most populated European countries were picked for this research. The highest populated countries were found from worldometers.info.
• A monthly average search volume was used by ads.google.com.
• A translation website was used to translate the 22 searched words (Smart TV, Smart Locks, Smart Thermostat, Smart Garden, Smart Fridge, Smart Plugs, Smart Speakers, Smart Washing Machine, Smart Toaster, Smart Lights, Smart Camera, Smart Kettle, Smart Oven, Smart Security, Smart Tumble Dryers, Smart Hoover, Smart Freezer, Smart Hair Dryers, Smart Dish Washer, Smart Computer, Smart Laptop, and Smart Fitness).
• Data was collected on 19/11/2020.
The popular Christmas teddy bear is back and shining bright on his position at the beginning of Stradun in the historic Old City of Dubrovnik.
The bear is always a hit with seasonal selfie takers and has become over the years a symbol of the Dubrovnik Winter Festival.
Even though this year’s festivities won’t be at the same level as previous years, due to the Covid-19 situation, the bear is still sure to be popular with all guests.