Monday, 25 March 2019
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

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.


What has happened to the Adriatic Sea in Dubrovnik? These photos were sent to us by a reader and show the incredibly low tide in the Bay of Pile just outside of the Old City walls.

Although there is a slight tide in the Croatian Adriatic, around 1 metres difference, this photo shows a rather surprising low tide.

The Bay of Pile, which was the background of the Battle of Blackwater Bay in the popular Game of Thrones series, is normally throughout the summer the location of many kayak and water sport attractions. We feel that they would have problems offering a service without a sea.

pile no sea 2019

Those fatal words, that fatal sentence, drifted in the air for a few seconds, until it was repeated again like an echo bouncing around the inside of Minčeta. “I think it’s time we painted the house again.” Were my ears deceiving me? Had the P-word been mentioned? Yes!

We have had a few disasters on the painting front before and this time I wanted, no needed, to avoid another one. We’ve somehow managed in the past to buy pink paint, to buy enough paint to keep Jupol in business for a decade, to buy façade paint and to cover everything, from the sofa to the TV, in white paint.

I remember all those years ago when the only colour you could buy was white. It is a simpler time. Everything was bright white. Now there are shades of this, hues of that and all of them have fancy names.

We plumped on “Curry 50.” For a few reasons. Firstly, it was an easy name to remember. It was also my favourite food. And, probably more importantly, it was a nice colour. It seemed like a strange name for a paint colour, it wasn’t exotic or even that descriptive. And yes of course I asked if they had a Curry 49, but I was met with a blank expression from the shop assistant. Experience is the best teacher. So far more important that the paint was the protection so that, as it had done several times in the past, the paint didn’t fly everywhere and colour my dogs “Curry 50.” Reels of Tape and some kind of huge nylon sheet that looked like a serial killer would roll it out before chopping up his victims.

How nice it is to work with your hands sometimes. Maybe I should have changed my profession and become a stonemason or carpenter, although I would need some serious training. It’s always the hardest to work with people. A big lump of stone of a plank of wood doesn’t complain or have a million excuses. So there I was in front of the first blank wall, if I was an artist a blank canvas, but an artist I am certainly not. I had covered the whole room, in mean the whole room, with plastic sheeting. A serial killer could go wild and CSI wouldn’t have a clue afterwards.

The first dunk of the roller in the paint and I aimed at the ceiling. I say aimed because when the roller hit the ceiling the majority of the paint flew off and landed right over me. The only thing in the room not wrapped up like a salami in a plastic coating was me. I fleetingly considered rolling in the plastic sheeting, like a huge condom around me, but instead went for the natural approach and stripped down to shorts and a T-shirt. “At least the paint will be easier to wash off me than all my clothes,” I said to me already laughing wife. It seems that we spend a lot, or maybe too much, of our decorating time laughing. Dressed for the beach I slopped the paint up on the ceiling again. Yes, I got sprayed but at least this time most of it hit flesh. Paint just has a magnet, or an affection, for me. Every time I looked up a blob of paint would find my head. I wonder if Michelangelo had the same problem when he was painting the Sistine Chapel.

He was just going in to put the final touches to Mary and Christ and a dribble of paint rolled from his brush and into his eye. A few hours later and the first room was painted, and although there was a fair amount of paint of the sheeting, and of course all over me, it didn’t look too bad at all. I’m not likely to get a job painting other people’s houses or even painting the white lines in the middle of the road, but the first room had turned out above my low expectations. And like I said there was a strange relief about painting, about working with my hands for a change. I could switch off and just concentrate with what I was doing.

As one of Michelangelo’s colleagues, Leonardo da Vinci said, “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.” Strangely enough I went away for some relaxation whilst painting the rooms (and myself.)                       

The Brexit situation is, to say the least, fluid. And many British travellers looking to spend their summer holidays on the beaches of Europe this year have a whole range of concerns regarding their rights in the future, whether in the case of a deal or a no-deal. And of course for the millions of UK nationals who call the European Union home they also have worries on their status in the future.

One of the biggest concerns is undoubtedly their healthcare rights in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

In light of these concerns the UK government has released some fresh advice for UK travellers in the case of a no-deal Brexit. This latest, and updated advice, was published on the official website of the UK government and gives important guidelines for UK nationals looking to travel to Europe after Brexit and the moves they need to make to protect their healthcare.

Here is the advice for the UK government in full:

Healthcare advice for UK travellers in the event of a no-deal EU Exit

Updated advice for UK travellers on the continuity of reciprocal healthcare arrangements in the event of a no-deal EU Exit.
Leaving the EU with a deal remains the government’s top priority and would give all UK nationals the stability and certainty to prepare for our new relationship after EU Exit. However, the government must plan for every possible outcome, including no deal.

All UK nationals who are planning to reside in, travel to, work or study in the EU or European Free Trade Area (EFTA) states (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) are strongly advised to check the country-specific guidance on GOV.UK and NHS.UK about healthcare arrangements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

The Department of Health and Social Care has been working closely with EU member states and EFTA states to protect existing healthcare arrangements for these and other groups. However, it is not possible for the UK government to guarantee access unilaterally to healthcare abroad.

Actions for UK nationals

Visitors to the EU

The government always advises UK nationals to take out travel insurance when going overseas, both to EU and non-EU destinations. UK nationals, including those with pre-existing conditions, planning to visit a country in the EU/EFTA on exit day should continue to buy travel insurance.

Any questions regarding individual travel insurance policies should be directed to the relevant insurance companies or refer to guidance published on the Association of British Insurers (ABI) website.

Residents in the EU

Substantial numbers of UK nationals will already be eligible for or enrolled in local health services, because of their residency, benefits or employment status. There is no reason to think that a no-deal scenario will affect these arrangements where EU countries offer equal access to healthcare.

UK nationals resident in the EU are advised to register their healthcare entitlement with their local authorities, if they have not already done so. This may mean that they will need to join a social insurance scheme and contribute as other residents do. Others will need to buy private healthcare insurance.

The UK government’s offer

In order to continue to support the healthcare needs of UK nationals, we have made an offer to EU member states and EFTA states to maintain the existing healthcare arrangements, in both a deal or no-deal scenario, until 31 December 2020.

This would mean that we will continue to pay for healthcare costs for current or former UK residents for whom the UK has responsibility who are living or working in or visiting the EU.

We have brought forward legislation to enable us to implement new reciprocal healthcare arrangements.

Although we are hopeful that EU member states will accept our offer, as a responsible government we have developed a multi-layered approach to minimise disruption to healthcare provision for UK nationals currently in or travelling to the EU:

  • some EU member states have prepared their own legislation for a no-deal scenario. Spain has publicly committed to healthcare access for resident and visiting UK nationals
  • the UK and Ireland are committed to continuing healthcare access within the Common Travel Area
  • the UK has already agreed with EFTA states to protect citizens’ rights, including healthcare
  • the UK will fund healthcare for UK nationals who have applied for, or are undergoing, treatment in the EU prior to and on exit day, for up to one year
  • we have published country-specific guidance on GOV.UK and NHS.UK
  • UK nationals may use NHS services if they return to live in the UK
  • those who have their healthcare funded by the UK and are resident in the EU on exit day can use NHS services in England without charge when on a temporary visit
  • the ABI has advised that travel insurance policies will cover emergency medical treatment costs that could have been reclaimed through European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs)

If EU member states do not agree to extend the existing healthcare arrangements before exit day, many of the arrangements for access to healthcare in the EU would change for UK nationals. Healthcare arrangements in many member states would revert to those that apply to the rest of the world.

In a no-deal scenario, UK nationals may no longer be able to use their EHICs when travelling to the EU.

In 2018 a total of 9.9 million Kunas worth of food was donated to Croatian charities, which was down almost a million Kuna when compared with 2017.

The Croatian Tax Office collected data on the amount of food donated to Croatian charities as part of an action which will be launched in Brussels to mark the most generous companies. However, the data collected shows that donations have dropped significantly and even more worrying is that around 380,000 tonnes of food is thrown away every day, the vast majority by households.

The biggest donators of food in Croatia in recent years have been the supermarket chain Konzum and the dairy producer Dukat.

With summer rapidly approaching its high time to plan your Dubrovnik vacation. And what better way to relax than to find a stress-free island in the sun and roll out the beach towel.

We have chosen our “Top Five Dubrovnik Island Getaways” to give you all some handy ideas on where to island-hop this summer. With over 1,000 islands dotted along the Croatian coastline you’ll be spoilt for choice, but here are a few ideas.


Given that there are over 250 children actively involved, one of the main concerns of the Župa Dubrovnik Football Club are activities to improve and build the infrastructure necessary for the normal running of training processes and competitions in all ages and categories.

Last year, with the help of the Municipality of Župa, preparatory actions on the construction of an auxiliary football field with artificial grass were begun. The Municipality invested more than 200,000 Kuna in addition to other investments through the Community of Sports, and these works were the basic prerequisite for obtaining the donation from the Croatian Football Association, which was realized today.

The President of the Croatian Football Federation, Davor Šuker, today in Zagreb handed over a donation of 500,000 Kuna to the President of Župa Football Club, Duro Lonza, intended for the purchase of artificial grass.

The prestigious British publication, Business Destinations, has named Croatia as the best destination in Europe for conferences and congresses for 2018.

Croatia, which has been working hard to attract more international conferences in recent years, was named as the best Meeting, Incentive, Conferencing, Exhibitions (MICE) destination for 2018.

“The next 12 months are likely to be characterised by upheaval, particularly in Europe. The UK’s impending exit from the EU is likely to have a major impact on continental travel, with the initial transition period set to be marked by significant uncertainty with regards to freedom of movement and travel visas. The travel providers that react quickly and continue to deliver a value-based offering to business and leisure consumers are the most likely to emerge unscathed from this challenging period. With this in mind, Business Destinations has assembled a list of the most innovative and adaptable travel facilitators across the world,” writes the UK-based magazine.

"This award is important for us because the selection for the awards is done by the magazine's editors together with its readers and business travellers around the world. This market is very important because business travellers are a stable source of revenues, which, depending on trends, is often highest in the periods before and after the peak summer season. Business travellers make up 10-15 percent of all hotel guests," the head of the national tourist board, Kristjan Stanicic, said in a press release.

An earthquake rumbled through the Peljesac Peninsular last night with the epicentre near the town of Orebic. At exactly 9:33 pm the earthquake rumbled through the peninsular with the epicentre 10 kilometres east of the town of Orebic.

The Seismological Service of the Republic of Croatia stated that last night’s earthquake was a “moderate” one measuring 3.3 on the Richter Scale. While citizens reported feeling the quake there are no reports of any injuries or physical damage to buildings.


The Voice of Dubrovnik


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