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.
Our world has recently been turned upside down with the arrival of a new puppy. Not, only our world but our laundry basket, our vegetable basket and our linen basket, yes, they have all been turned upside down by him as well.
It’s been a decade since we had a bouncy puppy in the house. And this one is as bouncy as a rubber ball on a trampoline. He reminds me of a mobile phone. To charge just add food. And when fully charged he’ll be mad for the next eight hours. But when his battery dies, so does he.
Of course, even though he isn’t a small dog, my wife loves him to sleep on the bed. We’ve spent many a night in a foetal position, or in some weird yoga pose, trying to make room for Toto. Of course him sleeping on the bed has certain obvious drawbacks, apart from the fact that we wake up with strained muscles.
Let’s just say trying to get intimate with Toto snoring is a little bit of a passion killer. Now our older dog has already learnt the lesson, she has that face of “Oh, no! Here they go again,” and jumps off the bed in search of peace and a good night’s sleep. Toto isn’t up to speed just yet; he didn’t get the “jump off the bed when they get really close” memo. To him it looks like a game, which probably isn’t much of a compliment of my love making abilities, and he can’t understand why we haven’t thrown him a ball or a plastic chicken yet.
“Just leave him, he’ll jump off the bed soon,” whispered my wife. Of course this sentence was followed by Toto licking my foot. Realising that Toto was too young to be seeing what he was seeing I coaxed him off the bed and onto his bed. I worked for exactly 8 seconds. And then a large paw landed on my back and two blinking eyes peered at me from the darkness with a look of “play with me now.” No amount of coaxing, yelling or promises of rewards could convince Toto to get off the bed.
So plan B. I carried him out of the bedroom and locked the door behind me. Plan B failed as soon as it had started. Yelps, barks and scratches at the door were all we could hear. No matter how loud we turned up Sade she still couldn’t drown out our puppy. Opening the door, he again made his way to his target, our bed. There we were both sat upright in bed, candles burning, wine glasses empty and with a curious puppy laying between us probably thinking “when will we start to play again.” We had to laugh.
Time for plan C! We changed rooms. Thinking that Toto was more connected to the bed than another room. It seemed to work. Sade was back on and fresh candles were lit, and no sign of Toto. Now on a previous trip to London I had invested in my love life – no not Viagra, but a present for my wife (or rather for me) from Victoria’s Secret.
This was lingerie with a capital L! If I had bought the wings as well she could have been stomping down the catwalk.
Now as you ladies know lingerie can be a minefield of straps, buckles and clips. There are probably fewer fastening contraptions on a straight-jacket. Just how you ladies know how to put half of these things on boggles me. And often for men actually getting into through the barricade of belts and buckles is an IQ test.
If they would have hung Harry Houdini over the Mississippi in lingerie and not padlocks and chains he would still be hanging there today. And then a shadow in the darkness, a silhouette in the candle light. Toto’s back! And this time he has his eye on what he thinks is a rope to pull. This particular “rope” was in fact a dangling piece of lingerie. Don’t ask me which piece, as already mentioned it’s a minefield.
So this is how we celebrated the New Year. Chasing a puppy with an expensive piece of underwear clamped between his jaws running at light speed around our living room. The harder we chased the faster he ran. He even did one of those shakes of the head, like he was killing a bird in his mouth, with the Victoria’s Secret underwear. Now there is a saying that whatever you do on the first day of the year you’ll be doing for the rest of the year. I have a feeling that saying will be spot on this year.
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to
In the last 24 hours, 1,401 new cases of Covid-19 virus infection were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is 5,798.
Among them, 2,084 patients are in hospital, of which 191 are on respirators.
Unfortunately, a further 38 people have passed away due to the virus.
Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 219,347 people have been infected with the new coronavirus, of which 4,342 have died, a total of 209,207 have recovered, of which 1,359 recovered in the last 24 hours.
There are currently 18,747 people in self-isolation. To date, a total of 1,070,562 people have been tested, of which 8,609 in the last 24 hours.
The vaccine from the American manufacturer Moderna received the green light from the European regulator on Wednesday and became the second coronavirus vaccine approved in the European Union.
Now that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has given the green light, the vaccine still needs to be approved by the European Commission and this final step is expected very soon so that vaccination can begin and accelerate the vaccination of the European population.
The EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) gave the green light at a meeting on Wednesday, as an earlier extraordinary meeting on Monday ended without a conclusion.
On December 21, the EMA recommended the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.
Since vaccinations began in the European Union a week ago, hundreds of thousands of Europeans have received the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine.
Croatia has been hit by yet another earthquake. According to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre the latest earthquake measured 5.3 on the Richter Scale and lasted for a few seconds.
The epicentre was yet again in the Petrinja region, around 48 kilometres southeast of Zagreb, and earthquake struck at exactly 6:00 pm.
So far there are no reports of injuries or indeed material damage.
Another #earthquake in #Croatia, the ground still trembling as I write this. We've now lost count of the total number.— Dr Antonija Primorac (@mariantoinetta) January 6, 2021
Nothing can prepare you for the sheer horror of it.
People in the region destroyed earlier this month still need help. Please donate to @SOLIDARNAhr if u can. https://t.co/bZpNqxvax7
Here we go again.
Last year's Covid-19 affected tourist season in Dubrovnik forced many Dubrovnik renters to turn to long-term leasing as opposed to renting out to tourists on Airbnb and booking.com.
According to the data of the State Administration Office of the Department of Tourism, as of December 15 2020, 8,397 apartments were registered in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, while last year there were 8,725.
The Covid-19 pandemic, added to the fact that new tax laws came into effect in Dubrovnik which increased the amount that renters paid, have meant more people are moving to long-term leasing.
By mid-December across the entire Dubrovnik-Neretva County there were 328 fewer private renters, or 2,071 fewer beds than last year. And from this number in the City of Dubrovnik there were 141 fewer private renters, meaning around 843 fewer beds.
The indications are that 2021 will be significantly better, in terms of tourist numbers, than 2020. Last year Dubrovnik saw around 20 percent of the tourists of 2019 and early predictions suggest that this year that number should double to 40 percent of 2019. However, financial levels are unlikely to follow suit, as hotels and apartments drop prices to attract guests, meaning that incomes could increase to 30 percent of 2019.
In the last 24 hours, 1,896 new cases of Covid-19 virus infection were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is a total of 6,985.
There are currently 2,264 patients are in hospital, of which 209 patients are on ventilators.
Unfortunately, a further 44 people passed away due to the virus over the past 24-hour period.
Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 216,286 people have been infected with the new coronavirus, of which 4,223 have passed away, a total of 205,078 people recovered, of which 775 recovered in the last 24 hours.
There are currently 18,258 people in self-isolation. To date, a total of 1,051,597 people have been tested, of which 9,919 in the last 24 hours.
Croatia is home to some fantastic casinos, but you will have to venture a little further for the very best gambling establishments in Europe. Here is a look at the top five European casinos.
One of the best casinos in Europe is Casino Estoril in Portugal. This super casino could be mistaken for being a Las Vegas resort because it provides endless fast-paced entertainment. Casino Estoril is one of the largest casinos in all of Europe. The first stone of the building was laid in 1916 by the president Dr. Bernardino Machado. During World War II, the casino became a gathering place for spies, leading it to become an inspiration for the James Bond novel Casino Royale.
In the capital of Finland, you will find the glamorous Casino Helsinki. With 28,000 square feet of floor space over two stories, you are sure to find games to your liking. The casino features around 300 slot machines and more than 20 gaming tables. And if you enjoy poker, you can play games like Texas Hold’ Em, Five-card Stud, and Chinese Poker at the casino’s poker room. In addition to weekly poker tournaments, Casino Helsinki hosts the annual Finnish Poker Championships. But what makes this casino really stand out from others is the fact that it donates all of its profits to charity! And if you are still in the mood to play casino games after Casino Helsinki’s doors have closed for the night, you can always continue playing various fantastic games at an online casino in Finland.
The Clermont Club
The Clermont Club in the United Kingdom is undoubtedly one of the best casinos in all of Europe. However, unless you belong to the royal, political, entertainment, or business elite, you will never be able to walk through the casino’s doors. The Clermont Club is probably the most exclusive gambling establishment on the planet. Membership is via invitation only. The club was established in 1962 as a place where elite high-stakes gamblers could mingle away from society’s lower echelons. The casino only has six gaming tables, but the table games are sure to have seen some enormous bets over the years. Due to the secrecy of the club, not much more is known about The Clermont Club. But there is a long-standing rumor that members of the club helped Lord Lucan escape justice after he murdered his family’s nanny in 1974.
Marlene Dietrich once called Germany’s Casino Baden-Baden, “the world’s best casino.” Indeed, the casino, which first opened in 1824, was once the gathering place for Europe’s social elite. In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, Casino Baden-Baden attracted the most prominent composers, actors, and writers in the world, including one of the greatest writers to have ever lived, Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky. The elegant 19th-century interior of the casino, with chandeliers and baroque design, is simply stunning. However, although there is a strict dress code, the casino is a lot less formal than you might expect. There is a clubby, cosmopolitan atmosphere, where you are sure to enjoy playing the wide variety of slots and table games on offer.
Casino De Monte-Carlo
The most famous casino in the world is located in Monaco. Founded in the early 19th century to help the royal family avoid bankruptcy, the Casino De Monte-Carlo has become one of the world’s most iconic gambling establishments. With a regal atmosphere and an exclusive clientele, this casino is the destination of choice for elite high-stake gamblers. Many stories are associated with the casino. For example, the fraudster Charles Wells was the “Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo,” which was made famous in the song of the same name. And in 1913, a roulette wheel ball reportedly landed on black 26 times in a row!
A convoy of humanitarian aid from Konavle arrived in the earthquake stricken region on Tuesday morning. Collections had been carried out in throughout the whole of the Konavle region and the trucks left Čilipi on Monday evening bound for the affected region.
The convoy was accompanied by the Mayor of Konavle, Božo Lasić, and his associates, who on this occasion pointed out that he was proud of all the people of Konavle because of the empathy they showed towards people in need.
"The most important fact is that this action was created spontaneously by various Konavle volunteers. By the end of the week, the Municipality of Konavle will donate around HRK 100,000 worth of construction materials to the Municipality of Majur. We managed to organize everything and this help goes mostly to the municipalities of Majur and Donje Kukuruzare," said Mayor Lasić.
It should also be mentioned that as part of the action, donations for the Glina Elementary School were collected by employees and students of the Cavtat Elementary School.