Sweeping away the past?

I saw a man who sells brushes recently, not the traditional handmade brushes but modern brushes.

He was walking down the street carrying an array of brightly colored nylon bristle brushes like a modern day chimney sweep.

The tall person said that he expected the man to burst into song at any moment and entertain us all with a frantic dance routine from the movie ‘Mary Poppins’. He didn’t but it was nice to imagine that.

Seeing the man who sells modern brushes reminded us that ‘progress’ marches on. Perhaps this man and his nylon bristle brushes is in the vanguard of modernity, marching into the future alongside the new roads and bridges and buildings being built throughout Georgia.

But I hope that not everything from the past, which makes up the beautiful soul of this great country, is not swept away to make room for the new.

The man who sells modern brushes walked on and so did we.

We later saw these traditional handmade brushes laid on a pile of lavender. They looked beautiful and we paused to admire them.

Behind them we saw stacks of brightly colored plastic bowls.

We both hoped that the beautiful handmade brushes that were laid on the pile of lavender did not represent a glimpse of a bonfire of the future where all beautiful, natural things are discarded and replaced by plastic and nylon and other synthetic materials.

Koba Subeliani and his Caucasian Shepherd Dog ‘Buka’

We were watching the hugely popular Vano’s Show on Georgia’s Rustavi 2 channel this afternoon. Hosted by Vano Javakhishvili the show is a mix of comic monologues on topical issues, music and conversations with guests.

Vano’s guest on today’s show was Koba Subeliani and his 12 year old Caucasian Shepherd Dog, Buka.

Koba Subeliani is Georgia’s Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees and is one of Georgia’s most popular and respected Ministers.

The Minister is a great admirer of Caucasian Shepherd dogs and had brought his great dog, Buka, to the TV studio.

It was a very entertaining interview, especially as the Minister and Vano have a great sense of humor. When asked by Vano why he had held his ministerial post for so long without being replaced, the Minister pointed to his dog Buka and joked that who would touch him when he has such a big dog!

There was a hilarious moment when Buka began drinking from a cup on the table!

Buka is a great example of a Caucasian Shepherd. He is huge and a very lovely color.

The Minister has a page on Facebook: Koba Subeliani. There are many fantastic pictures of Buka in the Wall Photos.

I have chosen several photos from the Minister’s Facebook Wall Photos  to show how magnificent Buka is.

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bassa's world cover imageIf you would like to find out more about the life of a Caucasian Shepherd dog living in Georgia check out ‘Bassa’s World’ Ebook.

It’s full of anecdotes, photos and stories.

CLICK on the picture for more information.

 

 

Where ancestors rest (part 2)

You may know that the tall person is English. His ancestors were landowners in the County of Somerset in England.

On his last visit to England, the tall person went to see his brother who lives in their ancestral village of Stogursey in Somerset.

The village is very old and contains the remains of a moated 11th century castle built after the Norman Conquest.

The tall person and his brother went to the village church of St. Andrew where several of their ancestors from the seventeenth century are buried.

The church is a legacy of a Benedictine Priory that was established by a Norman lord, William de Falaise, who had been given the village by William the Conqueror as a reward for faithful service.

Remains of the Priory walls and a beautifully restored Dove Cot still remain.

The church was already in existence when the monks took over the Priory. The herring-bone in the tower masonry uncovered during restoration work in 1954, together with the pier capitals in the church, date the building to the last decade of the 11th century.

The church tower, which is capped by a spire, survives from the late 11th century and holds six bells, the oldest of which dates from 1611.

The bells are still rung regularly. The tenor bell weighs an impressive 1.25 imperial tons!

The beautifully carved pew ends date from 1525. The tombstone is one of the tall person’s ancestors.

It is set in the stone floor in front of the sanctuary inside the church, a place reserved for important members of the community. The tall person’s ancestors owned much land in the parish of Stogursey and also in surrounding parishes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The church has a graveyard that has several very old lichen covered tombstones.

This one probably pre-dates the tree that has grown alongside it and displaced it.

I navigate by gas!

I always see a lot of pipes when I am out walking in the neighborhood. Pipes are everywhere.

The tall person explained that the pipes carry gas that supplies homes with fuel for cooking and for heating water for baths and showers. He said that because we live on a mountain of rock the pipes cannot be buried so they are above ground.

I know this network of pipes so well now that they are like a map. I don’t need satellite navigation – I navigate by gas!

When I see this pink painted pipe I know that I am nearly home.

The tall person told me that Georgia gets much of its gas from one of its adjacent neighbors, Azerbaijan. Wow, so my gas has come all the way from the Caspian Sea and through the maze of pipes in my neighborhood to my house.

But the gas pipes have to overcome many obstacles before they reach my house. You can see from these pictures that they cross roads and even pass between tree branches. Clever pipes!

Where ancestors rest

There is a cemetery in our neighborhood. It is on a hill near my house. I can see it from my balcony and I sometimes see people walking up the narrow path on the hillside on their way to visit their ancestors .

The tall person said that he wanted to go and see it and De said she would come too so we set off into the neighborhood, passing little people on their way to school and tall people going to work and ladies who sweep and keep our streets clean.

When we arrived at the cemetery De told us that on the first Monday after Easter it is traditional for people to visit their family graves and take wine and food and sit at tables and benches and eat and drink and remember the departed.

You can see from the pictures that the graves are enclosed. De told us that in Samegrelo Region in Western Georgia graves look like little houses.

The cemetery we visited is very old and many of the graves are of people who died a long time ago. It is a peaceful place.

Liebster

Several days ago my new blogging friend Dianda, who writes a blog called Cats & Co, surprised me in the nicest possible way by giving Bassas Blog a Liebster Blog Award.

I looked up the word Liebster and discovered it is a German word meaning dearest, so the Liebster Blog Award means Dearest Blog Award, which I think is very lovely.

Dianda told me that the Liebster Blog Award is intended to recognize worthy, lesser known blogs (with less than 200 followers) and to help expose their work. What a great idea!

I want to thank Dianda for thinking of me. Her blog about cats is great.
This is the link to her post about the Liebster Blog Awards:

http://catsnco.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/award-nomination-part-2/

You may recognise several or all of the other award recipients. Do check them out.

The rules for the Liebster Award are:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.

2. Reveal your top five picks {with less than 200 readers} and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.

4. Hope that the people you’ve sent the award to forward it to their five favourite up-and-coming bloggers and keep it going!

Now, I need to pass on the awards to five blogger friends.

Bumpy Road to Bubba. This is an absolutely beautiful blog about Poppy Grace, a baby girl born in January 2011. I highly recommend this blog. It is beautifully written and will make your heart sing!

http://bumpyroadtobubba.com/

Tales from the Mom-Side. Nancy is one of the millions of mothers who work outside the home in the United States but you will see from her blog that she is definitely ‘one in a million’. I highly recommend that you follow this mom!

http://workingmomadventures.com/

What I Meant to Say. Written by a forty-something mother and teacher living in San Antonio, Texas, this  blog is hilarious. I love it as it constantly surprises me with its originality.

http://whatimeant2say.wordpress.com/

Chancy the Gardner. Chancy is an absolutely adorable dog who had a difficult start in life but now lives happily with Mumsy and the rest of the crew. I think your blog is great Chancy and so does everyone!

http://chancythegardner.wordpress.com/

Moxie Dogs. Moxie and the Berner Girls, Tallulah and Maisy are new to blogging and have made quite a splash! I found them on Twitter – or did they find me? Anyway, they are very dear to me and thoroughly deserve the Liebster Blog Award.

http://moxiedogs.com/

Congratulations to my 5 blogger friends. You fully deserve this award!

On top of the world!

I live on a mountain that overlooks the beautiful city of Tbilisi. I call it Snake Mountain because we saw a big snake there once. I like to go up high and sit with the tall person and look at the city and the snow capped Caucasus Mountains in the distance.

It feels as if I am on top of the world.

I go to the forest on the mountain several times a week with the tall person and sometimes at the weekend with De and the little person. We all had a picnic there yesterday.

The mountain and its forest are an important resource for the people in my neighborhood. Shepherds graze their goats and cows there, berries and forest fruits are gathered and dead wood is collected for fuel for wood burning stoves.

In this picture you can see the smoke from stoves in homes in my neighborhood.

I love my mountain and my forest.

There are even hats for people with tiny heads!

Though Bassa Street, where I live, is the most famous street in Tbilisi, Rustaveli Avenue is a close second. Rustaveli Avenue is a tree lined avenue in central Tbilisi named after the medieval Georgian poet, Shota Rustaveli.

The Parliament of Georgia, the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre and the Rustaveli Museum among others, are all located on Rustaveli Avenue.

At one end of the avenue artists and souvenir sellers line the sidewalk with their pictures and ‘must have’ souvenirs of Georgia. 

I have seen some foreigners there, trying to negotiate a bargain but Georgians appear to be the main customers.

The tall person says that some of the paintings of Old Tbilisi and those of Georgian women in traditional costume are quite nice.

I saw a painting of a woman with no clothes on. The tall person said it was okay because it was art.

Hmm, you have been admiring that piece of art for too long tall person – move along now. 

The hats you can see in the pictures are from Svaneti, which is a mountainous region in northern Georgia. I sometimes see Svanetian men wearing them in Tbilisi.

You will see from the picture that the hats come in all sizes – there was even a boxful of hats for people with very tiny heads!

You can also buy traditional Georgian drinking horns here. They are called kantsi and are typically made from ram or goat horns, and sometimes from bull horns.

Toasts are an important part of Georgian life and are made with either wine or brandy.

Some of the horns can take 2-3 litres of wine and it is traditional to drink the horn dry in one go!

P.S. There isn’t really a street called Bassa Street, I just call my street that but I am hopeful it will be re-named one day.

The tool persons market

The title of this post does not contain a spelling mistake and is not meant to say ‘The tall persons market’. I shall explain.

 A pipe connecting the bath to the water supply had been dripping for some time, creating a puddle in front of the bath. This was very convenient for me as I often stopped by if I was feeling thirsty – no need to make the long trek to my water bowl in the hall.

However, the tall person decided that having a puddle on the bathroom floor was not a good idea, especially when he stepped in it and got his slippers wet. De had also noticed wet paw prints around the house and was not amused. So, the tall person investigated and located the leaky connection. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the right tool to fix it so he announced that he would go to the tool market to buy one.

The tall person likes the tool persons market. He says that you can get anything there – construction and plumbing supplies, compressors, generators, welders, screws, nails, wood and tools, tools, tools.

The tool market is huge and like many of Tbilisi’s markets is a labyrinth of narrow alleys packed with stalls. The tall person says that it is a DIY paradise!

He likes the second hand tools very much. He says that if they have lasted for 30 or 40 years or more then they must be good!

The tool market is a very colorful place with lots of colorful characters. In this picture several of the market’s colorful characters are playing backgammon whilst they wait for customers.

Backgammon is very popular with Georgian men, especially market people and taxi drivers waiting in taxi ranks for customers and older men who like to sit in the shade in summer and pass the hours playing backgammon with other older men.

You will know by now that wherever there is a market there are also ladies who sell things.

The tall person saw a lady who has a multi-storey mobile shop that was packed with things to tempt the market people.

He also saw a lady that appeared to have a whole department store on wheels! There was also a lady who sells Turkish coffee but I think her customer is a little young to be needing stimulants!

Anyway, the tall person found the tool he wanted and came home and fixed the leaking pipe, which removed my alternative water source and I now have to walk all the way to my water bowl in the hall for a drink!