History crumbles before my eyes

History crumbles before my eyes

Since I’ve been living in Slovakia, a little over 16 years now, I’ve seen some major changes. I’ve watched entire historical aspects of living culture vanish in the onslaught of globalisation.

I took this photo a year ago. It’s of an uninhabited neighbouring property and shows how the barn on the side of the house was hand crafted from hewn wood. This barn no longer exists. One storm too many and too little attention paid to it saw it come crashing down on itself. Just before winter the inheritors of the property came and removed the final beams and logs, leaving an aching chasm where once had been artisanship and daily toil.

So many of the buildings in my area will suffer the same fate and will ultimately be levelled in order for their land to be replanted with mortgage-ridden McMansions. Just a generation or two earlier and the houses and outbuildings were built by hand by the owners and a group of volunteers from the village paid in drink and food.

Frozen town

Frozen town

Just over a week ago I wanted to take Feisty out for a ride but couldn’t get her to start because of the battery. We’d had a cold spell but it had cleared up and it was warm enough to comfortably ride. Now, we’ve been plunged into Arctic temperatures and more than a few minutes outside is painful. The forecast for New Year’s Eve is so bleak that many towns in Slovakia have, for the first time, cancelled their celebrations.

There has been snowfall but nowhere near the amount seen in the Alps. Instead, the weather went from mild to frostbite-cold almost overnight. There is a dark, Gothic beauty to the landscape, though. Dusk brings with it plummeting temperatures but also, as seen in this photo of Svidnik, a certain noire mystique.