Jelsa in November, what's 'new'?

By Vivian Grisogono 16 November 2015

Response to a plea for 'news' from Jelsa.

One of Jelsa's frequent visitors sent a heartfelt plea for news from the sunshine island today. Is the Total Hvar HQ, aka the Cafe Splendid, still operating as normal? Is it still sunny? What is everyone doing?

Happily, the Splendid is still operating, even in the absence of Total Hvar's boss Paul. Total Hvar's regular followers will notice, perhaps mourn, the absence of the 'ten green bottles' from the pictures taken today. The Splendid soldiers on despite this big gap in its clientele. It will stay open until the end of November, when Nijaz and Letafe go home for their well-deserved winter break. Letafe is still smiling, despite her non-stop workload of baking and cleaning. Today the cafe's ice cream service stopped, and the ice cream refrigerator, which is always kept scrupulously clean, was scrubbed  to perfection in preparation for its winter holiday.

My croissant and coffee will be sorely missed when the Splendid closes. Meanwhile, what's left of the Total Hvar regulars are making the best of the Splendid delicacies and the bright sunshine. When not down for coffee, some are out swimming or otherwise making hay, mostly continuing their olive picking. Those of us who have finished picking are now able to enjoy the more leisured task of clearing up the offcuts and starting the pruning process. No need to hurry, so Professor Frank John Duboković and I have been able to enjoy our coffee breaks guilt- and stress-free.

We are not looking forward to the Splendid closing. Apart from the departure of our good friends Nijaz and Letafe, the closure of the cafes which serve pastries means that there are no non-smoking cafes in Jelsa, just when they are needed most. Hopefully there will be enough sunny days during the winter to allow for outdoor coffee breaks, at least sometimes. We're cautiously optimistic. Mostly the winters are mild, so the occasions when we are forced indoors are relatively few.

Unperturbed by the thought of impending winter and reduced facilities, Lord, the undisputed canine king of Jelsa, was out and about on his regular patrols, policing his territory with calm authority. He watches over the females, and makes sure the males never step out of line. He keeps out of trouble, creates order without violence, and unruly dogs tend not to argue with him. If only unruly humans were that easy to control! 

While Jelsa enjoys bright sunshine, there has been a haze over the horizon, the first real sign of autumn. The mainland has disappeared from view in the mist. Maybe when we see the heights of the Biokovo mountains again, they will have their first topping of snow. The view up to Pitve has also been disrupted by the sunny haze, making the village and its church seem even more magically mysterious.

So there you are Carol, that's the 'news' from Jelsa, to give you good cheer in Munich. As you see, it's a tough life! Nijaz and Letafe send you their best greetings, and indeed to all their regular customers from the four corners of the world.  We're all looking forward to the grand reunions of the Splendid's many friends next year.

With many thanks to artist Fahro Šadić for helping out with the photographs