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Dogs, George Best, Chickens and Roads


It good to know that my years of peace-making and conflict-resolution skills have not gone to waste. Two of our sweet good-natured gentle dogs tried to tear each other’s throats out the other day.

Having dragged Bella off Sampras, little timid Sampras set upon Bella – a dog about twice her weight. So I dragged Sampras of Bella before she got thrown off and was standing there on one leg with Sampras by the scruff of the neck in one hand, while trying to keep Bella at bay with the other foot.

Good old Dougal, being a bit thick, seemed to think it was all a great game and as I wobbled on one leg he jumped up on me so that we all went down in a heap at which point Bella promptly attacked Sampras again.

Only a few well-aimed kicks finally separated them, at which point I switched from peace-enforcement mode to conflict-resolution mode. I was about to pull out my portable flip-chart and give the dogs a seminar on the importance of mutual respect and the benefits of dialogue as a means of dealing with our differences, but I decided that since it doesn’t really work with people it was unlikely to work with the dogs.

So I decided to try some Alternative Dispute Resolution strategies – or ADR as we CR people like to say when we are trying to convince people that we are real professionals. You have probable heard of horse whispering; well, I tried some dog-whispering. It’s much the same except you have to squat – unless the dog is standing on a box or something – so it’s much harder on the legs.

Once I managed to get Bella in a headlock and eyeball her for a few moments, we had a long conversation about her unacceptable behaviour. I think I detected a look of remorse in her eyes – or it may just have been amusement.

Eventually we continued our walk in the park. Bella even got some sausages out of it since I was feeling guilty about having kicked her. You will be pleased to hear that we are all friends again now.

George Best

On my way back from the park on Sunday I met Spartak. He said something about the dogs and I did my usual ‘nuk kuptoj’. At that point he started chatting in English and, on discovering that I came from Northern Ireland, began to reminisce about watching George Best playing for Northern Ireland against Albania in 1965 during a World Cup qualifying match.

He also told me that his father had been a vice-minister under Hoxha; that a woman from Londonderry had tried to convert him to Christianity (he’s a non-practising Muslim); that he’s in the Guinness Book of Records for two footed walking keepy-uppy; and that he was a teacher and now is now a football coach with the 11 year olds at Dinamo. It was a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


It’s official. Albania has now joined the ranks of those countries where bird flu has been detected. It appears that a chicken somewhere near the Greek border is the guilty party. No panic yet, but I will keep you informed.


You may recall that over one month ago I mentioned that the road outside our house was benefiting from a enthusiastic spurt of construction. Unfortunately, the spurt subsided about three days later. For the last month our road has remained sealed off while the plant sits at the bottom of the street slowly rusting and the workers do – I don’t know what.

In the meantime the small sidestreets that are now the only means of access to the houses in the street, and which are themselves unfinished, are starting to disintegrate and fall apart.

Since our house has a flat roof it may to be time to invest in a helicopter.


traveller one said…
Oh gosh!
Yakima_Gulag said…
cheap Communist era concret, DO NOT repeat DO NOT get a chopper! your roof would cave in!
ourmanintirana said…
Traveller one - which story provoked your response?

Yakima - good point about the roof. I think our place might be post-communist, but not long enough post-communist to be a better bet.

Looks like we'll just have to load up on the beer and canned food.
traveller one said…
The roads Alwyn... the roads... sigh... I return to Tirana in 2 weeks.. argggg

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Never did like that crappy song.

But it's true nevertheless.

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There were probably 380 more in my head or scribbled down on scraps of paper, but many of them are perhaps best left there.

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Welcome to Our Man in Tirana. I moved to Tirana, capital of Albania, in October 2005 and left in October 2007. This blog is a mix of photographs, reports, links, impressions and, undoubtedly, prejudices relating to the city and the country.

Since I am no longer in Tirana I am no longer updating this blog. However, there are over 300 posts covering this two year period and I hope that they are still of some interest.

So if you are curious about Albania or if you are planning to visit I hope this blog will be of value.

Miss Globe 2007

On Saturday, we were at the Rogner meeting with an expat friend who was leaving Tirana. It was breakfast time, and as our friend was finishing his tea the breakfast room started to fill up with over-dressed (or under-dressed) young women wearing blue sashes. These were the contestants for the Miss Globe 2007 beauty pageant being held in Tirana tonight at the Palace of Congresses. High heel boots and mini-skirts - or in a couple of cases micro-skirts, or possibly just belts - have never struck me as obvious breakfast attire, but the girls seemed happy enough tottering and wobbling around with their tea and toast. I'm not sure why they were wearing their sashes - perhaps in case they forgot which country they came from.
As we were leaving they were boarding a large coach which I had seen a number of times around the city in the last few days for their next trip. I'm not sure how some of them made it up the steps, or how they managed to sit down, but perhaps these are the kinds o…