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It's been nearly a month now since I returned to the wilds of Canada. Just as last year, it was my intention to continue writing this newsletter from the wilderness. And just as last year I am failing woefully.
In theory just because I am in the bush doesn't mean I can't write about goings-on in Ukraine. I visited the country twice earlier this year - for three weeks in January, and again for two weeks in April - and am an avid follower of developments.
I was also intending to pen something on Kosovo. I was there for a week, also in April, with a group of Transylvanian students talking to youth leaders, political types and analysts, and revisiting old friends I made during the 1998-99 war there. It gave for an interesting insight into the latest bout of ethnic argy-bargy that broke out last week.
And then there are the stories I have promised but not yet delivered: my entry into the Iraqi city of Kirkuk in 2003 with my friend Anthony Loyd just as Saddam's regime was collapsing - I have never been kissed so much by unknown men - and my time in Chechnya with Spetsnaz, the Russian special forces.
But somehow writing about eastern Europe from here just doesn't feel quite right.
Each day I wake up with the spring sun streaming through the window, a band of swallows chasing each other above the porch, and the sound of the swollen river pummelling it's way downstream at the end of the garden.
And although I have every intention of plonking myself down at my computer, shifting my head thousands of miles east, and reflecting on the era-defining violence and turbulence on the eastern marches of Europe, the simple necessities of living take over.
Running a wilderness bear-viewing lodge, even a small one, throws up a never-ending list of things to be done.
On the home front the cabins and the lodge need tending to and sprucing up. The 4x4s and other machinery need to be serviced, prepped and cleaned. And the various chainsaws and other tools sharpened, fuelled and readied for action.
Then there is the bush work: scouting for bears, checking out trails (more on that in the Grizzly Bear Diaries - my wilderness blog), and setting up the wildlife cameras that are part of our ongoing science project.
Sometimes I think I can surely squeeze out a few hours a week for Back to the Front.
But then come the urgencies and emergencies: the blocked chimney in one of the cabins, the oven that won't turn on, the water heater that goes on strike.
It's a four-hour return trip here for the closest tradesman and so most of the fixing is done in house. At such times I don my plumber's, electrician's or chimney sweep's hat and have at it until the job is done.
And when all that is sorted out who would want to sit in front of a computer when the high country is beckoning? Better to grab Katya the dog and head up to 7,000 feet.
And so, dear readers, I am going to take a pause. But I promise I will resume in the late autumn.
In the meantime I want to thank my paid subscribers. Without you I couldn't afford to indulge in the writing of this newsletter.
I will place all paid subscriptions on pause and the clock won't resume until I am once again productive and have something - hopefully something special - to offer.
And now I am off to feed the dog.