Monday, 18 June 2018
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

The world looked on as Prince Harry drove his new wife Meghan Markle away in a stunning E-Type Jaguar after their wedding. However, it would appear that the Royal couple weren’t the first to drive the car.

The silver-blue electric E-Type Jaguar had a touch of Croatian as the inventor and entrepreneur, Mate Rimac, participated in the construction of the vehicle. And he also took it for a spin with his girlfriend Katarina Lovrić before handing it over the newlyweds.

On his Facebook profile Rimac published a photo of the couple sitting in the Jaguar with the comment “Many don’t know that Princess Kate tried the Jag before Princess Meghan.”

The now legendary Jaguar that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle drove away from their wedding to a reception at nearby Frogmore House is more than just a British classic Jaguar E-Type, it is an electric car. The 1968 model was converted to an electric vehicle.

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One of the most important goals of the Croatian government is full integration into the European Union, meaning amongst other points the introduction of the Euro as the official currency. A goal has been set to bring in the Euro and kick out the Kuna by 2022.

And according to a new report by the European Commission to fully join the euro zone Croatia fulfils all the criteria but one. To be a part of the euro zone and to bring in the Euro a member state must be a part of the Exchange Rate Mechanism for a minimum of two years. Croatia has yet to fulfil this last step.

The report included seven countries which, upon joining the EU, have taken on the obligation of introducing the euro as official currency: Bulgaria, The Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Sweden. The report said the countries in general showed high nominal convergence, but none of them fulfilled all the formal criteria for joining the euro zone. Two countries, Croatia and Bulgaria, fulfil all the convergence criteria apart from taking part in ERM, said a press release from the European Commission.

The Exchange Rate Mechanism is basically a system that ensures that fluctuations between the euro and the currency of an individual state, in this case the Kuna, do not disrupt the financial situation inside the single market.

Only Croatia, of the countries included in the report, has brought its legislation completely in line with the regulations set by the European Monetary Union, the release said.

I admit it I cried. And no, I am not the kind of person that blubbers at weddings. And no, it wasn’t the first sight of the bride, or even the first kiss that had me in tears. Yes, the Royal Wedding, the wedding of the decade, had me glued to the TV screen last weekend. Coverage started on the BBC at six o’clock in the morning, presumably we were going to see what they were planning for breakfast. And what time did I start watching, yes you guessed it at six o’clock. I actually love these Royal occasions.

Maybe I inherited the love of all things Regal from my parents, well more precisely my mother. I remember, as if it were yesterday, watching Prince Charles and Princess Diana walking down the aisle in St Paul's Cathedral in 1981 to the echoing sounds of “Trumpet Voluntary.” So yes, of course I watched the latest instalment of Royal Family memories.

The streets of Windsor packed with flag waving fans from all over the world. Girls wearing T-Shirts with “Sparkle like Markle,” or “I want to Marry Harry.” Thousands and thousands of happy, smiling faces and all brought together to celebrate love. And the American influence gave the whole day a sprinkling of Hollywood. But in my humble opinion it didn’t need any outside help from Hollywood, in fact the two most annoying parts of the ceremony was the singing of Stand By Me in the chapel and the American priest, who started off perfectly and then just went on way, way too long. These regal events don’t need any help from Hollywood to be special, far from it.

The bride looked resplendent in a very elegant dress, the bridesmaids were delightful and once again Princess Charlotte stole the show with her waves to the press and general fun-loving approach to life. Dressed in his uniform the groom and his brother looked smart and he even kept his beard, although he needed special permission from the Queen as members of the Armed Forces should be clean shaven when wearing their formal uniform. He looked as nervous as a rabbit caught in headlights but his brother acted as a calming force.

And how refreshing it was to see a complete non-royal enter the Royal family. There is no blue blood in the Markle family. Meghan is not royal or British, so she breaks that rule. She is American and comes from a blue collar family. She is mixed race. And I for one think that is bloody brilliant. She has already shock up the traditions, Meghan is a divorcee; until recently that was not allowed. The Queen has never attended a church wedding for a divorcee. She didn’t even attend her own son Prince Charles' wedding to Camilla; she only attended the reception. But there she was in the front row looking stylish with her husband, Prince Phillip, who only six weeks ago had had hip surgery.

Prince Harry and Meghan broke another tradition by not inviting heads of state to their wedding, yes Prime Minster Teresa May had to watch from her living room. Instead they invited 1,200 people from the public to be on the grounds of Windsor Castle at St. George’s Chapel. Even the cake at the reception was a break from history, the cake is served is always a fruit cake, but the newlyweds plumped for a lemon butter cake. It is a day full of century old traditions and yet a fresh approach to many things.

There can be no doubt that Prince Harry was thinking of his mum through most of the day. Even when Meghan and Harry drove away in the silver-blue E-Type Jaguar the new bride was wearing Princess Diana’s aquamarine ring on her finger. She even made a point of showing the ring to the waiting press. A nice touch.

And in fact it was Princess Diana that started my tears. There was a point in the ceremony when the two brothers were waiting for Meghan to come down the aisle (and bravo to Prince Charles for volunteering at short notice) and William looked at Harry and said “Do you remember what Mum used to say,” with Harry responding with a smile “Yeah, I know.” That moment, two brothers now two husbands, two people so moulded by her love…that was the moment.

A great day, and so impressive I even watched it again on Sunday, yes the BBC pretty much repeated the whole ceremony again the day after. Thankfully without the “Stand By Me” and a shortened version of American Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon. And so the Royal Family moves into a new modern future and I for one wish them all the best of luck.

Having a few drinks in the Dubrovnik sunshine is fine, but having a few to many near the Adriatic is not such a great idea.

These tourists were filmed pulling each other out of the sea in the Old Harbour of Dubrovnik after rather boisterous behaviour ended with them all getting an impromptu bath.

According to an eye-witness the group of young men had had too much to drink and started pushing each other into the sea. Of course they then had to fish each other out whilst passers-by looked on in puzzlement.

Check out the video

The average net salary in Croatia in March was 6,253 Kuna, which is a rise of 1.7 percent when compared with February. According to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) the average salary in the computer and electronics industry was the highest, at 11,057 Kunas.

The average monthly gross salary for March amounted to 8,467 Kuna, which is really 1.7 percent more than the gross salary for February.

The CBS data also show that the average monthly net earnings per hour paid in March was 35.82 Kuna or 48.51 Kunas gross.

Looking at the period from January to March this year, the average monthly net earnings per person in employment in Croatia amounted to 6,190 Kuna, which is more than 3.3 percent higher than in the same period from 2017.

Croatian healthcare ranks 30th in the world, according to a new survey carried out by the specialised publication The Lancet.

In the 195 countries involved in the survey Croatia finished in a respectable 30th position. The Lancet looked at several factors to produce their “Healthcare Access and Quality Index.” The highest grade was 100 and the lowest 0, and Croatia had a score of 87.

The best healthcare in the world, according to the survey, is in Iceland, which scored 97 points, followed by Norway, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

In fact, Croatia was only one place below the USA, and at the bottom of the list were Somalia and South Africa with only 19 points on the index. As far as Croatia’s neighbours are concerned Slovenia was ranked in 21st spot, Montenegro in 42nd, Serbia in 50th and Bosnia and Herzegovina in 62nd place.

Yes, the tourist season has started and yes it is hard to find a spare hotel room in the city, but this is taking things a little too far.

We are pretty sure that this “accommodation” isn’t listed on booking.com or has a review on TripAdvisor but at least it’s cheap. This “happy camper” was spotted today sleeping on his rucksack near a busy supermarket in Dubrovnik.

He was quite clearly pretty exhausted as the concrete shelve couldn’t have been too comfortable.

sleep in dubrovnik car park 2018

The English Chamber Choir, The Maidstone Singers, will perform two concerts in Dubrovnik, the first tonight in the Rector’s Palace. The concerts, which have been organised with the Council of Culture and Science of the Dubrovnik Diocese, are inspired by Shakespeare and Christian texts.

Tonight at 9pm in the Rector’s Palace the first concert entitled "Inspired by Shakespeare - Scriptural Texts" will see The Maidstone Singers perform works written by many composers including Purcell and Bernstein. And then on Sunday at 8pm in the Dubrovnik Catherdral the second concert, entitled "Exsultate jubilate - the inscriptions of Christian texts", will see works by Elgar, Bruckner and Duruflé, amongst many others.

The Maidstone Singers were founded Jeffrey Vaughan Martin in 1998 and today feature 23 great singers with an established repertoire of more than 200 works. The works range from the 16th century to the present and include modern arrangements of popular music and folk songs.

Although headquartered in Maidstone (Kent, England), the choir has performed throughout the United Kingdom, including performances at Brandenburg Concerts in London. Tours are an important part of the activity during which the choir represents Maidstone across Europe. Under the direction of their conductor, Kathryn Ridgeway, The Maidstone Singers continue the journey that began with Jeffrey Martin, which involves accepting new music challenges and collaborating with partners both in England and abroad.

The Maidstone Singers plakat

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