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Na Zdravje!

Gottfried* is outside history. His place is his balcony on a side-street in Ohrid. The lake is fifteen minutes walk away but there is no hint of its ancient splendour here; just a queue of roses and an impressive June stillness disturbed only by kids playing football opposite despite the fading light.

Gottfried appeared unexpectedly soon after I arrived. He produced a bottle of rakia, two thumbnail glasses, and insisted I drink. “Na Zdravje!” he says. To health. But Gottfried’s health is not good. He suffered a stroke ten years ago, leaving his left side paralysed. Now he carries himself around his home, a chubby bundle clambering in perpetual slow motion from the television to the computer to the balcony. Read more

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