Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, has the usual museums and galleries found in most big cities. But there is one which is unique—the Museum of Broken Relationships. Set up by former lovers, Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić, it is a place ‘to store all the painful triggers of memory around us, creating a safe place for both tangible and intangible heritage of past love’. The displays include an axe donated by one woman. ‘I used it to break up the furniture of the girlfriend who left me. Each day I smashed a bit more. When she returned for her furniture all she had were bits of wood.’ A Virgin Mary holy water bottle has the accompanying words: ‘My lover gave me this as his “special” present. He didn’t know I’d opened his bag and found a plastic bag full of them.’ There is a stuffed toy caterpillar: ‘Every time we met, we tore off one of the caterpillar’s legs. When all the legs were gone, we would live together. As you see, the caterpillar never became a complete invalid.’ Most sadly, a suicide note from a mother to her daughter: ‘To write a letter under these circumstances is impossible . . . Lots of love and happiness, Your mama.’ I have more to say about this museum and why I was there in 'Left Field'. And Becca Bland from my writing group has recently started Stand Alone, a charity to help people like me who have a family estrangement to deal with.
PS Here are Mike and the Mechanics - 'The Living Years