Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia... the names of these republics, in the former Yugoslavia, became depressingly familiar in the early nineties. But what was it like before the start of the civil war? What was it like growing up there? In The Man in the Nautical Hat we follow the true story of Ivan Vesligaj. Born in 1940, his first memories are of a Nazi air raid over his remote village and of British airmen given sanctuary in his home. Part of a large family, held together by his widowed mother, he is noticed by a local priest who takes him in to educate him. This leads to Ivan training as a monk and priest but then his mother makes an announcement that turns his world upside down. He faces major challenges, new experiences and adventures before coming to a life-changing decision.