Life in a Dol house
2016 - Week 6

Nothing lasts for ever

You might notice that this week photographs are a little thin on the ground. Most of my photographs come from a compact digital camera, a Canon IXUS 60. This slim, capable little camera has been my constant companion for just a couple of months shy of 10 years.

Sliding into a pocket, it has been easy to carry around, has provided still and video photography, low light and bright sun capability.

For a couple of weeks, I have thought there was something strange. I was not always able to turn it on, or it would not switch off. Well this week, I have been unable to get it to work at all.

At almost 10 years old and having taken more than 11,000 photographs, It doesn't owe me much. I had to replace the battery for the first time last year, but apart from that, it has cost me nothing.

I have had a digital camera since 1992, when Canon launched the ION.

The ION used a floppy disk (remember those?) as storage, and took 640 x 480 images. Today, I reduce all the images in this blog to a size of 640 x 480, so that they load quickly. I suppose you could say I was an early adopter of the technology.

Over the years I have owned a number of digital cameras in parallel with SLR film cameras, only finally abandoning wet film in 2005. Each time I upgraded there was a quantum leap in picture quality and performance. But I am not now totally bereft of digital capability. I also currently have a Canon EOS 400 DSLR, together with some specialist cameras, for example the GoPro.

But these are not as easy to slip into a pocket every morning, or to whip out and use to capture what I see around me, and then use for things like this blog. So I am now researching what there is that is currently on the market as a replacement.

What has surprised me is that today's cameras, whilst having a larger digital sensor, are really not that technologically more advanced than my little IXUS 60, just more expensive. But the search for a replacement is on.

Another gizmo that broke this week was my digital kitchen scales. Also 10 years old. And again, something which has been in regular use over the years. However I was able to replace it quite easily and inexpensively, at a shop here on the island. It just goes to show that nothing last for ever....

The weather this week has been unsettled. With an odd fine day sandwiched between wet and blustery weather. Looking ahead, we will have more of the same next week too.

I had another really interesting field trip on Sunday. I had called to see Cvjetko on Sunday afternoon and finished up going for an hour and a half ramble through his fields and woods just to the north of the Stari Grad Plain, known on the island still by it's Latin name, the Agar, or field. It reminds me of my days at Junior school, where Latin was a compulsory subject, taught to us by a Mr. Field, who of course had the nickname "Agar".

We went up to his Trim.

These are the traditional round stone shelters, with a self supporting stone flag roof, that in times past on the island, the shepherds and farmers used for shelter when they were working in their fields. A little further on there were more abandoned buildings and one had the date 1881 scribed into the render by the side of the door.

The Konoba has literally been built on and around the huge rocks on this hilltop.

There was also time to visit one of the Greek watch towers. Called Maslinovik,  this is also the site of a medieval watch tower, dating from the 1st century BC and just to the west, megalith walls that have been dated to the 4th Century BC, when the Greeks established a system of defensive watch towers around the Agar , later a Roman villa was built here and there are the remains of an ancient 1st or 2nd Century AD wine press.

Later a small church was built on this hill top, dated to between the 10th and 12th centuries.

I went across to Split on Tuesday, mainly to try and locate the special tile cement that I need for the bathroom floor tiles. I managed to get a 25KG bag. Or rather I paid for a bag, because the main supplier had run out, and it was delivered to Stari Grad on Friday. So now I have no reason not to plough ahead and get the new bathroom finished. It has only taken 7 weeks to obtain! On Saturday, the only really fine day this week, I cut a number of tiles ready to begin tiling next week. I'll report my progress in the next edition.

In the garden spring is advancing. The weather is getting warmer and everywhere things are bursting into life. I have a carpet of blue Hyacinth in the citrus orchard, which is now fully stocked. Although the buds have just started to burst, I dug up and moved a big Lilac bush, Syringa_vulgaris

This had been planted close to the path up to the sundial, and had been cut back so many times, instead of having one or two single stems, it was a mass of weedy shoots, that in two years have never flowered. I moved it to the edge of the citrus orchard, where it can grow into a tree and can provide some wind screening as well.

All the apples and pears are now in place. I bought a couple more apples this week, some columnar varieties, Yellow Spindle  and Vesna  and also a Quince, Cydonia oblonga called a Dunja in Croatian.  So I just have figs to plant in this new orchard. I will train them to the shape of a fan, but as figs are vigorous trees, I need to restrict their root growth first, by building a 90 cm x 90 cm x 90 cm lined pit. As the figs are already growing in pots, I have a little time to do this.

In the top orchard, the plum trees are coming to life. The first blossom has appeared on both the black and yellow plum trees and the first tiny leaves have burst their buds.

The yellow plum is the one which I cut out the diseased limbs from a few weeks back.

I have a lot of work to do in this orchard. Part of it will be my kitchen garden this year, but I also have quite a few trees to plant here too. There are the Avocado trees I have grown, which are now approaching two years old, also some sweet cherries and a Medlar or Loquat, Eriobotrya japonica. And I also have a Kumquat, Citrofortunella, that currently is in a big pot and will go at the western end of the orchard.

It is also time to think about starting seeds in the greenhouse. When I was in there on Saturday I noticed a large olive green grasshopper was contentedly munching on some fresh green leaves. Somehow this big Caelifera has lost both hind legs, so is no longer able to jump. I left him to his munching - live and let live.

And that is about it for this week. So until the same time, same place next week, I will leave you with a picture taken on Saturday afternoon in Dol, from my weather camera.