Life in a Dol house
2016 - Week 28

Some progress at last

The week started well, with an invitation on Sunday to go to a Barbecue and swimming party at Prapatna.
The weather was hot and sunny, the sea was warm, at least the top layers were and the company and hosts were most cordial. 

Prapatna is one of those hidden gems, which if you did not know where to turn off the road to Sućuraj, you would ignore the unpaved road as being just a fire road. 

A winding 2.1km track leads down descending some 160 metres from the main road to get to the secluded, even isolated, bay. Once there, surrounded on either side by just a few villas nestling in amongst the pine trees, the only sound is children playing and the sea lapping up onto the cobble beach. 

The water is warm, around 24ºc, for the top 50 to 60 cm, but diving down with mask and snorkel, the temperature drops substantially. It probably is still not too cold, but after a hot sunny beach you do notice the drop. This is my first visit in 2016, I was last there in September 2015.

There were a lot more fish around last autumn, but with my GoPro, I was still able to film the small fish swimming in a shoal in the clear sunlit water.

There was not very much else moving, just an odd hermit crab, one or two whelks and that was about it. But all in all it was a very pleasant day out.

I have been doing some work on my neighbours 46+ years old Land Rover, but I discovered very early on that all the threads, washers and nuts were Imperial BSF thread

I can visualise 10mm, 20 mm but have great difficulty with 7/32" or 5/16". Fortunately I have a set of stainless steel Imperial spanners, so there is no problem with having the right tool, but the problem comes with trying to get replacement washers or nuts - you simply can't in Croatia. 

So having ordered a number of crucial items, two parcels arrived from the UK this week. That meant I set up an ad hoc spray booth outside and gave the parts two coats of rust proof primers and then two coats of an approximate match for the colour of the vehicle.

The colour is only approximate, as no one here carries anything like a full line of automotive colours. I miss things like the Holt's Paintmatch series.

I have a couple of Haynes workshop manuals, but this vehicle is a "Heritage" Series 2/3, with a number of bits having been altered and added over the years, so what you see in the manual is not exactly what you actually find. But that makes the project more interesting.

Once each lock was removed, I could get to the metalwork and clean or treat any corrosion. Despite it's age and having a mostly aluminium body, there was only odd bits where mild steel had been in contact with the aluminium panels.

After the paint work had been left to dry, I spent an afternoon replacing door catches and lock mechanisms. Some of the screws were difficult to turn, but in the end I managed to get everything changed.

I still have some work to do, but I need a punch wheel to complete it, which I will try and get locally.

On Friday I had a run across to Grad Hvar for my annual eye test with the Optometrist. 

I took the opportunity to call at the urban planning office - Upravni odjel za prostorno uređenje - to see how my application for the building permit was going and was surprised when the lady inspector said could she do the inspection there and then!

So we went together to look at my Dol house. The inspection was passed. I now need to pay a fee and then collect another three documents and have the architect complete a plan before the work can start, but at least now there is some progress.

I also called in to see friends in Hvar who are interested in Live Steam scale trains and we had a good discussion, especially around the use of former UK double decker buses, which were once used extensively in the major cities of the Balkans.

I can identify them as AEC Regents, but without an original registration mark, I have no idea where they were from. Of course these vehicles, being from the UK are rIght hand drive, with the passenger access on the left, so passengers used to enter and alight from the centre of the road. Perhaps with little vehicular traffic using the roads at the time, it was not as dangerous as it sounds!

They also used single decker AEC Regal III buses too.

This Regal is at the terminal where the ferries now leave from for Stari Grad, and it has had the emergency exit on the right hand side behind the driver converted into passenger doors. I wonder what happened to them?

I finished the removal of the roof of the pig sty this week.

 I now have a large pile of recovered stone slabs ready for reuse and some substantial tree trunks to be used this winter in the wood stove.

Next job is the removal of the remaining dry stone walls and rubble infill.
Another job I finished this week was the installation of the irrigation system for my soft fruit trees. 

The strawberry, raspberry, tayberry, gooseberry and goji berry had a partial system installed, then some other jobs started to take precedence. However, as the temperature has been above 35ºc this past week, some were starting to show signs of stress, so I pushed on and finished the system, buying the tap connectors when I was in Grad Hvar on Friday. 

Having installed and commissioned the system, we had a thunderstorm come through at tea time on Friday and it delivered a much needed 9.1 mm or 9 litres/m² of rain. No amount of irrigation water can match a good soaking rain. The temperature recorded on my weather station dropped 10 degrees from 25ºc to 15ºc in just 15 minutes (the top red line on the chart) as the storm arrived.

Although there was sporadic thunder and lightning, there was no damaging hail, which should please the local growers of grapes and olives, as their crops are especially vulnerable to hail damage at this time of year. 

The weather system has brought a nice change to the weather. Saturday has been cooler with scattered clouds, making work in the garden very pleasant. I have been harvesting the first of my main crop beef tomatoes. It has also brought out more insects, like this Egyptian grasshopper, Anacridium aegyptium, identifiable by its short, striped antennae.

Until next week, where ever you are, have a good week