Life in a Dol house
2018  -  Week 36

Necessity is the Mother of invention

Once again rain which appeared on the forecast failed to materialise in the amount predicted. 

These are seasonal storms which build out in the Adriatic Sea and then travel eastwards, rather than frontal weather systems which bring weather to a wide area. 

The geography of the islands seem to play a part too, with storms passing to the north of Brać and to the south of Hvar. 

We were treated to one spectacular example overnight Sunday into Monday when the north-eastern sky was lit by constant lighting flashes, whilst above Dol and to the south, the sky was gin clear with stars visible.

The "aftercast" Blitzortung map shows the thunderstorm straddling the southern Dinaric Alps from Bosnia Herzegovina in the north to Albania in the south with the centre over the Pelješac Penisula

So it's been another week of irrigating, and with the sun still be hot, at a similar intensity to the summer, there is no sign on the horizon of when the autumn rains will actually start.

Just occasionally I come across something on the internet which is worth sharing widely. 

I am taking a course at the moment with Nottingham University, via Future Learn, in historical research. 

One of the modules "Corpus linguistics and histories of the everyday" included links to a number of resources for searching, but one in particular, a free search engine called Webcorp  

You can put a single word or a phrase into this engine and it will then produce a (long) list of hits with links. 

An advanced and highly specific search can be of of newspapers - try searching for your own name and prepare to be surprised- and there is another of web sites. 

It certainly found some some articles in relation to a history project I am currently researching, that no other search engine has found. 

There are detailed instructions, which will take you deep into the manipulation of the data, or just try a simple search. 

It seems to be another tool to bookmark for when you are looking for something that you know is out there, but just can't find it. 

One of my ongoing projects is trying to locate and identify a very small number of Rickman police motorcycles which were built between 1969 and 1975. 

I had been sent a photograph of one from the West Mercia Constabulary. The machine is an early Mk 1.

I received an answer this week via Facebook, telling me the name of the rider, and that the photograph was taken in 1970. 

Sometimes you need to try every means at your disposal when you are researching something, even Social Media, to get a result.

I've spent three whole mornings this week, moving a single foundation stone into place in my dry stone wall. 

These are very large and heavy pieces, of 300 kilos or more. 

One morning I lifted, heaved and rolled it into approximate position against where the new wall will join the old wall, but that was where I ran into some problems. 

I got it to an approximate position, but then needed to physically lift it which I simply could not do. 

So out came some lengths of chain because immediately above is a substantial plum tree with a thick branch in just the right place, but then I ran into a problem, because I needed another piece of chain to connect the chain hoist to - a piece I didn't have. 

So it was off to Stari Grad to try and get some chain. 

I was looking for the sort of thing that an anchor would be attached to, a length of welded chain, but all I could find was bent chain links. 

Given that I need to lift something that could weight up to a half tonne, I opted instead for a length of Polyester rope. 

This would carry the weight and also be a little more flexible than chain. It also spreads the load more evenly over the branch I am using. 

So with the ends sealed and a Bowline knot at each end, I was able to attach my chain hoist to the tree and the rock chain to the hoist.

It's "Necessity being the Mother of invention" in action! 

Rigging the hoist did not take long, but actually moving the stone into position took time because the chain kept slipping. 

I did it eventually, with a wrecking bar to move the stone one centimetre at a time. 

Next job was to back fill behind the stones with sandstone and tamp down the fill, then it started to rain - not much, but just enough to curtail the work - eventually just 1mm fell. 

With Saturday being bright and clear, I finished the back filling and laid in soft sand to bed between the stones. 

It is going to take a few weeks work to build this wall. 

I've been hunting on line for a tripod hoist to help, as some of the stones I have to move are huge, but so far I haven't found one. 

It is not something I anticipated needing, because I am sure I saw one at Dragon Mart in Dubai, where I bought quite a few of my really useful tools and it could have come in the container... 

But with a pile of large stones...

or a large pile of stones - choose which ever term you feel is appropriate

that will all need to be manoeuvred into position, I think I may have to build my own tripod hoist, just to make moving them a little simpler.