Life in a Dol house
2015 - Week 42

The Curse of the Packers and Stuffers

This has been another busy week and one taken up entirely with the dining room. But I am pleased to say that the major work is finished. The grouting has been completed, which was a major time consuming task. Putting the skirting tiles round the room has made it look nice,

but trying to get the grout into the gap at the top, avoiding getting grout on the newly painted walls, required a small pallet knife, fairly viscous grout, a steady hand and oodles of patience.

but trying to get the grout into the gap at the top, avoiding getting grout on the newly painted walls, required a small pallet knife, fairly viscous grout, a steady hand and oodles of patience.

The walls are not particularly even and I discovered that where there was a large gap between the skirting and the wall, it made the grouting process very easy. With six corners in the room to grout, it took me almost three hours to finish each one. Then you have to leave it to dry and harden.

Once I started on the floor tiles, the process went very quickly.

By the middle of the week I was ready for something different, so I fixed a pine corner cupboard in position. I had to unpack it first, then offer it up to the wall and mark where to drill and plug the wall. Finally I attached it to the wall with 120 mm screws, which anchored it nicely in place. This cupboard came with me from the UK and this is the fourth house where it has been attached to a wall.

I have a breakfast bar to go in the corner too, but several key pieces are missing. Not lost, but I just don't know where they are and the packing list from Abu Dhabi is not a lot of help. The bar rests on a stainless steel adjustable pole, and this is one bit that I cannot find, together with 4 table leg stretchers. Just another of those little annoyances in moving home, better known as the Curse of the Packers and Stuffers! In the shipping company's efforts to make the most efficient use of the available space, when things are dismantles, it seems that the parts do not get packed together, AND the itemised list does not tell you where they have been packed. I also need to find my dining chairs. It is surprising how easy it is to lose thing when the store is jam packed with furniture and boxes.

I did get the the bar stools re-assembled, but I will have to do some more searching in the store to see if I can find a package that resembles the shape of the pole and with luck the stretchers will be there too. The problem may be that then have been included in with something else, so I will not see the distinctive shape. In the meantime, I shall just have to balance my breakfast each morning on my knee.

On Thursday my wood stove, this time with the water boiler, was delivered from Zagreb.

At the same time, the company took away the one which had been sent in error last week. When I opened the boiler, there was a very nice surprise inside. The company had included an electric infra-red massage machine by way of apology for the mix up. 

Completely unnecessary , but a very nice thought. 

Having spent much of the week on my knees and with a sore neck, shoulder and wrists from grouting, it will come in very handy.

With a little help from the Egyptians,  I easily rolled the 100 kg stove into position, and very nice it looks too.

Now I need Cvjetko to come and connect it to the outside chimney and the plumber to install the radiators, then I will be all set for the winter. 

I have a large pile of timber, the remnants of the roof and floors that were removed from the building when it was renovated in the summer, which should last me at least one and possibly two winters.

I just need to cut some of the larger chunks. I should say, I need to cut all of the large chunks and a lot of the smaller ones. That is one advantage of burning wood. It heats you twice - once when you cut it and then again when you burn it.

We have had a lot of rain this week. It has rained most days in fact, which has been good for the gardens and orchards (and for working inside). I have not been far, other than a trip to the supermarket on Wednesday, only to find that it was closed with the shutters down. Something I found a little strange. However a little later when I visited the Vatrogasci with Cvjetko a little later, I found out why. 

On last Saturday when we had heavy rain and some thunder, water had penetrated into the ceiling of the building, causing an electrical short and starting a fire. The whole building became smoke logged and between the fire damage, smoke damage and water damage, it is now closed for repairs and refurbishment. 

This was the big new 'Tommy' store which only re-opened in April after having been closed for three months for a complete refurbishment and refit. As one of the firemen said, "Perhaps the building inspection before opening was not quite as robust as it should have been."

We waved 'Goody bye' to our nice German neighbour family this week. They have gone back to Köln, but will return before Christmas and then for Easter. 

It seems strange looking out of the study window now and only seeing darkness instead of their summer home all lit up. Somehow, when there is a light on it makes the place feel more lived in. But it won't be long before Christmas and then Easter rolls round again. 

Most visitors have now left the island and when I went down to Stari Grad on Saturday, the streets and snickets of the old town were almost deserted. The year round residents have the place to ourselves again.

​ The small boats in the sheltered harbour were barely moving in the warm sunshine.

Just shafts of sunlight shining between the buildings creating long shadows and pools of light and dark on the empty limestone quays.

After last week's newsletter, I was asked by one reader if I had any "before and after shots" of the dining room, so here are a few. 

This is the dining room, under the previous owners. The doors to the wall cupboard were missing when I bought the property. I wonder what became of the old sewing machine on the table?

and the same corner today.

This is where the previous owners had had a stove, which they took with them when they left.

​ First job was to remove the floor and wall tiles.

Then the floor boards came up.

There really was not much preventing the upstairs from joining the Konoba underneath.

With a sub floor in place, a steel rebar mat was laid and it was all wired together for the new concrete floor to be poured.

With the new floor in place, attention turned to the ceiling.

The plaster was removed, together with the loft floor and the tiles and roof timbers. The new wiring loom was constructed and hung in place. It was a good job we had a nice summer this year.

The new roof was constructed.

And Velux windows were installed.

Then the walls were completely re-plastered, covering every hole and imperfection.

This was followed by a coat of primer.

Then undercoat and the first top coat.

Four coats of paint later, gloss on the woodwork and the walls were finished. Time I started on the floor tiling.

Now it is all finished and ready for the wood stove to be connected.

Now I need to plan my next project, which starts on Monday.....