Life in a Dol house
2018 - Week 04

Once in a Blue Moon...

I underestimated the difficulty of (and hence the time it would take) installing the last three floor boards in the guest room. 

These are the boards which have to be cut to fit around the central heating radiator dropper pipes (tails) and more especially to fit snugly against the wall and lock everything into place.

​On Monday It took a little under an hour to fit and secure the last board that could be blind nailed into place. 

I then spent the rest of the day on the final two boards and still didn't manage to get them both fitted.

The last full width board has to be screwed into place, because I cannot get a hammer into the gap, but more especially I want to make it possible to lift the board to get at the central heating pipes underneath, just in case I ever need to. 

I'm not planning on having to, but according to Murphy's Third Law, someone may just need to, especially if the board is permanently fixed in place.

Cutting the reveal for the heating pipes was easy, but then I couldn't get the tongue on the previous board into the groove. So I removed the bottom sill of the groove along the whole length. With this done, the board dropped neatly into place.

The gap between the last full width board and the wall varies between 37 mm and 10 mm, which means that I have to cut that amount off a board to make it fit.

The easiest way was to offer the board up to the wall, as close as I could get it and then mark where I had to make the cuts for the door architrave etc. 

With this done, and after some precise measuring using a digital vernier caliper, I had the marks on the board ready for cutting.

Back to the scrolling jigsaw to cut the outline, then a quick sand down with the belt sander to put a slight curve on the lower edge and it was time for a trial fit.

I also needed to cut out the profile of the door frame and architrave so the board fitted neatly into the doorway.

​There were several trial fits before I got the profile just right.

​But finally it fitted like a glove.​​

Before fixing permanently, I glued this short strip to the last full board so it is in effect a single board. After leaving it to dry for 24 hours, I used some brass wood screws screws to fix it in place. 

There is just about room to slide a cigarette paper between the wall and the last floor board.

After a tidy up and a sweep up, the last job was to mark the walls and then fix the decorative border which runs round the room.

I am waiting for the new double glazed window to be fitted, so I have left a bit of the border unfixed, rolled up and held with a paperclip, on either side of the window, to allow the workmen to install the window without damaging the decorations.

The next job was to unpack and bring the furniture in, but that necessitated some reorganisation of the way my storage is set up. 

I have written before about how I try and adhere to the OHIO principle (Only Handle It Once), which is OK as far as it goes. 

But as circumstances change, then there are times when boxes have to be handled more than once.

This is one of those occasions, as more storage space has become available and also because I received the go-ahead this week for the major building work I have been waiting to start for the past three years. 

This means that I have to plan what that work will entail and what access I will need to give to the builders, which means the big Konoba store will have to be emptied, as it is part of the next phase of work.

So on that basis, and thinking of OHIO, I might as well rearrange things now, where I can, to get furniture out and make space available and just do it once.

Whilst I can easily say that, just one of the moves entailed shifting 16 boxes into my current workshop, after clearing some little used items and putting them into the loft storage area. 

I also built up some of my IKEA Gorm shelving, to take less used tools from the workshop, so creating some more space. 

That was a day and a half gone. Just where does time go to?!

That enabled me to get to an IKEA wardrobe unit that was at the back of the store. 

I had planned on building my own wardrobe in the guestroom, to fit exactly across one wall of the room, however being unable to get the hardware here that I needed, things like self closing hinges hinges, drawer sliders, even the cam locks and dowels to join the boards - in fact the only thing available was sheets of MDF - I have given up on the idea. 

I had the flat packed wardrobe which I was planning to use somewhere else, but decided to put it into this bedroom.

Friday afternoon was spent in opening the very heavy flat pack and carrying the individual items up to the guest room, then assembling the wardrobe - that was until it came to the doors. 

I opened the pack with the doors, but there are no hinges. They were obviously packed as separate items and I'm not sure where they are. 

As the light was starting to fade, I packed up and left everything. Somehow I work better when I am fresh in the morning.

On Saturday I had a look for the hinges in the store, but can't locate them. I suspect that they were with the IKEA kitchen fittings. I recall that I had more hinges than I needed and was not sure why, so I need to get the box of spare fittings out and check. 

Doors apart, the rest of the furniture has been unpacked and placed in the room, which in turn has freed up space in several stores.

Other than my usual walks around, I have not done any work this week in the orchards. 

I saw that my Hyacinth have come into flower and as the sun climbs in the sky, everywhere is getting more sunshine, but although I would have liked to have spent time on agriculture, I really wanted to get another room completed.

​I have already mentioned that building work is going to start soon. 

When I was going through the process of buying my Dol house, I sketched out my plans for the alterations I wanted to make. I estimated it would take three years. 

But although I was assured by the Estate Agent that getting planning permission was simple (he would say that wouldn't he!), it has been anything but. 

However this week, I received the document form the Urban Planning Council, moving my buildings onto a single plot.

Just one of the stumbling blocks has been that each of the buildings has been on a separate parcel number, and to connect the buildings together, they needed to be on a single one. 

It has taken 11 months to achieve it, but I now have the document, so my Architect can now deposit the plans at the Municipality for the first phase, and because this is ground floor and not considered habitable space, I can go ahead. 

Work is pencilled in for the end of February/beginning of March.

Throughout Croatia, land is divided up into numbered parcels, some of which are tiny, measuring just one or two square metres. 

It was a condition of the country becoming a member of the European Union, that the ownership of land is resolved, however it is an intractable problem which is hardly being addressed. 

My Dol house is in the middle of this patchwork quilt.

​For the second phase, which will join my buildings together and create a nice lounge overlooking the top orchard, which is habitable space, it will need planning consent, but at least I am part way there.

The conversion of the cottage loft, together with the rooms I have complete over the last six months, have each, and collectively, greatly improved the living conditions, but these were planned to be the last parts to be renovated. 

They were being lived in by people up to me buying the property and I have continued to live in them, but they badly needed modernisation. 

So whilst it has been done back-to-front, it is all progress towards my goal.

After losing a year and a half, when no modernisation work took place, just the dismantling of stables and outbuildings and some preparatory ground works, I have revised my timetable for finishing from three to five years. 

There is light at the end of the tunnel - and it's not a train!

Depending upon where in the world you are on Wednesday, you may see a particularly rare celestial event.

The phrase "Once in a blue moon" means that something doesn't happen very often. A "Blue Moon" is the second full moon in any calendar month, so happens around once a year, lunar months being just 28 days long. 

But the second full moon this month, on the 31st, also coincides with a Perigee moon, and a Lunar Eclipse

Western Europe, Africa and South America will not see any part of the eclipse, but here in the Balkans we should just see the . 

To get the best view you need to be in Australia, New Zealand and East Asia.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

If you are lucky enough to see it, it really will be a "Once in a Blue Moon" event!​


I want to be an Sova (Eagle Owl) when I grow up