Life in a Dol house
2016 - Week 30

Bedbugs and broomsticks

It has been another traumatic week for computers. 

I tried to upgrade my laptop from Windows 7 to Windows 10 this week and the upgrade failed, locking the computer so I could neither go backwards or forwards. Which does make life difficult, especially as my desktop system is still awaiting a new motherboard as I have not yet found a supplier with one of the older models which is compatible with the rest of my computer. 

I tried to repair the programme, but the so called "self healing" would not work. Windows 10 was asking for a driver, but what for I couldn't identify and despite pointing to the location of the drivers, which I had backed up along with everything else, all I could get was a "blue screen".

Contacting the Microsoft website, I was number 376 in the queue to have a "live chat" with a technical person. After several of hours of waiting in the queue and also trying every trick I knew, I gave up. The following day I went back into the queue on my tablet and started again with the laptop, then suddenly it all started to work and the programme was installing.

It still took a couple of hours to configure everything, but in the finish I had a clean install of Windows 10 and a fully functioning laptop again.

Computer apart, I have been busy removing weeds from the orchards and generally clearing up ready for some visitors at the weekend. 

I also filled a few more buckets with riddled stones for paths.

There are some especially pernicious weeds which seem to thrive on zero moisture. They look like a type of Golden Rod, but whatever they are, I am digging them out by the roots before they can set seed.
One of the jobs was to replace my trusty old bristle yard broom with a local plastic variety. 

After more then 15 years of use, the old one is now completely threadbare and was ready for retirement. I wonder if the replacement will last as long?

I was woken by Callie early on Tuesday morning, who arrived on the bed making her "Just look what I've caught" call. She has always brought live trophies for me and used to place them in the bath before coming to tell me all about it.
I have lost count of the number of quivering birds and tail-less reptiles that I have released to live another day. 

In Abu Dhabi, where there were large numbers of the White eared Bulbuls, Pycnonotus leucotis

it was mainly them and their red rumped cousins, Pycnonotus cafer.

Here it is just lizards and grasshoppers, although since the bathroom renovation removed the bath, she tends to put her trophies on the bed. 

So it was that on Tuesday morning, just as the first glow of the approaching dawn was painting the eastern horizon in reds and golds, she started burrowing under the quilt. 

Whatever she had brought me was still alive and was making desperate efforts to escape. With the light on, I caught sight of some toes with circular tips - so its a wall climber - which I hid under the folds of material. I think it is the thrill of the chase, as she has seldom killed her quarry and Callie soon tires of looking.

So later in the morning,at a reasonable hour I discovered the bed bug was a 5 cm adult Moroccan Gecko,Tarentola mauritanica. This gecko has larger scales and more prominent skin bumps than the Turkish Gecko, which I also have around my Dol house. Now tail-less but otherwise unscathed I released him to let him get back to catching flies and mosquitoes.

I also see them in the garden too and suspect that was where Callie found him.
On Thursday I was invited by a neighbour for a trip in his new boat. 

The vessel is 5 meters long and boasts a small forward cabin, a cockpit and a rear seating area. With a small but powerful Honda outboard motor on the back, the trip took in the north coast of Hvar, around to his summer house to the north of Rudina, then across to the Vira peninsula

for coffee at the Arsenol Konoba,

finally returning to Stari Grad at 12:30. 

With the sun shining from an empty blue sky, this trip highlighted many areas of the island which simply cannot be reached any other way than by boat. 

Apart from a couple of goats, sleeping on the cliff edge, we didn't see much in the way of wildlife. But the greenery and extent of forestation made the trip. ​ I was also surprised by the very large number of boats, many yachts but also small cruisers like ours, which were plying the waters. ​ 

Even travelling at a fairly sedate speed, we were able to cover a large area of the north of the island and all in all, it was a most enjoyable day. I slept well after all the sea air.

One morning while inspecting the top orchard, I found that there was a small and shiny new grasshopper which was clinging to the stem of one of my Avocado trees.
This species has quite a distinctive shape, with an upturned abdomen.
Looking for it a couple of days later, it had gone, but it had left its white skin which it had molted from.
I did not realise that grasshoppers molt like reptiles, leaving their old, empty skin behind. 

The more I observe nature here abouts, the more I learn. And that is it for another week in Dol.