A visit from Don Mario
This week: Greenhouse; Live Steam; Walking the old lanes;
It is extremely difficult to type when you have two cats jostling for position on your knee, but I will persevere!
It’s still cold outside and cats being creatures of comfort, they know exactly on which side their bread is buttered.
I still have the remnants of this head cold that has been doing the rounds. Despite the pills and potions it is not clearing as fast as I would like.
The weather has been changeable, a little rain, some sunshine and temperature lows of +3ºc and highs of +12ºc which probably hasn’t helped either.
I’ve managed to do a few things around the Dol House this week, but it has been the end of the holiday season. Tuesday was the 6th January, 12th Night and the Visit of the Kings, a public holiday in many parts of Europe including Croatia. Somehow it always seems to take time to get back into the swing of things after New Year.
In Croatian neither the days of the week, nor the months of the year follow European Latinised language conventions. January is “Siječanj”, meaning the month of hewing timber.
In the Greenhouse…
The greenhouse is now functioning. I bought more wood on Monday and set too making the door frame and door.
I have not made joints between the various lengths of timber, rather just pre-drilling the holes and then using long screws, well tightened, to make the joints immobile.
The timber is cheap and untreated.
At some point, no doubt I will need to replace an odd piece here and there, but it will not be difficult to do.
Even though there was only a weak sun on the day the door was finished, the temperature inside was noticeably warmer than outside.
With the door in place I finished off a work bench and two shelves.
I have some more brackets to go on the back wall for additional shelf space.
I need to cut some waterproof plywood and make a potting deck, but that apart, it is finished and I can put plants inside and start seeds from now.
I will add a temperature sensor as well to record the daily temperature changes.
I also found some cheap plastic trays with covers at the local supermarket.
Designed for covering food, they will be ideal for mini propagators and were half the price of the purpose made propagators I saw at the garden centre.
I had a run across to Split on Wednesday and came back as usual, with the car loaded with things I cannot get on the island.
The weather was pleasant, with a bright winter sun shining. I was up on the top deck as the ferry left the port, but once out into the Split channel, the wind was cold and I retreated down into the heated main saloon for the rest of the journey.
Hornby Live Steam…
Much of Thursday was spent dodging showers, doing bits and pieces outside when it was fine, and writing on the computer when it rained. I have been elected to the committee of the Hornby Live Steam club, as the editor of the newsletter, The Silver Jubilee.
I am going to move the magazine from a six monthly to a quarterly publication. The first issue I edited was published this week, having worked on it through December and I am already gathering the material for the next issue.
Hornby, a UK maker of scale model railway locomotives and equipment managed to sandwich a steam boiler, regulator and operating valves and pistons, into a model of 1:76 scale dimensions, which is no mean feat.
Two outlines were manufactured Gresley A3 and A4 pacifics, with various names and in various liveries, but when the banking crisis hit in 2008/9 production stopped, however large numbers were made and were sold round the world, even to the North American heartland of H0 1:82 scale models.
The Silver Jubilee aims to keep owner of these miniature engineering wonders in touch with latest developments and modifications. Who knows, one day the Dol House garden may echo to the enigmatic Chime Whistle from one of my locomotives.
On Friday I was invited to participate in the annual ceremony of blessing of houses. Every year, around the 6th January, the local Parish Priest comes round and visits every house to bless it and cleanse it for the forthcoming year.
Don Mario is a somewhat diminutive figure, in an anorak and baseball cap. He speaks a little English and I was wished ‘good health’, over a glass of local Rakija at my neighbours. Another of these really nice local traditions that I keep coming across.
Walking the old paths and lanes…
During the week I took a walk around the village, first on the old donkey track, up to the big church on the hill. Even at the start of January, the sun is warm and the air clean and fresh.
At the other end of the village, where the HEP electric company have been digging a trench for the new electric cables, the heavy machinery has gone and with the cables in the ground, the backfilling has started. Though I think it will be some time before the road is open to traffic again. It really is a mess!
The sunlight on the silver grey evergreen leaves of Olives and the old limestone walls looked much better than any photograph can do justice to.
But the really good news is that on Friday afternoon the postman called with the parcel from the UK that has been missing for 5 weeks! Somewhat battered and torn, a little wet but basically intact and with nothing missing, I think my emails over the past couple of weeks to the various companies involved ensured it was “found”.
I now have the parts that I have been waiting for to finish the kitchen, the electrics and a host of other tools and things that I have wanted. So next week will be “full steam ahead”, as the holidays are finished and there are no more excuses.
So until this time next week, with two sleeping cats still perched precariously on my knee, I hope you have a good week too. NRC