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A weather imperative

This week: A little explanation; Two tests passed; A weather imperative;

Rainy Saturday morning
Rainy Saturday morning

It’s Saturday morning and the rain is teeming down outside.

I have the lights on because it is so dark, and none of the felines are showing the slightest inclination to venture outside.

I have started writing this week’s blog, because it seems sensible to stay inside, at least until it brightens and perhaps the rain clears.

By mid-morning, I really needed to get on and do some jobs, whether that is under cover in the courtyard or in the Konoba, even though the rain is still falling.

This sort of weather sums up the week. Not especially cold, just not especially pleasant for working outside either.

First Hyacinth flowers of 2023
First Hyacinth flowers of 2023

The first of my Hyacinth bulbs have come into bloom this week. These are in a sheltered corner near the kitchen window, however the remainder are not very far behind.

During one of my walks around, I found that the Winter Flowering Jasmin, Jasminium nudiflorum, are in flower.

Winter Flowering Jasmin
Winter Flowering Jasmin

This is another of those northern European plants, which survives here, just, rather than thrives. In a corner where it gets little summer sun and is sheltered by a tree, it survives because of being watered.

The tree takes all the moisture from the soil around its roots and even in the shade, it is really just too hot.

After running out of various essential fittings, for the stairs and the Polytunnel, I decided to go to Split. So on Friday it was another ridiculously early start to catch the ferry and a late return home on a wet and windy day.

However I did come back with everything that I had gone for.

A little explanation

Last week I mentioned I had been using a Palm Router on the stairs. This led to a couple of questions asking what a “Palm Router” was.

One of the difficulties with the English language, is that words which are spelt the same are pronounced differently and some are spelt differently but pronounced the same. Words like You; Ewe and Yew!

So too with “Router” and “Router”. One is a wood working machine and the other is the device which connects your home to the internet, (pronounced ‘rooter’).

This is my new Bosch Palm Router, together with a work glove so you get an idea of the size.

Bosch GKF 550 Palm Router
Bosch GKF 550 Palm Router

It is a fairly light, one handed machine which has a circular cutter at the bottom to shape and cut wood, plastic and even light metal alloys.

Wood Routers are usually much larger and you need two hands to operate them. I have two of these.

Then there are the Table Routers, which fit under a work bench, with the rotating cutter protruding above. I have one of these too.

They are all useful in their own way, but I have found this small wood router to be especially useful. Because of its small size, it can get into corners where the full size router will not fit.

I’ve used it to make the shaped corners of all the steps and winders for my new stairs and also the stringers which hold the step treads.

Shaping corners and edges with a Wood Router
Shaping corners and edges with a Wood Router

Two tests passed

We have had several days of windy weather, with the wind coming from a general westerly direction. Then at the end of the week the wind direction swung by 180 degrees to the east.

There have been gusts of 49.9 kph and sustained winds of 20 kph.

I was delighted to find that after the first windy day, none of the roof panels have moved in the slightest.

Wind speeds and gusts
Wind speeds and gusts

In fact the frame is now completely rigid.

As this is really the strongest wind4 we get, I consider that my engineering workaround for fixing the polycarbonate sheets has passed it’s first major test.

I have also been working on the staircase in the Konoba too.

All the treads up to the first landing have now been fixed into place. On Friday I came back from Split with Newel Posts and lengths of handrail.

First treads now fixed in place
First treads now fixed in place

When gluing and pinning lengths of timber together, and then holding everything in frame clamps, it takes the wood glue around 24 hours to properly set.

So having only one pair of clamps, I can only work on one large piece at a time.

My builder friend Cvjetko came round on Thursday afternoon to inspect progress.

I have finished the second winder, this is where the stairs change direction by 90º. However I had run out of the wooden joint pegs and there were none to be had here on the island.

First winders in place
First winders in place

Wearing his building inspectors hat, Cvjetko expressed satisfaction on the work done so far, so that was another key test passed.

With a new supply of pegs from Bauhaus, I’m ready now to continue building the third and last winder before the steps reach first floor level.

A weather imperative

I received a weather warning in the middle of the week, for a Polar Vortex which will swing across the western and central Mediterranean this week and next.

Normally in the northern winter, there is a strong circular west to east circulation of cold, high level air from October until April.

When this circulation slows, it breaks down and cold air is able to push out into more southern latitudes. This is called a Polar Vortex.

It is over the UK at the moment and willl sweep eastwards across Europe and the mediterranean this weekend and into next week.

Polar Vortex bringing cold air
Polar Vortex bringing cold air

By the middle of the week it will be cold enough for some frost here in Dol. This will be the first frost of this winter.

With the roof of the Polytunnel finished, I need to get the side walls, doors and front curtain completed before the cold weather arrives.

It has been so mild this winter, some 5ºC above the average and well into double figures, there has been no need of frost protection, so I have been doing other things.

I had another frustrating search here on the island for large diameter washers. I use these to hold the various panels in place and I ran out whilst finishing the roof.

As usual, no one of the island had any so I bought 150 when I was at Bauhaus.

During the week, I made the frames for the doors and completed some of the other wood work, but needed the various parts from Split.

On a damp Saturday morning I could be found doing some of the final construction work. However as rain kept stopping work, I will need to finish it next week.

I have a weather imperative to get the Polytunnel air tight, or more or less air tight before the cold arrives on Tuesday.

So it has been a mad rush today, to do as much as I can in the available light. NCG

One Response

  1. Marcy

    Norman, your Hyacinth, and Jasmine are gorgeous. It is snowing here, the remnants of the big storm from California. One day it’s 30F out, and some snow is melting. With 11F at night, it freezes and makes driving miserable and dangerous.

    I am so excited to see that last step. You answered many questions about how it would go around that bend. It looks incredible. You are such a craftsman.

    In the US, an internet router is router pronounced the same and spelled the same as a router piece of machinery. There is no such word as whilst or spelt. It is while and spelled. Crazy how English is so very different. My Grammarly wants me to change this in this text. LOL

    My house is on the market, and hoping we get movement soon. I’m so over the bitter cold and snow and look forward to the fun in the sun.

    I hope you have a productive week. I’m working as a tutor, but I can’t get to the kids because of the weather. My other gig is a career coach, and I’m super busy with that as it’s all Zoom. Thank you for the informative and interesting blog each week. I know it is time-consuming, but I feel so lucky to watch your progress over the years.