A year like no other!
This week: Getting ready for work; Staircase construction; Out with the old;
In a few short hours, the clocks will chime midnight here in Europe and at the same time the New Year will begin.
There is nothing to watch, so I am not planning on staying up to mark the event. I’ll welcome the New Year in tomorrow morning instead.
Based on my time here, the last week of December and the first week of January are always the coldest of the year. However not this year.
From a weather observer’s perspective, it really has been a year like no other.
On Christmas Eve the Severe Weather Europe group published a chart showing the mass of warm air which has been moving up from Africa and covering much of southern Europe.
In some places temperatures are 8ºC to 10ºC above the average. This warm air dime will last well into January, by which time the sun will be higher and warmer anyway.
Adding the final data to my weather station spreadsheet and the year hs been anything but average.
From a cool March and April into the heat of summer at the beginning of May, which lasted until the end of October.
The total precipitation is down by about 100 litters per square metre, but almost all fell in November and December. For the first time, not a drop of rain in the whole month of October.
This is the first tome I have ever recorded a full calendar month without the smallest amount of precipitation.
Here we are on the very cusp of the New Year and I still have leaves on my plum trees. This is just not normal
The temperatures are reminiscent of October, not January.
What will 2023 be like? Goodness only knows…
Getting ready for work
My friend the builder told me last weekend that he has been let down by a plumber and so suddenly had a space in his diary this week, and would I like him to start on my Konoba?
The phrase “I’ll snap yer ‘and off” comes to mind!
In a country where you try for years to find a good builder and then wait and wait for him to turn up, this was an offer I couldn’t turn down.
It did mean that I had some running round to do to be ready for him, buty we have made progress…
The work was planned to take place some time in 2023, perhaps February, but nothing really definate.
It is another part of my plan to integrate and join my various buildings together, linking the two floors.
The big old ground floor Konoba (winery), a 48 sq metre room, has been waiting for the reconstruction begun 18 months ago to finish.
The first job was to cut a hole in the wooden ceiling for a staircase, followed by the staircase construction.
There is then the job of fixing plasterboard between the wooden beams, to reduce dust, painting, and then finally laying floor tiles.
Also one beam which hold the upstairs floor only with some wrought iron and gravity needs to be properly supported too.
I needed to clear boxes because I have been using the room for storage and then move furniture which is for the room, out of the way.
In the hallway above, there was also some moving required, to clear the floor area.
It was only a day’s work to fix jacks under the beams and then cut the L shaped hole where the steps will go.
There are a lot of calculations involved because the walls are stone and not square, the ceiling is not level, although the new floor is and the tree trunks holding the first floor up are all different sizes.
With planks on the floor above because of where the current door is, at the end of the first day, we had made significant progress.
The network cabinet in the hall wall will also be replaced by a full size version.
Days 2 and 3 – staircase construction
Cvjetko went to Volat and found 4 metre lengths of pine which had been under cover and at the bottom of the pile so were reasonably seasoned.
These will be used for the staircase construction.
I had wanted to use Oak, however the difficulty of getting the hardwood, not to mention the cost made me realise that the 5 cm deep boards was the best timber I was going to get locally.
I ran the boards through my thicknesser machine to clean them and give us flat surfaces and square edges to work with.
There was then a lot of work with steel rules and spirit levels to fix the stringers of the first flight of stairs in place, followed by more cutting and finally fixing the stringers to the walls and new uprights.
Next there was the construction of the landing between the first and second flight.
A useless wall niche was filled in. Most of the hole was going to be behind the landing support beams, so I made the decision to block it up completely.
The third day was taken up with small but necessary jobs around the construction zone, leaving me to build the stair treads between now and when Cvjetko comes back.
Working with wood is something I enjoy and find not too difficult, so I am more than happy with the progress so far.
I cut the nosing on the first tread to see what it looks like. I like the finished result.
What did surprise me was how the sunshine streaming through the upper windows and shining down the stair well, even in winter, really lit the room up.
I cant wait to get more jobs done and then being able to bring the room into use.
Out with the old
At the end of another year here in my Dol house, I continue to make progress, although at times it is nowhere near as fast as I would like.
Finishing the year on a high point, is certainly a positive end, even though I have a lot of work to do on a number of projects.
On Saturday I went into Stari Grad and bought varnish and wood filler, so I am ready for next week.
It is also the last time I will be using the local currency.
From midnight, Croatia is changing from the Kuna to the €uro. For two weeks the two currencies will be legal tender, then everything will be in €uros.
Also Croatia joins the Schengen common travel area at midnight, so no more stopping at the borders of European countries.
So as the clock winds down to midnight, where ever in the world you are, we wish you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. NCG