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Does it stay, or does it go?

This week: Does it stay, or does it go?; Deep inside the polytunnel; How to waste time productively;

Sunshine Sunday
Sunshine Sunday

My second oldest feline Ujako Gizmo has been off colour this week.

He disappeared last Saturday, then I found him on Monday morning in a neighbour’s garden, but he wouldn’t come home.

On Thursday I found him again, in the same area, and carried him home for some food, and again on Friday. This is a boy who hates the vets with a vengeance.

The moment the transfer box appears, he disappears, so a trip to the vets will be somewhere between difficult and impossible.

He seems a little better today, so I am hoping that whatever it was, he has got over it. They do have nine lives after all.

Gizmo the sun lover
Gizmo the sun lover

I have had one “wander” down some of my local paths this week. Once again I was in search of orchids.

I only found a single, very lonely specimen.

Pink Crowned Orchid
Pink Crowned Orchid

This is a Pink Crowned Orchid, Ophrys Rhodostephane, barely 10cm tall and literally the only one that I could see. This orchid is restricted to coastal Dalmatia and the large Adriatic islands, although it is said to be common on Hvar.

It would be nice to find a book just about Adriatic or Dalmatian orchid species.

The weather changed on Tuesday when a very cold front moved across the Balkan peninsula. The forecast temperature drop of more than 10ºC was sufficient for me to post a severe weather warning on my local weather group.

The Severe Weather Europe website had a complete article about the system bringing the cold, and they were not wrong!

Sever Weather Europe forecast
Sever Weather Europe forecast

This system had crossed Europe. In some places they had white-out conditions. Yes, this is the middle of April, not the middle of January…

April in Bavaria - It's a white-out
April in Bavaria – It’s a white-out

Statistically, there is usually a dip in temperatures here in mid April, but this week has been really exceptional.

Does it stay, or does it go?

I have spent several full days this week in my new property next door, trying to sort through the detritus of 100 years.

If anyone would like a large copper cauldron (the book of spells is missing), please let me know. I have two!

A large cauldron - minus instructions
A large cauldron – minus instructions

The big Konoba is about the same size as the one I have just tiled, but it’s difficult to tell exactly.

Inside the big Konoba
Inside the big Konoba – A barn find?

There are two large olive vats which will have to be removed at some point. However I need to actually get to them to be able to break them up.

I would like to use the space, so have tried to make an inventory of the remains of a Mercedes 280TE. This really is a barn find but adds new meaning to the term “kit car”.

Kit of parts after a basic "sort"
Kit of parts after a basic “sort”

This is a vehicle manufactured between April 1978 and January 1986, when almost 20,000 were made. However there is not enough of the one I have, left to tell me the year of the the model.

The Mercedes 280TE - when complete
The Mercedes 280TE – when complete

I should also add that it is a “construction kit”, with boxes and boxes of small parts.

There are five complete doors with all the electrics and glass, the bonnet (sans emblem), and much of the dynamic system.

In the small boxes there are things like dashboard switches, door handles and door mirrors. Then starter motors, water pumps and other electrical items.

There are also 22 tyres, two complete sets of alloy wheels and several sets of cast iron wheel hubs. I have also found two brand new complete headlamp units.

Just some of the parts
Just some of the parts

They are not small on this model, neither are they cheap…

It has been a very dirty job because when the car was disassembled it was clean.

However in the intervening years, everything has been in the Konoba. Dust has covered everything and because windows lack glass, wind has blow sand and leaves into the room.

The room is more or less vermin proof, probably less than more. But I also need to be able to access all the space, to make the space weather and rat / mouse proof.

At the end of the week, I have cleared a lot of space, created an inventory of the main parts and contacted my local Classic Car club, to see if someone would like a large van load of parts. I am waiting for their reply.

Depending upon what they say, I will answer the question, “does it stay, or does it go?”

Go to the tip, that is….

Deep inside the polytunnel

Much of my time this week has been spent out doors, but under cover.

Because of the cold weather (well cold for here for the time of year) I have been in the polytunnel, where it had been comfortable.

I had considered removing the polythene cover over the lower part of the tunnel, as I usually do in summer, but because of the forecast cold, I have delayed its removal.

When the sun has shone, this has made it really hot and humid inside. But that is better than sudden cold, which would affect the plants and trees.

I was delighted to see that my Mango tree has several flower spikes.

Mango flowers
Mango flower spikes

This is the first year that the sapling has produced flowers. I look forward to seeing what happens next. It should be self fertile.

I have set up canes to support my tomato plants.

Tomato pyramids
Tomato pyramids

In the past I have dropped string from the polytunnel cover, but I thought that this year I would try some cane pyramids. The plants are already close to a metre tall and some have their first flowers.

There are some annual weeds and grasses which I still need to clear, but other than that, I am happy with progress.

That is more than I can say for other areas of the orchards. Weeds have taken over and I really need to do more work to remove them.

In my courtyard, my columnar flowering cherry, the Flagpole Cherry, Prunus serrulata “Amanagawa”, has been in full blossom all week.

Flagpole cherry blossom
Flagpole cherry blossom

The blossom gives off the faintest, delicate perfume. A scent reminiscent of almond extract or marzipan. Certainly the bees like it.

Delicate blossom of the Flagpole Cherry, Prunus serrulata "Amanagawa"
Delicate, short lived blossom of the Flagpole Cherry, Prunus serrulata “Amanagawa”

Also in flower for the first time this year is my Blue Passion Flower, Passiflora caerulea.

The Blue Passion Flower
The Blue Passion Flower

There are a lot of buds, so there will be many more flowers to come, but sadly each flower only last for one single day.

How to waste time productively

Perhaps it is more “prevarication” than time wasting…. Is there such a thing as “active prevarication”?

It started when I got up on Saturday morning. I had a list of things I wanted to achieve before stopping work at lunch time for my ‘blog time’.

The problem was that is was cold outside, only 11ºC, which is really cold for here and after the 26ºC of a week ago, a huge change.

Even without heating, it was MUCH warmer inside, especially as there was a wind blowing, which just made it feel positively cold outside.

I didn’t want to get a thick sweater out, just to do some work, so stayed inside and did some writing.

I’ve been asked to write up a history of how police helicopters are built. I’m calling the article “How to buy a helicopter”.

For most people, a house is the most expensive thing they will every buy.

However when you are spending $4million, especially when it is $4million of someone else’s money, you need to make sure you get value for money.

That led on to hunting out some photographs.

How helicopters are built
How helicopters are built:
s/n 82 on the production line

Then it was coffee time, but the outside temperature had only increased to 12ºC, so I did some more writing, all the while thinking I should be pulling up weeds.

But when it is cloudy, dull and cold, even the weeds will not be growing much! So I continued prevaricating, whilst feeling mildly guilty.

Then I was looking for some photographs of a helipad I marked out in 1976. That one took some finding.

I really, REALLY do need to create a comprehensive index of photographs.

The image numbers which cameras create are of little use and it is only relatively recently that digital cameras started to include GPS coordinates.

But I found it in the end.

The helipad
Photo: Bob Denton
The helipad
Photo: Bob Denton

Meanwhile questions kept popping up on various Facebook history groups, which I answered… and then suddenly it was lunch time.

After a snack lunch, I sat down again, in the relative warmth of my study, and started writing again.

All of a sudden it is 17:30 and this week’s blog is finished. So until next week…. NCG