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This week: It’s called planning; Car gone; Lizards galore; Last job of the week;

Stari Grad
Stari Grad in morning sunlight

The daytime temperatures are climbing again, at a time of year when they really should be falling.

The cause is a dome of hot air, high in the atmosphere and stretching from Scandinavia to south eastern Europe. This is bringing abnormally high temperatures to Northern Europe. This week is forecast to be 20ºC above normal in places as a mass of Tropical Continental air settles in.

Dol is at the southern extremity. Later this next week, the air mass will split into two, with a part moving south over the Balkans, bringing some high temperatures and warm, sticky nights.

Makes me think about cooling without Air Conditioning

It’s called planning!

I have two small windows, little more than open reveals really, which have been on my list “to do” for quite some time.

Window reveal
Window reveal

But because they provide ventilation and have wire gauze grills across, to prevent insects and rodents, they have not been a priority.

On Sunday I took a closer look at them, to decide how I was going to make frames for double glazing.

I was wondering about making them opening, but I think they are too small. and the rooms already have other opening doors and windows to provide ventilation.

The reveals have been made using stone lintels so they are uneven. One varies in width from 28cm to 32cm, with a curved top, probably a deliberate feature. So with such a variation in width and height, getting anything to fit squarely is going to be hard.

My first idea was to put a shaped inner frame into the reveal and then screw a square and true frame to it. I cut some timber off-cuts to fit, but I really wasn’t happy with the result. It would like like a jail window.

Too much frame
Too much wooden frame

To make them wide enough to support the outer window frame would significantly reduce the amount of light which comes in through the window.

The old cottage wall was re-rendered a couple of years ago and is almost flat. I decided that the best way to get the maximum amount of light in through the window is to mount it on the outside. This meant a re-design of the wood frame, but that is not insurmountable.

I will need to make the frame completely ridgid so that any movement is taken up before fixing, to prevent displacement when it is screwed to the wall. But overall, it is a better and certainly easier option for construction.

The second window overlooks my neighbours orchard and the was is “as built”. Being so small and dark, I want to maximise the light that come in so will use the same mounting technique.

Basement window reveal
Basement window reveal

Obtaining the right wood became the next problem. I wanted 50x50mm, but there was none on the island and I have none in stock, so I have ordered it through Volat and it will arrive next week.

Car gone!

After several more people viewed my car, all of whom never called back, I was beginning to think that I was perhaps asking too high a price.

Certainly having the “For Sale” signs in the windows created interest and they worked, creating leads which could then be explored and with explanations beyond what you can put on an A4 page.

And it was one of these, plus a neighbour who had a relative whose old car had been towed away for scrap and who needed a replacement quickly.

So after a couple of days of discussion, I waved my Suzuki Ignis goodbye on Friday evening. I am happy with the price paid and now I am looking a for a replacement.

It had a wash and a polish before the happy new owner drove it away.

Suzuki Ignis
Suzuki Ignis

As I have described previously, my options are limited because of the very narrow entrance I have to negotiate. Although I’d like something like a Dacia Duster, even with the mirrors folded, it will be too tight a squeeze and making the entrance wider is not an option. So I’m looking for perhaps a Suzuki Jimny or a Fiat Panda 4×4.

Not much space
Not much space

My average annual milage is around 1,000 km, so what I need is a good, small car for the island. The feelers are out…..

Lizards galore

It seems to have been a bumper year for lizards. This years hatchlings are running amok! Everywhere I go around my home, tiny little lizards run at my approach.

Balkan wall lizard
Balkan wall lizard

Scientists have shown that birds are the nearest living relatives to the dinosaurs which once walked the earth. The names we use to describe the ancient reptiles are of very recent origin.

It was only in 1842 that the word “Dinosaur” came into use. Used in a scientific paper by Sir Richard Owen, the first Superintendent of the Natural History Museum, he used the term Dinosauria, to describe fossil bones found in the UK.

Although based in classical Greek, the word we use today is often translated to “Terrible lizard”. The notes from Sir Richard actually show he was translating it at “Fearfully Great”.

It had been recognised by many scholars – the branch of science we called Palaeontology didn’t exists then – that these large bones bore striking resemblance to human anatomy, but on a huge scale, they also recognised that there were two types of fossil.

Male Balkan wall lizard
Male Balkan wall lizard

Those whose legs and hips were under the body, like today’s birds (an humans), to bear the great weight, and those which like today’s lizards, had legs splayed out the the side.

Turkish Gecko
Tiny Turkish Gecko

As my lizards skitter about through the leaves and grass, I am reminded that their parent laid eggs, just like the dinosaurs. I occasionally find the remains of their nests, inside walls or between stones, where tiny eggs have hatched in safety.

Now they have to run the gauntlet of my cats, who view chasing them as a great game; of large birds which see them as an easy meal; and of other reptiles, notably the snakes, who also see them as an easy food source.

Hide and seek
Hide and seek

I like them in the garden. They eat bugs and flies, and my house Gecko’s keep the mosquito in check, even if a Gecko running across the ceiling causes mayhem as the felines try and chase it!

Last job of the week

It’s one of those jobs I have been meaning to do all summer, but I have always found an excuse not to do it.

In my drupe orchard, all the trees need some sort of training support. I had to get some Metaposts from the UK because the ones at Bauhaus were not made of the strongest pieces of steel.

So with the steel post holders installed in the orchard, I have had the timber uprights marked ready for drilling for a while.

Ready for drilling
Ready for drilling

I decided I would do the job this week. I will need some chamfered wedges to go in the base. When the timber for the window frames arrive, I will need to run it through the planer/thicknesser. At the same time I will use the machine to make the wedges to go into the post bases.

The wooden posts have been outside all summer, so should be thoroughly seasoned now. They are quite dense and oily, so I suspect they are a variety of pine. Once marked up I used an 8mm drill bit to bore the holes. Four to a post, so sixteen in total.

4 holes in each post
4 holes in each post

Then I positioned a length of threaded bar through a hole, with the various fittings in place so I know exactly what length I need to cut. It is a little under 10cm, so I will cut them all to that length.

Hardware installed
Hardware installed

I have an electric hacksaw and I think I might just cheat rather than cutting the threaded bar by hand. I may use it. It will make the job go a little quicker…… NRC