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Let’s look forward

This week: Looking back – the weather year; Just a little work; Let’s look forward;

Low winter sun on St. Michaels Church
Low winter sun on St. Michaels Church

Well, we’ve made it all the way to week 52!

I can’t believe that it has been an entire year and I haven’t lost weight, improved my fitness level or become a better person… So much for New Year Resolutions!

I did add another waif, Yoda, who with just five square meals a day since his arrival in September and lots of TLC, has grown into a very well adjusted teenager.

We have been to the vets this week for a “little operation”, which should calm him down a bit.

Yoda following me along the path
Yoda following me along the path

The vets think he is perhaps around 9 months. But not knowing from whence he came, we will never be completely sure.

Christmas was a lovely day, spent with friends in Jelsa. Good food and good company, so a day to remember.

On Boxing Day I was with friends in Stari Grad then on Wednesday it was back to normal, or more or less normal.

The weeks after Christmas, and New Year, are always strange in Dol. Two Christmas Bank holidays mean that there are few working days before the next ones at New Year. Then there is January 6th, the visit of the Kings which is also Bank Holiday.

So it will be the second week of January before things get back to normal again.

Mid winter sunshine
Mid winter sunshine

Looking back – the weather year

Climate breakdown continues to wreak havoc around the world.

The changes are not being felt equally though. With just one day of 2023 left, I was reviewing the statistics from my weather station.

We have received 450mm more than the average precipitation in 2023. That is 450 litres per square metre of extra rainfall.

2023 total precipitation
2023 total precipitation

Apart from the rainfall event at the start of May, the extra rainfall has been fairly evenly spread across the year.

Considering that the Mediterranean climate is said to be summer hot and dry, winter cool and wet, this is not what we have experienced this year.

The temperatures throughout the year have been depressed, with the 2023 temperatures being below the average most of the time. The autumn stands out because it was warmer than the average.

2023 temperatures
2023 temperatures

Some plants have enjoyed this altered climate, but not everything has enjoyed the cooler, damp conditions.

Weeds have thrived and they continue to do so. My citrus trees have more fruit than I have ever had before, but I had few cherries, peaches and apricots.

Statistical analysis is easy with a spreadsheet and this next chart shows just the winter temperatures.

2023 Winter temperatures
2023 Winter temperatures

We did have a coldish snap at the start of December, however it only lasted a week.

Usually the week after Christmas and the first week of January are the coldest of the year. By the second week of January, the sun is notably higher in the sky and our world is warming.

This past week, the average minimum temperature is five degrees above the average and is approaching the average MAXIMUM for the time of year.

So many times this year I have heard locals say “This is just not normal”. With occasional mosquitoes still flying, I can only echo that sentiment.

With more warm weather expected this week, being brought up on winds from Africa, it is definitely not going to feel cold. I haven’t even lit the wood stove until after 5pm, because it just didn’t feel cold!

Until the world takes climate breakdown seriously, these abnormal weather effects are going to continue.

Just a little work

I have continued working in the Konoba this week.

On Wednesday I bought a different brand of emulsion paint for the ceiling, because the brand I was using was just not covering well.

I’m using the original brand as the undercoat on the new plasterboard, but then using Jupol as the second and final coat.

Where I have finished, the new ceiling looks really good.

Once the ceiling is finished, I have been fixing the spot lights in place. The lighting loom is all hidden in the ceiling, with just the droppers coming through the plasterboard.

Fixing the new ceiling lights
Fixing the new ceiling lights

I drew up a lighting plan some time ago and ordered the parts. Lights can be switched in groups independently.

The bulbs are warm white LED’s with an A energy rating. The warm light on the stone walls looks very nice, and that is before I have all the lights fixed.

Unpainted left, painted right
Unpainted left, painted right
After the ceiling lights have been fixed in place
The finished section, after the ceiling lights have been fixed in place

I still have to removed the masking tape from the wooden beams and then install the quadrant. But so far I am delighted with the results.

The floor tiles I ordered before Christmas have arrived too. So finally, the Konoba is not far off from being finished.

Let’s look forward

There seems to be something of a tradition (certainly on the radio and TV) of looking back over the past year. If readers want to look back, all the blogs from 2023 are available online.

Personally, I would rather look forward. Already I am thinking about the things I am going to grow this year, and to the warmth of summer here in Dol.

There is a lot of work to look forward to as well. The adjoining buildings will need “fettling”, that is one of those wonderful Yorkshire dialect words which means “sorting out”.

I have the completion of the Konoba to look forward to, hopefully early in the New Year. Then I can start to put furniture in place that has been packed since I moved from Abu Dhabi. I will have somewhere nice to sit.

Of course the problem with having somewhere nice to sit is that I many not be so keen to do some of the other jobs.

I would like to get the courtyard finished and I really need to do some extensive ground work in the Top Orchard.

Early in the new year, I need to go up on the roof to service the solar water heater and to change the anti-freeze. For that I need a couple of dry, cloudy, windless days.

So where ever you are in the world, I wish you a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2024, with everything that you wish for yourself. NCG