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Visiting the shrink

This week: Day trip; Timber!; A ‘one task’ week; Visiting the shrink;

Autumn sunset
Autumn sunset

The mornings are dark and the nights drawing in quickly. This is the season of nice sunsets.

It was cool enough on Thursday night for me to close the windows – the first time since May – but this week the days have been warm and sunny.

The harvest of white grapes is well underway. Next it will be the reds and then the olives. But the lack of rain means that the olives are still small and hard.

A neighbour explained that this was both good and bad. Good because a local pest, the olive boring fly cannot inject an egg into the rock hard fruit, but bad because if we don’t get rain soon, there will be a very poor oil harvest.

In the week of the global climate strike (Friday), the Washington Post ran an article about the temperature changes being experienced in different parts of the world.

Washington Post graphic
Washington Post graphic – Global temperature increases

The graphics are based on multiple different databases, but they do show how some parts of the world are getting hotter. In my little corner of the Adriatic, we have seen an average temperature increase of 3ÂșC when compared to 100 years ago.

Washington Post graphic 2
Washington Post graphic – 5 year temperature average compared to the 1890’s

Day trip

At the start of the week I went over to Split with my neighbour Steve. His wife was returning to the UK, so we took her to the airport. Next stop was a used car dealer.

I am still looking for a replacement for my Suzuki, I have seen a couple of vehicles I like, but they are more than 400 kilometres away in the north. A very long way to go and look at a second hand car.

The vehicle which pulled into the car park in front of us was a police car. I got talking to one of the officers and was very happy to discover that he was looking for a replacement car there as well. Definitely a good sign!

Although they had one of the makes and models I am interested in, they were very high mileage and had not been used on the road since 2016. The net result is that I am still looking.


The timber for my storage shed was delivered while I was in Split on Tuesday, so Wednesday was a busy day cutting the fifteen 4 metre lengths to the sizes I need.

Timber delivery
Timber delivery

I made a drawing of the building, from which I worked out what I needed to order. The concept is quite simple. I need storage for building materials which are taking up a lot of space in the Konoba.

Things like doors and windows, double glazed units, water and heating pipes and boxes from the Konoba. Just so I can have some working space.

Quite some time ago I drew the analogy of the three by three square with 8 different coloured squares and a single gap. You have to arrange the squares to make words, but with only one space, there is a lot of moving required.

My problem is that I have filled the free space, so need to create another gap, to keep playing the game.

None of the old parts of the building are level. So the ancient stone flags outside the cottage, where the ring in the wall indicated the donkeys were tethered, and the family bread oven resides is just a little uneven.

Level, sort of

I put three beams down and spent time packing gaps and getting them to the point where they were level-ish. Then putting a sheet of plywood on top, I realised that the plywood was too thin and I needed a fourth beam for support.

Floor in place
Floor in place

That wasn’t a problem because I have over ordered the timber, but it did throw the levelling out. But by the end of the day, I had the floor down and fixed in place.

This is a temporary structure (but don’t ask me to define how long is temporary!), so I have deliberately bought the least expensive materials that will do the job. The price difference between 6mm plywood and 18mm is considerable.

A ‘one task’ week

Looking at the weather forecast for the next few days, we will have rain from Monday evening into Tuesday, so I need to have it up and waterproof by then.

It is now a race against the clock. This has turned the project into a “one task” week.

Kit of parts
Kit of parts

With all the timber cut to size, I essentially have a large construction kit. I assembled the walls flat using the sort of framing you would find in a stoothing wall.

I then added a single sheet of plywood, attached with stainless steel screws. It still meant the wall sections were too heavy for one person to lift up steps on their own, so I enlisted some help.

Walls ready for painting

I gave the plywood a coat of waterproofing, then fixed the walls in place on the floor.

Friday was a lovely working day, warm with a slight breeze. I measured and cut the roof support purlins then fixed them in place, before putting the roof sheet in place, then adding the upper half of the inner side wall.

Roof purlins
Roof purlins

With that marked, I offered up the opposite wall, marking it in the same way, before removing the side walls.

On Saturday morning I cut both pieces, then gave them a coat of waterproof paint, before fixing them.

Painting on the flat
Painting on the flat

I had also realised that I am one sheet of plywood short. I was at Volat early, to get the extra piece I need for the door. My planning was for a double door, but I think that a single door will make entry and egress, especially when carrying boxes, much easier.

A large single door will need more substantial hinges, but I can manage that. There is also a lot less construction work in building a door from a single sheet of 12mm plywood.

With the order for two additional sheets of plywood placed at 7.30am, they were delivered at 8.50am. When service is good here it is world class. The problem is the rank inconsistency.

By mid day I had done as much as I could until the waterproof paint has dried.

Waterproof door
Waterproof door

I think the plain door will lend itself to a mural of some sort…

Visiting the shrink

Nothing happens quickly here. Everything needs pieces of paper, signed and stamped, in duplicate of course.

As the latest BREXIT deadline approaches, I have been trying to make sure I have everything I need before the UK casts off from Europe and heads out alone into the cold North Atlantic.

I have been trying for 18 months to exchange my driving licence from a UK European licence to a Croatian licence. UK licences will cease to be valid in Europe (although they may still be accepted) after BREXIT.

Having visited the island police station several times and received conflicting advice every time and having visited multiple mainland police stations, I am now ready to apply again.

I finally received some sensible advice, that I need to get my UK EU licence translated (yes, I also thought because it has the EU symbol it was European!), and have a medical, then take various documents into the local police station. There is a fee to pay, but that should be the end of the matter.

On Saturday afternoon, I was at the local medical centre for my medical certificate. I have to say the process was as thorough as my flight medicals and it was efficient too.

I was first shown into a room with a psychologist. The lady handed me a non verbal reasoning Psychometric test. Consisting of 48 questions, it was a cogitative reasoning test using shapes.

Each question had five boxes, and the task was to identify the odd one out. Typical of psychometric tests, there were numeric and spatial problems to be solved and some very similar answers.

I passed with 46 out of 48. The Psychologist said it was a really good score. Next we went into my driving history. What have I driven when and for how many years etc. There were some interesting questions, for example, “Have you ever run over a pedestrian?” (No)

“Have you ever had an accident?” (Yes, several, goes with the territory of being a traffic officer)

“What do you think of the new law [in Croatia] doubling the penalties for traffic offences? (Good)

“Do you drink alcohol?” (This is Hvar, where the best Croatian wines come from, and it is rude to say no!)

Then there were questions about family, injuries, medication and have I ever had a psychological examination before (yes, several, for promotion). All my answers were written in code on a form, but I apparently passed.

Next stop was the medical. I was wired up for a full ECG – passed, no unusual arrhythmia or myocardial infarction. Eyesight; a keystone test, and the familiar wall chart (down to line 8).

Finally I saw the doctor, who reviewed all the results, gave me a physical examination, a manual dexterity test, and issued me with the medical certificate to be handed to the police.

The only thing missing was a blood test! Everyone was friendly, kind and spoke excellent English and I don’t need to go back for five years.

So next week I will be off to Hvar to hand everything in at the police station. Watch this space… NRC

One Response

  1. Tony Griggs

    Crickeys Norman! Seems like they take medicals seriously there! I now have to take a medical every 6 months for my Air Transport Pilots licence! Stay well!