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Spring Cleaning

This week: Glow worms and Fireflies; When life gives you lemons; Spring cleaning; A Dolly in the workshop; When work becomes fun; Postscript;

Early summer in Dol
Early summer in Dol

It’s another Saturday. It really does not seem long since the last one. But here we are again!

I’m also running rather late, but for all the right reasons.

The new Utility room is finished. The chest freezer was moved in yesterday and as I refilled it, I made an inventory of the contents. I now know exactly what I have!

The finished utility room
The finished utility room

Today I have been moving in the stores and supplies, together with kitchen appliances after I finished building the shelves.

I started this morning, then as the afternoon wore on, I was getting close to finishing, so instead of stopping work, I continued until it was finished.

Filling up the shelving
Filling up the shelving

To say that I am pleased with the finished room is an understatement. I’m delighted with how it has turned out.

At the beginning of the week I purchased the copper tubing I needed and completed the installation of the central heating radiator. So it really is all finished!

Radiator installed
Radiator successfully installed

Glow worms and Fireflies

I mentioned worms in last week’s blog, which prompted this response from one reader:

“Lucky you, you are blessed, I’d love to see a worm in my garden. I used to have glow-worms in the summer, but I haven’t seen any of those either on Hvar or on Brač for many years… “

The writer lives a few kilometres to the south east, up in the hills. However it got me thinking.

I have never seen a gloworm or a firefly here, or for that matter anywhere else I have lived.

A little bit of research turned up the fact that there are 2,000 different kinds of glow worms and fireflies known to science and several can be seen across the whole of the Mediterranean basin.

There is a difference. Glow worms are the female insect of the Lampyris noctiluca family, who light up their abdomen’s to attract a male mate. The females cannot fly, the males who do fly, do not light up.

Whereas in Fireflies, which from the same family group, both males and female fly and they both fluoresce.

Research was begun in Croatia in 2019 to assess the level of gloworms and insects, however the pandemic has got in the way.

The project is called the Krešo Krijesnica project, meaning “let’s return the lights of our childhood”. There have been many reported sightings, including here on the island, but the numbers are still clearly down when compared to decades ago.

The project has a FaceBook page as well as the university website.

Glow worms and fireflies are neither worms nor flies as their names would suggest, but are insects.

The difference between fireflies and glow worms depends upon the place they are found in.

In Europe fireflies and glow worms are beetles that belong to the family Lympyridae.

Glow worms are Lampyrid species where the female looks more like the larvae than the adult male. They’re flightless and emit light as a steady glow. The male doesn’t emit any light and is able to fly to find a mate.

In America all Lampyridae species are known as fireflies or lightning bugs.

Glow worms are sometimes used to describe the larval stages of a Lampyridae and the name is also used to refer to members of the bioluminescent beetle family Phengodidae, which are sometimes known as railroad worms.

In Australia glow worms are not beetles but actually flies known as fungus gnats. The genus Arachnocampa is endemic to New Zealand and Australia where they live in caves illuminating the interiors with an eerie blue light.

I will be outside in late June looking after my near neighbour told me they had seen them near their back door just last summer.

When life gives you lemons

What do you do when life gives you lemons?

When life gives you Lemons
When life gives you Lemons

Make pancakes of course. Lots of pancakes, lemon cheesecake, Lemon meringue and lemonade of course.

I’ve removed all the shade netting from the citrus trees this week and several trees have fruit on them, just ready for picking.

The lemon tree in particular seems to have liked being well wrapped up for winter.

Spring cleaning

It’s that time of year when you need to do a big clean-up to get rid of the winter dust and debris.

If only it was just in the winter that there was dust and debris being brought into the buildings! Living around an active building site means that there is dust all year round.

However the wood stove does also create it’s own mess and now the need for central heating has ended, I am happy to be able to clear up the dust and cobwebs which have accumulated around and above the stove.

I need to give the stove a good service too.

The flue pipes will have to come off and be checked for soot and I will remove the top of the stove to get at the chamber where the burnt gases leave the fireback before exiting via the flue.

In the past I have found that this is an area where burnt debris accumulates.

There is also the air radiator, above the fire which provides direct heat to the room from the hot flu gases.

The six small bore pipes need to have a wire brush run through them.

A roaring log fire
A roaring log fire

This is all just in the dining room. I have losts of other rooms which also need to be spruced up somewhat.

A Dolly in the workshop

I have been hunting around for an easy way to move my heavy motorcycles and came across a ‘Workshop Dolly’ made by a German company.

This is a piece of steel plate with a double wheeled castor at each corner.

Workshop Dolly
Workshop Dolly

The motorcycle centre stand sits in the centre of the plate, a couple of centimetres off the floor and you can then push, pull or simply rotate the bike within it’s own length.

I ordered two last Friday and they were delivered from Germany on Tuesday. So this week I did some tidying up in the workshop.

Being able to park the bikes very close to each other, far closer than if you had to get between them to put them on their centre stands has given me more room.

Dolly in use
Dolly in use

Or more accurately, it has freed up space which I can now fill with something else!

What ever, it counts as spring cleaning in my book!

When work becomes fun

Sometimes I feel guilty when I start doing a job and it develops into something enjoyable, diverting my attention away from meaningful progress.

The last major item to go into the new utility room was the chest freezer. It was in the big Konoba, ready to move, but has been blocked in by a motorcycle.

Now that I have more space in the workshop, I can move the bike so on Thursday afternoon I pushed it out of the Konoba and into the courtyard.

The afternoon was warm and sunny, so I thought I would turn the engine over…

Fuel tap: ON, Choke: Half, Ignitionswitch: ON. Kick start engaged…. engine does not start.

Well it started OK two weeks ago, so I got the tools out and removed a spark plug. There is no spark.

By now I am getting into the motorcycle maintenance frame of mind and the move into the workshop has been forgotten!

I take the front electrical cover off and can see the cam turning but the points (who remembers when vehicles had mechanical timing?) are not opening.

The electrical gubbins
The electrical gubbins

By now I am remembering all sorts of oddities from my training years back, when motorcycle mechanics were part of learning how to ride police machines.

I cleaned the points and checked voltage was reaching them. It was. The battery was giving out 6.8V.

I cleaned the spark plugs and found TDC, the point where the piston is at the top of the cylinder and the spark is created.

The spark should happen 5º before TDC, so that was set and everything was tightened up.

Still no spark at the plugs, at which point my neighbour came round. He is a BMW owning, motorcycle enthusiast too.

Working through the checklist, I pulled the battery out. It is a 12V battery.

It’s funny how memory plays tricks with you. I thought this was a 6V machine.

So as the voltage is low, that was a good reason not to be getting a good spark at the plugs. I put the battery on overnight trickle charge.

By this time the sun is low in the sky, it’s tea time and I have really enjoyed the afternoon. I didn’t do any of the work that I intended doing, but I had fun!

The essence of this is a conversation I had with Cvjetko a couple of weeks back.

I told him I was fed up of getting up every day and thinking of all the things I had to do, rather than all the things I would like to do… Moving the chest freezer did wait for another day! NCG


With the battery fully charged, the engine started first kick….

One Response

  1. Andy Robby

    Your fancy German workshop Dolly made me laugh….I’ve got one…its a square of thick plywood with a heavy duty caster at each corner…home made, the casters came off a disused mortuary trolley!…..