Frustrating week

Week twenty-two of our restoration project in Istria

It’s a short one this time ‘cos, frustratingly, not a lot’s happening. A short rain burst seems to stop play at the start of the week. Then, just when it’s set to resume … I fly away! Will everyone be able to cope without me?

 

The cold week

June seems to be shaping up cool with some long overdue showers. While it’s great to have some rain, at last, I just hope we’re not in for a wet summer! 

where irrigation pipe is needed in Kovaci, IstriaIt’s dry Monday morning, but definitely chilly and, with more rain forecast, Toni says there’ll be no activity outside at Kovaci today: you can’t grout paving in the wet.

But you can install kitchens. Unfortunately it’s not to be. Teuta calls mid-morning: the Tax Office says her case should be resolved this week, so the kitchens can be fitted next week. We agree on Monday and I ring off with fingers crossed that it will actually happen. Everything in Croatia is always ‘next week …’.

Tuesday’s panic wake-up thought is ‘irrigation! They haven’t put a pipe to the pergola bed!!’ Praying I’m wrong – I usually am – I head straight to Kovaci. But for once, I’m right: no irrigation pipe. It’s a tiny job, installing it before the paving’s laid and this area’s already paved: it’s a big job to do afterwards, so I’m expecting a fight. But Toni’s remarkably laid back about it. “No worries,” he says.

He’s the only one around today and has just finished varnishing the stairs and floors. He says they look great but, frustratingly, won’t let me go see. “They’re still too wet!” It’s also still too wet outside, so the paving remains ungrouted.

Garden near pool terrace at Kovaci, Istria with low soil levelOur discussion moves round the garden. Top soil’s relatively expensive, so I’m trying to limit Miro’s enthusiastic use of it. The huge piles, delivered a few weeks ago, have now been spread and he plans to add another load – but I don’t think it’s needed. “Why don’t we keep the ground at this level,” I suggest, “and put a step up to the pool terrace? It’ll make a feature at the end of the garden and I can plant something next to the terrace.” Toni agrees and I heave a sigh of relief.

 

Fly, fly away

A few weeks ago, I booked a flight to the UK to visit my parents for a long weekend. Back then, I was sure Miro’s work would be well finished – there’d been so little left to do. Of course it isn’t and I leave on Thursday with some trepidation. “Stop panicking,” says P. “You’ll be back on Sunday. I’m sure they can cope for a few days without you and I’m still here to deal with anything that goes wrong.” He’s right, but this is my project, my baby and it would be just my luck if everything falls apart while I’m away.

Of course it doesn’t, but I’m in for a big shock. When I leave Istria, the summer seems to be petering out – much like in the UK, where it never even got started this year. When I return, I leave a chilly, 16°C Birmingham and arrive home at 6 pm – to nearly 30°C. Quite a contrast! Summer’s back with a vengeance and next week the thermostat gets jacked up even higher!

 

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Restoration diary:

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