Posts Tagged ‘ Expat life ’

Beams, barn and continuing sunshine

05/05/2012
1st floor of barn in Kovaci, Istria

A lot of activity around beams this week: Miro finishes one set in the house and Amir lays floorboards on another in the barn. In glorious sunshine, a window appears in the barn and work starts on its roof. I choose a door, finally get to look out of the hay-loft window and almost...
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New neighbours, scary rumours and mild panic

02/05/2012
Stonemason crafting Kovaci property's beautiful gateway in Istria

The Opcina property is sold to Italians and rumours send me into a worried spin. A financing road-block slows work, but things still proceed, with trenches everywhere and some quality stone and wood work.   Neighbours are a concern for any property and at Kovaci, we had four adjacent properties. Only two were occupied,...
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Fast forward in Spring sunshine

23/04/2012
Toni in his beloved JCB in Kovaci, Istria

In glorious weather, work shifts outside and moves on apace. The pool emerges from its formers and is back-filled into the garden, and work progresses rapidly on the šupa. The house gains a front door and the windows arrive, but the stairs disappear! And I finally make a decision about tiles.   Dramatic progress...
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To barn or not to barn?

20/04/2012
Barn for restoration in Kovaci, Istria

As well as a three-bedroom terraced house, our property at Kovaci also has a barn. It’s a lovely building, in great condition, but restoring it along with the house would have been a big financial step too far – or so it seemed. Then, when P went to the UK, I started daydreaming…  ...
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More project creep … and Miro’s on an economy drive

14/04/2012
The team at work replacing the supa roof in Kovaci, Istria

Despite miscommunication, mis-translations and mislaid e-mails, work progresses steadily. I add yet more to an over-packed schedule, the pool starts taking shape and warmer weather finally arrives. Miro and I go shopping and, in a strange reversal of typical roles, I seem intent on spending money while Miro tries saving it!   Super šupa...
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Set-backs, mistakes, confusion … and forward progress

02/04/2012
Sand-lined hole for pool & JCB at Kovaci, Istria

A string of problems, inside and out, test my resolve, and mistakes test my temper this week. Do we find solutions and, most importantly, do I finally lose my cool?   Now the pool won’t fit… I started this week with a visit to the house to discuss the garden with my gardener, Davor....
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The Istrian furniture experience

24/03/2012
2 chairs & a table

Kovaci will be a holiday rental property. So as well as complete restoration, it also needs furnishing from top to bottom, and equipping with everything from light fittings and wardrobes to teaspoons and linen. In early February, while the builders continued working and P went to the UK, I started furniture shopping. Would I...
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Decisions, kitchens and furniture

24/03/2012
Pool location under a huge pile of rubble

Like most of Europe, Istria continued to freeze in the second week of February. But despite over-night temperatures below -10°C, work moves forward apace in the house and many decisions need to be made. With P away in the UK, I go furniture hunting and … complicating my life even further … started daydreaming...
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Plummeting temperatures and a week of small panics

12/03/2012
Mixing concrete in sub-zero temperatures in Kovaci, Istria

Week three of our Istrian house restoration project sees temperatures tumble and my confidence falter, as my translator Miran disappears … and things don’t seem to be going quite to plan.   Abandoned? Week three did not start well. First, I was unable to reach Miran by phone to set up a progress meeting...
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“Please can we demolish your eye-sore?”

12/03/2012
Derelict animal shed in Kovaci, Istria

In Istrian villages, older properties often lean against one another: buildings on one plot can get muddled with those on another, boundaries can criss-cross and so on. Very picturesque, but it means that during renovations, something that seems straightforward can rapidly get very complex, involving more and more people. Our place in Kovaci is...
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The pace quickens … and off comes the roof

28/02/2012
Skeleton of the oof against a blue, blue Istrian sky

Work progressed very quickly in the first week of our Istrian house restoration project. Will things continue as rapidly and smoothly in week two, when the plumber and electrician arrive on site, the roof’s replaced and the sink debate runs on?   One sink or two? Week two started with me investigating bathroom sinks...
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Meet the neighbours

27/02/2012
Our house with neighbouring houses around in Istria

When house hunting, our ideal property would have been detached, on a big plot with distant neighbours. Unfortunately our budget didn’t stretch to that and the property we bought was an old stone Istrian house, part of a terrace in a village location. With sea views, the coast less than ten minutes drive away,...
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It’s our house – let’s knock it about!

23/01/2012
Valter handing us the key for Kovaci in Istria

Busy, busy, busy. At last, we reached final contract stage for our new house. Then, with it barely paid for, we started gutting it. So inevitably, this week’s focus has been restoration, but we also find time for lunch with Pip … and I get a history lesson.   We take ownership… Life in...
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Restarting our Istrian life

17/01/2012
Baggy & Tally curled up together

After twenty episodes, I’m taking my blog on our expat life in a new direction. Gone is the regular, day-to-day ‘diary’ format and weekly post. Instead, it’ll be a more free-wheeling, ‘as it happens’ affair. But don’t despair, my lone, dedicated reader, I’ll still be covering  those crazy events that make life in Istria...
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Houses, postings and kiwis

18/12/2011
Nicky harvesting kiwis

In the last week before I sign off for our Christmas & New Year break, Autumn suddenly turns decidedly to Winter. We sign the pre-contract on Kaštelir (hooray!); my Autumnal, garden cutback programme drags on; a seemingly stalled Live Istria leaps forward; and we get our first really bumper kiwi harvest.   Monday 12...
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