Have we found our rental house?

My expat life in Istria

This week it seems our property hunt may be reaching its end, or it could equally be just another twist in the trail. I continue the Autumn clean-up and P chops yet more logs – there’s a lot of wood in that pile. Pip joins the Live Istria team, I try to catch up with my postings and Tally starts to become a fat-cat.

 

Monday 21 November

Nicky with barn & house in Kastelir, IstriaIf you’ve been following ‘My Life’, you’ll know we’ve been looking for another holiday rental property for almost a year. We’ve seen a lot of possibilities, but they’ve all fallen through for one reason or another. Just before we went away, I saw a possibility in Kaštelir – a house and barn on a small plot of land, in a quiet village location. At the time, it was too expensive but we’ve now heard there’s room to negotiate, so decided to take another look. 

P came this time and I wondered what he would think of it? In the end he thought it was great and I must admit, it looked better to me second time around. The sun was shining, which always helps, and knowing it’s probably now affordable was a boost. It’s early days, but perhaps we’re on the final leg 🙂 – I do hope so. (I think we already agreed she’s an eternal optimist – P.) But cross your fingers, arms, toes and legs, because with old houses especially, there’s still a lot that can go wrong.

Buoyed up by the visit and the warm weather, we stopped in town for coffee, and sat and basked in the sun – fantastic :).

Having done nothing on Live Istria for 2 days I was itching to get back to it, promising myself an afternoon at the keyboard. Not to be – as we arrived home I noticed the paulownia (a tall tree with huge, plate-sized leaves) had shed its canopy. I needed to get the leaf-vacuum out before they blew all over the garden and, while I was there, I cleared the thick carpet of leaves under the car pergola (a task high on my ‘must-do’ list). Two hours and twelve bag-loads later, with the light rapidly failing, I managed to get inside… to be greeted with the ironing 🙁 (as you know, my favourite task).

I never made it to my desk …

 

Tuesday 22 November

Current garden at Kastelir property in IstriaWearing his ‘Mr. Finance’ hat, P spent yesterday afternoon running figures for the property in Kaštelir. Good news: he thinks we can afford the house and restoration, ‘if’ – if we can buy it for the price we hope, if the expected work doesn’t cost too much and if we find no hidden horrors.

We’re not building experts, but have a fair bit of experience now looking at old property and didn’t think a huge amount needed doing to the house. It might look semi-derelict but seems structurally sound, so we suspect the work will be mainly cosmetic – a full face-lift. The barn is just a shell however, and needs a lot more doing. Before we went any further, it was time to call in an expert. I called Damir (you remember him?) and arranged to see it with him on Thursday.

Back at my desk all day – wonderful (sorry, did I really just say that?). Spent some time chatting with Pip (our new boating correspondent), then posted the week before last’s My Life (travel and catch-up have thrown my schedule to pot, but I’m clawing time back).

Light was fading when we left the house for our walk today, so it was a short one. Coming back in the twilight, we encountered Zio with his sheep and goats, on their way home for the night. Zio’s black labrador thought it fantastic to have some new ‘friends’ and spent more time galloping in circles round us than with his flock: not the best herding dog I suspect.

 

Wednesday 23 November

Another gorgeous day, with some strength in the sun – P said he was too warm chopping wood, even in his T-shirt, and almost decided to revert to shorts.

Nicky picking her olives in IstriaWent out to pick the olives in our front garden before lunch but it didn’t take long: I’ve missed most of the crop. I should have picked them about a month ago, but was away, then forgot. Only got enough for one jar, but they’ll make a nice treat with lunch, when they’re ready next summer. They’re currently ‘soaking’ in salt to reduce their bitterness.

Pip’s been busy writing and I hope to have something on-line by her this week (in fact, as I’m posting this late, you’ll already find two items: an intro and a review of some recent feštas ). Also heard back from Deborah (another British expat here), who’s planning to write something for us as well – fantastic :). I hope getting stories from other people will make Live Istria far more interesting and useful – a change from just me.

 

Thursday 24 November

Nicky in attic in property in Kastelir, IstriaAfter a little weeding this morning, it was off to Kaštelir with Damir, to assess the house.

I was more than slightly nervous, so it was a huge relief to find his views matched ours. Like us, he was amazed at the house’s overall condition and, very unusually, everything inside seems OK. He says it’s just a comprehensive renovation rather than a total restoration … provided he doesn’t find any hidden horrors! Great news :). However, he did confirm that that doing the barn will cost a lot more than the house and I doubt we’ll be able to afford that as well.

Back at the keyboard this afternoon – you know the routine.

 

Friday 25 November

Tally curled into a ballCompanionable session in the garden: I tidied, P chopped, we chatted and the cats darted around showing off :). Lovely warm morning, with us both working in T-shirts, although with the much shorter days, the warmth doesn’t last long.

Been puzzling about Tally. Since we’ve been back she seems to have had a personality change, turning from fussy eater into monster muncher. She’s putting on weight and at the rate she’s chomping, will soon be as big as Baggy – most strange. I wonder what’s triggered this?

 

Saturday 26 November

Autumn clear-up continues: the more I do, the more I find to be done (ever the way I guess). Constant beautiful weather helps, but the ground’s getting a bit hard for weeding. All alone today (poor me :() as I was finished in the garden before P came out to chop and even the cats had vanished.

 

Sunday 27 November

Phil walking in Istrian woods in AutumnYet another beautiful morning rounds off a beautiful week – how long can this last? (A lot longer yet I hope – P.) So we went for a long walk in the woods, crunching our way through the Autumn leaves. Then back for lunch and an afternoon by the fire – just how Autumn Sundays are meant to be.

 

The tale continues in a week when I take two steps backwards and a zip line forwards.

Read my blog in the right order – from the start in July

 

 

 

 

 

 

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