Monday, October 29, 2012

In hot water

Over the past eighteen months or so there have been small steps of progress on Havran Cottage, and larger ones too. Having water from a tap was probably the largest and we didn't know if anything could better that feeling but after a fifth shower of hot water, home comforts never felt so good! Okay, the bathroom still has a few holes that need sealing, the insulation still has to be laid and a door would be nice, all of these in particular as the first snow falls outside in the near freezing temperatures, but those few blistering moments of hot water normality gives us hope that this winter will be a little more survivable than the last. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Other dog no more..

After a lot of thinking and probably more for the pleasure of our two dogs (we might have been giving too much attention to our stray friend!) we had to say goodbye to Nufi. 
It has all worked fine in the end as we have found another home for him. 

Ten fingers still

What could be more frightening than a couple of days with our neighbour in the woodland than spending two more at his house and a circular table saw. 
With winter only days away (snow forecast at the weekend) wood is being sawn to it's necessary lengths to keep everyone warm, or as is the case with our neighbour very warm in his furnace feeling kitchen.
I sit in the said kitchen with a pair of his pants hanging and drying above my head and three unexplained bedside clocks ticking at different intervals as I sip some black tea and contemplate what's coming next. 
The sound of a circular table saw is as scary as you might hear in horror film, with it's piercing ting after a piece of wood has been sliced in seconds. My job initially was to take the sawn quarter sized pieces as they were cut and throw them into his woodshed. Simple, just the loudness was the only annoyance. After a period of time my neighbour's back was beginning to give in to the weight of lifting the full lengths into saw, and yes, horror, a sentence that I unfortunately understood, can I take over his role..
There was no going back despite the nervousness. In one pulsating motion I had learn't how to circular saw wood and still have enough fingers to play the piano whilst picking my nose. 
Looking back my only worries should have only been about the piled high mush that i was fed at lunchtime and the consequences of that rather than a saw which even he was cautious about. 
Wood is such an integral part of people's lives here, and has been for us particularly over the last month whilst also bringing us all closer due to it's importance to all.   

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Other Dog

Manure is late.
Farmer can't deliver this week he says!
Old stove is cracking up, big lump of brick was taken out this morning with the ashes. Still waiting for new stove to be connected up to hot water pipes. It will be great if it get's done. 
And a dog has arrived and isn't leaving. Four cold nights and every morning we get this same sad expression at our gate. Unfortunately all the local dog homes are full, an alternative solution needs to be found next week for the little man.
A chance to get the dusty camera out this week maybe, Autumn has really arrived with all the orange, yellow and reds viewed in the woodlands surrounding us gleaming in un-seasonal but welcome warm sunshine. Chainsaws echo around, we all know how cold it became last time.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wood collection part IV

A day with our neighbour, but just him, me and his tractor. Whilst he is keen to find any method of doing anything different to the way he does it wrong, we both knew the task ahead needed some serious consideration to trail all 20+ cubic metre to his and our homes.
So amongst the early morning mist and cool still air the first tractor load grew and grew. 
The tractor, more a character out of Thomas the tank engine than a real tractor, began it's first return journey back. 
As is normal with our neighbour friend, and I should have been expecting it as I sat on a back seat behind him with the several tonnage of wood not far beyond me, he wanted to show off. Foot down, and for once I knew how those passengers feel in the back seat of a boy racer car.
A customly drink was a welcome requirement when we reached our location. 
The day progressed well, and despite the aches and pains that will be felt more the following day I think we both almost enjoyed it. This is his and many here's favourite time of year. A necessary responsibility, a chance to prove yourself and to contribute your part to the home.   

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Late morning and a celebratory drink with our neighbour and co-collaborating collector of wood.
Payment has been made and with the wink of an eye an extra cubic metre each of wood thrown into the price. 
So a trip to a pub and a chance to go back in time thirty years as we sit down and take in the surroundings. This is traditional in every sense, most of the occupants have probably not changed or moved much. The decor, drab and muted yellowish brown with odour coloured smoke drifting endlessly as the fan probably stopped dispersing any air in this place in 1983.
Motionless, the men, stare at the only new-ish furniture there, a tv screen showing an old Czech comedy film from the seventies, endlessly played daytime.
The bar woman, not one to be messed with judging by her looks, serves to the table and with a thump a beer is placed in front of me. A mixture of dark and light beer, a delicacy that I had never tried before this place, but one which I do like the more I have of it. And the great thing from my perspective is that it still seems customly that I am still the guest in this country and I find our neighbour paying.
The drone is still a rabble for my generally non-speaking ears. 
Almost delirium in the corner as a chap in who looks like he is in his seventies, although probably two decades younger, wins over 70€ on a fruit machine. Bar woman has to explain what he has won, new money here is still taking time getting used to. 10€ immediately spent on two shots for him and the rest for his new friends in the pub with the change put back into machine trying to get three lemons to come up once again.
Man on bike arrives inside.
There's a calendar with a naked girl still one month behind, must be a favourite month for the regulars.
Enough said, rain is pouring outside, time to get back and look after any waterflow from our gutter-less extension. 
Hope we come again though.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Apple harvest

Internet back but still the lack of time to use it, apple time again.
As like a lot of this topsy-turvy year, prepared we are not. A shredder is our new best friend for the army size surplus. A press for the juice, drunk immediately or sometimes left a couple of days longer for a more distinctive fermented taste..
Or just eaten twice or thrice a day, followed by in my case a little bit of flatulence, the only source of pollution around these parts!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Wood collection part III

Job done. 22 cubic metres to be shared with our neighbour. He reckons he would need more, we say put a jumper on this Winter.
As we aren't picking up the wood until next week we have been making regular patrols to the site on the slightest distant sound of chainsaw or tractor.
Still internet less at present thanks to T-mobile's incompetence, stuck in a wi-fi zoned car park watching the sunday morning flock head towards the bells of the surrounding churches.