There are a few English words that have found their place in everyday language in Monte. ‘Non-stop’ is one of them and it always makes me chuckle because a) this word in the local accent sounds funny and b) this an unlikely word for the Montenegrins to adopt considering they are the most laid back (aka, lazy) bunch of folk ever and pretty much everything is at a snail’s pace and constantly interrupted – about as far from being ‘non-stop’ as is possible!!!
Anyhoo! Here we are, nearing the end of another month… blimey, where is the time going?? So, time for the usual round up. It really has been a month of non-stop activity, but in a nice gentle (Montenegrin) way. We have a new BIG LIST of tasks to be completed on the campsite and I’ll be recording our progress against this list here every month. We had to review the list in relation to funds & time available and get real. We have decided to do a few things well rather than lots of things badly and on the cheap. Here are the high level tasks on our list:
- installing our rainwater collection systems
- finishing our greywater irrigation system
- levelling ground to create flat terraces for outside eating areas, a Boules pitch and lots more tent pitches
- making a rough, covered outside kitchen near to the eating area and BBQ
- repairing the critical collapsed terrace walls with planted tyre walls
- tile the last shower & the urinals
- paint the outside of the buildings
- plant the flower & veg beds
This is a pretty tall order considering we only have 12- 13 weeks to do it all. We have to be ready to receive punters from 1st May and by the time we have taken out time spent away from site house & dog-sitting for various friends over Christmas and a planned break in the UK in March for Steve’s 50th birthday, about 3 months is all we have… Watch this space!
Things accomplished from the BIG LIST this month:
- We put the solar fluid in the solar thermal panels & after much faffing about bleeding the system of air we have water at 35 degrees
- We have bricked off areas to facilitate easy fitting of windows and our planned plastic bottle screen in the kitchen area
- The second wine bottle window is half built
- The flower beds and orchard area has been dug over and stumped (the picture below shows the avocado plant in its new home)
- The first terrace has been strimmed, cleared & tidied
- Parts of the veg garden have been cleared and dug over and the slow process of topping the beds up with rotted manure, leaf mould and soil has begun
- Some drainage channels have been dug
- The branches of the oak tree that were shading the solar thermal panels have been chainsawed
- The compost has been turned and covered to rot down over the winter and we have a new heap of grass cuttings, debris from land clearing and wet leaf rakings
- We have made a long-handled rake and raked the compost loo chambers for the first time – the good news is the hummus is already starting to look dry & crumbly and doesn’t smell
- The workshop, including the work bench which has been in total disarray for months, has been swept & seriously tided. In the process we uncovered the remains of the creature whose loud gnawing of the workshop roof timbers tormented us all summer and who perished when Steve ran the generator inside the workshop for a couple of nights!
Making & doing:
- Lemon curd, mandarin marmalade, green tomato chutney & my new favourite, the easiest & tastiest preserve, lemon marmalade
- Endless plastic bags plaits
- Living frugally. Haven’t been ‘big shopping’ for over a month – if we had a cow for milk & dairy products, if I baked my own bread and if the veg garden had produced enough for us to freeze a few bags, we’d be fine! I’m really enjoying being creative with what’s in the cupboards.
- The biggest creative thing that has us totally absorbed at the moment… a new image and a new website www.full-monte.com
- Current novel is ‘The Milagro Beanfield War’ by John Nichols. Have already read this month: Zadie Smith’s ‘Martha & Hanwell’ and Steven Galloway’s ‘The Cellist of Sarajevo’
- Currently browsing: various books on gardening, self sufficiency, using herbs & cooking. Too many to mention, all from Mon and all wonderful ~sigh~
- The weather! Overall we’ve had a phenomenal November – gorgeous, sunny days & mild evenings.
- The amazing Autumn-scape and sunsets
- Our chillies! They may be small but they really pack a punch. Two of these babies will get you sweating!
- The 3 surviving broccoli plants that have managed to produce a spear of yummy green each. Respect to Mother Nature!
- The death of a unique individual from my past life. Rest in peace Audrey Day. You will be much-missed…
Fun stuff for us this month:
- A drunken girls night at Danny’s – why am I always the last to bed???
- Our ‘unofficial’ 19th year anniversary & Matt’s birthday celebration
- Awesome beef curry at Pete’s
- Day out on Monty B, this time with Ben & Emma
- A Scrabble night to remember at Fiona & Dave’s (& not just because I won). We laughed until our faces ached.
- A Moroccan dinner party for 10 at our home, cooked by Nicky