Since the last post a lot has happened. So many months of planning, waiting and worrying have finally started to bear fruit. Such a relief!
The first job was heartbreaking but necessary: we had to cut down some fig trees. :( We lost about fifteen of them and had to relocate three olive trees. Olive trees, we were told, are very tough and will tolerate relocation as long as you prune them hard and give them lots of water afterwards. Time will tell whether this advice is correct.
The second job was improving the driveway. With last winter’s rains we had some erosion and it had become more like a goat track than a road.
We needed to do something if we were going to get heavy machinery, cement mixers, and delivery trucks up there.
Then the excavator moved up the hill to start digging out the soil for the three buildings’ foundations and the pool.
We had mountains of soil that we didn’t know what to do with. At first it just got pushed over the edge of our hillside, but there was so much of it we were in danger of causing an avalanche onto the road. So we had about 20 lorry loads worth of soil taken away, and lots of neighbours turned up with tractors and helped themselves to a bit. We did keep some, though, for the mud plaster.
The guys worked incredibly fast and before we knew it they were putting formwork, steel reinforcement, and the first loads of concrete in.
Another big job that is now done was to lay 66 metres of concrete pipe in the ditch next to the main road and then cover it over. The idea is to carry away the rain water that comes down the hill, and also to stop our new driveway from acting as a dam. Each pipe section was 1.5 metres long and 80 cm in diameter. I am so glad that this job is over now as it was the scariest and most dangerous of all the work done so far. Watching the excavator lift and swing a very heavy concrete pipe in the air, hanging from a chain, 44 times in succession while traffic was still passing on the road was very nerve-racking! I don’t think we remembered to take a photo of this job because we were so busy watching it nervously.
During these exciting times we had my parents and Jason’s uncle John and aunt Marg staying with us. In the evenings one or two drinks were had in order to celebrate the start of the building work.
Jason tells me I have to add cat photos to a blog post or people will complain. So, here they are. The kittens are getting bigger every day. They have names now, but we are still trying to adopt them out.
And finally, a big thanks to JP who sent us a wonderful 24mm lens that took most of the photos above. Cheers, JP, we love it!