So here we are 3rd of June 2012, the big Jubilee weekend. It’s a shame about the weather for her Maj down on the Thames, you’d think the Giant Intergalactic Spider would have parted the clouds today so she could bask in sunshine, but hey ho Britain is famous for rainy days, so from a philosophical point of view... it’s perfect Queens River Pageant weather.
For ourselves this weekend so far has been hard work. A friend of ours popped round with a Kango to help us break up the screed floor in the dinning room. It took about three hours to “gun up” and will take a fair few trips to dispose of, but it’s done. There’s good news as well with regards to the state of the DPC (damp-proof course), it hasn’t been breached and is set at the correct level on the external wall underneath what’s known as the Bell Render stop. The entire damp issue is due to a lack of diligence on the original builders part, when the original DPM was laid. This means that with good conscience we can PVA and seal the walls once they’ve dried out a little more, then use Synthaprufe; http://www.epms-supplies.co.uk/admin/products/documents/Ruberoid/Data/IKOpro%20Synthaprufe%20LAC.pdf to provide a final seal and lap joint across the subfloor, then as noted earlier lay in the new DMP, insulation and 60mm of new hard screed; followed eventually with the installation of a new 7kw radiator, a complete plaster skim to all the walls and final redecoration.
I can’t overstate how this light at the end of the tunnel moment changes things. It’s exactly the same sense of relief finding the DPC intact and in the right place, as the day I tracked back the damp in the Moho and found the extent and the cause of the leak. Everything that follows is either just graft, or cosmetics (cost is obviously in there but but you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, so c’est la vie).
I can’t say I’m happy about all the extra work and distractions of the last few months; three going on four before we get back to on track and deal with all the travel niggles such as: how do you get from mainland Europe across to Cyprus in September and early October with a motorhome? The answer it seems at first glance appears to be, drive down and across Western Europe through the Balkan countries, into Turkey and then catch a boat from Turkey to Northern Cyprus, and then drive the two and a bit hours from and through Northern (Turkish) Cyprus into Southern (Greek) Cyprus to Paphos on the South Western tip, and there overwinter with Amanda’s sister before, turning round and reversing the process the following spring. “Simples” as the Russian??? Meerkat Aleksandr Orlov would say... one has to wonder how a little Herpestidae like the Meerkat managed to get all the way from the southern tip of Africa to the heart of Moscow, and then become a television celebrity in Britain with his own range of cuddly toys and book available on Amazon; proving if nothing else, that anything is achievable... maybe I need a change of medication. Anyway, crossing the Balkan countries in October could be problematic, not because they were at war just a decade or so ago and the UK, UN and USA intervened with the usual Tomahawk missile based diplomacy (Jokes aside it was the right thing to do).
No the reason going through the Balkan countries at that time of year is an aggravation, is that the weather can be inclement at times, October is Albania’s wettest month with temperature lows of 5 degrees as an example and there can be border crossing issues (often to do with corrupt border guards and random fees). This is why you have to plan your routes and your times well in advance.
Without going into too much depth, the options are take your time and see some sights, or do a five to six day mad rush. Other alternatives include finding a boat service from Southern Italy that goes direct to Limmasol in Southern Cyprus or some other tramp steamer adventure; it’s all very much up in the air. And I bet now you’re asking: why not bypass the Balkans and Turkey and just go from mainland Greece? And the answer is, there isn’t a direct single route ferry from mainland Greece to Cyprus. And Island hoping across may not be an option because of the size of the vehicle we are travelling with. And this brings us full circle, there is a tonne of research to get done, and for three months all we’ve really done is mend and prepare our motorhome (which is still ongoing), and then mend our house and sell it, and these things coupled with workaday life, have left very little time or space to do the essential research.Today: today is a corner day; we just turned one. No doubt there will be more, but for the first time in a good few weeks, the mind can turn to the cerebral matters applicable to the long game.
Three Cheers for the Queen.