Thursday, October 12, 2006

Visiting as owners - July 2006

Fighting the nettlesSo now we own a holiday home - great! Our first visit as owners was in July 2006, and it was a wonderful feeling of anticipation walking uphill through the forest keys in hand, and scanning the trees for deer. As the trees started to thin we caught sight of revealing glimpses of what looked like - yes, a jungle. The grasses and flowers were practically at waist height even on the track leading up to the house - very beautiful of course, just totally out of control. A good sign in one way; at least nobody else seems to be using this as access to the hamlet further up the hill.... but the flipside, who the hell is going to cut it?! Luckily we'd found an advert in the local Billa supermarket reading 'I cut your grass' and a phone number. He'd better be a very brave man ... and he proved to be exactly that, even if it did take him 3 weeks instead of the 1 week he'd estimated. Have a seat
But back to that present. We'd decided to stay a couple of nights even if only with electricity and cold spring water for comfort. There was only so much we could do in this visit, but that grass was positively taunting me to get the scythe out and teach it a lesson, so M started measuring up inside while I went forth to do battle with the jungle. I quickly learned 2 important things about long grass. Firstly, it's probably full of aggressive insects who just want a quiet life, and secondly, don't wear shorts if you're going to disturb that quiet life with a large piece of metal. I only lasted maybe 30 minutes before the combination of sweat and malicious little bastards attacking my legs from behind -drawing blood- forced me to withdraw and make a note to call that guy from Billa.This was only a long-weekend trip so the rest of our time was spent trying to track down building merchants and trades-people to do the work. We should have budgeted more time as it transpired, but work restrictions forbade.View from the foothills of Velka Javorina
So 1 month later we were back for a longer stay. My hero from Billa had by this time managed to beat the majority of the earthbound nature into temporary submission, and the nasty-bastards had taken the hint and left. However, collecting grass was not his job so hay lay everywhere, sometimes in piles but mostly not. Much research and we learned that we could have this hay collected for free, but only if it was in piles. The problem was that the August rain that spoiled the summer for Northwestern Europe was at this time directly overhead, and wet hay is not mobile. Fine, I'll manage the trees - and I did. In fact, cutting up fallen trees and tidying up the live ones is much easier work with cool air and drizzle than it would be in burning August sunshine... and for me, a lot more fun than sitting in an office on my arse all year. Room with a view!
But back to business. We managed to find a carpenter, somebody to install a new fireplace (krb) that would also provide 'local central heating' to the whole house, and various material providers. We also confirmed what we'd always half-known, that the local town Myjava has more hardware stores than restaurants, but to me that's part of the charm. This is a region with a lot to see, do and experience, but unfortunately you have to dig to find it as there is next to no marketing in English ... something that I'll maybe try to change.