Merry Mid September one and all.
Grovey McGrover here, reporting from The Grove HQ, Stari Bar, Montenegro.
I hear you like concrete frames, cleverly hidden within a massive stone shell? Well you have come to the right place.
I am sitting inside the Grove on a ‘seat’ botched with 3 bits of timber, back leaning against a concrete column, on the 1st floor. As if to give us something audible to describe, a car alarm is going off up the road. Our stone workers are shouting in Albanian, gesticulating at each other, presumably casting blame for the alarm. Dust has just fallen as a wheel barrow trundled along the temporary wooden walkway, 8 metres above ground level. A small balding man, with oversized gloves, wide shorts and a bucket hat captains the wheel barrow. He is often on the receiving end of loud criticism. So we make a point of thanking him the most. The stone workers are working on the gable ends. Something they were livid about, as it is time consuming, and requires tons and tons of rock to be hauled up to the 2nd floor. The concrete shell is almost complete - the final beams were poured, on which the timber roof will sit. There is exposed stone externally and internally. Sadly most of the internal stone will be covered, with waterproofing on the underground walls, and insulation on the others. But the external view is quite something. Breathtaking. That view keeps us enthused. Tells us that it is all worthwhile.
Yesterday we were at a quarry/stone mill. We need some more stone window frames.
We are pouring our polished concrete floor in a few days. The roof is going up in 2 days.
It is hot, but not hot, hot.
We eat burek for breakfast a lot. We get excited a lot. We get stressed about cashflow a lot.
We drove to the Accursed Mountains in Albania last week. It is just over 100km, but took an afternoon to get there. We had to abandon Lenny, and walk 15km into the village. The roads are wiggly. We just learnt yesterday that we are ON the old donkey path to Albania. One guy used to shepherd on that path, so he will show us when the temperature drops. Apparently it is still walkable. There is so much for us to explore, that we simply cannot do it all ourselves before we open. So you guys will be joining us on our journey of discovery. Any hiker that enjoys marking walks/creating hiking maps, will be welcome as our guests for as long as they wish.
This month flying by. We are itching to get stuck in, and can only properly do that when the structural works have been completed. We have a lot of braun/brain joining us this month, which we are very thankful about.
This building is massive. Every thing that needs doing, needs doing on such a grand scale. Cumbersome stones that require a digger to manoeuvre. Big chunks of metal that have to be craned anywhere. If we want to concrete floors, it takes trucks and trucks of the stuff.
The septic tank has been built mostly. Meaning we can put a toilet in soon. Which basically means we can move in in about a week. We will keep you posted about that.
Thank you for your continued support. As ever, Instagram is the best place to go to stay in the loop.
We are going to enjoy our last few sunny days - swimming and frisbeeing. Then comes WINTER. When it rains a lot, but is rarely cold. Let's hope the roof goes on in time.....
Big love from Stari Bar.