500 Year Vision

Take pleasure from walking lightly on this Earth

Connections!

July24

At long last, my computer is fixed – I’ve been working in ‘safe mode’ for the last month, meaning that I couldn’t access my Skype account, resulting in a general feeling of disconnectedness.

We also have Internet access at Novy Mlyn, and are getting closer to having water. BUT ARE STILL WITHOUT WATER – much like Gloucestershire.

So… the big news this week – we have Internet access at Novy Mlyn. Only on dial up (various O2 employees keep persuading us that we do have ADSL access, only for it to prove not to be the case when we try to connect – very disappointing because ADSL would mean that M could move his office here, instead of having to travel to Tabor every day). But dial up is a whole heap better than nowt. And water…
Water water everywhere – but not at Novy Mlyn. We now have the letters from O2 and Eon about the existence of cables & I took these to the town hall office on Monday morning (part of my ongoing campaign to do anything in my power to bring about water as a priority above anything else – as suggested by my very sensible aunt who visited a couple of weeks back) … but apparently there is something else we need too. The girl explained this to me very nicely, in simple Czech, but I have no idea what she said. I was tired & couldn’t hold back tears of disappointment at not getting the well permit as I had expected to.

We still don’t have any water. It’s horrible. The water barrel collecting water from the roof has gone slimy – or has a biological contaminant – to give it it’s proper title. We have to carry water over from Tabor with us in the ‘super solar shower’ bags and buy stupid plastic bottles of drinking water. Anyway, the lady at the council office then phoned the well drilling company and said some things to them – that again I didn’t understand! I think we made progress.
If I’m honest, I have to admit that this whole thing is a lot harder than I thought it would be. We’ve been learning Czech for two years, but there is still a huge language barrier, many basic words we don’t understand. It’s really difficult to figure things out.
Instead of working smart, so far this summer I have thrown myself wholeheartedly into physical work on Novy Mlyn… and seeing as there is ten year’s worth of work to do on the house, I have a lot of tasks to choose from… and in terms of ongoing management of the house… it’s just so big. I cleaned the windows the other day and it took a whole morning.
One reason we’ve not commissioned any of the larger jobs yet is a lack of information about the going rate on work. The rates we have been quoted look to us to be special rates for foreigners… to the extent that it makes me want to do all the work we can which is within our technical ability. The up side is that I have no need to join a gym!
Currently I am covered in cuts and bruises. I cut back the nettles using the scythe one evening, and was very badly stung, with a collection of nasty insect bites adding insult to injury. I have, at least, made a start on clearing the garden, but it would be great to have the help of a real gardener to do it. Using the scythe is a real skill. At the moment I’m just using it like someone randomly hacking their way out of the jungle, but I talked to a Czech friend about it the other day and he said you need to sharpen the blade at least every 15 mins, every 5 minutes under some circumstances.
M put the cat door in on Monday night. George/Jiri has taken to it immediately, although I did have to shove him through it a couple of times until he got the hang of it. He has been hunting and climbing trees and seems very at home. Pavouk is more of a house cat – though she has ventured as far as the grass (one day lawn?). This morning she was dipping her paw in a cup of water I’d put down for her, then flinging droplets of water across the room to chase. At least she seems to know how to keep herself amused. She’s so timid though, she will run away at any sound (apart from cars and gunfire) – rustling trousers, footsteps, buzzing insects – all seem to scare her. She is very affectionate, if you are very still. She’s not yet started using the cat door as a door – though as an effective window on a small section of the outside world, but I guess this is not a surprise… it’s a whole new scary world out there. On the night we first put the door in, George came pegging it back through the orchard being pursued by another cat, which I had to chase off. Unfortunately I was carrying Pavouk at the time this happened, resulting in a rather large scratch across my chest in her eagerness to escape the action. Yet more injuries to add to the list. I think this week I was also suffering from the therapeutic effects of Bad Radkersburg spa, so I was feeling totally battered by the middle of the week!
I had a call from Dragon’s Den yesterday. It threw into stark relief how much I’ve done with the project since we’ve had access to Novy Mlyn. It really has been on a back burner. I agreed with M that he would put the web site up once I had the visuals ready, however M has been crazy busy for, well for just about the entire time we’ve been here. He’s managed to take one day off work… to see his beloved Middlesbrough play a friendly match in Austria. So, though we have discussed the format of the design, there’s been no progress on that front. Work that pays is the priority, so until I have a budget I have to accept that my website is pretty low on the list. I have continued to research ‘eco clever’ technology, but have not made progress on encouraging investment in my UK project. The plan was to put up the web site, then contact various component manufacturers to see if they would be willing to sponsor the prototype.
Life has fallen into a comfortable routine… my English teaching days are Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday (after all, a girl’s got to earn a living). Mondays and Fridays I work at Novy Mlyn. On Wednesdays we go see the live band that plays in the square in Tabor, and on Friday nights we can go out for a few drinks. If we’ve been working on the house on Saturdays, we head back to Tabor for showers and food. The drawbacks are that I am very tired from the physical work I’m undertaking and so I’m not so productive when in front of the computer in Tabor… also I’ve spent far too much time recently in discussions on forums (correct plural?). One is particularly useful for searching out information about life in the Czech Repubic, but I’ve been drawn into irrelevance on a frequent basis, almost to the extent that I am using the site as an alternative to something as mindless as watching Friday night tv. I need to draw a line under that. It’s just difficult because some of it is fun and funny, though some parts are populated by idiots and you can easily become part of long nonsensical discussions where you’re simply defending a position against ignorance. At the very least I need to limit the amount of time I spend on such sites. Also, I think I need to take a break from physical work during the day so I’m going to aim to do a couple of hours of computer based stuff in the afternoons at Novy Mlyn – this should mean that I’m not so tired and can make some progress on the theoretical aspects of the work.
At least my computer is fixed again – I got a virus & was working (frustratingly) in safe mode for over a month – therefore no internet phone  access – and that felt like I was disconnected from the outside world – because of course the phone would be ringing off the hook if only I could get to my phone line. M has helped me reinstall everything (of course I forgot to save my browser favourites and address book). Now I am without WordPress so I need to load that up too. I have now set up Skype call forwarding so that anyone who calls the Birmingham number will come through on the Novy Mlyn land line and my Czech mobile. Luckily I did this just in time to get the call from Dragon’s Den.

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