Custom dictated that we must slaughter an animal and pour its blood into the concrete, and afterwards eat it. The only animals that were mentioned were the goat and the sheep, though i am sure any other Bovid would do. Probably a mouse wouldn't do. It wouldn't be dramatic enough. And perhaps a little disappointing after being portioned out between 20 overworked Bosnians.
It's a huge turning point, the pouring of the ground floor slab. Because from here onwards we are going up up up.
You can see metal bits pointing upwards from the slab - the beginnings of the reinforcements for the columns. This is part of the concrete frame that is being built within our stone walls - which will look like this, in approximately 4 weeks. Perhaps. Not the roofy bit though. That will be a while longer -
It has been an expensive, time consuming, tiring and dangerous job. This pic highlights just how much of the stone wall has to be dug out in order to fit the concrete in.
With every stone removed, the walls weakened. What is more, the buildings foundation was smattered with huge solid limestone. One rock (about 1m diameter) took 3 men 5 days to clear, with pneumatic drills, ye olde rock fracturing techniques, sweat, profanities and even one pointless attempt at using fracturing powder. Ordinarily they would have used dynamite. But there was a massive house on top of it, and little room for error. There were times where the pneumatic drills would vibrate the walls so much that bits would drop off them above. Truly terrifying. But the lads did it. And now the building will just get stronger and stronger.
In the UK, we wouldn't need this concrete skeleton. But here it is a legal obligation to use a certain amount of metal/concrete in order to protect against seismic activity. So this was our way of being able to be compliant. It is because of this that there are so few old stone buildings being renovated in Montenegro. It is cheaper to just knock it down and build a concrete monstrosity.
At the moment the Southern Soul Festival is happening on the gorgeous long sandy beaches of Ulcinj, just down the road from us. Hopefully some of you lot will be able to join us next year.
Here are the next couple vids in the Grove story - our journey to Stari Bar in Lenny, and our first coupla months living here.
We hope all of you are doing well.
Loads of love and olive oil.
THE GROVE TEAM