They have a saying here on Vis… ‘Pomalo Pomalo’… little by little.They say you need to do things in this way on the island… or they don’t happen at all.
We arrived in April… and this week we laid the first brick on our house… six months of Pomalo bloody Pomoloing and it’s now all beginning to happen.

Team at the beginning of June

at the end of August

Beginning of September

Middle of September

End of September ( there are 11 in the team now and they don’t even stop for team groups any more!)

What we’re aiming for
It’s a bit annoying, for if it hadn’t been for our difficult neighbour in Norfolk who held up the sale of our beach house (ten weeks in the end), the house would be done(ish) now at a much lower cost,and we would be scarily on target to leave for Egypt.
Teresa our teacher resigned in June… well Komiza is not Arugam Bay… and she didn’t want to return to Egypt this winter (its not everyone’s cup of tea!)
Penny and the kids went swimming everyday…for months this summer and…well…

It’s been great.
All this sun and sea was getting too much for us. We needed a holiday… so when Stu Pearson arrived at the beginning of August to spend some time on the beach… he was a bit thrown when we dragged him off to Bosnia for a spot of land fishing. Sasha who knew what was coming and was smart, went off to England for her summer holidays instead.
The first time we went to Bosnia we were all concerned, this time we just grabbed our passports and off we went to have some fun.

Stu and Angus above Sarajevo

Some one coming to see ‘who du hell’ we were, up in the mountains

Me and Angus looking for that perfect spot in the middle of nowhere… in the soon to be Bjelasnica National Park near Sarajevo.
About an hour after the picture above was taken we drove into a village whilst the road was being tarmaced. Instead of being turned back… they told us to just pull over and built the road past us. We had to wait until the tarmac cooled enough so it wouldn’t blow the tires and carried on ( you’ll have to waite for the ‘home movie’ for that one:).
We had a great time in Bosnia; we definitely want to get a place there one day. We found a wonderful half an acre plot for sale right near the new ski resort on Bjelasnica Mountain for 4,500 euros… tempting… next year…
We came back to Vis and Stu managed to get on the beach in the end. Dorothy ‘Dotty’ and her niece Ali came out for a couple of weeks and everyone seemed to get on really well.
As Stu, Ally and Dotty left…Emma arrived to stay for two weeks and no way was she going to bloody BOSNIA!
There are lots of nice things to see on Vis

The vineyards are everywhere

Rush hour
But Emma was having none of it.
The military ‘don’t film here’ locations and the ‘dodgy dentist’ house was where she wanted to be. She had heard the rumour about Sasha’s dentist and the dolls heads… and that was it…she had to see for her self.

Emma RIGHT outside the dentists house
Thank you for your sending us some of your holiday snaps Emma, which I have included below.

Holiday snap no. 1

Holiday snap no. 2

Holiday snap no. 3

Holiday snap no. 4
As everyone left… live got back to normal.

Penny’s been ‘drivin all the old men… crazy!’

and gossiping on the grape vine

I’ve been getting locked out of the house…

…whilst Claudia’s been telling Grandma ALL about it.
We finally got some money through, I got the jeep fixed and I started full time on the house around the middle of August.
Due to the design of the house using large stones, the walls are over 40 centimetres thick and up to 60 centimetres in some places. Because of this the foundations are… quite substantial. Me and the ‘O’ team, Momo, Yanko, Zvonco, Zstanko, Guso (Angus) and Blagi (he’s from out of town) have mixed up and chucked in the ground, over 50 tonnes of concrete along with literally tonnes of iron.

They build houses to last for EVER here. Something the Romans taught them.

Yes… they had to put another plank down when I started to pour the concrete
Well… I think I can finally say I have lost my ‘builders cherry’. We’re not sort of building a house here or are just playing at it. We are half way through building a full-blown, highly complicated 150-sqm meter house out of stone. It has a 140,000-litre water tank and… you kind of have to get the walls right. We have dug down over 1 meter into solid limestone with our ‘Bugger’ (Croatian word for digger) using a massive jackhammer.
The Bugger got ‘buggered’ a few times which the kids thought was highly amusing.
Building a house with five guys that do not speak English is far easer and more rewarding than working in London….
For me…
Maybe not every ones idea of an alternative life style, but I get to work with my son every day…
It’s hard work but often fun…

The Friday afternoon ‘grill’ sessions with many Pivos!
and I get most afternoons off after I have had an hour or two’s kip….
I have learnt …
How to mix a ‘mix’ of baton (concrete).
How to get a sales person in the builders’ yards on the main land to not just say… ‘No’ and walk away. ·
Why the two plastic water tanks for the concrete were leaking every day until Angus pointed out that they were leaking down to the exact level of where the donkey’s mouth could reach.
How to manage a team of guys who don’t speak English.
How to make wine.
How to build a stone house on a remote island in Croatia
and basically… how to take life a bit easer.

Sasha has finally broken into the ‘it’ gang of Komiza and is now happy roller blading along the Riva in the evenings with her friends and is enjoying their company. Sasha’s 13th birthday party was in the Kavana Hum and a good time was had by all.

I’m in control and I will blow out all 13 candles… ne problema

The Komizain way of saying happy birthday.
Claudia has been in the UK for two weeks visiting Grandma and is enjoying the new art classes they all go to twice a week. The two stray cats that now live with us and the donkey at the bottom of the garden are keeping her busy.

Sooty and Jessie, the luckiest stray cats in Komiza

Claudia and Angus in training for Egypt
Angus comes to work with me most days whilst school is out and is building his own ‘mini me’ house on the land. He is watching how we do it for real and then copies using the same materials.

Angus on his ‘work experience summer’

Angus ‘mixing’ the mix
He beamed up at me the other day shouting
‘That’s great Angus, how did you do the windows?’
‘Oh shit!’
And off he went to take some stones out of his walls before the concrete set. We haven’t put the windows in the house yet. Ordered them yesterday.

Angus loves working on the land
Penny wanted a long hot summer on the beach. It was supposed to be in Sri Lanka, but it was still long and very hot. Penny is keen to join the ‘O’ team when Tim the new teacher arrives next week, and get fully stuck into the work.
I used to get odd looks when I told people my wife ‘Is a tiler’. People would say
‘What, like putting them on the roof and stuff ?’
‘No…Mosaics and different designs in kitchens and bath rooms, you know…’
‘ Oh… I see, sorry’
With that ‘still bet she is some well ard bird who’s knuckles drag on the ground’ look staring back at you.
I need to choose my words carefully when returning to England…

Penny plastering the water tank walls
‘What does your wife do?’
‘She is a tiler and lays stone walls’
‘She is a tiler and works with stone’
May be I just tell them and then quickly show them a picture of her before their imagination gets to Neanderthal woman.
Penny is learning how to make walls…. out of massive lumps of limestone.

Close up of the walls of our new house
Why not…
Where as for me…
I used to me the MD of an interactive TV advertising agency… nobody understood that… now it’s easy, I’m just plain old Bill the builder.

Bill the builder on his way to work… I know… I know…
Tim, the kids new teacher arrives in Vis on Oct 14th and back to school they go with vengeance. The plan is for Tim and his girlfriend Karen to travel to Egypt with us for the seven months we will be there and the two or three months we will spend in Romania before coming home.
It’s been an interesting summer and, well it’s not over yet.
The house is nowhere near finished, the rain here on Vis this week is stopping us from building… and we leave in less than eight weeks for Egypt.
For me, when we arrive in Egypt it will replace what we lost in Sri Lanka… one very cheap, hot and interesting place to explore with the nicest people you could meet. Somewhere really diferent to live and experience a way of living that is still based on trust and family life, not credit ratings and MTV;)
We are still pondering our route…

Go through Libya and it’s a £1000 for visa’s + one guide and one ‘tourist policeman’ sitting in your jeep the whole way.We’d have to hold our farts in for hours. Or maybe worse!
Go the other way… and it’s a bloody long way. But it would be a great journey, eastern Turkey, Syria, Jordan and all that… which is after all, what we are here for.

My parents are coming to visit us in Siwa for Christmas, which I’m really chuffed about. Simon Jacobs is ‘definitely definitely’ coming out just after Christmas and it is rumoured the Stu, Dotty and Ali trio may rock up on the 20th of Dec. There are over twenty mosques in Siwa and… no churches…should be interesting!
I will then come back to Vis in January after the ‘mint tea levels’ in my blood stream have dropped enough to finish off the house here with the ‘O’ team so we can sell the house and keep going!
Hope you are well and see you soon.
I know… I go by two names… I know.