Spring Mission at Breg House

Just like the last four years, as soon as winter has passed, I’ve come to Slovenia. The season for renovating a house in the mountains is shorter than you might think, so I’m always keen to commence operations as soon as the snow has melted.

This time, winter seemed to linger a little longer than usual. We had a dusting of snow, and at night, the temperature frequently fell below zero. This meant cosy evenings infront of the new wood burning stove became the norm.

Slovenian Gulag regulars, Jonny and Paul, joined me on this trip, and with three times the manpower, good progress was made in several areas, namely new cupboards and shelves for the kitchen and downstairs, a new kitchen worksurface, a new fence to protect my water supply from maurauding cows, several new items of furniture and the beginings of a new day bed.

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Nights were still cold, but the stove kept the lounge cosy [pic: Paul Baldwin]

I also discovered one of my water heaters had frozen and cracked over the winter, despite me draining it until it would drain no more. Subsequent investigation of the tank design revealed that it is impossible to empty the tank through gravity alone, as it relies on a pressurised system. I have until next winter to figure out a fix.

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Spring snow fall coats the trees; left: frost damaged wanter tank

Paul proved his worth immediately upon diagnosing the problem, and we had a replacement tank purchased and fitted within a couple of hours. The fact that it was the hot water supply for Paul’s ensuite bathroom may have added additional incentive for the rapid repair.

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Filter coffee: Breg Style. Jonny brews up a batch

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Jezersko; my favourite mountain pass when coming from Ljubljana

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Late night Ikea furniture construction session [pic: Paul Baldwin]

Road Trippin’ Slovenia’s Westside

Despite having worked on the house for four years in a row now, Paul had seen very little of the country. So we set aside several days for road tripping. It had been almost five years since I’ve visited the Soča valley in Slovenia’s westside, so we decided to head there and take another look.

One place I hadn’t been, and was very glad to have now visited, is the glorious Jasna lake, close to Kranjska Gora. Had it not been for the snowy peaks in the distance, you could be fooled into thinking this was a tropical lagoon, somewhere in south east Asia.

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Jasna Lake

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Paul takes in the view at Jasna lake

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An interesting little church in the Soča valley

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the amazingly-coloured Soča river

Springing in the Rain

Back at the house, there was a two-day period of heavy, sustained rain. There’s something I find very appealing about a storm-soaked scene. There’s a sense of quiet calm, and though most people prefer to stay shut indoors during wet weather, I love walking in the rain.

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A rainy day a Breg House

And this rain was quite welcome seeing as the house’s water supply had been running low. My wander up the rainy mountainside also led to the discovery of a new set of streams and rivulets that I’d never seen before. In fact, a whole waterfall popped up for a while, and there was even water jetting out of the ground like a mini-gueyser in the meadow above the house.

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a miniature waterfall appeared in the forest after the rains

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water jetting from the gound like a minature gueyser

Spring Clean

A long awaited (10 years!) run to the municipal tip was also completed where Paul and I discovered how admirably thorough they were at sorting materials. There were at least 20 different bins for waste, and despite no common language between us and the two guys manning it, they were very helpful in assisting us to dispose of years of accumulated rubbish, from old bags of long-set cement, to a dead vacuum cleaner. The guy even ripped out the metal hook from the plastic coat hanger to ensure both materials could be recycled properly.

During The Great Tidy Up, we also came across an old piece of plasterboard that was the canvas for a rather artistic rendition of an early wiring plan for the house, as drawn by the great renaissance builder, Glyn Turner.

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a rare original by Glyn Turner

It was a great two weeks, a good mix of progress on the house, plus exploring some new parts of the country. Hvala lepa to Paul for his excellent carpentry skills and Jonny for expert furniture building.

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