May 2012

The month starts off with the find of a baby tortoise in the garden, whom we name Ludwig. Sadly he has obviously suffered severe trauma due to the grass being cut by a strimmer, and has a damaged foreleg and right eye. He dies later in the day. Interestingly he must have been born in the same clutch of eggs as Karl, as they are almost identical sizes and weights (18g, 4cm long, 3.5cm wide & 2.3cm high). Karl emerged some weeks ago from his hibernation and tucks in to his daily supply of fresh lettuce. Anke plants some clover in ‘Karlsplatz’ which allows him to eat fresh clover as well – one of his favourite foods along with tomato.


The Ilic family’s slava takes place as normal on the 6th. We decide to give it a miss this year and spend a lovely day driving and sightseeing via Trebinje to the Arboretum at Trsteno, just north of Dubrovnik. It is a lovely mild sunny day, and we return home late after a pleasant dinner in Cavtat. The following day is spent getting the house back to normal, in terms of putting back our furniture, computers &c, all of which had to be moved out to make room for the slava.


Also on the 7th, James gets a call from Paul Lüftung, the ventilation firm we have been in contact with about equipment for the house. This is followed by a quotation, very reasonable price. James has further questions, as Paul’s quote does not include cooling. He has another long phone call with them about 2 weeks later, when it becomes clear that we don’t need a ventilation system in our part of the world. This is supported the next day by Elisabeth, who has just got the results of the PHPP (PassivHaus-Projektierung-Paket) calculations. Significantly, as we are in a Mediterranean climate, we do not need the 25cm of insulation which is more or less standard in Central Europe, but can achieve the same energy results with only 12cm, and double glazing not triple. All good news for costs.

Later in the week of the slava, we go to Herceg Novi to meet the Mediterranean Garden Society members who are on a tour of Montenegro. Some extremely erudite and expert people and so a very interesting evening.

May is normally a pleasantly warm dry month. Not this year, with frequent rain and generally cool. We get even colder and wetter by travelling to northern Germany at the end of the month for a family gathering – rain most days and about 20°C colder than Risan.