As expected, nothing happens for the first two weeks of January. There is then a flurry of activity of the planning and meeting variety. The weather is filthy, pretty much constant rain – Sopot in full flow for a few days at a time – so any construction work is impossible. Life is not helped by Frieda (James’ desktop PC) having a brain haemorrage at New Year, ie the worst possible time to seize up. Luckily there is an old spare laptop and James manages to find a very competent tecchie in Tivat who transfers the main contents of Frieda’s brain onto an external hard drive, so all is not lost. He orders a new PC (Gertrude) – interestingly, a legimate copy of MS Windows 7 costs almost as much as the PC! – which he collects on Old New Year’s Day (14 January). Two weekends later we watch Novak Djokovic again beating Andy Murray to win the Australian Open Finals; at least Andy is far better than even a year ago, so 2013 augurs well for him.
The weather clears on Saturday 26 January, and Vasko says he can start preliminary ‘investigative’ work. We have still to get formal permission – Vasko was surprised to be told that a private house now needs a fire precaution certificate. He organises the appropriate ‘elaborate’ from contacts in Podgorica, but it is another hold-up in the bureaucratic process. The site is marked out on Sunday (Vasko tells us he has been on the site for several hours just as the tennis finishes – luckily otherwise we would have had to make a difficult choice!), and HURRAY, digging starts on Monday 28 January. It is amazing and fascinating to see how quickly the site takes on a different look. By the weekend, the main hole is finished for the garage/ parking/ technical room area, and the main support wall for the house.