With just 5 days to go before we open Camp Full Monte on May 6th for the 2017 Montenegro summer camping season, we thought you might like an update. Apologies in advance for any typo’s and grammar errors. It’s late and we have another busy day ahead tomorrow.
Race against time
From past experience of beseeching nature to share space with us, we know it takes approximately a week of concentrated hard work. There is activity throughout early spring but the task of turning a piece of ground and a shell of a facilities building into a luxury camping space has to be done in a very small time window. A mid April visit to the UK to surprise Mum Jennings on her 80th birthday was a fabulous distraction but it did mean time was even more short. Work in earnest started immediately on our return.
Thank heavens for volunteers
Once we start taking everything from storage the site has to be occupied (mainly for security reasons). This is when our volunteers are invaluable. Most are hardy types, able to live with a little discomfort while they wonder at the transformation from wilderness to paradise. We like to think they too feed off our excitement and enthusiasm for the summer ahead.
Thursday – 9 days to opening
A glorious day but with rain forecast for the following two days Denise and I focused on getting the grounds tidied. The spring flowers were in full bloom and the grass was already calf high. The decision as to when to mow and strim is always a tough one but ultimately we have to be pragmatic. Two days of rain would make everything so wet that we’d be unable to clear tent pitches in time for opening. Plus, the resultant interim growth would double the size of the task. We are also super conscious of the fact that long grass = perfect environment for ticks and snakes. Neither are particularly popular with our guests. Mowing and strimming gently nudges them into the surrounding countryside. There’s plenty of it so we don’t feel too bad about it. Likewise, the pollinators, nectar feeders, and nesting birds have plenty to keep them going in the surrounding area. Nature really does go wild at this time and so did we.
In glorious sunshine (I even managed to start working on my all over tan!) and a cooling wind, the main terraces were mowed; the last of the organic vegetable beds were prepared for planting and the squash bed was cleared and mulched. With just a few hours of daylight remaining I started working on the primary piping for our new grey water irrigation system. As the sun set we retreated back to our house in town. A very productive day. Every muscle ached but that lovely feeling of slightly tightened and glowing skin you only get from being natural in nature was ample compensation.
Friday – 8 days to opening
RAIN! A mad day. Denise has to head off to Podgorica for a meeting about the women’s festival her and local friends are trying to organize. I dodged the showers running errands whilst waiting for the arrival of Jasper from Belgium, our first volunteer of the season. Greetings and pleasantries over, together we worked on making the site as comfortable as possible for him. By dusk, Jasper had been given the basic induction tour; all essential services including our solar P.V. system were up and running; Jasper had a cosy caravan to spend the night in and all he needed to prepare an evening meal. Having spent the previous night in a cold tent on a beach elsewhere in the bay he was delighted. He’s going to be great!!!
Saturday – 7 days to opening
More rain! Me, Denise and Jasper switched our attention to indoor work. The facilities building needed a deep clean and having completely disassembled the kitchen at the end of last season, it all had to be taken out of storage and re-installed.
Sunday – 6 days to opening
Great day! More cleaning! Painting, gas fridges and cooker connected. Kitchen fully operational. Pumped 15,000 litres of water from our spring into our water tank. Leak ( caused by freezing winter conditions) in one of our showers – Fixed!. Supplementary garden watering system unblocked. The culprit, half an acorn wedged somewhere in 70m of pipework!
Well that’s it – you’re up to date.
Four more volunteers are scheduled to arrive tomorrow. The weather forecast is good so we’ll probably be working in the gardens. We’ve got 60 tomato plants desperate to get out of their pots and trays of flower seedlings similarly ready to stretch out their roots.
Every year, mother nature, fate, or our own human failings mean we have to deal with the occasional curve ball but we always cope. This year? So far so good but we’ve still got 5 days to go. Plenty of time for setbacks. Wish us luck.
I’ll try to post again tomorrow with more news.