Tuesday 3rd August
Tuesday was a continuation of Mondays activities. We had such a huge mound of saplings, bushes, vines and leaves that had been cut down we had to designate an area of the garden to pile them up. We were still unsure what we could do with the mound of rubbish bags in the house. There is one large dumper bin in our street. I use the word street loosely as our street is unpaved and frequented more by horse and cart and bicyles than it is automotives. We don’t want to annoy the neighbours by filling the dumper with black bags full of rubble, rubbish and broken bottles. Our machinations were interrupted by the arrival of a dapper middle-aged Bulgarian on a bicycle. We deduced that he was from the water company. By gesticulation we found he had to connect the water meter to the pipework in the summer kitchen. That was as far as our gesticulations took us. I rang our Bulgarian estate agent Ivelin and asked him to translate. We were told, via Ivelin, that the water company would return the next day to put in the pipes for the meter but we would need to clear the way for the digger to lay pipes. As it was nearly midday we decided we would drive to Ledenik to meet my pen pal Linda and deliver her English goodies
The hole Terry had to dig out under the sink in the summer kitchen for the fitting of the water meter
The drive to Ledenik was hot and sticky and we did what we usually do at Pavlekini, we took the wrong road. By the time we arrived at Ledenik village square we were both wretchedly hot and wet with sweat. We couldn’t locate the house so I rang Linda and she came and collected us in a car driven by her partner Roger. Their Spanish style villa was stunning and cool, very cool, which was a blessing. We all sat down after introductions and spent an couple of hours chatting and looking at the house and heating systems. We had to leave as with only 6 days at the house we had so much to do and so little time. We divided out the English goodies then Terry and I drove the 2 hours back to Gradishte in about 40 degrees and with not a whisper of air to be had. We arrived back at the house and as we pulled up in the blistering heat I looked around on the van seat and what I saw must have registered on my face and as Terrys eyes followed mine the enormity of what we both saw dawned on us. I’d left my handbag at Lindas’ house with mobiles, sat nag, purse, wallet, hotel key and passports! Bless Terry, he never said a word just caught my hand and said “shall we have something to eat then we’ll drive back, pick up your handbag and then drive straight back to the hotel”. There was no point in unpacking the van and unscrewing the barricade we put up in the downstairs bathroom to store our tools etc safely.
The village of Ledenik near Veliko Tarnovo
We had another tasty meal on the camping gas cooker then with heavy hearts climbed into the van and another 2 hour journey to Ledenik and Lindas house. The drive was unremarkable except for the stifling heat. Linda was not surprised at our return and had been thinking about driving to the village to find us. I was reunited with my pink Jimmy Choo and we exchanged a final hug and set of for Pleven and the hotel. it took 3 hours and by the time we arrived we decided we’d eat at the restaurant. We showered and dressed and made our way to the restaurant.
The maitre’d was friendly but spoke no Bulgarian however he bought us an English version of the menu. Cheese in all it’s varieties featured so heavily that the drinks menu was the only part not to feature it. I chose pork knuckle with cheese and chill peppers, puree potato and steamed vegetables. Terry went for ribs and fries. It was about this time that we both realised that the hotel was inhabited entirely by men and that the staff were all rather skimpily dressed young women. Given that our “Sector 1” room at a ridiculously inflated 60 Leva a night was surprisingly sparse, with nether fridge, kettle, bedside lamps or a dressing table mirror, the question “Were we booked into a sex hotel” was raised? The food arrived in dribs and drabs and we shared a fairly average meal. In a country that has such a plethora of fantastic fresh vegetables I was particularly disappointed that the steamed veg turned out to be frozen mixed veg and included brussel sprouts in mid summer! I was not so quiet in my remarks about the meal but my soliloquy fell on deaf ears, the Maitre’d just smiled uncomprehendingly. We made out way to bed fed but not particularly satisfied