What can I say – what a weekend! Not only have we had a monumentally hard weekend I suddenly realised that this blog is more about UK than it is about Bulgaria. So for those of you that do read this blog the featured image is of the Maarata Waterfalls in Lovech near Gradishte. Oh to be there now! The sooner we finish renovating the house the sooner we can move to Bulgaria. Well in-between buying a couple of properties in Wales to rent out. We will need something to make us enough money to live our dream!
After getting the new Ikea kitchen home and putting all the boxes into the front room on Friday night we began in earnest to demolish the existing kitchen. Strangely I felt quite sad as unit after unit was ripped out. I have cooked an inordinate number of meals for every occasion possible in this kitchen and cakes galore. If nothing else it has served me well. I have, however gone through 3 ovens since living here. I’m not a “nancy” cook – no warming up ready food and pizza – no siree it’s everything from scratch and normally in ridiculously large portions, guerilla style! I remember Dani telling her Nan to make sure she gave Terry and I enough to eat because at home we ate enormous portions!
Terry had no such emotion and walked into the kitchen in his TnT (Terry n Tony) Brickwork Specialist luminous yellow vest and made short shrift of it. Twenty minutes after this photo was taken the kitchen was a slightly grubby and sad room. The cupboards and other debris were chucked outside the back door on the patio! We also made out first foray into the assembly of Ikea kitchen cabinets. I did this with very bad grace because it was 10:30pm by the time we’d completed just 3 of them and I was coming down with Freshers Flu. Well done Ikea on your instructions though. Finding the correct box amidst what felt like 100’s was the single most frustrating element of the exercise.The next morning, in the cruel light of day the enormity of the task ahead was matched by the height of the rubbish on the patio. I also noticed that the new neighbours (well new 8 years ago) still haven’t finished painting their house and the pipework is ugly and unmatched! How come I have only just noticed it??? Is it because thoughts of marketing the house have become an overwhelming reality?
Saturday at 05:30 we began by taking up the three layers of tiles on the kitchen floor and filling in all the holes in the walls and ceiling. Sadly it became abundantly clear that the walls were going to need to be dry lined. We are not putting up wall cupboards, just floor cupboards so it is essential we have a smooth surface on which to hang the rather modern and minimalist metal shelves. Terry shot off to Wickes for plasterboard whilst I went into the front room and started sorting the boxes of kitchen elements into piles of numbered cupboards. Such a darling that he is, Terry then fashioned me a sink and work surface outside the kitchen on the patio with hot and cold water but with a bucket as the drainaway. I now had a sort of kitchen in the back room, a sink on the patio and a fridge and washing machine in the shed. I had to laugh because if this were Greece, on one of the Islands, it’d be perfectly acceptable but I’m sure my neighbours must think we are stark staring mad in England and in October! We now had no electricity now either; introducing wet filler to bare electric cables, does not as a rule, go well together.
My makeshift kitchen in the back room
Our hard work was interrupted by a phone call from our friend Claire who asked if it was ok to pop in. I assured her it was but that we had no electric. Such a hero that she is, Claire came armed with hot drinks all round and a bunch of flowers, which I arranged modestly amongst the rubble! Claire and I sat out in the garden on the deck chairs and caught up about 4 months worth of chat whilst Terry continued to dryline the kitchen. It was a blessed couple of hours that I wouldn’t have swapped for the world. I have almost abandoned my few friends whilst the madness at the house continues. But this was a reminder that without true friends life is not really worth a jot! Claire left in time to pick up her adorable son Noni and Terry and I continued with the cabinets.
Terry had some rather expensive tiles that were left over from a job he had completed so at a moment when the kitchen floor was clear I laid them out to see if we have enough to cover the kitchen floor space – we do but only if I put in a border and a single different coloured till smack bang in the middle of the floor. As it matches the border tiles it looked ok. The tiles had come from a chap renovating a million pound house so the tiles are porcelain, expensive and very nice quality so I’m rather pleased. It will save us at least £100. We can put that towards the white London underground tiles we are using above the kitchen tops. By Saturday evening we had filled, sanded and undercoated the freshly drylined kitchen and completed a few more cabinets. It was getting quite difficult to manoeuvre as each time we make a cabinet we have to store it somewhere and as the kitchen is full of wet paint etc we shuffle the extremely heavy cabinets between hallway, backroom and where ever else we can. I was really full of flu and feeling extremely rough so at 8pm we called it a day and I fell into bed. Terry pottered for a little longer but I was oblivious!
The kitchen in boxes!
Sunday morning at 6am we both leaped out of bed and began, with renewed gusto, on the kitchen cabinets. Although the instructions are good they take an inordinately long time to construct with myriad dowls and screws, nails and widgets. I cooked a magnificent breakfast on the George Foreman grill and griddle that my parents had bought around yesterday. I forgot to mention that; I think they were suitable impressed by the work we have done to date. Terry and I sat down to a proper English breakfast before I loaded up the rubbish for the tip and Terry changed the old back door (that was actually a front door) for a proper back door.
The trip to the tip is never a nice trip because whatever you’ve loaded into the van has to be unloaded the other end. It took the best part of an hour; it had been impossible to bag the items; such was the breadth of rubbish we had accumulated. We went straight to Wickes to buy plastic fascia for the window and door in the kitchen and a pot of paint for the walls. We were going to make do with colours we had in the shed but I managed to stop myself and we choose a lovely nickel grey which is both a soft and a sweet colour.
We rushed home and started infilling with the new colour only to realise we were invited to my parents for Sunday dinner and a roast of leg of lamb. I went upstairs and treated myself to a bath on Terrys strict command whilst he carried on. He then had a very quick bath before we jumped into Dirty Gertie of Gosport – aka the Transit and made haste for Cherque Farm. My younger brother Drew was also there so a jolly meal was had by all. The food was delicious and topped off with an excellent apple crumble and ice cream. It was with heavy heart and even heavier stomach that we made our way home, finished painting the kitchen, tidied up and called it a day. There are only so many hours in a day. I prepped for the next working day because going outside to the fridge and sink at 05:30 is no laughing matter especially with the flu. I made both our lunches for work and located the where with all for early morning drinks. Neither of us made it past 9pm before we slept. The dogs took advantage and when I awoke briefly at 1am they were both under the cover at our feet. I didn’t have the heart to chuck them out!