I have been made to feel the sin of not posting!  I now follow a number of blogs and have become somewhat of a stalker.  Every morning and sometimes evening I check the blogs and can be lifted instantly by a new post or left disappointed by a silence.  This is a new experience for me.  Terry had me read back about 5 of the posts I’d written.  It was gratifying to know he is interested in what I write.  I also picked up a swathe of spelling errors.  I am officially  unable to proof read my own writing and I find it difficult at work too.  I admit, as an academic, that spelling is not so high on my list of academic skills.  It’s no good being able to write a mistake free sentence if you are unable to understand a concept, theory or question.

On the question of work I am so ready to make the change from 9-5 with a 1 hour commute each way for going off grid.  When I feeling blue I reach for Auntie Google for anything I can find about  living in Bulgaria; the good points and the bad.  I’m so excited that Terry has never lived abroad and is so positive about going for it.  I only wish that those who are worried or discombobulated by our proposed move that they don’t see what we and the majority of friends and acquaintances see – a chance to live the dream.  I’m also pretty sure that our children will adjust and come to love their time with us in Gradishte.  I’ve located so many things for them to do.  There will be a car available for them to use, hint to Ami and Dani to learn to drive otherwise James will be taking the brunt.  I’ve found a wonderful adventure playground (no plastic in sight) nearby for William.


There are beautiful waterfalls, rivers, lakes, therapeutic springs the wonderful Veliko Tarnovo and Sofia to visit.  The coast is about 2 hours drive and accommodation is cheap so forays to the coast or even to Greece, Turkey, Romania and Serbia are all viable.


I’m hoping that both sets of our parents will want to visit when we’re up and going.  Both sets of parents have fantastic gardening experience; mine with flora and floribunda and Terrys in fruit and veg.  They’ve had a very productive allotment for years and my parents have had a garden open to the public at one of their homes.  Dani’s beau Alfie is studying to be a tree doctor so we are hoping that he can help us with the jungle surrounding the house. I love the blogs I follow for the tips on planting times, pitfalls and what can and cannot be grown.  I am voracious across the information landscape!

James knowledge of running a successful kitchen will be needed in the design of a working kitchen.  He’s consistently scored 5* in hygiene and management of his kitchen and saved his company £600 a month in food costs.  He the man!  I will be making cheese, butter, yogurt, meat products and of course potting, drying, salting all manner of produce.  I manage all sorts in my current kitchen but it’s invariably difficult to manage space and lack of facilities.  I’m going for industrial cabinets and tops; a stainless steel look with some exposed brickwork on the walls and a wooden floor.  I know tiles will be easier to keep but boy are they cold in the winter and unforgiving when things get dropped.  Now we haven’t got the money to do a kitchen as in the photo below but I’m aiming at that look on a budget.  Scaff boards feature heavily and of course the exposed brickwork is feasible it’s just the industrial units.  I’d like a whole cabinet with fridge and cool storage underneath.  All stainless steel with no nasty nooks and crevices for crap to hide in so I can sanitise it for cheese making.  Finger prints – I’ll work with that.  Ya’ll realise this is a dream but I know we’ll manage something with half the space and a 10th of the budget.  We’ve got to chop down 3 pine trees because of their proximity to the house.  I’d love to have the timber used in the house.  Pine is good for furniture but not for burning.  It burns too quickly and doesn’t kick out heat – apparently.  TBH in times of great penury we’d burned all sorts with  unattended pallets featuring heavily at one point and windfalls from a local cemetery – those were the days!


We had a major automotive crisis yesterday.  Terry and I tarp’d the boots of the BMW and Focus to get rid of some of the building materials building outside Claires house.  For a change I led the drive and at some point lost sight of Terry.  Just as I was pulling onto Hayling I get a call from Terry on the hands free; he’s driving along the M27 and he’s got no clutch.  Major panic but I held it down and asked for instruction.  He said “Meet me in the Tesco Superstore carpark just on the Havant exit”.  Well my head went into overdrive with about 100 questions, can you stop without a clutch?, can you start if you stop?, do I need to ring the old bill?, what if the traffic lights at the exit were red?  I had to stop because I was getting distracted myself.  I duly drove to the Tesco car park and to my horror it was heaving with queues of crabby families Christmas shopping.  The noise level alone was frightening with the screams and wails of overtired over excited “smalls” topping the idling of 100’s of cars.  I didn’t think it was particularly Superstore as much a “stuporstore”.  Expressions on the car occupants faces were of dissociated zombies; Christmas cheer was not on the menu.  Anyway I digress, as I idle nervously in the recycling lay-by  screwing my head over my shoulder I said a prayer.  As much in the spirit  of a safe delivery of Terry and for protection from the scowls of the recycling evangelists with their designer chutney jars and empty wine bottles as I took space without reason.  Then I see the Focus with Terry looking extremely tense at the wheel.   I pull in behind him and then we began a series of circuits of the crawling carpark weaving in and out of traffic so the Focus didn’t stop.  I was mortified but carefully avoided anyones eyes. Finally Terry swung into an empty space and the car jolted to a stop.  Oh and I forgot to mention that my water pump is variable in its performance and in the chaos I hadn’t noticed that it was over 3/4 on the dial and veering towards the RED ZONE.  By the time we’d secured the Focus my car had cooled and we set of for Claires and shifted some rubble, removed the cement from the bathroom tiles and shifted about 50 2×3″ 8′ batons from the garden to the loft.  Then we drove home to wait till the traffic abated to drive back to Havant and pick up the Focus.  It wasn’t a restful day and we were ready for bed at about 8pm.  I hasten to add that we’d bought a new clutch before getting the Focus home and it was fitted the next day.


Honestly the man is a genius.  He almost single handed removed the gearbox to change the clutch.  At the trickiest James turned up with William and they did the car whilst William and I continued the Zombie saga then played with paper airplanes.  A good Sunday followed by roast lamb :0






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