Having uhmed and ahed for the past 6 weeks about keeping the original windows and doors which are partly secondary glazed we made a decision to go for UPVC throughout. Our adoptive country has a typical continental climate; roasting summers and freezing winters. No time for whimsy when it’s 40 degrees or -28 degrees outside. It so happened that Terry was in the UK sorting out “baggage gate” when the double glazing bod called and in a leaden voice announced he would be coming to install the double glazing. Panic seized me, I ran through the house desperately trying to clear the areas immediately in front of the windows, inside and outside of the house. Xristov, Stefan and Miroslav turned up as I had completed clearing half of the windows and doors. I explained that Terry was in “Anglia”. Without further ado the three, who in turn were fatter than, shorter than and taller than each other trooped in and began ripping out the old but beautiful windows and doors. I made them leave them behind as I’m going to make cloches with them next year.
I offered to make the workers lunch but they recoiled in horror. Obviously the stories of chicken nuggets and microwave chips have spread this far! So partly to prove a point and partly because I was famished a laid out a feast for one under the shade of the Douglas Pine and watched under hooded eyes as they genuinely admired my spread.
The arrival of the digger has caused Terry the greatest of joy. I had been nagging for some time about the jungle on the external track facing garden wall of the house. Whilst the panoply of verdant undergrowth held it’s own beauty in the spring the heat of summer has scorched the beauty of the flora and floribunda leaving the area looking tawdry and tired. It hadn’t helped that our lovely neighbour Ilia had attempted to burn it down and had only been partially successful. So on a blistering day Terry began work with the digger. The machine is brutally efficient and I marvelled at Terrys ability to manipulate it. He has had no prior experience and quite literally in a matter of minutes he had the steely steed firmly in his control. We found a sad empty little nest in our clearance and Ilia assured me that the birds had long since departed. The dogs barked and scuttled about it in joyful abandon and as soon as Terry paused for a moment they leaped aboard with him. It was a good feeling to see the area tamed. I had noticed in the village that everyone, whether full time or summer residents, were all tidying the outsides of their homes. Our hard work paid of as the locals passed by and complimented us on how well we were doing in our ministrations. They decried the current trend for young people to leave the village for the city. The older Bulgarian male villagers like to come and watch Terry (who is somewhat of a one man show) on the digger and shout banalities at him. He just gives them a good natured nod every now and again and they nod back happily in return. It is rather manly and touching at the same time!
When the undergrowth was finally cleared we uncovered a pavement! It requires some rejigging but is charmingly made of hexagonal pieces all fitted together. There are a number of pieces that require resetting because of plant growth but there are no missing pieces. It is, however a puzzle that will have to wait until cooler times. I am going to have to think what I would like to plant along this stretch. Our fellow villagers seem to go for four basic options; fruit trees, grape vines, a rather strange looking tree that produces leaves for the ruminants over the winter or a choice of flowers. Often these include Hibiscus, Lilies especially Canna Lilies, Rhododendrons and of course the national flower, the Rose. I will need to consult with both sets of our parents for there expertise and knowledge!
Having had an absolute nightmare with the our belongings being transported from the UK they finally arrived via a Simon Pennells and his lovely wife Michelle. The original charlatan is now being investigated by Action Fraud UK. It has been an horror story that nobody would wish to go through but when the Arctic turned up at 2pm in the summer sun and opened it’s sides to reveal our worldly goods both Terry and I sighed with relief. Loobo the somewhat Herculian Bulgarian driver goodnaturedly made jokes about Terrys ability to carry ridiculously heavy items calling him Arnold Schwartaneger. Loobo sweated profusely whilst passing out our things and we carried them out and stacked them on the green out side our friends, Alex and Pauls house. Our house is still in a state of flux so we are renting their barn space for storing what we don’t immediately need. It was an extremely hot job and by the time we had unloaded and packed away and taken back up to the house we were almost wiped out.
It was also the Festival day in the village up at the park of the Venerable Oak trees. So wet with sweat and both just a tad tetchy we fell into the shower and quickly dressed to meet our fellow ex pats at the festival. It was a good natured evening with lots of nods and conversations with our fellow Bulgarian villagers and good fun with the ex pats. We chowed down on freshly bbq’d shish and corn on the cob all swilled down with what I can only describe as disproportionately large amount of beer. I kept to water. During the celebrations a villager who is known to have healing powers was circulating the festival and giving impromptu massages for 1 leva a go. The healer was a man of 76 and as benign as you could imagine, approached our table. I watched as those taking him up on his offer of a back and neck massage first grimaced in pain but were left with an almost beatific glow. Of course I had to have one of these massages. After our afternoons work shifting about 6 tonnes of our goods I felt stiff and, well squashed if I’m honest! This old man began by almost digging his gnarly fingers into points along my shoulders and neck. It was hard not to wince, he continued by twisting my tendons and manipulating my arms over my head then took my hands and applied pressure to certain points. He ended with a quick brush up and down my spine with a neon red roller. As unorthodox as it seemed I was left in a state similar to warm play doh, pliable, flexible and totally relaxed!
On a final note, for those of you who have asked if we ever relax here is the proof of the pudding!