Well I have some photos of the upstairs extension so without further ado here are some shots.
We are far from finished but even as I speak the stud work for the plaster boarding has moved forward as has the pipework from the upstairs bathroom into the old house in what will become the guest wet room.
I made another trip to Pleven, circumventing the siren calls of that robust hausfraus paradise that is Kaufland and picked up the new tiles for the bathroom. It was a joy to drive alone and enjoy the changing landscapes. Rich, chocolate brown freshly furrowed fields, edged with lime green and amber foliage into the foothills. Grazing sheep, shepherds and their sheep dogs blending seamlessly into the swathes of beige cropped wheat fields. Multicoloured leaves fall in almost drunkenly staggered releases in the autumnal breeze. The mud of yesterday, already caking in chaotic swirls and runnels, provides a minimalist mire installation worthy of a gallery.
The wall of the existing downstairs bathroom has been reconfigured so that the door, originally on the righthand side of the wall has now been centralised to accommodate the stairs to upstairs.
All the pipework and waste water has been channelled to both the upstairs bathroom, what will become the new inside kitchen and what will be the wet room in the old house. This has been a pig of a job and I have never seen Terry look so drawn and tired. He was refusing to take it easy but over this weekend we had to have a talk because I was so worried about him. So we had a “relaxing” weekend; that is we spent the entire weekend tidying the chaos inside and outside of the house. That was the best I could get in terms of a slow down. In fact we actually watched a film! During my perambulations around the garden I walked past the walnut tree and to my absolute surprise I noticed freshly fallen walnuts, some had shed there outer coating and their wheaty colour stood out against the dark brown of the soil. Then I noticed more in their natural outer casings; some still green and some almost black. I collected my big colander and then made a trip around the garden gleefully picking more. I had been told by everyone that this year had been the poorest in decades for the walnut crop so after a cursory glance at my trees and not seeing any obvious signs of harvest I had simply forgotten to check.
Vasko my aged and sprightly admirer still seems to be under the impression that I’m single. Almost every day we hear him shouting our names at the door. He almost hops in his excitement when he sees me. It was his birthday on the 18th and I’d bought him some chocolate and he had, in return, bought me some of his homemade red wine. His thank you hug was just a little to tight and a little too long, his tiny frame almost thrumming in his gratitude. We have to laugh really because he’s such a sweetie. Over the next few days he delivered, on his gentleman’s bicycle, all manner of grapes. I now have 2 fridges jammed with grapes! Yesterday I walked into the kitchen and there was an enormous cabbage, some beautiful carrots and beetroots with the greens still attached. I popped my head quizzically out of the kitchen and before I could ask Ian, one of the builders, winked and said “from your admirer”.
Ilia our much loved neighbour has got 2 sheep and 4 lambs and they are adorable. He shouted over the wall one day and beckoned me. As I opened our gate and popped my head round there they were. Ilia was so proud of them that I had to take some pictures. He tries to pretend he’s got a hard heart but his pride in his little flock is evident. He picked up the 4 day old lambs and handed them over to me in quick succession. They were fluffy and wiry at the same time and their respective mothers eyed me suspiciously with their beady eyes, bleating in gentle warning. I wonder now at the building of our big oven – perhaps he will share some of his spring “crop” in exchange for it’s capacious cooking capacity!
Now that the evenings are drawing in we light the petchka and have actually started stacking wood inside as well as the huge pile outside. It has taken a while because there are always 101 things to do.
On an extremely sad note we found our little street puppy Royston, who had been missing for a day, huddled outside our gate as we drew up from a shopping trip. I knew immediately something was wrong because usually he would accompany the jeep on the track to the house yipping and wagging his little stump so hard he’d trip over. I called his name and there was the barest movement of his head. Terry and I rushed over and I knew before Terry had scooped him up that he’d been poisoned and was not far from death. We rushed in and wrapped him in an old scarf and set him down in front of the roaring petchka. I gently opened his jaws and his gums were dark greyish blue. He was in shock and his body was shutting down. A foul smelling pinkish fluid seeped out of his backside. We stayed by him all night, I dampened his gums with warm water and stroked his little head. Later that night he made a little yelping noise and passed away. We buried him under the big walnut tree where we are planning a seating area. He was such a greedy little pup that now as we eat and our food falls to the ground he will, in spirit, be there to clean up the scraps. I didn’t cry at the time because I’m pragmatic but as I write now there is a steady stream of tears rolling down my face. R.I.P Royston, 4 months old, a tall and lanky crossbred Karachakan, loved by everyone who met him.