I was going to start this blog with a whole list of things that have gone wrong and an even bigger list of negativity but as I wake up on Bank Holiday Sunday after a truly tumultuous storm last night I am awash with gratitude and humbleness at what we do have. Whether you are religious, spiritual or follow the Karma ethos take a moment to ponder what you do have. I am cleaning my house not because it needs to be done because I’m thankful that I do have a house; a beautiful home that has been made with so much love. Our house animals, now calm after the storm, lay peacefully on the sofa and the dawn chorus provides a soothing aural backdrop to my machinatons.
Terry is winging his way back home and as I write after what can only be described as a very eventful trip back to the UK. I’m not going to list all the negative events but istead praise those who helped and supported us. Both sets of parents have been absolute stars and we are extremely lucky to have them. Terrys Dad has ferried him all around the county picking up things and looking at cars after our much beloved land Rover developed problems. His Mum has cooked and washed for him and I’m pretty sure tidied up after him too. They also had a relative Aladdins Cave of all the things we’d ordered to bring home. I’m pretty sure that they’re happy to have their front room back! My Mom has been researcher extraordinaire from tall freezers to frilly underwear, bedding, cars and just about everything in between. My Dad has also ferried my Mom around numerous stores picking up a plethora of goodies from marmite to bed linens and duvets to an 8 drawer freezer at an amazing price. All in all they have all ran around like mad things supporting Terry. So a big shout out to our parents!
With Terry the Terminator away I have had time to work on the bits of the garden that I’ve been wanting to. We now have flower borders albeit very nouveau, ergo, still more soil that foliage. But it is a start. I have spend part of every day digging a grow patch by hand. I dare not have used the rotovator because it was almost a chainmail mat of roots and weeds. It has been back breaking but so very worthwhile. I have also begun, but not quite finished, weeding the pavement outside the house and dug in a very impromptu and hopefully temporary path to the house from the road.
The pictures above were taken about 5 days ago so to show how fertile the land is here are some more shots, albeit on a very overcast and rainy morning.
Last Monday Yorkie and Ian came and we started clearing Dani’s house. It was bought on a vile thundery day with an absolute deluge of rain and in 1 day. We had had only a cursory glance at the property inside and out but I must have inherited my Mom’s ESP when it comes to picking a cracker. As we began a bonfire of the contents the beauty of the house began to show. Original quarry tiles in the kitchen, solid wood floors in the sitting room and upstairs hallway and 2 double bedrooms. There is a dedicated space in the upstairs hallway for a bathroom. Yorkie pointed out that the roof was no more than 5 years old and that the windows had been replaced no more than 7 years ago. We jimmied open the basement to find the same layout as upstairs, 2 large rooms with a spacious hallway. Of course the whole house needs redecorating and the basement has been used for many years as storage for winter foods. We also found a wardrobe full of someones dowry rugs and coverings, including a handmade duvet and some 1970’s style fluffy coloured rugs that will look great. And to top it all but mostly for Terrys benefit there was an honest to goodness mechanics inspection pit inside the garage! As we made a huge pile of the rubbish a neighbour popped by and asked if we’d be interested in buying an adjacent plot of land for 200 leva! I answered with alacrity – yes we would. As we expand our self sufficiency this bit of additional land could become our potato patch – you can the Brit out of Britain but you can’t take away the Brits addiction to the humble potato!
Rabbi the pup has been given the all clear after 5 days of daily visits to the vets which I have to thank Ian and Paul for undertaking the transport to and from Pavlikeni. He is recovering slowly but still not eating properly. In fact so many people have offered their help it has been absolutely heart warming. Dave and Penny ferried Catherine and I to our Tuesday Bulgarian lesson and factored in not only time for a swing around the market but time for a coffee in Pavlikeni square. They also very kindly stopped at the T Market so we ladies could shop. Our Bulgarian neighbours have all said to shout should I need anything. Ian translated when the oddball water man of the village had to replace water metres at James’s and Ami’s house. He’s a small very rotund man so when it came to squeezing himself down the water pit at James’s he simply couldn’t. He motioned to Ian, 6 foot and considerably more svelte to jump down into the water pit. Now Ians best friend Bobby is the water man at his village of Koevtsi so I knew he’d undertake the job simply for the opportunity to recount the story to Bobby that night at the bar! Ian has been here for 10 years and has a wonderful Bulgarian girlfriend called Sisi so his Bulgarian is pretty good. However the waterman “Velli” has a thick accent and his Turkish birthright adds a brogue that makes conversing with this man an exercise in lip reading and patience. Velli then directed Ian, with a bit of broken baton, on how to use the rather antiquated but extremely efficient pipe extender. You’ll note the use of my very technical language here! I would say that I’m pretty well versed in recognising a wide range of instrumentation having to “fetch” tools for Terry on a regular basis but since we’ve been here we’ve been amazed at the lack of expensive power tools. Contraptions are very popular here and most look like they’ve been in use across generations. This particular jobby wouldn’t look amiss in a sadomasochist movie! There was much laughter, and in that inimitable Bulgarian way, a lot of smoking of cigarettes during the “procedure”!
Terry was pulled over in Germany in the Range Rover we did a part exchange on and told that in Germany he can only pull 750 kgs whilst in UK he can pull 3.5 tonnes. So know Ian has had to hightail it in his car to Attelsdorf in Germany so that he can pull Terrys car and Terry can drive his. Fortunately in Bulgaria the car is insured and not the driver. Roll on the time when we can register the car in Bulgaria and be done with excessively expensive insurance, road tax and MOT’s. An on the spot 300 euro fine added insult to injury. But it is better to celebrate the good than the bad. So kudos to Ian for his instant reaction to our problem and his instant action and to his girlfriend for losing her boyfriend over the bank Holiday weekend, and without a murmur!
I have been working away in the garden, not big things but the little niggly things. The weeding and digging, the trying to make flower beds and the general tidying up of the least jungle like areas. The weather has been belting with temperature still in the high 20’s and nearly 30 degrees. It is a real pleasure to work outside. The morning and evening choruses are an acoustic joy. There is a nightingale that serenades me to sleep and a cacophonous chorus of birdsong that wakes me in the morning. It is just an audio joy fest. I have also been popping round Ami’s to water her plants and Danis and James’s to take some pictures of their properties. I’m proud to announce that I am also still continuing with online yoga and am seeing not only appreciable differences in my body but an added serenity despite all the recent chaos.
The countryside is awash with verdant greens and blowsy yellow as the green fields and hills are interspersed with fields of rapeseed. We recently drove to Dryanovo to pick up a couple of coffee tables and it was a joy to behold the change in the landscape. Terry now safely home and with his beloved Dirty Gertie from Gradishte, aka the transit fixed with a new starter motor and passenger window from the UK we were flooded with memories of our first excursions around the country nearly 1 year ago. Renovating is a full time job 7 days a week so trips like this are a Brucie bonus. We get to spend time together without any machines, tools or cement between us!
The remodel of James’s house is coming along. An outside shack that was sagging with a collapsed roof has been removed in order to plumb in the sewage for a toilet and the waste from the bathroom and kitchen. The kitchen is being tiled, old rotten cupboards removed and made ready for a new sink area and a washing machine. Tiles have been bought for the bathroom and a run of kitchen cupboards – more of these pictures to come. Walls have been stripped of wallpaper and wooden floors varnished. His garden is awash with gorgeous tulips that I am very envious off!
And finally some of the pictures of the lamb we helped slaughter.
Amalias garden is coming along and the flowers she planted are just beginning to flower. In her own eclectic way Amalia doesn’t want a range of cupboards in her kitchen but to restore some of the original wooden pieces from the house. Terry picked up a Freecycle 2 seater sofa for her and although she hasn’t seen it I think she’ll like it.
Apologies for the mish mash of images but I’ve had a devil of a job in between Internet outages trying to get them uploaded. It’s time to crack on to the Levski market now. Toodle pip for now 🙂
Crikey I almost forgot – I’m finally going to have my horrible teeth fixed and I can’t believe the price. It is almost a tenth of what I would paying the UK. A recent friend; Judith took me along to her appointment in a very modern surgery housed in a grim old soviet block building near the Mayors office in Balagrene. A big thank you to Judith for inviting me along and giving me the confidence to finally get my teeth sorted!