After 3 miserable days the sun has come out to play and I question why I spent the morning putting the majority of our summer stuff away. The garden is bathed in that crystal light so often found in Bulgaria. The garden is beginning to look care worn.
Well at least the hibiscus and good old dahlias are still coming up trumps
It isn’t quite time to dig over the soil and clear any remaining plants but I’m itching to do it. But in our evolving life here what we’d planned to do this weekend was slaughter the black boar but instead we are going to be concreting the kitchen floor in the main house. We’ve both agreed that using the summer kitchen in the winter isn’t viable, pleasant or wanted. So this week I’ve been setting aside some hours of my day to digging out the current compacted mud floors.
The first day of digging out the kitchen floor
As is my wont I started this post earlier last week so the update for the weekend is that Terry helped me finish digging out the kitchen floor to a depth of 10 inches. Rather fortuitously for us Keith and Yorkie turned up and as they laid the membrane and shuttered the floor space. I made the first half of the cement and Yorkie the second half whilst Terry ran the wheelbarrows, poured and tamped. It was heavy dirty work but liberating too. I made a celebratory fry up for all and we sat on Saturday afternoon, in the cool of the front room; various dogs, puppies and a cat watching every forkful with rapt attention. Then Terry decided to build a fence to replace the temporary wire fence butting the end of the old house. Keith jokingly referred to a special 60 minute make over as the 4 of us had the fence up in under an hour. Keith left with our grateful thanks whilst Yorkie set of for a night out with friends. I finally got Terry to sit down and relax to which he agreed because Sunday was going to be busy. Those words did not fill me with glee and somewhat took the edge of our relaxing evening.
Sunday broke chilly but fair and as soon as we’d had a cuppa Terry shot off to order bricks for cladding the back kitchen wall and behind the solid fuel range. My orders were to remove the limewash plaster and straw insulation from the big beam on the ceiling and when I’d finished use the Dremel to cut neatly around the two holes in the ceiling. The horror when the word, neatly, is used. I am not a neat kind of person. However I sallied forth with the dogs in my wake and started revealing the oak beam. It was nasty, messy but rewarding work. The beam will need to be knocked back with 60 grit to remove some of the plaster stains but that’s all I want done with it. Please note the use of technical builders terms, I’m learning in sooo many ways. I had a go at neatly cutting through the ceiling but soon stopped myself. I admitted defeat so that when Terry returned and deftly did the job in about 3 minutes I hung my head in frustration. I must have dyspraxia.
The oak beam finally revealed
I made us some toast and we ate it on the go as we approached the next job, ergo, picking up all the good timber and oak lying about. The timber went into the upstairs of the old house and the old oak beams moved to the paddock area to be covered till we start building the balcony. Terry then jumped on the digger to start building a banana shaped bank that will eventually delineate the pool area from the jungle. This whole area is being cleared so that the digging of the root cellar can begin and in the spring the pool will become below ground. This had to be scheduled for the next month as the last of the produce is harvested as a huge part of the growing areas will be taking the soil from the digs. We then quickly bagged and removed the remains of the beam reveal process and cleaned up the kitchen floor. As we sat for a tea break in the dappled sunshine with 3 tiny puppies biting our ankles the truck turned up with the bricks. A whole pallet of new red bricks and 700 used firebricks. The driver arrived with a young lad to help unload. This is no word of a lie Terry passed all of these bricks to the three of us and as quick as we could unload and stack them the next lot were already waiting. Twice the Bulgarians asked for a pochivka (break) so Terry and I carried on, much to their surprise. I think having a woman outwork them was uncomfortable because 20 seconds later they joined back in. In less than half an hour we’d unloaded and stacked them all. No forklift, no hydraulic lift just a drop sided lorry and a lot of hard work. The Bulgarians were absolutely amazed at Terrys strength and were happy to discuss it in front of him but not to him.
The lesser spotted Terry can be seen astride his urban giraffe in the canopy of the jungle
Next on the list was picking up all the scaffolding and taking it from the garden to the vans roof rack. As Terry secured the scaffolding I took 10 bags of cement from the van to the kitchen door in readiness for laying the floor tiles. Then it was both of us up to the gatehouse with wheelbarrows to bring down the floor tiles 4m2 of tiles at a time. The path is strewn with possible trip hazards and is not even so that turned out to be the optimum load. We were lucky enough to pick up graphite coloured slate floor tiles from a couple who are leaving Bulgaria for health reasons. It is fair to say we got a very excellent deal on 70m2 of tiles. They are perfect for our lifestyle and the animals. They aren’t slippery, they will take a lot of footfall and it won’t show the dogs paw prints. Yes they aren’t as beautiful as shiny light tiles but I have no wish to be a mop bucket junkie.
As the light filtered slowly out of the garden Terry continued clearing with the digger and I made homemade fish and chips for tea. Yorkie turned up in time to put the kettle on and sit to eat. Terry and I were shattered by this time and called it a day. We literally crawled up the stairs to bed.
Rabbie our nearly 8 month old Karakastaff puppy has become a willing uncle to the tiny pups. They rush to his big clod hopper paws and nip them till he can be seen to be approximating a river dance sketch. He breaks up the big dog biscuits for them and he chews them. They don’t seem to mind, He starts innocuously enough with their paws then before he can help himself he pops their heads in his mouth. He doesn’t exactly chew them but he mouths them and they love it! If it’s really chilly he lays down so they can cuddle into him. Vinnie, Bodie and Ted the cat look pained but pretend they can’t see them.