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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Mums Here For Good

Wow it has been such a long time since my last post!
My huge apologies to all who read this blog for my lack of attention and the feebleness of its content. My life is a bit limited now with no car usage but I will continue to try and incorporate as much Bulgarian life as possible. I find myself either doing things alone or with other expats right now, but then expats are part of the Bulgarian experience and boy are they an experience just on they're own!
Where to start.......
I went back to England to pick up mum and bring her over to live with me, last August. I was a day late due to my flight being cancelled as a storm broke out just as they were due to land. We were put up in a beautiful hotel but I didn't get into my room till 3am so it was wasted, and my week there became very short with all that needed sorting, but sort it I did.
Mum loves Bulgaria, she used to come over to Sunny beach before most people had ever heard of it. She saw it grow each year into the monster it has become.
Living in the countryside is completely different but she adores it.
Summer was spent in the garden or out and about eating :-) socialising with expats and Bulgarians.







 We have some lovely Bularian friends here in my village as well as some expats but we all get along with no problems. I am not one to foist myself on people and like my own company, also I hate the expat clique thing, ugh, they invariably turn into a bully playground attacking other people. "Look at my face, am I bothered though" for me I extract myself from these people and then have at times become a target. I just laugh now as how sad there internal lives must be to talk about me? All very strange!

Anyhow I digress.... My life has changed enormously now but it is full, we have lots of laughs and yes some stresses as mums memory gets worse.
We had a lovely little holiday in Pomoria. Lovely hotel with a one bed suite. Shame the weather was not brilliant but it was a nice rest. One day I took mum in a wheelchair with a friend to find the center, hmm well that was an adventure. With the state of the pavements I could not of handled it alone and it nearly tipped over a few times, never again. I have to say I would never recommend this resort for a holiday the town is shit. If you want a lovely hotel on or overlooking the beach and will not want to leave, then if it is a good price fair enough but I still fully recommend Sozopol, gorgeous place.
So on the way back home via Dimitar and taxi, we went to view a house for mum. I had seen it in the spring and loved it. It literally ticks all the boxes and much more with an amazing view I knew she would love.

Mum loved it, it is a big house, so family and great granddaughters can come and stay, with a proper swimming pool which has a Jacuzzi end, she will be able to enjoy her last years here. Today we find ourselves just a couple of weeks from moving in and although stressful we are very excited.
Getting mums Tramadol here has been a flipping nightmare. She is on the strong stuff so has to go to the hospital every month to get a prescription. The Dr decides what they want to charge so it has been from 3 lev, which is normal for an appointment to 20 and 40 lev, haha every day Bulgaria. I have now found through a very helpful chemist a tramadol and paracetamol mix which I can get over the counter and will be buying this in future but doubling up. The other problem is her stoma bags. These cost almost 5lev a bag, so right now we pay almost 300 lev a month plus two trips into Gorna Oryahovitsa one to order them and one to collect and pay. After moving we will be registering her and getting with a specific Dr so then she will get one free bag per day! People in UK, you dont realise how fortunate you are!
I will post pics of our new house once we have moved in, it would be rude to while owened by the sellers, an invasion of privacy.
I will post more to get up to date.....

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Summer Arrived with a Bang, Visitors

Well life takes a turn, yet again, in my little world!

But first.......

I spent the winter learning a new skill, crochet, loving it.  I am still learning new things and I am pretty sure I will for the rest of my life, but for now I have a nice little stock of items for sale. Yes I am still trying to make a way to generate an income for myself, blimey it's HARD! Especially as I can't get to the car boots to sell. The photo's don't do them justice, but it will happen, plans are afoot.



These are a selection of some of the first things I made, I have got a lot better and have designed Many bags, fingerless gloves, leg warmers, baby items etc.
I am managing to read some patterns as I have had an order for a baby hammock. I loved making this and can't wait till it is received.

I made my Granddaughters and Niece's a bag each. The above bag was for my Gothy 10 yr old.
My 11 yr old absolutely loved her bag. I loved her reaction which included the words, OMG I LOVE it, I thought it was going to be some old granny bag, hahahahaha, exactly what I would have thought at her age
So this is what got me through the winter and the darkness, I even managed by torch light when the electric was off!

I had the most wonderful trip to England, the best time since I lived there. I think this showed me how far I had come. I didn't feel an outcast, I felt loved and accepted. I realise I am but it has been difficult to feel when I have been so vulnerable. So a new phase of my life, I am not feeling why me now, but instead how can I get through or around this.
Big thanks to the generosity of my family, who treated me to some amazing meals, in and out as well as all the love.
I met my two newest Granddaughters and what amazing babies they are. I re connected with my oldest Granddaughter, we had some special times together and I think we got a gist of who we were. It is hard for the girls to know me when they don't see me or spend time with me and obviously it is the same for me. I love that I got to KNOW a bit of her soul. Also I spent a little time with my son's oldest, the right in the middle Granddaughter. She could not remember me but I hold out hope that after this trip she will next time! I also had a lovely day with my newest Niece
I had an amazing family time, even getting together with my sister in law and Niece from my first marriage. We talked for hours, it was a lovely end to an amazing holiday with my sister Brenda in Tonbridge, the home of some of my happiest years.

Home in Bulgaria...... I came back with my mum who is 92 in August. She came for two weeks & extended it to three. We had a wonderful time, went out and about with friends, had a lunch here, at home,  with more friends. Took her to a Chinese restaurant, Afternoon Tea in a lovely chic tea room, Shopping in the Mall with dinner in one of the best restaurants in VT, shopping in the market with lunch in Polski Trambesh, Dinner with my Bulgarian family both at their's and mine and a trip to Burgas to view a house, lunch with the owners then time on the beach for drinks. Oh and lots of sunbathing in the garden  Mum loved being looked after and having company, as did I.  The upshot is mum is moving over and I will be caring for her in her twilight years. Giving her a social life, which she is sadly lacking in UK and a lovely relaxed life.  We off course will be moving as we will need to be near hospitals etc. A fitting adventure for the woman who has sought adventure her whole life. My mum an amazing lady......









We are now in the midst of a heatwave and have been for a couple of weeks now, with temps of 42c, 45c and 38/39c PHEW!!!!!
 I did start to make a mark on the garden but that, now, is a do over, again! Far too hot to get out there with the strimmer with no pool to cool off in, it would be foolishness.
I am looking forward to the day I have some air con, but for now I use standard fans which means no canning or jam making this year. I am though going to try pickled tomatoes.

So my mum is moving over, this means looking for a certain type of house. It has a lot of boxes to tick as we want one large enough for family to stay, mum needs her shower room, living space and bedroom on the ground floor, central heating is a must and it needs to be near the hospitals, shops and beaches as well as a couple of other things. Once mum returned home she became quite desperate to get back, so I have been searching, not easy! I did view another house and took Sylvia with me to get a different point of view. We went to a little beach, which I found with mum, and had the most gorgeous mussels while we watched kite surfing and I had a paddle :-)  I went back for a third time last week when picking my friend up from the airport, with all intentions of having another paddle but I couldn't walk on the sand, it was SOOOOOO HOT!



Right now I have a friend from England staying with me, it is great to have company again. We are out and about today, another hot one, I think we will be going around VT. I say think as we are meeting Sylvia in the Tea room in VT first and will decide on the day from there.






Well we had a wonderful day, bloody hot though!!!
We ate and drank our way around the historic and arty part of VT, came home with left overs for the girls and very tired.
The above photo's are from Tsarevets castle and surrounding village. This was the first kingdom and the original capital city of Bulgaria, where battles were won and lost. This is my VT, my city where I live right now. I will miss her very very much when I eventually move.
Take care of yourselves and have a wonderful summer with your families, they are so very special xxxxx

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Well What A winter

Well Here I am in March, winter was both bloody awful and also bloody gorgeous, more heat waves than anything, very weird.

Christmas came and went along with a so called friend,when will I ever learn? I spent Christmas day alone due to a complete cock up but I had a really lovely day. I felt very content and after snacking and having a cheese sandwich for dinner LOL I spent the whole day crocheting. It was lovely. Yes I would have preferred to be with family but as that is not possible, and considering the pain of the previous Christmas it was a truly peaceful day for me. Yet again Boxing day served as Christmas day. I did all the cooking and it was enjoyed. I even popped a real bottle of Champers but even though it was the real mackoy and costs a fortune I really don't like the stuff so I topped it with Orange juice and stuck to the one. Fabulous dinner though, there is just something about Christmas dinner, even without Turkey. I had bought a joint of beef and a joint of pork a couple of months before hand and both were delicious. I think I can say now though I am quite OK to spend Christmas alone and feel content, as long as I get to talk to my family!



So I won't go into the ins and outs of it all but January found me without electric for 7 days, no water at all for two weeks and then eventually no water in the house for 10 weeks, but with a leaking outside garden tap. I am however ecstatic to report I have finally had a new pump fitted just two days ago and my life is so very different now.
That was hard, I am very thankful that the weather, other than 3 weeks of snow & freezing temps, was again kind to us. It has been quite a few years now since we have had what was then normal. Deep over 3 meters of snow, -27c and a few -38c along with being snowed in for weeks on end. So 3 weeks was a walk in the park. Melting snow for water when all the bottled water ran out, having a personal Niagara falls in the pump room, after the first de-freeze and a completely annihilated pump rendering my house water free still, but with a working garden tap, hurrah. The village water man, Plamen, charged me 40 lev to fit a piece of pipe that he had at home, stopping my own Niagara falls and emptying my purse to boot, thankful though.
So then I had the electric cut off and was without water, electric and ill with a mild flu all at the same time. I couldn't get a lift in to pay the bill and I was too ill to wait in the snow and cold to get a bus on one of the two days we have one LOL. Yep it was a BAD time but I coped valiantly LOL right up to the Friday, which was a bus day. I wrapped up warm and stood waiting for the bus, getting there early as they are likely to just go if they get there early. One hour later I finally realised that it wasn't going to come and just burst into tears I just couldn't cope from that moment onwards. The thought of having to wait another 5 days till I could get in to pay my bills.

Wow you really don't know what you have till it's gone, but I am still living in my bit of paradise.

Could be much much better but it's what I have and I have to accept my life is never going to be anything to write home about for most people.
Sometimes I do think about going back to England, problem is I have no home there, no income or help from anyone till I can sort those issues and the government will not help either as I have been out of the country for a period of time. My hands are so bad now that what job could I do? Then I think on the positives, there are always positives. My Granddaughters, ahhh all 5 grand babies, the loves of my heart and what life is all about. I would at least have 4 on my doorstep, I would be able to look after them and help my children with them. I would be able to see the two babies grow up, My mum 92 and now in the twilight of her years, I love her so much and want to be able to care for her. My children, all grown up with lives of their own but they still need a mum and my sister (in law) my lovely sister, who has been there since I was just 12 and the only sister I have ever had.
Yes family is what they call homesickness. It's not the country you are leaving, the job, your friends, it's the people you are attached to by your soul, and it physically hurts, lots. The friends you make here will never be as the ones you leave behind, NEVER and you will only keep a couple of those because people move on and you become a distant memory.
SO think, think, think and think again before you come here because it is not always easy.
There are people in Bulgaria, and of course other countries, who live a fantastic life here but that is really down to money in the long run. It is a beautiful, friendly (on the whole) helpful, peaceful, slow, amazing place to live but it can be hard.
The rate of ex pat marriage break up's is huge. I came here in a stable loving solid marriage, deeply in love with my soul mate my best friend and found myself alone and definitely abandoned. So when people use all those words to define how happy they are etc it makes my tummy roll over. Please people, but mainly women, it can turn in a heartbeat! Be sure either you have something to go back to (I didn't as there was no way I needed to, I had my amazing husband who could do anything, my best friend) or you have plenty of money to sort everything out and live. To get a divorce costs money up front. Try pinning down your ex here, it is impossible as you need money up front, even though there are laws! Try getting things sorted here is impossible leaving people in limbo unable to move forward.

Now please don't think I am negative Nelly, I am not, I am happy here, but sometimes like in winter, I miss my children, family and yes life in UK with water, electric, gas central heating and all the comforts we have grown to take for granted.
Would I still have come had I known what would happen? Not if I could have still been happily married and have my wonderful happy happy family life, no.  Will I go back? Not if I can help it NO!

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Preparing for winter

First job here was to get the wood burner flue's cleaned and the chimneys swept, easier said than done when you are a woman and add to that a two story house. The locals accept that yep you need the chimneys looked at but they are not going to volunteer their help, so it has been months to get here. The weather turned chilly and there was no way I could light the fire as I knew there would be a major problem, due to what I found when I moved back in. The Kamina in the kitchen/living room had dripped wet soot all over my lovely Oak table, completely ruining it so I gathered there was a major problem. The one in the bedroom looked OK but the smell of wood fires is still apparent up there as you open the outside door, and the bedroom walls are smoke damaged. Now I may not know a lot but I know I was looking at a situation!

A friend said he would get up there and clean them for me. Well they were both completely chocka block, the soot was compacted solid and two huge dead rats were found in the main one! I can't fathom how there was not a fire here last year! Very thankful to Anthony for cleaning them, I can now keep warm when necessary. I will need to put a couple of fire bomb things in to clean the sides off but that is no problem.
Also Paul has chopped some wood for me and brush cut some of the back area along with the dog compound which is no longer used. I am going to turn this into an area for ducks, yep I am on the lookout for some young ducks or older ducklings. When they are settled I will look for some ex battery hens to give a home to, I LOVE chickens and miss them big time!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Phew Preserving Season, Loving Living in Bulgaria,

I apologise for the lateness of catching up with my blogs, life sometimes has to be put on hold, just to catch up with oneself.

It is really hot here now, with beautiful days intermingled with huge storms.  The best is when the day is just gorgeous with a late storm but sadly this is not always the case. Hey no complaints from me as it is a huge relief buy the time the storm arrives as my head is normally about to explode from the pressure build up.
I somehow have lost my fear of being alone in a storm, but two of my dogs are petrified, this means I end up with dogs all over me for protection.
Monday morning just before 7am they were all awoken by a huge exploding thunder clap. WOW it was huge and shook the house along with everything in it. All 4 dogs and 2 puppies shot in the air and ran the length of the room wondering what happened. Yes I did laugh!
It was a real hoolie of a storm with a few more explosions some normal claps and lots of loud rolling thunder.

Bulgaria is very beautiful right now with amazing wild flowers that I have not seen before, a myriad of colours everywhere. What is tantalising are the greenery of what will be the majestic sun flowers, fields as far as the eye can see, soooo looking forward to that. With the amount of heat and rain we have had they should be the best for 4 years. The air smells heavenly from the perfume of the Linden trees, beautiful. So right now going out and about in Bulgaria is just wonderful, gush gush :-)

Talking of the weather, well I am English ;-)  I have a feeling we will have a normal harsh winter this year. About time as the last 4 have been amazing. This both fills me with dread and a joy. We have suffered less than great summers, these last couple of years. They have been very wet with major flooding and loss of life and home, we need to get back to what is balanced and that means a harsh winter with a fantastic spring, hot summer, warm autumn.
I dread it only for having to get the wood in as well as being able to buy enough, oh and not getting frozen pipes. Other than that I look forward to it.

I have been blessed with another baby granddaughter since last blogging. She is identical to her sister in looks, a real beautiful chunky girl. her name is Lillia, so I now have 5 gorgeous granddaughters, I feel so blessed but sad to not be with them. To know I am missing out on cuddling my two gorgeous babies is very emotional but I look forward very much to at least seeing soon.

So workaway-ers are booked in for July and August, there will be some help with the grounds and painting, looking forward to that! Love to socialise and it doesn't happen much now. My fault as I am just not into hosting lots of meals right now, I will get my Mojo back though.

Preserving season is upon me, I missed the strawberries sadly, but have managed to get plenty of cherry conserve and jams made this week, next is Apricots then I will be inundated with plums, the small kind. White and red, delicious. I am also reddening up some chillies to make sweet chilli sauce.
I miss not growing them this year, it is just too much with everything else sadly, so my garden is empty of produce this year, other than the fruit trees :-)

Financially I am overwhelmed with the worry of not being able to pay bills and getting services cut off, BUT I am plodding on and trying to sell items to help me get on top of things. SO much to worry about but I am in the right place and absolutely love this country. The dogs have food which is the most important and hopefully the pups will all be gone soon which will lighten the load, I do love them though and it has been a privilege to have them in my life


Summer is Almost Over, Autumn is Coming

Wow where did that time go? I feel like I missed the summer this year and it was a doozie. Sunshine tropical heat, some amazing storms and no pool to enjoy it. I would like you to see the face I pull over this but I don't think it's possible to convey.

I am going to attempt a catch up over these months, in all aspects of my life (I hear you groan) and then see if we can get back on track being a good blogger.

Well a lovely summer was had this year, the first proper behaving Spring/Summer for four years. I guess this means a proper winter too? Autumn is popping it's head out every now and then just to remind me of the bleakness ahead. To say I am dreading winter this year is an understatement but it has to be done. Plod through one day at a time.


I have managed to sell one of the cars I was given as part of the separation. Hardly anything as there is so much needs doing to it but enough (hopefully) to buy the wood needed and pay for chopping/stacking etc, all the stuff that goes along with buying wood. Let me explain.....
So off to the mayor I will go to order the wood and pay up front. This gets me a truck full of however many cubics I want, in tree form. This is then dumped outside my gates in the road so no one can get past, they then get annoyed and abusive! So if say I get 10 cubics of tree's I am then meant to be able to move this by myself to the barn. I am 5'tall 56 unfit and overweight, it just is not going to happen!
So I have to find people to move it for me, then someone to chainsaw it into smaller lumps then someone to chop it for the woodburner as well as stack it (hopefully).  All this costs money on top of the wood costs. I will need at least 10 cubic and have just been told this month it is now 60 lev per cube. So I thank God that after all this time I have a buyer for the Kia.

Oh for a man in winter! Getting the wood in every day is the single most soul destroying thing. Having a dodgy back it gets a lot of damage at this time of year. I was very fortunate last year as Marko (Venelin) brought my wood in for me and anyway the wood store was right next to the kitchen so it was not too far to carry it in.  This year I hope to get a load stacked outside my front door under cover of the balcony. This will be enough to last a while, then I would ask someone to bring the next lot up etc. This will save me breaking my back and also falling in the snow as the barn is a long way from the house.

The other worry as winter sneaks up is winterising the other house and getting some of the furniture out.  I am concerned about damp getting to the sofas as there will be no heating in there. I also need to get the Omega over here I really need to get this sold, Fingers crossed!!!!

I have just gone outside for a wee, my downstairs loo is just outside the kitchen, I have to pop outside to go into the toilet until I can get that part built in. Anyway I went out and it is dark, the solar lights are flashing and the garden is bathed in moon light. I just thought I can't believe I am doing this, I am living here all on my own and loving it still almost 7 years on. My life may not be what I wanted, I may miss my family too much BUT I am living in a beautiful house with 2000m2 land of peace and tranquillity and I am managing all on my own!  Sometimes you just have to take a step back and look at what life is, not what is was or what it should be, to appreciate all that there is to be thankful for.

So being the women we are my friend and I were working 6 - 8 hour days getting her kennels ready to open with a deadline looming. That was hard work in 40c heat out of the sun. By the afternoon we were in full sun! All good fun and it was ready for the deadline.





The day of the deadline was also in a week that we had to run around every day sourcing, buying and shopping for a wedding  reception. We had the whole reception to organise. Flowers, food, decorations for the buffet room as well as garden decorations and the drinks. We had a week to do the lot. I have to say it was really hard work as the temperatures were really high and cooking everything for the buffet was murder but we did it and I was really proud of fulfilling the remit. The reception was another matter and completely exhausting but all the guests came to congratulate us on the food and we had massive approval from the Bulgarians who said they had never had food anywhere near as fantastic, very proud moment!
Unfortunately we were too busy to take photos so only have 3 not very good ones.

 Two tables chocker block with food, both sides of the cake



I feel very accomplished this year, even if I have nothing to show for it, that is no matter the feeling of pride in what I have achieved, however small, is amazing especially when my confidence and whole being has taken a smashing. I feel like I am  starting to find me again

I had a order for a little girls birthday cake. It was for the cost of ingredients and to see if they can fix my pump. I love doing this it feels good to be able to get help for payment in kind. At the moment I am cooking a curry for a couple of guys who are going to clean my chimneys and chainsaw the wood I have in the barn. They are very kind to help out.






In August a friend, James,  who I had been talking to on messenger for 18 months, came to stay and helped me paint my kitchen along with the shelves. I absolutely love it! It is not finished as I have to paint the doors and decide what to do with the kitchen units. Do I paint them cream or pastel green to match the shelving???? I was ecstatic to find a satin wood paint in the green, so I may take the plunge Every time I look in Praktiker there seems to be more and more. When I first moved here there was almost nothing, even food was difficult. Now don't get me wrong I do not buy "English" food unless it is for things like Indian spices or baking ingredients. This is rare.
Right I digress, so the next step is to decorate the living area, I think I will wait though till after winter so it will be nice and fresh in spring. I will keep it the same colour-ish as I love the Asian feel of it

My lovely girl Lilly, who is as soft as a brush but very protective of her home and family kept getting out. She can be quite scary when she barks and I had a neighbour round threatening to shoot her. I had tried everything to stop her but the fence is compromised and without money I cannot fix it. I decided after trying every other way that until I can fix the fence she will have to be tethered while in the garden. Now I know a lot of people do this with their big dogs but I never have, so it was a big decission but one I had to take to keep her safe and stop Lilly from scaring the neighbours.  I am happy to report she is quite happy and in fact has no problem with it. She does not try to escape, will wait for me to put the chain on and is in and out as normal. She is a house dog but loves to be in the garden too. She has made a bed in one of the barrels, bless her. She tells me when she wants to go out, when she wants to come in etc. I am really happy with her. can't wait to get her off the chain though!

The little seating area outside the kitchen door has been my little oasis, prettied up with solar lights. Believe it or not I had some beautiful flowering tubs in the summer, that is until my pups and dogs destroyed them by digging them up or sitting in them. I gave up trying to save them in the end. My mantra for the garden every year seems to be "There is always next year" but then the next year never changes much. Now there is no help I despair of ever having a nice relaxing place. I will not let this upset me though as long as I have an area of tranquillity in the sunshine I will love it. Really would love a beautiful garden though!


This has also been a year of boot sales to raise the money to see me through after the bills are paid. It is most difficult trying to earn a living here, who knew that the business we set up and the jobs I got would end with me being left destitute while Nigel has more than plenty. Anyway enough of the negative nelly, I am constantly thinking about what to do, as is my friend. Baked goods seems to be pretty difficult unless I can get my dream Tea room one day. I get such compliments on everything but as we all know food treats and meals to take home are a luxury product and can work out expensive compared to the crap bought from shops. I shall continue with this when I get orders though.
The next project is in the crafty vein.



I have had some really funny times this year which has put laughter back in my soul. Still a bit up and down but lots of fun and dare I say it JOY. Lots of little adventures (that's when things go a bit wrong) hahaha.
Managed to get so terribly lost after a trip to Ruse, which is about an hour or so from me. Coming back took 6 HOURS we left at 9 arrived home 3.15 am! Don't even try asking where we went??????
Loved watching the night of the shooting stars. Oh my goodness the night sky here is amazing, mostly due to little or  no light pollution. So of to the village cheshma we went, (local spring, ice cold spring water constantly running, great for cooling feet off in as well as drinking it as it comes out of the rocks), as no light at all there just blackness in the countryside. It was fantastic, we just didn't know what direction to look they were all around us. Had frogs and other guests with us, which made us jump as well as smile. Oh I love it here sooooo much!
Another time we were great storm chasers. High up in the hills picking wild flowers we could see the storm coming. We picked a spot to stop and watch as the darkness descended, screaming as it hit, then realising that the hail stones hitting us were the least of our problems. We were parked right where the torrent of water was coursing down the hill bringing all the debris with it, washing away our footing and we were liable to be swept over the precipice we were on, yep it was funny but scary too.
Went to the best BBQ, such a laugh, such a good time.  I have a completely new circle of friends, which is really great!

We have had some amazing electrical storms  this year as well as the thunder and lightening kind, love it! If you don't live here yet you are in for a treat, I have never had such wild glorious storms in UK.

So to sum up the present. I am sort of looking forward to winter, not being snowed in for weeks though. Looking forward to the confinement, working on projects, being cosy with my girls, losing weight (yes back on the diet!) and the joy of getting out and about as the weather allows. I have come to like my own company, love being lazy, having time to organise stuff etc.
Fingers crossed it will all go well ;-)