Monday, 27 August 2012

Sozopol A Wonderful Holiday

After too many years of not getting away on our own for a holiday we took the plunge when friends said they would dog sit for us. I am soooooo happy, first that we know lovely people that would do that for us & secondly to get Nige away from the house, as if he is home he always has something to do, fix, build or make! It's one of the downsides to owning a large property which is being renovated as we live in it. It's a long slow process as he needs to work to earn the money to live but then there is no time to renovate our house, except on the weekends!

So I looked on & found a good deal in Sozopol. An Aparthotel with breakfast, Wi'fi, Aircon & Sat TV & best of all a pool with rooms that open up direct onto it. I sent a nice message requesting one of these & hoped they would be kind to us.  I have wanted to visit Sozopol as it's one of the better resorts, (I had heard).
We had a very eventful journey to Burgas, in fact we ended up doing half of it over passes where roads had been dug up for resurfacing, not good, not good at all! I spent most of that part of the trip very stressed as all I could see were huge chasm's where I imagined us careering down to our deaths, Yes I know I am a drama queen ;-D
All was good though when eventually we reached ground level again haha . As you all are aware I love, love, love Bulgaria & when we do a road trip I end up loving it even more. Bulgaria is so, so, so beautiful, no matter where you go her beauty never fails to amaze. The scenery is just gorgeous & driving through the pine forests is lovely. Even the dreadful roads (which are being repaired) did not take away from her looks just added a different dimension as the tree's were covered with the dust from the roads, giving them an unusual hue. The weather was yet again fiercely hot, but Nigel had the Aircon in the car re gassed before we left, which helped rather. We stopped at the good old OMV stations for lunch & a couple of drinks to keep us going & were very pleased to find one had Wi'fi so we could find the map to the hotel.
The first sight of Sozopol is a good one, a panorama & I felt excited about what we were about to find
 Well so far so good. Yes it is a tourist area but it's managed to keep it's character in all the madness of tourism.
Loved our location to the pool 
It was such a blessing to have the exact room I imagined given to us. It opened onto our own little terrace & the pool. We had the fortuitousness to get the one & only umbrella, (which was the first of only two negative points), on each day. The weather here is code orange & has been for over a week, the temp's are dangerously high & to not have sun shade is a bad thing. But I would guess the Russians & Bulgarians, which make up the lions share of tourists in this resort, do not spend much time round the pool. We were for most part the only ones with a few people visiting for a dip then off again,
The beaches by way of comparison were full to exploding, not our cup of tea at all!!!!! Crikey it was like looking at a factory of human's waiting to be encased in tins! All with their little postage stamp size of shaded hot sand, the sea however did look good & the sand was a beautiful shade of gold. 
At the end of each day the beach was cleaned of all rubbish left behind & a big machine was driven over it to rake it & then level it out. 
Yes Sozopol looks after its lovely beaches & I would hazard a guess that out of season would be a great time to visit it :-)

We could have found local restaurants that were not so expensive but we were intrigued with the beach side market with all the eateries lining each side nestled amongst them little tourist shops fruit & veg stalls, mini marts as well as the little independent sellers of pancakes, doughnuts & waffles.
I loved it so much, it was so reminiscent of Bali, the feel, smells & layout.
Tthe Hedon bar was a great chill out place, overlooking the beach & the sea views were gorgeous. Little cabanas to sit in with curtains that flapped in the breeze or the tables & chairs that nestled under large cantileaver umbrellas giving shade from the incessant sun.
The waitresses wear swim wear during the heat of the day & miniscual shorts in the evening, all part if the uniform to attract the younger crowd I would guess. The atmosphere one of relaxation & chillout music playing helps a great deal & reminds us of happy carefree times in Bali & Goa. It's a great place for a cocktail but watch out it is pricey!!! Great for relaxation, breeze & beach side atmosphere
We stumbled apon the old town on our last night there. We wanted to stroll around it & headed in a direction we hoped was correct. It was quite a walk in the heat but we kept going & when our instinct waivered we followed the few people that looked like they knew where they were going. It turned out to be the long way round but we eventually ended up in the town where shops were still open an eclectic mix of clothes, shoes, tourist bits & bobs, furs, leather & the all important food :-)
I love that he is teaching this little girl :-)
Our taxi home, bit scary as he raced along the main road! fare went from 50 leva to 15 leva
Eventually we turned a corner & found a back part where no one was going so we thought we would be nosy & found where all the locals purchased their food, little mini markets & fruit & veg stalls. A fresh fish shop & even a  style booze shop.
We were wandering around & found the main night market come entertainment area the start of the main old town experience.
Please excuse the photo's but it was getting dark & as both our good camera's are no more we are using a 11 yr old faithful which just cannot do night time :-(

Holiday at an end, we were both very sad, we had a brilliant time away & found an idyll tucked away in Bulgaria. What can be better than exploring different areas of our adopted country & finding a blissful place. We have been told this is the prettiest coastal region by many Bulgarians & I have to say we are in agreement. We have holiday'd in Golden Sands & Albena, been to Varna, seen Sunny beach from the beautiful Nessebur, which I recommend a visit to, spent a couple of days nr Borovets which is gorgeous, driven all over Sophia, which I hate & stayed the night. I can honestly say, but we have many more places to visit, & next year who knows ;-D  So far Sozopol hits our spot & we are going back for a week. I will endeavour to get some daytime shots of the old town & harbour on this trip also if we are very fortunate we will get a boat trip or drive over to Turkey. Can't wait.........

Sussex Coast & Reminiscing in England

I am missing my home big time. I need to feel wanted, I need to be accepted for Joanna not naughty daughter or mum who is not here any more or annoying sister lol but as a wife or life partner a friend & a person in my own right. As you can see I am still .feeling very vulnerable, stupid I know but I have always felt like this when I'm out of my own environment or without Nigel, Nige is my rock & holds me up! People who know me will be thinking, "what is she going on about", as I come across as a strong woman, what I really am is a fighter!
I am the proverbial black sheep of the family, as was Nige, which makes us a great match, but I am fed up with having to fight, so just spirit me home where I will feel safe & more in control of what happens to me :-)
I have had some great times in England, so please don't get me wrong, but I am truthful, so I have to say I have been here too long & I am pleased the trip is coming to an end. All the women in my family are independent, "strong" & busy, so we all like our own space & want to get on with our own lives. This trip has made me realise that a couple of days with each is perfect, after all isn't that why we all leave home, our birth places & for us ex pats, leave the country????  My mum is on the mend & raring to go, which means I am now in her way lol, so I am off to Tonbridge Kent, the place of some of the happiest times of my life, the start of my married life & motherhood & the birth place of all my children. I love Tonbridge, it holds so many wonderful memories & also can make me very sad to remember what was lost. I had some great times here, laughed a lot, grew up & some of it was idyll!
I am going to stay with my sister (in law) it will be lovely to just sit, relax & catch up on the past, our lovely times :-)
But first it is the Diamond Jubilee weekend & we are off to a party on Monday to celebrate such a wonderful occasion in English history, I am so pleased I am here to witness this as I love the queen for what she does for our country & if there is anything to be proud of in England/UK it's her!!!!
Fish & chips At Maggie's on Hastings beach, a small portion
The fishermen's beach where Maggie's fish bar is situated wonderful freshly caught & crisp
The best meal in Hastings is here, the batter & chips are crisp with no oozing fat, the fish is thick & flakey & perfectly cooked by Maggie herself. If you go to Hastings you really must eat here, but be aware you must book as it is always full.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Turning Life Upside Down, Lovely Weather At Last!

Back in Hastings & my poor mums life is in turmoil, due in part, to her two children from lands afar, taking everything out of her 100's of cupboards, draws, cabinets & shelves so 3 rooms can have new carpet fitted.
The bungalow looks gorgeous now with  carpet that flows & a lovely new plasma TV on her newly painted front room wall. All this we would take in our stride, with maybe a little stress through the hard work involved, but for a lady of 88 it has been a huge upheaval.
There has been lots of upset for her but also mum can see the benefit, all her precious things are back in place & lots of spring cleaning has been done for her.
Mum has been independent for over 52 years & has travelled to many far off lands. I remember the time she got the travel bug &, apart from a 5 yr window due to very ill health, has not stopped since. On one trip to Australia, flying alone, she had a stop off in Singapore, & wanting to explore she set off wandering the streets finally asking a man to take her on a sightseeing day! I was aghast at this, but as we didn't find out till she returned home alive & well it was obviously a mute subject :-D Mum saw more with that man than she ever would have booking a trip & it would have cost a fortune. Instead this guy had a fantastic wage to take directly to his family, in fact she was taken to meet them. Mums bungalow is full of memories from her numerous trips & many special things gathered over the years, mum is a "things" person, just like me, no minimalistic tendencies here!  My mum, the first in her family to get the travel bug! She has passed on a great gift to us all.
Anyway back to now, mum is still building up her strength & having physiotherapy every day. Today she went down all her outside steps which are many & able people struggle with them normally. If you have ever been to Hastings you will probable have a good idea what I mean! She did really well but is now exhausted.  Her knee is brilliant & she is doing fantastically well, roll on knee number two!!!!!

I am loving being in England in a heatwave, especially as back home in Bulgaria it is raining almost every day, just as long as when I return it's all out of the way till next year hahaha. Poor Nige every day it's raining, but I think we are due rain here in the next week, so Bulgaria will be sure to get the sun back then!

I decided as it was such a gorgeous day I would go into town, browse the shops & have a spot of lunch or a cake break :-(
This is the result.....
After sorting out stuff I was in a sell everything shop, looking for seat cushions for mums dining chair's. This was one of those everything everywhere type of places & as I was admiring some lovely kitchenalia I caught something with my foot & promptly twisted my ankle! As I was on very high shoes this was very painful & it had a long way down ;-( I managed to not collapse in a heap on the floor, but I believe my arms flew all over the place LOL. The pain was intense so I propped myself up till I could manage to hobble it out & went about my busyness.
After my purchases I decided to go for a mooch in the Old town, as I was about to cross the road at the traffic lights I found myself smack on the pavement with a very loud shout of "OH SHIT". This was in front of a pub & cafes where, as it was such a gorgeous day, everyone was sitting outside! My humiliation was complete, thankfully a really nice guy came running to my aid & helped me up & on my way LOL. I decided to get away from the scene as soon as I could & made my way under the bridge to the prom & as my foot & now leg was killing me I would get the cliff lift up to the tea room have a cream tea & walk home from there, thinking the stinging sensation would be gone by then & my ankle would feel better. WRONG!!!! As I started walking along the prom being very careful BANG, yet again I found myself on the floor with a huge smack & a grandiose slide!!!!! I heard a shout of "SHIT NOT AGAIN" & once again a very kind guy helped me to my feet & gathered my bags with concern. By now I was quite concerned myself, so I decided I had better stop before I killed myself. Thankfully there was a lovely little cafe right on the road with a couple of free tables so I hobbled in ordered Carrot cake & latte & settled down to recover before phoning a taxi to take me to safety ;-D
The best carrot cake I have had for donkeys years!!!!!
I struggled to understand why, but after much thought I realised there was no warning I just was on the floor with a big wallop so it must be that my ankle was giving way. Normally if you trip or stumble or fall of your shoes, you know what is about to happen & try to stop it but I had no warning! We got a tube bandage from the pharmacy & I strapped up for a few days till it sorted itself out. Now as long as I wear flat shoes & I am careful its just a twinge, but I still remember the humiliation!
Thankfully mum liked the seat cushions, thankfully ;-)

Friday, 18 May 2012

Lovely Things in Little Ole UK

Here I am back in Bognor Regis after being in Hastings, where I have been looking after my mum.
I have been in the UK for two weeks now & it is a real mix of being so lovely to be with family & missing home. The only consolation for me is it's been raining loads at home so haha I am no worse off weather wise (for the moment!).
Mum is doing really well but is very weak & a little confused, not worrying confused just from being weak & having people in all the time. My mum is very very independent & very very stubborn! Thank God that she is otherwise she would have been gone from us many a year ago!!!! She is soooo strong, everyone says so, even the nurses & carers. There is a group of carers that come in twice a day. They are supposed to be there to help her, wash, cook, dress whatever she needs but she does it all herself so I have got them to do her excersizes with her as this was not working out between us! So far so good :-)
I have never worked so hard since having small children :-) My daughter says she does that every day, & yes she does, as did I for donkeys years with three under three at one point, but that my dears was yonks ago & I am now living a life of old Reilly in the countryside with a dishwasher. My last two weeks has been one of constant washing up, cooking, shopping, fetching, medicating & I am knackered ;-D My mum deserves it though & I am only back here because my brother is over from Oz & with her for a couple of weeks. We had a couple of days together & he will be bringing mum & my niece Casey to Bognor for a couple of days before he goes back. We went to lunch together to Cosmo Mmmmm eat as much as you like Cantonese. I LURVE the chilli prawns & had a plateful with some sesame prawn toast ;-) He then draged me all round Hastings looking for paint which had we turned round & gone in the opposite direction we would have seen a place Argh! LOL It was fun though.
Terry (My bro) bought me some Ugg's over, proper Uggs not the rubbish labelled ones that are inferior, they are a load of pooh, but the proper thick sheep skin waterproof non smelling hot or cold weather boots that Ozzi's wear. I have a pair that have seen me through 4 winters in Bulgaria & are still fantastic but a little big. Anyway these are a size smaller but when we looked at them they must be children's as the leg width is minute even a size 0 woman could not get her skinny little pin in it :-(((( Disappointment number one!   Disappointment number two, the Smart phone my son gave me is broken :-((((( The slot where the sim goes in. For some reason it will stay in if put in the wrong way round but then obviously then it won't work so I will try to find someone to mend it, if its even possible?

I am really struggling with carpal tunnel in my wrists, its particularly bad again at the moment, due to constant use, lifting, carrying, washing & drying up 20 times a day (no mum won't have a dish washer). I am a bit worried as to how I will manage the cases on the way home!
In Hastings there are millions of Sea Gulls, they adopt houses & soft touches like my mum feed them & their young. I have to say I love them they have personalities & are real characters. If we don't put their food out on time they come & knock on the kitchen door & tell me off when I take it out!!! They have been known to throw plants around & pull them apart when they get annoyed lol!
The one by the pond is fake lol
Just waiting!
Even at the train station they came to me? Do you think they tell each other hahaha No one else had a Gull stand infront of them just staring doodoo doodoo ;-)

There is also a large Fox that comes by for food at night. One evening when mum was calling the cat in it was there we stood with the door open & it was just a couple of feet away. It just sat down looked at us & waited for us to shut the door! I loved that but worry that they are too used to humans, these urban foxes & need us to feed them, it was a beauty though!

I have found a huge difference here. England is soooo crowded with people. I never realised until this trip, I guess its because I have been away for so long that now I see it & feel it I can tell you! People everywhere traffic & cars everywhere. You can also see everyone has money, although they probably don't think or feel they have. This is a country with money, even the poorly off have "things" are well fed & have homes with all the "Necessities" . Before I get a barrage of abuse I am not talking of the minority of people who are on the streets for one reason or another, we have many more of these unfortunates in Bulgaria as do other countries, so please before you start don't Ta :-))) Most people don't realise they have things others will never have & it is an eye opener to me. Shopping in England is a mighty different experience than at home.

Today I had a wonderful day out with Claire, just us like in the "old days". We had an amazing lunch at Cafe Rough, there would have been no better prawns & muscles in the finest restaurants truly scrumptious & my steak was great with a stupendous garlic sauce & French beans Mmmmmm, I was so full there was no room for a pud.

After, we had a browse around all the little independent shops full of pretty things, I unfortunately have no money to buy said pretty things, but it sort of made me want to live here again, I miss shopping!!!!!  Loved people watching as I walked along through the little cobbled side streets, loving Chichester.
I am fortunate that where I live in Bulgaria there are very old cobbled streets & little shops full of things (things girlie's love) but they are not such good quality, not so cheap & not so pretty. I have adapted but it is still nice to see I just wish.........

How out of it am I ????? My daughter bought me a new phone & my niece sent me a sim card which unfortunately did not work :-( So I got a pre loaded 3 sim put on !£15 which gives me an amazing 300 mins 3000 text' & as much data as I can download in a month, only I couldn't get it to work when I tried to text Nige! After a quietly annoyed call to India it turns out all I purchased was for use only in UK! I now have to put credit on so I can text Nige. I am soooo out of the loop & I no likey!!!!!

Loving my family time in England............

Monday, 7 May 2012

Away From "Home"

Arundel Castle, Arundel, West Sussex, England
Well here I am in a dull, windy, bleak & rainy UK.
I haven't set foot in England for two & a half years. It's funny how even though everything in Bulgaria is so different, & coming back here is stepping forward into the 2st century, even though its a different world, one I have rejected, it's the roots of who I am.
I am that little "cockney" girl who hates cities & tall buildings, hates the rush & ignorance of London life, even though I was born & bred to it. Hates the money, money , money attitude you need to live a good life here & the struggle people have even though they work, work, work. 
But I love the coast! I am very fortunate that both the areas I have family in are coastal, bonus lol. 
I raised my children in Bognor Regis, a sleepy seaside country town on the West Sussex coast, dahn sahf. I thank God we (Myself & my Ex) moved there as one of my daughters & my son are bringing up my granddaughters there, & for a child it's an idyllic life. I am surprised how much I miss Bognor still.
It has been 12 years since I lived here & I had a wonderful life in some ways & a nightmare in others (adult stuff) but always loved the place. Its perfect for me as it is not built up or towney, has the seaside, a bit of shopping, countryside & lots of history. Bognor Regis is also near a lot of getaway places that people pay to go on holiday to & Chichester is just up the road for good shopping, if you don't mind putting up with the snobbery for a day! 
I have only spent two days here but already it feels like home! 

It's wonderful to be in a normal house, with no dust, flat walls, a proper kitchen with proper good quality items, flat floors & cleanness lol I miss those things & I know I do I just didn't realise how much. 
Don't get me wrong I love my life in Bulgaria, what my home will one day be but getting there is proving to be a mission. Good job I am not a snob & I am willing to put up with stuff cause after over 3 years it does get a bit gutty! 
My daughter & partner live in a gorgeous house in one of the 5 villages, that are part of Bognor, Set in the country with the sandy beach a spit away across the road. 

We have been out to Arundel castle on a wild & windy damp day but it was great, after all we are British & just get on with it "stiff upper lip" & all that. 
After all if we didn't then living in England you would get to do nothing hahaha. 
My first cream tea!
We had a cream tea which was on my list of to do's (scratch that one off) & then we went out to a country pub for a good old surf & turf (steak & prawns) second on my list of to do's, so I am a happy bunny.  I miss the old English pub eateries, good ones not the Beefeater-ies but old taverns that have the original feel about them. 
They would go so well in Bulgaria (well with not so much English-ness about them) with their old beams wood floors & could just imagine Rasputin-ian running through with his sword raised hahaha. There is a pub in Veliko Turnovo that is similar with walls full of old "stuff" dressers with an eclectic mix of old tea pots violins cups & "stuff" everywhere, uneven floors old wooden tables & chairs miss matched, yep it feels great & is completely Bulgarian, it fits right!
You can probably tell I love history & everything historic. Living in places that have this about their character fits right with me & my soul searches them out, like to like.  Hence living in the Veliko Turnovo region & deep in the countryside of Bulgaria, its real & true.

I have for the first time met my granddaughter Chloe & what a little gem she is, a darling always laughing & running around very busy ;-) I am honoured as she is very fussy with people & doesn't take easily to them, she has a tendancy to cry at them & be very suspicious, so you can imagine I was all prepared for this & thinking I hope to get a kiss before I go back to Bulgaria!
Well Chloe was not a bit scared of me, which was a great start & after a while she sat between me & my daughter Claire stroking my arm surreptitiously while I wasn't looking, & let me stroke her back, surreptitiously off course  ;-) By the time she had to go home I had a big kisses, a cuddle & bye byes, she even said Nanoo. Very happy Nanna. I think it helps that she is in love with her Aunty Claire & we sound the same & look similar. Chloe has the Reedman features so she has the same look as her Dad, her Aunty, her cousins & her Nanna. Chloe also has the look of her mum so its very strange but she can look completely different at times, she has her mums family eyes & shape mouth. How lovely is that to take after both parents so much!
I have had a lovely time with Hope, my eldest granddaughter (I have 3 granddaughters) & hope to see Molly very soon but as she lives in Bristol this has to be organised & I guess I will only get to see her for a couple of days :-((( Can't wait!!!

Yesterday saw the first family sunday roast around the dinning table for years, some faces were missing, some  faces were  new, but family all the same, lovely & yes I did the cooking in a real kitchen with a REAL cooker oh I was loving it!!!!!
My son gave me his old phone which is 9 years younger than the one I have now! I don't know how to use it & my sim doesn't work in it but I am well happy, I just have to get a new sim for me to use when I am here & I will be well away ;-))))) Yeay 21st century here I come, well for a bit

Off to Hastings today to look after my mum. Mum has just had a knee replacement & at almost 88 this is no mean feat! I will be with mum for a couple of weeks till my brother comes across from Australia for 17 days then I will come back to Bognor for two weeks to spend more family time (won't be so hectic) & catch up with a couple of really good friends, can't wait!!!!! I think me & Claire are also going up Lahndan tahn to Harrods for afternoon tea, ooh lala, well I am a Londoner so what do you expect????? a kebab on the corner, oooooh nooooo that my dears is not me at all ;-) yucky greasy food, well I could maybe have a shish before I go back "home"

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Spring Has Sprung,

Spring has sprung the grass is..... well not quite riz but finally someone has switched on the Spring! We have had some sunny days & even a couple where we just wore a cardigan. It is by the way only March & in Bulgaria we have woken up to a 3' snow fall mid month!
In Bulgaria it is very much like someone flicks a switch & hey presto we are in the next season, there is no slow burn here. It is however Spring so we will possibly get the odd day where it will drop a bit but I have to say WOOHOO!!!!
Its very strange we have 25c+ temps with bare tree's & ground, surreal. I have been sunbathing trying to get rid of my extra white winter palour in the skimpiest of sun dresses. Can you tell how happy I am :-) The village comes to life in a noisy way as soon as the heat arrives, with people putting on their car stereos loudly & congregating together chatting laughing & happy. Thank goodness the other day it was good old Bulgarian folk music & not gangster rap,which sometimes happens,rarely but when it does it destroys the peace. Thank goodness the village  is still peaceful 99.99% of the time. I actually enjoy hearing the joy spring brings to everyone. We are very fortunate with our neighbours
The dogs have been really happy & have been spending all day & evening in the garden. They must be like us waiting for the more clement weather to come. They chase & play fight practically all day. Kamishka our smallest is full of the joys of Spring & doesn't stop, jumping, rolling, digging, instigating fights, very cute. She digs holes to lie in.
One of the village dogs Nigel feeds, (scar face), now comes to collect him at feed time (how do they know?) & he is a gorgeous boy tan in colour short like Kamishka with the sweetest face. He also walks Nigel home & has got as far as looking under the garage doors. Reggie is not happy about that.  Ohhh how I would love to have him live with us, but then what about the others & little Hoppie! At the moment they are happy & calm & getting food. Don't they pull at the heart strings though, I now worry if we are not home for feeding & visualise him waiting for Nigel to come out, bless.
One of my cats is very poorly & we can't seem to get to the bottom of it. After 3 visits to the vets 3 courses of antibiotic  along with 2 mega antibiotic injections & 5 other injections she is still weeing with blood & screaming as she does. She has been weeing everywhere & is now only allowed into the bathroom to eat. I thought she had a common infection but this seems unlikely now :-(

Friday, 9 March 2012

Oh My Goodness......

Oh my goodness more snow! Thank goodness it was just a light dusting but its very depressing now when we see it falling. All the air expels from the body in a very low groan. We are forecast a bit more but hoping that it won't materialise! The ground is pretty muddy which means a house full of mud, from the dogs. So now we have mud & soot. Yep just can't wait for the spring!

Oh my goodness, Mini is on heat & feeling low. Bless her she is so much better this time. She is still eating really well & enjoying chasing & playing in the garden but mainly sleeping in front of the fire. She has commandeered the dog bed where normally she curls up on the sofa. When Kammi gets in the bed Mini stands over her trying to bully her out, doesn't work so well now as Kam is suddenly a lot more confident.

Oh my goodness, I have put on sooo much weight during winter. I have been needing to diet for the last two years. I have gained a lot quicker, since giving up smoking, & now its become a mountain to climb, but I will do it. I want to feel sexy again but also I need to be healthy again, I am suffering & this is not a good thing when you are past mid life. I don't know about others but I still feel inside like I am 25! My body lets me down in being able to enjoy & I have had enough of feeling ugly & having no clothes that look good anymore. All dieters both men & women will tell you we have to want to do it for ourselves not for partners & people calling us names. One ex friend I had loved to tell me how enormous I was, over & over all day long. even Nigel had to have a word with her, without me knowing, & he is not confrontational unless pushed big time! Said ex friend couldn't wait to tell me & proceed to make it a big thing about how fat I was lol, sad really that people feel it necessary to put others down to make themselves feel better. Good job I handle humiliation well outwardly.
So I am now ready for climbing the mountain of weight loss & fitness. I do eat healthily mainly. I just enjoy lots of coffee with sugar & the occasional cake. The worst is enjoying baking. How will I cope? Everything will be drained of fat & I will be baking my own version of low fat cakes that I can count in my diet. I follow Slimming world, its fantastic if you have a large appetite, which we do & love naughty but nice treats again which we do!
Watch this space, D day is Monday 12th March!!!!

Oh my goodness We had such fun mixing it up with the Bulgarians on Ladies day. What a great night they put on in the pool restaurant. I call it that as I don't know the name & it has a swimming pool in the front that we go to in the summer, this year I will be using it to tone up Woop!!!! The best exercise! Anyway, the place was packed solid. We were very fortunate that they had one table that wasn't booked for the night. We had started at the Venesia in Polski T, but all the tables were booked ahead of time, unheard of!!! So off we went all dejected & what are we going to do? I said I would just cook us dinner but Nigel was very determined so stopped on the off chance. We walked into an empty restaurant, bar one table, but all the rest were laid up. I did not want to go in but was really pleased we did as there was just one table (for 6) that was available. We were very happy. I like this place, the girls are helpful & the food is nice. It is a proper Bulgarian place, the staff do not speak English & the menu is only in Bulgarian with no photo's. We enjoy the challenge of ordering & working out the Cyrillic. We ended up with Shopska salata x 2 (I did try for a Russian salata but they didn't have it), Chicken Kavarma & a pork Kavarma Potatoes & pikolitos with garlic & cheese. Very nice it was too. The only thing we did not enjoy was the dessert which was pancakes filled with choc. We came to understand there was no ice cream to have with it & ended up with jam spread over the top :-( I think we could have both coped with that except it was stone cold which made the whole thing very unpleasant! Mind you this has not put us off going as it would some people as we know it was due to them being so busy. The great thing about Bulgarian restaurants is the atmosphere, they really know how to have a good time. They all get up to dance, it will start with a couple or 4 from one table dancing traditionally holding hands in a circle. Then a couple from another table will join in then another, well you get the idea. In the end the whole restaurant is full of people dancing while holding hands of a stranger, BRILLIANT!
Oh my goodness garden fun is on its way. We are trying to organise what to do & where. First we inherited some wine barrels when we bought this house Yipee! So Nige is/has cut them in half & painted the metal bands. We will stain the wood & bring it back to its gorgeousness & then we have to decide where to put them & do we fill with fruit bushes or flowers???? We have a new Peach tree to plant & 2 each of blackberry & Raspberry bushes. I also have wild flower seeds & I just can't make up my mind what to plant in them? We have said Yovo can have 500 m2 land out the back to plant potatoes & we will use the other 500 m2 (not sure on the m2, but you know what I mean) we will have a third of his spuds as the water bill will be ours, I can live with that :-)
Our barrels, just wait till you see the transformation
Oh my goodness, so much work to do. I have been devastated by the work that needs to be done, not just normal clean up here oh nooooo, this is Bulgaria not suburbia! Every year we know we will be faced with 2,000 m2 of weed growth, weeds that grow to over 6' tall, bind weed, chick weed & lots of other invasive weeds. There are weeds that leave stalks which look like bamboo cane. We have an understanding now, it took a while, but every area which is not used for growing veg or flowers is cut down with the brushcutter. This then ends up looking like a grassy area & is a lot cheaper than paving. The pool area is being created this way, the front too until we can afford to pave it. It will need to be paved as our door opens right into the garden & in the summer its a dust pool. In the rain it is a mud bath & the dogs just ruin the flowers so something has to be done once we have the finances, off course! The barns need attention, the stone walls need repairing after the snow & there is a wall which is next doors but acts as part of our boundary which is collapsing. They are away so we have to repair it before we end up open to all & sundry!
A lovely Chicken Korma that I can have as part of my diet woop!
Right I am off to sort out recipes for my diet, Slimming world alla Joanna as I cannot buy half the staples used in UK, which makes it a little more difficult but very interesting. I think its the fresh cooking & coming up with ideas that keeps me on track. I do wish I could buy fat free fruit fromage frai Muller lite yoghurts & 0% Greek yoghurt which I love!!!!! Right off in search of slimming world baking recipes!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Big Thaw! Ladies Day

Wow a major thaw is now on. .The paths & roads are clear, our street is clear & muddy & in the countryside surrounding us there are just a few pockets of snow. The forrest though still has a floor covering, which makes it very pretty with the tall green of the pine trees & the white cloth beneath. Early hours of this morning, on the way home from friends we had two deer nonchalantly cross the road in front of us, wonderful!!!!
In the garden the garlic is poking through. I find this amazing as the back of our property, where it's planted, has been covered by snow for 3 months. The garden is exploding with groups of Snow Drops, Grape Hyacinths & the first greenery of the Tulip, Daff' & Primula.  Looking out now for the Crocus, which add colour splashes of yellow & purple,as long as the dogs don't trample them :-(

We are adorning ourselves & homes with Martenitsi, the woven red & white decoration for Baba Marta, which is to usher in spring. We wear the Martenitsa bracelets till we see the first Stork come back to nest or the first blossom in the tree's. Then we take of the Martenitsa & tie them to the fruit trees for a good crop to harvest. I love that we all get caught up in seeing the first Stork ;-D

I however, am not quite out of hibernation yet, bit like my tortoise, but hopefully it will be soon. There have been days where the temps have risen, the sun has warmed & the fire is now barley lit. We keep just one small half log burning, & let that almost go out! We have even had the kitchen door open letting the fresh air in, brilliant!
The garden is not too muddy, yet, so the dogs running & playing has not yet covered everything in mud, lets just hope the rain doesn't come!

Nige has been keeping himself busy, chopping wood, building a wardrobe & decorating the bedroom as well as valeting the car sorting out the Sky TV (as progs were moved) & on it goes. Its a never ending list of things to do, most of which just never seem to get done & 90% of which I can't remember as there is always something that needs fixing hence the bedroom taking so long to get done. Good job there is no hurry. Its nice sleeping downstairs in the warm by the wood burner, very cozy & I can go to bed very early & watch TV without feeling guilty :-D
Today is 8 March is a celebration loved by all the women here & even the men get well involved & embrace it. The country has several holidays in March and Women's Day is a holiday publicly observed since 1915, but a public holiday only since 1945. The prices double at flower stalls, and restaurants are packed out in the evening. Its looked apon as mothers day but is a celebration of all women, so no one is left out.
I woke to a lovely surprise from Nigel of two bunches of flowers & a lovely card & choc from our Bulgarian friends. This was really lovely, then a parcel from my daughter in England arrived with a beautiful special mothers day card & lots of little pressies, Slimming world books & 20 Curly wurlys lol my treat when I am dieting.
Curly wurly's are in the fridge :-))))
To say I am well chuffed is an understatement. Tonight I am being taken out for a meal, brill!

So on to the garden, its where everyone's thoughts are at this time of year...............

Friday, 17 February 2012

Snow Snow Oh & More Snow, Spring is Still Around The Corner

This years Sveti Trifun ( wine day) was slightly different from last years, as our weather is poles apart from the same day last year, but I'm sure the Bulgarians did not let the snow stop them! You can read about the Bulgarian tradition of Sveti Trifun on last years blog entry, just click on the link  below....
We went to friends to celebrate Sveti Trifun again this year, I really wanted to show off last years vino we think its the best yet but I know our Bulgarian friends think it is very strong. The reason for these differing opinions, we added more sugar! Personally we prefer the sweetness but the villagers, although they like the taste, believe it to be "extra" meaning it will be very much stronger, I am not at all sure about this.  We got the seal of approval from Yovo though who said it was FANTASTIC!  I have an English friend though who prefers our previous years wines which are drier, but on the whole the 2011 has had a good response. Wine really is all about personal taste, I guess the way to go is, make one barrel sweet & one barrel dry, that way everyone is covered ;-D

This is Hoppie, our little wounded village stray that Nigel feeds
The weather is getting better, but we are still having snow & the build up of the last months snow falls have gone no where yet. In fact we had more snow last night, again this morning & a mini blizzard this afternoon, at the same time the sun was going in & out, as I type this the sun is out. 
 I was due to go & see my friend today but with the snow I freaked out, those of you who are regular readers will know why. Nigel went to help with a problem & I have stayed home.
At first, when the sun came out, I was regretting my decision & could  have kicked myself. Then I looked out of the window & saw a whirlwind of snow, I had to go outside to check it was real,  it was! So I know I made the right choice as I would have been in total panic all the way, then spent the day worrying & panic all the way home. Such a horrible feeling. I really don't think this fear will ever go away now :-(((((
We managed to get into Polski on Wednesday It was great to get out, my first time in a whole month!!! . We have not seen Sue & Arthur for a month, Facebook & the phone just do not hit the spot where friendship is concerned. Also our friends Irene & Dave have moved here permanently & I had not seen them since they arrived, Nigel has managed to see then a couple of times when he has chanced the drive out, but the roads were too bad for me.
It was really lovely to catch up with them all over a bowl of soup, perlenka with off course a lovely rum & coke. Mind you I do feel like I just got verbal diarrhoea, from non socialisation lol, so I'm not sure my conversation made much sense ;-D
So, so, so, so, so looking forward to Spring now. Not because of being at home, but through missing my friends, not socialising, oh & seeing nothing but white everywhere, that gets really bo-or-oring after a couple of months!
I am yearning for the beautiful scenery of my Bulgarian countryside. The greens of many varying shades, the purple, lilac & pinks of the lilac tree's, pink & white blossom of the fruit tree's & the many varied colours of the unknown bushes & brush of the hedgerow, Gawjus ;-D
Loving Spring here, first exchanging Martenitsa brings the excitement, then looking out for the first Stork, knowing that soon we will be seeing them everywhere in their huge Easter bonnet nests. Starting to eat in the garden & having morning coffee in the sun. I am also very fortunate that I have an area which is sheltered & gets very hot with direct sun, I can be starting my tan in May, GREAT!
So as you can see nothing much has changed, we still are surrounded by snow, though I am snowed in through fear Nigel has been, out & in fact is in Peychinovo as I type.Yesterday he took our friend to Strajitsa. She is a teacher in the school here, & had to go in to do a computer course on a new subject to teach the children. Her husbands car is not snow road worthy, so Nigel took them in & then home again. He was stuck waiting there for a few hours so he busied himself doing a bit of shopping for woodworm treatment & a few other bits along with a bit of food.
I am really hoping we can get some proper food shopping done tomorrow, as although there are many different meals I can make with mince, I would like something different now. A joint of Pork roasted would be nice :-)

Friday, 10 February 2012

Bulgaria's Polar Winter, Will We Sveti Trifun?

Our Sophie
Well we are, as you may have heard, unless you have been up a mountain somewhere, in the midst of a Polar winter! Yet as a household & I would say village, this is no way near the worst we have lived through. We have, so far, done well! Yes we have had very prolonged cold & yes we have deep prolonged snow BUT we have had worse winters since we have been here.
Bulgaria as a whole has had it bad, though not as bad as the Ukraine, Romania, Serbia & other Eastern European countries. I feel so sorry for the suffering that is going on! In Bulgaria we have also had a village called Biser flooded by a burst dam, killing 10 people. I can't imagine this! In this terribly cold weather with so much snow to then be besieged by freezing waters.A terrible tragedy! Take a look at this link
If anyone wants to or can help, here are the details;
The text service (17777) is a national service organised by the BG authorites. send SMS with text in Latin DMS BEDSTVIE to 17 777 (for customers of three mobile operators in the country). The cost of SMS is 1.20 donation.
If anyone wishes to send parcels they can do so to:
Sakar Hills Camping
2 Georgi Rakovski Street
Matt says "When sending the parcel if people include email addresses or FB stats I can acknowledge the receipt via email".

I have friends who have had frozen pipes (one for over a week!), cars, batteries etc, this makes life very difficult. I count us very fortunate to have got to here with no problems (so far). Roads in Bulgaria have been closed & lorries & trucks have been stopped so food & supplies are not getting through. This has lead or is leading to lack of food etc in the shops, but unlike in the UK the Bulgarians do not panic buy & will always find something. We are hoping that the thaw will start in a week. The dates are being put out are Nationally the 20th Feb & my village the 17th Feb, fingers crossed!
Nigel has been out in blizzards & freezing temps to feed the little dogs that have no home. It started out as just a little black dog we call Hoppie, as she has a bad paw. Now it can be up to five dogs.They come running when they hear him coming & jump up & chat to him, awe bless them.
Here they come running up to Nige, Hoppie leading the way.
This is Hoppie, unfortunately we can't see her in the glare of the snow
We have fared really well which is through a combination of things. Mainly we have not lost our electric, up till now, which has meant we have not had frozen pipes. Our meter pit is deep & made of very thick concrete with a very heavy concrete lid. All we do is chuck a load of sacks & bags in to keep it from freezing, on the advice of Plamen the voda man. This for the last four years has worked even though it doesn't sound enough!
Our main problem last year was the pump room where the water pipes come into the house, even though the pipes are all lagged its just not enough in -20c odd . So this year we have a little heater in there which has stopped the room freezing & therefore the pipes, so far. I keep saying "so far" as you never know what each day will bring.
We have also stocked up two freezers full of food, just for the time we would be stuck. I preserved everything I could from the garden & made sauces & soups out of all our produce, which is only now being used, froze vegetables & we made sure we had more than enough dry wood for the log burners, all chopped & ready to just chuck on. We still have plenty in the form of beams, from taking down a barn roof. These need to be chopped, but by the time we need them we will be in spring, so it won't be a problem getting the chainsaw on them. They will only be needed for some evenings & the nights.
Our main problem, so far, has been crashing the car but now I just stay home. Nigel has managed to get out once a week but I have only managed once in the last 4 weeks. We have a 4x4 with 4 x snow tyres & snow chains on the back wheels, yet still it is too dangerous apart from on these 4 days when the roads have been recently ploughed. Our village road out is not plowed, as the tarmac under the snow has subsided & there are huge pot holes,  so not even the village plough has been down it.
The problem gets even worse as time goes by,  the snow gets impacted & freezes then the sun comes out , melts it just a little & when the temp drops it freezes again. Then more snow is added & on & on. We now have thick layers of ice with more snow to come.
I find myself ready to give up & dreaming of spring. The smells & sights. The little flowers, crocus, snow drops, primroses etc, will soon be poking through & then the daffodils & tulips.
Looking forward to seeing the cherry blossom on our trees & the apple blossom that will be everywhere. I have been daydreaming of sitting in the sun reading my books & spotting the first Stork's to come home, Spring will soon be here!

One of my lovely cherry trees
My boy Reg, guarding something
Then there are the weeds! Kammi sunning herself
Mini chewing a stick & pretending to be angelic
This years Sveti Trifun, Feb 14th,  may be slightly different. I will certainly give it a try though. Our weather last year was very different on that day, but I'm sure the Bulgarians will not let the snow stop them! You can read about the Bulgarian tradition of Sveti Trifun on last years blog entry, just click on the link  below....
I am not even sure if we are celebrating with our friends, we will have to find out, as I really want to show off (again) last years vino. We think its the best yet but I know they think it is very strong. The reason for these differing opinions? We added more sugar! Personally we prefer the sweetness but the villagers although they like the taste believe it to be "extra" meaning it will be very much stronger. I am not at all sure about this??? I have a friend who prefers the previous wines which are drier. Wine really is all about personal taste, I guess the way to go is, make one barrel sweet & one barrel dry, that way everyone is covered ;-D
Here are some photo's from last years celebration & boy was this a celebration!!!!
Note the mobile in his hand, the only source of the music
So much food & drink, foods we had never had before & quite frankly some we will NEVER try again ;-D