Sunday, 29 December 2013

A Bright Idea!

While I was in England last year (2012), waking every morning to the tip tapping of rain on the windows, giving the same first two words spoken every day consisting of  "oh nooooo". Followed by a feeling of gloom knowing what weather would be like in Bulgaria, I honestly do not know how people endure it, I had a bright idea, (got there in the end).
I have never "known" what I wanted to be or what I wanted to do with my life. I guess I just stumble into things and then out again. I believe this to be God's gifts and directions in my life, even when they go bad there is a reason, has to be. So I may think it would be nice to do this but end up doing that. Seems to be a pattern in my life that things are for but a season, and when they end I get over it. It would be really lovely to have a more stable life. I get quite jealous of people who have been married for over 30 odd years to the same person, especially when still so obviously in love, who's families are not fractured, who have been in church and Christian fellowship for donkeys years, as I know what support that brings to some, and those that have a fantastic job with lots of money behind them. Well perhaps not jealous of the job/money situation, more envious, yes envious is the way I feel sometimes. I feel really happy for those people/friends but wish my life had turned out that way and not how it is or was.  Still this is the life I have and I go with it, always planning,  hoping to find what is next.

These thought are what led me to thinking about what I wanted to do, what I enjoyed and then like a flash out of the blue came "The Secret Garden Tea Room".  I spoke to my husband when I got home and started making notes, I then spoke to friends to see if they would help and if we could do it in their garden for the first one. They were as excited as I was and so it was born.
The Secret Garden Tea Room, a way to raise funds for Bulgarian children and most vulnerable. Starting with the kids orphanage in Silistra.

The concept is a traditional afternoon English tea, served on china with a craft fayre, a raffle and refreshment stall.

I have learnt a lot since that first wonderful afternoon event in August 2012 and each event gets bigger and better. It has been hard to get craft people and artists, but it has been very successful.  People are amazing, I have some wonderful volunteers, cause there is no way I could do it alone! My husband has been amazing too, running around picking up tables and chairs lugging heavy boxes of crockery and other paraphernalia around then manning stalls too, absolutely wonderful even when we weren't together he still put in all the hard donkey work!

The events are held in different gardens, hence the name. Some have been personal gardens others a camp site by the River Yantra & a guest house in the middle of nowhere. The table tops were at government buildings where other events were being held, we just pitched up with the cakes.

The tea usually consists of  sandwiches, cream tea with scone cream and preserve, small cake or muffin and a slice of cheesecake with tea or coffee all for a small donation. For the Christmas fayre's we include mulled wine, mince pies and sausage rolls. Everything is home made by me (apart from the cream, but hoping that will change this year too) We also do a refreshment table a raffle and the stall holders pay a 10 lev donation for their pitch.

We have raised thousands of lev over this short period of time. With some of this money buying 6 beds, mattresses & under bed storage for the Silistra children's home, Money towards a defibrillator for a neonatal unit, help with building a disabled children's playground and also funds towards restoration of a very important icon for a very small village by holding a completely donated cake sale table & funds towards the new roof on an orphanage.

Yes the Goat was a donated raffle prize, called..... Raffle :-) & he is being looked after not eaten!

I have been on Bulgarian TV a few times & have had to turn down two live appearances on a morning TV show but I hope to put that right in the coming year, I have promised I will go on there, it's a bit scary though :-) I think it is important to let the Bulgarians know what is happening, then maybe we will get more locals coming to enjoy a very unusual day out.

This has opened up a new aspect of Bulgarian life for me & has meant meeting lots of people I now consider friends.  I hope that as time goes on we will see as many Bulgarians as we do Europeans, it is increasing little by little.
I am proud of how they have turned out. They are really friendly gatherings with everyone having a good time while raising funds for registered charities who then provide what is needed. Probably the best ones are those held in personal gardens with craft stalls lining the perimeters, gazebo'  with the tables & chairs & a lovely relaxed atmosphere. The best for me was held in the garden of my then rented house in Hotnitsa.

It was a beautiful day and for the first time I was able to get out and mix with people. This was due to not having to drive the food to another venue or stay over night. It meant I had plenty of time to be on the ball and prepared, but mostly it was down to the volunteers I had that day too, they were wonderful and I did not need to tell them twice what I wanted done, it was amazing. I am so grateful.
I could carry on, but I think you get the idea. So if you find yourself in Bulgaria when a Secret Garden event is on, please come join in, it's fun I promise you

Where Have I Been

First I must apologise for not posting for such a long time.  I have been asked over and over, where are you?

I am very, very sad to say that in this time my marriage has come to an end. I will try not to go into details as this is a private matter and quite frankly I feel a complete idiot and fool.  I can say and share how I feel though and hope that getting back on track with my blog will be cathartic!

I have kept it quiet apart from close friends and family for over 10 months, which is when I left my home. We were "separated" in this time and working on our relationship.  We get on so well and have always been very close friendship wise that people are shocked and amazed, as even separated we look perfect together, this is also what makes it so hard for me.
Anyway you can't make someone be in love with you, so this is how it is now and as life goes on so must I.
I have cried every day for so long I have lost count but I know this is right for me. I know tears are a healing process and I have been through many stages. and feelings. When I was in church they always used the analogy of an onion, makes me cringe I heard it so much, but it is sort of apt for the grieving process. So many stages to go through, so many layers to peal away it scares me, many of you will know how this feels and how awful it is. I can't wait to be out the other side into happiness, so much sadness strips life of any joy whatsoever. I want to feel happy and joyful again.
Then there is the fear, fear of being alone for the rest of my life, fear of having no one care if I am ill (I am not including family in this as they are so far away). There is nothing more secure to me than having a loving husband beside me making sure I am safe and cared for and intimacy that can only come from being in love with someone, someone who has your heart & soul.

I miss my life so much, we were so very happy and  now I am just a wrung out blob on the floor, well sort of how I feel, no energy through crying so much.

So I will attempt to catch up on the big void in my blog. I hope you can put up with the myriad of feelings and life roller coaster I find myself on. It is another aspect of life in Bulgaria, life alone, life I never thought would happen, life ripped apart without family support. You never know who it may help someone you know one day, although I truly hope not.

Obviously I can only communicate on my behalf, there is two sides to every situation. I do not and I am not, aware of the other side, this is the sadness of non communication

8th and 9th Wedding Anniversary

8th Anniversary

Well, how wrong was I!!!!
I was convinced Nigel had forgotten that our anniversary was coming up. Nothing was mentioned & no sign of a day off work. I was very sad, but typical me I didn't say anything to remind him either!
On awakening the first thing was Oh OK he has gone to work, so he has forgotten. That was until I turned over to see a beautiful vase & card. The card was gorgeous, with white roses on it :-) The vase beautiful & will be put in the new living room once it is built. When I went downstairs in the kitchen was a box & a bunch of dried grasses & wooden adornments to put in the vase. In the box was a wood slice clock :-)))) This is something I have wanted for donkeys years. I first saw one way back in the late 80's early 90's at some festival I was at but it was about £75.00 way out of my price range for something that took my fancy but ever since I have never seen one as nice. Usually they have names plastered all over like Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria, Cornwall with badly painted pictures or transfers on, nah far too naff for me to hang in my home. When I opened the box there it was the perfect wood slice clock :-))))
In the card I was ordered to pack an overnight bag as we would be off around 2pm. I had no idea where we were  going.
 It didn't take long to realise we were going to VT, hmmmm you may say, you go there regularly, yep but we have never stayed in the Gurko hotel & I have always wanted to. What a lovely surprise

We had a nice room with a lovely big private balcony overlooking the Yantra river. The restaurant food was great & the atmosphere traditional, which we love.

We had a lovely time relaxing with delicious food.and spending time in our beloved VT, finding new places to eat with a view LOL

9th Anniversary

Half an hour before midnight I had a text message, wishing me a happy anniversary, saying he hadn't forgotten. a few days later I got a pot plant in a pot. Such a sad time.

It's Been a Long HOT Summer

Phewwwwwww!!!! Since arriving back in Bulgaria from my 6 week family catch up, it has been non stop heat waves! I moaned the whole time in UK with rain, rain, rain but we have all been praying for it here! We had one day of rain & one almost week of cooler weather, with a couple of storms in that almost week.
The vegetables have suffered badly. First as I was not here & Nigel was working, second through the great amount of rain we had here in May, this resulted in rotting of squashes which were growing. So this year we have no pumpkin, no marrows. Also most of the delicate seedlings died either drowned out by the 6' weeds or strangled by the dried ground because once the rain stopped the heat engaged in ferocious non stop blazing sunshine. So on returning from the UK where I expected to find an abundance of flowers, there were none, a kitchen garden of globular bushes of Basil, Dill, Marjoram & Parsley, there were none. Bushes of Green Beans, nope, Rocket, nada! In fact where there should have been a field on tomato plants there were but a few lines. Disappointment, you bet! I have come to terms with this as many people, even villagers who have been farming crops for years have the same problem with their crops suffering this year.
I have managed to get a decent crop of Garlic & the tomatoes are producing along with the chilli's, thank goodness & we have some beets
In contrast this year has been flipping great for the fruit tree's. We had a mass of Apricots which for the last 5 years I thought were diseased peaches, hahaha. You would not believe how chuffed I was when I realised what the sunny orangy fruits were.
I now have gorgeous jams & preserve which will not last long I can tell you!!!!!  Glorious orange pots full of flavour for cheesecakes etc
The apples have been harvested, three different kinds & they will be used for apple cakes & possibly sauce if I can't get enough room in the freezer to store the cakes. I have to pick the pears from the floor when they fall as they are so high, which means they are all damaged so they will be canned for use in upside down cakes, awe I am making myself hungry!

I will always remember 2012 for the fruit :-)