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.
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