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Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Kitchen, What Kitchen? Snow in October!!!!!

Well here we are a heavy snowfall in October, arrrrgh!  I don't think it will last for long, fingers crossed. I know we are supposedly due another days fall but I am really hoping that it will melt quickly
Just the beginning
I mean it is only October, I know we have had it once before in October but nothing like today. Also the regions of Haskovo, Bourgas and coastal areas are flooded again. What the hell is going on with the weather????  I know it is not just Bulgaria that has strange weather this year but we are normally basking in sunshine, in fact up till 3 days ago we were still sunbathing and enjoying 26 and 28c with no chilly breeze.  
So I am in doors with a virus-y head keeping warm with the log fire lit and wet dogs all around me. The girls love it and have been out playing tag. Lilly my rather large pup has loved her first experience of snow. It has been almost impossible to get her in, bless her.  She has been running, skidding to a halt to shove her nose in it eat some then scampering off again, very sweet and funny.

So this week I have had no kitchen and for four days no water either.  I have handled it all really peacefully :-) Just rinsed out cups and piled up the washing up in the bowl.  I did make sure I didn't cook anything elaborate for dinners. Marko made sure I had the sink and tap sorted for Friday night so I was OK over the weekend. I have the sink but no waste, which means I pour the dirty water into a bucket & chuck it in the garden. It is so lovely to have running hot water back again though, like having an old friend move in.
  /
I  am so impressed with Venelin (Marko's real name) he works mainely alone unless his brother Angel is free then he helps with the heavy stuff, like putting the beams up or a bit of labouring like sanding or mixing the muck. Mostly though Venelin mixes his own while working alone. He just keeps on working.
What a gem to have in the village :-)

Friday, 17 October 2014

Oop's No Sink and Lots of Dust

Have to see the funny side and I am!  Kitchen progress.  All this had to be done before the floor is laid
This is our starting point on the Friday morning.
No sink or hot water till next week
This house is solid and won't be going anywhere, certainly won't be falling down, let alone get knocked down!!!!

I told you it would get worse before it gets better. Good job I have lived through one renovation already, in fact it was quite a while before I had hot water in my first house here, I did have a sink though. 
I am going to rig up a table and washing up bowl, so I can wash up, I just have to remember to empty it in the garden LOL  This also means I can get some baking done as I have an order for Sultana scones and have promised a friend an apple cake.
My glamping kitchen
Feeling very very lazy right now, probably due to as soon as I clean anything turn around and a thick film is back, so I really can't be bothered. I am not annal about these things and thank God I am not OCD so I am taking it in my stride. Thank goodness I have moved on from where i was a few weeks ago!  I am however really looking forward to the day that my house is clean, liveable and comfortable again.

Months and months ago I ordered a new (second hand) L shaped sofa for my winter living and sleeping. All this time I have waited and now it is coming on Tuesday!!!!!!  Thankfully the house is big enough that I can get one of my living room sofa's up in a bedroom and then store the new one covered in a decorator sheet. At least it will be here ready for when the rooms are finished and hopefully all will be ready before the upstairs is shut down for the winter.

I will be living as the Bulgarians do during winter as I don't have the luxury of central heating yet, I will be exploring different forms of heating this year to see if there are any affordable options other than wood burning.
I don't mind this as long as I have something comfortable to sleep on. It is a really cosy way to live in winter as only one fire is needed (making heating cheaper), the only thing is the bathrooms are freezing but I have an oil filled rad which I will put on an hour before which should be OK, if not I will have to buy a gas fire just for that.
I know some ex pats who have a great layout for winter with a bedroom off the living/dining room and a downstairs shower room, so literally everything is on one level and cosy.  If it came to it I could turn the living room into a bedroom and have the fire lit in there just for the evening, I will see how it goes

Wood burners are the norm here and I have no problem with them other than the sooty dust, but I have a bad back and bringing in the wood for the fire ends with me being crippled. This year I am going to see if I can pay someone to bring me in enough to last a few days at a time. Lets see how that goes.
The wood varies in cost according to what area you are in and how far they need to deliver. I normally buy from the Kmet (Mayor) but have found somewhere cheaper if I need to add extra due to a harsh winter. Then there is the cost of having it chainsawed, then chopped and split, then stacked. Most people can do this themselves but I can't.
Lets hope this is another mild winter or at least a short one!  This could be pie in the sky though as we have had two really good winters on the trot.

Right now my brain is taxed as to what colour to paint the walls, I keep changing my mind ;-)

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Talk About Re-Modelling, Taking Shape in the Mess

Loving what is going on in my life right now, what a change from just 6 weeks ago when I hit the darkest time of my life!  Admittedly it was a culmination of years of neglect and pain, loss & a broken heart, BUT wow I keep saying this in my head WOW!
I can only put this down to answered prayer, and I am completely thankful to all those who prayed for me.  Please continue to do so, I still have a bumpy road to travel xxxxx

So the renovation of my house is in major face lift stage, the flood threat has been sorted with a built up wall and new window, outside has been dug down lined and has a big pipe laid directing any water away from the house into the garden, then cemented. Marko is waiting for the wood I need to buy for the window sill before he can finish making it good inside, but the threat is sorted.

So much has to be done before the main job of laying the flooring but all the materials, tiles, stone etc has been purchased and we are heading that way.
I am very excited to be in the throws of having the kitchen sink demolished today alone with the bloody awful tiles all cemented to the walls!!!
 The sink is in the background horrid cement and tiles also far too big
 Hurahhhh good riddance!
 Before the floors can be laid, mess has to be made.
The beam is Oak that came from the animal houses I had demolished in the barn. It is not needed but I want to add character to my concrete house and I love wood beams. So 3 beams have been saved from the wood burner, Solid thick Oak, plained, sanded then cleaned with magic water (white spirit), treated with Groont (this is how it sounds, not sure how it is spelt) which will stop the woodworm, and then oiled.  I am adding another two in the dining room, or I should say Marko.  So if you buy or have a property lacking in Bulgarian character just add it yourself!

It is going to be interesting not having a sink for a few days, I have the new sink but a base has to be built for it.  I did have a wooden one on order but it did not arrive on time, no  ones fault just the way it goes here sometimes, and we ran out of time. 
So I am having a brick built base built, covered in the same stone I have for the fire places and walls, then wood at the back for the taps to sit in. A curtain will be across the bottom, fingers crossed it will look good!!!!!

Hoping the electrics will be sorted soon as I am still cooking by torch light, it is not a problem but would be nice to be able to see properly again LOL

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Feeling Energised Positive and Lifted, Loving Bulgaria

I am feeling Energised finally, looking at things positively and getting excited about life again, life is good if we just give ourselves, and life, time we are healed. Truth sets you free and this is why I am feeling so much better now. Nothing like finding out the real truth of things and situations, it may be painful but it is also empowering, I am empowered!

October  Taken from one of the spare bedroom windows

Bulgaria is a fantastic country to live in, the beauty of it all, the freedom to live and the way almost anything goes.  I have also recently met quite a few new people and think friendships are developing. Also I think a lot of that is due to me being lifted out of the fog, no one likes a moaning winging minny, it is after all hard to take over such a long period!

From this......
Going........
Going.........
Builders have started work on the larger renovations in the house, so excited will post updated photo's as things progress.

The flood was a real kick in the teeth at a really bad time, but I got through it, with the help of a friend and thanks to a very special person I am able to get all the damage sorted.  I am also getting the house, winterised at the same time.  This was on the cards due to this house being terrible bitter cold in our mildest winter yet Brrrrrr. My house is only 25 yrs old and concrete with high ceilings and an open stairwell through 3 floors. It is actually colder in the house than outside  We have had two good winters on the trot so common sense says this could be a bad one. I think everyone is really hoping to get another "not so bad" winter and it is what is being predicted, trouble is the last two really mild winters we were predicted to be the worst winter in donkeys years, so it doesn't bode well LOL.
So far the tanking outside the window has been done, as well as re plastering of the living room wall, after the flood. Hopefully now this will not happen again. New windows are coming next week (if all goes to plan) and the kitchen/dining room wall is down, almost ready for the wooden beam.
As with everything to get something done, first we must do.........  This has been a constant so far but hoping that we have identified all the extras now. There is only so much I can afford each month (I live on a really tight budget) so I hope to catch up over winter and save for finishing the kitchen and then be free to start jobs in the Spring, specifically the bar/cafe renovation and outside area around it, known here as either a Mehana or Magazin. I really hope this can be done next year as I miss putting on the Secret Garden Tea Room events which raise money for Bulgarian charities.  There are also still lots of jobs in the house, but little by little. A heating system is really important and needs looking at for next year. Phew this is all really hard when you are a woman on your own, especially as I have only ever been involved in the design and decorating aspects of houses.

Any how lots will be completed here including making it more comfortable to live in during winter.
It has been decided that insulating the dining room with a new window in that and the kitchen will make the room warmer and I will live like most villagers do in that one room through the winter. I didn't realise this was possible until a friend told me she had done it. I have seen hers & it is a fabulous job. The norm here is to bolt insulation tiles to the outside walls then render over & paint. This is a very expensive job as the whole house needs to be done (otherwise it looks really odd!). This way I can do one room specifically for this winter and the rest can be done as and when needed and afforded.
In the hall way there is a half built toilet, or at least this was the original intention of it. This will be finished and a toilet put in, this means I won't have to carry water upstairs to flush the toilet when the pipes freeze and I won't have to go into Antarctica every time I want a wee!
I have been dreading winter for months knowing how cold it was in here last year, when winter was really mild. Now all I need is my estranged husband to get me wood for the wood burners, otherwise I will turn into a frozen popsickle

The weather now hurtles back and forth between summer temps (we have had a few 30c over the last week) to really chilly autumnal days and night temps down to 5 and 3c brrrrr.
It's funny one day when driving around the car windows will be right down as it is so hot, the next the wood burner is lit!  Autumn brings with it beautiful colours as we all know and I love looking out the window to see the changing landscape and colour palette. It is all very beautiful but ushers in the drab barren picture of winter which I find really depressing, especially when it is muddy, much prefer the snow, and I hate snow LOL.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Flood, Renovations and Life Moves Forward

Crikey life moves forward, finally! I am sure my readers will be pleased to hear this LOL.

I apologise for how negative and depressing this blog may have become, but that is real life I am afraid and it happens here as well as in England or any other country of birth. Just because people move to live a dream, does not mean bad things don't happen, and life can be shit for a time.

When you read my blog, you get the real me, I am afraid I cannot work out how to put on a fa├žade, it is just my personality to be real. I don't go out of my way to hurt people, I try to help and support others but I am who I am, even in writing!  If I am writing about my life here what you read is exactly how it is and leaving out the HUGE main part of my life would just result in a fairytale.

So welcome to my real life in Bulgaria.....

Bulgaria has had some freaky weather this past year and I am not sure if it is a one off or if it is a shift in seasons. I really hope it is a one off because it has been like a bad year in England with a few weeks of Bulgarian summer thrown in. So much rain, so many floods, flash flooding and land slides, resulting in many deaths, so much destruction, terrible tourist season and a miserable crop. Our food prices have and will continue to suffer.
Boy the tomatoes were not good this year and expensive. I grew my own but must have lost at least 50% of them to the bad weather and I know some people didn't get any. I purchased some from the markets but they were no better and some were 50% dearer than other years. Suffice to say I have not jarred my years supply, but I have frozen what I can.
I am trying something different this year due to the fact that I did not have enough tomatoes ready in one go to do the jarring. I am freezing them in bags, I have been told they are just as good for cooking with.

So right now we have a mix of weather conditions. One week it is hot but with a lovely cooling breeze making it perfect, then, like right now, other weeks it will rain for days and be overcast and miserable.
It is quite chilly in my house so the fire has been lit taking off the chill and when I was out the other day I had to wear a coat Brrrrrrrr

On one of the occasions of rain I actually had a flood, yep it's been a good year here LOL.
The living room window is ground level on the outside and at some point over the years the concrete window sill has worn away.
This is the outside of the living room window at the base of the stairs.
So, this was on the future "must do" list but foolishly I believed I had time to sort it out.
On this particular day the heavens dropped so much water in such a short period. One minuet I was watching it in the garden, it can be beautiful you know, and the next I was watching it cascade through my wall which had a hole blown out of it with the pressure!
So the renovation has now gone in a different direction LOL

To say I was in shock is probably an understatement! In fact I just stood & cried saying "What do I do, what do I do"  makes me giggle now but oh dear I was really up against it.  Thank God I have really great neighbours in the village who had a water sucker upper. Once they had dealt with their own water that was coming in up through the floor Alan came over to me & sucked out all the water & ripped up all the flooring chucking it out for me.  I really don't know what I would have done without him, soooo grateful!!!!
I had been spending the couple of hours with a mop & bucket just trying to stop the water getting into the electrics in the mud room & kitchen, so I was rushing from stemming the flow into the dining room and kitchen then rushing into the mud room where the freezers are, it worked.
I spent days after in loads of pain from doing this. Amazing what muscles are used in mopping and wringing.

So now work begins tomorrow Monday 29th September.

First part is the tanking of the outside wall, so it does not happen again, then a new window but smaller away from ground level, then it is inside for the flooring.
As with most work, especially when it is such a large area, there are other things that need to be tackled at the same time to be able to get the main work done.  I am very excited about this stage of work as it means a huge improvement to the house.  So was the flood a blessing in disguise? We will see, but make no mistake it is a very expensive blessing and will take me a long time to pay for it!

Tiles are here for the flooring apart from for the halls as they will be stone. 

I went to buy the materials on Friday for all the work and was ordering the stone when they informed me it was 30 lev a quadrant!!!!  Now, I know the same stone that I want is 9 lev a quadrant as I priced it up in June. I quickly cancelled the order and will be going in on Wednesday to order it from Polski Trambesh, the delivery will also be half the cost.

This is something to remember, transport costs for all you materials, it is well worth having a van if you are going to be renovating your Bulgarian home, even if you are not doing the work yourself!  I paid 70 lev for the delivery of some tiles from Praktika. I was told in store it would be 50 lev for transport but on delivery it was 70, I assume 20 was for the guys. Had I known this I would have asked for the tiles to be moved inside LOL  Transport costs are costing me hundreds and hundreds of lev extra, boy do I miss our van, so keep this in mind if you have a lot of work to do as most will be too big or too heavy to fit in a car.

On a personal note, I am so so so much better. I was told some news going back a couple of years and although it was like a punch in the solar plexus it has released me, finally and given me the reason as to why. I now feel free'er than I have and stronger too. Situationally, nothing has changed but I have, something has shifted.  I have sent my funeral letter and have laid him to rest!  Forgiveness is a great thing and I have found release here too, it is a continual thing right now but nevertheless it is real and I am not bitter and twisted.  I also am taking anti depressants due to the fact I hit rock bottom emotionally with deep dark thoughts and knew I needed help. I now feel completely different, life is still lonely but I am quite liking my own company, most of the time. I have a friend who comes round to dinner, which gives me someone to cook for and a friend I help at car boots, so I get to see lots of acquaintances one a month too during the nice weather.

So life is looking up and I can see the sunshine again and I hope this time next year I will feel like smiling again, for real 



England, Plans and Uncontrollable Emotions



I have recently come back from two weeks in England celebrating my mum's 90th birthday and awaiting the imminent arrival of my Niece' first baby.
Unfortunately the hospital had a backlog of un-birthed mums so changed the date of her induction, so the beautiful Gracie was born on my return :-(  so sad to have missed cuddling her but hoping for Skype to be part of our bonding, please God!

My mum organised a wonderful party for her birthday with the whole family and all her friends around her. It was fabulous to meet up with family I haven't seen for donkeys years some being 16 years! Such a shock when you see someone who was a little girl last time and is now a beautiful young lady, half Italian and with such grace, a gorgeous second cousin! I met my youngest second cousin too, for the first time. She is the same age as my first two granddaughters and half Maltese. She has gorgeous curly dark locks and a beautiful smile :-) I loved sitting chatting to my cousins Italian husband Lino (love that name) catching up on the last 16 yrs, how sad is that! Obviously the shock was on all sides as they, my aunts and uncles, cousins etc had not seen my kids for years either and now they all have girls of their own.

People don't let time get in the way of your relationships especially with all the technology we now have at our finger tips! It is so sad to be distant from each other, family should be close, loving and caring!

My friend of 50 yrs also came with her husband, oh how wonderful it is to be back in touch after losing each other over the years, big catch up a few days later too and a trip over here next year, I am so looking forward to that.. I am so proud of the beauty of this country and all it has to offer the visitor or ex pat lifestyle, even on my own I love it so. The life here is hard if you are a woman alone, especially in the villages and not driving. Winter is very difficult, I have to say I am dreading it not sure a harsh winter in this house would be survivable, last year was difficult to say the least, and it was a very mild one. I had all intentions to get central heating in the house by winter but with my husband fitting it, without him I cannot afford it, I do have wood burners upstairs but I would never be able to get the wood up there or keep 4 wood burners going, it's difficult without a strong back and hands.

It was lovely to spend time with my kids and my granddaughters, all so grown up now.
I am familied up & ready to get going on the house renovations again, oop's forgot winter is coming........



A Few Steps Forward, Plans and Planning

Well here I am still alive and dare I say it, maybe moving forward slightly?
It is just too much to cope with so I guess at some point the heart says, you know what lets start to heal,  I hope anyway.
I am really trying to be positive, even when all I want to do is lay down, close my eyes and never open them again, I try.
I am still crying all the flipping time (when will this ever end?) but I find sometimes I can check it instead of it bringing me to my knees every time.  I look upon this as a major step forward (for the 3rd or 4th time), as my friend says, "Baby steps".
It doesn't help when I am being completely ignored, there is no communication other than from me and I found myself getting really frustrated and angry, I don't want this as I have no idea to this day why we are where we are, so, I don't want to sink to the level of hate or extreme dislike.
Conclusion, I am taking a huge step back and seeking legal help to retrieve my belongings and finding out how to get things sorted out. I guess this is what I need to do to let go?
I wish I understood why, but I would need to know why in the first place. I now realise I will never be told, as I would now guess the ex Mrs never knew why either. How very very sad is that! How very very sad he will one day be!

I need to find Joy again, I just can't see how right now but I will try, I will look and I will hope for some kind of future!  Oop's here I go again, it's the future thing that starts me off. How do I do a future with no one in it? How do I make a future with no money. How, how, how. Why, why, why?

I know this will sound negative but it is also positive! I have been living off nothing for the last month. Food wise I have no meat except a humongous leg of pork, which for some reason I have kept hold of ( just in case).  I have been living off what is in the larder as even the freezers are empty of meal making things other than a couple of bags of veg, which I am using. So a lot of rice, making vegetable risotto mainly. Some pasta with tomato sauce made from the little I have bought this month (toms, cucumber and a little Sirene cheese). I have made loads of Wheaten Soda bread, Lemon curd and Jam also had mayonnaise so none of this has helped my diet, sadly!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Lots of Work Completed.

Well it has been a while, mainly due to me.
It is hard trying to be positive so posting blogs is just not on the cards. I realise they are becoming far too negative and really not a good read. My problem is I am real, so flipping real and a chatter box, so I never know when to shut up and can't lie (HATE Lier's) so it is a conundrum. What you get in my blog is reality, not a little corner of my reality but the whole flipping lot. If you ask me "how are you?" I will either say oh you know or I will say SHIT!  If I say to you I am fine, good, great brilliant, that's cause I am, right now I am..... mainly shit.
There is a reason for this. The total disregard being shown to me is just too painful to cope with and I need some pharmaceutical help to get over the deep sadness I feel. I will get to the DR's as soon as I get some money, get some better tablets and hopefully move on.

So what an amazing couple of guys I had stay with me! Wow so much achieved in a short time. I wish I could feel proper Joy because the difference to my home deserves it.  Trey came for 3 weeks and did so much I can never express how thankful I am to him. He worked so hard and has such a great work ethic, even though he was not being paid!
The garden was the biggest issue, so when he first arrived this was the most immediate job to get the chicken run nice for Harrie, who showed her appreciation by laying every day!   Then the vegetable area. Then when  rain stopped play he would come inside & find something else to do. Jacki came to stay for 10 days he is an Israeli and was such a lovely guy! Opened my eyes to how I just assumed certain things about Israel, put it in the 3rd world category which is just not true. The images we see on TV lead us to believe a certain way. I knew nothing of his country & know nothing of the troubles or the reasons which have manifested along the way. He refuses to fight in the war or be apart of it. We did not discuss the rights & wrongs of the dispute and I respected his quietness on the issues. He is a very respectful quiet guy, who took a long time to open up.  What a great cook though. He baked the most amazing bread and a great cake both his grandmothers recipe, how lovely that he learn't from her! Jacki worked really well and also did a lot in the garden, now unfortunately it is all over grown yet again after all the storms & the sun and heat.

  A lot of things depended on having to ask to borrow tools so waiting on Nigel was a nightmare and some things just did not get done or finished due again to the lack of respect and just ignoring me, in a very friendly way off course.  He did lend us the tile cutter but unfortunately I could not afford the primer so it did not get done, next time if I can get the stuff,  hopefully.

Anyway it was a brilliant 3 weeks here even if there were things we couldn't get done (sooooo frustrating)  The dogs kept getting out and running amok so all the wire fencing that could be mustered, plus some new that I had purchased, was fitted along both perimeters and up to date they can no longer get out!!!!  This was a big job as all the area needed clearing from front to back, tree's needed thinning out so the fence could be fitted to them as natural posts. Then all the branches weeds etc had to be cleared away for a future bonfire. Such a release of stress I can't tell you, I have Gypsy's next door one side and they are a threat to my girls, who are intent on protecting their home and me. My girls barking at them gets twisted into they attacked them, this is NOT true so it was imperative to make them safe for themselves and the public. The guys doing this has made them my hero's!  Trey also rooted through all the old wood and beams from the animal houses that were taken down and fashioned a side gate and wall for me. This stops the dogs running round to the front of the house and being threatening through the fence. It also keeps the front of the house clean and tidy, I am well happy with just these two things!. The dogs still bark when people are near the house but they cannot be seen so people are not so nervous, they know there is no way they can get in without being mauled though which is the girls job ;-)  I must re-iterate  this is not a dangerous area or country and I in no way feel worried about my safety, even without dogs, but with Gypsy's around nothing is safe from them, if it is movable they will have it away, so the dogs let them know not to come onto my property full stop!

As I said we have had some terrible weather, very unusual for this time of year, in fact very unusual at all more like monsoons!  So my front stone wall fell down! Thankfully Trey was here to save yet another day. Unfortunately I did not get a photo of it in complete collapse but only when half re-built. He took the old mud stamped it down with water to re use it between the stones. Such hard work, am I happy to have him help? Hell yeah!!!!!


The second animal house was taken down by Jacki, giving me a lovely large covered summer area. I will get it finished next year hopefully. It was thick, probably 6" or more, with old compacted pooh. No idea what animal perhaps a donkey as it was not pellet pooh. Whatever it is good stuff for the garden and Jacki spread it around over time with the rain and snow it will make for good fertilised ground for next years crops.  So just need to put in a concrete floor and pave outside of it, a bit of old engine oil for the beams and off we jolly well go!

The main thing, other than the fencing, that has been a stress for me was not having a sink and taps in the bathroom. Cleaning teeth under the shower is annoying after 6 months, mind you I was very thankful for having that shower!
I had all the things I needed. Sink, taps, sink top, battens, all fittings etc and still no one had managed to do it. in all that time.  When Trey arrived the old stone and tile sink was still not out. He had no power tool to do this, the concrete was sold hard never meant to be removed, thick rebar ran through it giving the sink strength and the water pipes were set into the concrete which was reinforced with stones.  He did in a day what the other guy took a week to do! As I say, my hero.  he then set about fitting everything and in less than two days I had a working bathroom that just needs the lipstick of tiles and finishing touches. Well I was made up! He also laid a stone path to the washing line which in the weather we are having has saved me from the mud, sorted moved and stacked wood ready for re use or chopping for firewood.


I managed to buy the kitchen units and after an abortion of a trip, due to my money not being in the bank and no communication informing me of this, with the help of a friend got them to the house for Trey to put together.  Being Bulgaria it was obviously not going to be simple so after a day of putting units together it appeared we were short all the fittings to two units, grrrrr.
I have to say the guy in the shop, who at first would not accept responsibility so there was a bit of too'ing and fro'ing  because I needed those fittings by the next day or two due to Trey and Jacki leaving on the Monday, this was the Friday! Bless him he did some checking and found a small box they had not given us which had the rest of the fittings in, his guys came and delivered to me the next day and trey was able to finish the kitchen :-)  It was not until he fitted then in that it became apparent that two extra small worktops had not arrived :-(  Now I will have a problem here, will let you know what happens but I may just buy then again as I am out of fight.

So many other things were done but I just can't list them all but I am a very lucky, happy Jo. I now have a working bathroom, a kitchen that although not finished is a pleasure to cook in a light switch in the living room that is not going to electrocute me, safe dogs, I did have a nice area to sit in.
I am so very grateful to these two guys!

Bulgaria Floods, Help & a Poorly Boy

What was I saying in the last post! This weather has just been phenomenally bad with floodings and loss of life. Varna, Dobrich, Sozopol, Pomorie, along with lots of other areas including some area's in the Veliko Turnovo region have flooded where the rivers have burst their banks. There have been mud slides, flash floods, water spouts and tidal waves.
Such a terrible loss of life in Varna, including lives of children, due to being swept away in the flash floods and tidal wave.
Everyone is so sad for the families who have lost their loved ones but it will not end there as people have lost their winter food which is growing on their land and will go hungry, food prices will rise due to the loss of major crops, especially wheat the staple in the Bulgarian diet. The outlook is bad and so very sad.
The weather should be on the turn but right now it is still raining and storms are still here, adding to the devastation.

I am very fortunate in my village. We do get storms but 99% of them pass us by. I do not know why this is as we are at the highest point in the hills but I can watch them go by to the surrounding villages. We obviously have something here that protects us?
We have had some rain but not too much and mainly in the night. No storms now for over 2 weeks where these other areas have had them every day. I feel so sorry for them. Varna, Bourgas Pomorski, coastal areas are tourist destinations too with people having a nightmare instead of a relaxing holiday.

Here we have had temps of 35c in the shade for most of the time. The last couple of days have been a bit cooler with rain in the evening making my garden really muddy but if you saw the result of the wet and hot weather it is a good thing to have damp ground, getting those weeds out is of utmost importance!

A very sad occurrence happened a week ago.  There has been a young boy popping in and out of my garden, I thought he was one of next doors pups that had come through. He a hunting dog I think, Plamen does like his hunting and fishing!  My girls used to bark at him and herd him out of the garden but he would be very serene and not be bothered or threatening to them or me.
Last Saturday I went into the garden & there he was collapsed outside my kitchen window. He could not lift his head but managed to wag his tail whenever he saw me. He whimpered and I saw he had some injuries but I didn't want to move him to see where they went without a vet, as I did not want to cause him more suffering. It was so upsetting, poor boy.
I couldn't find any help due to people being too ill to come, not answering phone or responding to my FB plea and Plamen made out he was not his dog (I am sure he was). He could not eat & was just bone but I did manage to encourage him to drink by whetting my fingers & putting them to his mouth. Eventually he lapped a little then more and more. I could hear the water hitting an empty tummy he sounded so hollow!

I put chairs over him and then carpets over the chairs so he has some shade from the sun which was boiling hot and would give him cuddles and stroke him. He wagged his tail and looked into my eyes pleadingly for help. I am not exaggerating when I say it was the most traumatic event.
I came inside to check on FB and when I went back out to him, he had gone.  I looked around for him and could not find him in the overgrown garden but hoped that the water and shade had helped to make him stronger and vowed to feed and water him every time I saw him.

On the Monday I went into Gorna with a friend who very kindly took me in, so grateful for good people, to stock up on shopping and to pick up my latest helper, Trey (from Helpx), and forgot all about the poor boy.
Wednesday morning as I went into the garden a terrible smell greeted me I was devastated as I recognised the smell as that as something which had died. Thank God Trey was with me. He found his body,  proceeded to dig a hole and bury him for me. I was distraught at knowing he had died. It felt like all the loss I had had over the last 18 months and now another death!

Wow what a negative blog, I will try better next time x

Storms Rain Swamp and Rainforest

Well forget what I said about the summer is here, it is, BUT, we have had a week of storms with driving rain. It's like a monsoon season and has been described as such.  All very worrying if you are a climate watcher. I am the one worried for the ice age happening now. I could probably cope with anything else but not that. Now I am not going to think about it because according to what I read on FB,  LOL the rapture is about to happen, so see ya later's  hahaha.

Anyway back to reality it is wet, wet, wet! The house is dirty, dirty, dirty, with three dogs and especially the pup who runs in and jumps all over my white sofa. The washing is immense with nowhere to dry it.
I have a young Lemon tree which is being drowned, I keep emptying the pot but in the morning it is drowning again. We have had amazingly hot weather too, like yesterday it was over 80c in the shadiest part of my property, under the grape vine so it was completely cool there, then by 6pm we had driving rain & storms on and off all night. So much rain.

I checked the potatoes yesterday & they are completely infested with Colorado beetle, it would take a week to remove them all and then I would have to start again, such a shame.  Tomatoes as being swallowed up by triffids and the garden looks like a rainforest the weeds are so high, the dill look like tree's!
I also lit the fire on two days last week it was that chilly in here, in JUNE!!!!

Well I am not going to wish the month away that's for sure, lots to do when my next lot of helpers arrive in a week or so, even if it is wet, I just hope they are made of stern stuff.

I am going to bite the bullet and buy a small kitchen, they are certainly cheap enough, it will put me on a really tight budget for the month but I need working space & storage space. As I type this I am already re-thinking it, I just need to DO IT! Anything is better than nothing and it can be changed later when I have finished all the important things.

I went exploring like an intrepid, well explorer, yesterday with my friend. I have a Mehana (bar/cafe) and the old original house, all part of my property. The Mehana is my next juicy project, which can be started as soon as I have the kitchen in. It will be used for the Secret Garden charity events to raise money for those in need here in Bulgaria. I will also hold art and craft workshops there, quiz evenings, Tapas nights, the list of what can be done is endless really. I want people to be able to sell their crafts and get known.
For the Secret Garden I need to do some paving outside so people can enjoy the view and build a toilet in the mud room between my house and the garden (anti room). So lots to think about and plan.

The House, well that is another story! It is a fabulous house, empty for 25 years and running to ruin. I would love to bring it back to it's full beauty again. It is a big house with lots of lovely room and believe it or not central heating! These people must have had money.  It is a derelict house & will need lots of lovely workawayer's/HelpX, to help restore it, as well as some professional help with the roof, plumbing windows Oh so so much, but it would be a labour of love, that's for sure. It is something I will look into but I have to make sure it is structurally sound as there are cracks from the earth quake in the 80's, so it is a plan in my head only right now, but ohhhhhh what a plan. These are the things that keep me going and stop me from giving up altogether.

Yes as you will guess from that last statement, not in a good place, in fact feeling worse. I will have to look into getting some other tablets or upping my dosage on these. I am reluctant to do this as I worry, but I need to stop feeling so helpless, lost and sad. I hate crying all the time it feels destructive. I sort of know it is healing but it doesn't feel that way, it feels destructive.  I want to move on but I just don't seem able to. I want to fall out of love with the person who has rejected me in such a shocking way, but I don't seem able to. Any good advice just doesn't seem to work on my reality.  Time and as my friend says "baby steps".

I am  going to a car boot today the weather is overcast with some sun, but I am wearing boots as the ground is sodden and if it is on the grass it will be sinksville!!!

Pictures to follow when I have worked out how to from my phone as the laptop has broken :-( just another problem on the heap i'm trying not to dwell on

Friday, 30 May 2014

Busy Times, Summer is here!!!!!!!


Well summer is here and you would be forgiven for thinking we were in England! We have the most terrible weather. Storms of torrential rain, thunder bangs so loud it shakes and breaks windows, lightening which may look amazing but one 19 yr old was killed and someone I know had a strike hit their house. Scary stuff. To be honest it may seem bad here but I have friends near the coast that had hail stones the size of golf balls and large marbles.
Thankfully I managed to get the chilli and sweet pepper plants in before it hit but my Lemon tree is drowning so as soon as I can I need to get to it and drain the excess water, fingers crossed it will survive.  This is my third Lemon tree, I lost the first two during a winter, due mainly to not having a good place to home them away from wood burners, we can't leave them out due to the arctic winters.

Not much has changed for the good in my house. I did have yet another English couple in, against my better judgement, but I was swayed by the fact he could do plumbing and electrics, he couldn't!  So I still don't have a bathroom sink or taps, very sad about that as I was so excited to finally get a proper bathroom. I have the sink, taps, worktop and everything I need to get the job done, I just need someone who can do it.   She was a lazy ass and everything she was asked to do she feigned feeling ill with allergies! I have never known anyone with "Allergies" have no symptoms but hey I did manage to get a shower fitted which has made a lot of difference I must say, and I am very grateful for that. It was a job that was done in an hour but I had them for a week LOL.

I am not giving up just yet. I have an American couple and a Canadian guy coming mid June, so lets see how that goes. Think it will be garden work, clearing, weeding and hopefully getting the seating and pool area done?

I have found a decent-ish looking kitchen for only 519 lev, that's £216, bargain, but unfortunately I can't afford it just yet, still it has given me food for thought. Do I keep the tiled sink and just re tile it or do I fit a new one? A friend has an old sink I can have and someone else is sending me some pre used taps, how generous is that, so I have options. I would prefer to get this stone and tile nightmare out as it stinks underneath, and start again which will give me extra space in a quite small kitchen.
I can't wait to get some work space and cupboards in there.  The one cupboard in there is so damp now and I am having to throw lots of food away. I have just thrown a 5kilo bag of flour away due to it being mouldy. This was an unopened bag. Along with gravy granules, sugar and other dried foods. Just such a waste of food and money.

Feeling wise, well pretty bad. I can't seem to move on right now and back to crying every day. I am flooded with lovely memories and it really hurts.  I do know I will get over this but I also know it is going to take me a long time as I am still in love with my husband, I don't want to be, but I am and I cannot just not be. So I am hurting quite badly right now.  Every time I go somewhere it brings back feelings of when I was there with him and happy, even builders merchants, how mad is that.
Things are not brilliant but I am trying to look positively on life, even when mine is anything but.
I have made friends with a really great couple in my village, thankful for that and for them. Other than that I just want to give up and be a hermit-ishy type person, just while I get through this and come out the other side.  I am so fed up with having no feelings of joy in my life, it sucks!!!!!  I am just existing but at least I am existing hahaha, not dead yet!

I have lots of if only's in my head...... If only I kept taking my driving test life would be so much easier and more sociable, If only I knew why, If only I had money to go back and forth to England, If only I had a dad or brother I could rely on, If only I felt loved, If only I was slimmer, If only I never met him!!!!!!!  But I did, so I have to suffer the consequences of being with him and being dumped just like his ex wife. Warning to everyone, the way they treat their ex's one day may be you! Funny how these if only's raise their ugly heads when you are on your knees with nowhere to go, they never existed before, I guess it is part of being vulnerable?

The Secret Garden event went really badly, we had a storm and no shelter so no stalls were out and it was badly attended, so I am re thinking my strategy of touring around different places. Now I am on my own it really is not possible as it is just too much work for me. I had 3 days constant baking then had to sort through all the boxes to get the crockery I needed then clean it this took hours and buggered my back, which a week later is still really bad.

On the positive side
I am going to concentrate on getting the Mehana (bar/cafe) renovated so I can hold the Secret Garden events here, then if it rains it won't matter. I am really excited about this project, it has my juices flowing and I am actually feeling another emotion other than sadness. I hope that by this time next year it will be up and running, raising money for charities.
I may even start a blog to document it's progress.

The garden is doing well with potatoes, Tomatoes, chilli, sweet peppers, cucumbers, and lots of herbs growing nicely.  I have plenty of seedlings for herbs too and need to plant more lettuce as it is either eaten or bolted barring a couple.
Four Cherry tree's are full and ready for picking, that's if there are any left on the tree's after all these storms, so I will be busy making conserve once I can harvest them , that will be interesting in that kitchen LOL And my chicken is laying every day, bonus!
The only thing I have restored in the garden is an old wooden table
from this
To this

I have had some lovely days in the garden, before the storms, the heat has been lovely with temps 35c in the shade this week, which has meant swimming costume and sarong with the tan basing nicely not that I can sun bathe as there is a huge pile of wood & rubble in the seating/sunbathing area. Soon to be cleared I hope.

I have also been to the Dr's had blood tests and been found to have gout, well you could have blown me over I was so shocked. I thought I had Rheumatoid Arthritis for the last 5 yrs but no, gout!
So I am taking a few tablets and really looking forward to not being in arthritic pain for the first time in 5 years.  I never knew Gout was a form of arthritis, I always though it was a swollen leg! So another positive thing happening in my life :-)  They did check me for other forms of Arthritis which is all clear, my glucose is up so I have to watch that but everything else, white blood cells, blood count, cholesterol etc is A OK Bloody brilliant. I love the health care here. walk in to Dr's get blood taken & next day have loads of results & a clean bill of health or a diagnosis so fast it's amazing! Cost 2.50 lev, that's £1 the lab results were 8 lev LOL

Here are some pictures of what is in part of my garden right now Things are beginning to fruit & grow 
Potatoes
Tomato patch
one of the cherry tree's
Strawberry patch, the whole lot :-)
Not quite ready yet
One of a few rose bushes I love this one it is a huge bush
Lots of bunches of baby grapes, the vines are full.
A few herbs with a enormous mint patch behind it





House to home, RIP Reggie Roo,

I have just had my first experience of working guests, from a web site called Workaway.info
What a brilliant experience! Hallie and Kevin are from Washington state USA and were a credit to their country. They stayed with me for a month and boy did it go quickly!!! They were a breath of fresh air to have around and I will miss them very much.
So much progress has been made in my house, it now feels like a home, granted a home that still needs lots of work but a home nonetheless.
I now have 3 bedrooms a dining room as well as the living room and one hall is painted.  There is still much to do, to finish them completely as I need flooring and skirting but what a difference.

Workawayer couple number two was a whole different story and very negative so I will not contaminate my blog with the NEAT man needless to say I hoiked them out at 8am this morning!



Very Emotional right now, with forgiveness comes pain, again, I know it has to be felt to eventually move forward I just wish it would hurry up and go away so I can live my life and feel some joy again.

To top off a really emotional month and a really bad day our lovely boy Reggie died :-( so sad, he was a beauty, a Russian Bear dog huge and loving with a bad and pain filled past. So sad!


Thursday, 24 April 2014

Finally Two Rooms, Charity & Sunshine

Well life moves on and I finally have a bed to sleep in! I have been sleeping on the sofa for 6 months and it has wrecked my back.
The young Americans wanted me to get in my room before finishing theirs and I wanted the living room sorted, so I had a decent room when people came round, and somewhere for them to relax in after a hard days work. I had decorated the living room before they arrived but needed to get the fire set up, due to chilly evenings and some cold overcast English type days, plus we needed the TV to be installed in there.


We have managed both, with the help of Yovo who after taking me to buy the flue, cut the fire rose for the flue pipe, and Alan who came round with his drill to make a hole in the window surround for the satellite wire to feed through. Result a lovely new living room :-) My friend Gary also came with his drill so I could put up pictures and mirrors.
My bedroom has been painted and now has everything I need for a lovely private space, just for me. It looks like a tarts boudoir but it is so warm and welcoming, I love it.
I need flooring for both rooms and skirting board but that can wait till money allows.  The living room also needs the stone wall for the fire back but that will happen shortly, I have a plan of action.

The weeding has started as the weather has warmed up with lovely sunny days. I can see the strawberries now, lots of them and lots of lovely big flowers fruiting, thanks to the bee's. Can't wait till we can enjoy them in a tart.

So yesterday we were off to the market in the Wartburg again. I needed an electric hammer drill and have been looking at a real cheapo in VT, knowing it will not be much good except for light duties. I decided to have a butchers at what there was on the second hand stalls. As luck would have it I found a (hopefully) good working one, he wanted 35 lev but I managed to barter down to 25 lev. It is four times the machine I could get new so I am a happy bunny, as long as it keeps working!
I also had some paint mixed up for the dining room. It is only a creamy colour but I am not sure what I want so opted for a bright clean shade then I can add the colour in the dressing of the room.

So another room is on it's way to being usable soon, the ceiling has had it's two coats of paint, windows have had theirs, the smelly old lino is up and has been taken by the neighbours along with the plastic corrugated wood effect panelling, which was battened to the wall. The holes have been filled and all is ready for painting tomorrow At least it will be clean, tidy and not make me feel ashamed when people come over.

It is now planting time here and although I don't grow too much from seed I do grow Pumpkin, Melon, beans, herbs and a few other things so the garden is under way.  I usually get my Tomato, Pepper, Aubergine and a few other things from our local market gardener.  I like to put a bit of money into the village, where I can, and it saves me having to worry about the seedlings, as I have no green house or cloche (yet). Hals my back has been planted up with potatoes. I always go by Yovo' dates too LOL. Soon the garden will look great with all the food growing, I get so excited over it still!

The weather has become quite hot now, then a bit of rain and everything grows like mad, especially the weeds, it's like the day of the triffids here BUT we have found a scythe and it is bloody sharp! Kevin watched the cow man cut some stinging nettles with it in the front so is going to try cutting the weeds down with it LOL

Right now my projects are painting and staining some old garden and animal things to use as planters, especially for my herbs, photo's to follow, and plant the seeds while Kevin and Hallie do other stuff.

The brick structure got a good spraying with Raid today to rid it of all the wasp nests that have been built in it, Urgh!!!!!  There were loads of honeycombs  in the holes of the bricks. I had been watching them flying in and out and was concerned that Kevin would be hurt if we didn't check for nests first before starting the demolition.
I will continue to check over the next couple of days, just to make sure!

We have just had Easter here, for once it was the same as in the UK. I and my young Americans went to a charity gig in a hotel that looks like a fortress, in the village of Arbanasi. The views are beautiful there and the village is gorgeous, even if too touristy!

I went to sell some cakes and after they helped me set up I got them to go have a look around the old place. It was a merchant village once so consequently the houses are all huge and magnificent.  There are lots of hotels now made from these amazing houses but some are just renovated back to how they once were. There are also lots of old churches & monasteries to find down the side and back streets.
It was lovely to meet up with lots of friends I haven't seen over the winter and a good day was had, even the weather behaved itself.

My young Americans have been a God send to me and have helped me so very much!

Life feels good again right now, but  freedom does come at a price.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Helpers In The House, New Rooms For Me

Well what a lot has happened since my last post! My life has yet again turned upside down with major revelations, deceptions of the highest order and finding out I do not know my husband at all, but I'm still standing!

Getting the house done is my highest priority, I need to live in a proper home and surround myself in comfort right now, I don't mean all the trappings money buys, as there is no money here, just a comfortable home where I can kick back and laze or entertain friends in comfort.

So I have called in help as I was rather overwhelmed at how much needs doing, even more now the weeds have turned into triffids again.
Workaway came to the rescue. Right now I have a lovely young American couple staying with me. They have been so great and things are starting to come together, at last.

I did finish my living room and have used it a few times to eat in, as the table is still in there, but it is far too cold to relax in due to the weather going on a downward spiral, I needed a fire in there.  The fire was installed yesterday,  I hope to test it out today then get the rest of the furniture in there once the TV has been installed (again). I just have to get the stone and tile to make a fire surround then it will just be the flooring, once I can afford it, maybe next year.

Yesterday was a funny old day, one of those where nothing seems to go right, I felt really disappointed and down at the end of the day. The trip to the market was OK but it rained and was bloody miserable, and the veg was S***,  the flue pipe I bought is too big for the Kamina, though Nigel promises it will be OK, the paint that went up so lovely the day before has a chalky finish, and we ran out of paint in the second bedroom so it is still only half done, blah di blah!
My American couple enjoyed their trip, in an old Wartburge, to the market as they have nothing like it where they are from. So that was actually a positive in the end. I am hoping for a glorious day before they leave me so I can take them again for a better experience of it.
The paint in my bedroom has dried really nice and I am quite pleased with it, so another positive, not quite the disaster I thought, although we still have the second bedroom fiasco to sort once I can get a lift into the city. Oh and I managed to buy a set of alum keys so now I will have a bed to sleep in, in my new bedroom. Tonight is the night I move back into comfort!!!!!

Monday, 17 March 2014

House Move Part 2

Well here I am again a month after my last post and I thank GOD for anti depressants!!!!!  I am alive and well, not crying 24/7 and what a relief that is, I can now see the wood through the tree's and a pathway that may be walked.

So, not much has been done by many peoples standards but within my budget and others time constraints there is a big difference.
Firstly the house no longer smells of sewage, which was very off putting and extremely embarrassing. The shower floor has been tiled and the open sewage pipe is no more, phew!
Before being tiled, pooh stinky!
The toilet floor is also tiled and the wall tiles have been purchased for the shower. I have also purchased a new Petchka which has meant warmth without burning to death! The one that was here had holes in the side, a broken fire box door with a big hole under which would spit out hot sparks & fire! I now have a full size safe heater that will fit nicely into the kitchen, looks like an ancient Aga.
It will be a while before the shower room is finished as I have to put my money where it is most needed, which unfortunately means I will have lots of half done works to begin with. That is OK though as I know where it will all end up.
This will be my living room, almost there the wall paper is no more.
I am concentrating right now on getting a living room and bedroom then I can get the walls knocked down to create a through kitchen diner, so excited about that!!!!

So walls are stripped, ceiling has had first coat painted, the wall paint is awaiting it's application and Jo will be a very happy lady. Well I hope to be as I still find no joy in anything, it's just a sort of slightly smiley face feeling, but I am getting there I didn't even feel that a couple of weeks ago.

I am looking forward to having my own private space and a bed to sleep in. The sofa is just not comfortable any more, I wake around 5 am to an active puppy who wants to play with Lulu who is a lazy moo and won't get up before 9am so she growls till she is left alone, one good thing about being on the sofa is I can watch some mindless TV while I wake up.
My living space, everything goes on in this one room
Looking forward to getting out of here and into a proper living room and bedroom

The weather is changing but also changeable. I think we have had the last of the snow, not that it ever amounted to that much this year and the temps are up in double figures. We have had 24c and lovely sunshine then the last few days have been really windy. Right now it is blue sky with white cotton wool clouds with a strong breeze. I am looking forward to being in the garden soon but right now I need to be working inside.

I have advertised for workaways for the first time and have my first couple coming in April. So looking forward to them being here and having some company. I don't see anyone from one week to the next but then I am not bothered right now, just getting along on my own means I can sort my feelings out. It is funny who can listen to me cry, most can't, so it has whittled down who I can talk to but I have two constants who help me greatly, sometimes they just let me cry and tell me I will be OK.  It's funny, what people don't realise is, I don't need people to tell me what to do or remedy the situation, there is after all nothing that can be done by me or anyone else, I just need to be held hugged or allowed to cry. It is really hard to do this without being hugged or held, but that is how it is and I have had to get on with it, but what a lonely place it is.

I have decided to spend winter in UK, this could change, but I very much doubt it. It would take a Knight in shining armour to sweep me off my feet and take care of me to change this decision. I am 55 with knackered hands and back so winter is a very difficult time. Just getting the wood in then to survive in this house I would have to have central heating installed. This is financially not viable by Oct and to be honest I just can't face another freeze, another lonely birthday, New year or Valentines day. I have a lovely friend in UK who I can stay with and I will get to see my family, my new great Niece and my lovely friend Alison's new baby. I will get to go to church and mix with Christians again, it has given me something to look forward to and maybe I will see clearer what I will do with my life. I will though be back in the spring as this is my home that I love and I have afternoon tea events to organise :-)

So for now I am getting on, on my own, trying to burden no one, focusing on my home and me, oh and looking forward very much to Spring.
x