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......
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.