The Chickens are Coming…

500As most of you are aware, I’m on a very steep learning curve out here in Bulgaria, trying to master the language, the culture and learn about growing my own food and keeping my own chickens…this along with renovating our small farmhouse and looking after my three dogs and the little stray cat that adopted us.

All this means doing an awful lot of reading, which I don’t object to at all … in fact sat with a cup of coffee in front of the fire, it is probably one of my favourite pastimes, but there is sooo much information out there and much of it contradicts one article to the next.

chickSo when I came across this little gem “Chicken Hot Topics” by Jessica Lane, I was not only delighted but also a little relieved that I was not the only one that had been through this sifting process of information thingy and also grateful that she had decided to put pen to paper about what she had found.

It is not a great tome of a book, I guess I read it in about a couple of sittings, but it is one that you could have there up on your shelf and dip into as and when you feel the need…which for me (especially in the early days) will be frequent. It is well written, simple to comprehend and whilst it doesn’t cover every aspect that could possibly occur (or we would be here all day) it addresses the main issues and points you in the right direction to investigate each subject in more detail should you so wish.

chickcartoonBeing someone that enjoys humour, in both my writing and in others, I was particularly drawn to the snippets at the end of each chapter called Fun Farmer Facts and Husbandry Hints, my head is full of useless information and these added beautifully to it … I was just a little disappointed more wasn’t made of this feature with maybe an illustrated cartoon or two (but that is just a personal thing).

As a complete beginner it was refreshing to find all my concerns, plus some I hadn’t even thought of yet, addressed in one place, giving me ideas for coop design and even for the type of plants I would include around it…herbals for chickens who’d have thunk it 🙂

chickensMy own chickens arrive in May / June this year, I have chosen Brahmas as they are both good for egg production and for meat and they are being bred for me by my friend in the next village so I’ve even met their parents! I am sure they will be equally grateful to Jessica for pulling all of this info together as I am.

If you too would like to benefit from her knowledge – you can get your copy here – light the fire, shut out the weather and enjoy.

Chicken Hot topics

chickens

 

 

 

 

In the Dog House…

The mysteries of Bulgaria continue to flummox us the deeper we delve…or rather the longer we stay here the more we learn and the more we love it (despite itself)!

sittingWhy the strange title you may think, well its a long story, but I’ll keep it brief. I had been having trouble sleeping, like someone was sitting on my chest (and no it wasn’t Dan or any of the animals) or as if I had really bad indigestion. This went on for several days and despite the instinct (when it comes to the dogs) to google the symptoms, I decided I would be more sane if I just listened to my body and gave it time.

ambulanceThen sat on the steps outside I suddenly lost all feeling in my last two fingers on my right hand and that raised a flag in my mind so politely asked Dan if he could run me to hospital. Well politely might not have come into it…and run might have been more like – drive like a mad man in the ice while I try to keep calm in the passenger seat (note to self, an ambulance may be slower but in the long run….)

'Hey, Lori! Take a look at Mr. Geckler's EKG!'Anyway A&E here should be renamed A&WSCBA (When Someone Can Be A****) and queuing is not a word that is recognised in any language – so I pushed to the front (as you do … no you really do, its almost a sin not to) and once in the room they stripped me half naked, attached me to an ECG machine…whilst half of Bulgaria wandered through getting routine medical advice and a good look at my boobs!

They took my blood pressure, my pulse, listened to my breathing then gave me an injection in my butt and one in my arm… what these were is anyone’s guess as none of the 4 people in the room (or the passing visitors) spoke a word of English, but as I am still here I’m guessing they were more for show than actual function.

eeyoreI also walked away with a prescription – which it turns out were anti-psychotic / anti-depressants… if anyone had seen me when I discovered this, please note the tears were laughter… I am probably the happiest I have ever been in my life, no not everything is perfect, but then that would be boring, but I’m certainly not depressed…psychotic on the other hand Dan thought they may have a point, so I now have a drawer full of happy pills – enough to keep even Eeyore smiling.

Which is why I come to the title of my waffles – I had an occasion to actually take one of these pills more out of curiosity than anything and what a day that was! As you know we have a new member of the family called Shelby and he’s a puppy, but up until this day he had been a pretty good, cheeky, mischievous little soul – this day he turned into the devil incarnate.

DSCF2765He ripped the curtain of its brackets and into shreds, he chewed my dustpan and brush, tipped his water bucket over and threw the now nearly empty bucket around the kitchen, removed the handle from a new pot of paint, removed and hid all the tops of the solar lamps in the garden, ripped the zip off two of our coats, chewed Dan’s crocs until they were no longer recognisable and chased the cat, knocking a glass off the outside sink which duly shattered on impact.

How much destruction can one dog do in a day…well you have your answer and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some bits…all I can say is he was lucky I had happy pills and equally lucky that they work!

Until next time…

JD x

PS: The ECG was clear, BP normal…just a chest infection I’m guessing as it has now cleared one week on 🙂

 

New Years Resolutions

resolutionsWell the new year is here – it tends to do that to us about the same time every year…and every year we resolve to:-

 

1) Lose Weight
2) Save Money
3) Eat Healthier
4) Give up Smoking
5) Give up Alcohol

How many of us actually do what we say we’re going to do and how many of us just jump on the wagon with everyone else, not even sure if it is right for us…well I’ve challenged tradition this year!!

alcoholThere’s a good reason for that – I’ve already dropped two dress sizes just renovating the house, I’ve moved out to Bulgaria so I can save some money (that’s working to a point), I gave up smoking six years ago and have absolutely no intention of giving up alcohol, that would just make me even more unbearable to live with than I am now!

So this year my resolutions are more like goals:-

1) Plan and  plant my garden
2) Buy Chickens
3) Eat only my own vegetables for the year
4) Share the ups and downs with you guys

Its number three I’m worried about – we could be on a chicken and egg diet by June…but then again anyone that has watched my first video of the garden will know I have a fair few hurdles to climb just to get passed number one.

g2tI’m going to be stepping out of my comfort zone too as I launch my new website Garden2Plate where you can follow my progress, offer advice (I’m going to need plenty) and share your recipe ideas for what I dig up out of my field. There will be lots of videos and hopefully lots of interaction and laughter along the way.

I ticked a lot of boxes in 2014, which is going to make it hard to beat, but I’m a girl who likes a challenge…so Happy New Year everybody…bring it on!  🙂

It’s Christmas…..

IMG_20141215_174855Not that you would know it – the sun is shining, the skies are blue and temperatures are around 19-20C … I have to admit it is strange as in October as you know we had about a foot of snow.

IMG_20141215_174938Christmas here is rather understated and that is what is so wonderful about it – there was a small xmas market in Veliko Tarnovo, which we visited and there were lights across the town, but the shops aren’t heaving and people aren’t shaking collection tins in your face and there isn’t even a hint of Slade or Wizard blaring out of the stores.

DSCF2771We have exchanged xmas cards with our closest neighbours and one old lady brought me a little present (so sweet)…I couldn’t have a nicer community to live in.

IMG_20141215_175009That also includes the ex-pats here – we have three Russians in the village, a part time Scotswoman and another English lady and we are all invited for Christmas dinner together…so we are breaking with our tradition of drawing the curtains and shutting ourselves away for the day and attempting to be sociable…I’m actually really looking forward to it – plus Helena is a brilliant cook!!

We also took part in a Secret Santa in the village so will exchange these gifts on the day too…all in all so far this is shaping up to be the best xmas ever.

xmas2I hope wherever you are you get to relax, smile and fill your belly. Have a very Happy Christmas and see you in 2015!!

JD x

PS if you go over to my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/turningsimpledifficult you will get to see my first video of the outside of our house (while it is still a mess) – enjoy!

Whinge and Wine Week

Me,, Liz and Heather plucking chickens :-)
Me,, Liz and Heather plucking chickens 🙂

No that is not a spelling mistake – it has been one of those moments over here when you just have to keep focused on why you are here in the first place and just how lucky you are to have all that you have!! This picture epitomises why I am doing this – I lived this life as a child and would like it back and living here allows me to have enough land and the climate to make it happen, not to mention the availability of a lot of very cheap and nice wine of which I have plenty…or at least that’s what I started off with…

There are many positives about living in Bulgaria in fact way too many to list and they far outweigh the negatives, but sometimes you just want to scream and throw things…this has been one of those times, but as I generally don’t scream and however much I’d love to throw things, I just can’t help thinking of the consequences and the cost of the thing I’m throwing or about to hit…so I drink wine…

Reasons for the negativity…silly things really – like the quality of stuff you buy, the intelligence of the mice, the Bulgarian ‘good enough’ attitude and their wonderfully accurate weather forecasts.

First blood for Cookie
First blood for Cookie

Lets start with the mice – we have mice, everyone here has mice in their lofts and in their walls, we are not alone so you would think they would have some decent methods for dispatching of said rodents, and to be fair they do have a variety of choices – snap traps, sticky traps, cages, poison…cats. We have a cat and she is so tiny (and young) that most of the mice and baby rats here just laugh and point when she starts stalking them – to the point of eating her food out of her bowl while she sleeps…but she got her own back last week and caught her first one! There was nobody more delighted than me…well maybe Cookie the cat…but we can’t rely on her clearing the house as one week on and this was the one and only catch…

DSCF2748Poison we can’t use due to said Cookie monster, sticky traps are just cruel so we started with snap traps and the first night caught one, I was nearly as excited as the cat…but I am starting to think he was just a sacrificial mouse, one sent to check out how the new contraption, the humans had provided them with, worked as now they have figured out how to get into the trap remove the bait and not trigger the death snap, so we bought some cages and as advised by our neighbours duly baited them with pieces of apple. Once again the first night we caught a baby rat and the second night a mouse – we were on a roll so bought a couple more cages and baited them up…it became abundantly clear that they had had enough of apple and wanted something more interesting so I smeared the apple with sticky hazlenut and chocolate spread and pushed cat biscuits into said chocolate…I’d have got inside the trap myself if I could it smelt so good.

The mice appeared to think the same and as I lay in bed I heard one scurrying about and fell asleep sound in the knowledge that by morning he would be safely tucked up in my cage…oh how wrong I was! Oh yes he liked the chocolate and cat biscuits, so much so in fact that he had got in the cage removed the biscuits and licked off all the chocolate and then just simply left the cage…it had not gone off, which to me seemed impossible as you so much as breathe on these things and they spring shut.

Suffice to say we have now declared war with the rodents in our house and have thought of more and more ingenious / sneaky ways of getting them to trigger the traps, including removing the bait from the hook and placing bait behind it so they brush the hook and BANG they’re trapped….only trouble is the little mice we haven’t trapped yet appear to be able to fit through the bars so just go in for a feed and then wriggle out…this is just the beginning – we will continue the quest to free mankind from insulation eating, pipe and wire chewing beasties…or possibly drive ourselves mad in the process or just continue to feed the family we are keeping warm over winter whilst partaking of plenty of vino.

Now lets take a look at the quality of the stuff you buy – yes things are cheap and there is always a more expensive option, but there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme nor reason as to which is the better product, price is definitely not a reliable indicator.

We bought a toilet and cistern package from a large National chain of DIY stores – it was on offer and we were delighted – obviously because of the other renovations we are doing it has sat for a number of weeks before we finally got around to putting it together. Now the positives here are that unlike in the UK the cistern comes with all its internal workings and the pan comes with a seat so you buy the package and have everything required to put it together…the negative part being that when you eventually come to put it together you find that the holes in the pan are 14cm apart whilst the holes in the cistern are 16cm apart….another bottle of wine was just opened!

We of course went back to said shop, but without original packaging (thrown away weeks ago so we had room to store it) and without the receipt (similar issue) it was a lost cause….to a point I understand this, but what I don’t understand is that when I try to explain my problem the response I got was “all holes are 16cm” – well they clearly aren’t, but do you think we could find another toilet in the whole of the shop to prove us right….of course not. What we did find though was a shop selling some more tasty, cheap wine …

You have probably all seen the picture of the Mondeo water pipe that we installed into our central heating system as after three separate compression joints failed to actually work we resorted to pipe and hoseclips…so far no issues. We have also put together a large floor frame upstairs and a celing frame to match to house the insulation and to attach the plasterboard to…which obviously required a high volume of screws (unless you are Bulgarian then you DSCF2726use 12 inch nails) – unlike the UK where you can just buy a box of screws, here you buy them singly or by weight….and imagine the frustration after watching the woman behind the counter count out 300 of one size and 200 of another, only to get home and find that approx 250 of them are bent … now where did I put that decanter…but we managed and the bedroom is coming on a treat!

Shelby on a frosty morning walk
Shelby on a frosty morning walk

So you can see why we have a little whinge now and again and why that leads inevitably to rather a lot of wine…and I haven’t even mentioned the radiators that are some white, some off white and the astonished look on the sales guy’s face when you say you want them all the same colour…or the fact that we are constantly expecting snow that never materialises or the infuriating inability of people (not all of course) to properly care for and give food and shelter to their animals…on the plus side of this it means we have now filled the enormous hole left by Diesel with a little devil dog called Shelby. He is the cutest, cleverest and most energetic dog ever invented – two days in and we’re shattered while he is just waiting for the next adventure!! Seriously though he is fab and settling in really quickly so good can come out of bad and inevitably does out here…usually after a glass or two of red!!

DSCF2730

Whinge over – onto the wine – well it is xmas …. nearly 🙂

Snow, Barney and Halloween

The walnut grove at the front of our house
The walnut grove at the front of our house
Spot the Winnie
Spot the Winnie

I returned to being a five year old again this last week as the first snowfall hit our village – we had around 10 inches in total, some areas had more and all they predicted was snow flurries…I’d hate to see it when they predict a blizzard!! Well it made the house and garden look lovely for a while as it covered up all the crap we have lying around, but also broke a couple of trees at the bottom of our field, which still need to be cleared up properly – they were plum trees of which I have lots so no big loss, just I probably wouldn’t have chosed those ones to take down. DSCF2584The dogs (especially Kia) loved every minute of it – jumping through it, rolling in it and chasing snowballs, generally being a puppy again (even though she has just turned three) – after the sadness of losing Diesel it was nice to see the others having so much fun.

Barney's new family
Barney’s new family

Oh and then there is Barney – remember him, the little bedraggled, matted and emaciated fellow that turned up on our doorstep – well he has had all his vaccinations, been castrated, transported over to the UK and is now Barneynewhome3on trial with his very own family. I am so pleased I was able to do a little to help this lovely little guy and cannot thank Twitchy Noses enough for doing the rest…now its up to Barney and I have every confidence in him settling in just fine.

Shirley
Shirley

As you know we are still living out of boxes and bin bags here and until our rooms upstairs are finished this will continue to be the case and that is just fine until you get invited to a Halloween party (costume required) and having spent all the run up to it running backwards and forwards to vets surgeries (there’s nothing like the loss of a pet to make you completely paranoid about the ones you have left) giving yourself one hour to get bathed and dressed…as what?

witch

 

I did wrestle with the idea of going as a pumpkin as I had a particularly nice orange skirt that I wanted to wear – an orange “kangaroo poo” t-shirt – and some sort of mop on my head. I figured nobody would know what I was supposed to be so canned that! My neighbour had already mentioned she was going as a ghost so that ruled out throwing a sheet over my head (and once I saw her effort I could never have competed anyway) so in the end I opted to go as a witch – I got to wear my orange skirt (which incidentally I have not been able to wear for some time due to excess baggage in the tummy and thigh area (for that read – being too fat)) so I was extrememly happy about that. I put a long flowing black thing over it to represent a kind of cape and then shoved a funnel inside a beanie hat to great effect (even if I say so myself).

IMG_20141031_164755IMG_20141031_163937What I wasn’t expecting was the absolutely incredible effort that Olia and Vlodia had gone to in all aspects of the evening. They had dressed their house brilliantly with cobwebs, spiders, balloons, rats and mice. They IMG_20141031_164746had created spooky food – severed fingers (sausages and nuts), worm ridden sausages (black spaghetti wound through them), eyeballs, worm infested pudding, rat infested cheeseboard.

Christine brought over games to play, which took me back to my childhood as we dunked for apples then snuffled for chocolate treats in a tray of flour – the picutres speak for themselves, the costumes were fantastic, the food and decorations amazing and the company just perfect.

The evening was rounded off by watching The Addams Family – amazed I’d never seen it, but it was just the right amount of gruesome comedy to finish on – all this washed down with a fair amount of wine and vodka and a short walk (stagger) back to my own house.

DSCF2289=1And to make things even better this week – Dan set off back home yesterday – I can’t wait to see him, it has not been the easiest of times since he left, but I hope that things return to normal once he’s back!!

Emotional Times

Our little manThis is the hardest blog episode I have ever had to write and that is why I have delayed it a little, to give me and my heart time to recover. You see at noon on the 11th October we lost our little man, Diesel, to a disease we had no idea he had. He had carried no symptoms for the six months plus that he had been with us and in fact showed now signs of illness at all until Wednesday afternoon when he was a little off colour.

Dan and the man

Dan departed for the UK on the following day and I promised that if he wasn’t any better by Friday that I would take him to the vets. Friday morning came and he was as perky as anything, barking verociously at our builder (his favourite game) and playing with Kia, but when I came to walk him in the afternoon he just lay down and refused to move. Now he may be a seven month old puppy, but he still weighed around 30 kilos and there was no way I could get him to or into the car, so he lay down in the lounge and I called the mobile vet.

Diesel in the weeds

He came at 9.30am the following morning and took blood for tests – the results came back positive for Ehrlichiosis a tick borne disease at 1pm – he died in my arms an hour earlier. Here we are 12 days on and I still blame myself for not doing something differently and there is nothing that anyone can say that will make me think differently, however this little man loved his life (however short) with us and we loved him and whatever happened, whatever mistakes were made, his time with us was definitely preferable to him dying alone, cold and hungry in the box where he was found.

The furry family

In time we will get another puppy, probably in spring as winters here can be harsh. The new puppy will be a new playmate for Kia, as she has been grieving hard over the loss of Diesel, and will be a new addition to our lovely family, it will not be a replacement for our little man as I don’t think we will ever find another like him, he was so unique.

The really little man on his arrival
The really little man on his arrival
Buried under our apple tree
Buried under our apple tree

He arrived terrified and covered in fleas, bonded with Kia instantly and decided very quickly that anyone that wasn’t me or Dan was to be defended against. He was fiercely loyal, extremely protective and loving – I will always miss his Diesel kisses and his enormous front paws (usually muddy) in my lap first thing in a morning. RIP little man!!

IMG_20141014_150523As everything in life that comes to try us, you have to push through it and move on so having taken a couple of days out to cry, wail and generally state how unfair it all is, I have since kept myself busy. I got the opportunity of some work dismantling a barn and jumped at the chance, it got me away from the house and it turns out that hard physical exercise is a great coping tool – it’s not doing my back that much good though. So we have removed and stacked about 2000 tiles from IMG_20141015_150850the roof, taken off all the lats and rafters and removed nails from any of the good, reuseable wood. The banter has been good, the music has been terrible but the beer at the end of the day – pretty much essential.

IMG_20141019_124547Work has not stopped on our place either – Dan had finished floorboarding the upstairs prior to his departure, so I have started the sanding process – the main bedroom being my priority as I have a resident mouse in the room I have been sleeping in – actually I’m probably kidding myself it is just the one! So having sanded the bedroom I moved our spare mattress up there and set some traps … I don’t appear to be an expert in mouse catching as the traps (4 nights on) are still set and being completely ignored… I do like my new room though as you can lie in bed and look out at the stars, it is stunning.

I have also been out a couple of times, once a treat from friends, which was most kind although I think Kia ate more than I did and then again to Trafalga Day celebrations with our Russian friends in the village, where once again Helena outdid herself with the selection of food and drinks available, the company around the table was fabulous…although I think I may have talked a little too much yet again!!

DSCF2561DSCF2562My next task is to empty my ‘crap’ wood shed, chop it all up for kindling and stack it in with the ‘good’ wood next to the dog pen – I have started this task but despite a whole day of working on it, you can hardly tell I’ve touched it…I think it may be a bigger job than I had anticipated.

DSCF2567Ah well as you see life goes on and the work doesn’t go away, but today is raining and the temp has dropped by double figures, so I’ve lit the fire in the kitchen which feeds the radiators and stuck a sausage and pork casserole in its oven…my first meal on my new stove and it is looking pretty damn good even if I do say so myself. (Oh my God I’ve just tasted it…you really should be here, it is delicious)!!

so onwards and upwards – I will spend today transferring this blog from this address to a new location so it is also ‘goodbye’ to wordpress.com – let’s hope I don’t cock things up royally and lose everything…keep your fingers crossed for me and see you on the other side.

DSCF2521

 

 

 

 

JD xx

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Whirlwind week…

Firstly I must apologise for being tardy in writing this episode – it has been a time of “too much to do – too little time” and seeming to take 3 steps forward and 2 steps back, although I guess that is still progress of sorts…

DSCF2462Of course our focus is winter, so we bought a whole lamb I butchered it and bagged it up into the freezer…we were going to keep the skin and have a go at tanning, but if I’m completely honest the weather was still hot and the thought of scraping the inner layer of sheep fat off the skin in the sunshine didn’t fill me with glee, so we filed that idea…still we have plenty of lamb in our newly bought chest freezer, however not nearly enough of everything else.

Dan and Jane being Dan and Jane when we went to pick up a small chest freezer, to supplement the already sizeable fridge/freezer we have, on arrival at the store said “I wonder how big a freezer you can fit in the back of a BMW tourer”…the answer is a bloody big one that will take months of hard work and money to fill…but that’s the one we brought home!

DSCF2481Paul has been working on getting our guttering ready for the rain – in amongst some horrid dental issues…I don’t do dentists so I DSCF2487sympathise big time, but we are nearly there. The bath is in upstairs and is useable, the toilet is in but the drainage is only part complete (my job for this week), the sink is in and functional and all the floors are now boarded completely. We have also acquired a sander, just in case I get bored 🙂

The second half of the central heating system is complete and in fact tonight we lit the Petchka for the first time and not withstanding a few teething problems it appears we have heating throughout the whole house, which is amazing.

Tim BeauchampsAmongst all the renovations we have also had Tim’s funeral to attend, something I was particularly dreading, however it was quite a pleasant event despite the circumstances and Helena (his wife) had chosen a wonderful spot for his ashes to lay in the local village cemetery. Our encounters were few yet he had a way of impacting on your life… we will miss him as will many others.

IMG_20141001_111127During the wake, the mayor of our village, Xristo, invited us to attend a celebration at the ‘Pensioners Club’ the following day, so Dan at the ripe old age of 28 is now a honourary pensioner…I would say the food, laughter and good company was worth the accelerated aging but although good, I’m not sure it was that good…the home-made liquor was pretty outstanding though I must say.

IMG_20141001_111137IMG_20141003_123351We also had Shirley’s 79th Birthday (our neighbour) and went to lunch with the girls – a really lovely meal in our local town with starters, main course, pudding and wine – six of us ate, only 5 of us paid and it came to about £7 each…incredible. All this food and alcohol its a wonder anything gets done.IMG_20141003_135001

This week we are preparing for Dan’s return to the UK or rather my shopping list for him to bring back…I miss gravy granules and oxo cubes the most I think, so my next blog will be a solo affair…I wonder how much will get done whilst he’s away!?!

Speak soon,

JD x

Roller Coaster Ride

Barney's arrival - so thin and matted fur
Barney’s arrival – so thin and matted fur

This week or so has been a real roller coaster of emotions. First we find this little bedragled dog in our field, who follows us home, he was emaciated,
covered in fleas and fur that had matted up into clumps so much he could hardly walk. We gave him food and water, bought him a flea collar, cut off his

Asleep under the apple tree
Asleep under the apple treewalk. We gave him food and water, bought him a flea collar, cut off his 

matted fur, called him Barney and introduced him to our bunch. This was one step too far as only one out of the three even gave him a chance and he was certainly not in any state to stand up for himself.

Cheeky monster :-)
Cheeky monster 🙂

We knew straight away we couldn’t keep him so set about finding him a foster home through TwitchyNoses and Rachel Gawith. She was extremely helpful but
we needed to get his blood tests done to make sure he was healthy enough to be given a new home – one week later he had found a place in my heart, he
DSCF2390followed me around all day, learnt his name, how to sit, give his paw and get down…such an intelligent little man. We then had to drive him across the
DSCF2360-1mountains to his foster home with a lovely lady, Ive and despite knowing I’d done the right thing for Barney, I still cried like a child all the way
home … more for my loss than his.

He has now been castrated, will be vaccinated this week and is booked to travel to the UK mid October to his forever home. I can’t wait to see him
settled in a real family … he truly deserves it.

 

DSCF2407As Barney departed the household, so Cookie entered – only a few weeks old – cute but I decided that she could only stay if
DSCF2409 she lived o

utside…and gets on with the dogs (or learns to avoid them) – well a few days in and she is already in the house and drinking out of the dogs water bucket … under the watchful eye of Kia (our Akita x East Asian Shepherd) – seems like she is now part of the family.

central heating testing system
central heating testing system

DSCF2386So with all the coming and going of strays in the village, the house renovations had to absorb a bit of a delay…although we have managed to build a
wall between toilet and corridor upstairs, test our central heating system (out of 35 connections – only 3 leaks), brick up the DSCF2421kitchen fireplace,
plasterboard half our lounge and move the sofa in for a much deserved rest today.

DSCF2410We also went for a bit of drive in the car this morning, just to get away from the dust and the plaster for a little while and as always when we leave
the confines of the house, it suddenly strikes me how lucky we are to DSCF2412be living in such a beautiful part of the world.

Our village :-)
Our village 🙂

I am really looking forward to
next year when we will have time to explore a little more…perhaps with friends.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho …it’s off to work we go…

DSCF2342DSCF2341Well I haven’t had time to do the promised before and after collage as yet…it has been all go here as usual. The plumbing for the upstairs bathroom and toilet is now in place, tested and I’m pleased to announce we have no leaks. The central heating pipes are all in place and will be tested next week once we have mounted the radiators on the walls, hopefully with the same result. DSCF2345We have bought our new bath, sink and toilet, which still need to be hooked up and set in place but it won’t be long before we have a working bathroom upstairs and I’m stupidly excited about decorating and dressing this room…we did find an old wine barrel that I wanted (note the I in that sentence) to restore and put the sink on…apparently I have admitted defeat and will be building a nice square cabinet instead…between you and me I think this may just be a temporary solution!! DSCF2337Ashim has continued in the main lounge to work his magic with the render and unfortunately for him he seems to have got right inside my head…I described what I wanted and he has more than excelled himself, I’m delighted with the result so far and once the stones have been pointed up properly I know it will be amazing. The difficult thing will be deciding on colours to ensure the room stays light but gives warmth too as this will be where we spend the majority of our time in the winter. icebucketI have also completed my ice-bucket challenge and donated some money to TwitchyNoses charity here in Bulgaria – they help stray and wounded dogs on the streets and carry out neutering programmes as a preventative tactic. I know the money will go to helping local dogs and local people so this seemed more appropriate for me being as I have three rescue dogs of my own. Anyway the video is here if you want a giggle (https://www.facebook.com/turningsimpledifficult) – I did it in the river next to our house and the water was so so cold, so cold I could hardly speak, but with the beautiful sunny weather here I was soon dried off and back to work. It has made me want to get the kayaks out again though, maybe to take them up to the local reservoir and have some fun…I’ll have to mention this to the boss!! DSCF2339So since my last blog we have achieved quite a lot I think…we have even painted our first wall!! We do seem to have done nothing but work, but I go to the local market on a Tuesday and pick up my veg and I regularly visit the DIY shop in town…so much so I actually have a rolling discount arrangement with them now…but this has been pretty much the only time we have left the house and you know what, I haven’t even noticed DSCF2344(until I wrote this). I think my only complaint about this house (and it will get fixed in time) is the outdoor sink…I am using this on a daily basis and I think it was made for use by a 3ft midget as it absolutely kills my back, more than any digging or drilling or plumbing. So one day this delight of a structure will get attacked with a lump hammer and rebuilt further back from the house and higher up from the ground. For now though…that’s all folks x