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!!


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

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  • I’ve never actually read a blog before. I’ve skimmed bits and pieces and sped read some stuff, but I’ve never actually read a blog before.

    Mainly because I doubt the value they’re given as a marketing tool and want to be proved wrong. Personally because I tend to find them dull, self indulgent and sometimes bordering smug or self pitiful.

    But this is bloody great! I read it all and i just love it 🙂

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