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Thursday, 20 June 2013

Rakia for breakfast.    15-6-2013
We were invited round to lovely neighbour's for 'cafe' at nine this morning. So I thought I would bake a cake to take round as they have been so kind to us. We should have known it would not be as simple as a cup of coffee. The table was laid for five, with the rakia glasses in pride of place as usual. As we sat down, out came a plate of cucumber, tomato and olive salad, and rakia was poured. Not quite what we had thought we were going to be having at 9am! Still, it was a couple of hours since breakfast toast, so we waded through the mountain of vegetables while trying to communicate with the aid of our trusty, and falling apart, phrase book. Plates cleared, more rakia poured and Venka's best friend appeared. The fifth person. Off Venka went again and came back, not just with Maria's salad, but huge slabs of fresh-from-the-oven bread. As I still can't use the internet, I don't know what is is called, but it had egg on top and was delicious, but as always, a huge portion. More rakia and very sweet coffee, which they add even more sugar to, and another person arrived. We didn't catch her name, but she is Jordan's cousin. The coffee was quite interesting. It came as a small frothy tot in the bottom of a mug and was topped up with hot milk and again  as it went down (and more sugar for them) so got milkier as the meal went on. And it did go on. Next there was more rakia (I stopped after one) and a huge slice of the banana cake I had brought poor tummy! Cousin had a smattering of English which was helpful, so we helped each other out. It got a bit embarrassing when Venka was telling them that I was champion cake baker, especially as I had thrown a strop before coming out because the cream cheese frosting had turned into a runny mess and I had to try to save it with the last of my icing sugar. It was incredibly sweet,,,,just as they like it! I put it down to local ingredients being different to what I am used to. Next time they will get courgette muffins, healthy option.
Talking of courgettes, the unusual wet weather we have been having (did I say wet? Puts GB to shame!) has got them producing like you wouldn't believe. And to think last year I had moaned when our's failed completely due to the cold and wet summer. (Yes, I know I'm not keen, but I usually have a plant or two.) When Jordan and Venka came out to tie up the tomatoes on our side, they picked another six large ones for us. I thought I had done well making chutney to get rid of some, and had just handed Venka a large jar (no idea if they eat chutney, but it's sweet, so they will like it) with a diggy hand tool she had admired when we were gardening. They seem to be like me, they love to give but are embarrassed about receiving.
The chooks have settled well, though they have shunned the perches Dave made by sacrificing his scythe handle and the branch which fell from the walnut tree. They take themselves to bed, but huddle in a heap just inside the door. If they continue to do that we will go in after dark and try to get them onto the perches.
We went into the nightmare that is Veliko Turnovo to order a freezer yesterday, and it was delivered two hours earlier than we were told today, at a delivery cost of about two pounds. We were told between two and six, and before the invitation to breakfast Dave had been planning on going to a timber yard for some wood to have in for various projects. It's a good job he didn't go as the freezer would have been dropped at the gate! Only one person on the van, and from what I can gather from others they rarely take appliances to the house. This rather large chap did, luckily, though I don't know how Dave kept hold of his end down steps and up stairs after four rakias. He had just stepped out of his concrete bath on the yard after cooling off too. We had to have the freezer unwrapped in the shop to inspect the condition before paying for it, so it had to be re-wrapped for delivery. A different world.
We were hoping to have some chicks hatched out today, but it is not looking very likely. Some definitely developed, but with all the power cuts we have had in the storms, and the egg turner breaking, it looks as if we may have lost them. Such a shame if we have. We will give them a couple more days but if not we will have to find some more eggs locally if we ever get on to the internet.
And speaking of the internet, the chap we saw about it has not been in touch, nor has this Dave chap he mentioned, so we are no further forward. I didn't realise I would miss it so much.
The beans we planted just so we could have something we have grown ourselves sprouted and grew strongly, only to be nipped off by something. I am surprised they had not been washed away in the storms as one of the down pipes, which just empty on to the land as there are no drains, empties just where everything is planted. But yesterday there were both types of beans, peas, carrots, chard and radish up and growing well. Haven't been to look yet today. We need some dry weather, not just for them, but also because I need to get picking some fruit.
Still loving it here.

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