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Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Bills and stuff

Well, here we are with no electricity so back on desktop. It is, apparently, something you have to get used to out here, to some degree, wherever you live. Though some villages are worse than others. During the recent weeks of thunderstorms the electricity was actually switched off rather than risk a lightening strike when it was at it's worst.

Which brings us to bills. I had heard before moving here that if you do not pay a bill on time you can be cut off. The first you know about it is everyone suddenly emerging from their gates to watch someone up the pole disconnecting you. In fact, in our village, and I am sure we are not alone as it is quite large and well populated, you don't actually get a bill for water or electricity. Someone reads the metres (we had our's read soon after moving in) and you go and pay it. We didn't know until we told an ex-pat that we didn't get a bill, and had been waiting to pay. We asked if we can pay locally but he said it was better to go to town as the post office is only able to take payment on one day a month, whereas you can pay any day in town. As we had missed the date Dave went into town to pay at the main post office, worried that we might suddenly be cut off. The person taking the money was a little confused, but told him how much, in Bulgarian, which was 65. Dave assumed this was lev and tried to hand over the money, but it turns out it was stotinki, so about 25p! Red face and wasted time. I doubt they would have cut us off for that! On the other hand........

We don't have a post person either. Dave makes a point of going regularly to the post office for mail, but it seems anyone can pick it up and give it to you when they get round to it. Which might explain why some letters take a few days to come, and others a couple of weeks.

Dave has been tackling the windows. He (and I) are perfectionists and the frames are causing us anxiety. Because they have not been painted for six years, and then only with poor quality paint, the wood has suffered. It is not rotten, but with all the swelling and contracting due to weather conditions and no protection, the wood has gained wrinkles and lines, so you can't get a good finish. All the putty is having to be replaced, and that tends to get very hot in the sun so if painted it bubbles and cracks the paint. But he is getting there and the windows are looking smarter.

 After the rain of the last couple of days the weeds have taken off, so the chooks' paddock has gone green with nettles and the dratted vine. So out with the strimmer again, and while he was at it he has cleared the area around the outside dunny and compost heap by the gate. I have been wittering on about having a compost heap for waste vegetable matter, especially since all the chutney and jam production. We have a huge heap of weeds and vines which dries out too quickly to decompose, and which we will burn in the autumn. It has also exposed the lovely wall, which is now full of escaping crickets. Dave could have his kiwi fruit vine there once we get rid of the weed properly. We have to find out where to buy roundup, the only thing that kills the vine. It's not just a case of going to a garden centre, even if you can find one.

The grape vines have really got a spurt on since they have something to cling on to. The rope is only temporary while we find out where to get proper supports. They will give a measure of privacy along the path once they get going. I am working on getting Dave to get rid of the phormium, but as it was Venka's Mum's, we are a bit reluctant.

The chutney making is continuing. Yesterday it was plum, apple (bought) and windfall pear. Also, we found a dark plum which we thought was fruitless, but they are now showing with ripening, so made a jar of dark plum jam. Had a bit of the left over for breakfast,,,yum.
The tomatoes are coming thick and fast now they have started, and there are lots of fruit on the hundred or so pepper plants, which Venka is not picking yet so I am hoping they will be red ones. The thought of her donating all those green peppers to us is frightening, which makes me feel horribly ungrateful....but they don't like me! I now have Mum's chutney recipes, and the first one to do is hot tomato, which as a side benefit gives you hot tomato ketchup too. Off to market on Wednesday for more jars and garlic. These are BIG tomatoes, the expensive ones in Tesco.

Boonie has coped a lot better with the rain this time round. There were only a few rumbles of thunder, but it has been windy and very heavy rain, which usually sends her into hiding. She hardly bothered this time. We have taken delivery of their Eukanuba dog food, which they love, so that is a relief. If they hadn't liked it at the price........I would have cried! I am weighing up if it would be worth getting a load of the stuff we used to use sent over. Dave did a search and found out you can buy it in several European countries, including Athens, which is not a million miles away. There are other things to think of at the moment, but a thought anyway. When it is hot both girls tend to lie on the cool tiles....right behind where I work in the kitchen. I love that they want to be with me rather than the quiet of the sitting room, but one day I will trip good style.
Venka continues to feed us. After giving us half a dozen large courgettes yesterday, she sent over a plate of fried courgettes with garlic yogurt dressing at nine last night. I knew I shouldn't have eaten them just before bed, but that would have been rude. This is something we often have for lunch. Although I give her chutney from time to time, I wonder what she thinks we do with all the stuff she gives us, rather than eating it.

The chickens are all de-loused and wormed ready to put all their energy into egg production......if ever. Still no sign!

1 comment:

  1. Well done on all your chutney, I make this too, it's great to give to friends as gifts when calling to their homes.