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Wednesday, 10 July 2013

What a palava!

We went off to get our residency sorted out yesterday. We had been warned there would be lots of waiting about and queueing, and there was. But I think we came off quite lightly in the end.

We picked up our translator on the way, and I have to say she was definitely worth paying for. She knew exactly what was needed in the way of documentation, though as Dave didn't think to mention there were two of us to be registered, we didn't open a bank account in my name as we didn't know I needed one. You have to prove you have enough money to support yourself and not be a drain on the system (usually a couple of hundred quid!) and we naturally assumed, as in Bulgarian law what we have would be split in half if, for whatever reason, we were parted, that although the bank account is in Dave's name, we are a legally married couple so that should be OK. But this is Bulgaria. Anyway, there was a lot of discussion with the interpreter and the official and it was decided that we should go to the notary (we had to go there anyway) and sign a declaration that I would not be claiming off the state or health system. So drove into town and struggled through the streets to the notary's office (the pavements are lethal, no health and safety here!) to be told there would be at least an hour to wait. So off to another...back the way we had come. Nearly an hour in there while papers are printed and passports and EHIC cards copied, all read back to us as in Bulgarian, and signed. Off to a shop to get them copied (notary won't do this) but while we were in the office a tree was felled outside so we had to go the long way round. Then back to the original office, fill in more forms, pay at the bank, back to the orginial counter. Phew. All the info is on the computer already but they still insist on forms. We can't fill them in as they are all in Bulgarian. So now we have to go back in two days to pick up a card with our names and number, have photos taken and then back weeks later to pick up the ID card. Hopefully that will be that for four years!

On the way back it was a bit sad to see that the sunflowers have already gone over, so no more bright yellow faces. Most of the field crops seem to be in now, with the sunflowers and maize due in soon.

Dave has managed to capture a male oriole on his camera. He is so chuffed. And our neighbour is so jealous. The oriole seemed to pose in just the right spot for a good background, which is lucky as they usually hide in the prolific foliage of the walnut tree. Lovely.

The preserving of veg is carrying on apace. The tomatoes are now in full swing and I am trying to find the easiest way of processing them before the flood gates open. So far, apart from chutney, I have made some into passata and bottled some in their own juice. I'll do this for a while and roast some for the freezer, but we have been told to use three rows of tomatoes as well as peppers, they are our's, Venka says. But there are only two of us and with my arthritis I shouldn't be eating too many tomatoes. As it is we have them fresh every day, I lay awake worrying.....

And the peppers are green. I am at a loss. The aubergines have started now too, and there is okra on the way. OKRA? I don't like okra. Oh dear.
 And surely we don't have to have all the pumpkins and marrows. There must be something else in line for them...isn't there? (Gulp)

I have had to ask Dave to stop bringing me the small plums. We have them stewed and dry packed in the freezer, jammed and cutneyed and now bottled in syrup. Enough is enough. There are still some large, dark ones to come, but thankfully not many. The recent storms have decimated the pears, but I managed to collect enough to bottle one large jar to see if they are worth doing another year.

And another three cucumbers pickled, in slices this time.
The patch Dave has been trying to clear ready for kale and broccoli has been filled. Venka and Jordan spotted the empty patch when we (they) put the leeks in and have now filled it with fifty cabbage plants. That's nearly one a week. They eat a lot of sauerkraut, we don't. I like my veg fresh, as I have said before. It is so kind of them though. Venka has been out this morning to cover them and the leeks with polystyrene to protect them from the sun.

Dave is busy soaking the cardboard from packing boxes. The idea is to make brickettes/balls of compressed cardboard to use as firelighters. What the neighbours will think when they see them drying in the sun I don't know!

The new chickens have been put on hold for six weeks or so. The chap who owns them has them at his parents' place, and he has moved away, so is only there once a month or so. As it is him we are dealing with due to the fact he has a bit of English we will wait. Dave would like to discuss things with him when we pick them up.. Meanwhile our chooks are living the life. Jordan reckons they are still a month off laying. I have no idea how old they are so will have to bow to his experience. However, from what he was indicating he seems to think they are a nice bunch, though will not commit to sexing them. Maybe he is wary of disappointing us. I will be asking the experts on the forum what they think. I have my own ideas, but I hope I am wrong!

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