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Friday, 9 August 2013

Driving in towns.....

Well, I'm glad I don't have to do it. If anything is going to make us cross it's this.We try to be organised and use the sat nav as well as looking on the internet so we know vaguely what we are looking for. But we always have an anxious time when going somewhere new. Here in Bulgaria, apart from the well of Bulgarian drivers, the signs and lack of road markings make it difficult to concentrate on where you are going. Combine that with faded pedestrian crossings every few yards, and at every junction and roundabout, it's a nightmare. The pedestrians are very bold at the crossings, many a time they appear from nowhere just as you approach and dash on to the crossing knowing they have the right to do so, scary!

We had to go into and through a town which we have only ever used for supermarkets on the outskirts. We got a bit lost on the way, but were still in good humour when we reached our destination. We were looking at woodburners. We have decided on one with an oven for the living room/kitchen, which will be ideal for leaving stews and rice puddings in, and bread and jacket potatoes and.....well, useful in a power cut. We have decided against central heating as we will only be using a couple of rooms in winter, but are getting a small burner for the large landing upstairs, which will keep the bedroom warm and also the other two and bathrooms above freezing. If it doesn't work we will have a re-think for next year. It turns out, however, although it was the factory showroom we were in, they don't deliver, don't fit and only take cash! Thank goodness they had someone who spoke English or they would have had difficulty getting that across. Eventually they gave us directions to their shop in the town who do deliver and fit. Seemed simple enough. But no, we went here there and everywhere, threatened people on crossings, made others cross by going too slowly, messed up at junctions we didn't know were there, (no markings, signs turned around) Eventually we decided to look out for a bank we could stop at or ATM machine to get cash and return to the factory, who are now closing for a two week holiday. Cue more hair tearing out and getting lost, cross words and then the decision to go home! What a waste of time. We will try another town where it looks easier to find the shop. And so it will begin again....

We have had another delivery of wood for our non-existant burners though, and the wood barn is looking reassuringly full. This lot was already split, but the pieces are much larger than the one Dave has cut. Luckily the wood burners tell you what size logs they take.

I am getting a bit worried about my chickens not laying. The friend who gave them to us says all their siblings are laying well now, and we have had not a single egg! They look wonderful, and Sevi obviously agrees, especially Venus and Silver....he obviously likes big girls. The two new scrappy looking hens are laying well. But they are a funny lot. When we got the new Shumens we had decided they were going to reside in the second vermin proof shed and have access to the chook paddock in rotation, as my chooks would still have their smaller run under the trees. For some reason Dave put them all together the first morning and that is where they still are. They happily wander between the two sheds, and have two others they can use if they feel inclined, too. They have a patch hosed down every day, once the sun is off it, so they can scratch and bathe in cooler, damp earth. Spoiled they are, so why should they bother going to the effort of laying eggs? Surprisingly, when they troop off to bed at night, the Shumens go into 'their' shed and my girls into their's. Seeing that Sevi likes his big girls this is odd.

The harvesting continues, but Dave noticed that the neighbours were stringing peppers up to dry in the sun so we thought we would give that a go. I was worried it might attract flies, but it doesn't. Don't know what we are going to do with them mind, apart from planting some seeds for next year. We have more than enough in the freezer and if it was up to me I would leave all the rest to the wildlife or give them away, but as we didn't plant them we are stuck with them. Any surplus next year will go to a car boot sale.
I am very pleased with my shelves, though I have to admit, after filling them, I don't know how I fitted all that stuff in the small cupboards. He also made a gate to stop Bella going in to the chicken run for poo, and a small pen for any chick which hatch, as well as a sturdy hand rail for me by the steps into the garden. How often I forgot that the old one wasn't attached!
We are trying to eat more watermelon as the Bulgarians do, to help keep us hydrated. But it will take a year or two to get used to the way they eat here. I just get fed up with things really quickly. Too used to having plenty of choice in the supermarkets. The chooks love them though, and get hydrating fruits in the afternoon.
There is a car boot sale locally tomorrow so we might go along to see what sort of stuff they sell. Not because we like car boot sales, but we are thinking ahead to next year, and what we might be able to sell to ex-pats looking for memories of home. We'll see.

I have seen a few Colorado beetles lately, which is a nuisance. They are a problem over here and can ruin your potato crop. Apparently the trick is in the timing of your planting, another thing to learn, so that the beetles are at their least active when your plants are most bushy. One way of control, according to an internet source, is to go round your plants with a hand held vacuum and suck the emerging grubs up before they do too much damage. I'd love to know what Venka would think of that!

One of the village dogs went for the girls this morning, something that we have been worried about. The girls only have one walk a day here, partly because of the heat during the day, and partly because they can be as active as they want to be all day in the garden, following us around as we do our various jobs. Dave always carries a trecking stick with him as it has been known for packs of dogs in Bulgaria and Romania to attack people with dogs on leads, and there is no way I would take them out. If Dave has to go away for any reason they will be confined to the half acre here. As it is I worry when the neighbours' dog gets off it's chain and comes in to the garden, but most of the dogs are cowards at heart and totally un-socialised so are easily chased off. The neighbours are building up their wall in readiness for us to be declared competent to be left to our own devices, and we will be repairing the fences between us and the other neighbours once the vegetation has died off in winter and we can see what we are doing.


  1. Love reading your blogs Sara, you certainly haven't chosen "The easy life" so far but it is so interesting for us to read about another way of life, keep on blogging x

  2. Great stuff like the last photo, really brings it home that BG is way behind in some things, like the dried peppers method.

  3. Your blogs are getting longer Sara, you definitely getting the hang of this 'writing' scenario! I was wondering whether you have any time off because you both seem to be very busy bees? Glad the hens are laying which you are obviously delighted about and means they have settled very well with you. Another food source and reason to get the Recipe book out for more of your delicious food. The photos are very clear and it's a joy to read about your new life. XX

  4. Thank you all for your comments. I have to admit I am enjoying writing and taking pictures, and it's always lovely to get feedback. And yes, we are busy, but we are doing the sort of stuff we love to do and if, like the last few days, it is too hot, we do nothing much but watch chickens and write on this till it cools down. And I have to admit it is nice to have eggs from 'my' chickens, rather than the Shumens, which go into the incubator. I will make a cake to celebrate. Or a quiche. Or something! S