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Saturday, 3 August 2013

Waterfalls and taxes..


 Yesterday we went in to our local town to register and pay the municipal tax on the car and to find out about the council tax on the house. We picked up our interpreter as there would be forms to fill in in Bulgarian. The first part went OK and tax paid for the car, which was very low considering the age and size of engine. When it came to the house, however, we were told by the very stern lady that it was not registered to our names and we would have to pay a fine of between 100 and 1000 levs as it should have been done when we bought the house. Heck, we thought, or something like that. It is very hard to keep track of what has to be registered where and taxed here there and everywhere. The car has had import tax, road tax, registration fee and municipal tax. None of it comes to much, all bits and pieces, but you don't get bills or reminders for anything, you just have to remember to pay them all.....or get fined! So we were given forms to fill in, and when we had sat at a booth to do this, lady came across all beaming smile and told us it was fine, the house was registered to us but not by name, by number. So no fines as tax had been paid too, and two scraps of paper were handed over with hand written numbers, to keep safe so we had them to pay next year's taxes in April. Thank goodness we had taken Valli with us, we could never have sorted it ourselves. And all for about 8 quid and picking her up and taking her home. Bargain!

So, only the internal stairs and heating to sort out and we are ready for all winter can throw at us!

The new chickens are laying well, and we now have seven eggs for the incubator. They will be going in next week, and we hope we will get at least some hens out of them, un-related to Sevi.

We had a second day off from tomatoes today. I made the decision not to do any more bottling of sauce, we have plenty to keep us (and the village!) going till next year. Talking to interpreter Valli yesterday we all have the same problem. Because of the rain in June there have been bumper crops of produce, and she and her family and neighbours are also sick of the sight and taste of courgettes and tomatoes, and bottling the mountains they are picking. It's nice to be in the same boat as the Bulgarians.
On the top shelf we have jams and bottled soft fruits, with apples to come, second shelf is chutney and pickles, third and fourth is tomato sauce, solid pack tomatoes and lutinitza. In the black bag is a kilner jar in which I am trying salted beans. I don't like frozen French or runner beans and some people say they keep their texture better when salted, so giving it a try with the excess French beans (ants permitting) which I can add as they become available. The jar was the one with the cucumber chutney in, which I tried and still found revolting, though not as bad as when it was fresh, and threw it away. There was no way we were ever going to eat it.
So today we decided to take a trip to Lidl as I have run out of freezer bags and they seem to be the only place around here to get them. We set off early to try to catch some raptors which frequent the stubble fields on the back road. Unfortunately the road was rather busy, but we did see a few, only two were close enough for a decent picture though. Looks like buzzards, but we have seen eagles in these fields. We also saw the (maybe) jackal that I have seen in the same area, but again, too far away for a photo and when we tried to get nearer we were thwarted by huge lorries using the back roads.

We need to send these photos to Dave's ex-colleagues for ID, along with the blurred eagly things.

I am desperate to get photos of some trees that are flowering at the moment, a very strange time of the year, but there was no way of stopping when we were near them today. Despite the heat (between high 30s and low 40s) the countryside still looks amazing, very green and flowery, but with a lot of very attractive seed pods.

So then we went on to some waterfalls at Hotnitsa which we had been told were worth a visit. As it was still quite early we thought there would not be many, if any, people there. It was certainly worth a visit, and we had the place to ourselves for half an hour to take photos. Of course, with water and woodland comes insects. Biting ones.I had sprayed my exposed parts and wore jeans, but Dave had shorts and 'didn't need' repellent. We were both bitten, but mine were mainly on hands and ankles, where Dave was more exposed. It was lovely though and Dave climbed up some ricketty steps to see the source of the water.









There were old fires everywhere where people had cooked meals. Although there were bins there was a lot of rubbish left behind, which is a shame. But all fires were carefully constructed with rings of stone or old bricks from a run down and unused building.
The wildflower meadow and stream were delightful, with birds singing and kingfisher squeaking....and more pesky biting things!






After buying up Lidl (I knew it was a bad idea to go there!) it was home for a luxury lunch of smoked salmon and cream cheese with freshly baked (bought) seeded bread and our own little oasis of bugs and stuff.


A swallowtail on the wall

 Huuuuge spider web
 With huuuuge spider


And while splodging about in the 'pool' cooling off, I was joined by a water boatman and a tiny beige eighteen spot lady bird.

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