There was an error in this gadget

Sunday, 13 October 2013

They keep switching us off!

Well, the internet is down again, so might as well update the blog. We are starting to get fed up now. We have cable internet and apparently it should have good connections unless there are any major works happening. But it goes off for a period most days now. It used to be very good until we had a few stormy days a month or so ago and since then we have had problems. Not just us, others too. And we are paying top whack. We will have to investigate. It is amazing how cut off you feel if you have no way of contacting the outside world. Considering I was brought up without a telephone, and the first years of (first) married life we didn’t have one, even though we lived in a remote village in N Wales, I really feel it now.

The water was only off for one day after all. It really did not make any difference to us, except I forgot at bed time when it came to washing and teeth!

Autumn has come to the village, despite the heat, with the trees around the church and springs turning the most incredible yellow. I can’t decide on a photo so will put a few on.

 Guardian of the springs

People have been complaining of a plague of ladybirds. We haven’t had that many, but more than usual. So far five different colourways have visited our landing window. We have black spots on red, orange with loads of spots, darker orange with less spots, bright yellow with masses of spots, and black with orange spots and white cheeks.Although they will bite, they make a nice change from the wasps, which have become very sluggish and touch wood, fewer. The grasshoppers and crickets have re-appeared, much to Bella’s delight. And on the subject of insects, these bad boys have been coming into the house. They are about an inch long.

The big chicks have been allowed some time in the big run, after shutting the adults away. Only the blue ones have ventured far. The boy is proving to bereally feisty! I think he might be going to Barry in Plovdiv in spring, though we wanted to keep him as he is not related to Sevi. We will see how he turns out.

We had a poorly rat in the run this morning. They are pretty little things, not at all like the ugly great things we used to have around the stables. He wasn't poorly long. 
We ordered some seed from a UK firm a couple of weeks ago as we have some money in PayPal to use up. They arrived within ten days at very reasonable cost considering the charges we have been quoted from other sellers. So a big thank you to vegetableseeds who also sent two extra packs free. Unfortunately they were for tomatoes (and regular readers will know how I feel about them right now!) and sunflowers, massive fields of which surround us in this large sunflower oil producing country. Never mind it was a nice gesture. 

A neighbour has expressed an interest in buying fresh veg from us once we get going, I think she has designs on my purple sprouting broccoli! I think there may be an opening to make a few pennies with British favourite veg if I can persuade them to grow. I have parsnips, swede, sprouts and lots of psb for next year, as well as French and runner beans and peas. The frozen peas in the supermarkets are like bullets, and stay that was however long you boil them. I notice there are some in the bottled mixed veg Venka gave us recently, so they would need to be pretty hardy to cope with that.

Off to plant some anemones for spring now. We know there are daff and tulip bulbs in the wall border, but have no idea if they flower. We will wait and see as daff bulbs tend to be a bit expensive. But I have two types of the anemones, the tall ones for cutting and the small daisy type for naturalising. We hope to get some more roses as they do so well here, they are still flowering well at the moment. The rest of the flowers will be the cottage garden varieties which seem to do quite well. And we will get some cannas too.....oh dear, I must stop!

NEXT DAY.........

And today the electricity has been off all morning so no internet either. Electricity now on at 11.30 but no internet! Grrr....on a Sunday too, family chat day. Lucky for us it came on last night just in time to set the recorder for Strictly and Casualty. We managed to watch Casualty before seven this morning. As it is also dark and raining, too dark for Dave to do any painting, we have been playing cards outside where the light is better, and watching dogs and chickens. Lucky we have the camping gas ring so coffee not a problem.......and now it’s off again!

We managed to get some nice apples from a tree in our English neighbours’ garden yesterday. So then I had to cook the ones with wrigglers in, so an upside-down apple cake made an appearance. I shall be going out for a couple of quince to add to some to make mint jelly when the rain stops. They are lovely apples but they say we can have them as they don’t go down that end of the garden. (Venka uses it)

The chickens have been allowed more of the garden. We have no problem with the dogs and chickens....Cheran, one of the Shumen hens, has put Bella in her place when she got a bit close for comfort....but for one thing. The dogs follow the chooks who are very generous with their poo. They are totally disgusting and then insist on coming to tell you all about the tasty morsels, makes me heave! But the chooks are enjoying hunting for crickets and grasshoppers, there are not many who venture into the wasteland which is the normal chicken run.

We are still getting walnuts, but as with everything else this year there are too many for us to use. Venka has had a couple of buckets full from us, but I still can’t get over the waste when I see stuff lying on the ground. Time to search the internet for more idea, when I can get back on for more than a few minutes.

After a whole afternoon in the dark we seem to be back on now, fingers crossed.

Recipe for the apple cake.

Put three tablespoons of sugar in a pan with a splash of water over a medium heat. Boil till you have a caramel colour and tip into a greased cake tin. Alternatively you can do this in an oven safe frying pan, but take it off the heat and dip the bottom of the pan in cold water to stop the cooking.

Peel, core and cut into eight enough apples to cover the caramel.

Make a sponge by creaming 4oz butter or spread and 4oz light brown sugar,

Add two eggs, one at a time.

Fold in 4oz self raising flour and half a teaspoon of cinnamon.

Pour over the apples, place pan or cake tin on a tray in case it bubbles over, and bake for about 20 minutes at 180c 350f gas4.


  1. Planning to do the upside down apple cake on Friday having got a load of apples from my cousin. Also have damson( from my cousin in Tarporley) gin on the go together with some sloe gin-found the sloes in the meadow hedgerow in Stockport! Have just got some buttermilk and am planning to have a go at making cheese after seeing your post about making 3 different kinds. Would appreciate your recipe or link!

  2. Having lived in areas without electricity many times over the years, one of the first things I packed in my van was a couple of generators, and an electric halogen cooker. I expect to get a bit of use out of both of them when I arrive in Bulgaria.

    1. We thought about a generator, but decided we would see how things went first. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. o be fair the water and electricity rarely goes off, not like other villages (one down the road has water for only three hours a day) it's just that when it does it seems to be the worst time for us. We don't worry about cooking as we can light the fire and we have retired the incubators so the major problem with cuts is....irritation as we are rarely warned! We spend far too much time on computers when the weather is bad...which is when we are likely to get a cut if at all. By the way, computer connections can range from nil in a village to very good, often (but not always) reflecting how well the village is run. One of the things you will need to be sure of.