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Monday, 10 February 2014

Missed the 100th post

I was keeping an eye on how many posts I had done since starting the blog, but with Venus leaving us I forgot. So here we are on the 101st. Ah well.

The cockerel who went to a new home (named Bluey it seems) has settled with his new ladies. He needed to be shown where to go to bed the first night but that is sorted now. The second boy was collected next day and he was left to get to know his ladies and was next seen on next door's barn roof! He was caught OK and we have not heard any bad things since so hopefully he is also settled. The trio are supposed to be going at the end of the week which leaves tha black one still here.

Unfortunately Black Boy ended up the wrong side of the fence yesterday and was set upon by Sevi. He has a habit of sitting on the gate which was swaying as the catch was not on, and as he flew off he lost direction. There was a commotion and Sevi had him caught in the fence and was telling him off, though he was more vocal than physical and no harm was done. But Black boy thinks he's a bit 'ard and is inclined to swagger, so to see him a quivering wreck was a bit sad. After I rescued him he went into his shed and sat on the highest perch with his back to the world, sulking. I think he felt ashamed at acting such a wuss. By the time I got the camera he had come round and was trying to get rid of the blue bracelet we have put on him. Today he is back to swaggering....

Today we have had an outing. We went into the city of Veliko Tarnovo to find the art shop our Russian neighbour had told us about. She is a painter too. The shop is in the ancient part of the city (which was once tha capital) where we had stayed when house hunting last March. It was a lovely day and after a quick visit to Praktiker for a new loo seat we set off, in trepidation, to find a car park in the old town. We tried the small one by the hotel we stayed at, but no chance and we then had to get out without smashing up the parked cars. Off we went to another parking area, but from what we could make out we needed a permit. Getting anxious by now, but went round and tried another area. There we were rescued by a chap selling tickets...saved! Very cheap, and you by tickets by the whole hour, so we bought three tickets for just over a quid. Another hurdle overcome, we will know next time.

The art shop was close to the parking and Dave managed to get what he wanted very reasonably so happy boy. The paints are well respected Italian ones and a very good price, recommended for murals as it has vinyl content, which is interesting.....

Off we went to see what time the restaurant opens. As we were looking at the menu outside we were ushered in by a waiter who had started working there the week we were house hunting a year ago. Although it was only 11.30am and he was the only staff there, nothing was too much trouble and water and coffee was quickly brought out. The glasses here are a pleasure to drink from, good quality, thin and sparkling clean. The restaurant is considered one of the best fine dinng restaurants in VT with a very good reputation, but when we visited last year we thought it a lovely, friendly restaurant and quite cheap! I have no wish to go to a five star gourmet restaurant anywhere, this does me just nicely.

Coffe first, we were parched!
 Quality furnishings, one of the dining rooms
 Stunning ceiling

We started with a plate of five Bulgarian salads with garlic bread. The salads were cucumber and yogurt, mashed sirene cheese, aubergine puree with tomato, cold mashed potato and sirene and peppers with yogurt. It maybe doesn't sound exciting written down, but it is very well put together and very tasty....and we had had it before. The garlic flatbread was yum! We were stuffed but couldn't waste any.

Then Dave had Bulgarian lamb with mushroom rice (thankfully, hot!) and salad, and I had my favourite, baked trout with saute potato and onion. The trout was dusted with lightly spiced crumbs and toasted almonds, beautiful. The trout is much nicer than any I have had before, and pale, not pink.

The service is amazing, very attentive but discrete, polished cutlery arrived as needed and handled with cotton gloves, lemon wipes provided, no waiting, no pushiness. The waiter, who didn't have a word of English last time we saw him, was happy to use what he had learned as we were to use what little Bulgarian we had. Altogether very enjoyable. And all for just over £18! Bargain.
We went to a bakery we know and bought a loaf. It cost about 40p, and the idea was to find out what a loaf of bakery bread cost, as a few people have asked if I would make them some of my flavoured bread and they would pay for it. But there is no way I can compete with those prices, it would cost three times that for ingredients. We will enjoy some bought bread for a change tonight though.

Then we called in to get a couple of half litre hand made casserole pots. They were the princely sum of £3.40 the pair. We have been extravagant today! But we have lots of anniversaries and Valentine's day to celebrate so have done it all at once.

On the way home we called in at the river just for a walk. Dave was desperate to go in for a dip, but as I was so anxious that the shock of snow melt water might not do him much good he reluctantly agreed to wait till it's warmed up a bit. Someone had had a fire and a feast of cockles, but we are a long way from the sea.

Frozen pond
 Looking wistful
 Cockle shells

It seems young Jordan, the neighbours' grandson has just had a bithday, so when we came back we were brought some of the celebration bread, so we should have enough for a couple of days now...and I can be out enjoying the sun! For now, I will light the fire and relax.

I would like to thank everyone who regularly reads these ramblings, and the new readers who have recently started and sent lovely comments. Thank you all for encouraging me to carry on and I am sure we will soon be busy enough to have something more exciting to write about.


  1. The restaurant looks nice and it is good to find a place that is consistently good for your treats. That bread looks yummy and is very cheap, a loaf similar in Asda is 80p and at our local bakers is probably nearer £3, which is a big treat we don't have very often. Eating out here is considerably more than you are paying, we can't afford to do it very often and Nev has been paid for recently for his Birthday treat. The casserole pots are really nice and it is always a handy thing to put from oven to table. Love to both XX

  2. It's exciting now. It doesn't all need to be about the garden. Knowing about the local town, your village and its inhabitants is very good reading.

    1. Since yesterday the snow has almost gone and lots of bulbs have come up under the snow and onions and garlic are visible from a distance. Dave is topless in the sun. How quickly things change. Our neighbours are keeping an eye on what we are doing........and the birds are singing a different song. Can't wait to see what will happen next.

  3. WOW that is an amazing restaurant, and the food looked delicious!! I am shocked by the prices - what a deal! that loaf of bread looked YUM!!!
    Love your posts!!

    1. It is amazing Debbie, and we had no idea when we were house hunting that we were eating every day in one of the top restaurants. But because the food is 'proper' food and based on Bulgarian cuisine it seems quite homely to us. Their vegetable bakes are lovely, but not what you would expect in fine dining in the UK, no poncy mini portions either. But although fairly hushed and very proper, they used to do whatever they could to make these scruffy Brits happy, even when they were booked out, even the courtyard, on Lady's Day last March they found us a table at the top of the building, near the kitchen. It didn't occur to us to book but they would not turn us away. First time I had ever had truffle risotto, it was amazing.

      I quite enjoyed the bread for a change, but Dave wasn't keen, he said mine is better, more body and tastier. Not quite sure how to take that!lol