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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

We promised ourselves a day off

We have had a busy time one way or another. Dave is forever building and repairing, doing all the heavy work in the garden, looking after the neighbours (he loves his Babas) next door's cats, dogs, geese, me. He has done more painting and is forever messing with the pool, keeping it clean and cool for me (I'm fussy where my sweaty body goes!) Though I think that is an excuse to play in cold water! And, of course, he has the bees which look after themselves mostly.

Myself, I am still having to make jams and chutney, harvesting and processing the goodies from the garden, making cakes (not for us....I'm so off cake these days) Trying to keep the flowers dead headed and tidy. Keeping up with dust and washing. All the usual things.

Last Sunday was busy for us. The car boot sale opens at 8am so it is a good idea to be there well before that. I keep saying I will not be making any more of this or that, but then it sells and I have to top up. Then the plums are ready so jam to be made from them. I froze the rhubarb for another day but I need more jam so........ Anyway, there seemed to be a lot of crates of jams and chutneys, as well as cards and paintings filling the car. Then there is a table, umbrella, two chairs, cool bags, one with perishable and one with cold drinks. This time Dave took along a new painting he has started recently, this time for himself, and planned to do a bit to it while we waited for customers. He is trying a new technique on a clouded leopard and is very pleased with the results, and so he should be as it's looking lovely.
As it was at the sale

Sale day started slowly though there were more stalls than usual. It was a bit sluggish all day but there was a lot of interest in what Dave was doing and it makes people realise that painting a picture actually takes time as well as skill. All those people who think that the equivelent of £20 is a lot for an original one off don't realise the time and materials that go into creating the picture, never mind the skill. They are often quite scathing even though initially they like a picture enough to ask how much it is. It's a bit the same with cards, the largest and most worked card costs just over a pound, which barely covers materials, I only make them because I like to and it's a handy hobby to have when stuck indoors in winter. But to a lot of people that is too expensive. Not complaining, just explaining. Anyway, we did OK in the end and had a few quid to spend on food in the supermarket on the way home.

WE got home around three and sorted the shopping, car and dogs and fowl, chatted with a friend who called in and Dave went off to feed the cats so that we could sit and relax for a while. He was hailed by Venka and she told him it was her birthday and we were invited round for a family get together that evening....9pm, our bed time. Cup of coffee and Skype session with my sister and we were off again.

There were a lot of places set around two tables but no-one else was there. Dave had looked up 'Happy Birthday' in Bulgarian and sang to Venka which delighted her and made her giggle (she is 69) We embarked on a language lesson with the aid of a book Dave bought which is for teaching English to children, so well illustrated. Still no guests. Then there was a scuffle at the gate and Baba Danke from across the lane and her daughter turned up. By ten o'clock there was anxiety about the non-appearance of the family and whoever the other two places were set for. But a phone call from the daughter assured them that they were on the way.

Meanwhile two kittens had followed Baba Danke over from her place. They were gorgeous but then the company was split into two camps...those who like kittens and Jordan who thinks they are a nuisance. Hilarity followed and filled a gap before their daughter, son-in-law, his brother, and their son arrived at about 10.30. After explaining with the son's help, it seems they had been to a funeral in Italy where they spend a couple of months grape picking every year. Their second home. The holiday traffic and weather had been very bad on the way back and it had taken 24 hours to drive, so they were all looking shattered. And they still had a forty minute drive home.

So it was out with the salad and rakia, which the drivers didn't drink of course. Venka then opened the card we had taken round and everyone had a go at reading it, though it was written in larger letters in Bulgarian. It has joined all the other cards we have made them on the table by the TV. Out came a huge plate of stuffed peppers, potatoes and meat for the others, luckily no fried eggs for me this time. Then there were four huge bowls of sweet melon and watermelon, and great hilarity and admiration when Venka explained that we had given her one of our melons before their's were ready. We left at midnight. We had been up since 5 so a very long day.

So that is why we decided to have a 'day off' on Monday. But before we slummed out we wanted to move the hens before they started the important job of laying. Their shed is a bit small for them with cracked walls and uneven floor so ideal for hiding mites. Since the young cockerels went there are only three youngsters in the nursery so we had decided that as we are not intending to raise any more chicks it would be better for all of them, including the Shumen who can move over for the winter. It should be warmer and better insulated and ventilated which will hopefully stop any of them getting frostbitten combs.
A much larger room for all the chooks, with electricity and heating if needed

A piece of glass removed to make way for weldmesh ventilation

Because we have a huge battle with red mite in the old shed, it made sense to clear the nursery out, give it and the nest boxes a good spray, fit more air flow in the door and dust everyone in mite powder before letting them all in. Not  tiny job but we didn't think it would take too long. Of course it was then a race to get it done before anyone wanted to lay. They were all keen to get in there..until they wanted to lay and then they had to complain VERY loudly that the GATE was SHUT and how were they to GET IN to LAY. Such  commotion. To be fair, Chubba and Cagney have never known anywhere else, but the biggest shouter, Pearl, used to live in the nursery. The layers for that day did get their heads round it eventually, and after a bit of SHOUTING from Pearl and Chubba peace reigns again. So morning gone. Just bread to make and washing to do...Then Dave started strimming and I started weeding, then it was thundering so Dave collected the cuttings from outside us and the neighbours...and then it was tea gone!

Last night's thunderstorm was as bad as any we have had in terms of thunder and lightening, though the rain was more steady than torrential. But Bonnie was panting heavily all through and after. It was a very long storm, not just here and gone, and it was very close. So another night when I have been short of sleep.

Today we decided to have that day off. The chooks have laid under protest. I only spent half an hour weeding then dug up a bucket full of carrots, some stuff for the chooks, pulled and cooked beetroot. The carrots needed cooking and mashing for the freezer, except the small ones which are frozen whole.Need to do some more sweetcorn but waiting for the mud to form a crust...but now thunder has started again. Dave has spent time on his painting and is organising some photos of a Westie from the UK, his latest commission. That is why I am doing this, it makes me sit down!
I wish you could see this in real life, it really doesn't do it justice on here...and it is not black and white! It is stunning

I wouldn't give it up for anything.


  1. Your painting really is stunning Dave, what medium did you use?

  2. I am using acrylics to paint the Clouded Leopard using a rigger brush to create the effect of individual hairs which is very time consuming but effective. Much the same method I used to use when doing pen and ink drawing, but with colour this time.

  3. Hard to believe that it is a painting, if you told me that is real fur I would accept it without question. The face is superb, so lifelike that I am sure I saw the eyes move.

    1. Dave thanks you very much. It is on hold at the moment as he has a commission for a Westie, but when it is finished he is thinking of doing a facebook 'auction' as there has been a lot of interest in it. The plan was to exhibit it at the NEWA exhibition next year, but on googling he has found that someone else has used the photo (he did get permission from the owner, not sure about the other person) so he will be doing something else for that, hopefully something Bulgarian. Failing all that I want it on my wall. By the way, it looks better in real life. Very proud of him.