Thursday, October 16, 2014

Five weeks with someone else's teenagers

13th Julya month since the fire and I arrive home with Paul's youngest 2 children who are staying for five weeks.    When the flights were booked 8 months previously we started making a list of places to visit and things to do with them.   Unfortunately all plans are null and void as rebuilding our home HAS to take priority.   However it was Jim's 13th Birthday the week they arrived and we couldn't let that go unrecognised, so a trip to Ruse it was.   First off Jumbo, which I thought was just a toy megastore but it's actually a home wares shop as well, Jim picked up some plasticine and as it was his birthday how could we not get it for him.    Then no trip to Ruse is complete without a visit to at least one builders merchants so a flying visit to Mr Bricolage was followed by a leisurely lunch in Ruse' main square.    


Paul choose the establishment based on the food would appeal to the kids, not only because of the length of the waitresses skirts/belts­, at least that's his story.     After lunch we had a wander around and Jim decided he needed to check the water temperature of each and every fountain/water feature.   


 Luckily he didn't want to check the water temperature of the Danube when we went for a walk along it's bank.  

A couple of days later and the builders are all finished, off site and we can start on the other jobs that will make our house home again.   Not many teenagers get to work with mud plaster and mix cement during their summer holidays but thanks to help from a neighbour, Ruby and Jim Paul managed to get the concrete ring beam done so work on roof 2 could begin when out master carpenter friend was available to oversee.

You may have noticed I wasn't involved with concrete  making - the month since the fire rudely reminded me not only was I a 'mere female' but I was also getting older.   As I'd ignored the warning signs my body was sending me I managed to cause some back injury and dislocate my hip.    The hip dislocation provided some light entertainment as Paul relocated it for me - along with my ankle and knee doing sound effects as each one popped back into place.

More light entertainment was provided when a neighbour told us that Dencho (our Kmet [mayor] who had driven past when the fire was blazing) didn't realise we still had no electric and if we took our customer number up to his house straight away he would get on to the electric company on our behalf.   Within 2 minutes Paul, Ruby and Jim are walking up the hill to Dencho's house when he drives past them and waves when Paul tries to flag him down.   The kids were less than complimentary about him and he is now to be referred to as The Kermit. 

Despite my concerns about the holiday not being what had been 'promised'  both Ruby and Jim coped with the situation very well, with only the odd moans about not going anywhere/doing anything.     Paul did take them to some local water falls one day, a couple of our friends also tagged along and seemingly they had a nice time with a 'supermarket picnic' lunch.   An international music festival had been organised in a village about 30 kilometres away so all 4 of us went to that, with Ruby and Jim staying longer and getting a lift home with a neighbour, as Paul and I needed to get back for the animals.  


   We also went to a carboot sale further afield although the main purpose of that trip out was to visit bigger, and quite beautiful, waterfalls.  

   I know at least Jim was disappointed that we didn't get a visit to the coast and I think both Ruby and Jim would have had a better time if we had been able to put the pool up for the summer, but we would have needed electric to run the pump.

A week before Paul was due to fly to the UK with the children we had a last minute enquiry through Helpx from an Australian who wanted to come stay.    After ensuring he was fully aware that we were still living in very basic conditions we agreed to his coming to help out - if nothing else it meant that I would have assistance around the place for heavy lifting whilst Paul was away.   Least said soonest mended.

Paul drove up to Bucharest airport for their flight to UK and I drove back to Bulgaria.     We had been told that it was quicker to use the ring road although Paul doubted this so drove straight through Bucharest.     On the drive back i was in 2 minds as which route to take,  but despite never have driven there myself decided to go through the centre as the roads were in much better condition than the ring road, and I was in a bit of pain at this point.    Even though I took the scenic route, once or twice, I think Paul is correct and it's much quicker than the ring road.    Once back in Bulgaria I decided to stop at the builders merchants in Ruse to have a walk around and stretch my muscles out, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.   Visits to Baumaxx, Praktiker and Mr Bricolage resulted in me returning home with some twin and earth electric cable and some new light fittings - luckily Paul approved of my purchases on his return.

So now I have 10 days before Paul returns and although I think 5 weeks was too long for a visit off Ruby and Jim,  especially this year,  the house is weirdly not right with them not here.   Only consolation about them not getting the holiday they expected is they got to experience real life, with all its problems, and spend some quality time with their dad seeing what an extraordinarily talented guy he is (even highlighting his daughters hair, with help from his son).

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