Thursday, November 27, 2014

Competitions and weather

So Paul finishes working away and arrives home unexpectedly to find me having cereal for dinner, as it's not really worth cooking for one.     I blame the friends he was working with as they had vehicle problems and the plan was for Paul to leave our van with them and me collect him the following day.    But never mind the telling off I received Paul is home and after a few days rest, for him, we can get back to work on our home, a can we discuss a proposition we have received.

Since 17th October we have been going around to the neighbours to feed his dog and cat, which enabled him to visit his son and grandchildren in New York.     I know our Bulgarian is not as good as it should be but we were definitely told 15 or 16 days.   Three and a half weeks later! neighbour returns having had a great time and most grateful to us for animal sitting.  The fact that he returned with gifts and then offered to pay us for looking after the animals (he bought the food and we refused his money) made me feel mean for getting frustrated about his delayed return.    His pleasure at seeing his family also made me think again about a quick trip to France next year to see my father, not a snowballs chance in hell of him visiting me, here.

 Pops place

 After Illiya returned we decided to have a trip to Ruse in the van and stock up on building materials for winter projects.    Unfortunately Paul damaged his back moving out old kitchen petchka  (which I had sold) so we ended up going in the car, as it's more comfortable.    this meant we didn't get plasterboard and more insulation but we did manage to buy a set of ladders that fold down to a sensible length but fold out to enable us, actually Paul, to access the roof easily.     Much to Paul's delight I also managed to locate a set of metal wood planes in one of the DIY stores.  We also added a new DIY store to our Ruse trips making a trip there consist of 4 DIY stores, a Chinese meal and very little else.

We were approached by researchers, for a channel 4 television programme, who had been given our details and after reading our blog wanted us to agree to Kevin McCloud spending a week here in January or February.   Much as we like Mr McCloud we felt that the stated purpose of the programme was not appropriate to having a film crew here during 'hunker down' months.    We also felt that anyone agreeing to appear on a 'inspirational self-sufficiency' television programme would be setting themselves up for a lot of back lash from some elements of the ex-pat community.    It's not even as if they pay for the inconvenience - if they'd offered to finance a new barn roof they MAY have received a different answer.   teehee

I manged to find a couple of very good condition preloved single beds for sale at a  good price, and whilst not a double they'll be an improvement from Paul having a mattress on the floor.  We can always push them together.

It's said that 'good things happen to good people' what a pile of crock!     Some friends of ours, two of the nicest most generous humans around, had a major house fire in which the husband suffered bad burns trying to save one of their rescue dogs.    Mutual friends  discussed whether Paul and myself should be informed,  I love them for being concerned enough to have the discussion but would have been so annoyed if they had kept the news from us.   I understand they wanted to protect us and if I was going to return to being a blubbering wreck it wouldn't help the friends who needed help now.     We couldn't drop everything and go when we heard but did manage to get to see them a couple of days later when we found out what they may have need of over winter.    Following day we sorted out loaded the van with tools they had loaned us, after our fire, blankets/rugs and curtains ready to go help with the clean-up the next day.    They have a house to live in, less than 50 metres from the fire damaged property, and when we left it was well on the way to having many life enhancing features, such as a woodburner and beds, ready for them to occupy.   

We'd already 'stolen' some of the EPS (expanded polystyrene) boards from our extension for insulating between the beams in the main house and after seeing how our friends house, which was timber construction insulated with EPS went up, we are now stealing the rest, for ceiling insulation, and only using rockwool insulation in our extension.

Insulation between beams

As mentioned in the last update the staircase needed repositioning, otherwise Paul  knocking himself out on a beam was going to be a regular occurrence.    We cleared floor space so we had lots of 'wiggle room' and proceeded to play 'where will the stairs fit'.      They've ended up about 4 inches (100cm) from their original location and in their original orientation.    Oh well at least we now KNOW the other half a dozen possibles wouldn't work long-term.    

Some of the staircase reject positions

The walls behind the staircase location have been deplastered, ready for a new finish to be applied, and as I was on a roll the hallway also got deplastered.       Whether we do any work in this area during the next couple of months will depend on the weather,  we may just use winter as an excuse for planning, designing and working on small projects near a woodburner.    The Bulgarian sunshine, which we normally see most days even in the depth of winter seems to have gone on holiday.  I'm not sure if it's the lack of sunshine, replaced by miserable UK type grey skies, or just general tiredness that has produced too many slobbing days.     Lots of lists have been produced of things we need to do to move the rebuild forward but as yet none of them have been translated into completed tasks.

 Partially deplastered hallway

I also won in two competitions.     First one was a new tattoo, which I'm not ready for yet but the owner of the tattoo saloon ( agreed to me donating the prize to another friend who is addicted to getting tattoos and was our mainstay back in June/July.     The second competition was ran by a UK friend, to get her crafts FB page ( to a hundred 'likes'.   My middle sister tried to get me to chose things she wanted, yeah like that was going to work - I've got a home to decorate.

22nd of November we felt the earth move.    Wayhey     Initially I thought it was one of our kamikaze cats trying to jump through a closed window, but even they don't cause that much disturbance, an 11 litre water bottle was definitely wobbling.    Google search showed that there had been an earthquake about 300 km north of us in Romania (5.3 on some scale or other), no damage caused here or elsewhere as far as I know.     One good thing about Bulgarian house insurance (yes we have some now) is they don't refuse cover for acts of some mythical being, so earthquakes, floods, lightening strikes, etc can all be insured against.

In other news my mobile is on mute with friends contacting us via internet or Paul's mobile.    It seems some sad individual is having problems sleeping so 'phoning us at silly o'clock,   FYI  silly o'clock is anytime that is too early to let the animals out for the day.     The first couple of times, before we muted the 'phone it was great as we achieved so much in the extended day provided.   Paul has been having problems getting to sleep due to injuring his back so after a couple of days early morning wakeup calls started taking their toll and the phone was muted.    If it's someone who wanted to build bridges but hadn't built up the courage to talk they will have other ways of contacting us, if it's just a sociopath no doubt they'll get bored of not getting an answer.

In the past few days we have also updated our profiles on and so it is more reflective of where we are now.      Since June we have just been adding updates which made the profiles very messy and confusing, not sure we're happy with the finished article but as we are unlikely to have any helpers before March we have plenty of time to fine tune.


  1. I do love reading your blog ! Mine has calmed down considerably over the past year as we continue to get ' sorted ' with not so many big issues to cope with. I must look into Helpx as Dave says we should start to get outside help now that family/friends in UK are definitely not so interested in a working holiday ! A broken leg and a nearly severed thumb and no help has prompted this idea. We want to finish the major projects before we are 65 ! Keep at it, TOR and maybe we shall meet in 2015.

  2. I think you should be very proud of what you, Paul and your friends have achieved since the fire. I admire your spirit and hope you will keep the blog going when you have time. They are very important, I believe, to others who may have rose tinted glasses on when considering a move out here. When I was researching I found Suzy's blog very helpful, warts and all. Looking forward to the next instalment.