Apologies (again) for the big gap between updates, much and little has been happening in our lives, most if not all of which is touched upon below.
End of June the Brexit referendum was held, Paul and Tracey had opposing views and other than disagreeing about the best course of action we spent the time in the run up to put as much as possible in place for whichever outcome to have minimal short term effect on our lives in Bulgaria. Long-term effects are still unsure although taking dual citizenship is an option, English/Bulgarian, other than the underlying long-term implications the referendum results have not effected our life or relationships with Bulgarians.
Also in June Shadow and Pointy both had 3 kittens, Shadow managed to lose hers on what we assumed was a hunting expedition but a week later brought one of them home,. 2 of Pointy's died, of kitten causes, and then we had major trauma and Tracey in tears when she unloaded the washing machine and found the remaining one had been through the wash cycle. One thing we have noticed is the cats regulate their own numbers, although we think the kitten clamber into the machine herself not that Pointy put her there The thinking behind them self-regulating is in the month after the fire (2014) 3 of the cats had kittens and basically ignored and neglected them, one even giving birth as she was walking.
In July a British friend came to visit. She first visited us 2 months after we moved in, she just needed some sunshine in her life, her next visit was a week after the fire (she was told about it so she could cancel her trip). She was also supposed to come for the roof raising/one year on celebration last year but unfortunately her health didn't allow that. Diana is one of the few people who regularly tells Tracey when she's being unreasonable and directing her stress in the wrong direction, it doesn't stop us both loving her and appreciating her visits.
Tracey is having some interesting times currently, which means Paul is also, by association. Possibly it is an age thing but her forgettory is operating better than her memory. Luckily for both Paul knows her well enough to often know what she meant to say but also have the patience to talk her through things she has temporarily forgotten how to do (such as make a loaf FFS). Also the temperature is effecting Tracey more this year so she sends herself on major guilt trips about lack of achievement, whereas Paul seems to have accepted the pair of them have less energy and taking things slower doesn't mean things don't get achieved - eventually. Despite her forgetfulness the fact that Tracey has started writing down her recipes, rather than recreate them from memory, has meant all the preserves and biscuits have turned out very tasty, although she does seem to have had some issues with new main course dishes she's creating - not inedible just not her normal standard.
The east wall of the mezzanine extension has been externally clad in timber, which was pre-treated, by Paul using a Japanese technique called shou sugi ban. Hopefully the south wall will be done this autumn and the north wall next spring/summer. Paul also started building balustrades for the mezzanine, walkway and landing after finding out Tracey nearly walked off the edge when half asleep. The area done so far is nearest the new doorway connecting the two parts of the house, and will double as a display/storage area, Ideas for the actual mezzanine and walkway are still being discussed but could see Paul leaving the woodworking for a while and welding some metal into beautiful safety rails. Paul also took the opportunity to use a beautiful piece of oak to make some storage drawers for the kitchen, Tracey thought he was going to do the adjoining cupboard first but now admits the drawers are so useful, that doesn't mean she no longer needs the cupboards.
Tracey has spent some time unpicking seams, measuring, pinning and tacking material for the mezzanine bedroom curtains (heat retention in winter) and then took advantage of having a teenager around to thread the sewing machine for her. Unfortunately despite her best efforts much swearing and frustration followed as the the sewing machine seems to sew correctly for 10-15cm and then something goes wrong with the tension. Surprisingly she has actually asked a friend for help - to sit with her and point out the mistakes she is making, for someone who is not domesticated (other than in the kitchen) she is showing strong determination to master the art of sewing.
Since illiya came home, after his broken hip recovery period, he is being introduced to English food as when Tracey makes things he can keep in his fridge and eat whenever, scones, pasties, biscuits, etc, Paul is being sent round with food parcels. One such delivery run resulted in Paul coming home with a workmans apron, from one neighbour and a a couple of days work, from another 2 neighbours, as well as 5 jars of honey off Bati Illiya.,
Also whilst the kids were here we had cause to visit a friend we hadn't seen for a few months her car had broken, beyond repair, and she was stuck half way up a mountain with 2 toddlers. Luckily the old Audi hadn't been sold as neighbour who wants it hasn't raised the money, so we offered it to loan it to her, giving her time to find the right car, at the right price. It also gave Paul the opportunity to visit an area of Bulgaria he had not been to previously and his initial reaction was someone had views to challenge our own.
Since the children went home we got the opportunity to buy dry winter wood at a good price, unfortunately being used to working in cubics, as opposed to tonnage, we slightly over ordered, we may not need to order anymore this decade. Moving it is a long slow process, especially as bits are being extracted for turning and making some garden furniture, which also adds to the storing it challenge. Why couldn't it have arrived when we had 2 teenagers to bully into helping us?
Very recently we received great news and news that was less great. We are to become grandparents at the beginning of 2017 - OK we may not be blood related to future parents, hell we don't even have the same nationality but our French 'kids' are expecting and we are claiming grandparent rights. Sadly the same day we learnt one of the most unique and talented individuals we know has succumbed to societal pressure, accepted, even embraced, the labels put on them and become a legalised druggie.
This is being edited 17th October, due to my (Tracey's) last paragraph being taken as offensive and an attack. Yes it is an attack - on a modern society that puts people under immense pressure, and a pharmaceutical business that takes advantage of those pressures.