Time Just Flies By!

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog and I apologise to everyone but time just seems to fly by so quickly! Thought it was time to fill you all in on what we’ve been up to since my last proper blog. Where to start. Well as mentioned in a previous blog, the bathroom and winter bedroom is now completed, so next on our list was covering the outside pipework that comes out from the bathroom. Due to rushing and complications, our pipework was a bit of an eyesore to be honest. Although our house is one level, it is still raised quite high above the ground, so the pipework coming out from the bathroom had to slope down the outside wall at an angle before entering the ground and into the drainage. The problem we now had was enclosing the visible pipes and insulating them enough to stop them from freezing in winter. To start we wrapped two layers of foam insulation round the water pipes, then we built a rather large mud brick housing, with roof that surrounds the drainage pipes. I know anyone reading this is probably thinking what the hell! , but it was the only solution we could come up with and we hope it works. The housing is packed full of straw so the drain pipes are fully insulated ( it took a hell of a lot of straw !)
As I mention before, we are on a tight budget, so the materials were recycled from the end of one of our barns. It took us half a day to dismantle. As Andy is a lot heavier than me, it was me that had to climb on the roof to take the tiles down carefully. To be honest I quite enjoyed it, apart from the area of tiles where the walnut tree was hanging over. That was a little tricky, trying to get tiles of whilst being prodded by branches every minute and of course, as usual, I got bitten to death by mosquitoes and barn flies! Surprisingly, everything came down quite easily and we managed to salvage all the tiles and mud bricks ( can’t believe how solid and heavy those things are!). We ended up with enough materials to build our housing and build raised bedding on either side for flowers next year.
The roof isn’t perfect, in fact it’s a little bowed but it will do for now and should see us through the winter hopefully. Next year, when we have more time, we will redo it amongst other things. Time just seems to go by so fast and panic is setting in as we still have to repair the roof, one of our chimneys is in need of repair too. Then once that’s done, we can instal the fires, trouble is its already getting chilly at night now !
Next on our list was repairing the render around our house. First job was to knock off all the loose render, by the time we finished, we had knocked off about a third of the render, ( slight panic on my part and a few squeals of ‘ oh my god, my poor house’ ). With the help of one of our Bulgarian neighbours, we managed to complete the rendering in a couple of days. As we didn’t really know how to do it, we relied on our neighbours knowledge, not one of our best ideas. The rendering is solid but a lot to be desired! It’s quite bumpy, not really a pretty picture but once it’s been painted, which I have yet to complete, it will look a lot better and at least the house will be better protected from the cold and snow. Next year, I think we will strip it completely and get it insulated and rendered professionally.
In between those jobs, we sorted out our garden a bit more, spent the day helping our friends with building their porch, had a lovely day out down at a ‘beach’ at the River Danube. We had a lovely stroll along the river and it was so peaceful and very beautiful. Made a nice change to spend a day away from the house, just relaxing . We were also invited around our neighbours house at the beginning of September, as it was the village festival, as well as a bank holiday. This is a time when friends and families get together and we were honoured to be invited to our neighbours gathering. It was enjoyable but at the same time, like being on ‘mastermind’. The granddaughter can speak quite good English, so she kept firing questions that the other members of the family were asking, like why we wanted to live in Bulgaria, what we thought of the village, what we are doing to the house etc, etc. The worst part was when politics were brought up, tricky subject, we had to be careful what we said so as not to offend. All in all it was a very enjoyable and interesting evening as we got to learn more about our lovely neighbours.
These past few days we have been getting ready for family coming to visit. We have my Sister and Daughter coming for two weeks, followed by Andys Mum and Dad for a week, then my Brother and his Friend for 4 days, so it’s going to be a rather hectic month ahead for us. So these last few days have been a mad rush trying to get things tidied up, sorting out the bed situation, washing, cleaning, etc, etc. Am I stressing out ?, of course I am. Didn’t help that there was a problem with a major pipe in the village so we had no water for almost a whole day, then it’s been raining on and off, I didn’t think I was ever going to get all the bedding, curtains etc washed in time, but with only one day left before our visitors arrive, we have almost finished ( such a relief! ). I’m so looking forward to seeing all the family but I think I might need a holiday myself by the end of it!

20130920-150911.jpg Our mud brick creation !

20130920-151018.jpg The ‘beach’ on the River Danube.