Happy New Year !

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We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our family , friends and everyone who has been following our blog a Happy and prosperous New Year. I hope the new year brings you everything you wish for and more.
Thank you everyone for all your support and encouragement, we are truly blessed to have amazing family and friends.
Love you all so very much xxxxx

A Family Christmas :)

About 7 weeks ago we were in Kaufland doing our weekly shop when I cam across the Christmas decorations. At first I was excited, it was soon to be Christmas and our first one in Bulgaria, my excitement soon turned into sadness, when the realisation that it would be my first Christmas away from my kids ( now adults ). The tears started to form, so I quickly turned away from the decorations and I continued with the shopping, trying to distract my mind from thinking about Christmas. A week later my son phoned and told me he was thinking of getting my family to chip in for a flight for Andy and me so that we could spend Christmas in the UK with the family. I was overwhelmed by the generous thought but I had to decline as we have dogs and we had no one to look after them. Andy overheard the conversation and suggested I go and he would stay behind to look after the dogs. I was torn between wanting to spend Christmas with my family and not wanting to leave Andy alone. After a lot of discussion I accepted my sons kind offer.
Over the following weeks leading to my departure I found myself going through several mixed emotions, happy that I would get to see my family, guilty for leaving Andy behind, nervous about going back to the UK and anxious about flying on my own. By the time my departure day arrived I was all over the place, emotionally .
I had asked our friend Derek if he would drive me to Craiova airport as we didn’t have winter tyres and didn’t want to take the chance in the van, he was kind enough to agree as long as Andy went with him. I chose to fly from Craiova Airport, Romania as it was nearer to where we live than Sofia and to test it out for when my family come over next year. ( it’s only 2 hours drive as apposed to 3 1/2 ). The journey went quite smoothly and the only hold up was at the Romanian border. The sign posting to the airport was almost non existent and after a few wrong turns we finally found it.
The airport is very small but modern and there were a lot more people there than I thought there would be considering there was only 3 flights going out that evening. After checking in my baggage ( there is only 4 check-in desks in the whole airport), which didn’t take long, I said my goodbyes and headed to security. That also didn’t take very long and was very well organised. Then it was an hour long wait till boarding . What can I say about the boarding, well, in one word, chaos! You would think we were waiting for a 75% sale at Harrods the way everyone was pushing and shoving at the check-in desk and then as soon as the doors opened to the Tarmac where our plane was, everyone started running, you’d think they were a pack of animals fighting over a morsel of meat!
The flight went well apart from the landing was a little scary due the strong winds at Luton and it was a relief to finally arrive as it was the first time in 20 years that I had flown on my own. My son and his girlfriend came to collect me and it was wonderful to see him again and to finally meet his girlfriend. After a 2 1/2 hour drive, we arrived at my daughters, which is where I was staying for a few days. It had been a long day but it was worth it just to see my kids.
The next 2 days was spent sharing my time with my children and shopping, oh how I’ve missed Primark! ( yes, I know, how sad am I? ). We did a bit of Christmas shopping, had coffee, went to lunch and spent our time catching up and it was lovely. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was handing over my money! Just having coffee was almost £10 for the 3 of us,( ok it was at Costa Coffee ), all I kept thinking is how many more coffees I could get for that price in Bulgaria haha.
On Christmas Eve, my daughter drove me to my Mums as I was staying there for the night before heading to my brothers house for Christmas Day. It was lovely to see my Mum again as it had been 6 months since I last saw her. It was a nice evening, we had a delicious meal,( my mum is a fantastic cook ), and spent the evening talking until 4 in the morning! ( my fault, I just wouldn’t shut up ). Christmas Day was spent at my brother Marks house but the food was cooked by my sister Donna and I have to say she excelled herself, it was absolutely delicious. Dessert was made by my Mum and that too was scrumptious, there was a lot of rather full belles! The only sad part about the day was that my daughter couldn’t be there, she is a carer in an old peoples home, so she had to work and of course Andy, my wonderful hubby, who sacrificed his Christmas so I could spend it with my family. Aside from that, it was an amazing day had by all.
I spent the night at my sisters house with her and her boys. It was great to catch up again even though we were all shattered. In the morning my daughter came straight from a 12 hour shift to pick me up. We stayed for breakfast and left 4 hours later, us women can talk for England! It was then back to my daughters for my last 2 days. I got to meet my daughters boyfriend, have dinner with my son and his girlfriend and spend a few hours with my friend Carol, who I have missed so much. The week just flew by so quickly and it was hard trying to fit everything in, in such a short space of time, but I’m so grateful to my son and Mum for giving me the opportunity to spend one more Christmas with my Family.

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It was finally time to fly back and part of me wanted to stay and the other part of me couldn’t wait to go back home. I didn’t get home as soon as I thought I would. It was about half an hour or so till we were due to land when the Captain announced ‘ due to dense fog, we are unable to land in Craiova. We have been instructed to divert to Bucharest airport! ‘ ‘WHAT? are you joking ?’!. Yes as you can imagine I was slightly panicking especially when I found out Bucharest was over 200 mms away !). Just before we were about to land the Captain came on the speaker to inform us we were about to land, thank us for our understanding and to tell us it was 4c in Bucharest. ‘Like I a gave a dam what the temperature was!!’ That was it , no other information. I was starting to worry as to what was going to happen next and as I couldn’t speak the language it made the situation worse. I finally found out from one of the passengers that we were getting transferred to Craiova by bus but we might have to wait 1-2 hours for the bus. Obviously the first thing I did was to contact Andy except I couldn’t get through. I realised he didn’t have a signal but I kept trying, to no avail. And yes, you guessed it, I panicked! The next idea was to post my dilemma on Facebook, which resulted in all my family in the UK trying to get a message to Andy. Good old facebook, it worked and I was able to breathe again, knowing that he knew the situation.
Two coaches finally arrived an hour later and as usual I was pushed and shoved by the other passengers trying to get a seat. We had to put our own cases in the hold, which was no mean feat, but when I eventually got mine on I was told there was no more seats. So back I went to get my case off quickly before the driver drove off with it. There were only about 20 of us left and we had to wait for another coach to arrive, which took another half an hour, by that time i was frozen to the bone. It took about 3 1/2 hours to reach Craiova and I was so relieved to get there. We were finally on our way home but I’m afraid of the extremely dense fog, it took us twice as long to get home ( 3 hours ). 4am and at last we were home. 18 1/2 hours door to door, I could have gone to Singapore in that time, but at least we made it home safely.
Despite the traveling, I had an fantastic Christmas, one I will remember for a very long time 🙂

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Fires From Hell !

There is nothing nicer than sitting round a cosy log fire on a cold winter day, unless you live in my house! We have 2 fires, one in the living room and one in the kitchen. Now the fire in the living room is great, it’s front loading and most of the time easy to light, except for today!
It’s 5am and I’ve woken up in need of the ‘ ladies room ‘, I notice the fire is almost out, so as it’s so cold, I try to rescue it. It’s pitch black and as our winter bedroom is just off the living room, I can’t put the light on as it would wake Andy. So here I am, on my hands and knees, with only the light of my phone, trying to get the fire going. The dogs think it’s time to get up, so they are running around the room with excitement. Dogs paws and Lino just don’t go together, it’s like sitting in the room with tap dancers! I’m trying to fumble around in the dark for paper and kindling whilst trying to keep the dogs quiet, not my idea of fun at that time of the morning. It takes me nearly an hour to get the fire going, yes nearly an hour! ( Advice to self, never try to rescue a fire with only the smallest of embers left, just start afresh!)
The fires have, not only become a challenge but an obsession with me. There is an art to lighting fires as well as keeping them ticking over at night, an art that I haven’t quite mastered. I’ve almost mastered the art as far as the living room fire is concerned except for keeping it ticking overnight is a bit ‘ hit and miss’ but the petchka in the kitchen is another story. There have been times where I just want to get a lump hammer to it!
It’s only a cheap top loader and when I can get it lit properly it really belts out the heat but what a bloody nightmare to light! I have tried so many different techniques, I should be an expert by now, but can I get it to light first time, NO!!! It usually takes me 3 attempts, by the time I’ve finally cracked it, I’m frozen to the core and the air is blue. When I do manage to get them both lit it’s a full time job to keep them tendered, either that or I’ve just become obsessed! ( probably the latter ).
Anyway, the moral of this story is, don’t be a cheapskate like us, always buy a decent fire……… I know what I want for Christmas next year 🙂

The Start Of Winter

Well it’s now been 7 months since we arrived in Bulgaria. We’ve had plenty of gorgeous, hot sunny days, a few spectacular thunderstorms and one freaky hailstorm in the midst of summer but now the winter has closed in and it’s time to go into semi-hibernation. It’s been a bit of a mad rush to get the house as water tight and winter ready but we’ve done the best we can. Windows are covered in polythene inside and out, wood is chopped, water pipes are insulated and fires are up and running. In the last few weeks we have had 3 water leaks all from the same pipe connection and Sod’s law it had to be behind the shower! What a nightmare that was as our shower is a full glass enclosure and weights a ton, so moving it wasn’t the easiest task. The last leak was the worse, as it flooded so bad that the Lino was floating! In a way we were lucky as our bathroom floor is slightly lower than the bedroom floor and caught it just as it was about to seep into our bedroom but it took us an hour to bale out the water and 4 days for our bathroom to dry out. We managed to work out why the pipe kept coming out of the connection so, fingers crossed, no more leak…….for now anyway.
The weather has now turned cold, -6c is the lowest so far but I know it will get colder. I’ve got myself into a routine in the morning now. I don’t need an alarm clock because my scatty spaniel Twix, wakes me every morning at 7 and there’s no chance of a lie in as he paws my arm constantly until I get out of bed! First is sorting out the dogs, then light the fires followed by a nice cup of tea. When the rooms have warmed up a bit, then it’s time to get dressed into my work clothes. This usually consists of jogging pants, t-shirt, sloppy jumper and an old coat ( it’s a little bit cold outside ). I certainly won’t be winning any awards for glamour that’s for sure! There’s not much opportunity to get my glad rags on as it’s mostly been work, work, work on the house and garden. By the end of the day my nails are coated with mud or cement instead of nail polish, foundation has been replaced with dust, there’s no pretty ribbon in my hair, it’s now either sprinkled with sawdust or streaked with paint and my hands could be used as sandpaper, as they are rough,instead of soft and smooth. While i wait for Andy who is also busy ( busy snoring his head off! ) I collect more wood from our barn and clear up the dog mess, ( I know your all jealous of my glamorous life haha). When Andy joins the land of the living and after 2 mugs of coffee, we then spend our days working on the house. As it’s winter and there’s not a lot we can do outside we have decided our winter project is to change our big bedroom into a kitchen, as the kitchen we have now just isn’t working for me. The only trouble is we had to clear the furniture out of our bedroom but don’t really have anywhere to store them out of the way, so now our house is chaotic. There’s chest of draws and side tables in the living room, the bed is in the back room ( which is already bursting at the seams) and we have to leave the 2 double wardrobes in the bedroom that we are changing into the kitchen, ( total nightmare). I can honestly say my house is a mess, almost as bad as it was when we first moved in. The weather hasn’t helped as we have had quite a bit of rain recently, so the garden has been like a quagmire. Not only is my house a mess but with the dogs and ourselves in and out several times a day, there’s mud prints all over the floor (both my brush and mop are starting to wear away !).
I’m not a big fan of winter and I know it’s going to get a lot colder but the one thing I do like about winter is snow! The other day we had our first day of snow, a foot of it. There is no denying it, it really is very pretty. We had been watching the weather forecast so we were expecting it and I must admit, I was like a kid, I was so excited and couldn’t wait for it to snow. It was so funny watching the dogs playing in it and every time my spaniel came in, he had big balls of snow hanging from his hair, hilarious watching him trying to pull them off!
So here we are, 7 months in and we are entering, what I believe is the hardest part of our journey, winter. I’m not looking forward to the extreme cold, or spending so much time indoors and I’m sure I will go a little stir crazy, (Andy will cope with it better than me, I think) but on a positive note I am looking forward to more snow and to building our new kitchen 🙂 ………

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