Our New Life…. The First Few Days

We finally arrived at our house after 3 days of hard driving and it was a huge relief to get here. The road leading up to our village was beautiful. Pine forests, hills and a lovely stream running along the edge of the village. In the distance we could see mountains, which I think is Montana. The village was as expected, like alot of villages, it was run down, derelict houses dotted about and horrendous roads, but there was a charm about it. This was the first time we get to see our house. As some people reading this are already aware, we have never been to Bulgaria, we bought our house of eBay, so all we have seen of it up to now, was pictures. We knew it needed renovating and we were fully prepared for it to be worse than the pictures, but when we finally got to see it, was even worse than we imagined!
Plemen, who works for the agent we bought from, had met us at Vidin to take us to our house, was lovely. He showed us round, explained a few things and offered us any help we might need in the future. When he left he said he will return another day to take us fishing at Rabisha Lake, 6klm away from us. Definitely something to look forward to.in the meantime it was back to reality, our new home.
The house hadn’t been lived in for quite some time, so it was very dusty and full of cobwebs. It was still full of stuff that belonged to the previous owner. Lots of beds, furniture, clothes, tools, etc, etc. to be honest there was a few stuff we could recycle, like a beautiful solid wood chest, a couple of pine tables, wardrobes and 3 lovely wooden beer barrels. We were pleasantly surprised that there was 3 more rooms in the house that we never knew about, so that was a bonus. The roof was in quite good repair, no leaks that we can see. The structure was sound but the outside needs new render. Some of the windows are rotten and the others needed sanding and painting. All the interior doors are in good order even though they are old but can be refurbished. The exterior doors, what can I say, they just don’t close or have locks that actually work and definitely need replacing! There is no plumbing in the house but we do have fresh water outside, one from the mains and a hand pump that draws water direct from the water source under the ground. Both drinkable although we have yet to fit the pump to the ground source. There is no toilet so in the meantime it’s a bucket job! Not very pleasant and probably the hardest thing to deal with, but we did come prepared, we bought one that looked like a toilet ( not a porta loo ) but it does have a seat ! I won’t discuss the ins and outs of it all but I’m sure you have the idea. The garden is 750 sqm with 2 barns, not the biggest of land but enough for us. The barns are derelict and will need pulling down but I would say 70% of the materials is recyclable. One bonus is we are definitely not short of wood to burn in winter!
To be honest, my first thought after seeing the house and village is ‘ oh my god what have we done! ‘ . It’s definitely a cultural shock and I would advise anyone who is thinking of doing the whole ‘ new self sufficient life ‘ thing to make sure you visit the country first. Now that’s not to say we are putting the place down because we truly believe its a beautiful country with a lot to offer, just that its a vastly different lifestyle to what we are used to and you need to be prepared for that.
When Plemen left and although we were tired, there was still work to be done. First thing was to get the dogs settled. They now have the full run of 1/4 of the garden and it was amusing to see them running round, sniffing every inch trying to work out what the new smells were. Kenzo,our staffy settled straight away but Twix, our cocker spaniel was a little anxious, but I’m sure after a few day will settle into his new life. Once we knew they were safe to wonder the garden, it was time to unload the van and caravan. We were exhausted and it was extremely hot ( 26 degrees ) but it had to be done, so we started unloading our stuff and put it wherever there was a space. The rooms were filling up fast and the spaces were becoming less and less. By the time we were half way, we were shattered, so we decided to finish for the night, have something to eat, a bath then bed. The bath consisted of a small paddling pool, bucket of cold water and no soap because I couldn’t find the bloody shower gel!!! Bed time was 7.30 and that was us dead to the world for the night !
I woke at 6.20 and Andy was still asleep . I put the kettle on, the sort you put on a camping gas burner, let the dogs out and went to put the light on, as it was still a bit dark in the house. No electric! I wasn’t sure if there was a power cut or a problem with the house, so when Andy got up, he phoned Plamen. Plamen said he would sort it and he did, he came to the house, checked the fuses( one had burnt out ) so proceeded to fix it. After taking some copper wire from one of our extension leads, he replaced all 3 fuses with it, went down the road to the electric pole, switched the switch that had tripped and hey presto! We had electric! How simple was that ?
Village life is very slow paced but a hive of activity early in the morning. I watched as a woman herded the goats to the field up the top of our street, then came the man who was herding some sheep. There were villagers walking past every now and again with their tools in their hand going off to do their daily chores, cars up and down the road, a couple of horse and carts and cockerels crowing all over the place.We have a stork at the end of the road making noises, which sounded like a woodpecker. It was a pleasure to watch and it’s those things that make me think how lucky I am to be here.
The rest of the day was spent emptying what remained in the van and caravan. By the time we unloaded everything , there wasn’t much room to move about and when we looked at how much stuff we had , we really couldn’t believe how the hell we managed to fit it all in the van! Next job on the list was to remove the beds in the room we were sleeping in and all the personal stuff left by the previous owner. Those old bed are bloody heavy, by the time we had finished we were knackered.
Finally it was time for food, but as we had to off load most of the food we had bought in the UK, to tide us over for a few days, to lighten the load, there wasn’t much to eat, so it was ‘pasta n sauce’ for dinner! Quite enjoyed it really, probably because we were so bloody hungry! Food over so time to relax and enjoy the evening sunset, bliss !
Our third day here, we decided to go into Vidin to buy some food. Didn’t want to stay out too long because of the dogs, so it was food and home. The roads were strange, we couldn’t work out if we had right of way over junctions or not so we went anyway! One day I’m sure we will be hit.
Went to Kaufland to shop, first stop for me though was the chemist. I had been bitten so badly all over. Some had swollen almost as big as my fist and my hand was so swollen and tight that I couldn’t make a fist. I was not a happy bunny, especially as I had at least 18 bites and Andy had none! Looks like I will be eating plenty of garlic in future!!
Kaufland is quite big and had plenty to choose from, if you could understand what your buying that is! It’s times like this when you really do feel out of your depth,but then we only have ourselves to blame, we should have learnt the language. something we will have to try to do in the near future. Shopping there wasn’t exactly cheap but we will soon get to learn where to go for the best prices and eventually we will grow our own food and keep chickens.
Returned home, ate a decent meal, then it was back to work. We found a few things we had been looking for yesterday but our iPads needed charging but for the life of us we couldn’t find them. By this time Andy was having a hissy fit and I was getting annoyed at him for getting wound up, 2 hours later still no chargers! That’s the trouble with moving, you can never find a bloody thing. After calming down and relaxing for a while it was off to bed. These few days have been strange in a way, at first it was ‘ oh my god what have we done ‘, to ‘ maybe we can do this ‘, to finally ‘ this really is the good life !’ We shall see …………


    1. andyandmariet

      Paul about 374 Euros to do just over 1650 miles and I’ve still got 3/4 ‘s of a tank left, bear in mind I reckon I was very overloaded and towing a caravan. If you don’t have all that weight it would probably be less. Max speed I achieved was 50mph and ended up averaging about 40mph. Cheers Andy

  1. Emma

    Hi Marie, Andy and ‘doggies’ so glad that u all
    have arrived safely. Been reading your blogs and what an eventful journey. So happy that your new home is better than u expected, and glad that Kenzo and Twix r ok too. Please take care and enjoy every minute of your new life. Will keep in touch lots of love Emma n Marc

    1. andyandmariet

      Hi Ems , really please to hear from you. Glad you like the blogs, thought it is a good way for friends and family to be able to see how we all getting on. Hope your not all missing me too much haha, so glad I don’t have all those wallets to do. Hope you and Mark are well. Try not to work too hard . Take care , speak soon xx

  2. Annette

    Darren and I are thinking of you both. We really admire what you are doing. Pleased that you have finally arrived . You will soon make it look like home Marie. Lots of love to you both. Thinking of you Annette Darren and Amy. ps love the blog

    1. andyandmariet

      Hi love really nice to hear from you and that you been reading our blogs. Been a hard trip but glad we are here. Weather is beautiful. So glad I’m not at work lol really don’t miss it. Hope you are all well and not working too hard haha. Speak soon, take care x x

  3. carol moore

    Hi you two, and the doggies, hope you are all well and recovered from your long journey, bet its.been none stop at your new home since you have got there, it will all ne worth it in the end, missing you so much at work, take it easy and enjoy every day, will be in touch very soon, look after yourselfs, luv Carol, xxx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *