Plamen our agent

If there was an award for helpfulness,kindness,patience and generosity, then our agent Plamen would win it by a mile. Since arriving in Bulgaria, Plamen has offered his services by helping us whenever we require it, but what he has done for us so far has gone beyond the call of duty!
Take yesterday ( Saturday ) for example. He arranged to meet us in Vidin at 8am to take us to the market to buy the plants we wanted for our vegetable garden. Obviously we had the problem with the language barrier, but also we really didn’t have a clue about growing veg, only the basics. Plamen of course, lives as most Bulgarians , a self-sufficient life, so in our eyes he was the perfect person to help. We wondered round the market, selecting the veg we wanted to plant, whilst Plamen explain the different types of tomatoes, peppers etc. After about over an hour, we had finished and all our hands were full of bags of plants. We had a selection of tomatoes ( cherry,pink and beef), cucumbers ,Peppers ( sweet and hot ), cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, oh and some pansies for my flower patch. Now it doesn’t sound a lot, but trust me, there was a lot of plants! This year our plot is sort of a test for us, to see what we can grow, how to tend it and how much we will need to plant next year to be relatively self sufficient. It’s just a shame it was too late to plant potatoes.
Plants selected and as we were in the city, it was then off to Plamens office for him to complete some paperwork we needed for the bank and police station. In order for us to get an ID card, which is compulsory in Bulgaria, we had to open a bank account. Each person has to have 3720 Levs in an account as proof you can support yourself, before you can get an ID card ( residency card). Plamen however forgot to mention the amount was each, so I only brought enough for one person, so we decided that we would sort Andy’s out first. Plamen did all the translating at the bank for us, all Andy had to do was sign the paperwork and there was a lot of it ! Took some time but bank sorted, it was off to the police station and yet more paperwork ! Whilst Plamen was sorting that out, we nipped across the road to another bank to make the payment for the ID card and admin fees, a grand total of 49 Levs ! Eventually after about an 90 minutes, everything was sorted, ID card would be ready to collect in 3 days.
Finally it was off to the mobile phone shop to get a contract for new SIM cards for our phones. Yet again more paperwork ! This was also a slow process and all I can say Plamen must have the patience of a saint !
So far it had been a long day and by the time we left Vidin it was 3.45 pm but the day wasn’t over yet ! Plamen nipped home to change into gardening clothes while we headed home. It’s about a 40 minute drive home and we had only been home for about 20 minutes, when Plamen arrived to help plant our veg. He brought with him quite a few jars of vegetables he had preserved, for us to try, which I thought was extremely kind of him. He also said he will show us how to preserve our veg when it’s ready. Along with the jars, he brought us some home made Rakia, the famous Bulgarian tipple!
It was getting late and there was a lot of planting to be done. So it’s just past 5pm, sun still streaming ( 28 degrees ) and there’s Plamen, barefoot, hoe in hand, digging our garden, while we stood around watching, feeling like spare parts, not knowing what to do to help. Eventually Andy was able to help Plamen with the planting and I did some irrigating but most of it was done by Plamen , purely because he knew what to do and we were completely clueless! During the process, he explained how to plant the veg, how much room they required and how to irrigate each variety. Plamen worked like a horse, stopping only to drink water and have a cigarette, he wouldn’t even eat anything even though I offered him dinner, just kept working. It was 9.45pm, dark,and sweaty and tired, Plamen and Andy had finally finished. All the planting had been done, Andy was tired and bitten all over and Plemen was covered in dirt but they were happy with the end result and so was I , although feeling really guilty that I hardly did any of it. When Plamen left, we finally ate our dinner, it would have been rude to eat while Plamen was working so we chose to wait. The conversation at dinner was about Plamen, we couldn’t believe how kind and generous he has been, or how much he has helped us and to spend nearly 5 hours doing our garden, well what can we say, not a lot as we are speechless! We have never met anyone who would do so much, give so much of their time and energy for two people they hardly know and in return ask for nothing. Plamen is a truly wonderful, genuine person and in our eyes a friend for life! One day we hope we can return the favour ………

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