The Good life

Well it’s been quite a busy week and whatever plans we made seemed to change from one day to the next. Nearly every day we were heading into Vidin for one reason or another. To be honest, when we were living in the UK, life was so mundane , but here in Bulgaria, every day is different and life, so far, has never been so good.
Monday we headed into the city to buy a new Hoover, our Blue Peter attempt on our old Hoover wasn’t really that successful. The dust blowing out of the hoover was causing Andy to sneeze excessively and as he suffers from asthma, I thought it better not to kill him off just yet! So it was back to Teknomarket to make our purchase. Now when we walk in, we are instantly recognised, so they send over the only member of staff that can speak a little English, quite amusing really. The service is excellent, items are good quality ( mostly Samsung ) and the prices are reasonable. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone looking for electrical goods.
Back home and it was back to sorting and a little strimming of the rear garden as we have clumps of wheat growing everywhere. we didnt stay out too long as the mozzies were out in full force!

Tuesday it was back to cleaning and trying out the new hoover. Took us most of the day but we managed to get the living room, cleared and clean. There was a corner settee and two armchairs that had been left in the house that was covered with blankets. To our surprise they were not too bad a condition, a bit dusty, but with a thorough Hoover and a couple of throws, we had ourselves somewhere comfortable to sit, and one added bonus was the settee was also a metal action, double sofa bed! Ok the mattress was past its sell by date but the metal frame was in good working order, just have to buy a new mattress and voila, a guest bed! I must admit it was lovely to be able to sit down at night on something a lot more comfy than an old wooden kitchen chair. Our Hoover did us proud, money well spent !

Wednesday was a rather interesting day in some respects. The morning was spent trying to clear some of the front garden from all the overgrown weeds, whilst I was also trying not to get bitten by the dreaded Mosquitos and as usual, I lost ! The gardening was short lived, as Plamen, our agent, turned up with a plumber and electrician, to do quotes on some work we needed doing. As we have no water in the house or no bathroom, we wanted a quote for all the pipe work for the toilet, a shower and boiler and connection from the outside mains into the house, plus the cost of installing a wood burner and radiators. As for the electrics, they needed a complete overhaul ! The tradesmen were Bulgarian, so we couldn’t understand a word they were saying, so all I can say is thank god for Plamen ! I found it rather amusing listening to them, voices being raised every now and then, arms flailing in the air on the odd occasion ( just like the Italians do) . I couldn’t understand a bloody word but I could tell that there was certain things that Plamen wasn’t happy with. During this long exchange of words, was approached by a gypsy that had been hanging round our gate. He called me over and proceeded to ask me something, which I replied ( as usual ) ‘ I don’t understand, I’m English’. As always, I find, as soon as you say ‘ English’ they understand but still continue to have a conversation with you. So I just stand there and smile and nod ( probably not the right thing to do ! ). But this time I asked Plamen to interpret. Turns out he was offering to dig up the whole front garden for 10 Levs, wasn’t going to turn that down in a hurry ! We agreed and Plamen told the man he can start straight away, but the man then asked for more money to which Plamen said no, he offered to do it for 10, so take it or leave it ! He eventually decided to leave it but return later that evening to try to get Andy to let him do it, but Andy also sent him packing.
Anyway after 2 long hours we finally got our quotes. To be fair the quotes were good in comparison to UK prices but more than we wanted to pay, so after all that, it was back to the drawing board. But on a good note, Plamen had also sorted out our Internet connection, so we were finally up and running, all we had to do was nip into Vidin the next day, pay 3 months in advance, ( 69 lev ) collect our router so we can have wi fi, and that’s us sorted, happy days !

Wednesday we returned to Vidin to meet Plamen, he took us to the Internet shop to pick up our router, then to the bank to exchange some money. We were impressed with the exchange rate we were given. In the UK we were given 2.13 lev to the pound, here it was 2.29 ! He also took us to a builders merchant, which he said had probably the best prices. I must admit, the prices were good and had almost everything you would need for renovation. We were feeling guilty for taking up so much of Plamen’s time, but he assured us it was not a problem and that it was all part of their service to help us settle into Bulgaria, now you don’t get that level of service in the UK !
We headed off for a coffee by the Danube river and sat on a small river boat restaurant. The views were magnificent and this was our kind of heaven, water, sun , beautiful scenery, what more can we ask for !

Friday, it was up early and back, yet again, into Vidin. Our router wouldn’t connect so we had to take it back to get it sorted. Service was good and they managed to sort it quite quickly. So it was off to meet some expats, Sandra and Rich, that we had been speaking to on the forum. They were kind enough to take us to meet some other expats who were all as equally nice and very hospitable. We did a lot of driving today but it was worth it, not just because of the people we met but because we got the chance to see a little more of Bulgaria. Such a beautiful country and at times quite breathtaking. It was a long but informative day and hopefully we made some new friends.

Saturday it was back for the hundredth time, to meet Sue and Paul, an expat couple who left the UK a day before us. We had arranged to meet at the weekly outdoor market, a place where the locals sell their produce and other items, tools, bikes, clothes etc. it is also where you can get livestock from, like chickens, ducks, rabbit etc. It was pretty impressive and so cheap, I couldn’t believe the sizes of their tomatoes, bloody huge! Sue and Paul also took us to another indoor market that was surrounded by lots of small shops. That was even more impressive. You could get pretty much anything you wanted even guns and knives! Definitely somewhere we will be frequenting, although we would need a few hours to have a good rummage around! It was such a gorgeous, hot, sunny day, so we went for lunch down by the river again. Food was good although each persons meal was served individually, but not together, so by the time Sue got here’s we had already eaten! Prices were fairly cheap and the food was nice and the company was even better. On our way home the inevitable happen, Andy got pulled over by the police ! after being asked for our passports and driving licence, Andy was told to get out the van and follow them to his car. apparently he was speeding, 77 klm in a 60 klm zone, funny how there wasnt a sign to say it had changed from 80 to 70! The police said he had to pay a 50 lev fine but Andy told them he didnt have enough money, they told him he would have to go to the bank but as it was shut he couldnt, in the end they muttered something about English, shook their heads and told him to go. Phew, that was a lucky escape! Apart from that fiasco, all in all it was a truly enjoyable day. It’s been a busy week and we’ve done quite a lot of driving but it’s all been worth it and we can honestly say, although we don’t have much, we are truly blessed …….

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