Moaning Minnie !!!

I’ve decided it’s time to have a good old moan today because it’s a miserable day and I’m in a negative mood. I’m a woman, so it’s my prerogative !
So where do I start ? Ahh yes, dare I say it, yes I will…the bloody weather! It’s raining again for the hundredth time, I’m starting to feel like I’m back in the UK ! These past few months it’s like someone in the sky keeps turning the tap on and off just to p**s us all off. One minute it’s a beautiful, hot sunny day, the next the heavens have opened and suddenly we’re living in a castle surrounded by a moat ( well not exactly a castle, but I’m sure you get the picture ). So annoying when you’ve spent the morning clearing the garden of weeds for the hundredth time, the veg plot is looking good, grass has been cut and the washing is on the line drying, then all of a sudden the sky turns grey, the slight, welcoming breeze turns into a strong gust of wind and then,within minutes, torrential rain! Not much fun looking out the window, watching your veggies getting hammered to near death, your garden turning into a river and that load of lovely clean washing that was drying nicely on the line, now dripping wet grrrr.
Ok so the rain doesn’t always last for very long ,( to be fair we have had quite a few extremely hot, sunny days ) but it’s amazing how destructive the rain can be to the garden. Even though it’s not long before the sun comes out, my garden ends up being one big mud pit. Which leads me on to the next moan…..muddy dog prints !
Why is it that dogs feel the need to go in and out every 5 seconds when it’s raining but not when it’s sunny ?! Ok, so my hallway floor is Lino, so, easy to clean and I do put a couple of big towels down so that when they come in,it helps soak up some of the mud, or it would if they actually walked on them instead or around like they do ! I have tried to get them to sit on the towels while I dry them but they think it’s some sort if game, resulting in them getting so excitable that they start jumping around like crazy. Yep you guessed it, muddy paw prints everywhere except on the towels 🙁 . My reward for my efforts at trying to train my dogs, is spending the rest of the day sweeping and mopping the floors ( I’m changing my name to Cinderella ! ).
That’s the weather out of the way,so moan no.2…….mosquitoes. Nasty, annoying little buggers! Last year, as some of you might remember, I got eaten alive and in a bad way, this year isn’t quite as bad, as in, they haven’t swollen up as much but the mozzies still see me as a tasty treat. I decided this year I’d be a bit more sensible. I made sure I spray repellant before I ventured out, put joggers on instead of shorts regardless of the temperature and thin socks on to protect my ankles. Well I thought my change of summer attire would save me somewhat from the little buggers…..wrong! The other day, whilst eating my dinner ( inside ), I felt a slight itching on my thigh which gradually got worse and was going further down my leg. No surprise to me that a mozzie had somehow found it’s way inside my joggers, so off came the joggers to see what damage it had done. 14 bloody bites running down my thigh ! To add insult to injury, while I was standing there half naked, shaking my joggers to death to make sure I removed the offending insect, I got bitten 3 times on my lower back ! Not impressed especially as the guilty offender was nowhere to be found. So I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter what concoction I spray on or what clothing I wear, unless I completely wrap myself from head to toe in cling film, I’m not going to escape from being bitten. So looks like I’m going to spend the rest of the summer and autumn constantly scratching like some flea bitten mutt, waking up every night by the incessant itching and swearing profusely every time a mozzie comes near me.
Talking about insects…..the flies are no better. They are everywhere, buzzing round my head, taunting me. Funny how they seem to do a vanishing act when I get the rolled up magazine ready to swat them to death but when I give up trying to hunt them down, they are back, using me as a landing strip. There is one buzzing round me now as I’m typing which is about to meet his death !
Then there’s the wasps, beetles, barn flies, daddy long legs, carpenter bees, etc, etc. The other day I was just about to go through the wooden gate to check on my potatoes and I hadn’t seen the carpenter bee on the gate, boring a neat hole in the wood to lay her eggs, until it started to attack me ! So there I am, running around the garden like some crazed chimp, arms flailing in the air trying to stop this big, black angry bee from getting me. I must have scared my spaniel Twix because he took one look at me and darted back into the house, I found him hiding in my bedroom . Actually I think I’ve scarred him for life because every time I wave my arm in the air to swipe one of the many insects, he runs away and hides haha . Oh I did forget to mention ants. This year, for some reason ( maybe something to do with the erratic weather ) my whole garden is swarming with ants. Now I’m not too worried about there being so many ants until they start finding their way into my house, especially the kitchen ! And now they have. I’ve tried using all the natural, home made remedies to rid the kitchen of ants but to no avail. My shopping list yesterday consisted of ant killer, fly and wasp spray, mosquito repellant and insect bite cream, so today I’m armed an dangerous !
Well i think that’s my moaning over and done with, for now anyway. For those of you reading this, sorry. On a more positive note, the sun is coming out, so time to go back out and battle with the mozzies !

Spring Has Arrived !

At last, spring has finally arrived and I couldn’t be more happier :). We survived the winter by the skin of our teeth and so glad it wasn’t as bad as it should have been. We now know roughly what to expect and hopefully we will be better prepared for the next one. Looks like we have a lot more work to add to our expanding list ! I must admit Andy dealt with winter a lot better than me emotionally. I found it a struggle being stuck indoors 24/7 and I was definitely getting cabin fever, Andys ears are proof of that! The boredom drove me slightly nuts, I became very irritable and of course Andy got the brunt of it haha. Once the snow cleared, then came the rain, day after day of bloody rain ! Over a week of solid, unrelenting rain. Within a few days we had gone from a garden covered in deep, white snow, to a brown, muddy quagmire arghhhh ! Yes, I’m now going to vent a little. Two dogs and an extremely muddy garden results in a nightmare. Constantly trying to wipe paws, sweep and mop the floor a hundred times a day just about drove me to insanity. Even worse were the times I forgot to close the kitchen or living room doors before letting the dogs in and before I had a chance to stop them, there were muddy paw prints on the carpet and settee !!! To add insult to injury, when I was trying to Hoover up during one of these nightmare days, my Hoover decided to die a death but not before it blew out a big puff of dust everywhere ! All I can say is I had murder on my mind that day !
Anyway less of the moaning now, we have survived the hardest part of the year and now Spring is here and months of mostly sunshine ahead of us 🙂
These last four days have been exceptionally beautiful, clear blue skies and wall to wall sunshine. There is nothing more exhilarating than to feel the warm sun on your face and the way it make you feel like your bursting with energy. Now that the sun is here it’s time to get back to some hard grafting, which is exactly what we have been doing for the past four days. We have been digging, clearing rubble, pruning, chopping wood ( lots and lots of wood! ), filling in a large hole in the garden, taking down fences and mending fences and moving the caravan. It’s amazing how our garden looks so much bigger now we have managed to clear all the crap.
Next on our list is clearing a patch in the front garden and rotorvating it ready for planting our vegetables. Now that we have been here almost a year, we have a clearer view as to how we want our garden but it’s going to take us a long time to get it the way we want it. In October last year we sewed some grass seeds and that is now growing and there are flower bulbs appearing all over the garden, daffidols, tulips, crocus, hyacinth and some that I haven’t a clue what they are haha. My onions I planted last year are sprouting nicely, as is my strawberries and raspberries. I’m really looking forward to planting the veg and sowing lots more flower seeds, I’m not exactly green fingered so it’s going to be a case of plant them and pray !
So much work ahead of us over the next 7 months and no doubt a few problems and tantrums along the way but we’re looking forward to it now the sun is shining ! 🙂

Stray Dogs

Bulgaria is a beautiful country,the scenery is breathtaking, fields of poppies and sunflowers, roadsides lined with wildflowers, vast green pine forests, hills and valleys that take your breath away, rivers, lakes and streams flowing in all directions, it truly is a beautiful country except for one thing…….stray dogs!
I have never seen so many stray dogs (and cats) roaming the streets, sometimes in packs. Wherever you drive there are dogs wondering on the roads or hanging round petrol stations looking for food. Whenever we go into Vidin, they are either laying on the pavements or asleep in the bushes or hovering near the cafes. A lot of them have green tags on their ears and I’ve been told that those with tags,have been neutered/castrated and been treated for flees,etc. Its a sad sight to see and really does pull on the heart strings. One day, when we were in Vidin, a dog kept following us around, everywhere we sat, he would find a spot a few feet away and just lay there, dozing but keeping an eye on us and if we moved away he would follow us and then lay down near us when we stopped. He had such a sad face and I really struggled not to take him home with me. We already have 2 of our own dogs so, if we were to take in a stray, we would have to consider the affects it might have on them, but when you see stray dogs, I can’t help but feel, one more dogs wont hurt, but sometimes you just have to walk away. To be honest half of these strays do look relatively heathy. They don’t look undernourished or dehydrated and , dare I say without being shot down in flames, they do look fairly contented, but there are also those that are in a poor state, very undernourished and extremely sad. I’ve come to the conclusion ( rightly or wrongly), that the healthier ones must have either lived on the streets since they were pups or are strays from strays and it’s all they have ever known, hence that’s why they have managed to survive and the dogs that are malnourished and in a really poor state, are the ones that have been abandoned. Either way it’s a heartbreaking sight to see and one that I struggle with.
Only the other day, again in Vidin, we had just come out of a supermarket and I was putting our trolley back, when I spotted a puppy, no more than about 8-10 weeks old, laying under the trolleys. Someone had kindly left a handful of dried puppy food on the floor for it but the pup didn’t seem interested in the food. He was in a very sorry state, dehydrated, quite thin and weak. I didn’t know what to do, take him home or leave him. So many things run through your mind when faced with that sort of situation and the reality is that you can’t save them all,so I walked away.
We started driving home but I was so upset about leaving the pup we ended up turning round. We went back to the trolley park but I couldn’t see him so we drove around the car park and waste area around it but still no luck,but then I spotted something moving slightly under the trolleys, it was the pup. I tried for ages to coax him out but he just wouldn’t come and I couldn’t reach him as he was in the centre of 4 rows of trolleys. People kept looking at me as if I was a crazy woman but nobody helped. No matter what I did I couldn’t get anywhere close to reaching the pup, in the end sadly and feeling extremely guilty, this time i had no option but to walk away.
Since that day I have thought about that poor pup and prayed that he has survived and maybe he would have if only I hadn’t walked away in the beginning….but ‘if only’ won’t change a thing except next time I won’t hesitate. I can’t save them all but even if I save one, its one less stray on the street. I know there are a lot of people in Bulgaria, individuals, vets, rescue centres etc,that are doing all they can to help these poor strays and they are doing an amazing job under the circumstances. This is a problem worldwide not just here in Bulgaria and sometimes you have no choice but to learn to live with it but that’s not to say you can’t do something to help ease it a little, even if its just something as small as giving food to a stray.

Drive,drive,drive !

Well we finally arrived in Calais at midnight, after a very noisy trip. The ferry was full of French and German school kids, hundreds of them ! Getting off the ferry was interesting, we were trying to find our bearings as well as concentrate on driving on the other side , we were driving through customs, only to have some mad French woman jump out in front of us, waving a torch signaling for us to pull over, my heart sank and all I kept saying to Andy was I knew we’d be the ones. Five minutes later a young man came over , asked us a few questions and wanted to look at our dogs, luckily his girlfriend also had a staffy and he proceeded to show us a picture haha. He then waved us on our merry way as we sighed with relief ( I think it was the dog that helped ) . I had visions of them asking us to unload the van so they could check it, id rather get arrested than let that happen seeing as it took 2 days to load!!!
Off we went, ready for the onslaught of miles ahead of us. Amazing how busy it was at that time of night. Some of the roads weren’t too great, some stages it felt like driving over cobbles but all in all not too tragic. The dogs seemed to be coping quite well, which I’m so pleased about as I have been worrying it would be too stress full. We travelled through out the night till 6.30 this morning and have finally reached Germany ! It’s taken a while but we could only manage an average of 50 miles an hour because of the weight of the van and caravan. Andy has pulled into a big layby for a well earned sleep, so while he’s fast asleep in the caravan, I’m sitting in the van writing this blog, bursting for a pee and wondering why Andy pulled up in a place with no toilet!! ……….

Hellish 3 days

Well what a hellish 3 days its been and are we suffering! Monday was the start of it all. We had already packed the van with a few boxes and secured the rather large dogs cage, so the first job of the day was to gather all the stuff that was left to be dumped, load the van and take a trip to the skip. Amongst the stuff was our beloved king sized bed! Oh how I was going to miss our lovely comfy bed. I knew that from now until we get to Bulgaria we will be sleeping on an inflatable mattress till we depart then it’s the seats of the van and that’s one thing we are not looking forward to.
After we got rid of our junk, it was a trip to halfords to get a few thing we forgot, then off to a few other shops, then home to start loading the van and caravan, this is where the panic started to worm it’s way in. As we loaded the boxes, layer by layer, we also filled all the small nooks and crannies with anything we could find. We knew that every bit of space was valuable. By the time we sat down, the van was only half full, from top to bottom. The house looked like a bomb had hit it as we hadn’t finished packing but we were to tired to do anymore. By the time we went to bed we both felt like we’d been to battle. I was shattered and couldn’t wait to get a good nights rest but that never happened, the bloody inflatable was so uncomfortable. Andy couldn’t get comfy either hence why I found him fas asleep on the settee in the morning!

Day 2 and an early start again. Believe it or not it took us all day to load the van and pack the remainder of our stuff. The reason why it took so long was because we had to keep rearranging it so we could fit everything in. By the end of the day, the house still looked like a bomb had hit it and there was still the back end of the van to fill. We were both walking around like 90 year olds, moaning and groaning because we ached so much.
Day 3 and I woke up early as usual, but god did I hurt, I felt like I’d been hit by a bus! Andy was just as bad and neither of us had the energy but knew we had no choice, so onward and upward and we finally finished loading the van!! But it wasn’t over, as we are in rented and our final handover check is tomorrow, there was the house to clean! So of we went again, cleaning windows,skirting boards, hoovering,polishing tiles etc etc ( why the hell did we have to rent a 4 bedroom, 3 storey house!) well by 8.30 we really couldn’t do any more, our feet were throbbing, our backs were broken and our body’s were screaming for rest. And still we haven’t finished…….

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Preparing To Move

Well it’s been a busy 4 days, not only are we preparing to move but we are helping Andy’s parents too as they have sold their 5 bed house and down sizing to 3 bed bungalow and they only have a few weeks to sort out all their stuff, so it’s been a rather manic time. It’s been a few days of sorting, throwing and listing things on eBay. Moving house can be a stressful time as we all know but it can also be emotional, especially when your having to get rid of so much stuff. It’s the memories that items hold that makes it so difficult. When you have to reduce all your worldly goods to fit in a smaller house or a van, like us, it can become heart wrenching. We’ve had to be ruthless and I must admit I’ve shed a few tears, at times it’s like having your whole life flash before your eyes, it’s like almost every bit of furniture or ornament or anything holds some sort of memory, but you have to get rid and its like throwing part off your life away. Anyway we’ve managed to get through that difficult period and now helping the in- laws to do the same, and it’s been productive if nothing else. It’s amazing how much stuff we accumulate over the years.
Yesterday was another busy day. As we are in rented accommodation, we now have the pleasure of viewing the property to prospective tenants,oh the joys! We spent the whole day cleaning and I think I drove Andy mad because every time he thought we had finished, I kept adding more to the list! Andy decided that the best way to do the viewings was to do an open hose for one hour, so the agents booked 20 people to come view in that hour ( slight panic on my part ). So the open house was from 6-7pm and as usual there is always one that turns up earlier and asks ‘ am I too early?’,in the hope that I would reply ‘ it’s ok, please come in’ , but I wasn’t in the mood to be that polite so instead I replied ‘ yes you,are can you come back in 10 minutes? ‘ , ( with a smile on my face of course.) So 6 o’clock came, Andy took the dogs out and I was left to deal with the stampede, and that was pretty much what it was! Only 15 viewers and their clan of children turned up, at times it felt like I was running a nursery school but I got through the 101 questions being fired at me and the kids jumping all over the furniture etc, etc and I must admit its a better way of doing viewings. I’m hoping that will be it and at least one of them is rushing to the agents as I speak to get in there first before anyone else does.
Today we go to the scrap yard to get all the metal weighed, the van is full ( and I mean full! ) of metal. Some of it is ours but most it is the in- laws and its amazing how much there is but we have just emptied 2 houses and 4 sheds plus a very big garden, so it soon mounts up. Every penny we get just helps towards the funds and why chuck it if you can get some money for it,even if its only a small amount.
So it’s been a pretty eventful and tiring few days but we have almost reach the top of the hill and soon we will be running down to the finish line !!!!