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 ! 🙂

Fast Forward….part 1

Well I’ve been reading my own blogs and realised I’m a little behind with the updates, so thought I’d best write an update on what we’ve been up to the last couple of weeks…..
As I’ve already mentioned, the weather has been very hot and it’s been a struggle to get things done. Andy kept saying we should put the pool up so that we could go for a dip every now and then to cool down,but I kept saying that the back garden needed to be done first as it was a mess and also needed to be flattened in order to put the pool up. I eventually gave in as the heat was getting too much and our eagerness to get things done was waning. After gathering all the rugs and blankets we could find,( that came with the house and we were going to dump), we laid them on the grass and preceded to set our pool up. It took 3 hours to fill and, although it was slightly lopsided because of the garden, it looked very inviting. Hot and sweaty by this time, we decided to jump in to cool down……oh my god, it was bloody freezing! We had bought a couple of inflatable rings to sit and float in the water, word of advice, ‘always read the label ‘. They weren’t exactly adult size as we thought so trying to sit on them and stay afloat just wasn’t going to happen, Andy’s just sunk to the bottom as soon as he sat on it and I just tipped over into the ice cold water! Suffice to say they were flung out the pool. After about an hour we decided to get out as a dark cloud had descended upon us, a storm was coming. Just our luck that when we finally decided to put the pool up, it decides to rain! It had been 35 degrees so we thought the storm brewing would just be the usual thunder, lightning and rain for about an hour….how wrong could we be! Before we knew it the heavens opened and not only did it chuck it down with rain but we were pelted with extremely large hailstones! Freaky weather or what? It was coming down with such force that we were sure the windows were going to be smashed. The thunder and lightning was above us and hovered over us for a good few hours. Quite spectacular to see as it was evening by this time and the sky was lit up by the cracking of the thunder and lightning, a bit like watching a firework display. Because of the storm we ended up with a power cut. Not usually a problem except it was extremely muggy (29 degrees) and as it was late we decided nothing else to do but go to bed, only we couldn’t have a fan on, so trying to get to sleep was a struggle. It was so hot and sticky and opening every door in the house just didn’t help. The electric did eventually come back on sometime in the early hours and it was a godsend, finally we were able to cool down and get some sleep.
We woke up to a very disheartening scene. The storm had left a trail of destruction in the garden. Our vegetables had been flattened, our huge apple tree that was full, was now only half full, the other half were on the floor,the buckets that I leave outside for the garden and hand pump were now colanders, our newly laid drainage pipe had a big hole in it, etc,etc. the garden looked like a bomb had hit it. We found half a brick on Andys van windscreen which had fallen off the chimney, luckily it hadn’t caused any damage. We were lucky compared to some people, one person we knew, his car had dents all over it and we felt for our neighbours as they are fully reliant on their crops, so it must have been soul destroying to see some of their crops ruined. It took us a day to clear up all the mess and to sort the veg plot out. It was now a case of just waiting to see if they survive. It’s funny how just a freaky storm like that can do so much damage but can also make you appreciate things more.
Since the storm we haven’t really had a chance to enjoy the pool again, in a way it’s given us the motivation to get back to sorting all the things we need to do before winter descends. Our next chore on the list is to get the bathroom completed…..finally
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Our slightly lopsided pool!

Family Visit

Tuesday 11th June and the arrival of my Mum and brother Mark. It was only a short visit due to my brothers work commitments, they were only here till Saturday but we have been looking forward to seeing them. I was a little nervous to the reaction of my mum as she had never been to Bulgaria before so wasn’t sure she would like it. We had also worked really hard to try and get the house in a liveable state and I was anxious to see their reaction. Don’t think the weather helped my nerves either. Monday it was a beautiful sunny day but on Tuesday it decided to rain all day! The trouble with rain is it makes everything look so dreary plus it wasn’t helping with my kitchen floor, every time the dogs went out, my floor ended up with muddy footprints, I was fighting a loosing battle, trying to keep everything clean and tidy for my family’s arrival.
They finally arrived at 5pm and despite the weather and all the traveling Mark was in high spirits but my poor Mum not so much as she was full of cold and the journey pretty much wiped her out, but at least they arrived safely and I was so happy to see them.
The following day the weather had improved slightly, instead of raining constantly it rained on and off all day but it did let up long enough for us to take a wonder around our village. To be honest, it was the first time Andy and I had actually walked around our village since arriving. It’s a big village, with 5 shops,a bar and even a post office, that we probably wouldn’t have found if it hadn’t been for my brother and his inquisitive nature! Some of these buildings look like either someone’s house or slightly run down and disused. It’s only if you peer through the windows and hear someone inside shouting you to come in, that you realise it’s actually a shop or post office. There is a lovely stream that runs along the back of our village, so we took a wonder down to have a look, only we didn’t take the track that is just at the edge of the village, we took one that went behind some houses but the little track, if you could call it that, disappeared, so my poor Mum was taken through long grass and muddy slopes, during which time we were trying to reassure her that there was a proper track up ahead and no snakes in the grass. We never did find the track!
Although our village is big and there are about 400 residents, around half the houses are empty. Such a crying shame to see so many empty, as there are quite a few really lovely properties, with a bit of work and some imagination, they would make lovely homes. Our village, like most villages in Bulgaria, may be run down and surrounded by derelict buildings, but it does have a certain charm and warmth about it as well as being surrounded by beautiful countryside. It was nice to be able to show my Mum and Mark our surroundings and the reasons why we love it here.
The following day, the sun was beaming, so we went into Vidin. I wanted to show my Mum the market, full of fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetables, and all the lovely shops where you can buy just about anything. We bumped into our friends, so we joined them for a coffee. It was great to just sit and chill for a while and watch the world go by.
We had lunch down on the river Danube. There is a quaint restaurant on a boat which does nice food and the staff are friendly but the best thing about it is the amazing views. The Danube is vast and along it, across the water are small islands, which if you wanted, you could go across to them, camp, have a BBQ or just relax and soak up the views. There are cafes and restaurants with small playgrounds,running along the edge of the river, children playing, people strolling and some people fishing, Everyone just seems so relaxed and stress free. After lunch we continued strolling around vidin but It was so hot Mark insisted on getting an ice cream. So it was back to our regular cafe to order a bowl of mixed fruit and ice cream, to the amusement of the waiter, as Mark was like a big kid, all excited because they did ice cream !
In the evenings we sat eating and talking till the early hours. Bit of a struggle for me and Andy as we usually hit the hay around 11, usually because of a hard day working, but we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Mark and Andy returned to Vidin the following day as Mark wanted to visit the dentist, he was suffering from toothache so decided he might as well get it done here, as it is so much cheaper than in the UK. Unlike in the UK you don’t have to wait weeks either, just a quick phone call and he was booked in for just over an hour later. Turns out the work needed to be done on his tooth would take 2-3 days and as he was flying back the following day he had to leave it. Andy and Mark ended up spending most of the day in Vidin, while my Mum and I stayed at home relaxing, chatting etc.
Saturday soon arrived and it was time to say goodbye, it had only been a short visit and it flew by and I was sad to see them go. It was lovely to be able to show them our change of lifestyle and I enjoyed listened to Marks enthusiasm for Bulgaria, as he loved it and really appreciated what we were trying to do. We look forward to their next visit, perhaps next time they will miss the rain……!