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 !

Air Conditioning !

Well summer has definitely arrived! The sun is beating down, temperatures in the shade reaching 36 degrees , hitting 50 degrees at times in the sun, now that is hot! Since the departure of my brother and Mum, it’s been so hard to get motivated. The heat just zaps all your energy and we have been spending most of our time trying to cool down. It got to the point where one day we had 4 fans going in one room, but it just wasn’t enough, so we made the decision to go buy a portable air conditioner, easy said than done! We traipsed around Vidin from shop to shop, sweating buckets along the way and loosing the will to live as it was starting to feel like searching for the fairy at the end of your garden, the one that doesn’t exist ! Bulgaria gets very hot during the long summer so shops do supply air conditioning, except they are the ones that are fitted to your walls in every room, they cost a fortune and are expensive to run and as we are on a tight budget, purchasing that type was out of the question. Finally we found a shop that did a portable unit, trouble was, it wasn’t quite the real deal. Basically you had to fill a tray up with ice then when you turned the fan on it blew out cold air, not really practical and we would need a big freezer to store enough ice cubes to keep it going, ours is only small. Luckily the shop next door also did one, only this was a proper portable unit, but it was a bit expensive. It was a dual one, air con and heater, bonus! After deliberating for about 20 minutes as to wether to buy it or not because of the price (549 Levs), we decided to buy it. Word of warning, never buy something when sweating buckets and dying of heat exhaustion, you end up making rash decisions!
Finally home, hot and bothered, we unwrapped the box and read the instructions….’ Before using for first time,leave to stand for 2 hours’ , GRRR…. a ‘ carrot and a donkey’ situation! Also in the instructions, ‘ attach the vent pipe to the back of the unit and place vent through window or door ( only suitable for sliding windows or doors ) ‘ . Ok, so now my patience has been pushed to the limit, this is Bulgaria, you don’t really see many , if any houses with sliding window, let alone doors!!! We have wooden double windows but the trouble is if we opened the outside ones they would probably fall apart so our only option was to put the vent out our living room door into the kitchen. Not the best idea as, although the air con worked in the living room and it was lovely and cool, the kitchen was cooking as the vent releases the hot air out of the back of the unit ! Not so portable as we thought. It now sits in the bedroom as we use it at night, which is a blessing, and the vent goes out our window because we are lucky to have a missing pane of glass, if you can call that lucky! As for the living room it’s back to using fans…….

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……!