Fires From Hell !

There is nothing nicer than sitting round a cosy log fire on a cold winter day, unless you live in my house! We have 2 fires, one in the living room and one in the kitchen. Now the fire in the living room is great, it’s front loading and most of the time easy to light, except for today!
It’s 5am and I’ve woken up in need of the ‘ ladies room ‘, I notice the fire is almost out, so as it’s so cold, I try to rescue it. It’s pitch black and as our winter bedroom is just off the living room, I can’t put the light on as it would wake Andy. So here I am, on my hands and knees, with only the light of my phone, trying to get the fire going. The dogs think it’s time to get up, so they are running around the room with excitement. Dogs paws and Lino just don’t go together, it’s like sitting in the room with tap dancers! I’m trying to fumble around in the dark for paper and kindling whilst trying to keep the dogs quiet, not my idea of fun at that time of the morning. It takes me nearly an hour to get the fire going, yes nearly an hour! ( Advice to self, never try to rescue a fire with only the smallest of embers left, just start afresh!)
The fires have, not only become a challenge but an obsession with me. There is an art to lighting fires as well as keeping them ticking over at night, an art that I haven’t quite mastered. I’ve almost mastered the art as far as the living room fire is concerned except for keeping it ticking overnight is a bit ‘ hit and miss’ but the petchka in the kitchen is another story. There have been times where I just want to get a lump hammer to it!
It’s only a cheap top loader and when I can get it lit properly it really belts out the heat but what a bloody nightmare to light! I have tried so many different techniques, I should be an expert by now, but can I get it to light first time, NO!!! It usually takes me 3 attempts, by the time I’ve finally cracked it, I’m frozen to the core and the air is blue. When I do manage to get them both lit it’s a full time job to keep them tendered, either that or I’ve just become obsessed! ( probably the latter ).
Anyway, the moral of this story is, don’t be a cheapskate like us, always buy a decent fire……… I know what I want for Christmas next year 🙂

The Start Of Winter

Well it’s now been 7 months since we arrived in Bulgaria. We’ve had plenty of gorgeous, hot sunny days, a few spectacular thunderstorms and one freaky hailstorm in the midst of summer but now the winter has closed in and it’s time to go into semi-hibernation. It’s been a bit of a mad rush to get the house as water tight and winter ready but we’ve done the best we can. Windows are covered in polythene inside and out, wood is chopped, water pipes are insulated and fires are up and running. In the last few weeks we have had 3 water leaks all from the same pipe connection and Sod’s law it had to be behind the shower! What a nightmare that was as our shower is a full glass enclosure and weights a ton, so moving it wasn’t the easiest task. The last leak was the worse, as it flooded so bad that the Lino was floating! In a way we were lucky as our bathroom floor is slightly lower than the bedroom floor and caught it just as it was about to seep into our bedroom but it took us an hour to bale out the water and 4 days for our bathroom to dry out. We managed to work out why the pipe kept coming out of the connection so, fingers crossed, no more leak…….for now anyway.
The weather has now turned cold, -6c is the lowest so far but I know it will get colder. I’ve got myself into a routine in the morning now. I don’t need an alarm clock because my scatty spaniel Twix, wakes me every morning at 7 and there’s no chance of a lie in as he paws my arm constantly until I get out of bed! First is sorting out the dogs, then light the fires followed by a nice cup of tea. When the rooms have warmed up a bit, then it’s time to get dressed into my work clothes. This usually consists of jogging pants, t-shirt, sloppy jumper and an old coat ( it’s a little bit cold outside ). I certainly won’t be winning any awards for glamour that’s for sure! There’s not much opportunity to get my glad rags on as it’s mostly been work, work, work on the house and garden. By the end of the day my nails are coated with mud or cement instead of nail polish, foundation has been replaced with dust, there’s no pretty ribbon in my hair, it’s now either sprinkled with sawdust or streaked with paint and my hands could be used as sandpaper, as they are rough,instead of soft and smooth. While i wait for Andy who is also busy ( busy snoring his head off! ) I collect more wood from our barn and clear up the dog mess, ( I know your all jealous of my glamorous life haha). When Andy joins the land of the living and after 2 mugs of coffee, we then spend our days working on the house. As it’s winter and there’s not a lot we can do outside we have decided our winter project is to change our big bedroom into a kitchen, as the kitchen we have now just isn’t working for me. The only trouble is we had to clear the furniture out of our bedroom but don’t really have anywhere to store them out of the way, so now our house is chaotic. There’s chest of draws and side tables in the living room, the bed is in the back room ( which is already bursting at the seams) and we have to leave the 2 double wardrobes in the bedroom that we are changing into the kitchen, ( total nightmare). I can honestly say my house is a mess, almost as bad as it was when we first moved in. The weather hasn’t helped as we have had quite a bit of rain recently, so the garden has been like a quagmire. Not only is my house a mess but with the dogs and ourselves in and out several times a day, there’s mud prints all over the floor (both my brush and mop are starting to wear away !).
I’m not a big fan of winter and I know it’s going to get a lot colder but the one thing I do like about winter is snow! The other day we had our first day of snow, a foot of it. There is no denying it, it really is very pretty. We had been watching the weather forecast so we were expecting it and I must admit, I was like a kid, I was so excited and couldn’t wait for it to snow. It was so funny watching the dogs playing in it and every time my spaniel came in, he had big balls of snow hanging from his hair, hilarious watching him trying to pull them off!
So here we are, 7 months in and we are entering, what I believe is the hardest part of our journey, winter. I’m not looking forward to the extreme cold, or spending so much time indoors and I’m sure I will go a little stir crazy, (Andy will cope with it better than me, I think) but on a positive note I am looking forward to more snow and to building our new kitchen 🙂 ………