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 Our visit to Silistra

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:51 pm

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Here is our Blog from our first trip to Bulgaria I will post as often as I can as there are 26 chapters for 2007 and 12 chapters from 2008 I am still composing 2009

Our visit to Bulgaria 2 Sept 2007

Chapter 1

Doug and Berni arrived in Bulgaria on 1st September 2007. We intend on staying for 3 months so I can have treatment on my back and make a full recover from a disc problem. Dougie is really excited and wants to get on with work in our Villa. He will fit a new kitchen and perhaps new windows and doors later on if we have enough money left over. We arrived at Varna airport and was met by our car hire man Danial - We have hired a car from him for 3 months, it turns out that we have hired an old yellow taxi. It's old but gets us from a to b. The cost to hire the car is 1335leva, about £500 pounds. It's a lot of money and we were told afterwards that we could have bought a good second hand car for that price. Ah well you live and learn eh!

We realised we forgot the keys to the Villa but as luck had it, we left Pleman our builder a set. It was 6am when we got to Silistra, we went to have coffee and waited till about 8ish to ring Pleman. We text, then rang but could not get a reply so we rang Mike and Jerry, our English friends in Silistra. They were going away for a few days to Fred's but said come over until Pleman gets back from Shuman later that afternoon. We were on our way over to them, when Mike rang to say Pleman will meet us at the Pizza place. Phew what a bit of luck eh!. 10 minutes later Plaman arrived gave us the keys and took us to a building merchant so we can get something to clear the weeds in the Villa.
The Villa looks good but needed a clean, so many cobwebs. The garden has 10ft of weeds, how are we going to clear 2000sq mts?? Our furniture has not arrived yet but, we brought a blow up bed in the case, along with the quilt cover it fitted into. We also brought some clouded plastic and tacks so we could cover the windows. It's ideal as you can't see through it, good substitute for nets for a while.

It was too early for us to go to sleep, although we were overtired and excited at seeing the Villa again. We knew we would not slept. So we decided to have a cup of tea . Then unpacked and then Dougie cleared the weeds so we can put the car inside the gates. however, we established a little bit later as we had no tools to flatten the ground, they were on the truck. We could not put the car inside, so we forgot about that so we left it outside the gates and continued to clear the weeds. It was really hot, wonderful in fact. 1 hour later the area where we wanted to put the car in was completely clear. Dougie then started to fit some security locks to all the downstairs windows. Then we decided to sit in the sun for a while. I tried to pull a few weeds but with my bad back, no chance, way too hard for me to manage, and Dougie told me off. Dougie had a sleep for a whilst. I pottered about in the Villa and outside - don't really know what I was doing, a bit of unpacking that sort of thing as I could not sleep. It was late afternoon when Dougie woke and as we had not eaten all day we had to find some food. We had no means of cooking at the Villa as all our stuff was on it's way with Oggi. There is nowhere in Bulgarka to get something to eat. There is a small shop but only open a few hours, so we had no choice but to back into Silistra to get some food. The pizza place was closed down so we went to the bar next door. there was no English people in Silistra at all so it was trial and error to make yourself understood. But the waitress brought us an English menu and we had a lovely meal, well worth waiting for. It was still rather early so we went for a walk down the town and down by the Danube. Silistra was still busy at this time of the evening. Then we headed back to the Villa as we were both tired by now. We slept through the night, which surprised me as I am not a very good sleeper anyway.

Day 2 Our visit to Bulgaria 2 Sept 2007
For the next few day we pottered about in the Villa. We did not see anyone around, then on the third day, two of our neighbours came to say hello. Two ladies introduced themselves as Ginka. We decided to call them Ginka D and the other named Ginka V (used first letter of their surnames) They seemed very friendly and happy to see us and hugged us as if we were old friends. They chatted away, although we did not have a clue what they were saying we kind of understood. They were looking in the direction of the gardens so assumed this was the topic of conversation, the grapes, the apples, obviously they needed sorting.

We did not know many words in Bulgarian and they spoke no English however, we got the opinion that they were very concerned that the car was parked outside was trying to tell us to put it inside. So I did what I could and proceeded to show Ginka D the huge drop between the earth road and the garden, I tried to explain we had no tools so we could not do anything until we got tools from England. She soon worked out the problem and said something in Bulgarian and off they both went. 10 minutes later she was back with a man and the man was her husband Ivan, what a lovely little man he was smiling from ear to ear, We took to him and Ginka D straight away. They are a lovely couple. Anyway after the introductions Ivan produced some kind of tool, then he Dougie proceeded to flatten the ground. A short while later the car has a place inside the gates. Ivan picked his tools up and said his goodbye, but would not take anything from us for his help.

Ginka D appeared next morning with some eggs and cheese, then Ganka V came with some grapes and cheese. It was than that Ginka D decided to give me my first Bulgarian lesson - she told me adza, adza holding up the egg. So I repeated it to her indicating I understood, she was tickled pink. I got my pen and wrote what I heard ADZA eggs, and domati, tomatoes. This went on for a while everything Ginka D picked up she told me the word in Bulgarian, hence the lessons began. The both headed off but over the next few day both Ginka's came to see us and continued to bring us gifts but would not take anything from us. Each day Ginka D gave me a few more words in Bulgarian. I was very proud of myself and whenever I had the chance I would read back what I had written and found myself learning and could understand some of what was discussed when we all met up again.

Chapter 2 to follow

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:19 pm

Chapter 2 read2

Thursday, Geoff is our English friend, he also live in Serberna. We rang him and we arranged to visit him. What a lovely house Debs and Geoff has. They did some wonderful work there, lovely white building and stained wood surrounded it and Geoff has worked the garden so it was clear of weeds and dug over. It looked like a ranch style house, beautiful and huge. It was lovely to see Geoff. Debs was still in England but hoped to come our soon, Geoff was a little lost without her.

Dougie and Geoff decided that we could bring a single bed back to our villa on the top of the car, tied with a washing line. I was rather worried at this point, but they were sure all would be ok, and they are men after all:tongue3: . I hung on for dear life in the back of the car as we travelled the 40k to the villa, through the lumps and bumps of the road. God will this trip ever be over. I had visions of the bed coming throught the window screen or blowing to the other side of Silistra. But the bed stayed were they put it. Then panic!! as we reached our village, we had to go down a steep hill to the villa. Surely the bed would go down the hill before us, Bother this for a lark, I could not cope with that. So I screeched in my loudest pitch to let me out!. I had to get them to stop and let me out, nerves shattered now. As it happens all went well and we got the bed safely to the villa. Our next hurdle was to get the bed into the villa and up the spiral staircase. Therefore, the bed had to be taken apart but went up stairs with ease. Phew!! Was I glad to get our of that car - think I nearly drove the two men mad, I was sure we would be pulled over and fined or the bed would come off the roof. Really please it stayed where I was.

Geoff got on with clearing a bit of the garden with the scythe he brought over with him. Dougie was busy picking up the rubbish left and pulling out the stumps from the weeds. The weeds were a good 7ft high. It was hard work and very hot, but they managed to do a bit, at lease we could see one small side of the garden.

Ginka D had given us some tomatoes on her last visit, beautiful tasty tomatoes so we had tomato sandwiches for lunch, boy were they nice, really tasty, not had tomato sandwiches since I was little, Yum. We cleared a bit more of the garden but really got nowhere fast as it is way too big, we only made a slight impact on it. We took Geoff back to Serberna later that evening and took him out to dinner for helping us. Bless him, he did a grand job and we loved having his round, Dougie and Geoff get on very well. We met up with Debs and Geoff in England before we went to Bulgaria. What a lovely couple they are, very helpful and a good laugh. They too are hoping to move over to their lovely house next year.

Friday: Geoff has got he bug now for doing the garden so Dougie went over to Serberna to collect him again, so they could get on with a bit more. While they were out Oggi’s man Ronan came with our furniture. I rang Dougie to tell him to stop nattering and get back to the villa, he loves a good old natter, worst that a woman at times. Bless! As it happens they were just entering our village, so that was nicely timed. So we proceeded to unload the furniture all 4 of us although I could not do much due to my back problem, but I could move the lighter stuff and push stuff out of the way. Took us about an hour to unload. We put what we could into the correct rooms. We were busy unpacking etc when Mike and Jerry (Pelican as you all know him) our other friend in Serberna rang, we told him the furniture arrived so he and Jerry came over for an hour later that afternoon. They were a great help as they put the patio table and chairs together for us. The run the guest house so as they were expecting guests, did not stay too long. We all arranged to meet up that night for a meal in Silistra as there were a few more English guests arriving Brik and Fred from the other forum forum. Geoff could not make it to the meal. We go a lot done that afternoon and we even set the new bed from England, up so we could now sleep in a bed, heaven eh!!!

Later that night it poured down, I mean floods of rain. We had thunder and lightening as well. We though at one point, we won't be able to go out to meet up with the others but it cleared off as quickly as it had started, amazing really. We headed off for Silistra at about 7.30pm to meet the others at 8pm. We had a lovely time meeting all those other people for the forum. Mike Jerry Fred & wife and Bick & wife and Mike and Ilka. It was really nice to meet up and chat about our experiences.

Next few days we were busy putting things in their place and in and out of Silistra. Ginka D continued to visit for a short while every day and took me to the local shop where we met most of the villagers, who were getting their daily bread. Everyone was really nice and welcomed us to the village, Dougie even came to the shop every night too. It became a regular event, highlight of the day, meeting such lovely people.

Chapter 3 to follow

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:33 am

Still waiting for chapter 3 although I know you are very busy, but I am enjoying reading this it makes me feel like I am there in Bulgaria

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:51 am

Sorry Bernie I didn't even notice this one down here but then I read so much on here I sometimes forget to look everywhere and yet I missed such a great blog look forward to reading more soon

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Wed Nov 11, 2009 12:24 pm

I have read this but I didn't know I could respond but all I can say is "
come on lets have some more"
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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:29 pm

So sorry Guys I forgot this myself [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] I am so busy following Ash round these days [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

Chapter 3 to follow in a few minutes [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:31 pm

Our 3 month visit to Bulgaria Chapter 3 Silistra Festival

Chapter 3

Silistra Festival

Monday The beer festival was on for a week so we decided to go into Silistra. Had a nice time looking round all the shops. There was live music in the square and the streets were packed with little market stalls. People were everywhere. We had lovely ring doughnuts covered in a fruit sauce, Yum yum!! We bought some lovely linen and a few other things we needed for the villa. Unfortunately during this time Dougie had his walled stolen. It contained 2 debit cards his driving licence and about £100 and a photo of the grandchildren. Always the way eh!

We went to the police station but they could not do anything. We were told to sit and wait until an English speak policeman came along and took a statement from Dougie. He told him to come back again in a few days, but with one thing and another we did not get to go to the police station. Must admit I was scared witless, being in a strange country, nobody spoke English and our Bulgarian was not at all good, and the contacts I had on my phone could not be reached. That’s the first time, I felt truly lost, anxious and frustrated.

We went back to the Villa and when Ginka D came round we explained what happened - She was livid, fuming in fact. It took ages to calm her down. She is an honest person and was really upset that someone would steal from us. I tried to explain it happens everywhere these days. Bless her she was in right state and rushed off to ring her son-in-law who is a policeman. The whole village knew by late evening. Our trip to the shop took even longer this time, as everyone was there to meet us and offer their support. Even thought we did not understand much of the conversation we knew what it was about. Such wonderful people, they hardly knew us, yet we felt we had known them all our life - strange eh!! From then on, Ginka D took us under her wing and became our personal minder, nobody got within one inch of us unless she knew them

Then we went to town on Saturday and whilst we were in one of the shops the police rang Dougie on his mobile to say they have found some documents. It appears a man handed in the wallet. It contained the driving licence and one credit card. We were delighted with this although, I had cancelled the debit cards via the internet. Tsb would not cancel the card until I rang them, so we had to go to Geoff’s again to ring TSB in England. They were very good rang me back immediately. So all in all we had our documents back and all went well. Needless to say, we were delighted with the result. Ginga D and the villagers we delighted we got the stuff back. Everyone was happy again

Over the next few days we stayed in the Villa working on the inside and outside. We were waiting for the rest of our furniture to arrive from England. Oggi said it would be here on Thursday, but today is Saturday and still it had not arrived. It turns out that Roman, Oggi's man got robbed in Nottingham and broke his arm, poor love, so he had to have treatment, hence the small delay. But we must say Oggi and Ronan were great, everything went well and we have no hesitation in recommending Oggi to anyone.

Next day Jerry rang and told us there is a concert in Serberna, the local square tomorrow can we come. We went along to Serberan to a local centre, we did not know what to expect. There were lots of local people sitting in the square and the Mayor was organising the music. There we dancers dressed in the traditional custom and they danced and sang all day. I soon learned the Bulgarians love to party. I joined in a few times in the dancing. We all crossed hands with each other and moved. It was not strenuous movements in any way, in fact, I was hardly moving, I was taking 3 small tiny steps then stamp your feet. Very easy and gentle, but when it got quicker I departed. The women loved to dance and seeing the pure pleasure and content in their faces delighted and filled me with admiration for them. The showed me all the steps to each dance. I a had great time.
After all the dancing was over, Mike played his guitar and Geoff sang. It was a lovely day and when all the singing and dancing was over, George, the mayor invited us to join them inside for something to eat. So Geoff, Archie, Loral, Dougie and I were pushed into the hall We were all welcomed with open arms and we were sat at the top table, which they all helped to set up ready for us. We were given bottles and bottles of wine and beer and then they brought round some BBQ sausages and bread. It was lovely, our first taste of village life. Due to driving the car, Dougie would not drink and I am not much of a drinker either so, once the mayor had gone, we gave the wine and beer to the others. We had a lovely time. Later that evening we all went to the local restaurant for a coffee, but we ended up ordering food, which was really awful. The chicken was undercooked with raw eggs on the top. The chips were cold etc. Nobody ate the meals, but nobody complained either, so I thought I had better keep quite and pay up. We paid about 40lev, it was killing me but I did not want to be seen as the moaner. We left them money on the table and headed off, only to be called back by the waitress. She was trying to tell us we did not pay enough, they needed another 5 lev, can you imagine that, all the meals went back and they still chased us for the 5lev. Still, won't be going back there again. We then went back to Archie's to look at his wonderful house.

Archie and Lorell have moved to Popina about 40k outside Silistra. They love Bulgaria and have settled in very nicely. They are a very nice couple. They have a lovely house and Archie did most of the work himself. Their families have bought a few more housed in the same village and Archie will be busy renovating them. We left their house pretty late and dropped Geoff off at his house in Serberna, then headed home. It was pitch black in our village, not a light to be seen. It was too much hassle to open the big gates and put the car inside, so we left it outside, but Dougie quickly put in back inside next morning before any of the neighbours saw it, as they would tell us off. They lock everything up even the front gates. Well they know better eh! So we have to go with what they say.

Next day we met Archie, Lorell and Geoff in Silistra. We had lunch and he took us around all the local hardware and builder merchants. We need to buy a wood burner so we can heat the villa, as it gets rather cold here in the evenings. We found what we wanted, but it was out of stock until next week. The wood burner will cost about £80, then we have to organise wood to be delivered. At lease we know now, where to get the stuff we need. He also showed us the double glazing company which he bought his windows from. We will need to order windows sometimes. Archie said when he gets time he will help Dougie to measure up. But we think. we will get the company to put them in as Dougie has not done windows before and there is so much more to do in the Villa.

Chapter 4 to follow

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:33 pm

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Our 3 month in BG Chapter 4 Fitting the Kitchen

Our visit to Bulgaria 2 Sept 2007

Chapter 4

Fitting the Kitchen

We bought a fully fitted kitchen in UK from Ebay. Dougie and our son Lee went to Essex to take it out of the sellers house and bring it home. The kitchen was only about 8 months old . It came complete with dishwasher, double oven, fridge freezer, sink and about 15 cupboards - got a real good bargain at £430 We were well pleased. Over the next few days Dougie started to flat pack every bit of it and mark it up for reassembly. So much work, but he did a wonderful job, very meticulous is Dougie.

We stated to fit the kitchen bit by bit - of course Dougie had to get it just right - The walls and floors were uneven so the base units were in and out about 6 times until he got it right. Doing my head in he was, and the arguments were no ones business, Silly things like, ‘you said you wanted it hear, now you changed you mind’ if i is out by a few cm he would have to take it all out again and restart, ahhh !!!! etc etc , know what I mean ladies!!!! He worked from 8am to about 6 or 8 each night wanting to get it done. So many problems with the plumbing, the pipes and fittings - we had to get all new ones.

Lunchtime we went to Silistra to get a whole new plumbing system set up, as the ones we brought were not suitable. We had great fun trying to explain to the shopkeeper what he wanted,. They bent over backwards to accommodate us, really very helpful although it was all guess work and trial and error. In the end Dougie went inside the counter , got what he thought, he could use and the shopkeeper just left him to it. It was funny really, as every time after that, when we went to the shop, the shopkeeper and staff hugged and kissed us as if we were old friends. Then they left Dougie to sort out what he wanted and took me into the back room for coffee and a kind of chat. Sometimes we only bought something for a few lev other times he bought more, but the greeting and the coffee were exactly the same. The owner had 10 shops in Silistra and the staff are sent to work in the shops they are most needed in. So you can imagine our surprise when we went into different shops - All we heard was hello Dougie, Berni, hugs and kisses. It was really nice.

Well most of the kitchen base units have been fitted now, all Dougie needs is to get the work surface. Did not like the surface that came with it so decided we would buy them here in BG. Geoff had already told us where he bought his work surface so we went there ourselves a few days later.

We sorted the work surface we liked , but they did not have it until next week, so the shopkeeper ordered it and would not take any money until it was here. Only problem we had, was getting it to the Villa as they did not deliver outside of the town. We rang our builder Plemam and he said , no problem, I will pick it up in the van, just ring me when it is here.

Second load of furniture finally arrived at 6.30pm Tuesday 18th Sept. We knuckled down and unpacked even though we had a long day in the garden and poor Dougie was worn out trying to fit more of the kitchen. It did not take us that long as there was not a lot of stuff. Only the essential like bed lining and quilts and the bed and kitchen dishes etc. It is so nice to have proper towels, linen and pillows. I bought linen, quilts in BG but they are too small and no weight to them so we were a little chilly at night. By 9pm we were shattered we just fell into bed, this was happening most nights now. Time just flew buy. We stopped for lunch and when Ginka D came for about ½ or so, but rest of the time it was constant work for Dougie, I was the labourer and tea maker. He made sure he gave me nothing too difficult because of my back problem. We were shattered by the evening.

When we went to the shop to get the work surface, Pleman came with us. However, the new worksurface was a different colour, from the one in the shop, so we could not get it. They said more will be coming in, in about 3 weeks - but Dougie was impatient by now and wanted to get it sorted. Pleman too us to a place he knew . We gave measurements etc and they ordered the stuff, but two days later they rang to say they had discontinued the line, so we were back to square one. Dougie worked on different things until the new work surface stock came in and when we got the call we went to pick it up. Dougie had it cut to the sizes he wanted, although he only wanted 2 cuts but because it was so long had to do 3 cuts and match it with up with the joiner things. Now we had to get it home and Pleman was in Varna. Our other friend Mark said he would meet us at the builders merchants. He will put the work surface on his roof rack,. Mark was due to meet us at 3pm but got held up, not long but Dougie could not wait so loaded the stuff on the roof of our can with the non slip material and the straps to hold it secure. Mark arrived just as it was all loaded and finished, but as it was on the car we left it there and off home we went. It was like the bed saga, no nails left, down to the bones now . Then a l orry went by and nearly took the lot off, frit the life out of me. I have no nerve for anything like that, my palm were sweating all the way home and again I had visions of the work surface reaching the villa before us as we went down the long hill to our villa. But thankfully it was all ok.

Next few day Dougie concentrated on getting the kitchen work surface cut and fitting the sink and the gas hob . Once that was all done, we went to Silsitra to obtain a gas bottle and set the hob up. He sorted all the fittings and connections and tested it and it all worked find, only he was not happy with the high flame. That evening I could actually boil potatoes on the hob, but it also left black soot on my nice new saucepans , hence , Dougie was not happy with that so we set off into town again next day to find some smaller jets for the hob. We tried loads of shops but we did find one that had them. They were about 1lev for the 4, brilliant eh!!, at home we would be looking at £16.99 plus postage for 1. That afternoon, Dougie fitted them but the hole was not big enough and he did not have a drill small enough, so again off to Silistra he went. He went back into the same shop, explained what he wanted and was sold the smallest drill they had. It did the job and the jets work well. Funny how everything came together . There is nothing we cannot buy in Silistra, all we have to do is look around something will turn up eventually.

So now the base units were fitted, Dougie wanted to get on with the top units - Give me strength, will this man ever stop!!!! He had about 6 jobs going at once, the front door, to strengthen , the windows to secure, the wood to cut , the shed to unpack and sort and whatever came up in the mean time. I was exhausted just watching him.

Anyway nothing would please Dougie but to get the top units fitted. Again the problems with uneven walls nearly drove him spare , not to mention what it was doing to me - I was pulling my hair out . Top units were eventually fitted and now came the time to install the main cooker. But we had to get an electrician to do this , as we need a new fuse box putting inside, We were having the alarm fitted and no point in having an outside fuse box eh.

Mark came to fit the new fuse box, Dougie and Mark went to town to buy the bits he needed. He was also fitting the cooker and that had to be channelled all through from the hallway to the kitchen, on my nice newly plastered and decorated walls. Took him two days to finish the work, Dougie go on well with Mark, his English was not too good, but he understood what was required. He also fixed the upstairs lights as when Dougie was putting up the curtain rails, he drilled, or touched a live wire. Luckily he was not hurt, but the electricity went out on one side of the house. Hence Dougie would not touch the electrics again. Why was there live wires, where the curtain rails go, madness eh. Apparently that’s were they run the wires in BG. So be ware of that. Pleman gave us his gadget for finding wires, pipes, metal etc. But to be honest, it show electricity everywhere. So best left it to the professionals. Actually Mark only just missed the wire himself phew!!!!

The oven was fitted,, looked and worked great. Next day Dougie fitted the kitchen cupboard doors, the handles and the plinths

’hey presto,’ the kitchen was complete. It looked wonderful. Ginka D came that afternoon and was astonished. She had never seen so many cupboards and appliances . She did not know how the water was coming into the washing machine or sink so Dougie show her. She had never seen such a big cooker with two ovens. She was well impressed and really happy for us. Now we can start cooking proper meals. The kitchen did look lovely and Dougie did a really good job.

Chapter 5 to follow.

Oddy

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:35 pm

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Our 3 month visit to Bulgaria Chapter 5 Electricy & Water

Sorting the electricity and water out

Chapter 5

I got a text from Katya our builders wife, asking if we want to meet her at 2pm in Silistra so she can take me to register the property in the company name and pay the water and electrict bills We met Katya at in the square, It was so hot we went into the shade. We went into the Minicipal building first to register the house in the Co name. Got to the desk and the clerk gave Katya a from to fill in, I asked what the form was for. She said it was for paying the taxes on the property. I explained that my laywer had already done that and everything should be up to date. Katya checked this with the clerk and it was confirmed that yes, all was paid but we still have to pay 14lva for rubbish collection tax. We have no rubbish collection in our area, but paid it anyway. We take the rubbish every other day to the large dusbin just as you go into Silistra.

When that was sorted we went to EON the electric office to register in co name and pay any outstanding bills from previous owners. The systems were down so we filled in the form, gave it to the clerk along with a copy of the deeds and left her to ring us when they check the bill etc.

Next we went to the water board place, When we got there, the lady said cannot do anything for you until you get a photocopy of the deeds, so off we went to find a photocopier place. When we did find a place, I got an extra copy just in case anyone else wants one, getting used to this now.

Back we went to the waterboard, then lady asked for the deeds and court agreement order, no idea what this was. Then she said you have to go to Ruse to get one from the original agent. Well by this time I was getting tired of running around and raised my voice a little saying' you must be joking, you have the deeds in front of you so why can't you work with them, it clearly states who sold the property and who bought it. A man appeared from the back office and question what was going on, then he said something to the clerk and went on the computer whereby he found the water bill was registered, but the first name of the previous owner was different. But at that moment, the water boy came in, We met the waterboy in the new part of the village shop. He promptly told us we have an outstanding bill of 228leva from when we bought the property, 2005 although we did not live or stay in it. We still had to pay the water bill from the previous owner, as we allowed her to stay in the property to tend to her crop, but of course we had to pay the 228lev bill.

The man said it was ok we did not need a court agreement now but can I bring in a copy next time I am passing and promptly told the clerk to take the money. Katya went through all the forms and said they need 6 lev for change of name and registration. I paid the 6leva and then the 228leva bill. Left the water place and paid Katya fee of 20leva, worth every penny of it. She was very good indeed, although she kept saying you don’t need me, your Bulgarian is good enough, bless her.

We went and had a look round the wood burning shops and found the burner with all the attachments we needed for 216lava but they did no deliver so can't get this till Saturday when Plaman our builder is in Silistra. He will pick it up in his van and deliver it to us.

We went to have something to eat and then wondered down to the internet cafe for a while. After that we went back into town. There was a concert in the centre, with live music, so we bought popcorn and some drinks and sat and waited for the show to begin. The show was really good, youngsters dancing every national dances. We enjoyed it very much and the square was packed solid. We eventually got home about 10pm. It had been a long day so relaxed for a while, watched a dvd and then to bed.

Wed 19th Sept: Today I unpacked the clothes and put them into the wardrobe, whilst Dougie burned the weeds in the garden. The garden is 2000sq mts and we (meaning Dougie of course) are trying to pull the weeds out a bit at a time, I am supervising!!! It is taking us ages but we have cleared a nice bit so far, but loking around, it sure does not look like it. We are worn out now both showered and Dougie has gone for a nap whilst I have quiet time with my computer.

Later that day Ginka and Ivan came round with their donkey and cart. Wonder what now!! Well I was soon to find out. I offered her a tv cabinet and they came round today for it. Problem was Dougie had not put it together yet, so bless him, Dougie did it there and then for them. She was delighted. Dougie put the cabinet together, with my help of course!!! whilst Ginka and Ivan watch. They were fascinated with all the tools and Ginka proceed to tell me in Bulgarian what the name of each tool.

20 mins later, the cabinet was together and loaded on the donkey and cart, whilst Dougie sat on the cart for the ride back to Ginka's. Away off up the hill they went, Ginka walking behind making sure the TV cabinet was secure.

Dougie put the cabinet inside and set up the tv for them. He said 'they were delighted with it, but be surprised if we have a chicken tomorrow, as I think they are going to kill a chicken for us'. Ginka pointed to the chicken as they pass the coope and indicated cut throat. I said 'Oh I hope not.

Next day we decided to go to Silistra and as Ginka's husband had been bitten by a snake or a bee, no sure which, we offered to take them to the doctor. But they declined as he said, it's all ok nama problem. He will put it in rakki. Now this rakki appears to be a cure for everything. They were fine and Ginka reassured us it was not poisionous and he would be fine.

Sure enough when we got home that evening Ganka had indeed killed and cooked a chicken for us, as a thank you for the TV cabinet I have decided not to give them anything else as I don't know what they will give us next. Only kidding.

Friday 21st Sept Today we went to Silistra and met Geoff our English friend for coffee and had stroll round Silistra. It's a little cold today so have to wrap up. We went round looking for a building merchant for bricks so Dougie could build a fire hearth to stand the fire on. Geoff show is where they were and we bought what we needed. Next we went to the tile shop to buy tiles to tile the new fireplace. We found what we needed and went for coffee. It was too late now for Geoff to take his bus home to Serberna so we decided to take him home.

Dougie dry laid the blocks for the fireplace but we could not locate a tile cutter so off the Silsitra we went again to by one. Most of our trips to Silistra is to find an additional tool or another. All the stuff we have bought here in Bulgaria has fallen to bits. Either Dougie is too heavy handed or the tools are not very strong. Dougie is not at all impressed and has paddy fits, throwing his toy out of the pram etc. Well we had a new fire place laid with tiles eventually.

We met Plaman in our normal place in Silistra and we all went to the shop to buy the wood burner. The total cost was now 243lev as we had to get additional bits. With that loaded into the van we set off to buy the worksurface but still not in stock.

We came back to Bulgarka and Dougie and Pleman set the new fire in place and lit a fire. Within minutes it was nice and warm in the room. Not got the hang of lighting. It keeps going out but practice makes perfect. That evening we were sat buy a burning fire, it was real cosy.

Sunday 22nd Sept Ginka our neighbour had a surprise for us today. I was unsure what she was saying only that we were all going to Silistra. I had to ask Pleman where she was taking us - had this vision of us in a church service somewhere. Anyway, it was a sightseeing trip.

She was promply at our place at 8.30am ready to go to Silistra. We called in to one of her sisters to drop some stuff of and then on the the Silistra Fort. We climber 323 steps nearly, killed me. Dougie was being brave, as men do =, but gasping for breath secretly. Ginka a 65 year old woman had no problem at all. She was laughing at us all the way up. At the top we met an english speaking Bulgarian man from Varna. After Ginka introduced us. He took us around and explained about the fort to Dougie. It was very interesting and you could see Silistra and Romainia from the top. Then the man got in his car and left whilst we walked down the 323 steps again, Ginka was killing herself laughing.

Monday 23rd Sept Today we had a day in the garden and the shed. Dougie cleaned up the shed and I moved the 7ft long weeds in the garden ready for burning. You can burn what you like here and nobody complains. We burn all our rubbish. When we first arrived we say that the celler was packed with stuff from left by the previous owner, which we were going to burn. We started with an old chair and suddenly, Danka from further up the road came down, waving her hands and shouting something in Bulgarian, Gosh she seemed to be complaining about the fire, but no that’s not it!!!, it was the cupboard on the fire - she pulled if off and indicated she wanted it. Well of course we could only say yes take it. Then I showed her the stuff in the celler. I explained to her in my new Bulgarian language fire, Danka indicated she wanted the stuff and took bits away.

Next thing we knew, she had brought several other people to look. They all took what they wanted and were delighted with what they got. It was a great help to us. Thanked us and off they went, happy as larry.

Now we had the other shed to clear and Both Ginka’s wanted something from there so left that until they had first choice. Ginka V came with her friend and her son and they almost cleared the shed. They transported the freezer in a small pram like buggy. Did the same with the bed and wardrobes etc. This took about 6 trips and the shed was almost clear. Ginka D did not want anything after all. Whatever was left Danka took later on. We were amazed, they used everything except some very old and mucky blankets, so we packed them up and put them in the car and took to the dump/landfill area provided. When we went by the landfill area later the stuff had all gone. Again assume they used stuff for the amimals. We have learned that nothing goes to waste here. We are so lucky, these folk have nothing much, but they have their health and each other and they are as happy as anything.

Chapter 6 to follow

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Wed Nov 11, 2009 11:17 pm

My god that took some reading I read some of it earlier and just finished it, I don't know where you 2 get all your energy from I am tired just at the thought of what you have both done and poor Dougie must be shattered
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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Wed Nov 11, 2009 11:37 pm

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Wed Nov 11, 2009 11:43 pm

I've only read half of it at the mo and I am shattered at the thought too but I will read the other half tomorrow [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] this is a brilliant blog and its so heart rendering knowing what you are working towards looking forward to reading the rest and the other chapters too Bernie but don't get rushing I'm trying to keep up with you

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Thu Nov 12, 2009 12:22 am

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Ok Ash, logged in my diary to post 3 more chapters next Wed, gives you plenty of time to catch up Only another 31 chapters to go [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

Also for signing our Guestbook on our website [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] really appreciate that very much.

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Thu Nov 12, 2009 12:25 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
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Ok Ash, logged in my diary to post 3 more chapters next Wed, gives you pleanty of time to catch up Only another 31 chapters to go [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

Also for signing our Guestbook on our website [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] really appreciate that very much.

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:39 am

Hiya Guys well just finished reading the above addition and I have a question for you ....... can you ask Dougie to fit my Kitchen No I am again amazed at the things you to do and I hope as I get older I can also be as active as you and I don't mean that to insult you at all its a real privilege to know you and I mean that from the bottom of my heart and well done to you both [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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