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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   Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:59 pm

Well Bernie I have now had time to read all this and I only hope both my partner and I can be as enthusiastic as you and Dougie he sounds like a rock, but somehow you both seem to be able to deal with whatever is thrown at you look forward to the rest of this once I get my eyes sorted
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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:19 pm

I have also read this now and what a read I mean that in a nice way you 2 are certainly gluttons for punishment seriously considering Dougie's heath situation I think you have done extremely well and that's both of you as you know I have some health problems and to be honest I now feel shattered just reading it but anyway it has to be said and I'm sure you must get fed up of hearing it but here goes anyway


WELL DONE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:32 pm

Thanks Guys for all your good wishes and praise. Let me know when you want more - but remember Ash is a slow reader

Nets: Dougie was in good health then - so was able to do all sorts, well I will say now more

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:01 pm

I'm ready now when the other members are so don't worry about me I'm catching up with you all, god know what I will do when we have a couple of thousand members

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:40 am

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Our 3 month visit to Bulgaria Chapter 6 Wine Making



Wine Making

Chapter 6

We cleared the garden of some more weeds, I pulled a few easy ones and took things very slowly, Dougie burnt the weeds and then we had lunch. As everyone were asking if we are going to make Vino wine I decided I would cut a few grapes into the barrel, I was at this on and off all afternoon and felt great no aches or pains so I almost filled the barrel.

Ganka V came round, not seen her for a while. It turns out she had a bad back and was laid up in bed for a while. She was off to see the physcio today. I offered to take her in the car, but she would not hear of if. Bless her, even in her pained state she still remembered to bring us something. She brought us some milk and half the cake she made herself and a huge jar of honey. I am starting to feel uncomfortable now about taking stuff. The villagers give us something everyday and won’t take anything for it. Grapes, wine, eggs, tomatoes, etc, although we do offer money, however, I will sort another way. Ginka V is the one who took the furniture and I also gave her a pair of short Wellington boots, I bought in England but were too small. Ginka V was pleased as punch.

I had almost filled the barrel now so had picked enough grapes for one day. I was feeling a little tired so went and had a shower, just as I came outside, wrapped in the towel, to dry off Ginka came round and thanks us again for taking her to Silistra. She spent the night with her sister and bless her brought us back some presents. Slippers for both of us and the right size as well. She also bought a little Bulgarian rakki set and showed Dougie how to use it. She is really such a sweetheart, as is Ginka V, they seem to have taken us under their wing, especially Ginka D. Ginka D is getting a new TV on Wednesday and we seemed to have answered her prayers with the tv cabinet. We have a video and some videos to give her but will wait for a while let her get used to the tv first.

Tuesday 24th Sept Today I am all aches and pains and after the gardening yesterday. My back is real bad today expect it was all that grape picking yesterday, although I was not reaching up or anything like that, only picked the lower ones so might have got a little carried away. It was not hard work but stretching all the time Have to find the physcio. I rang Pleman our builder and he sorted out a physcio, which booked an appointment for me tomorrow.

Dougie is fitting the soak away for the washing machine and sink unit today. He will also straighten the units again, the floors and walls are all well out here, so we have to do what we can to get a good finish in the kitchen.

I am amazed at how well we are coping, with the cooking. I have a George Forman Grill and a microwave, even without the main cooker we still manage to have lovely meals using both grill and microwave. Not had much use for either of them in UK apart from heating milk etc and BBQ for the grill. We have found a running water spring further down in the village and the water is excellent. Better help Dougie now he is calling.
I stayed in the Villa whilst Dougie went to Silistra for some fitments so he can fit the waste pipe for the sink and washing machine. I did a little weeding to stretch the muscles in my back, but it is really too sore. I think I over did it yesterday picking all those grapes although, I was not in pain and felt good, I am suffering today. I have to do some more work today otherwise I will seize up so I pulled a few more easy weeds and pottered about slowly until Dougie came home. I set fire to some of the weeds.

Ginka D and Evan came round in the donkey and cart and proceed to take stuff out of the cart and bring it into my garden. Ginka tells me she is going to press the grapes in the machine and Evan and her will make the wine for us. We all set to work they crushed the grapes and pulled off the stems. Danka came round and also decided to help, we picked some more grapes whilst the other pressed and separated the juice for the grapes. A few hours later the grapes were all crushed and in the barrel. Ginka said Evan will pick the barrel up tomorrow ( I think)

Dougie and I took a walk to the shop. I tried to order 7 loaves of bread but so I could put in the freezer but Yvanka did not understand me. I did not want to take the loaves today just in case she did not have enough for the villagers. I thought it best to do a little business in the local shop. Still not to worry, we came out with 2 loaves and some biscuits and some washing up liquid, Yvanka was very pleased we had spent about 3 lev in her shop. Probably the most that was bought at once ad it is only a tiny place opened a few hours for bread really.

Wednesday 25th Sept. Dougie has a head cold hopefully it won't last too long. We set off for Silistra at 8am as physcio appt was 8.45. Pleman had already show us where the physcio was so we knew where to go. She was a nice lady and I was there for an hour or so. I felt a bit better. She was good and pin pointed the slipped disc area immediately. She was trying to tell me hospital - in the end she rang Pleman and explained I needed hospital treatment but she is happy to do the massage treatment. W did this for about 5 days but still having probs. Plaman organised the hospital physcio to come to the villa and between them they set up an appt with the top specialist in the hospital to fit me in for treatment everyday for 1 hour.

Once we got home from the physcio we started on the kitchen again, I say we, meaning Dougie of course, I was just fetching and tea making as usual We have been busy all day trying to level the new kitchen, if we get the floor level then the walls are out or vica versa - Dougie is pulling his hair out, well he would be, if he had any!! Shame really, as he is so bad tempered, it spoils the whole experience.

I think Ginka gets her new TV today so probably won't see her, Wrong, Ginka and Evan arrived today at about 4pm. The went to where the grapes were in the barrel and started to strain the juice into another bucket, I got gloves and proceeded to help, but I think I was getting in the way more than anything. They have their own way of working, although then did let me help now and then. They strained the Juice again into the barrel, then filled the buckets and took off the down to the cellar. The remaining grapes were coated in sugar and in and mixed it. Lid firmly on the said Rakki.

Evan had already set up a wine barrel earlier in the cellar. It was raised up from the floor with a tube coming out that went into another bucket but, this was full of water. I was given clear instructions not to touch this until Friday, when Evan would return. When we had finished a few hours later an all the stuff washed ready for next process etc, we sat down on the patio and had a beer, I insisted that Ginka took the money for the sugar but they would not take anything for doing the wine.

Chapter 7 to continue

Oddy

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:44 am

Our 3 month visit to Bulgaria Chapters 7 & 8

Settling in

Chapter 7

Ginka has been very good teaching me Bulgarian word by word, now it was my turn to teach her English. She brought her little book, remind me of the book my Mum kept for the stuff we bought in the shop, she used to mark everything into the book and pay the bill at the end of the week and she was always spot on with here calculations. Anyway we started on the days of the week then counting to 10, I said it in English and she wrote it in Bulgarian then repeated it, excellent first lesson.

My friend Ian called on the cell phone and we had a chat. He and his wife Hillary lives in Prisclci, near Varna. We had intended to go to Varna this weekend but now that Plaman has ordered the work surface and will bring it here on Sunday we cannot go. This suited Ian as he would be away playing golf and did not want to miss our visit, so he suggested we leave it a few weeks and then come and stay overnight with them. To my amazement Dougie loved this idea, normally he does not like to stay with others. I have corresponded with Ian via the MYBG Forum, I don't know him personally, but he also comes from Peterborough, so must be a nice chap!! how strange is that eh! He and his wife Hillary have been here about a year now and said, wish they had made the move sooner. They love it here and settled in real well. Ian said everyday is Friday here in BG . We are looking forward to meeting them.

Grassy a neighbour, who lives in Silistra come round this evening with 3 huge melons. We now have 5 water melons and one honeydew melon and two bags of apples - 1 bag of grapes and a box of walnuts. What we are going to do with them. I have no idea. Grassy tells us his Mama is in hospital with a back problem. She went in today and his Dad is staying in the village in the house across the way from us, hence his visit. Grassy will stay with him next week so we will see a bit more of him. He speaks a little English and with my little Bulgarian we communicate well. He heads off now to catch the bus to Silistra. Dougie and I head off for the shop, or maginisa in Bulgarian. We will try to visit every night so the local get used to us. We met several people tonight, everyone wants to chat to us, Grassy was still at the bus stop when we got down to the shop, so he came over and everyone wanted to welcome us Poor Grassy was pulled right left and centre with everyone talking at once. A little old lady approached, she looks very frail. She had her walking stick, suddenly grabbed me and kissed and welcome me to Bulgaria as if we were family. Then she did the same with Dougie, gave him such a shock, he told me later when she grabbed him, he was almost sure there would be toungs, with the kiss she gave him. Poor darling, he was in a flap, and let me tell you every time he seen her in the future, he mad a run for it. The lady continued to chat away in Bulgarian, whist hugging us. Bless her, she was lovely lady.

I bought some biscuits in the shop, not that they had much choice, for Grassy's Mum so he could take them to her in the hospital, but was it a nightmare to get him to take them. These neighbours love to give things but do not want to take anything back, which worries me a little as they are all pensioners and have not much anyway. But we will find ways to pay them back, that I am sure of. Dougie has fixed a few tools and stuff for one of the neighbours already, so it’s not so bad.



Thursday 28th Sept Now that Dougie has fitted the pipes and soak away for the washing machine and sink and re-allined all the units again, he will fit the facer boards, but this is proving to be a problem now as they are too wide or too short, but he will sort it I am sure. Dougie can sort almost anything when he is left to it, he moans and groans and the air is blue, I bet the Bulgarians have learnt a few choice works, I know I have. Bless he always sorts it in the end bless him, he is a good old boy.

Ginka has just come round with some sugar for the Rakki it appears they have made us some wine and some Rakki, she would not take money for the sugar but this time I will replace it when I go to Silistra. She put the sugar in the barrel. Then she found the calendar and said the Rakki would be ready on 16th October. Then off she went to help Evan. She said Evan rabita, which means he is working. He must have told her not to be long as she has work to do.

Dougie has a streaming head cold but he still wants to go to Silistra to eat out and possible to meet, with Mike and Jerry, and some friends as we will go to the show. Sam Fox the Sun page 3 girl is proforming in Silistra tonight, (singing I hope) so we should have a nice evening.

We met Mike and Jerry and Mike and Ilka in the bar in Silistra we had a drink and headed off to see Sam Fox. The square was packed solid. Everyone enjoyed her show. She was so tiny, nothing like she appears on the TV. She gave a good show. The others left and Dougie and I went to Mercy’s for dinner. Can’t believe we lived in UK all our live and never say Sam Fox, but come to Bulgaria and there she was. It was pretty late when we got home that nigh - Our village is so quiet, you could hear a pin drop and our car was so noisy - yet, not one of the neighbours complained.

Friday 29th Sept Today we went to Silistra for a few items I went into the bank to check the balance on my business account and nearly almost fainted when she told me the balance. It appears I had a grand total of 22leva in there. She made a few phone calls and the lawyer had moved the money elsewhere, phew!!! You cannot imagine what was going through my mind. I email my lawyer and he explained it all to me

We stayed in Silistra for a while, had lunch, and got the stuff we wanted. It was apparent by now that most of the shopkeepers knew us and always tried to greet us in English, even the people in the market stalls were shouting hello to us. There was no pressure in selling us stuff, which was a great relief

Later that evening, we decided to go to the small shop/pub in the top village, which is the same village as ours however, the village have been split to the old and the new parts, don’t know why, can't work out why yet, but the villagers still

class themselves as one village. They have the same mayor we walked up there took about an hours it 1km from our villa. Today I am all aches and pains expect it’s from the grape picking and the walking. I am still having daily treatment (electric shock) at the hospital and it is doing me the world of good. Unfortunately my back is giving me awful problems I have doubled the dose of the pills for now, the walking is helping but looking forward to seeing the physcio tomorrow again.

Saturday 30th I have Dougie's head cold today, and to make it worse, I have developed a high fever and chest infection. I will try to work it off in the garden pulling the light weeds otherwise I will stiffen up again.

Ginka D brought some cooked peppers and some tomatoes around today. She is not happy that I won’t see the doctor. I tell her it’s ok, it will be fine in a few days. We were chatting for ages, then Grassy came round, as he speaks a little English. Dougie was trying to explain to Ginka D that we would try our small TV out in her house and the works;
they can have it or borrow it until their one comes back from the repair shop. Dougie changed the plug and to the TV and Ariel up to Ginka's but unfortunately it did not work. Bless she was as disappointed as they had not had the TV for about 4 weeks now. Dougie was so disheartened for them too.

Ginka D came round with her new writing pad and pen I bought her whilst in Silistra. She is very keen to learn English and we started our word lessons again. I know a good many words now but need to try putting sentences together. Today is very hot we are melting here;
bet it’s freezing in England.

We went to the spring to get fresh drinking water - it is lovely water, met half the neighbourhood again everyone what to chat as usual.

CHAPTER 8

Finding our way

Sunday we have visitors today a young girl and her father came round. Don't know them but the girl introduced herself as André️a and her father as Soma. They come from the next village about 2 miles away not sure why they are here, but I was soon brought up to date. André️a says ‘we have heard you need someone to look after the house when you go to England. Sono is my grandfather, and his son is my father. They are prepared to live here as well. WHAT!!!! Did I hear right?? They are offering to move into my new fully furnished villa and look after it, whilst we are in England, Yea right, I think not, so I said, thanks for coming I have a number of people interested and will call if I need you. I took his name and a contact no and showed them out. Don't think Sono was very happy with this as he then proceeded to say he would do a good job etc, I should have asked what his charge would be, but I forgot. I was flabbergasted really. Later I thought, well I must admire the man for trying. He had some guts

I have noticed the Bulgarians are charging us way over the top for everything we want doing. Someone wanted to charge us 200 leva for 25 cub mts of wood, uncut. Then another one wanted to change us 1500 to cut the weeds and clear the garden. and to hire a mini digger and knock down the 2 old sheds as well a mere 2500lev. I explained this to Ginka D and she nearly had a fit, hence I will go though Ginka D for everything now. Bless her she is very worried about us getting ripped off and burgled - she has decided that she and Evan will be the ones to watch over the villa, I tried to tell her we may use the other old boy in the village who came and said he was willing to look after the place but we would have to sort our a fee, but she was having none of that, She contacted her son-in-law, a police officer in Silistra re an alarm to the police station. She wants us to know our options so we arranged to meet that evening, he and the alarm man came to the village. The alarm man went off to take some measurements etc and then indicated we were ready to go. We all went up to Vinetta at the shop in the next village. She spoke English and could tell us what the alarm man suggested and costs etc. After a while it was clear that the distance was too far for them to come out, if the alarm went off. Vinetta was very disappointed and would not let it go until a suitable agreement was reached. The suggestion that Ginka D would got keep a set of keys and if the alarm went off she could call the police, she would also go into the villa to clear the sensors for any webs etc as this would set the alarm off otherwise. The price and date was settled. Now we had to get a new fuse box fitted. Mark a the son in law of one of the villagers would come before the alarm was fitted and fit the new fuse box and channel the cooker in so it has a separate fuse of its own. He also fixed the lights on the top of the villa, Dougie was putting up a curtain rail and touched a wire, which knocked out the top floor one side.

The kitchen is now ready for the work surface and the hob to be fitted, but we appear to have a problem with the gas hob jets. We will go to Silistra again to buy a converter and gas bottle, it is taken a lot longer than normal as everything we is in Silsitra 20k away, its not like popping to Tosco or the local diy shop at home. It takes about 1/2 hour each way.

It's after 12 and no sigh of Plaman so I texted him. Leman ordered the work surface last week along with the edgings etc from a friend of his. He has just texted me to say sorry but the work surface is no longer made and it would be best to go back to the one we picked already and hope that both pieces are a match. He is sorry he forgot to ring us yesterday when he got the call form the factory. Heck, that’s us up the creek without a paddle now, have to start all over again, Dougie is going mad out in the shed, still can't be helped. Leman said he would pick the work surface up just ring him when it’s in.

Will went into Sinister and ordered the work surface. We have to wait another weeks or so now to finish the kitchen and I was so looking forward to doing some washing and cooking a proper oven cooked meal. Still, won’t be too long now.

Chapter 9 to follow


Oddy

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:45 am

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Our 3 month visit to BG Chapter 9 The Village Concert

The Village Concert.

Chapter 9

1st October gosh can't believe we have been here a month today, we appear to have achieved a lot in a month and still lots more to do. We went to Sinister today to find fitments to convert the gas hob to bottle gas. We tried a number of shops but one in particular shop owner just laughs every time they see Dougie, it's trial and error trying to find what he wants, but they manage and if the shopkeeper has not got the stuff he will divert us to another shop.

We eventually found the jets we needed the converter part a gas bottle, tubing and regulator for a total of 79lev. We filled the gas bottle up at the gas station for 20lev. Dougie put it all on the gas hob and it looks ok, can‘t test it until the hob is fitted into the work surface later this week.

Katya rang to say she contacted the electricity company again to see if they had any luck with changing the name over to our company name yet. They said 'they could not find the bill in the name of the previous owner on the deeds, but she asked them to try under Elena, who was the grandmother. They found it immediately but they cannot tell us the charge until they read the meter, I then text Katya the reading on the meter and the company said they will have to invoice us under the company name now but the girl thinks the bill will be no more than 80lev but I have my doubts about that. We will wait for the bill.

We had an invitation to the local central where they had folk singing and Ginka and Evan were part of the group for our village. Dougie and I turned up at 7pm but it did not start till 8pm however, we wanted to video the performance. We explained this to Ginka D and she in turn explained it to everyone, boy she was so excited about it all. They had never seen a video camera, let alone seeing themselves on the screen.

We and proceeded to set the video camera and lighting up accordingly. We were ready when the locals came and everyone in the hall was greeted at the door and captured on the video. Naturally they were all surprised but in true Bulgarian custom they all greeted us with hugs and kisses and were happy to show their big smiles. Such friendly people here in Bulgaria.

We all sat on the chairs which we helped to put out and Gina D made sure we were seated near her and Ivan. This was our second concert here in BG, first one being in Serena with Mike and Jerry, so we knew what the singing and dancing was like, strange kind of music, but it grew on us after a while. The singing was really nice and they seem to have so much meaning to the words, reminds me of my home land Ireland. We had a wonderful time. Everybody was delighted to see us and welcomed us to Bulgarka. Doggie set the video camera up at the back of the hall and took footage of the concert, zoomed in and watched the sheer pleasure on their faces as they sang. Most of the village people were in the Bulgarka local folk group of singers and they sang and danced till their hearts were content. Then we had the next village do a similar performance, again we enjoyed this too.

After the concert our Mayor Maria said something, like thanks for coming etc to them and also thanked the people who came to watch the concert, then they all left. Ginka D show told us we were staying as their guests. Vichka and Petu were also at our table. Vichka is such a wonderful happy lady. She is like one of those cuddly aunties we have, you know the one I mean. Little did we know that they were going to be our very good friends. We did not have a choice to leave, as we were instructed to stay put and sat at the table. The music was still playing and the women were putting the food on the tables that they had all prepared earlier. Everyone brought their own glasses, plates etc and they all shared in providing the food. Ginka D had brought the stuff for us, I was glad I brought wine and choc cakes etc eh. But would not take any money for it. We had brought some wine and cakes. We all ate and drank and the video was on remote record so it was all captured. Then the dancing started, Docho sang and what a lovely voice he had too. Most of them too it in turns to sing and dance the party was well on its way. Geko, the younger man in the village suddenly decided he wanted to go home and changed into his best suit for the filming and photos. He was beaming from ear to ear when he came back. Bless, he looked a picture, but he forgot to change his shoes. He had the old rubber fieldworkers shoes on, but it was no problem. He was in his element

We had such a lovely evening, dancing and watching the people enjoying themselves. The were simple country folk, taking a well earned break. It was superb. We really felt relaxed there. We had two hours of footage. Dougie packed up the video and shortly after, we all helped tidy up and then at around 1am we headed home. Ginka D and Ivan walked with us to our turn off. It was pitch black down our road as there are no lights - frit the life out of me. Lucky we had our torch, but the Bulgarians do not carry torches they seem to find their way in the darkness.

During the course of the evening, it was agreed that we would go to Nicola & Jeka’s house with Ginka and Evan for wine. It was also agreed by Ginka D that two of the men from the village would come and clear our garden on Wednesday for a fee she thought reasonable 8lev. She then introduced me to Dancho our singer. We were please to get someone in as we really could not do it ourselves.

Chapter 10 to follow

Oddy

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:48 am

Ok enough for now - best now overload Ash [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

all for you lovely comments, glad you are enjoying it.

Oddy

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:15 pm

Where do you get all the energy from mind you are are a pair of spring chickens like me but I couldn't do half of what you have done and I take my to you both now wheres that that alone has tired me out well do you 2

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:42 pm

Nets [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] Will have to wait for Ash to catch up, you know he gets a little behind from time to time - anyone would think he was working Oops!! thats me banned now He know I love him really as I am a little angel (Oh Ash need a icon for an angel please)

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:43 pm

So sorry for delay guys Still waiting for Ash to catch up He is such a slow coach

Oddy

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:51 pm

Well once again you 2 have amazed me well done and well done to the gardeners too lets have some more what are you waiting for

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:58 pm

Woooooooooo its taken me the best part of the day to read all this and now I feel so humble, I don't know what pushes you without wishing to appear rude you both are not teenagers but I take my hat off to you and everything else I only wished I could do something like this well done to you and keep it up and I look forward to another days reading
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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:33 pm

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Our visit to BG Chapter 10 Helping Out

Chapter 10 Helping Out

2 October Today we had a rest day I am not too well, I can barely move with my bad back, plus I appear to have developed a cold and chest infection am having problems breathing but hopefully this will get better soon. I will visit the poli clinic tomorrow for treatment. This morning we need to visit the chemist for antibiotics. No problems what so ever pharmacy knew exactly what to give me, within a few hours the breathing was much better.

Ginka came round at 12.30 for her usual chat and inspection of the kitchen. She makes me laugh, she notices the smallest thing and Dougie has to explain everything to her. She has problems with her oven, well cooker thingy. It has not been working for a while and she was told she needs to get a new one. Although they had searched for a new element they could not find one. Man said it’s the elements that are gone. We went up later to have a look but honestly how she managed on that was beyond us. The thing was so old nothing could be done. We had a little money aside and offered to take both of them to town to buy a small cooker, but no way would they accept this. Too proud I explained for all the help they gave us, but still nothing doing so we hand no choice but to give up.

When we when to Silistra we brought the element with us and also the drip plate. It was like a sieve, never seen so many holes in a metal plate before. Anyway we went from shop to shop until we eventually found someone who had the element. We bought it for about £3 a bargain. Then we went off to find someone to make the drip plate up. Again it was trial and error finding someone who would make one for us. We went into one ironmonger kind of shop but he could not do it for about 1 week, which was too long to wait. We found a shop that makes stuff from tin - Went in and showed him the tray. He found a thick piece of metal and made one up in 5 minutes, all for a mere £1.50. We came home and show Ginka D our bargain - she was beside herself and kissed and hugged us both. All that needed to be done now was fix the bits on. The tray went in ok but the element was causing a problem so Ginka D rang Nicola and he agreed to come over. Dougie went and fetched him in the car. An hour later the cooker/over was working. Ginka D was delighted. It was really nice to see her so happy and the cost was minimal. We would not take any money for doing it as she had done so much for us and this was our way of paying her back, but next day she arrived with a huge cake she baked for us. It was scrumptious.

It's really hot here now even at 3.30pm. We decided to go for a walk so we headed off the dirt road and shortly came across Nicola. When we first came here Nikola brought his young grandson to meet us as he can speak English so we had a great chat. Anyway we were taken into Nicola’s house and his wife Jake proceeded to show us round and then sat us down, even though we protested it did us no good at all. Jake then started to bring glasses, then the wine and the rakki and then came the food, chopped pieces of meat, which we found out later was the pigs head. yuch, good job I only has a tiny bit, bless him Dougie was very good, he tried everything. We had to try each product cheese, bread and gurkins and a speciality meat, which I think was pigs tongues, but I

could be wrong!! Next thing I know I was called to the telephone. Jaka had called Nicola junior in Sofia and we had a chat about our email address and tel nos. Then we had a text with his email on. All very technical for a small village. Nicola was so proud of his grandson and how clever he is with technology. We had rakki and wine and had good conversation with them. They are such lovely people but difficult to get away from. We had to go as it was 6pm now and had to visit physcio at 7.30pm. They eventually let us go but before that we had to take the following with us. Bottle of homemade wine, bag of peaches, grapes green and black and loads of walnuts. We were loaded down but still they were packing stuff in. We eventually got out at 6.20 with all the shopping done.

We got back to the Villa and on the car were more shopping. Ginka had been round with homemade bean soup, some tomatoes and peppers. We will certainly not starve here. I keep telling them no more, but still the stuff keeps coming. We enjoyed the soup she made us and relaxed with a dvd.

Chapter 11 to follow

Oddy

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PostSubject: Our visit to Silistra   Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:36 pm

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Ourvisit to BG Chapter 11 Gardening Time

Chapter 11 Gardening Time

3rd October today is the day agreed for the gardeners to come around at 8am. We are up and waiting, but nobody turns up, then we decide we must have got the wrong day, so carried on with our own little jobs. After about and hour or so two men arrive with their hoe’s and forks. Docho and Ivan 2. They greeted us and indicated the area they were doing. They set off to work. I watched what they were doing. They chopped the weeds with the half moon type hoe. Gosh they sailed through it. Then they decided it was best to pull the weeds out, stack and section each area off with big gaps, What is going on I thought. Then it became all clear I realised what they were doing, They sectioned of in 3 piles to burn. However, they burned the 3 sections together, Gosh there was smoke everywhere and at one point I honestly thought we needed the fire brigade I was in a little panic by now and said to Dougie, do you think we need the fire brigade. He just looked at me and said Bern, what blooming fire brigade!! He was quite sure they knew exactly what they are doing and sure enough they did.

Ginka D came round with yet more goodies, bless her. She has been baking and brought us some triangle cakes, smells lovely. Will have them at 11am. The cakes the ladies make are wonderful, melt in your mouth, so if you are offered a cake grab it. I am not one to eat anything I have not prepared myself, so the thought of someone giving me a cake and me eating it, well quite frankly, was out of the question. But how silly was I, well not any more. We enjoy our treats.

I have always insisted and preferred people coming to us for dinner, but on many occasions in BG, we had no choice but to be Gusty (guests) to the village people. We had so many invites it was unbelievable and they got real upset if you turned them down. So in the end, Ginka D managed our diary and booked in all our dinner dates. Looks like we will be eating out all week I am a bit of a home bird and don't particularly feel comfortable in going to other folks houses really, but here, I made a good effort and I was very proud of myself. Then I had to eat the food as well and surprised myself there too. Honestly I have been such an old biddy all these year.

The workers are doing a grand job they cleared almost half the garden now, going 20times faster than what we did. I think the agreed figure was 8lev, £2ish but it would be an insult to offer that, they worked so hard. I have read on the forum 15lev £5 ish is a good amount for a good days work, but will see at the end.

Ginka came round about 11 to check up on them, she sorted them out and off she went again. ‘Our guardian angel’ But before she left it was agreed that the Gardner Docho Ginka and Ivan and Dougie and I will be going to Silistra tomorrow at 6pm to the folklor concert and they will all meet here. Dougie will drive us all in. Amazing eh, how it’s just arranged and organised in minutes. And more amazing is, we just followed suit, not giving it another thought. Normally we take ages to decide if we want to do this or that - ponder over it. Here we just do it.

We have decided to go for a walk as the gardeners are busy and we can't do much here anyway. We met up with a few villagers and had a chat, well listened and see if we know any words, Yes indeed we did. Thankfully we were NOT dragged in anywhere today. Later when we got back, someone had left plants and a hoe inside our gate. The gardeners had gone. Wow!! You could see the garden for the first time. It is massive. The far end still had to be cleared, but we assumed they would be back tomorrow to do this. Wrong, 20 minutes later they arrived back. They had their siesta. They continued working and within another hour or so they had finished completely. Took them about 4/5 hours to clear 2000sq mts. For people like me, who does not visualise size in sq mts, that's the size of a football pitch.

Then garden is finished, all the weeds have been cleared and burned, all in one day. Golly gosh, I can't believe it. Flipping Nora, it took us 3 days to clear a little bit. Amazing. Well now, its pay up time - Do I offer them 10 lev or 20 lev. Dougie had already decided on what to pay. I pulled out 20 lev and they were excited seeing that, then I pulled out another and handed them one each. Bless them;
they were almost kissing our feet. They were well and truly delighted and off they went smiling and chatting and laughing loudly. Can you believe we had all that work done for a mere £6 each A job well done? We were all well pleased. I told Ginka what I paid and she too was happy but I think if she was here they would have only got one 20lev.

Later, little old Simion came round. He was the one who left the bag of plants and vines. Simion is in his 80ies and has parkisons, so he was a little shaky but knew exactly what he was doing. His native tongue is Romainian, so found it hard to understand him, but none the less he chatted and I listened and grunted and smiled and thought O my word!! what is the wonderful little man taking about. God knows what he must have thought of me. He told/showed me how to plant the vines, well it was going in one ear and out the other - no way, was I going to play around with the soil. I thanked him and moved the vines away to plant another day. Then he grabbed the plants, the herbs he also brought. But before I knew it, he proceeded to dig the holes and plant them himself. Bless him, as I said Simion is 80 odd and due to his illness, he was shaking all the time, and worse, I found, to my horror, I was blooming shaking with him. but mine was in fear. I was scared stiff he would hurt himself. But of course, I should have known better. He still looks after his grapevines and melons etc. He was happy planting the plants and I was only getting in his way when i triedto help. So I proceeded to cut away all the vines hanging over the path and fetched water for him. After Simion had done setting the plants. He decided to instruct me on how to cut the grapevines, properly. Honestly, I did try to look interested, but hey! Planting, cutting vines come on!!! I am a townie for goodness sake. Pulling a few loose dead stick out was enough for me. Nothing would please Simion but to start on the vines now. When I protested he just waved me off. I gave him a set of hand cutters, secators. He was in his element, as they were sprung loaded. I left him there and he continued cutting. The vines looked bald now, but he knew exactly where to cut and tie. When Docho came back Simion was showing him the cutters and they were well impressed, so I knew what to bring them. back from England. Although Docho asked when I go to England can I get him some. Of course I would, but we managed to get them in Praitcka in Varna later on, so got about 8 pairs to give out.

Chapter 12 to follow

Oddy

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