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 My first year in Bulgaria

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TNT1
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PostSubject: My first year in Bulgaria   Tue May 15, 2012 5:51 pm

My first year in Bulgaria.Lets see what I have done.

Bricked up old doorway,ripped out old windows fitted new PVC front door and windows, ripped out old kitchen and fitted new, tiled complety new wet room and fitted electric shower,replaced lounge ceiling with plaster boarded, fitted carpets and lino, decorated throghout rendered the outside of property, rewired complety,fitted new consumer unit fitted outside lights,I have had builder in for approximately one week, and my friend and his son came over from Turkey for 10 days to give me a hand, .. I am sure there is more

I am not a qualified tradesman nor a registered builder.. ( PS the electric company have tested the rewiring and said it is ok. )

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starlite
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PostSubject: Re: My first year in Bulgaria   Tue May 15, 2012 6:09 pm

congratulations on your first year in bulgaria. you have been busy, but im sure all your hard work has been worth the effort. have you any pictures. g
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TNT1
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PostSubject: Re: My first year in Bulgaria   Tue May 15, 2012 7:25 pm

Thank you starlite . yes most of the pictures are on my laptop, I will post a few in the next couple of next days . g

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stephen
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PostSubject: Re: My first year in Bulgaria   Tue May 15, 2012 7:50 pm

Sounds like you had a busy time but rewarding I would say. I too would like to se some pictures when you ready maybe before and after
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Britishimportsbulgaria
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PostSubject: Re: My first year in Bulgaria   Tue May 15, 2012 8:34 pm

Congrats!!! Sounds like you been really busy... But its all worth it for the beautiful country and sunshine aint it? [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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itchyfeet
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PostSubject: Re: My first year in Bulgaria   Wed May 16, 2012 10:02 pm

Well you have been busy, we know the feeling only too well. But great satisfaction when you look around and say I did that.
It truly is a labour of love.
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oddball
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PostSubject: Re: My first year in Bulgaria   Wed May 16, 2012 11:58 pm

[size=150:17kbzvtr]Well done TNT1 you are doing fantastic!!!!

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beautifulangel
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PostSubject: Re: My first year in Bulgaria   Thu May 17, 2012 5:48 pm

:Clap:congratulations. you could give my husband lessons we havent done anywhere near that much work yet.

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cheekychops
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PostSubject: Re: My first year in Bulgaria   Wed May 23, 2012 10:31 am

Brilliant story and you have done such a lot but don't let the hey grow you must carry on maybe you can add some pictures on here they are always good.
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GinaA
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PostSubject: Re: My first year in Bulgaria   Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:54 pm

Well done to you and I hope your future will have a lot more surprises for you and more work too.
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itchyfeet
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PostSubject: Re: My first year in Bulgaria   Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:31 pm

This is also our first year living in Bulgaria and to our knowledge the last owner of our house passed away over five years ago now and his prior health to his passing of course is not known. He could have been incapacitated for the last goodness knows how many years and as a result the garden cum field (4500 square metres) was seriously overgrown and had started to head back towards being woodland. This happens when yearly maintenance of land is ignored or impossible to achieve. As a result of lack of ground maintenance, paths that had been laid with flagstones or large rocks have been hidden for ages, Annette and our friend Sandra have been busying themselves unearthing these pathways whilst clearing weeds, nettles, rusty wire fencing and other rubbish and the garden now has paths running all over the place, I of course wish that they could find a Roman Villa stashed in the garden somewhere or even better, a hoard of golden Roman coins would come in handy to say the least. While this going on I am strimming the garden at every opportunity in an effort to keep the weeds at a reasonable height.

So far the Roman artifacts have evaded us but we will continue our quest into finding more paths and wells, not to mention the occasional Dunny which was found yesterday near one of our side gates. This Dunny was only 5 feet inside the gate and any intruder may have stepped into it and had a nasty end to his life here on earth. It wasn't too deep, so maybe his head may have just peeked out from the top of the hole and he would have had to have breathed in the vicious aroma that inhabited the hole whilst standing in the hole and being completely incapacitated until help had arrived, well serve him right if that had happened eh?

Whilst the girls are endeavoring to find what lays under the crust of the garden, I am around the back of the house busy placing 6 square metres of crazy paving on the wall to cover up the mess that the wall has got itself into. The wall had had several people work on it over the years and is all different layers thick and is nowhere near being level. So I have placed 5 metres of the paving over the wall so far having re-cemented what I put up the first day after half of it fell off the wall. The wall has to be covered to keep out the drafts that flow through the house because of all the gaps in it, otherwise there will be all manner of cold flows of air floating through the house in the Winter whilst we are burning endless amounts of wood to try and keep ourselves warm. Myself and our friend Steve from the UK have put putty, silicone and pins in all of the windows, some rooms had over 30 panes of glass and there are 10 rooms, so quite a bit of work needed to be done on them. So as you can see, these works are essential for our well being and also essential to fortify the house from falling apart and freezing while we aren't looking.

I am sure this all sounds quite daunting to most people in the UK living in their centrally heated houses in the winter, over here in Bulgaria winter is a serious business, self discipline, regular checks around the house and routine acquiring of the wood from the barn is a daily chore, but essential for comfort and relaxation in some form and to keep a flow of warm air to keep the respiratory tracts and brain working to some state of normality. At the same time it is essential to have sorted the house this summer and autumn whilst the weather allows us the privilege of working on the place.

Annette and Sandra have been excavating again today and found another pathway (how many more will they find?) and the original chicken coup with a secure pen for chickens to live in. This in addition to the chicken run and enclosure to keep them safe from foxes and such like. I have been down to our neighbour about 100 yards away whom we have named Bernard, he doesn't know this of course, he has told us his name and we have both forgotten it. His name is pronounceable and but not easily remembered as you have probably guessed, Bernard has acquired some flagstones for us at a reasonable price and I pop down to his place at 8 every night with our steel trolley and bring some of the flagstones back.

Trouble is I can't pull the ruddy thing on my own, so me and "
Bernard"
pull the trolley up the slight hill back to our property, whilst he mutters to me in Bulgaski, only trouble is I haven't a clue what he is saying, but we laugh a lot, so really that is all that matters I suppose, he is happy and so am I after he has given me a hand with the trolley. Whilst I am at "
Bernards"
collecting the flagstones he produces a bottle Rakia which he has distilled earlier in the year for our enjoyment, it is therefore necessary for me to partake of the refreshing liquid to keep him happy and of course myself as well!!

Just another chapter of life of us living in this far flung outpost somewhere in the middle of Bulgaria.
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justbazz1
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PostSubject: Re: My first year in Bulgaria   Sat Jul 28, 2012 4:09 pm

Sounds like huge fun Itchy..where abouts is all this happening? After a tipple with 'Bernard' I have a fair idea why you can't get back up the hill.

My place started out as a stable and granary around 200 years ago and has slowly been added to over time until I finished it off a month or so ago.
What used to be a small barn like structure is now a three level, substantial dwelling. Some of the walls are just over a half a metre thick and made of mud brick, then rendered inside and out. I used [on the exterior walls] a mixture of crushed marble, lime, sand and cement which when mixed with water to give it the right texture, I applied using a handheld 'splatter' machine. The mix sticks like "
the proverbial to a blanket"
and after almost four years, shows no sign of coming off. I left it unpainted for 12 months, then gave it all a spray coating of Walpamur Weathershield paint, tinted to an earthy colour. I've become a dab hand at rendering with mud on a mud brick wall to get a more even surface and fill gaps and cracks before splattering on the final coat.

The final result is that we have a house that looks circa 1900's on the outside but is totally 2012 on the inside. I've taken it from a 200 year old, two roomed, rickety structure to a ten roomed [not including corridors, pantry, WC's etc], solid, comfortable, country home. The best bit is....I did EVERYTHING myself..electrical wiring, plumbing, roof tiling, masonary and painting..even the beds are made by me.

On the downside..maintenance has to be kept up with..painting, varnishing, etc etc etc.


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itchyfeet
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PostSubject: Re: My first year in Bulgaria   Sat Jul 28, 2012 6:04 pm

Yes, it is fun BG, but only when things go right, after struggling with a large rock after having cementing it yesterday, my attempt at making it stay on the wall was a complete failure after it fell off for the 3rd time, broke in half and landed on my foot. A few expletives were uttered after this failure, I don't take failure easily and after the rock had come to a standstill my foot stamped on it and broke it again with me walking away and muttering to myself!!

This grand DIY job is occurring in Paskalevets, just outside Veliko Tarnovo and has been non stop since the end of February.

My drinking of Rakia with "
Bernard"
is a only a simple small glass, only trouble is he usually produces another bottle which is a strong potion compared with the first glassful. Nevertheless these rocks we take to our house are really heavy and even if I was stone sober would still need two of us to move.

Your house has needed more work than ours by the sounds of it, although we did dig and complete two new soakaways and renewed the pipe almost to the cess pit which was a good 25 metres away.
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justbazz1
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PostSubject: Re: My first year in Bulgaria   Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:43 pm

I have to agree it has mostly been fun..and a big learning curve for a bloke who has been flying aircraft for most of his working life..clean hands and all that stuff. It's a pity you are so far away from me, as I have most of the things you need to make your tasks a little easier [plus a bit of experience now]. Heavy duty mower, strimmer and importantly, a heavy duty rotavator, which is the best weed killer and ground leveller of all.
When I came here the little place was covered in wild vines, concrete borders, posts and heaps of old out buildings which were being used by the neighbour as a sheep shelter. The property itself is around 2000 acres which is divided by a small, mosquito ridden stream and surrounded by the old commie era irrigation canals, so water is not a problem. My better half is a keen gardener and she produces tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, carrots, pumpkin, sweetcorn as well as quite a few herbs. We also have apple, pear, cherry, fig, apricot and peach trees which do quite well. Our big old walnut tree ususally produces around 200 kilo's of nuts each year and the wild [unsown] strawberries and raspberries give us enough to make plenty of jam and preserves. Our grapes are used for making wine and for the first time the last vintage gave us around 90 litres of reasonably [read drinkable] good quality cabernet which has been put down in the cellar for a year or two..or three..or four.

My wife has an interest in breeding chickens, so I made an incubator for her to use and now we have people from all over the place bringing fertilized eggs for her to hatch..even some pheasant eggs last month. Lots of fun for all involved and the side benefits are very tasty. We sell nothing of what we produce, choosing instead to trade or just give away..our cellar is always full of the local wine, rakia[and I hate the stuff, but it is good for mozzie bites] honey, pickled cabbage, local cheeses etc.

It seems to me that you have the right stuff to make your dream work and all I would say is..take the time, to make the time to learn from the locals..make the effort to meet them, ask them and listen to the answers and you will be pleasantly surprised in the end..and so will they!!



A toddy to cure coughs, colds and sore 'a- holes' is a half glass [any size] of rakia, tablespoon of honey, warmed slowly over or beside a log fire until almost too hot to sip..repeat until problems can't be felt any more. Betcha get a good sleep!!
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itchyfeet
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PostSubject: Re: My first year in Bulgaria   Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:38 pm

Well Bazz it has been great reading your scintilating story of living here in the raw as it were. I have worked on magazines and newspapers, including national newspapers all my life, this was interspersed with many businesses and you could say that my hands have rarely got dirty either. Sad you are not nearer, but Plovdiv is not too far from us so perhaps we will get together when it gets a bit cooler.

Our story is similar, but we lived in Turkey for 5 years before coming here. We have many trees and bushes but have been too busy working on the house to really walk around the field and determine what fruit we have.

My time is also taken up walking the dogs, especially the bigun's, Louie is a German Shepherd dog and Sophie is an Anatolian Shepherd dog, they need exercise and I do what I can in the heat here. Only trouble is we live in a village and the locals walk any animal loose in the small lanes and tracks we have, anything from chickens to horses and everything in between.

The only thing Annette has made is Mango Chutney, my speciality is Pate which went down well with our friends in Turkey. We are looking for a heavy duty mower now and hopefully will follow this up with a rotavator before the Winter closes in. In the meantime I am out with the weed killer and the strimmer whenever it is cool enough to use them.

Having found the chicken coup in the garden only a few days ago hidden under thick bushes and undergrowth, it has been totally cleared now of debris and is ready for our friend Steve to rebuild a new one for us when he arrives in September, as the old one had totally collapsed. Most of it is concrete so he has little work to do on it. Looking forward very much to getting some chickens and always having fresh eggs.

Haven't seen "
Bernard"
today and haven't done any DIY either, just had a day off from it all, especially as the heat was too much.
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