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 Itchyfeet's Blog

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itchyfeet
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PostSubject: Itchyfeet's Blog   Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:52 am

First topic message reminder :

I haven't tried Blog Writing before, but have put our first reflections of living in Bulgaria down in print so that we can look at them in a few years time:

Our last pieces of furniture from our home in Turkey finally turned up here in Bulgaria this past week and our two leather sofas that we bought off of Ebay many weeks ago are being collected from the UK to come here in the next few days.  This will complete our inventory of things much needed for sustaining life here in this former Communist country.  Whilst this is going on some of our wood has also arrived and is pilled up just inside our gate, these come in metre lengths but have to be cut up to useful sizes in readiness for putting on our wood burner in the coming Winter.  This means that I have to cut them up with the newly acquired Chain Saw in the coming weeks before another great load turn up to be cut up, we expect to use somewhere in the region of 15 cubic metres of wood to stave off the cold.  Thermal clothes are in abundance in our wardrobes and are being held in readiness for the Winter to come.    So as you can see this is an action packed Ranch style homestead that we are currently living in.   Our massive gate which keeps unwanted intruders from our property has wooden staves rather like "
South Fork"
and we need a lot of strength to get them open.

Our life here has changed from being Townies to "
The Darling Buds of May"
- I have been fortunate in securing my own Katherine Zeeta Jones in the personage of Annette and she has shown that our own Zeeta is up to the mark and has even outshone the real one in many ways.  On the other hand of course I can't help but feel that I have been short changed from some of the exciting and exhilarating things of the real one, but I am not complaining!!   Must remember to go to Specsavers when I am next in the UK.

The house seems to be full of furniture, nick knacks and most things and there is still boxes and bags to unpack, goodness knows where they will all go.  We moved out from an apartment in Turkey to this big house of 200 square metres and we still need more room, strange, but it appears to be the case.   The dogs are happy and spend most of their time smiling and looking at us and commanding attention with nuzzling our legs and arms until we put our hand out and stroke them.  Ayla is due for her clipping of her coat tomorrow, she looks more like a sheep wandering around the field as her coat seems to have grown even more than last year and so to keep her comfortable and cool it all has to come off.

It is in to Veliko Tarnovo tomorrow to get an air conditioner apart from other things, temperatures here seem to be higher than Turkey and come July and August it will be impossible to sleep without something to keep us cool.   The grass and weeds appear to grow at an alarming rate and the strimmer has been working hard in an effort to keep the field to a reasonable height, this means that anything that is hiding in the foliage has to get the hell out or stand the chance of being sliced by the saw blade on the end.  Endless snails have been topped whilst this extensive task is going on.   The snails here are huge and resemble almost half the size of a tennis ball, it wouldn't be so bad if there was only a few of them but the field is covered in them, there must be thousands hiding in the grass and weeds keenly watching out for the strimmer to pass by followed by me wielding the massive machine across our large field wishing that I hadn't started doing the job.  We assume that the Storks come here to eat them and this is what makes up most of their diet, there is the green Lizards of course, they are about a foot long and although their bodies are green, their heads are blue and they can change colour according to what surrounds them. So in all, a great change from living near the sea in the Aegean region of Turkey and also a great change from living in the UK.
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krypton
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PostSubject: Re: Itchyfeet's Blog   Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:18 pm

What a great insight to your life so far. I have really enjoyed reading this and can I say I wish there were more that write like this.
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PostSubject: Re: Itchyfeet's Blog   Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:12 pm

H just love your stories Itchy keep em coming g

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PostSubject: Re: Itchyfeet's Blog   Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:42 pm

[size=150:21udcwda]The White Stuff!!

Entrenched is the word for it I believe, entrenched in what you might say, well in the white stuff of course!! We had a heavy downfall nearly three weeks ago and two nights ago it finally cleared before we went to bed and the next morning when we drew the curtains there is another three inches of the stuff all over the place. This morning you could say has been rather white all over, with another deluge of it dropping during the night and still snowing. I had fortunately purchased one of those snow clearing shovels that they sell over here and proceeded to shovel the paths and up to our huge gates which are 40 metres from the house, which is no mean feat for someone of my age. Having succeeded so far and having the strength and stamina to continue I cleared our drive outside the gates which is also a large area.

Looking down our lane I could see one of our BG neighbours struggling with a wooden shovel to clear his snow, he has a really bad back, his spine is somewhat curved and he was having a hard time of it, so I walked down and gave him a "
drasti"
to which he replied "
izzie"
at least that is what it sounded like. Whenever I see him he also utters the same welcome so I have got used to it, but have no idea what it means. So I set about clearing his snow whilst he watched with amazement at the amazing sight before him! Nothing special about it, but I had more stamina than him and my back is straight, whereas his isn't, goodness knows what my back will be like when I get into bed tonight, probably two Panadol will sort it out.

So a curse was emitted by me and Annette after seeing all the snow laying all over our field and around the property and onwards with the day to do our thing and get the wood burner going and keep warm. Only trouble is we bought some wood at the beginning of last week and not being used to burning the stuff, we didn't notice that the chap who brought it had only just cut it from the trees and it was full of sap and so effectively wet inside. It is hopeless to start on the fire and so me and Annette have struggled with it and it won't beat us, this wood will burn whether it likes it or not!! Some people call it stubborness, but I call it determination and if I am so inclined I won't let anything beat me, man or mouse, not "
sqeak up"
for me. That is how I have lived my life and that is how it stays and that is why this house will get itself finished and comfortable whether the house likes it or not as well!!

Living here in the Winter is a different ball game to the Summer, self sufficiency, planning, determination and getting on with it whether we like it or not is the only way to live it. We have surprised ourselves, even me at my age and Annette has done really well in getting the house clean and sorted, albeit not as often as in the Summer, but the night's are long and the days are short, so not a lot of time to do anything, when it is dark we just relax and be thankful that we are here in this great country and a lovely house with our super dogs who are really enjoying themselves even in the snow!!
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PostSubject: Re: Itchyfeet's Blog   Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:29 pm



Thanks again for another entertaining and useful (to us potentials) installment.

I'm sure a sore back is a small price to pay for helping someone else out. Well done you, and I hope you don't seize up too badly.

Spring is just around the (wide) corner!

Mrs Eq

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PostSubject: Re: Itchyfeet's Blog   Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:58 pm

Glad you posted this Itchyfeet. No-one ever understands what its like here in the winter and how you have to plan ahead. What looks like a lot of wood in summer all chopped and stacked, is soon used up in winter when the woodburner is going on a daily basis. My Hero even gets up at night to boost it up when the temperatures drop to -25. At least its not too cold yet but will probably drop by the end of January going by past experience.
Someone once told me that they knew all about snow having lived in the north of Britain but soon found its a different ball game over here and can last a very long time. Some winters aren't too bad but the worst one we experienced, back in 2007 I think, but I could be wrong, we didn't see green for 3months. Snow is very pretty but its difficult if you have a long drive or live down a track as we do. That's why I was very sensible having a partner so much younger than me and who likes the great outdoors and chopping wood. H [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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PostSubject: Re: Itchyfeet's Blog   Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:27 pm

Winter if or can be tuf but its well worth it in the end. Love this blog mate keep it going, this is the real Bulgaria.
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PostSubject: Re: Itchyfeet's Blog   Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:28 pm

[size=150:3appzc2d]Oh no . . . not more Wood to Cut!


My days seem to be taken up with feeding the wood burner with wood.  This in itself would be no problem, but it has to be brought out of our barn to the cutting block and then the lengthy and strenuous work of cutting it and delivering it to the kitchen door for my Catherine Zeeta to take it into the lounge.  I only give my lovely Catherine Zeeta who in the personage of Annette, a half empty wood bin to carry, she has enough with doing that as the wood is heavy.  This is our Darling Buds of May house which was a farm before we purchased it nearly a year ago now, luckily for me she isn't looking for another Michael Douglas!!

We had spent the good months of last year renovating and setting about making the house more sustainable for the forthcoming Winter, so buying wood and cutting it, was set aside for later in the year. But you learn don't you? We estimate around 20 cubic metres will be burnt by us before the Winter is out, we have 8 radiators and a 33 Kw wood burner and so that is what is needed to keep the house warm to our taste. However, some of our walls need covering with polystyrene and cementing before we enter the next Winter to ensure that the house is up to the mark with protecting our sun kissed bronzed bodies that we had enjoyed enduring sitting in the sun during the Summer last year.

Of course, being used to the sun and being kissed by it often during the Summer last year, means that the cold of the Winter has started to embed itself into my system and in an effort to repel the cold from impregnating my body too much, the thermals have come out of the cupboards. These are fine of course in the way they work in keeping me warm, but it takes ages to get dressed in the morning, having put on my Long John's with Annette observing from our bed, a few remarks and statements are made by her. These remarks are usually an observation of my sylph-like body wearing these white things on my legs and unfortunately for you reading this, not printable here!

The only trouble with my feet becoming cold is that warm blood takes a long time to reach my feet and they are constantly cold, even after partaking of wearing two pairs of socks. The main reason for this I am advised is that my jam tart (sorry . . . Cockney saying) is pumping too slow. A great amount of time is spent in the evenings in rubbing my feet together in my slippers to keep them warm. I can remember my Grandfather hanging his Long John's on the back of his bedroom door, these were hung on a hook by his braces, which where attached to his Long John's, they were attached to his gaiters and these were hooked onto his socks. I always had this vision that he grabbed the whole lot from the back of the door in the morning when he got dressed and jumped in the air and his legs slid down his Long John's through his gaiters and straight into his socks and "
hey ho"
he was dressed!!

Annette enjoys keeping the fire going and is constantly putting more wood on the wood burner and giving it a good poke, this in effect rouses the fire and the flames begin to start flickering and within minutes are bursting with life. All this talk of keeping warm in the Winter is far cry from gas central which we enjoyed whilst living in the UK, albeit a lot more expensive than using a wood burner and now the European Union want to fine BG for burning wood fires, silly lot!!
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PostSubject: Re: Itchyfeet's Blog   Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:11 pm

What a great read and I do feel sorry for you with your cold feet, have you tried thermal socks? The wood you are using my not be the right type or should I say quality? some wood burns quicker than others so this could be the reason you are constantly cutting wood although it could be because Annette like stoking the fire and trying to keep your feet warm :Hearts:Anyway looking forward to reading more from you and maybe next time your feet will be warmer, as for the eu well maybe they will tell us all what people are supposed to burn that wont destroy the planet.
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PostSubject: Re: Itchyfeet's Blog   Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:39 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
What a great read and I do feel sorry for you with your cold feet, have you tried thermal socks? The wood you are using my not be the right type or should I say quality? some wood burns quicker than others so this could be the reason you are constantly cutting wood although it could be because Annette like stoking the fire and trying to keep your feet warm :Hearts:Anyway looking forward to reading more from you and maybe next time your feet will be warmer, as for the eu well maybe they will tell us all what people are supposed to burn that wont destroy the planet.


My feet are already in one pair of ordinary socks with a thermal pair over the top, but unfortunately that is not enough. So today I have tried two pairs of thermal socks - it has worked so far!!

c s
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PostSubject: Re: Itchyfeet's Blog   Mon Jan 14, 2013 6:31 pm

I've just noticed that you are in your 50s!!!! I am 72 and don't find the life here in winter or summer too hard. I probably sound a bit unfriendly and your blogs are brilliant but there are many on here who have gone through what you are experiencing and given their advice particularly about winter wood. If you thought painting windows was more important you can't expect sympathy now when you finally realise that it would have been better to stockpile and dry wood for winter. So far its been a good winter and one big snowfall doesn't make a Bulgarian winter.
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PostSubject: Re: Itchyfeet's Blog   Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:20 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
I've just noticed that you are in your 50s!!!! I am 72 and don't find the life here in winter or summer too hard. I probably sound a bit unfriendly and your blogs are brilliant but there are many on here who have gone through what you are experiencing and given their advice particularly about winter wood. If you thought painting windows was more important you can't expect sympathy now when you finally realise that it would have been better to stockpile and dry wood for winter. So far its been a good winter and one big snowfall doesn't make a Bulgarian winter.


Annette is in her 50's, I am 71 and do most of the posting on the forum, that is why my feet are a problem. We are new at this wood burning game and this Winter has been a steep learning curve, so this coming Spring and Summer will be used to get wood and stock pile. Our main problem has been the absence of a barn to store it all and this year will be well served in getting that little problem sorted as well. No peace for the wicked!!
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PostSubject: Re: Itchyfeet's Blog   Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:56 pm

Apologies- my Hero, is 50 this year and I am 73 this year. Role reversal. You will be better prepared for next winter. Its been quite a good one so far with only one heavy snowfall although its still dangerous because its only partially thawed and I hate the black ice. I'm scared of falling. Mustn't think its all over yet though. Last year the temperature plummetted near the end of January and winter lasted a long time. Every year is different so fingers crossed its not going to be too bad.
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PostSubject: Re: Itchyfeet's Blog   Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:49 pm

[size=150:2o05d5ee]An Axing Problem!!

For various reasons, including the lack of the "
folding"
we were late getting our wood last year. The absence of a barn to put it in was our biggest problem and so we purchased wood from the tree fellers that were clearing the edges of the roads around our village. These come cheaper because they are not straight and also much thinner than wood our Mayor arranges for villagers to buy. So having only 3 days wood remaining last week, we bought some wood from a villager that had surplus wood for sale. His wood was originally bought from the Mayor and he lent us his trailer to take it back to our home, which he didn't charge for, which was very good of him.

So on this epic day, Bernard and I turned up at the villagers house to collect and take the wood home, all three of us loaded the wood and when the strenuous work had finished the seller appeared with three glasses and the magical home made Rakia appeared which we all drank with delight, what a nice man he was!

Bernard and I off-loaded the wood into a stacked pile and covered it with some plastic sheeting and afterwards Annette treated him to some Scottish Whisky which he readily drank. The following day I cut some wood and proceeded to chop it with an axe that Bernard had lent us. Chopping wood was not as easy as I had thought, it appears that you can miss the wood to the left or the right or just take a thin slice off the edge, or if you are lucky enough you might cut it down the middle. We had bought an axe last year, but it was too small for axing wood for the burner, these proper wood axes are rather large and take a bit of swinging depending on whether you are cutting a wide piece or a slimmer piece of wood.

It seems to me that if you are good at golf, you will be good at using an axe, when I played golf my problem was slicing and I find that when I axe wood that is exactly what happens. A slice comes off the right hand edge and goes skimming across the garden whilst the larger piece makes a speedy exit towards the house! So far I have been lucky and no windows have been broken, unfortunately our one and only decent stump of wood that I can use as a block is only six feet from our front door, so not an ideal place to cut wood really. So for cutting wood I assume you are aiming at what golfers call the sweet spot, not much chance of me getting that place every time!! My teeing off at golf was spasmodic, so is my axe cutting, perhaps a visit to a golf professional to get a decent handicap or a visit to the opticians to get my eyes tested would help.

Of course using muscles that we are not used to using very often takes it's toll, aching shoulders and back appear to be the place that aches take the strain of using this wretched piece of equipment, albeit essential for the wood burner to work properly. So bedtime means that the Panadol come out the cupboard in preparation to get a decent night's sleep, happy dreams!! Of the Summer month's of course!
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PostSubject: Re: Itchyfeet's Blog   Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:16 am

Well done to you even with the aches and pains, I know that some people use a chain saw so perhaps it maybe worth thinking about and save all those aches and pains in the future or possibly even pay someone from the village to do it for you if you don't feel up to it next year. Brilliant read and thank you for the share of your life in Bulgaria.
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PostSubject: Re: Itchyfeet's Blog   Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:20 pm

What a brill read and I will agree with Andy its much easier with a small chain saw but do be careful they can try to run away mine has a few times with me chasing it down the garden.
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