Saturday, 18 December 2010

Our First Attempt At Blogging

We are now into our third year here in Bulgaria, and I had a sudden urge to jump on the blog bandwagon. Initially I was going to wait for broadband in the village, but it seems to be getting put further and further back. To some this might seem like just another blog written by Brits out in Bulgaria, but to family and friends this will allow them to catch up with us and see what we are doing. Any pictures that we put up will normally be from ones that we have taken ourselves.
Who Are We?
Well some of you will know who I am, whereas others will know me by my alter ego Chris P Bacon, and I am 49 and retired from the Royal Navy. My better half is Net, an ex Nurse, among other things, which comes in handy. We are out here with 3 dogs Fenric, Sirius and Bonnie, and 5 cats, Mr Cat, Stinky Tinks, Gremlin, Razzy and Albert.

We did think about keeping Chickens and Ducks, but more about that at a later date. We do grow our own fruit and veg though, not that we are Tom and Barbara Good from The Good Life. Remember them, or am I just showing my age?
Why Are We Here?
We moved out here for several reasons, the main one being Net's love of painting and the onset of arthritis. This is such a picturesque country, and with the four distinct seasons has such a changing landscape just crying out to be painted. We did look at other countries, but I am glad that we made this choice. The people are so friendly and helpful, but beware of any claiming to be a maestro. It is a much slower pace of life here, and took us a good six months to get used to it. The air is clear, and the village relatively trouble free, and there are definitely more pluses than minuses to living out here.
Where Are We?
Well if you look at a map, there is a good chance that you will not be able to find us. We are in North Central Bulgaria, in a small village called Paisii (паисий), in the Veliko Turnovo region. There are only about 150 people living in the village, of which 6 are English, 2 Icelandic, 1 Irish and 1 Pole. Luckily Peter and Sylvia have taken us under their wing and shown us where to get things and how to get things done, (thanks Mum and Dad). It is a friendly village, and everyone seems to know everyone else. There is a definite sense of community spirit here, unlike in the UK where you might see your neighbours, but how many do you actually talk too. As previously mentioned it is a small village, just the one shop/bar, a post office (open twice a week) and a pensioner's club (we might live on a pension but have only used the club on village occasions). It is so quiet here, but a pleasure to hear birds singing most of the year, we hear plenty of chickens, the occasional dog barking and the odd tractor. It does take some getting used to all of this peace and quiet. We were extremely lucky to find the estate agents that we did, thanks to them we now live in our little bit of heaven.
We are slowly coming to grasps with the language, but we seem to be able to make ourselves understood with a mixture of Bulgarian and the odd bit of sign language. At this time of year, with the snow on the ground, it is an ideal time to get the various language books and CDs out. We have to remember that if you don't use it you lose it. I can now go to either the Post office or the local shop and not speak a word of English. It is only polite to try and learn the language, and we do enjoy a challenge.
What do we miss about the UK?
Mainly family and friends, though that is not to say that we haven't made some wonderful friends out here. It took a while to find a radio station that plays some listenable music, I'm not sure that I will ever appreciate the local 'folky' stuff that everyone seems hell bent on playing. Luckily we do not have any close neighbours, so I can play my music as loud as I like. We have been told that music in the garden is a good deterrent to snakes, not that there is any likelihood of there being any out and about at the moment. Not unless they are fur lined and with hot water bottles strapped to themselves. We came over with plenty of books, and other bits and pieces to keep ourselves amused and out of mischief.
It helps having an ex-pat community over here with various forums on-line. They can be a wealth of information, but in typical Brit fashion have a tendency to let 'the lunatics take over the asylum'. Since being here we have tried to integrate into the village life style, and not enter into the ex-pat Brits on the piss mentality. Luckily neither of us really drink, and with the garden, the house and the pets there is always something that needs doing. We try to help others, even if it might only be showing them where things are, or how to get things done. At the end of the day we are all guests in a foreign country, and need to help each other.
Do we regret moving here?
Not for one minute, our family and friends come out to see us, and it is quality time spent with them. We share with them the things and places that we have either been shown or have discovered.

Well that is probably enough for now, so we will see how this blog goes down, many thanks for taking your time to read it.


  1. Lovely read Neil. Can't wait to read more about village life! Sue x

  2. Aw, Neil, I really enjoyed your blog (Do I have to call you Joe now?) I was very sorry to read about one of the cats though.

    I'll keep popping by for a new installment.....

    Wishing you both a happy healthy 2011 - Hugs to you both - Clare x

  3. Together with reading your recent posts I decided to start getting to know with the "headwaters" of your blog. And from the very first entry I found out at least two things: 1) your real name is not Kris/Chris (but - Neil - ??); 2) you play some musical instrument (what exactly - ???); 3) you love animals to the extent that allows you to have so much dogs and cats at your home that I fail to imagine. :))

    1. ...THREE, but not TWO things... I can count till three, really! :)))

    2. Yes my proper name is Neil, but the Chris/Kris came about because I used to play games online. We do still have quite a menagerie of animals with 3 dogs and 4 cats. Some of the names have been changed as a consequence of village life. As to where it states that I can play an instrument that is a mystery to me. Unless it is where I say about playing the radio, or music, as loud as we like. I hope that this clears up any questions Ira :o)

    3. :)) Hah! Your words - "I can play my music as loud as I like" - gave me the idea of your being a PLAYER! :))) Oops! :))

      And another idea (yes, I'm fuul of them!) that came to me in our communication is: how great is the fact of changing names as a consequence of something!! :))

      Kris (Neil)! At last! I've started my English blog! Welcome! Here it is: :))

    4. A very good first blog Ira, and I am now following it. I notice that at the moment you do not have anywhere for people to leave comments

  4. Hi Kris. Ex RN? Not an ex-submariner by any chance?
    Found your blog while checking when the Hotnitsa car boot starts again. Been here in BG since 2009 with my wife Wendy. Maybe catch up with you at the next car boot and have a tot together and trade a few dits!!
    All the best Bob Mosdell.

    1. Hi Bob, I was ex-Pusser for 24 years, although I was a Woo and not a Sludgemariner. Joined as a junior in 77 and left as a PO in 01. My elder brother was a General Service Tiff, but only on surface ships. We arrived here back in September 2008, and I wouldn't swap it for the world. Occasionally we venture over to the car boot at Hotnitsa, but normally tend to stick to the one at the camp site in Dragizhevo. I'll keep my eyes open next time we are at the booties.