Sunday, 27 March 2011

It Has Been A Busy Weekend (part 1)

Well our weekend really started on Thursday evening with the arrival of our new Polish neighbour. We have been keeping an eye on her house for a few months now, and her arrival meant that we could pass her keys back to her. We had got some groceries in for Jolanta, as she wasn't due to turn up until the evening, made sure that her electric was on and at about 5pm turned her gas fire on to start warming the house through. Unfortunately I couldn't turn her water on, that would be a job for Nikolai the village water man. Sure enough, nearly to the minute that Jolanta had told us, she arrived at our gate. Not bad time keeping, especially when you consider that she had left the States nearly 24 hours before, and she still looked as fresh as a daisy. Once she had had a coffee and something to eat she did start to wilt a little, so I escorted her back home, unloaded her suitcases from her car and had another go with the water. Still no joy, so I went to Nikolai's house to see if he could help, but I couldn't get any answer from him. The next morning, bright and early (well 8am seemed early enough), it was back over to Nikolai's but still no answer, round to the magazin to see if anyone had seen him, but no one had. Back round to Nikolai's to try the bell again, still no joy, so it was off to see the Kmet and see if she could help. A bit of luck there, she managed to phone him as he was at the village water pump house, but he would be able to go to Jolanta's house between 10 and half past. Round to Jolanta's and let her know what I had managed to sort out for her. We had arranged to meet Mum and Dad at the Kmetsko, so that we could both pay our council tax there, at half nine. In between me seeing our Kmet, and returning to the Kmetsko, it had all been locked up. So it was time for our planned day trip to Ruse, Mum and Net had found out that is now a Carrefour there, and both wanted to have a look.

The trip into Ruse was totally uneventful, apart from the amount of Storks that seemed happily balanced on their twig nests. When we were looking for them they were very thin on the ground, but they do seem to be everywhere now. We managed to find Carrefour in the Ruse mall, parking was a bit haphazard as they were painting the white lines in the car park, so had to park at the roadside in the tow away zone and just hope. We all needed coffee by then, so took the lift to the top floor, and I can safely say that it was the best Latte that I have had since being being over here. Coffee and loo break over, we took the escalators down so that we could have a nose round. It will be a very nice mall once shops open there, it is very light and airy and so far clean. I couldn't really find anything in there that we can't get in either Metro or Kaufland, but Mum and Net were quite happy going from aisle to aisle. Once shopping was complete, it was time for lunch, so back into the city centre, via a couple of detours up and down side streets. We managed to park up near what must  be a music school, as there was the sound of someone practising their scales coming through an open window. The first restaurant that we tried was a first for all of us, but when we enquired about the lunchtime menu that they had outside, it mysteriously transpired that they had sold it all and we were given menus in English with ridiculous prices. Needless to say we didn't dine there, but found somewhere else, the food at the second place was good and not at daft prices. Fed and watered, the ladies went off to do a bit of retail therapy, while Dad and I had a nose round the PC store, as Net has heard about these e-readers. I did find one in there but felt that 400 Leva was a bit on the expensive side, even though it was wi-fi and had a 2Gb memory, but they are cheaper on Amazon.

Once shopped out time for coffee and cakes, and Mum and Dad introduced us to a charming cafe. Once the door was closed it had an almost Austrian feel to it, and the cream cakes were really indulgent, but Net and I will remember it for next time that we are in Ruse. We set off home, and as it was still sunny Dad decided that we would have a little detour. We ended up at one of the rock churches, there were some steep steps leading up to it and a road in front of the steps. We started off following the road as it was paved and looked to be in good condition, after a few hundred yards Dad decided that we would go back and get the car and drive along the road and see where it went. Maybe we should have walked along the road a bit more, as just round the corner it became a cart track. The further we got along it the narrower it was getting and the ruts were getting deeper, the trees and thorn bushes were crowding in on the car and scraping along the sides. It sounded like someone running their nails down a blackboard. There was nowhere to turn round and it would have taken ages to reverse out, so we had to gamely continue on. After about 10 minutes we did find a flattish spot with enough room to turn round, but the views were stunning, strangely enough the wheel ruts also ended there so heaven only knows how many other unsuspecting people had also been down that route. The trip back up the hillside was just as bad as the trip down, and Mum asking for Dad to take photos at various points might have given the paintwork a little time to heal before being scratched open again. Eventually we made it back up to the paved road and headed off for home, but now we knew what was at the end of that track.

Once back home our first job was to sort out the animals, then put the kettle on while we phoned Jolanta up to see how her day had been. We hadn't had any calls or texts from her, but we wanted to make sure that Nikolai had turned up and that she now had water. Well, she had water, but when she put the water boiler on  there was a constant stream of water from her shower head. She wasn't too concerned about it, as it stopped when the boiler was empty and switched off. She declined the use of our shower, as the long trip was catching up on her, and all that she wanted to do was to go to sleep.

So now you have caught up with Thursday and Friday, and due to the clocks changing last night and me being tired, I will save Saturday and Sunday for tomorrow. So Leka nosht to you all !!

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