Saturday, 19 March 2011

The Road to Nowhere

Well here we are, over half way through March, and those who have seen my Facebook status updates will be forgiven for thinking that I have developed a fetish for Storks. Sightings to date, 3 possibles, 1 might have been a Egret, 1 was a plastic bag bush, and the latest one couldn't be confirmed by Net so I wasn't allowed to count it. The latest possible sighting was on the main Byala-Popovo road this morning, as we went over to give Pete and Claire a hand. We did try helping the other day but Pete's step ladders weren't long enough for Net and Claire to get up into the roof space. Pete and I were quite prepared to go up, but the girls were quite insistent that they were going to do it. So today we took our extending, convertable step ladders over. Poor Claire and Pete had both been up since daft o'clock, as between us the other day we had managed to arrange to get her neighbours over to help dig the garden. Unfortunately due to the previous day and night's rain, the neighbour's had declared that the ground was too wet. So by the time we arrived it was a quick coffee and unload our ladders from the car, set them up and the girls crawled on their stomachs into the roof space. Now to gain access to the roof space there is an external access hole at the top of their veranda, or so we thought until Net lifted up another hatch a revealed that there is also an internal access point. Not very good for security, so the external one has now been boarded up and secured. The girls were obviously enjoying themselves, judging from all of the giggling that was coming from upstairs.

While Pete was acting as ladder safety number, probably the first time that anything resembling Health and Safety has occurred in Bulgaria, I set about finding something to keep myself occupied. Last night Claire had phoned us and said about a 400 Leva fee from the village water man to increase the size of their water pit so he could repair the leak and read the meter. Now we thought that this fee was extortionate, and there was no actual indication that there was actually a leak as the water level wasn't rising at all. Being a nosey sod I decided to bail the pit out and see if I could find any sign of a leak. Ably assisted by Wolf and Tehya, we managed to get all of the water out, and after half an hour there was no sign of any further water build up. So after consultation with the dogs we came to the conclusion that it was probably a build up of snow melt and rain water.

So with the plastic sheeting put in the roof space and the water pit emptied and seeing as how it was very nearly 1 o'clock, it was unanimously decided to go into Popovo for something to eat. So we all piled into Pete and Claire's car and set off, and the weather was even threatening to brighten up. We ended up at our favourite place, and at this rate we will end up with our own reserved table and season tickets. Not a lot else seemed to be open in Popovo, so what else to do? Now none off us have really explored that part before, so we drove down roads just to see what was at the other end.

This even included Pete and Claire's village, we all know the road from Slavyanovo, but there seemed to be another two 'mainish' roads out of the village. The first one seemed fine, with new crash barriers and white lines, until we got to the next village where it stopped and degenerated into the normal potholes and ruts. We saw a signpost for Veliko Turnovo so decided to head along it as it might be a shorter route between our two villages. I thought that I recognised the village from our first visit to their house when we delivered their cooker, and sure enough it was that horrible track with the steep drop on one side. Unfortunately the drop was on the passenger side, and so was Claire. So we were all treated to various sounds of eeeeeeeeeek and aaaaaaaaaaaaaaggghhhhhhhhh, and a running commentary on how she wanted to turn round and go home as it hurt with the constant buttock clenching. Pete had to go further down until he could find a safe place to turn round and retrace our route out of that village. The village itself did look a bit run down but the church looked brand new, complete with some impressive stained glass windows.

Once back on the nice bit of road Claire relaxed a bit and was game to try the third road, so into their village and out the other side. With villagers looking confused, as this car with the steering wheel on the wrong side headed off to who knew where. Looking back on things maybe we should have called it a day when we went through a pothole and the bottom of the car scraped the road surface. The road did seem to improve, and even though there was a crash barrier the drop was less but to Claire that was another cue for buttock clenching. As the crash barriers hadn't been acquired and sold for scrap there had to be a reason for the road,  even rocks that had fallen were all off to the side, so we gamely carried on. We made it to the bottom and started to go parallel to the railway tracks, maybe there was a crossing to the other side. In the summer it would look wonderful down there, and if you are a train spotter you would be like a dog with two tails. It did seem like tracked vehicles had used the road at some point, but we were the only vehicle anywhere in sight.

At the end of the road we did find the old railway station, Pete went in and had a nose round. From the looks of things it has been derelict for years, so no timetable and no buffet room were available. It seems like the local kids use it as a Summer hang out. Pete did claim that he found the Gents loo, but we're not too sure.

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