Monday, 12 March 2012

Information Exchange

Some people might be wondering about how an ExPat can manage to stay in touch with current events, whilst living in the wilds of rural Bulgaria. Besides the obvious, such as the UK newspapers on line, or a massive dish to receive Sky, there are several other ways. If you are considering streaming UK radio through your computer, there are a couple of things that you need to consider, such as how good is your internet connection going to be in your area, will your internet package allow for unlimited downloads or will it reduce your bandwidth once you get to a certain level. Even should you have met all of these criteria, you might still not be able to stream as the IP address will come up as being outside of the UK. To get round that a lot of people use an IP masker, just as Expatshield. Our internet, out here in the back of beyond, is nowhere near good enough to enable us to do this, so we do have some other options.

When we first arrived here trying to find a radio station, that was 'listenable', proved to be quite a challenge. The music seemed to be either local 'twiddly' music, Chalga or very dated, and it never seemed to be presented in a professional manner. How things change, based in Bulgaria we now have Trust Global Radio, run by the lovely Rosie and Bobby Martin. So now we can get English style radio over here, not just oldies but recent releases too. As Bobby used to be with the Beeb, he still gets the radio play lists from there, so as Bobby stays current we also get to stay current too. Combined with Anglo Info any breaking news is often brought to us first hand, with the added benefit that it is brought to us by people actually on the ground there as it all unfolds. We have also met both Bobby and Rosie in real life and they are a smashing couple, and just before Christmas Bobby won the crown for the best ExPat breakfast radio show. It is aired over the internet, so sometimes there are Gremlins at work at one end or the other, but we also have a dongle which plugs into the computer. This enables me to tune all of the radios in the house to my designated wavelength, so I can have the same radio station playing throughout the house, and I do like my music. So for anyone interested here are a couple of bookmarks for you, first we have the TGR Facebook page and also if you wish to listen then this is the actual site . Rosie has very kindly given me permission to post these links.

Another recent addition to our ExPat information flow is the VT Times. This is the brainchild of Joe and Rachel Pritchard, and covers, as the name suggests, the Veliko Tarnovo area. That is not to say that there is no information pertinent to other areas or regions. In a very handy A5 size it is convenient to take out and about with you, whether in a bag or a pocket. It is the kind of information booklet that we wish had been available when we first moved over here, and contains such things as emergency numbers, how to get in touch with the Embassy, location of doctors, dentists and vets, train and bus times. In short an invaluable publication, and it is free!!! Rachel and Joe spend an awful lot of time doing this, for the benefit of all, and by and large it is very well thought of and each edition has been eagerly awaited. Joe and Rachel haven't even been here a year yet, and along with their children have thrown themselves whole-heartedly into things, and for this we give them all a very big thank you. The second edition has been printed and distributed around various outlets in the region, they have even thought about those outside of the area and have provided a downloadable version.

For those interested, whether they be in the VT region or not, here are a couple of links for you. Firstly we have the VT Times Facebook page and secondly there is the VT Times archive where back issues can be read . I am pleased to say that Rachel has very kindly given me permission to show the front covers of the 2 editions, and to post the above links. I have also obtained permission from Cliff Norton, whose photos are included on the covers. To see more of his work please visit but remember to respect his work and not reproduce anything without his permission.

Finally that brings us to various Forums and Facebook groups, and I will leave that for the individual to decide which suits them best. The main one that I use being the facebook group . These are a good way of finding out information, and during the winter months can provide a support structure, particularly for those who live out here on their own or with no close ExPat neighbours. So if you are thinking about making the move over, don't worry there is always someone willing to share their experiences and advice.

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