Saturday, 6 April 2013

Down But Not Out

RIP Albert
Today I am feeling a bit down and flat, as yesterday we had to say goodbye to one of our cats. He was a special kind of lad, very demanding and very vocal if you didn't pay him the attention that he thought he deserved. Half the time he acted like a dog, as he used to trot round after me. He was a good mouser and rat catcher too, and sadly that was where the problem arose. At this time of year rats and mice start breeding, so the locals put down poison for them. Unfortunately it seems as though Albert caught himself one of these poisoned rats. He now resides in one of his favourite spots in the garden, next door to Razzy. I was working out this morning, that we have lost six cats since we have been here, two never returned home, two through poisoned rats and two were killed by a dog. We do live in the countryside so these things do happen, but it doesn't make things any easier. I will eventually get another cat, but maybe just not at the moment. It is Mini-Mog from the rest of the cats who will miss him the most, you would never guess that they weren't brother and sister from the way those two acted. So we now have four cats buried in the garden, and it might sound a bit daft but I always say hello to each of them as I pass.

Forsythia and Plum Blossom, Bulgaria
Spring Blossom
Life has to go on and to stop myself from dwelling on things too much the garden has received some attention over the last couple of days. The weather has been wonderful, and even the Swallows have put in an early appearance this year. All round the village the wild plum trees are in full blossom, and the slightest breeze creates a miniature snow storm. At least this snow is welcome at this time of year. The bees are busy pollinating wherever you look. So hopefully there will be plenty of fruit about later this year. So the various flower beds have been dug and weeded, as has the vegetable patch. We are a lot further ahead than we normally are, but the milder winter and the lack of downpours has meant that it has been so much easier working the soil. From the sounds of things a lot of people in the village have also been doing the same. On the warm breeze you can hear the sound of rotorvators puttering around, now whether they are in fields and gardens, or being driven around the village is anyone's guess. I have to admit to smiling everytime that I see one of these ex-rotorvators that is now being put to use as a form of tractor tug, but it does make sense as it has been given a new lease of life.

The Vegetable Garden
So our 'lawns' have also been given their first trims of the year, and grass seed has been sown on the bald spots. With regards to our vegetable garden some years things grow and other years they don't. We have tried starting things off in the greenhouse and then transplanting them, and we have tried sowing them direct into trenches and then thinning them out. It all seems to be a bit hit and miss. This year we have gone for the sown directly in the trenches approach. These trenches make so much sense, it is easy to spot should be growing so anything else can be weeded out. Also when it comes to watering, just the trench is watered instead of the whole vegetable patch. The same goes with the craters that you can see in the photgraph. So far this year we have sown, parsnips, swede, carrots, beetroot, okra, cabbage, sprouts, peas, beans, leeks, onions, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, radishes, potatoes, spaghetti squash, butternut squash and watermelon. I am not saying that they will all come up, but we at least hope for plenty of variety. If we do get bumper crops then there are always people willing to help out with eating them. Last year we planted what said Watermelon seeds, and what grew? Bloody marrows, and neither Net nor myself like the things, and we had quite a good crop. So they were going here, there, and everywhere. At least by doing this, if other villagers have a surplus of something else then you could be of the receiving end of who knows what. It is a nice feeling that everyone seems to help out each other, an ethic that sadly seems to have disappeared from the British way of life.

Looking Towards The Barns
So we can safely say that we have had a busy couple of days, mostly supervised by Mr Cat. Mini did put in an appearance but that was mainly to show off the lizard that she caught for us, Billy just made sure that the couch didn't move. The dogs were in two minds whether to watch what we were doing, or to bark at Dencho in his field next door. Barking won.

I can remember about April showers from when I was growing up, and during April we normally get some cracking thunderstorms. At the moment we have one rumbling about overhead, and so far we haven't lost either the power, the internet or the TV signal. It will be Sod's Law that we go and lose all three together now.

Peach Blossom
Peach Blossom
So this weekend, for me, has been a bit bittersweet. The remaining cats, and the dogs, are getting extra attention so they don't mind too much. Things could be a lot worse, we could live in a town, or, heaven forbid, even a city. At least here we get to hear the birds singing, cockrells crowing and hens clucking, the odd dog barking, neighbours having 'conversations' over 100 yards all to the accompaniment of some dodgy music, but more of that another time.

Before I forget, once again, thank you all for taking the time to read these blogs. I hope that you enjoy them, and please feel free to share them with friends and family. Q9V9RASXNMYT 

Welcome To Spring 2013


  1. I for one enjoy your blog as I am thinking of moveing out there this year as I have had enough of uk way of life as am 50 now time to do it before am to old to enjoy it

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, and for your kind words. If my blogs help in anyway then they have served part of their purpose. If you feel that I might be of any other help then please let me know. Bulgaria is a wonderful country, the people are friendly and helpful, but it isn't for everyone. I do enjoy the calmer pace of life here, and certainly wouldn't swap it for the UK life

    2. Hi Chris

      There is so many questions for information on moveing to BG and liveing there I realy dont know where to begin?.

      But its best to get the information from real people like yourself who have already done it

      I will tell you at what stage I am right now I have been looking at the bottom end of the Houseing market in BG with the idea of buying say a larage House s with large garden to do up as in buy for under 10.000 as I am not rich by any means m8 .

      As I dont speak BG yet I know finding work will be very hard out there

      Would all my Electric Items work out there ? or Would I have to buy new Chris

      Its nice to find someone who has taken that step and lives out there as I have been trying to find someone who has Chris

      Hope to speak again soon m8 and thank you Tony


    3. Hi Tony,
      One thing that I will suggest, and you have probably already done this is join forums and groups. They are a wealth of information, but beware of the bitching and back biting. One of the better forums is Brits In Bulgaria and this link is to a facebook group

      In that price range you are looking more at a village house, rather than something in a town. Materials are cheaper here but transport costs can be high. Many people amongst the ExPats prefer to employ fellow Brits, but it can be a bit of a minefield. As to not speaking the language I am no where near fluent, but the locals do like the fact that I make the effort.
      Electrical items do work but remember to stock up on adaptors.
      Have you ever been out to Bulgaria before, and which area are you looking to move to?
      All The Best Chris

    4. Hi Chris

      Thank s for the link on facebook but it comes up not known m8

      Yes am looking @ a village house But not to far from a town I have been looking from Burgas to Plovdv so am close to the border of Turkey and Greece m8

      Glad to hear all my things will work over there And totaly understand the locals do like the fact that you make the effort as So would I thats for sure Chris

      Not be over yet to Bulgaria hope to pop over this summer to look at some houses before jumping if you get me

      Do you work over there Chris ?
      Whats the crime like over there m8
      I know the winters are very cold and more snow over there like back in the 70 s in yorkshire I bet M8

      Thank you for getting back to me so soon

      Kind Regards Tony

    5. Try typing The Very Friendly Group For Expats And Bulgarians into the Facebook search bar Tony. The crime level in villages is small compared to UK levels, especially if you live here full time. Maybe a bit of theft but that's about it. The winters can be harsh, but can be overcome with a little planning beforehand. I am lucky in that I don't have to work, and the 2 of us live on my pension. Before coming over on a viewing trip I will strongly suggest that you do as much homework as you can on Bulgaria