Sunday, 23 June 2013

Does The World Know Or Care About What Is Happening In Bulgaria?

Today I was asked to repost a blog, I have tried but for some reason it doesn't seem to like going onto Blogger. So the next best thing is to copy and paste it in its entirity. The initial words are not mine but from another blogger, please take the time to read and forward it on. Thank you

This isn’t a news post. This isn’t a post written by some journalist. This is a post written by a blogger, by a fangirl, by a supporter, by a citizen, by a human. And we need your help. Take a few moments to read this, you can help a nation.

Okay for now the protests in Bulgaria are unlike the others going on around the world. And the only difference is that our protests are still peaceful. And that’s thanks to the police, who showed solidarity. In that moment the citizens showed the police love. We take care of them by bringing them water, some even share hugs or get flowers. But for how long?

The problem is that noone is listening to the people. There isn’t any change after almost 10 days of protests. Nothing. And the world is still silent about all of this. All the big news channels or sites share only a little articles about what’s happening. Until Sofia’s in blood and fire like Taksim. Is that what the world wants?

The protests managed to keep it creative and peaceful for now. Actually it’s like a big party on the streets of Sofia. There are kids and parents and grandparents. There is love. There is creativity. There is tolerance. We want to keep it that way, but we need to be heard, we need change. Help us spread the word. Help us show the world that #BuglariaExists

What can you do? Reblog this. Share it with your friends on Twitter and Facebook. Tell your family what’s going on. Just tell someone. You can help us. Oh and use the #ДАНСwithme hashtag. You have no idea how much we need to be heard and you can make that happen. Just take a moment and help a nation.

Even today there have been more protests held in the centre of Sofia. Thousands have gathered to protest against the new Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski, and his new cabinet. All of this in foul weather. Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie the Countess of Wessex, are also in Sofia today at the invitation of the President, Rosen Plevneliev. Do you think that the powers that be will let a tenth day of protest overshadow this visit. As it has hardly been reported outside of the country I am guessing that the Royals know little about the situation. I would imagine that it does pose some problems for their security detail though.

Many people are puzzled by some of the appointments to positions of power, that the new Prime Minister has made. One appointment has since been overturned. This was the appointment of Delyan Peevski  as Chair of the State's Agency for National Security. By all accounts he is a bit of a dodgy media mogul, so nothing that hasn't happened in other countries. Even Parliament's decision to overturn this appointment hasn't appeased the protestors, and they are still calling for the resignation of the new Prime Minister, and that of the whole government. He was only appointed into power on May 29th, so he has wasted no time in distancing himself from the man on the street. This is Bulgaria's 42nd elected Parliament, although how long it will last is anybody's guess. 

Many are now critical of Bulgaria's election system, claiming that it is long due for an overhaul. Hopefully in time a future government will be more in tune with what the people actually want. I am guessing that the dumped completed ballot papers being found without them having been counted will not have helped matters. At the moment after the last elections there are representatives of just four parties holding seats in the new Parliament. The protestors are also pointing their fingers at percieved shady goings on between politicians, large corporate businesses and those who aren't averse at bending, if not breaking the law. There is one problem looming should the people get their wishes and the government resigns, and that is who will take over? 

Even the Prime Minister's first trip to Brussels couldn't keep him out of the sights of the protestors. They were there in Brussels to 'welcome' him. Slowly the protests have been gathering momentum, and these are no longer confined to just Bulgarian cities. Even the EU Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso has expressed concerns  about the goings on in Bulgaria. What many politicians seem to be forgetting is that the EU has been closely monitoring Bulgaria's performance in certain areas. The Commission President is also quoted as saying, "Some of the recent developments in Bulgaria were not good, and they raised concerns not only in Bulgarian society but among the European partners of Bulgaria. The candidates chosen should be based on merit, and they should have the highest standards of integrity."  I am guessing that the final sentence is in reference to the appointment of Delyan Peevski.
So does this mean that the cat is out of the bag, and that the protests, although peaceful, will be considered newsworthy. Or will people still be focussing on the likes of Nigel Farage and his jingoistic posturing. take a look Mr Farage, the average Bulgarian does not want to go to the UK and sponge off of the social security system. They are a proud nation of people who want what is best for their country. So please do not mistake honest hardworking Bulgarians for the gypsies with Bulgarian passports  

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Summer Solstice

As many of you will know yesterday was the Summer Solstice, or the longest day of the year. I have included this picture from Stonehenge, as i do not know if Bulgaria has any similar celebrations at this time of year. English Heritage open up the stone circle on a few occasions each year, I always thought that it was for the Druids, but looking at this photo it seems to be all and sundry there. Still having said that I can remember going there with my Grandparents on many an occasion before it was all fenced off.

We have been fairly busy since I last updated the Blog. We were due to have people over for a bite to eat last Sunday, but with the last few rain storms the grass has been growing like nobodies business. So on the Saturday it out with the lawn mower again and try to make the lawns look slightly presentable. I managed to cut three out of the four before it started spitting and spotting with rain.

We had told people that if they fancied a dip in the pool they were more than welcome, but to bring their swimming togs. As it had taken me so long getting the pool clean we had put the solar cover on to prevent anymore leaves and twigs being blown into it. Once people had eaten i think that swimming was the last thing on anyone's mind. However, hands were stuck under the cover and comments were passed on how warm the water was. It was just like bath water., or as Clive put it like the water in the Caribbean. The cover remained on for the next couple of days as we did have some more rain during the nights, although nothing like the quantity that we have had recently.

When we took the solar cover off we were in for a bit of a surprise. Not only was the greenish tinge back to the water, but due to the heat of the water the algae had been having a field day. The good news is that the pool is now back how it shoould be, even though it took another two days cleaning. There were plenty of flying ants that had crash landed in the pool and they must have got themselves part boiled. I ended up with so many stuck on me whilst doing the cleaning duties that I must have looked like a human Garibaldi biscuit. It has been worthwhile as it has been in use these last few days as the temperatures have been somewhat warm to say the least. So a cautionary tale, the solar panels are great at warming the water, but do not leave them on constantly.  It is surprising just how effective blue bubble wrap can be. All throughout the cleaning operation I have been under cat supervision. The only one who hasn't sat on the steps and checked on my progress has been Mr Cat, but he has never been that far away.

With the hotter temperatures have come the various insects. The other year we learnt about a great thing to control flies. It is something called Fedona and it's available at any Agro Apteka. It is the stuff that the World Health Organisation recommend for use out in Africa. It is pet safe, and supposedly you can even use it on your kitchen counter tops, although we have never actually tried that. It does keep an awful lot of the flies at bay, unfortunately the ones that are left all seem to be the biting ones. That reminds me about something we were told when we first moved out here. The insects that don't eat your plants and vegetables, will try to eat you. It does seem to be true, as we have both been eaten alive by invisible insects. You can feel the little buggers bite, but when you look there is nothing there.

We have also had a trip into Svishtov with friends. My task was to try and get a couple of pictorial dictionaries. I wouldn't have thought that would have been too difficult, but I was offered anything but what I wanted. In the end I have ordered them from the book shop in Gorna where I had bought my copy. I don't know why but no-one in Svishtov had the gumption to say that they would order
them online from their suppliers. Clive had checked on Amazon, and the price was over £40. Slightly different to the 29.90 Leva that I had paid for mine. Maybe people might think that it is a lot of fuss over a dictionary, but this is the most comprehensive one that I have found, and quite easy to use.

Many living in the country will have noticed the local Gypsy population ravaging the Linden trees. They call them Lippa or something like that, and they are after the flowers or blossom. They dry it out and use it to make tea. I don't really have a problem with this, but what I do have a problem with is the destruction that they cause in doing so. They also just dump the branches where they have left them, and the only ones who I have seen tidy up after themselves are Ami and Said over the road from us. These poor trees have got broken, and partially broken branches, and these Gypsies just don't seem to care. I wonder what they are going to do next year if these trees do't make it through the winter. At a guess they will probably cut them down and try to sell it to a foreigner for firewood.

Now that the rains seem to have left us for a while I have noticed an increase in the number of butterflies and moths in the garden. The ones pictured opposite seem to be in abundance, and if Merlin is anything to go by should form part of any cat's staple diet. He lies in wait in amongst the shrubbery and just pounces on them. I guess that it gives him plenty of exercise and entertainment, and stops him trying to pick fights with the other cats.

Well I think that has caught you up with everything, so I am off to do some more stuff in the garden, and when I get too hot and sticky I can be found in the pool.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Is That It?

The good news is that today should be the last of the thunderstorms and downpours. As you can see from the prediction going into the 2nd half of the month it is going to start getting a little bit warmer. Today has been a bit of a will it or won't it day. The clouds have built up and then fizzled away to nothing. We had to make a quick visit into Polski Trambesh to get a few bits and pieces this lunchtime.

I was going to cut some of the grass when we got back, but there were more grey clouds heading our way. So I decided to have a coffee and see what they would do. As luck would have it by the time that I had finished my coffee, the impending clouds of doom had decided to go and rain on someone else's parade. So with no further excuses it was once again time to get the lawn mower out. Sometimes I do get the feeling that the lawn mower and I are physically joined. This rain and humidity are causing the vegetables that we planted earlier in the year to grow nicely. Unfortunately it also means that the weeds and the grass are also growing at a fast pace.

I had wanted to do the lawns to the front of the house this afternoon as we had noticed that they were getting a bit unruly. This is despite them being cut about 10 days ago, but as soon as you turn your back that's it they are growing again. Now there are 4 of these lawns, and I managed to get 3 of them done before the clouds of doom made a reappearance. I had just finished the 3rd one when it started spitting and spotting with rain. As the mower is electric it was a case of rain stopping play. I have put the mower and the power lead away as the grass is now to wet to do anything with, as the heavens did open once again and the rain came down like stair rods. It must have been bad because even Mini Mog decided being indoors was a better option.

So with all of the rain it was a case of what shall we do now? Having seen the weather forecast, and noting how hot it will be getting I thought that it was about time that I had my thatch removed. The good news was that we found the proper clippers easily, the bad news was that we couldn't find any of the plastic comb things that go on the end of them. We hunted high and low, but could we find them? Not a sniff of them anywhere. In the end I said to give up. Half an hour later Net was looking for something else and what did she find but one of the plastic comb attachments. So it was back to the original plan of cutting my hair. The only thing with this is that it was the shortest grade comb possible, so now I probably look like a reject from a film about Skinheads in the 1970s. The plus side being that it does now feel nice and cool. It will be even better once I have been for a shower and have got rid of all of the sharp bits of hair that tend to stick in here, there and everywhere.

Looking at the floor it would have appeared that a Badger had gone three rounds with a combine harvester, and lost them all. Net always says that I am definitely going grey, but I maintain that it is silver. Whoever heard of a grey badger? I had noticed that the dogs had made themselves scarce just in case they thought that they were next on the list. So here I am in my 50s having the same type of haircut that I used to get all of those years ago when I was a youngster. I know that it is hard to believe, but yes even I was young once. If the thunderstorms and rain continue my haircut and I will not be accepting any responsibility. and will quite happily join in with blaming the forecasters.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Now That's What I Call A Storm

Yesterday we were out and about, even though the National Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology had placed this area on a code yellow warning for rain and thunderstorms. That wasn't so bad, as other areas were placed on code Orange. So there we were, over at our friend's house and the air was getting stickier and stickier. The air was very calm and there were a few clouds scudding about in the blue sky. My head started to pound as the pressure built steadily throughout the day. As time wore on the clouds were gathering. There didn't really seem to be any direction to them, as they were coming in from all directions. Maybe someone was demonstrating their cloud magnet, that they had bought at Pavlikeni market.

The sky was getting greyer and greyer as we sat down for something to eat. So I had one eye on what was happening outside the window and the other on my plate. Well it was proper sausages, fried onions, new potatoes, veg and gravy, so who could blame me for my attention being divided. At one point it looked as though the weather was going to by-pass us, which seemed like a good time to have another coffee. It did still look grey out of the window, and then the first few drops of rain started to fall. You could almost hear go splat as they hit the ground, as they were that big and heavy. We decided that was a good cue to be leaving. Getting in the car we could see just how dark the sky was getting again. We had only just started up and turned round when the rain began to get heavier. Going through the village the wipers were not on constantly, we saved that treat for when we got out on the main road. As by then the rain was coming down like stair rods, what a great time to find out that the door seal on the driver's door has developed a leak. Despite there being a new law here in Bulgaria that you are meant to drive with lights on at all times, there were still idiots who thought that they knew better. Some of them were even overtaking, I decided that we would cut across country rather than stay on the main road.

So we got halfway through a village and the roads started to dry out, by the time we got to the other side the roads were completely dry. If we didn't check the mirrors we wouldn't have guessed that there was a storm about, but the sky that we could see in the mirror was blacker than a witch's hat. I just made it over the brow of the hill before the rain caught up with us again. It was coming from two different directions and the wind was picking up. Going down the other side of the hill the lightning started, and this was proper light up the world fork lightning, and the thunder was crashing around. The windscreen wipers were only just copiing with the quantity of rain, even on the fastest setting.

If I had been speeding I would have been worried about the flashes coming from every which direction. They were quite regular, and Net even saw a pink one. You couldn't speed even if you wanted too, due to the amount of surface water. Those who have driven on Bulgarian roads will know what I mean, as pot holes like to lurk hidden by puddles. The last thing that you would want to do is stop and change a wheel in weather like that. Fortunately by the time we had got to Polski Trambesh the worst was over. So all we had to do was head up into the hills and we were home. We were heading uphill and there were streams of water heading downhill, some were clear and some were muddy from the fields. As we started the final leg of the journey we noticed that the road was steaming in places. Near some fishing lakes there appeared to be a cloud hovering about twenty feet off of the ground.

Now on that road there are some dips, and the rain water had collected in them. Thankfully we were in the 4x4, so the ground clearance is quite high. Even so we ended up creating enough of a bow wave to go over the top of us. Some of these 'pools' were full of very watery mud, not very good when it gets on the windscreen. Some was brown mud and some was red mud. Halfway though these dips we passed a motorcycle going the other way, we both thought surely not, but he didn't turn round and follow us out. He had already managed to get through a few by the time that he had passed us. By the time that we got home it seemed as though the worst was over, but even through the night the storm rumbled backwards and forwards. Going out to pay the bills today I was surprised by just how little damage there was. In other areas of the country there was a fatality due to the storm. These people had taken shelter under a tree, which unfortunately was struck by lightning.

Before anyone asks the photos to this blog are all ones that I have downloaded from the internet. I don't know about anyone else but I have never had much luck with taking photos during a storm, I can never get that perfect, or even near decent, shot. I can pick my spot, and focus on it, wait for that right moment and the thunder crashes, I jump like a startled rabbit and the shot has been missed once again.

Monday, 10 June 2013

The Longest Day????

OK I realise that it is not actually midsummer's day yet, but it feels as though I have been up for ages. Looking back on it I have. Some of it is my own fault, but I was quite engrossed in a book. Maybe some of you can sympathise when I say that I didn't want to put it down. So I wasn't going to let up until I had finished it. The only trouble with that was that my new book also sound quite good, so I read quite a chunk of that as well.

Fenric and Sirrius
Now that in itself is nothing unusual, and I was still able to do the usual nightly routine. The dogs went out for their final patrols, the cats were in and out like yoyos. Finally the dogs were in and settled, two cats were in and the other two cats were out, so I was able to lock up and make sure that everything was switched off. Apart from the animal side of things it is a bit like when I had to do duty keys on one of the many units I worked on.

I have also got into the habit of reading for about half an hour before I settle down myself. So when I put my light out at about midnight all was silent, apart from the odd cricket and nightingale outside.
Then just after 4 Polly decides to start whimpering and snuffling round outside our bedroom door. At first I wondered if she was chasing rabbits as she dreamt, so I gave it a couple of minutes. She still wasn't happy so I let her out so she could have an early sniff round the perimeter. Once she had been sorted out, and settled back down, everything went back to being quiet again.

Half past bloody four and what the blue blazes was that???? It sounded like puppies, rather loud puppies. The dogs were not overly keen on this either, as it sounded louder than if they were out in the street. So clothes on and off to investigate, I didn't need a torch as the first fingers of dawn were starting to lighten the sky. Sure enough some sod had dumped two puppies over our wall. Now our wall goes all the way round our house and it is about five foot high, so unless these puppies have landed by parachute someone had deliberately dumped them there. I had a quick look out of the gate and there was no  one about so whoever it was must have scarpered. Once I had caught sight of these pups I had a pretty shrewd idea who was responsible, as he did the same last year, and not far off the year before that. It's a bloke that I call the one arm bandit. As far as I can tell he hasn't got a good track record with animals, his missing arm bears testament to that as a horse supposedly had enough of being beaten by him. It bit his arm and then threw him, because he didn't get it treated soon enough he ended up losing most of it.

So I rounded up these two puppies from under the rhubarb, and put them outside the gate for him to take back. Whilst doing so I checked the name on the gate, and we hadn't mysteriously become Battersea Dog's Home overnight. So Mr Grumpy Bum has been up and about since round about 4 this morning. To say that I am unimpressed is putting things lightly.

I kept on checking on the two pups throughout the day, as I am not convinced that they are old enough to be away from their mother yet. Every time they came near the gate our three dogs were going ballistic. So I would have to move them away from the gate muttering and mumbling as I did so. Eventually this afternoon I spotted the one arm bandit and said that he could take his puppies away with him. Even though he shrugged his shoulders it's funny how he knew what I was on about. I was working out earlier if we had kept all of the dogs that have been dummped over the wall or outside the gate we would have over a dozen by now. We did try keeping one a couple of years back but that bloody thing bit me a couple of times. There is definitely something to be said for the saying, "You can take a dog out of the street, but you can't take the street out of the dog". So now that he has hopefully taken them back home with him, I might get a good night's sleep. However looking at the weather forecast there is meant to be plenty of banging and crashing going on tonight and tomorrow. Oh deep joy !!!!!

I'll Get The Bad Man With My Laser Eyes
On a much more pleasant note I have been fascinated with just how widely read this blog has become. It has been accessed almost 14000 times, by people from 49 different countries. Some of the countries have been really surprising. It is being officially followed by 37 different people. So once again a very big thank you to you all. You are the ones who make this blog possible, and thank you to those who choose to share it with family and friends.
As a closing note, if any of you want a puppy I can put you in touch with a man who could help you out.