Friday, 7 March 2014

A Full Afternoon, Despite Feeling Rough

Today has been one of those days when you have to try and motivate yourself to do stuff that needs doing. There seems to be a bug or a virus going round at the moment, and both of us have been feeling out of sorts for over a week now. We have had various bits and pieces that needed doing but our plans also had to coincide with the availability of others. Everything had been planned and arranged for today, so it was definitely Sod's Law that we can't shake off this yucky feeling. On the other hand we probably caught whatever it is from in town, so it seemed polite to try and return it to town. Although I should point out that I didn't go round deliberately breathing on people. So once we had almost motivated ourselves it was off into town with all of our bits and pieces that needed doing. We didn't even leave home until the afternoon as we hoped to be in, do what needed doing, and then back home again huddled in front of the fire, letting another forgotten coffee go cold.

Now we are 7 days into March, and I don't think that Baba Marta has smiled once. The weather has been dreary to say the least, and the grey skies are starting to be matched on my Martenitsas. What were once red and white are starting to look a shade of grey and red. It still didn't stop me doing Stork watch on the way into town. Although had there been any Storks we might not have recognised them dressed up in foul weather clothing.

Once I had parked up my first task was to go and pay the bills. They are certainly not as extortionate as the bills that we used to face in the UK. I can pay all of our monthly utility bills by just visiting three locations. Net felt more inclined to stay in the car, and she had even prepared herself by bringing her kindle along. So my first stop was Vivacom, where it is simply a matter of in, wait a couple of minutes, pay the bill and back out and on to the next stop. That was to pay the water bill. So once again it was in, wait a couple of minutes for a cashier to come free and move forward with the bill. Only this time a large gypsy woman pushed in front of me. The cashier pointedly ignored her, pointed at me and waved me forward. The card that I have with the client number on was missing a digit, but rather than brush me off she kept trying different combinations until she got it. Two down and one to go, the electric bill. I knew how much it was as I had checked on line, but there was a queue to the door and only the one cashier. Should I wait in the queue, shuffling forward with everyone else, or do something else and try later? I stuck it out. All bills paid and heading back to the car I decided to get my mobile sorted out. I just use top up vouchers, but for some reason the latest one wouldn't work. Now with M-Tel's Prima if you don't use your balance or top it up within a year they will give your number to someone else, and any credit you have they keep. It seems a bit shonky but that is the way that they do things, and to prevent it happening I wanted to put credit on the phone, but the phone wouldn't let me. It seems that I was using the old method of applying credit from a voucher, but thankfully they soon sorted things out.

With the bills paid it was back to the car to get Net, and go round to the insurance broker to renew the house insurance. Now some people feel that this is an unnecessary expense, but all too often you hear of people losing their homes and possessions due to a fire. So for peace of mind at least, we feel that this is something important. Our broker had phoned us to remind us that the policy was due to expire, and there the similarity with a UK broker ended. It really was like chalk and cheese. As soon as we walked into the brokerage our broker left her existing clients for 2 minutes, made sure that we had somewhere to sit and would we like a coffee while we waited. We were even introduced to her mother, we met her father a couple of years ago. She patiently dealt with her existing clients before giving us her full attention once she had finished.

Unlike the UK policies where they might not mention certain things, or at least bury them in the small print, I am quite convinced that when we are told that we have full coverage, that we actually have full coverage. We are even covered in case a plane crashes into the house, or if it bit falls off of a plane and damages the house. It might sound odd, but living out in the back of beyond it could well happen. All too often there are rickety old Antonov An-2s which are being used for crop spraying. Many of these aircraft are about 60 years old, which is even older than me. In bad weather I have enough aches and pains, although thankfully I haven't started leaking yet, so who knows with these aircraft and the treatment they might have had throughout the years.

Another concern living up on a hill is the weather. As I have mentioned in a previous blog the thunder storms, and accompanying lightning sometimes have to be seen to be believed. At least behind us we have the village church, and looking up I can see lightning conductors, Although whether these are grounded or not could be a different matter, quite possibly the metal strapping might have been acquired by a village entrepreneur for scrap value. Also there are supposedly minor tremors and the possibility of earthquakes to take into consideration. Also because we use the same company, and the same broker, we end up with a discount too. Perhaps it is like a no claims bonus , but on your house and not your car. Once the new policy had been produced and signed it was onto our next stop, but not before being told that next time we are in town we are to call in for coffee, not as clients but as friends. Like I mentioned earlier it is chalk and cheese compared to the UK.

Neither of us have used E-Kont before so we weren't really sure what to expect, and fortunately our insurance broker had given us good directions enabling us to find it. We had a parcel which needs to go to another part of the country, and this service had been recommended. So with said parcel we made our way into the office. Not sure of the procedure we did ask if either of them spoke English but neither did, but they spoke slowly so everything was conducted in Bulgarian. Well on their part it was, we probably used a dialect akin to pidgin Bulgarian. As best we could we explained where we wanted the parcel to go and what was in it. Then they proceeded to open up the parcel which I had spent 30 minutes carefully wrapping this morning. Bugger! Once they were satisfied that it was in fact what we told them it was they re-wrapped it for us, thank heavens for that. Now this parcel was basically being sent COD, so all of the fees are paid at the other end when it arrives tomorrow. We get our fee next time that we are in town. So although we enquired about English, not a word of English was spoken.

Our final task was to sort out the accountancy fees for the previous tax year. As foreigners we had to form a company when we initially bought the house and the land that it sits on, thankfully this is no longer the case. However, because we have a company we have to file tax returns, which have to be declared and then entered onto the trade register. Even though it is a non trading company and everything which is reported is zero we still get the privilege of paying for them to know this. There are certain people who tell you that these companies can be dissolved, for a fee. I am erring on the side of caution, what would happen if the UK came out of the EU, would these foreign nationals then have to reform another company. Like so many things over here, depending on how many people you ask for information will have an effect on the number of different answers that you might expect to hear. By the time all of this had been completed we were definitely flagging and so headed home.

I was so tired and washed out that I didn't even do Stork watch on the way home. For all I know there could have been a parade of Storks complete with a brass band and signs claiming "Look, loads of Storks", and I wouldn't have noticed. Hopefully we have managed to leave the lurgy in town for someone else to 'enjoy' and we can start to feel vaguely 'normal' again, whatever that might be.


  1. Love reading these. Another good one. Only difference. I just give my phone number into easypay, and they have all my bills, which i didn't know tiill couple months ago.,so easy one stop bill paying. Good job x

  2. I have previously considered this method, but for some reason I prefer to go in there and actually get the receipt. Quite often it will have the cashiers name on it as well, so in case of any problems I can say that it was paid on such a date at such a time, and I paid it to whoever it was. Having said that I've not had that problem yet

  3. I am pleased to welcome Tsvetelina as the latest member to those who follow the blog. Please remember that you are more than welcome to share this blog with your family and friends

  4. We have another new follower of the blog, so please join me and welcome Sofiya into the fold. Once again thank you for taking the time to read this blog :o)

  5. A very warm welcome to the latest follower of the blog, Aleksandrina thank you very much for taking the time to read the blog and I hope that you will share it with friends and family :o)

  6. I'm glad that you've considered getting your home insured. Whether it be fires, bad weather, disasters, or even busted pipes, home insurance can protect your home, so that you can replace what was lost in case of such situations. I hope more people realize how important this is. Take care!

    Steven Keltsch @ Allied Insurance Managers

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