Wednesday, 4 May 2016

It is nearly that time.

It is that time of year. The time that is the Islay Whisky Festival. That will mean that whilst his Lordship swans off to the Scottish island for a week of fun and a further week of family and friends, I will be here, working away and updating you via his blog. I am sure this fills you with joy; it does I also.

Anyway, I am rubbish at updating here as I feel that you all read his anyway and there is no need. I rarely take photos any longer either; something that needs to be rectified. I just often feel that I do not get time and I should make more time for that.

In one week you will be getting some girlie updates about building work, colours of walls and general waffle. Stay tuned to The Old School for this delightful change to the routine.

A x

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Spring is coming

I love spring. Everything starts to come back to life, including myself.  Winter is lovely when you are sitting in front of a lovely warm fire, drinking mulled wine and taking life easy, but there is no replacement for getting out in the fresh air and making busy.

I found myself in a bit of blue mood this winter and I couldn't work out why, but maybe it was just winter and the fact that I was becoming a bit stagnant.  All hail the spring!

All of our plans are starting to take shape. The tiles have been bought for the kitchen, dining area and snug. A cast iron inset for the fireplace, purchased. There is a lot being organised also; the external insulation, render and painting, a basketball court (or a half one) for Himself and we have been busying ourselves inside tidying, clearing and making use of some dead space. There is now an actual workshop in one of the rooms downstairs with wood storage on one wall, carefully crafted by Himself and a work bench built. This is a huge win.  He is also in the process of flooring and doing the walls in what will be his makeshift modelling room, until the attic is ready for him. All of these things are in addition to what we expected this winter.

I have been busy in the garden, when the sun has been shining.  The vegetable garden is now ready, except for a quick weeding exercise, to plant out when that time comes. The seeds have been planted and are sitting under the glass covered raised beds and in the little greenhouses in the hope that we will not get a heavy frost and in anticipation of an early crop - we already have a lot of beetroot and aubergine seedlings showing! We will of course plant some more out at the suggested times.

The chickens have supplied us with eggs all winter. I have been having to Google recipes that use a lot of eggs at times and we have even gifted some recently to friends. At the moment, we collect four or five a day. Goodness knows how many we will get in summer if they are meant to slow down over winter!

What else has been going on? The puppies are still adorable and we are now trying to train them not to sleep in our bed at night. They are simply too warm when winter is over and it would be unbearably hot once we hit the heights of summer. Rambo is very content, if missing the workmen around. Sassy is loving her new home out on the balcony, even with less space. She seems much happier and is looking a whole heap better also.

As for us, well we have really enjoyed spending our first winter here and it has gone very smoothly indeed. In fact, in a couple of weeks, I will have been here a whole year without a break. Big celebration time. I feel like the time has flown by and I have loved it. We continue to make plans and it is all very exciting indeed, so stay tuned for what comes next.

I will try to write more often when the work begins again and the plans begin to become reality.

Be good.

A x

Friday, 5 February 2016

Winter thoughts

I am sitting beside the fire in the living room currently; it is 13.17. I have wasted pretty much all morning sitting in front of Facebook and Twitter, spent a little time reading and playing with the puppies and it suddenly occurred to me that I have no hobbies to speak of. I take photos of course, but that has been taking a back seat really and I have nothing to do in my spare time that I really enjoy. I like to write, hence this blog, but I am not sure I am particularly good at it. I dabbled in a little bit of writing previously but nobody has ever told me it was any good, so I didn't bother with anything more. In fact, I don't suppose I am very good at much in the way of creative stuff. The Mr has many interests and it makes me think that I should try some things out, especially for when the renovations are finished; what on earth will I do with my time?

This has actually been quite a devastating realisation for me today. I rarely get bored as such, but I am now aware that I can while away a LOT of hours by doing absolutely nothing in particular. I need to remedy this.  I am just not quite sure how or with what. The other side of this coin is that I have the attention span of a goldfish and I am also prone to the "cannot be bothered" attitude, so this challenge is growing as I type.

I have always wanted to draw, paint and/or write, to be artistic and at all of these things I fail miserably. I am pretty talentless, it seems.

Probably best I get back to my book then. Perhaps I will pick up some pointers....

Monday, 7 September 2015

More from me

Hi. It's been a bit of an emotional few weeks.  Getting older really does mess with my head sometimes. Anyway, I am one year older.  One year closer to being utterly useless and one year older than I care to be.  However, I have a wonderful partner in crime and with his kind words, reassurances and making me happy despite of myself, I am feeling much more like myself again. It was pretty grim for a while there and I do wonder if the heat was adding to my frustration and spiraling mood. Probably.

Enough of that. It has been SUPER hot here; touching on 40 degrees most days outside and in the early 30s inside. What a heat wave. This place really does see each end of the weather spectrum, that is for sure! It has been a slow few weeks for us personally as the idea of physical work was quite frankly, too much to bear (for me anyway).  We are entering a cooler period this week, so hopefully we can ignite our "get up and go" again and get some stuff done.  We still have a lot of preparation for the colder months and once again, time is drawing in fast. The mornings are dark earlier, as are the nights and it does make me wonder about our daily routine and how this can be combated whilst we are both still having to work the same hours.  Perhaps I need to reconsider mine a little.

What has been happening then?  Well, the majority of the tiles have been purchased for the roof terrace, the living room and the balcony (just to collect some now), the spiral staircase is almost complete (or as complete as it can be without the good solid hardwood for the steps - to be sourced) and the living room is under way.  There have also been additional workmen here resurfacing/strengthening the flat roof that is the balcony and they are currently on with the outer wall. There has been progress with drainage, laying water and electric to the chicken house and also preparations for the water and plumbing to the kitchen.  The Mr has done a fab job with project managing this and really has his eye on the ball.  I am so glad he is here now as I am not sure I could both juggle all of these balls at one time and also make the decisions that have needed to be made on my own.  Cracking progress.

Apart from the building work, we have been to the beach in Greece, I have new wheels (in line skates), the puppies are well, one chicken is laying eggs, Rambo and Sassy are their usual selves and everything is going to plan really.  We have a long weekend to look forward to at the end of the month and after that it will be winter, I suppose.  Lots to do before the cold sets in and we are holed up inside for a couple of months. The men won't be working when it gets to that point so it will be very interesting to have winter to ourselves and experience that for the first time.  We can rat catch together this year!  I won't drone on with a long blog as I am sure most of you catch up with the Mr's every once in a while, so just take this as confirmation that I am alive and well and settled completely into this totally different life. It is truly amazing.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Still alive and very much so!

I am still alive.

I haven't written in a long time because well, we have been SO busy and I have just not taken any time out to do so.  I am currently having a few days off and so I am about to sift through some photos to post here and show you the best and the worst of my time here. I won't go into to much literary details as the Mr has updated you all on the day to day goings on (and I know most of you will have read some of that), so I will process some photos of life in Bulgaria so far.

Let's start with some sunrises and sunsets - there are many to choose from and never fail to make a bad day good.  Sunsets first.  What awesome sights I have had whilst eating or just relaxing with a drink at the end of the day.

I think this one is my favourite so far.

We have also been lucky enough to have seen some amazing moons.  A blood moon, viewed from the balcony.

I suppose I had better update you on the whole family.  Hopefully these two bewts will start laying in a few months.  Meet Ginger (left) and Baker (right).  Baker has been ill with a cold and we still cannot determine, as we have been unable to catch her, if her swollen eye has been damaged in the whole process.  The eye is no longer swollen but we had thought at one point that she had lost it.  She has made a great recovery though and is back with the flock again.

Still going strong are the two tortoises I was given a couple of months ago now.  Mercury and Hermes.

Of course, there is the relegated man of the house who we cannot forget - Rambo.  He continues to be a massive clumsy lump, but so lovely with it.

Here is the first photo of the Mr after he arrived back from his cross-European trip with the puppies. Lovely.  And of course, the rest of the family:

Now for the two terrors who are forever with boundless energy and always making us smile.  Look at them practicing on each other for when the rats arrive in winter.  Vicious!

Of course, if the puppies fail to wake us up before the sun arrives over the mountains, there are always the ducks - Beaker and Balls.  If I am even ten minutes late in the morning, they kick up an almighty racket.  No need for cockerels here!

It did not take long for Rambo and the Mr to settle into their love-hate relationship, as you can see from the "don't jump at me when I am running" look on the Mr's face.  Rambo never learns though, bless him.

Now for some of the local wildlife and things we have spotted from the terrace and the balcony.  This year we seem to have a better variety of birds visiting the land.  Particularly pleasing are the Golden Oriels who whilst are shy, have been much more plentiful than I remember from last year; some are even coming a bit closer to us than they used to.

I have come across a lot of randomness here also. Like a turkey in the middle of the road on the way to pick up the men one morning.  I think that would look well on a platter at Christmas, don't you?

Another more frequent visitor have been storks.  We have not really had many fly around here last year and we had not expected to see many anyway because of our location, but this year has brought a few more flying overhead.  they are huge birds and I would not like to be underneath in the line of fire if one dropped a load!

I cannot take credit for this next shot as the Mr had stolen my camera to capture them (it was on my camera though; possession 9/10s of the law and all that).  Bee Eaters, apparently and we were graced with a small flock of them for around two days as they passed through the area.  Beautiful birds.

I thought this was a woodpecker when I took the shot but I am not sure - maybe just because of the angle I have taken the shot.  Very pretty whatever it is.

We have had guests this week (and for another week) so here are a few shots of what we have got up to.  Basically, we have been exploring and marveling at the landscapes and the views this beautiful country offers up.  Stunning.  Most of the following shots are from a trip to Perperikon, 3000 year old ruins of a settlement.

We were not alone; these archaeologists were digging away in the heat of the day, discovering bones and all sorts of exciting things whilst others were working towards rebuilding and strengthening certain parts of the structures.

To finish, an arty shot of what I just thought were some clay pots ( I guess they are) but I have been informed that they are Amphorae.  They are still clay pots, so I was not completely wrong, obviously.

So there you have it.  It has been a very busy time and there is still a lot going on with the building work at the School.  I don't believe I will do many updates, but perhaps I will get myself in order more often to share some photos and a few words.  There is never a dull moment here and always plenty to do, so I best get on and do something!

A x

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The good life awaits us.

Here I am, writing my last blog in the UK for hopefully a very long time.  This one is going to be a little different and I know some of you will lose interest when I start to get sentimental and that but that is fine with me as this will be the final post here for a while and I will be continuing to post on behalf of him on a daily basis whilst I am there alone.

What a year it has been.  This time last year I was plodding along, doing my thing, working and living in London in a job I liked and with plenty to be getting along with socially.  I was “happy” and “content”.  Sadly, a few weeks on, I lost my beloved Pappy (grandfather).  Amidst the mayhem that was life at that time however, I was also planning a trip to Bulgaria to catch up with the Bearded one.  Little did I know at this stage that my life was due to make an even bigger turnaround.....

And so I went to the Promised Land to spend some time with what turned out to be one of the most wonderful men I have ever met.  I am a very, very lucky young (shush now) woman.  Between the visits and moving out on a semi-temporary basis in August last year we have had a wonderful time on the whole.  I’m not saying it was all roses and tulips, chance would be a fine one, as it was hard at times.  There were big adjustments for us both and there was always the chance that I had jumped too soon and this would never work out.  It did.  That is the main thing and despite the odd hiccup, as we all have, we survived and grew stronger which is actually very surprising given how we have both been miserable sods whilst back in the UK for four months!

Now we have spent the last few weeks preparing for my final trip back home to the school.  It has been exhausting, even for me, but more so for him as he has done ALL the thinking and planning and sleepless nights over it.  We are almost packed now and just making some final adjustments to the load this week before we set off next week on the final trek (for me.  He will make a further trip, alone, in a couple of month’s time) across Europe. 

I have missed Bulgaria and everything it is and has to offer us.  We are extremely similar with some of the things that make us happy and content, the most significant being the peace and quiet and very little noise.  Being back in the UK has been hellish on that score.  So much traffic, so many people, so much unnecessary noise!  It will be an absolute pleasure to sit on our balcony both in the evenings enjoying a beer and in the morning having our tea and coffee and just lapping up the silence, with only the birds to sing to us (and possibly Rambo howling for his breakfast).  You cannot buy that kind of happiness.  Not really. 

The beauty of the country astounds me.  You do not have to travel too far to experience the wild, untouched look of the countryside.  In fact you only have to look across the valley.  The hills and mountains, rivers and lakes, rocks and pastures; they all make me smile, even just thinking about them. 

The people too; our neighbours are absolute gems.  They have been looking after the place for us since we have been away.  I still remember when they came over the night before we drove off for our winter retreat.  They brought gifts, smiles, tears and a huge lump in my throat formed when we had to say goodbye.  I even shared a few tears with my adoptive father (his words, not mine).  I will be very pleased to see them again and this memory makes me feel secure in the knowledge that I will have them to look out for me when I am there alone whilst I wait for Himself to return in early summer.  I think this fact is also something that makes Him feel easier about this period.  He is putting a huge amount of trust in me and I would hate to let him down in any way so I will be on my “bestest” behaviour and do my utmost to make sure that everything is done right while he is away.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much we are both looking forward to returning.  There has almost been a part of us both missing since our return; it is very hard to explain.  It will be a fairly heavy wrench when he has to go back, but I am trying not to think about that yet.  I am just hoping that it won’t be longer than the amount of time we have been aiming for since we planned it all.  

I also hope Rambo will be as excited to see me as I will be to see him.  He has been in kennels for months, getting spoiled and having extra food.  So he is back to boot camp with me in a couple of weeks!  Hah!

All of this sentiment aside, we still have a lot of work to get through this year and next.  We have booked the workers to come and do our drainage in April so that is the first task sorted, although me overseeing this could be fun as I know NOTHING about drainage at all and, being a girl, I have to force myself to be interested.  I will have to pretend it is a pair of shoes being constructed, or something.  Only kidding, love!  Next on the list are the electrics and plumbing.  I have offered my cousins a paid trip to the School to get this started, so hopefully if they or one of them can do this we will have something in place, at least for the living quarters at some point this year.  If not, I have asked him to ask around his mates and colleagues, just so that we can have a system we can trust in place.  So it will not be a holiday like last it was last time, well, not that it was really, but sometimes it felt like it – how can it not when you love every minute of it.  

I am going to miss certain parts of being in the UK.  Not many, but some.  I will miss the fact that we are so close to family and friends, but with all of the modern technology these days, I guess you are not ever that far away really.  Still, it is something in my mind.  I have not had the opportunity to see some of the people who I would really like to have seen and spent some time with before this final transition but such is life.  It has been very busy here with the socialising, visiting family, preparing things and working but we have done as much as we could possibly fit in.  So to those I have not managed to see, farewell and I will be back at some stage.

Finally, I would like to thank one person in all of this.  The Mr.  Thank you for sharing this experience with me and allowing me the opportunity to live it with you and not through you.  You have made me feel involved from the start and continue to allow my stamp to be put down on parts of this renovation and journey.  I do think there is a chance we won’t need that patio at all and I hope that you feel as happy and excited about the future as I do.  It won’t be long before we are living the dream for good.  One last push now.

Обичам те


A x

I apparently have to include a spud in each post, so here:

Monday, 19 January 2015

Just words

It is almost time now.  In six and a half weeks we will be setting off for the return leg to Bulgaria.  The time here has flown in and I can’t quite believe that we are already preparing for this.  We were both dreading being here, but it has actually been really enjoyable and that is mostly down to great friends and our insistence to make the best of it, which we certainly have done!

So, most of you will have read the updates from the Mr’s blog and therefore I will not bore you for too long or show you the shots which you will have invariably already seen.  I just wanted to jot down a few thoughts about where we are and how I feel about all the change ahead. 

Once again, we will be driving back across Europe as fast as we can in our new van, Harrison (Ford)....yeah, I know, it wasn’t my idea!  We have much to achieve once we are there, with several utilities to switch back on, pay the bills and of course, connect the internet again – my only way really of keeping in touch with anyone. 

What is the plan, I hear you ask?  (Well, probably not, but I’m telling you anyway)  There are various things that we need to achieve before Himself goes back to the UK and we only have about a week to get these things done.  This could be a struggle.

Composting point – we need a new composting point as the one we were using last year is now settled and working away, doing its thing.  So, we need something a little more robust and likely a little bigger for this year as we will both be spending all year there this time.  This is a blue job. 

Collect Rambo – This is a pink job for when the above blue job is being sorted.  Rambo has been in kennels over the winter with Ken, the guy who transported him from the UK to Bulgaria, but I need to go and get him as soon as I can really for two reasons.  I miss the big stupid lump and also, more importantly, he is my guard dog and will make me feel a little more secure and at ease after Himself leaves me to fend for myself.  This is a 4-5 hour drive there and the same back, so it will be a whole day of travelling.  I won’t be knackered at all!  I have had to promise that I will show him that I am the boss in this time and that I will also not spoil him.  I don’t believe in making promises, so only one of those is likely to be stretched a little.

Prepare for the chickens – We have talked about getting some egg laying chickens for quite a while now and I am going to take charge of this (and the subsequent drama that will unfold trying to get Rambo to not terrorise them).  I want to prepare a section of the green building with nesting boxes and sufficient hay and bedding for the chickens.  I am quite excited by this and hope that this is something I manage to achieve on my own.

Lucy – we hope to change the cars over.  I will have Lucy and Harrison when I am there.  Thomas the pickup is a perfect mode of transport for over there and with all of the trips to the builders merchant, but he will be back in the UK, so we need to get a small car that will allow me to do the necessary pottering around but that is able to take a small amount of building matter at times.   

Open a bank account – I need to be able to pay for any of the building works that are carried out, so this needs to be done.  This will also be the start of the process of getting a residency.  Woohoo!

Hopefully, after we have achieved all of this we can have a couple of days before He has to leave to enjoy ourselves, before reality kicks in and we have to part ways for a few months.  I am REALLY not looking forward to that.  It will definitely be tough not to be together, but we need to suffer it and get on with things as best we can.  There is a bigger picture to concentrate on and it will all be worth it when He finally arrives back again.  I’ll miss the cheeky big lump.

Of course, to help me keep my mind occupied I will have my work and I also have to plan the vegetable garden and dig out some more beds.  I have made a spreadsheet of the seeds and sets I want for growing.  I know that may sound a bit geeky, but if I don’t write these things down I forget things and then I will have sod all to eat when it comes to the summer!

I also have more parts to complete in the guest rooms.  More partition walls, sectioning off the wet room and also, with any luck, getting the electrics dropped down into our bedroom and finishing that room with a skim of plaster and the floor tiles.  That would be awesome to have that completed for him coming back.  But we shall see....

Having all of these things to do is great, but things don’t always go to plan, so I will do my best and hope I don’t let him down.

Anyway, that is about all I have for you now.  When I get back I will be doing his daily blog, mostly for him to be honest, as he will need to be kept up to date with progress and how things are. 

Wish me luck....

A x