Posts

Windows

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It seemed to be a really good idea, at the time, but then again disasters usually start that way. We went to the double-glazing company and they said that the work of installing the new windows would take a day "or two at the most". Well, it is now been two weeks and the windows still are not finished and our apartment looks a total mess, a bombsite. All of the furniture has been moved, as well as the carpets and everything else, so trying too live here is a decidedly uncomfortable experience. It is frustrating too, as we just do not know how long this is going to continue. On the first day, Monday, a heck of a lot of damage was done when the workmen removed the old windows and window frames. Chunks of plaster and even bit of concrete were gouged out, exposing the brickwork. I think that it was on the following day, the Tuesday, that an angry man suddenly appeared in our apartment. I honestly thought that he was going to start a punch-up. He was furious because someone had sm

Woman At Work

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I have a confession to make. I did not paint the rest of the woodwork with old engine oil. Yes, it looked tatty and it had to be sanded down and then painted, but I did not do it. My dear wife Irena kindly volunteered for this job. Yes, I was not completely well at the time, but really the truth is that climbing back onto the scaffolding after my fall was frightening. Terrifying, actually. Irena did the actual work and I was there to assist, hold the ladder and pass things to her. I do feel a bit of a wimp and a failure, but more than a month after my fall I still have problems sleeping. 

Man Not At Work

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I have had one or two problems, after my fall from the scaffolding. At first, just about everything was painful and awkward: eating, breathing, talking and sleeping. Gradually, my body is healing itself and each day I can move about with less pain. Sleeping in a bed is still a bit awkward and so I have had to sleep sitting upright in an armchair. We had a couple of days in Veliko Tarnovo, doing some shopping, going to a festival at the Confucius Institute (something Chinese, for once!) and getting our apartment ready for the workmen, who are coming to install new triple glazing.  

Man At Work

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On the other side of our garden wall there is about 1000 square metres of grass. As this our land,  I have been dutifully keeping it tidy, mowing it and trimming it around the edges with my strimmer. That is why it is so annoying when people park there and usually they leave big dents in the ground.   I have talked this problem over with Vincent, our next-door neighbour, and he has advised against doing anything. Reginald, the original owner of the property, decided to build a stone wall around the old well that is at one corner of the property. One night, a drunk chap drove his car into the well and Reginald had to pay for all of the car repairs! Yes, I know that it sounds absolutely crazy. However, this is Bulgaria and sometimes it is better to go with the flow.   The other problem is that I just have too many things to do at the moment. My friend Adrian kindly lent me some scaffolding, so I have been using to repaint the wooden balcony. It takes absolutely blooming ages! I thought t

Dear Malcolm

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Dear Malcolm, It is by no means certain that I will be going to Ukraine at all. Yes, we are having a fundraiser on 16th, but maybe Martin will not need my driving skills. Perhaps he has already chosen someone else. I do not know. Whatever happens, the van will just be going a short distance into Ukraine, in order to deliver humanitarian supplies (mostly medical things, clothing, soap and so on). Yes, lots of countries are supplying weapons to Ukraine, but that is nothing to do with us. Martin has made this trip several times, so I hope that he will know what he is doing. Much though I love my dear wife, I cannot agree with her and I think that she (and the tightly-controlled Russian media) are wrong. Yes, of course it is true that each side is using the media and that Zelensky is (or was) a professional actor, but the reality is that the Russian forces have invaded Ukraine. It wasn't the other way round or even fifty-fifty. The Russian invasion has done terrible damage to the Ukrai

uTalk

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When a horrible war and ghastly suffering are going on just along the coast of the Black Sea, the best thing to do is to learn Bulgarian. The computer-based learning program called uTalk is a good way to do that. If you are interested in starting a new life in Bulgaria, then you simply MUST try to learn some Bulgarian words and phrases. You will find that many locals are a lot more helpful and friendly if you make at least some attempt to learn the lingo. And when you mispronounce things, it will give the locals something to laugh at! One of the best ways to make a start with learning Bulgarian is a computer-based language learning program called uTalk. uTalk allows you to record you speaking (or trying to speak!) lots of Bulgarian words and phrases. Your efforts can then be compared with a real Bulgarian person saying the same words and phrases. Yes, that could be embarrassing, but hey, we all have to start somewhere. The program has about forty or fifty different topics, ranging from

Hello, Auntie

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The news re. Ukraine has been so depressing recently. No, I am not going to repeat all of the stories about the bombs, the refugees and the wrecked apartment blocks. No, in these troubling times let us please turn to something much more amusing, light-hearted and positive, Auntie Bulgaria, even if it does have quite a lot of cats. Even though it is full of cats and I am definitely a doggie person, Claire Ruston's blog is a great read and the photos are nice too. It is funny, quirky, full of lots of yummy posts about food (no, I am not a vegan, but I might become one if I keep reading this blog) and it has a happy  joie de vivre. As for wine,   I also have the strong impression that Claire likes the odd glass (or three). No, I am not quite so keen on the endless cats and her use of the F-word (no, not felines) at least two or three times per post, but hey, let us enjoy Claire's blog for what it is, namely a happy celebration of all things Bulgarian, plants, food, and of course m