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Hotnitsa

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I am not going to write very much for this post. No, I am just going to have lots of photos. At the moment, we are still in Veliko Tarnovo, but tomorrow morning we will be going to a campsite near Varna, to spend a few days next to the Black Sea.  We had a pleasant morning at the waterfalls near the village of Hotnitsa, about 10 km from VT. It was a very hot day and the countryside was, as usual bucolic and beautiful.  The waterfalls (there are about three of them, on different levels) were pretty, although not spectacular. Some of the steps that led up the side of the cliffs were really very steep ladders (not for the faint-hearted or those carrying naughty Jack Russells). 

Bad BG, Part 4

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I love Bulgaria. A committed Bulgarophile, I am now in the process of buying our THIRD property in this country. That does not mean, however, that I like everything that is BG-related. For nearly two years, those scumbags at the Bulgarian electricity company have been overcharging us. We had no option but to pay, as they will disconnect you faster than saying "Nyama tok!" (No electricity!)
I thought that an e-mail would do the job, as there was a long queue at the electricity company's office, just along the road from the Lions Bridge (you can't hide your lion eyes). Well, I should have known better. Just because they do actually have an e-mail address does not really mean that the electricity company will answer your e-mails. And even if they do, it does not mean that they will refund you all of the money that they have collected because they have been overcharging you. 
First I sent to the electricity company all of the photos of the meter I had made. That did not ach…

Dear Peter

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Peter is one of my oldest friends. I am including a few photographs from 2018, when he visited us in Bulgaria (yet again!) We went to Plovdiv and came back with a naughty little dog.

Dear Peter,How are you, old fellow? I have not had an e-mail from you for a while, so I can only assume that you are still recovering from all of the extra strain and the stress of overwork. I really am glad that I do not have to do any more of that online teaching nonsense. Well, in some ways I suppose that you should be grateful that you do in fact have a job, as lots of people in the UK seem to have lost or are about to lose theirs. Thank goodness you are not an airline pilot! However, I reckon that quite a lot of independent schools will have gone bust by the time this is all over. But when is this Coronavirus pandemic going to be over? So far, there have been about 45,000 deaths in the UK and 140,000 in the USA. Some commentators think that in America the death count might be as high as 200,000 or even…

Spying

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We felt a bit like the twelve spies, sent by Joshua to spy out the land of Canaan.  First we got lost, somewhere south of Elena, and finally we arrived in Daveri. No, we did not actually knock on the front door of what we hope will one day be our house, but we did see it and it was good to know that it is still there, waiting for us!
I also found some more photos of the house on another estate agent's website.





Next we drove through the village of Palitsi to the dam and we had a wander around. It really is a pretty spot. No, we did not have lunch at the rather posh-looking (and modestly-priced) restaurant and we did not buy anything from the fish farm. Next time, perhaps.


Emen Canyon

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On Tuesday of this morning we had our first amazing visit to Emen Canyon, west of Veliko Tarnovo. Yes, it really is as incredible and spectacular as all of the photos on Google Images and as breathtaking and huge as the videos on YouTube. Tina, that naughty little doggie, had a great time too. From the little suspension bridge at the beginning to the waterfall at the end of the canyon takes about an hour of fairly strenuous walking and then you will want to do what we did: go for a swim! Tina went swimming tooo. What a brave little dog! One commentator has described “a crystal clear lake with a quiet waterfall providing its water”. What a lot of nonsense! The pool at the bottom of the waterfall was full of muddy brown water. Even though there was a modest flow of water, it certainly was not quiet and the surrounding cliffs amplified the sound. Some of the paths through Emen Canyon are quite easy and pleasant, but there are some pretty steep and rocky bits too. In the UK, a Health and S…

Serpentza

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I am very pleased to have an excuse for including some of my old photos of Shenzhen!  Recently a friend of mine told me that Serpentza, a video blogger (or "vlogger") based in Shenzhen, has finally decided that he is going to leave China. He is fed up with living in the Middle Kingdom. Well, I watched the most recent Serpentza video and I thought to myself, “What a twit!”  I used to respect Serpentza a lot because he made a big effort to learn Mandarin, an incredibly difficult language that I never mastered. Well, he did live in China for fourteen years, he made quite a lot of money out of China, in one way or another, and he did get to meet some pretty Chinese girls, so you would think that he might be just a tiny bit grateful. But when he started making videos that said that all Chinese girls are "easy" and then he made some more videos criticizing the Chinese Communist Party, what happened? The CCP was not happy. Wow! What an amazing surprise! Whoever would have g…

Dear Tom

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We are now in Veliko Tarnovo and that gives me an excuse for including a few old photos of VT, most of which were taken by my friend Peter Adams. 
Recently I received an email from Thomas Hughes, a new recruit for the teaching staff at St. George's School.
Hi Simon,
I hope you are well.
I managed to get back to the UK after much trouble getting out of Mexico, and Elena managed to get back to Russia a couple of weeks back. Phew.
I asked the school a couple of weeks back what age range they thought I would be teaching, and they said that I would most likely be teaching year 5 & 6. 
I think you mentioned that you were willing to pass over your work from last year which would most likely help myself transition and teach next academic year. That would be a great help if you are still willing to do this.
Also, I have 28 days in quarantine to look forward too in the UK and Sofia it seems, so this would help me to stay sane.
Let me know if this offer is still open.
Have a great day,
Tom
Dear Tho…