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VT Walkers 2

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Well, perhaps it was not the very best walk that I have been on with the VT Walkers, but at least it got me out of the apartment and gave me some exercise.  Although the walk through the woods to the Blue Lake will probably be beautiful in the summer, in the middle of January it is not quite so pretty. Tina, that naught little doggie, had lots of fun, playing with the ever-energetic Sisi.

Why doesn't everyone just move abroad? 2

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One of the best things about being an expat is that often you really do not know much about what is happening in the UK. Is the sitaution really so bad back in Blighty? How is that things have fallen to pieces so quickly? Or has the present crisis been coming for a long while? Although Rishi Sunak seems to be a decent sort of chap and a big improvement on that useless Liz Truss, I suppose that the problems in the UK are just too big and there are so many of them. Oh yes and I heard that all of the driving test examiners are on strike as well.  My friend Peter sent me a copy of my bank statement. Yes, it does look as though my TPS pension has gone up a bit. Maybe some inflation in the UK is not such a bad thing.   Certainly here in Bulgaria the health service is NOT falling to bits. Okay, yes, it could be better and some of the hospitals and clinics are a bit shabby, putting it mildly, but really the doctors and the nurses seem to do a good job. Irena and I are still in the process of g

Goodbye to 2022

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Bill and Julia, our dear Chinese friends, have been very ill with COVID, as I think I mentioned to you, but the good news is that they seem to be recovering. In China, COVID is causing chaos and the hospitals are all full up.  Yes, almost everything in Bulgaria is going up in price, just as it is in the UK. Now things seem to be a bit more stable and the price of oil is going down again. There are still some things in BG that are still absurdly cheap. For example, in VT I can usually park my car without paying a penny. We can live in my apartment or house without paying two or three hundred quid a month in Council Tax. And yes, you can still buy a house here in Bulgaria for less than ten thousand pounds, although you might have to spend another ten in order to make it nice.  As for Bulgaria adopting the Euro in 2024, I just cannot make up my mind whether or not this will be a good thing for Bulgaria (or a good thing for the EU). You need to bear in mind that the total population of Bul

Dear Malcom 2

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Dear Malcolm,  You will be amused to learn that I was listening to  Glass Top Coffin  while I was having my lunch today. That weird LP by Rameses really is most unusual. The music took me back many years, to Sutton House, the cuckoo clock and the wallpapered room you shared with Siavosh Ardalan, that naughty nignog. Yes, it is always a pleasure to receive an email from you, old fellow. And you have actually been reading my blog! Amazing! Well, I did have the impression that one or two people might perhaps be reading it from time to time, as I have nearly clocked up 100,000 "hits".  For our lunch on Christmas day, we also had roast duck. It was rather good and I think that duck has a lot more flavour than turkey. However, you have to be careful how you cook it. It’s not just an aquatic chicken. I love roasted potatoes. I mean, baked potatoes are good too and so are chips, but potatoes that have been sploshed with fat from the roasted meat and then cooked in the oven are super-

VT Walkers

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I have discovered a group called VT Walkers o n Facebook. One member of this group of expats described them as "drinkers with a walking problem", as their forays into the Bulgarian countryside usually end at a pub.   Most of them are retired Brits and doggie people, so of course a pooch or two comes along for the walk. I went for a walk with them on the other side of VT, when we met near the art gallery and then went for a long walk in the huge park, the one with lots and lots of steps (and then some more).  Today we were walking around Arbanassi. Tina wore her red doggie coat, as it was decidedly chilly. During the walk I had an interesting chat with a lady who has a house near Cambridge and she has recently returned from the UK to Bulgaria. Why is the UK such a flipping miserable place at the moment? (Regular readers of my blog will know that this is an issue that Claire has raised in her excellent blog, Auntie Bulgaria .) Maybe the UK has always been a total dump and I hav

Dear William 3

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Dear William,  Yes, it was indeed splendid to receive another email from you. As a busy pastor and family man, I am a bit surprised that you can spare the time to scribble a few lines to an old fogey like me.  Where did Saddam Hussein keep his CDs? In Iraq. Now I am going to ask you a question that you have probably been asked before. What was it like being shot at it Iraq, having someone (or maybe by several people) actually firing a gun at you and trying to kill you? Perhaps it was not too bad. I mean, the whole purpose of the training in the Army is to make you do things automatically, so that you do not waste your time doing something silly, such as wondering what to do when someone is trying to kill you. Does it take a lot of courage to be under fire? (What colour is courage? Brown. An old Falklands veteran told me that.)   I think that adopting a child who has disabilities takes a lot more courage than being in the Army, even when you are being shot at. You do not really get any

Dear William2

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Dear William,  Yes, I have indeed deleted your email address from my blog. No problem. We do not want the IRS or all of your creditors finding your email address!  No, I am not going to give you an in-depth story of my many misadventures since leaving Northaw in 1998. I have written all about it in my blog  www.bulgariawithnoodles.blogspot.com  and so I do not want to repeat myself. (I mean, who ever heard of a teacher repeating himself?) I should, nevertheless, point out that you cannot be  burned  by boiling water. You are scalded.     Now I have had some wonderful American colleagues at one or two international schools over the years, so I am not one of those appallingly stuffed-shirted Brits who always moan about our cousins on the other side of the pond, even though New Yorkers do some dreadful things to the English language. As Professor Higgins says in  My Fair Lady , “There even are places where English completely disappears. / In America, they haven’t used it for years.”  I mu