Heaven and Einhell


I have written quite a few “Bad BG” posts and so it is time to look at some of the GOOD things about retiring in Bulgaria. Why should anyone choose SE Europe? Why not retire in the UK or France or Spain?

Note the large jar of very good Bulgarian honey!


First of all, retirement means less time in school, not taking piles of papers and exercise books home to be marked over the weekend and no end-of-semester reports to be written in the educational gobbledygook and jargon that most parents will never understand. In a nutshell, retirement means less work and more time for me to spend with Irisha, doing the things that we want to do.

In her blog, Auntie Bulgaria, Claire Ruston points out that Bulgaria has to be one of the cheapest places in Europe because property here is so inexpensive, yet it is only a three-hour flight from the UK. Because Bulgaria is in the EU but it is not in the euro, prices are lower. (Quite a lot of Bulgarians I have spoken to recently seem to be convinced that prices are going to shoot up when BG really does adopt the euro.) Claire is also enthusiastic about Bulgaria’s closeness to Greece and Turkey, two countries I have long wanted to visit and, like me, Claire is also a fan of Bulgarian wine. As added bonuses, Bulgaria has lovely hot summers and proper white Christmases. While I want to act out some of my Good Life fantasies in our garden, Irena is a lot less enthusiastic about gardening, especially vegetables.

I have already written about some of the negative aspects of BG life, but there is one thing that has been on my mind a lot recently and I am not quite sure whether this really is a negative thing or maybe it could be a blessing in disguise: learning Bulgarian. So far I have got by with the aid of Google Translate, comic gestures that would not be out of place on Give Us A Clue and my dear wife’s Russian. Sooner or later, however, yours truly has to master this language. Yes, it is not Mandarin. I have a feeling that Bulgarian is not so hard, not a Herculean labour, but something that is inherently do-able.


I am including something wonderful: the other day Irena cooked for our breakfast some absolutely yummy pancakes stuffed with cottage cheese (these are called palachinki, if there are any Bulgarians reading this) with real Bulgarian honey and walnuts (orechi). I had a savoury one, with some ham and olives, then a sweet one with the amazing sour cherry jam. (A very kind neighbour from across the road gave us two jars of this darkly fruity jam. It is so good!)

The Einhell arrived a few days ago. It is a bench saw, made in Germany, that comes with instructions in lots of European languages – but not English. Was this some sort of Brexit sour grapes? Teutonic revenge for Noel Coward’s Don’t Let’s Be Beastly to the Germans? Germanic bad feeling because they got knocked out of the World Cup so early on? Eventually I managed to put it all together and used it to cut up a lot of the old logs that have been stored under the steps that lead down to the garden. Some of the wood has been there for so long that it has gone rotten, so those logs are going to be thrown out and burned in the Secret Garden.

It's all in the magic box
Bosch is my favourite German make for any sort of DIY equipment, but alas the huge Praktiker store in Sofia did not sell any Bosch bench saws, so it had to be an Einhell instead. The quality was disappointing (too much cheapie plastic and not enough good German steel) and several things have already gone wrong with it. But no, I did not lose any fingers or chop off anything else. It was, however, quite a scary thing to be using a saw that is so powerful and efficient. With saws, kick back is more or less inevitable, at some point, and with the Einhell that means a fairly hefty piece of wood flying back at you at a frightening speed. The solution is to stand at the side, out of the danger zone, and to be very, very careful. Yes, there have been one or two logs with rusty old nails banged into them. I do not want to think about what might happen if the Einhell's blade were to hit a nail.

Einhell bits and pieces.
      As for Downton Abbey, Mrs O'Brian has gone to India, Bates has found out what happened to Anna and Alfred the footman wants to become a chef.

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