Tuesday, 1 January 2019

RIP Sassy, and the New Year

Well it has been a while since the last update, however this one is not going to be lengthy. I've no real desire to turn this blog into a personal diary past anything directly impacting our immigration to Bulgaria and the building work we are involved in. For this reason I'd expect the updates to be few and far between until the building season starts.

Getting ready to dig
Getting ready to dig
The sun shines on my task
The sun shines on my task
Covering her back up
Covering her back up
Mo on the right and now Sassy on the left
Mo on the right and now Sassy on the left
Unfortunately I do begin this update with a sad tale as Sassy, our rabbit, sadly died yesterday morning. She had been a little off her food for a few days however that is something that has occurred on and off throughout the year but when I went to feed her I found that she had passed. A was out shopping at the time so I immediately went up to the top bank with my pick and shovel and dug her grave then waited there until A got back so we could bury her together. She is now next to Mo, underneath the Silver Birch, and will become part of my little habit of walking up there to see Mo and enjoy the view. She did a lot, brought a lot of joy to our lives, and will be missed. The one memory that was brought back to me yesterday by a comment a friend made was of the journey to Bulgaria with Sassy living in the cage I built in Julian, and being let out over night to run around.

Sassy Bum
Sassy Bum
RIP Sassy Bum.

The party goers early in the evening
The party goers early in the evening
The Other Brother and his lovely wife
The Other Brother and his lovely wife
I am so proud to have won the coin
I am so proud to have won the coin
Lighting his cigarette with a sparkler
Lighting his cigarette with a sparkler
So many fireworks going off in town
So many fireworks going off in town



In the evening we joined our neighbours for their New Years Eve celebration as is now our habit and it was a really awesome and lovely evening indeed. The Turkish version of The Voice was on television, as usual, while rakia was passed around and more food than was possible to eat placed in front of us. We are slowly getting better at communicating, much slower than makes me proud to be honest, and it is getting easier and easier to spend comfortable time with this lovely family. I was very proud indeed to win the 1 lev coin in the bread, that coin will go to bubba's fund; gotta start somewhere, huh. There were sparklers and party poppers (brought by us) and fireworks (provided by the Other Brother) and all in all it was a wonderful evening.

Christmas Day picture
Christmas Day picture
A stunning morning photograph
A stunning morning photograph
I'll leave it at that; we had an awesome Christmas, really wonderful, and are now very much getting ready for the new arrival. I'm planning a picture every morning of 2019 to celebrate this amazing year; this photograph was actually taken during the past week but is so beautiful I wanted to share it.

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Building work and snow

I'm once again a week later starting an update than I expected to be; it has been such a busy week, during which I've come down with a cold which has sapped any spare energy I may have had, and so Saturday morning after a day off yesterday and I've got the energy to begin. A lot has happened and as I sit here now we're without workmen until next year with pretty much everything done that we wanted for this year.

Hopefully this will be a picture heavy update with fewer words - let's see how well I achieve that.

Blocks and cement turn up for the new wall
Blocks and cement turn up for the new wall
The scaffold is finally taken away as well
The scaffold is finally taken away as well
Sally saving the hedgehog
Sally saving the hedgehog
We are running out of sand, it seems
We are running out of sand, it seems
 Foundations for the wall
Foundations for the wall
Bekir finishing the basic parts of the wood store
Bekir finishing the basic parts of the wood store
Petchka in the Art Room
Petchka in the Art Room
Fiddly work doing electrics on this old light fitting
Fiddly work doing electrics on this old light fitting
Waiting for the water, chilling in the winter sun
Waiting for the water, chilling in the winter sun
Monday was just Bekir in the car with Sally following behind, not long behind either, in the truck from the builder's yard which brought blocks and cement and took away the scaffold. After this Sally got stuck into finishing the job that Okhtay had started, making the trench deeper and wider before he started on the footings. He found a sleeping hedgehog in the brush that had blown into the trench and at my insistence put it somewhere safe. It disappeared not long afterwards so hopefully it found somewhere to sleep. Bekir was working away inside finishing putting the wood storage up and then securing the petchka pipes in A's art room. His final inside task before going to work with Sally was to fix the electrics inside the light that is going in the porch. It was a cooler day but at least it was dry so cement work was possible.

Chips of old brick to fill the gaps
Chips of old brick to fill the gaps
Making very good progress
Making very good progress
Guest Room Petchka
Guest Room Petchka
The Games Room
The Games Room
Lovely patterns cast by the new light
Lovely patterns cast by the new light
Most of the rest of the day was taken up with building the wall around the humanure; the wood I was using was, obviously, rotting and only lasted about 3 years so this was quite an urgent task. With the big cement blocks it didn't take much time, though of there was some element of extra work put in to improve the strength of the walls. To end the day they secured the pipes and, while I didn't know he'd done it, Bekir put up the light in the porch. When I went to feed Bekci and Rambo that night it was a really pleasant surprise to see it hanging and lit.

An attempt to prevent the dust getting EVERYWHERE
An attempt to prevent the dust getting EVERYWHERE
Bekir showing how thick the wall is, roughly
Bekir showing how thick the wall is, roughly
Starting to chisel a hole
Starting to chisel a hole
The hole gets bigger, while Sally clears the rubble
The hole gets bigger, while Sally clears the rubble
Using the correct tool
Using the correct tool
Lunch time status
Lunch time status
Tuesday morning saw A and I up on ladders around the kitchen putting up dust sheets in preparation for what was going to be a filthy process. They did an OK job but fell down rather quicker than we hoped. Anyway the hole in the wall between the kitchen and what was the tool room, but would now become bubba's room, was to be begun. At first Bekir used his hammer and chisel and when I pointed at the big breaker he said no he didn't want to use it however as you can see eventually he gave in; some of those stones are very hard indeed. By lunch time we had half a door way - half way through, I mean; these walls are about 60-80cm thick!

Bekir just bashed a hole in the wall
Bekir just bashed a hole in the wall
Sally checks it out as well
Sally checks it out as well
The demolition continues
The demolition continues


Getting ready for the lintel to be built
Getting ready for the lintel to be built
Such a dusty process
Such a dusty process
Bending the metal for the lintel
Bending the metal for the lintel
The lintel is created
The lintel is created
Where we were at the end of the day
Where we were at the end of the day
We had Emma and family over for a visit, which was lovely, and as we were stood in the kitchen as they were leaving there was a big crash and the first block fell through into the kitchen. There was cheering and laughter and then Bekir set some padding down on our kitchen tiles before carrying on with the knocking through. With the help of the breaker, and a lot of effort, the end of the day saw us with a huge hole in our kitchen wall and dust everywhere. Sadly I have no pictures however that evening we met up with our very good friends Lee and Melly for Iskander Kebabs and good company; perfect timing for this plan as the kitchen was not fit for use. It was snowing a little bit as we went and when we left so they didn't come back after but headed home straight away; they live a lot higher in the mountains than us.

A snowy scene for the morning
A snowy scene for the morning
Thelma stole a stick from the fire
Thelma stole a stick from the fire
 Mixing cement the old fashioned way
Mixing cement the old fashioned way
Repairing what they just knocked down
Repairing what they just knocked down


We woke to far less snow than the forecast had predicted and A was OK to collect the men; it was cold enough but clear on the main roads. The task for the men today was to get the walls repaired and the lintel in place so the doorway could be done  to give us a sealed kitchen for the weekend and they made good progress through the day. Sally works so methodically and carefully when he's bricklaying; it's fun to watch. They still refuse to use tools like the cement mixer, however, which does annoy me slightly; it barely gets any use and was not a cheap aid! oh well. The best bit of the day was Bekci getting to explore the snow for the first time and she loved it.

A doorway takes shape
A doorway takes shape
Cement into a bucket...
Cement into a bucket...
 ... and then into the lintel form
... and then into the lintel form
A stole the puppy bed because she was cold
A stole the puppy bed because she was cold
A kebab and cheesy chips
A kebab and cheesy chips
The sides of the doorway were built back up straight and then the men started working on the lintel, pouring the cement in with a bucket and carefully tamping it down to make sure it got into all the nooks and crannies. It was a good way to end the day, to leave it to go off over night, but it was cool enough that A stole the puppies' bed and I worried that the cement would still be wet in the morning. Again we had no useful kitchen and I persuaded A not to stand in the cold but that we should go grab a kebab and that is what we did; it was a very nice meal as well.

Rambo and Bekci stroll around the land together
Rambo and Bekci stroll around the land together
Checking out the snow
Checking out the snow
The lintel had dried perfectly fine
The lintel had dried perfectly fine
Bekir fixes the hinges on the side gate
Bekir fixes the hinges on the side gate
About to fit the door
About to fit the door
Making sure it isn't off kilter
Making sure it isn't off kilter
Finishing the edges of the door way
Finishing the edges of the door way
Sweeping up the mess
Sweeping up the mess
A small electric heater for the bathroom
A small electric heater for the bathroom
Sally builds the floor up
Sally builds the floor up
Improving the wood storage a bit more
Improving the wood storage a bit more
The next day was snowy again but it was melting; A headed out for her normal shop leaving me with the puppies and I was most enthralled to watch Rambo and Bekci doing "the rounds" together, exploring the top bank. She has really settled in, though Rambo is getting more and more grumpy into his old age. Bekir removed the battens around the lintel and then left Sally to fill the gap above and cement the sides of the doorway while he got on with a few small odd jobs like making the side garden gate work easily again. They then fitted the door (which is perpendicular, but the lintel isn't - standard!) and then Sally then got to tidying and Bekir fitted the bathroom heater A'd got for taking the chill off in that room, particularly for bubba. There was quite a gap under the door so Sally laid some cement, reinforcing it with stone chips, while Bekir fitted cross beams to the wood storage so I can easily stack odd sizes of wood on there.

A red sky for a winters morning
A red sky for a winters morning
There was dust everywhere!
There was dust everywhere!
I've hung the bedroom curtains, for once
I've hung the bedroom curtains, for once
Bacon and Egg butties and Louise wants some
Bacon and Egg butties and Louise wants some
The Eye is back on the wall
The Eye is back on the wall
An amazing Sunday Roast
An amazing Sunday Roast
Louise wants her bone
Louise wants her bone
The weekend was a tidying weekend; we blasted through the kitchen together, me dusting and doing some hoovering and A cleaning behind with mop and bucket. It was so dusty, though the dustsheets had helped somewhat, but we took everything off every shelf and cleaned it all. A very satisfying thing to do. I got the curtains up in the bedroom and finally also stuck the two other sections of cork onto the wall of Room 13 so I could put my Eye back up. A cooked the most amazing Roast Pork for Sunday roast and it wasn't just me who was excited - Louise was over the moon with her huge bone.

Bekir showing how solid this store is
Bekir showing how solid this store is
Sally does the first of two coats of plaster
Sally does the first of two coats of plaster
The other side is finished off as well
The other side is finished off as well
 Thelma found the sun
Thelma found the sun
These kebabs are just the best
These kebabs are just the best
Monday was a tidying and finishing day for the men; Bekir continued to put cross pieces on the wood storage unit, I was getting him to do every shelf, while Sally was plastering and clearing up and generally finishing off around the doorway. The sun had come back out so Thelma stole A's chair as soon as she left the room - pretty standard. A and I went out to do chores and went for lunch at the kebab place in town which my dad always goes to for his birthday so we took a photograph for him to get jealous of. At the end of the day everything was done and I did get the men to try to put the Old School Sign back up but we didn't have the correct fixings so that can now wait until next year. I took them home while it was still daylight and that is our building work done for the year.

Since then, all of last week when I was supposed to be writing this blog, I've been non stop working and haven't had a chance to do anything very much. I have dug out the old humanure so we can start using the new block and I've also cleared some more of the wood from around the land but both those things I did today. It's been an intense working week and hopefully that's done.

A is over the moon with her new shoes
A is over the moon with her new shoes
I'm not sure when I'll be back with the next update; sooner or later I'm sure. We're getting ready for the new arrival so that'll be taking most of our time up I reckon. For now, here's A with her lovely new Doc Maertins! Amazing :)