Monday, 24 April 2017

An absolutely superb birthday weekend

Hello again everyone. I am sat here Monday night after an absolutely wonderful weekend. It's gone as well as you could ever have hoped and I've enjoyed every minute of it. I am now absolutely exhausted, though, so there is a chance I won't finish this update today but may leave some for tomorrow morning. We shall see; I'll try and get it done now I think.

A cloudy start to the day
A cloudy start to the day
A wrapped all my presents up
A wrapped all my presents up
Three trays of models to be based
Three trays of models to be based
The Haradrim Raiders were finished completely
The Haradrim Raiders were finished completely
So. To Saturday. There aren't that many pictures from the day as there wasn't much happening to take photographs of. The day started cloudy and didn't really change much from that all day; it stayed quite chilly with a bite in the air. We went into town to go shopping in the morning and picked up a few things and then A wrapped my pressies and prepared the lasagne we were having for dinner (and very nice indeed it was too) while I went into Room 13 and did some modelling - actually basing up a load of the models I have painted over the past few weeks and months. I was very happy with the results, though I didn't finish them all off. After we ate that lovely lasagne we chilled for a bit and then were just about to get showered before going out to the gig that evening when the Special one came over and called us next door. It was his birthday so we were able to give him his present, then share some of it (whisky) and then we watched while they ate as we nibbled a little as we were very full from our dinner before we were headed off for our showers. It was lovely to share with them however it was a shame we had thought we weren't being invited so had eaten already.


Our friend the bassist singing along
Our friend the bassist singing along
Venko belts out a tune
Venko belts out a tune
Getting into the music
Getting into the music
Venko grinds a tune
Venko grinds a tune
Throwing shapes
Throwing shapes
Barstaff dancing on the bar top
Barstaff dancing on the bar top
And so we headed, slightly late, to the gig and A got us there in record time. We were greeted as we walked in by the owner who recognised us and pointed us to our saved seats and sent a server over straight away; it's nice to be known. We then sat and enjoyed ourselves for several hours as our friend Venko and his band rocked out and got the whole place dancing in the end, including the owner's wife and one of the barmaids on the bar! Venko's wife sat next to us and chatted for a bit and one of his friends was also very friendly with us and all in all it was a wonderful evening. I was drinking, which is not usual for me, and had a couple of beers so A was on the soft drinks and when we left at just before midnight we were ready for home but hadn't felt like rushing off at all. It was just a lovely night and so nice to see our friends and see in my birthday in style.

First present opened in bed. Of course.
First present opened in bed. Of course.
Egg in a Cup for a birthday treat
Egg in a Cup for a birthday treat
Puppies watching us as we eat
Puppies watching us as we eat
Thelma checking out if there's any presents for her
Thelma checking out if there's any presents for her
More presents, and they weren't all!
More presents, and they weren't all!
The puppies had their fun with the wrapping paper
The puppies had their fun with the wrapping paper
A perfect smoke ring from the fire
A perfect smoke ring from the fire
Thelma giving me birthday cuddles
Thelma giving me birthday cuddles
After a cup of tea we headed to bed and I was not allowed to open any presents yet even though it was before breakfast and A had said I could open one before breakfast! We both slept really well but I was awake and very excited while I waited for A to come round. Soon enough she did and I picked a present at random to open then. It was such a lovely first present and really excited me for what was to come. Breakfast was Egg in a Cup and lovely and then it was time for the rest of the presents. The puppies clearly thought it was their birthday but I managed to salvage the bag and opened the card and other wrapped items. What a lovely set of gifts. I got all the models I wanted most, an egg timer for my soft boiled dippy duck eggs and a box of Ferrero Rocher. Just brilliant. After that the puppies had a load of fun with the wrapping paper before we took it off them to prevent the mess getting too much worse. It was very cold, really bad, so we lit the fire and I was watching as the petchka was blowing perfect smoke rings through one of the air holes on the top. Thelma jumped up and cuddled me as well which was lovely.

Caught checking my phone while in the bath
Caught checking my phone while in the bath
The Birthday Cake
The Birthday Cake
Cuddles with our lovely puppies
Cuddles with our lovely puppies
Blue skies above, but big clouds rolling in
Blue skies above, but big clouds rolling in
After that lovely restful start to the day I ran a bath and had a Radox soak for a while. I started a new book and relaxed and got out of the bath feeling really happy, warm and comfortable. The fire was still lit and it was lovely and warm in the kitchen as well, which always helps when you get out of the bath. For lunch all I had was a slice of this stunning birthday cake which A had ordered from our favourite cake shop in town. It is just as nice as it looks; maybe even nicer! We didn't want to eat too much as we were going out for our dinner and a big slice of this cake was just perfect. The weather was still cold but the sun had come out for a while which was nice however as the afternoon went on the clouds gathered and, after a really nice call with my parents, just as we were about to head out there was a crack of thunder right over head and the heavens opened.

A looking cheeky and delaying ordering until SandS arrived
A looking cheeky and delaying ordering until SandS arrived
My starter, and it was super
My starter, and it was super
A had chicken for her main
A had chicken for her main
I had roast beef
I had roast beef
Chocolate souffle for dessert
Chocolate souffle for dessert
The sun starts to break through
The sun starts to break through
A beautiful sunset in the end
A beautiful sunset in the end
As we left, looking across the lake
As we left, looking across the lake
My first birthday whisky
My first birthday whisky
My second, and this one really was very very good
My second, and this one really was very very good
I drove, I had no desire for beer after the drinks of the night before, and all the way there it howled down with rain. By the time we reached the restaurant the heavy rain was done but we still dashed inside wearing winter clothing. We found a seat and then A dithered and changed her mind and couldn't decide what to order but it was all for a good reason; it was a complete surprise when SandS arrived to join us! What a lovely shock and apparently my face was a picture. I was just so pleased! From that point on we sat and chatted and ate a three course meal which was very good indeed and then the clouds cleared and the sun came out and by the time we left, though it was getting dark, it was a beautiful evening which matched my mood perfectly. We had planned on playing a game in the evening to finish the day off but both of us were way too tired so I had a couple of small birthday whiskies and then we headed to bed, shattered. It had been the perfect day and I had enjoyed every second from the waking to the final moment my eyes were open.

Very worried about Louise, as you can see
Very worried about Louise, as you can see
Louise sniffing around the park on the way to our lesson
Louise sniffing around the park on the way to our lesson
A view from the road as we drove up into the mountains
A view from the road as we drove up into the mountains
Water from the sacred springs
Water from the sacred springs
A up above the springs
A up above the springs
We had given the workmen today off as a holiday and this has proven to be a very good decision indeed. We still had our Bulgarian lesson to go to however there was no rush at all to leave. As we were pottering around about to have breakfast, however, we noticed some blood on Louise's neck and on further inspection saw that she had a very bad rash and had been scratching herself until she bled. We immediately jumped in the car and rushed over to the vet, who wasn't open but responded quickly to our phone call. He gave her an injection and some pills to take and didn't seem too concerned but since then she has scratched more and I think it looks worse; she may be back there tomorrow for another check up, the poor wee mite. Anyway we took her with us to our lesson and she was very good through, and the lesson was also very good once again. We had planned to see Lyubo, the architect, after the lesson but he was very busy with work and so couldn't join us so A made some butties up and we put Thelma and Louise into Thomas, packed a rug, and headed out for a picnic up at the sacred spring which I had visited with my parents a couple of years ago but A had missed as she hadn't been well. The road was really terrible on the drive up and I was in low range a few times, sliding through mud, but eventually we reached the carpark and had an explore. There was much more water from the springs than the last time and also we were the only ones up there and it was by this time lovely and warm in the sun.

A settling onto the rug for our picnic
A settling onto the rug for our picnic
Thelma digging what we thought was a tree root
Thelma digging what we thought was a tree root
It was a stick; she dug it out in about two minutes
It was a stick; she dug it out in about two minutes
Birthday cake on the picnic
Birthday cake on the picnic
Cuddled up together in the sun
Cuddled up together in the sun
360 degree panorama
360 degree panorama
Happy Thelma, with Louise looking less comfortable :(
Happy Thelma, with Louise looking less comfortable :(
A holding the two rocks apart
A holding the two rocks apart
She climbed up as well
She climbed up as well
After our short explore we spread the rug and got our butties out and they were very nice indeed. Thelma found herself what we thought at first was a tree root but very quickly she dug it up and brought it over. Not wanting mud everywhere this stick was dispatched and we got her ball out and then spent a very enjoyable time snuggling on the rug, cuddling Louise when she came close (and checking out her rash) and throwing the ball for Thelma. It was a magical time and really warm in the sun. On the drive down both Thelma and Louise sat on A's lap and stuck their heads out of the window and I was driving very slowly to keep safe on the treacherous road surface. A made me stop for a photo-opportunity at one of the big rocks by the road, as she pretended to hold them apart then climbed up, and then it was back in the car and slowly down the rocky road once again.

Our game, in mid flow
Our game, in mid flow
When we got back we made a brew then got into our game.put off from the night before. It turned out that it was a good thing we hadn't tried to do this so late at night as it took us more than three hours to complete it. We didn't hurry, to be fair, and stopped about half way to have a brew sat outside in the sun, but it was a very long game indeed. It was also a lot of fun and unusually I even won it! We were wiped out when it was over and since then have eaten some dinner and I've come up here to write this and am going to finish it as well) while A has stayed downstairs in the warm cuddling puppies and watching CSI.

The men are back tomorrow but hopefully are not far of completing everything for this year; it's been so good today to be able to get out into the local area and explore without worrying that the men may need something from the shops.

What a wonderful weekend it has been - I hope you've picked up on what a lovely time we've had and I cannot say just how lucky I am to have had such a brilliant time because of A and our friends and family. So thank you, everyone who made this birthday such a wonderful and amazing one!

Friday, 21 April 2017

An entire week

This week I had no interest in doing the blog on Tuesday nor Wednesday which meant yesterday I just decided to leave it until today; I am now going to regret that as this update takes up the entirety of my Friday evening but never mind. Here goes.

How the roof was looking at the beginning of the week
How the roof was looking at the beginning of the week
Bekir constructing a frame
Bekir constructing a frame
The blackboard area we are saving is framed
The blackboard area we are saving is framed
Ready to put the final cement on these damaged areas of wall
Ready to put the final cement on these damaged areas of wall
A whole lot of room to prime
A whole lot of room to prime
Sally sorting more wood for the roof
Sally sorting more wood for the roof
Bekir working on the roof in the cold rain
Bekir working on the roof in the cold rain
Water overflow from the reservoirs is working
Water overflow from the reservoirs is working
Byulhan reaching the edge of the ceiling
Byulhan reaching the edge of the ceiling
Happy Easter from our neighbours
Happy Easter from our neighbours
I have no photographs of Sunday afternoon and evening when our friends came to visit but it was a lovely time, really awesome to show them around our place and then spend the evening eating and then sipping whisky in  the lounge and generally enjoying their company. They didn't leave us all that late which meant we got to bed not too late ourselves and were back to the routine on Monday morning. It was a cloudy and overcast day which got progressively worse until it was raining rather heavily. We were out in the morning to do our Bulgarian lesson and when we got back found that Bekir was working inside to put the frame up around the section of blackboard we are saving in Sassy's Room. Sally was in the Green Building choosing planks, saved from the old roof, to be used for the chicken house roof. Byulhan was skimming the final cement onto the walls and then  priming all the walls and ceiling that hadn't got finished on Friday. With the blackboard framed Bekir had the unenviable task of being on the roof working away in the rain while Sally continued inside the Green Building getting wood. The rain did mean we were able to test the overflow from the water collection tanks and my trench worked well to take the water away from the pipe. Byulhan was taking full advantage of working inside and cracked on well, finishing the priming and getting started with the first skim of the ceiling. The neighbours popped over during the day with an Easter gift for us of painted eggs and bread which was just lovely. It had been a busy day for me with my paid work and I was tired so we headed to bed relatively early.

Sally once again salvaging boards for the roof
Sally once again salvaging boards for the roof
Bekir pulls a face as he copes with the weather
Bekir pulls a face as he copes with the weather
The roof is getting boarded
The roof is getting boarded
Getting the reservoirs fixed so they don't leak any more
Getting the reservoirs fixed so they don't leak any more
Scenery set out on the kitchen island again
Scenery set out on the kitchen island again
Six of the models I have painted up recently
Six of the models I have painted up recently
The final turn and the cart reaches the castle - just!
The final turn and the cart reaches the castle - just!
Tuesday was such a busy day for me at work that I barely left my desk all day; it was just one of those days. I got out to get a picture of Sally in the Green Building still sorting wood out while Bekir was still up on the roof fixing it in place as quick as Sally could provide it. I didn't get any pictures at all of Byulhan but he was just cracking away in Sassy's Room putting the plaster on the ceiling. The rain of the day before had allowed the overflows to be tested and three of the four had failed with slight leaks around the screw-lids. Bekir sorted these out during the day, putting silicon around them to make the screw seal better. This was then left until the next rainy day for another stress test. Despite us both being exhausted we decided to play a game in the evening and this was a great idea as we had a lot of fun with a scenario I have made myself. It took almost exactly an hour and was really close but ended as designed with the civilians reaching the safety of the castle. I got to use my new miniatures I have been painting up over the past few weeks as well.All in all it was a lovely evening after a tough day.

The day begins and there isn't total cloud cover
The day begins and there isn't total cloud cover
Lovely colours on the distant Greek Mountains
Lovely colours on the distant Greek Mountains
The boarding of the roof is completed
The boarding of the roof is completed
Sally building a low wall around the edge
Sally building a low wall around the edge
Bekir twisting metal for security
Bekir twisting metal for security
Like a pretzel
Like a pretzel
Rambo chilling out in the orchard
Rambo chilling out in the orchard
Thelma waiting with her ball
Thelma waiting with her ball
The face of a man at the end of a long day of plastering
The face of a man at the end of a long day of plastering
Three men discussing how to do a job
Three men discussing how to do a job
Three men fixing a metal sheet to the roof
Three men fixing a metal sheet to the roof
And so we reach Wednesday and for the first time for ages we had a sunrise. I was out with the camera to capture it. I collected the men as A was not feeling well unfortunately and the sun glinting on the Greek Mountain was so beautiful I stopped to get a picture on my phone; once again I wished I'd picked up my good camera. The weather was much better all day and the men really cracked on with putting the wood on the roof, finishing the task by mid morning. With this done the next job was to build a small wall around the edge to close up the gap below the wood so wind cannot get under and lift it off and, to reinforce this, Bekir was twisting metal rods around the ends of the poles. He had constructed an awesome tool to help him with this and I was so pleased to be up there to catch it and get pictures. How handy they are! Inside Byulhan was 2/3 of the way across the ceiling and still plastering and I was starting to realise just what a huge room it actually is. With the edges secured it was time for the men to fix some battens and put the first of the metal sheets in place and I was up there watching as it was time to take them home but they were still working away. It secured in place very easily and quickly, however, so they headed home very satisfied that there were no problems ahead.

Working together to get the metal onto the roof
Working together to get the metal onto the roof
Progress with the plastering and we're onto the walls
Progress with the plastering and we're onto the walls
Sally working away on the roof again
Sally working away on the roof again
Thursday was another full day for me as I was finishing off my paid work. Fortunately after her unwell day on Wednesday A was back up and running on Thursday and feeling much better. That was a relief. She was also busy with her job and so there are only a few pictures from the day. First of all Byulhan was outside helping Bekir and Sally by passing up the sheets of metal as this was a three person task. The weather was back to not co-operating and the wind was really whipping across the land; not ideal when you're manhandling four meter long lengths of sheet metal. With that done Byulhan headed inside and got on with his plastering. Towards the end of the day there was an emergency dash out to get more washers and screws as Bekir and Sally had run out up on the roof and in the shop we each got to count out 100 of these washers so I ended up with four hundred of them. I also picked up the adaptors to connect taps onto the reservoirs so that was good. In the evening I had my demo and it went very well again so that's me done with that project. I'm hoping there may be some more work there for me next week. I was very happy, however, with the prospect of Friday off.

Glorious sunrise for a Friday a morning
Glorious sunrise for a Friday a morning
Fristy frosty start to the day, though
Fristy frosty start to the day, though
Hills through the haze
Hills through the haze
The haze keeps rising, faster than the sun
The haze keeps rising, faster than the sun
Shiny metal roof
Shiny metal roof
More metal is brought across
More metal is brought across
A's beautiful flower bed
A's beautiful flower bed
Yet more plastering
Yet more plastering
This beautiful weather sadly did not last long
This beautiful weather sadly did not last long
Nearly 100% germination of these seeds
Nearly 100% germination of these seeds
By this time it was very very cold
By this time it was very very cold
I did this during the afternoon
I did this during the afternoon
And so we reach today and this update hasn't taken as long as I expected; I may even get to have some of an evening to relax. It was a glorious start to the day however the forecast had been proven correct and there was a frost; thankfully we had covered all our plants and everything was OK in the garden. A collected the men while I was very lazy and sat on the sofa with the puppies and didn't move all the time she was out. After a brew I headed to get a picture of the men and the state of the roof and watched while they gathered more metal to be passed up. A headed out for her weekly shopping trip and I got busy with my chores and when she got back I was just getting my inner tube changed on my bike. Frustratingly there must be a bigger problem as it's already gone flat with the brand new tube in it; more investigation required. Byulhan was really making good progress today and next week really should be the final week of having the men here. At last. It's been a longer visit than we planned. Around lunch time both A and I decided to get some stuff done so she planted out all the radish seeds which have sprouted so well in the plastic boxes and I went into the garden and did a bit of weeding. I was going to do more after we ate but cancelled that idea as the temperature dropped and the wind picked up. A was made of hardier stuff and went back out and weeded around her spuds while I sat inside and did some painting. The final bits of the roof were worked on during the afternoon as Bekir secured the side edges with metal sheets. Sally was again into the Green Building and the little section of sloping roof above the outside toilets is now having its roof done. Exciting times.

And there you have it; only just over an hour to put that all together which isn't too bad. I've also had to climb out of a window to secure a fly screen and change the catch as the wind is up. The weather is cold again and A is downstairs with the fire going. We've got a long weekend as we've told the men to take Monday off and it's my birthday on Sunday so I'm looking forward to that a lot. Thanks for reading and catch you next time.