Friday, 6 November 2009

Trying New Things

Since living here we've tried a load of new things and not just food. Bulgarian cuisine is wonderful and most of the food is very enjoyable.

We've drastically changed not only the way we live but also our diets. Gone are the ready prepared meals and convenience foods, replaced with fresh, in season vegetables and meat that we've usually reared ourselves. Life has become much simpler and our needs/wants have altered too.

There are things I do miss though - good chocolate, a fast internet connection, friends and family, my horses that I sold before moving here and decent books or magazines. There are book shops in Bulgaria and some do sell English books. We swap books between friends too which helps but after a while the choices get slimmer. Some expats to buy books either online or at various book stores, but I must confess to being a bit tight! Although I love to read I begrudge paying over the odds for anything. I've always been the same I guess.

Yes it's nice to have some things from "back home" but is it really worth the extra we have to pay to get things? If friends come over to visit or for a holiday we often ask them to bring Oxo cubes or Marmite as we can't get them here, but everything else we've about managed to live without......apart from books!

So I've added a Free e-book download tool to this blog and I will be trying it out, if you click the link and then browse through the site it takes you to there's a huge list of books available. Hopefully this will come in useful for others too......Enjoy!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Raining Cats & Dogs & Rodents!

Good morning, it's rained here all night long and is miserable outside to say the least. It's foggy, cold, breezy and still the rain comes down. Time for a PJ day I think.

When the weather changes here the rodents invariably look for somewhere warm to spend the winter and lately we've been hearing them scurrying about. Not that it's anything to worry about - all part of rural life really, but still I don't like them!

Because we've been here a couple of years now we've tried and tested a few methods to get rid of rodents inside. Traps work well for most of the time but we also use poison in areas where there isn't space for a trap. This year we've heard the mice more in the pipe boxing that runs around our bathroom and as space is limited there have had to put poison in the gaps. It seems to be working or so I thought until this morning!

My usual routine is to get dressed, have a coffee, put the horses out etc. This morning I went about my usual routine but felt that an item of clothing just wasn't right..........decided to check why I was feeling a little uncomfortable and well to my horror have found that the mice have eaten some of the fabric of my knickers!!!! They are now almost crotchless LOL  just goes to show how much attention I take while dressing.

Fashion goes "Out of the window" here during the colder months and staying warm is a priority, so layering becomes habit and my Thinsulate over trousers are my best friends. Today I'm going to try and hunt out the hats. scarves and gloves and also need to check everyone still has suitable winter footwear. I'll be putting some more rodent poison down too!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Perfect Timing........Hmmm

As usual with anything in Bulgaria timing is crucial. There's a right time to sow seeds, a right time to go to the village cafe for a coffee, a right time to put animals out or bring them in etc.

So why is it that whenever we get a delivery of anything it always seems to be at the wrong time?

We had some friends here last week that have also bought a house in the village. Because they're not living here yet I ordered them some winter wood about 3 weeks ago and hoped it would arrive while they were here so there were more hands available to shift the wood. That was the theory anyway!

They set off back home last friday with no signs of their wood arriving. Of course it's arrived today when a) David's out working, b) I'm stuck home with 2 poorly children and c) there's not a hope that I can move the wood on my own.

The same happened with the straw we ordered earlier in the year, weeks go by, no-one mentions it and then all of a sudden a tractor and trailer turns up and dumps 250 bales in your garden! I wonder how the Bulgarians cope with this? Do you have to stay home for 3 weeks just in case they decide to deliver your order? Maybe I'm being a little uptight about least they do deliver, because I can't imagine how else we'd manage to get 250 bales here or 10 cubic meters of wood. Also have you ever actually seen how much wood there is in 10 cubic meters?

I'd imagined a decent sized pile but nothing prepared me for the reality of how much there really is.......Think I'll have to take the camera outside and photograph it just for future reference! And once it's all chopped and split the pile will be of monstrous proportions! Back later with a piccie, time for coffee now before I do anything else.

More Green Tomatoes

I still have a whole load of green tomatoes and am struggling to find things to do with them. I've made different types of chutney, salsa, a pasta sauce dish (which wasn't very nice), green tomato and chilli jam (very nice) and generally thrown a few into various dishes like chilli con carne.

As I seem to be having a bit of a mental block and the internet isn't throwing up any more recipes that I fancy trying I think I'll probably end up just blending them all down and bunging them in the freezer till a later date. It's either that or feed them to the pig!

Every day here has a moment when the thought processes turn to "What shall we have for tea?" And although the choice of food stuff is growing all of the time sometimes you get stuck in a rut so to speak. There are no take away's in  the village and the local shops are mainly small. Of course we do have a couple of new supermarkets in the local town but I don't want to go shopping every week!

Back in the UK Asda was a 5 minute drive away and open 24 hours. I find that places like that encourage me to spend more and I fall fowl to impulse buying. Living here we are on a budget and maybe I should plan the weeks meals in advance to help keep the costs in perspective, but to be honest I quite like the randomness and prefer to choose what we eat based on mood/weather etc.

Summer we eat lots of salad and tend to BBQ quite often, winter it's stews, soups and warming food. Our diet here is as varied as can be. What produce we grow is used or frozen to be used at a later date. I love to see stuff that I've grown as part of a meal on my plate.

Off Days

Yesterday my son was off school complaining he felt sick, ok fine, there's been a bug going round and I had it last week so can sympathise with him. Although by 10 am he'd made a miraculous recovery lol

Today my daughter is feeling poorly and not gone to school, as they're not usually trying to truant I do believe that both of them aren't feeling great, although Cameron went off to school this morning only to be sent home as he has a cough. The teacher sent a note which said "The boy is sick and must go to a doctor, come back to school only when healthy".

I do agree that children who are poorly shouldn't be in school, if only to stop the spread of any infection. Coughs and colds are about at this time of year and sometimes can't be helped. The Bulgarian's seem to think that medicine is necessary for any illness and I disagree. Their children are wrapped up all of the time and rarely allowed to play out in the winter in case they get a cold. They also think that if you have a cold drink in cool or cold weather you'll get a cough! Some "Old wives tales" are still very much believed here, whereas I'm different and know that given time and rest a cough/cold will generally run it's course.

I believe that too many lotions/potions and courses of antibiotics are unnecessary and can do more harm than good. Children should be encouraged to play outside to enable them to build up a good natural immunity. Yes it's good to stay warm but being overly warm is not a good idea either. I must add that my mother was a nurse and possibly my ideas came from her. Certainly the way I was brought up never harmed me and I was ill less than my school mates. If a friend had chicken pox/measles/mumps I was sent over to play with them in the hope that as a child I'd either get these infections or build up a resistance to them - for me it worked, I've had none of them and even when my own children got chicken pox I showed no signs or symptoms.

So what do you think is best? Opinions are more than welcomed.

Monday, 2 November 2009


Either I've gone really soft or the temperatures here have plummeted over the last couple of days. I'm constantly cold and have already started wearing my winter over trousers when working outside. Not started wearing the thermals yet but that's the next step lol

Although the winters here can seem harsh and cold usually the rain holds off and the sun manages to shine most days so winter doesn't seem bad at all. This will be our 3rd winter here so at least we know what to expect and can plan ahead a little.

As we live on the edge of the village and don't have an official road to our house once the snow arrives driving can get a little tricky, which reminds me I've yet to put anti-freeze in the cars or check the snow chains are intact! We hope at some point to put a small road up to our house but until we have the time and funds to do it we'll just have to carry on driving up the field. Off road driving is something we're used to after having the horses back in the UK, muddy tracks and dirt roads are the norm to most equestrian establishments.

We were snowed in for about 2 weeks last winter, which is fine when your freezer is full of food and there's plenty of fire wood around. Maybe if I catch the plow driver this year he might for a small price make us a pathway from the house to the street so we can get out if we need to.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Happy Halloween

Ok I know I'm a day late but we've been busy lol

Hubby's been busy and managed to get the alterations to the central heating done after we moved the wood burner, system filled and up and running now and it's lovely to have hot radiators again.

Last night we went to a party hosted by a lovely couple who are also British ex-pats. There were a few others there who we'd met before and some new faces too. Mostly everyone dressed up and we all had a good time. It's nice to see what others have done to their houses and how they live. I was designated driver and to be honest didn't mind staying sober.

Today we've cut up a load of firewood and moved it into what will be the new workshop when it's finished. so tomorrow I'll be out with the axe logging some of it up. This evening we've been to visit one of our neighbours and his wife, again lovely people and she's a fantastic cook too so we've come home happy, stuffed full of food, relaxed and ready to start a new week.

The weather here has definitely changed and it's very autumnal now, the kids are looking forward to snow but I'm hoping it stays away for at least another 6-8 weeks!