Day to day events mostly cataloguing my complete lack of understanding and common sense!

To save space, the most recent blog entry will have relevant pictures in it, but after that the photos will be moved to Flickr for storage, and a link to them added to the blog post. If you want to see all the photos anyway then visit the Gostilitsa Flickr page here.

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June 2018 (1)
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April 2018 (4)
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There is now a separate site with information on living in Bulgaria, including:

  • An introduction to Gostilitsa and all it has to offer
  • Day to day practicalities of shopping, paying bills, banking, insurance
  • Healthcare matters for people and pets
  • Public transport and issues relating to car ownership
  • Becoming a Bulgarian resident and learning the language
  • Tourism, public holidays, festivals, places to visit, hiking routes

Click here for the link.


Unfortunately I've been having an increasing number of problems with storage on this site, so I've decide to continue the diary section elsewhere. Click here for the link to the new site.  The old diary entries will remain here for anyone wishing to delve into the murky past

Tagged with "veggies"
Monday 25th June 2018
Category: 2018/06
Tags: garden pond veggies

I've been home almost a week now, a week which has flown by in a haze of pottering in the garden and napping (I blame jet lag!)

It sounds mean but I'm always more excited to see the garden when I get home, than I am to see the pets (don't tell them) and it's an exciting moment to open the front gate and see how much things have changed over the five weeks I've been away. I wasn't disappointed.

The veggies have gone crazy, and my eye was instantly drawn to the thicket of corn, some of which is way taller than me. Here's a quick tour of some of the produce:

Okra plants for the very first time. The first batch all got nibbled by slugs so I decided to keep these ones in their pots which seems to have worked okay.

Giant heap of carrots, mainly the small stumpy ones which are delicious cooked whole. Mixing the sand in with the manure clearly worked well and I'm wondering about sowing the turnips here once I've lifted the carrots.

The cucumber plants have trailed all over the place, so I've now lifted them up to dangle over the bean poles. Next year I think I'll tie strings down from the poles and encourage the cucumbers to climb up from the get go.

The leeks are all looking sorry for themselves, poor things. I think I chose bad places for them to grow - next to potatoes and cucumbers - as they got completely overwhelmed by their companion plants and a bit battered. I've transplanted them here now and hopefully the current cool wet weather will give them a chance to re-establish themselves and to start growing better.

The tomato plants are already nice and tall with lots of trusses ready to ripen. What I thought was a plum tomato has turned out to be these big beefy ones, perfect with some sirene cheese!

Back in May, Kaufland were selling off packets of seeds for 20 stotinkis, so I boughts some aubergine ones, having never grown them before. I scattered the seeds in a pot before going to the UK and returned to a big bunch of healthy seedlings. I've transplanted eight of them into these tubs as I don't know how long they take to produce fruits, and if needs be I can bring the tubs up onto the patio for a bit of shelter in autumn.

Good old courgettes, already with several marrow like courgettes and lots more flowers on the way.

The couple who looked after the place whilst I was away had once again put a selection of fruits in my freezer for me, so this year I have loganberries, redcurrants and cherries already stashed, as well as more still ripening, though I seem to have competition as to who can pick them first:

My gooseberries have also produced good crops and make a sweet topping to my cornflakes in the morning.

Those top two aren't mouldy - it was the effect of the flash on the camera!

There are quite a lot of flowers blooming including a whopping big hollyhock which is already towering over the front gate. It's a gorgeous velvety black colour, grown from some seeds I saved a couple of years ago. I've now planted a few more around the garden and might look into getting some other colours too.

I was curious to see how the pond life was progressing, especially the tadpoles, but at first glance it seemed they were all pretty much the same, with just a few developing back legs. then today I spotted these little cuties nestled in the leaves of a pond plant. Aren't they beautiful?

I wonder if they climb up to rest whilst they complete their change into proper frogs, as they seem to have tiny remnants of their tadpole tails still. They don't look too happy yet. Maybe they'll cheer up when they discover their full jumping potential later on!


Wednesday 18th April 2018
Category: 2018/04
Tags: car boot sale retaining wall veggies bugs

Last Sunday we had the first car boot sale in Gostilitsa, down on the stadium field. It's part of our ongoing efforts to raise funds for this year's HorsePower Festival on September 1st, and we actually had a great turn out of both sellers and buyers.

I had my own little stall with a few bits, out of which the plants proved to be most popular, especially the veggies.

Intriguingly, the guy who had been annoyed about my dog walking the other day, came over all smiles, shook my hand, bought the sander off me, and was very jolly and chatty. In my heart I like to believe this was an olive branch, but either way it feels very good to know I haven't made a mortal enemy in the village.

The retaining wall project is now complete, and I'm thrilled at how it turned out in the end (actually, I'm mostly thrilled that I can't make the bricks move when I try and push on them).

It's been planted up with a few herbs and strawberries which will hopefully take off and trail all over the sides to hide the bricks. If not, I might just give them a good scrub with a wire brush and slap a couple of coats of white paint on (the bricks tha is, not the plants!)

There's been a bumper crop of these little red firebugs this year, and they've taken to having mating parties all over my remaining winter cabbages, happily sitting there, bum to bum and chomping on the leaves:

Someone gave me a load of old net curtains last summer, so I've salvaged the good bits and had a go at wrapping the cabbages. I shall probably find that I've just cocooned the bugs inside where they can eat to their hearts' content without fear of predation from birds or other wildlife.

One cabbage has been left unwrapped, and if all goes to plan, that will be the sacrificial decoy.  I'm trying to plan my planting a bit better this year regarding companion planting, and have made a big list of which of my veggies do and don't get along. It turns out the spuds are surprisingly fussy, and will only tolerate my beans, but other things have been matched up in the veggie area. I'm most excited to see what my red sweetcorn turns out like - hopefully juicy and tasty!

To see pictures from today's blog, click here.



Friday 6th April 2018
Category: 2018/04
Tags: garden veggies squid Easter Dryanovo football candle-making

There's something fundamentally flawed about the design of hole in the ground toilets, at least with the ones with the proper metal foot pads. No matter how I try and line myself up or adjust position mid-flow I always end up with a delightful shoeful. This doesn't happen out in the wilds, therefore I must conclude it's the loo at fault and not me. Point in case yesterday when I was forced to make a trip down into the depths of the community centre from whence I returned slightly damper. Even more gutting I happened to be wearing a pair of brand new pumps I'd only bought the day before.  Thankfully the shoes were a phenomenal bargain at a mere 4.50 levs (just over £2), part of a post stress shopping trip on Wednesday.

I'd made an appointment to see a lawyer regarding some advice on the citizenship process, and made my way into a baking hot VT on Wednesday afternoon to see her. I left a bit later than planned and hadn't allowed for a) following the satnav whilst avoiding breaking the law as it told me to turn the wrong way up a one-way street b) finding a parking space within a 10 mile radius of the lawyer's office and c) discovering that number 2a on the street was actually several hundred yards away from number 2 which I'd arrived at. Anyway, I made it eventually and had a good chat with her about all the documents, and formulated a plan of action for later in the summer. The ensuing shopping spree was my reward. There's a brilliant shop on the outskirts of VT called Denzil's where you can buy all manner of plastic junk and luminous trainers, and at the moment pretty much everything is half price. I came out with two packs of huge clothes pegs (for securing the bubble wrap round my greenhouse), some pretty stickers (for making birthday cards), a pair of cotton trousers and three pairs of shoes for 22 levs. Love it!

It's Easter week here in Bulgaria, hence my being in the community centre yesterday as it was egg decorating day. This year we were allowed to take our eggs home with us, so I have a carton of brightly coloured creations in the fridge ready to smash competetively against other people's on Sunday.  Dryanovo has various events on all week, and were advertising a candle making workshop on Wednesday morning. The photo with the ad showed some lovely beeswax candles and I envisioned coming away with some beautiful honeycombed hand rolled creation. I checked the location of the event with the organisers who confirmed it was in the square down by the police station.

Well, a friend and I turned up there in plenty of time to find no sign of candle making anywhere. The next half hour involved going into random buildings (community centre library, some other citizens advice place, Kolyo Ficheto museum) where people who had no idea about the event suggested various places we should try. The last place we tried asking was the town hall and finally someone who knew of the workshop. It turned out to be in a little room at the back of the town hall. Excitedly we entered the room (only 20 minutes late for a two hour workshop) to be told by the five occupants that it was over! I was peeved to say the least. To make up for the disappoinment I was given a tiny red tea-light (thankfully there were no beautiful beeswax candles to be seen so I guess we didn't miss much) and my suggestion that it might be an idea to put a sign up on the door so people would know where to go, was met with blank stares. One of the things I find irritating in Bulgaria - events are put on but there's no concept of actually caring if anyone turns up or not!

Having lots of time left we headed down to the sports stadium where a children's football tournament was underway. There's a huge tall chimney stack nearby with a stork's nest on top, so we were treated to some pretty close views of one of the storks gliding down towards the river.

Everything is flourishing in the garden at the moment (including the lawn weeds which had their first cut of the year this week).

The veggie seedlings are growing well though there have been the usual casualties from overwatering or too much heat. Some are staying out in the greenhouse overnight, and it's just the best tomato seedlings, peppers and cucumbers which still come inside.

The spring flowers have really come on nicely, and this year there's actually a good splash of colour from bulbs and primroses.

It's all looking much fuller now than it used to, though there's still plenty of room for another thousand plants from the garden centre. (I'm busy saving my 2 lev coins for the next visit).

And finally, I cooked squid for the first time this week. They were selling it off cheap in Lidls, so I bought a pack (which promptly leaked all over the conveyer belt at the check-out) and cooked it up with some tomatoes.  Very tasty it was too, so I think it will be on the menu again.

To see lots of pictures from this blog entry, click here.


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