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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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
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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

Tuesday 30th October, 2012
Category: 2012/10
Tags: weather heating ankle hospital

I've been experimenting with various 'footwear' to accompany my cast.  The first attempt was a leg from an old pair of denim shorts, tied round my foot with string.  It had a certain caveman je ne sais quois, but promptly fell off after a few steps.  Next was one of my very stretchy socks which I usually use to pad around in indoors.  It fits nicely over my foot and keeps my toes nice and cosy.  Unfortunately it doesn't protect the bottom of the cast which is becoming quite thin and flexible (I can't help walking on it) so the third idea was to cut the straps off an old flip-flop and use electrical tape to hold it onto my foot.  A perfect fit!  Not only does it protect the cast a bit but it also fits inside the sock - double protection.  Of course there's still the problem of protecting it from the wet.

The weather has taken a bit of a turn for the worse the past couple of days.  First we had extraordinarily strong winds on Sunday and then came the rain.  It was a good chance to see that all my new guttering was working properly (it is) and I was glad I'd managed to get all my firewood stowed away.  It absolutely hammered down.  Last night there were huge thunder storms and constant rain.  The weather was so bad in fact that the mobile phone network for M-Tel, which most people use, has gone down, and only people high up in the village can get a signal.  Today I decided to give the central heating a run.  It's not actually cold enough to need it, but I don't want to wait till it's minus 10 and then discover it doesn't work.  It stoked up lovely and all the radiators got nice and hot, so all's well.

I had my check-up at the hospital yesterday and because of the rain I had to wrap my foot in a very fetching blue rubble sack fastened with contrasting yellow electrical tape.  Quite the fashion statement.  It was the first time I'd used my crutches over any distance and frankly it was exhausting!  My arms just have no strength at all so after a few minutes I just couldn't support my weight on the crutches any more and resorted to walking again.  I bet after 6 weeks I'll have muscles like Popeye!  The doctor called me in before a couple of other patients who'd been waiting which caused a bit of ill feeling not surprisingly (hope none of them know me) and I gave him the final two rolls of plaster I owed him.  (I took the precaution of buying some extra from the chemist too.  That way if my cast gets damaged I can repair it myself!)  He got me to wriggle my toes and told me not to worry about the cast being thin underneath.  He then filled out two lengthy reports, possibly for my insurers and gave me a prescription for 'aspirin protect' which I am to take every evening, presumably as a precaution against blood clots.  He still says I've to wear it for 6 weeks although he said I could return in less if I wished.  Perhaps it will heal quicker after all.

The nurse took me down to the main office to collect my receipts and to pay for today's consultation.  The very lovely Dr Gabrovski was there again and it turns out he's the head of department.  He speaks a little English and with that and my broken Bulgarian he discovered my age, where in England I'd lived, my occupation, how long I was planning on living in Bulgaria, what I thought of the country, my thyroid problem and if I lived alone.  He then handed me his mobile number in case I ever needed anything.  I might count that as a result if it wasn't for the wedding ring on his finger!

Sunday 28th October, 2012
Category: 2012/10
Tags: plaster ankle crutches

It's now three days since I had the cast put on my leg and I'm getting used to it a bit.  Keith went to VT on Saturday and bought me a set of crutches.  The height and the hand grips are easy to adjust (after watching a YouTube video on how to get the right height and how to use them!)  and if I'm just walking around it makes it much quicker to move.  My plaster feels a bit soft underneath, probably because I was walking on it right away but I have a follow up appointment scheduled for tomorrow, so if it's a problem I'm sure the doctor can wack a few more layers on.


(Video of me walking with the crutches)

Showering has been an adventure to say the least.  The first day I just had a strip wash at the sink but the thought of doing that for the next 6 weeks is horrendous, so this morning I decided to try and shower properly.  I wrapped the cast inside two bin bags and then packed the top with loo roll so if any drops of water sneak inside, hopefully the tissue will soak it up before it gets inside the cast.  Finally I used another bin bag to tie it all up tight.  Picture this, if you can:  Me, standing inside the shower, my plastered leg outside lifted as high in the air as I could manage while I balance on the other leg and wash rapidly!  Well it worked anyway; the tissue got quite wet but none seemed to get inside the cast.  My next improvement will be having a stool outside the shower to rest my foot on instead of balancing on one leg.  By the end of 6 weeks I will be an expert!

My feelings still seem to be running amok a little and Saturday was a bit difficult.  The electricians came back to continue working and began running cables along the side of the house to the switches.  This created huge clouds of cement dust which, due to the strong winds, blew all over the house - it was quite overwhelming.  When they finished drilling I began cleaning up, wiping down all the surfaces.  During this I managed to spill a bucket of water on the rug - uggh, second disaster.  I'd purchased some lights for the steps but it turns out they're no good for outdoors after all so this was disappointing (third blow) and finally a bag of wood fell over in the strong winds and caved in the top of one of my lovely clay ovens.  Cue me sniffling on the sofa wishing it would all magically get sorted.

Later, in the evening, I lit a cosy fire, made a nice roast chicken dinner and curled up on the sofa with a bottle of wine and a good film and things felt okay again.  I just have to try and be patient (NOT my best feature) - things will get done eventually and little set backs are just that, not the end of the world.

Wednesday 24th October, 2012
Category: 2012/10

Today is the day I get plastered (literally) so this morning there was a last minute rush to get jobs done whilst still reasonably mobile.  I didn't sleep too well last night as I was a bit anxious about what would happen at the hospital. As usual I've been googling broken fibulas (I'm my own worst enemy) and reading all sorts about plates and pins being inserted and months of recovery.

I managed to get all of the wood stacked inside the wood store and also stacked a heap by my door in case I can't move much for the next day or two.  Then it was time for a shower, a quick lunch and off to the hospital with Andrea. 

We went to the office we attended yesterday and sat down to wait.  After a while a nurse/doctor/secretary came and told us to go up to the next floor. We went up in the lift and found her waiting for us (she must have sprinted up those stairs) where she pointed out a room and told us to wait there.  The doctor was quite late and there were a couple of people to go in before me, but then it was my turn.

The doctor looked at my ankle (very gently thankfully) and asked me when it happened and seemed a bit shocked when I said 13 days ago.  His assistant then wrote out a list of items and asked poor Andrea to go to the chemist to buy them!  I was shocked - do you really have to go and buy all the items for a plaster cast and then bring them back here?  Off went Andrea but then he took me into the other half of his room and began to get out cotton wool and rolls of plaster bandage.  Andrea is just going to buy replacements for his stock.  It actually felt nice being swathed in thick cotton wool and then the plaster being smoothed round my leg, especially when it warmed up - ah, lovely.  I had to sit on the bed while it was setting at which point I phoned Rado so he could explain to the doctor about my insurance.  I'm not sure what happened though because there seemed to be a problem in that I'm not registered with any GP.  Anyhow, Rado said once all the treatment is finished then the receipts will go in for the insurance claim.

Sadly the pot has to stay on for 6 weeks followed by a month of physio.  Once the plaster was dry I was allowed to leave.  What about crutches? Ah, you can buy them from a chemist!  I couldn't move at first, leaning on my walking stick and trying to move a foot that doesn't bend; it felt terribly odd.  We began the slow trek down to the original office to pay.  Costs: 10 levs for two x-rays (already paid for yesterday), 14 levs for 7 rolls of plaster from the chemist and 20 levs labour.  Whole thing so far for less than £20 which was a relief as I was imagining costs of £100 or more.

We trailed round every chemist in Dryanovo but no one did crutches, and the mobility shop which used to be there has shut down.  So, I'll either need to find someone who has some to lend me, or get Andrea to take me to one of the bigger towns and see if we can get them there.

I have to go back on Monday for a check-up and then I suppose just wait out the 6 weeks.  Now if I can just figure out how I'm going to shower...

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