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

Thursday 31st January, 2013
Category: 2013/01
Tags: DIY pointing

Today I thought I'd have a go at pointing the stone walls in the wood store.  At the moment the gaps between them are filled with mud which seems to have been used a lot in the construction of this place.  Under the boards in the loft is a layer of mud and straw, and part of the kindling store shed (which was a shower room when I first viewed the place) has walls that are rendered with the same mud and straw.  Is it the dawb that normally goes with wattle?? Anyhow, I found some bags of what I think are lime mortar (could be anything since I've no idea what lime mortar looks like) and decided to use them to point the walls.  It can't be any worse than the mud which is there at the moment, and, if I am extremely lucky, it may well eventually set into something resembling cement.

So, armed with a big bowl for mixing, a couple of trowels, a screwdriver (to poke out the old mud) and a wallpapering brush I set to work.  Yes, wallpapering brush.  There will never be any wallpaper on my walls and so I figured I'd make use of the brush by using it to swoosh water around before slapping on the mortar.  You can tell I've never done this before, can't you.  But, ye of little faith, I actually quite enjoyed myself and I must say the results are not as shabby as I first feared:


Well let's face it, the fact that the mortar is still on the wall and pieces of stone are still visible counts as success in my book.  I was even able to 'wash up' under my drain pipe extension:

I have my fingers crossed that the weather is suitable for the electrician to come and finish work this Saturday because then I'll have a light in there which will make work a bit easier.  Once I've done the walls I'm going to clear the floor a bit and probably use some old metal roofing sheets as a floor and then put some plastic and wood across the ceiling beams for a bit more insulation.  I so love being able to play around at this DIY mullarkey.

Wednesday 30th January, 2013
Category: 2013/01
Tags: doctor neighbour

What a restless night! I'm not one to sleep through the night at the best of times but I think I must have got about 4 hours sleep last night. I've now been awake since about 5am but since I have no work to get up for I suppose it doesn't really matter - I can always have an afternoon nap!  Officially I haven't worked for over 6 months - how fabulous is that!  Clearly I have an over-abundance of lazy genes :)

Yesterday afternoon I went round to the doctor again for my second thyroid test results.  The results show that my current thyroxine dosage is too high so she has reduced it a bit and told me to have another blood test done in 6 months time.  Handily she gave me a slip of paper with all the normal ranges on so for the first time I can actually make sense of my blood test results.  I was under the impression that, not being part of the Bulgarian NHS as yet, I should pay to see the doctor, which seems fair enough.  However, this is my third visit to Dr Boteva and she says I don't owe her anything; that I just pay the hospital for the blood tests.  Perhaps it's because my appointment only lasts a minute or so, anyway, I'm not complaining.

Baba Ivanka came round yesterday late afternoon bringing one and a half eggs and another jar of peaches.  I say one and a half because one of them broke in her pocket.  I think Molly will have that one.  this is the second big jar of peaches she's given me along with a jar of strawberries.  I hope she isn't giving me all her precious supplies although these goodies are very much appreciated.  Last night I warmed up some of the peaches and had them with ice cream - delicious.  I can't wait to see if I can grow some veggies this year, or even buy up cheap stuff at the market when there's a glut, and do some bottling of my own.  Imagine all those jars full of prettiness lining the cupboard shelves for next winter.  Whilst she was here she asked me for my telephone number.  From the odd words I imagined I understood, I think perhaps her daughter is going away skiing (though on reflection, she and her husband don't look the sort to do this) so perhaps I am now the designated emergency contact while they're unavailable.  I am dreading that she will have a fall and phone me because I won't have a clue what she's saying!  I have decided that if she does phone I will just have to go down there and find out that way what she wants.  Aha!  Could it be the stress of these potential phone calls which have kept me awake last night?

Sunday 27th January, 2013
Category: 2013/01
Tags: referendum snow DIY

Today the polling stations have been open for voting on the referendum as to whether Bulgaria should build a new nuclear power station to provide energy.  From what I have read, I think there needs to be a certain number of voters participating for a definite decision to be made, or, if only 20% of voters turn out then the issue can be discussed in parliament. (Link to information on the proposed site)

It's been snowing again for the past couple of days and early in the morning when the sun comes up and catches the peaks of the distant mountains it looks beautiful:

The cold weather hasn't deterred me from my latest DIY assignment, and that's been to treat all the new timbers in the barns against insects, mould and damp.  I already had a bottle of stuff called Bochemit Plus which is supposed to be quite strong insecticide (I've already used it on the beams in the house to try and kill any new creatures which attempt to nibble into the wood) so I thought I'd give it all a coat with that first.  It's going to be a LONG project as there must be at least 300 miles of timber to cover (well that's what it feels like).  I really wish I'd had a couple of days doing it when the wood was all first delivered before construction began way back in September.  How much easier it would have been just to swoosh a paint brush along a stack of timber laying on the ground!  But no, I have to make life more... challenging... and do it once the roof was finished.  I did all the outside bits first - not having a very good head for heights I had to tie the paint brush to a branch to reach the trickier parts - and then began on the middle shed; the enclosed one.  It took a while to get into a routine of what order I covered the various sections and numerous times I kept wondering if I'd already painted one bit or not.  Anyway, after a couple of days (I work very short hours) the bochemit was done and time to apply the next coat of a stuff called Grund.  It stinks to high heaven of turps (I think it's mostly made of white spirit) and makes everything it splashes on very sticky.  This layer will hopefully keep the damp out of the wood.  Yesterday evening I finally finished the outside and the middle shed:


I threw all my clothes in the washer and left the softener stage soaking for ages to try and eliminate the smell but there's still a strong pong of turps around the house.  When I come to do the end shed I think I'll first construct some sort of protective overall out of bin bags!  Mucky work but still satisfying, and now that I've been able to sort out all of the junk precious items which have been put in the shed, it's looking pretty good.

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