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)
May 2018 (2)
April 2018 (4)
March 2018 (3)
February 2018 (3)
January 2018 (4)
December 2017 (3)
November 2017 (1)
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NEW SITE!

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.

DIARY ENTRIES JULY 2018 ONWARDS

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

2018/03
Thursday 22nd March, 2018
Category: 2018/03
Tags: Citizenship

Brexit. The word looms up now and then and usually I stick my head safely in the sand until something happier distracts me. The British ambassador in Sofia has visited Veliko Tarnovo twice to update us on developments and I must say her last visit was reassuring. That when (and if) Brexit finally happens, anyone already residing in Bulgaria will continue to be able to do so, and all UK rights (e.g. state pension) will still be in place exactly as now.  There's still that little niggly worry though about transit between the UK and everywhere else.

Will I need a visa each time I travel to and from Bulgaria? What if I want to pop across to Romania for a few days?

One of the issues someone raised at the meeting was that of dual citizenship. At the moment EU member states have the right to keep their original citizenship as well as applying to be a citizen of the country they've chosen to reside in. Non-EU member states generally require the relinquishing of the original citizenship. That's something I definitely want to avoid as it would mean giving up that lovely state pension I've paid into all my working life, and am looking forward to getting when I turn 95.

So, I decided to start investigating the process of becoming a Bulgarian citizen.

The process is dealt with by the Bulgarian ministry of justice, and on their website I found the information for grounds for citizenship by right of naturalisation (i.e. I live here). Crikey, I did not expect such a huge list of required documents!

It includes things like UK criminal record, BG criminal record, medical certificate stating I'm not contagious, current CV... Then there's the matter of the language. there's a relatively easy proficiency test which is just 20 multiple choice questions for which the pass mark is 12, but on top of that there's a final interview at the ministry to assertain your committment to Bulgaria and knowledge of its history, culture, and state structure - yikes!

At the moment the list seems a little overwhelming, but I have time. Brexit is scheduled for 2019 - almost a year away - so I will spend the next few months chipping away at the documents, gathering everything together and then hopefully, later this year, head off to Sofia for a nice cosy chat.

Wish me luck!

Sunday 18th March, 2018
Category: 2018/03
Tags: Horse Endurance HorsePower 2018 spring walk dancing

The garden is full of excitement at the moment! Well, strictly speaking it's me in the garden who is full of excitement, rather than the garden itself, but I'm sure my mood is infectious and is spurring on the sudden burst of growth amongst the greenery. And to top it all, one of my little pond skaters appears to have survived the winter unscathed. I was sitting by the pond the other day (when it was still glorious warm weather - yes, legs have been shaved and shorts worn already) studying it for signs of life. Aside from the lone pond skater there was also some kind of tiny black beetle which would pop out from the submerged moss, swim across to another chunk of weeds and vanish again. I'm very excited to see what other creatures may have taken up residence as the year progresses.

Of course my main area of interest is the veggies and flowers. There's going to be a car boot sale down on the stadium field in April (click here for details) and amongst other things I'm going to try and sell some of my spare cuttings. I've already sown some flower seeds, and now I've potted up my spare peonie roots, and rosemary cuttings. Hopefully there will be some gardening enthusiasts there, though I need ones with totally bare gardens as my offerings will be very common things.

My little succulents I bought from Kaufland last year are all doing well, so I need another trip to the pottery factory to find a nice big old crock pot to plant them in.

My tomato and pepper seedlings are all looking pretty good and have several sets of true leaves now. They've been spending the daytime out in the greenhouse to get lots of light, though they'll be indoors for a few days now as it's going to be colder again this week. I just noticed today that my leeks, courgettes and cucumbers have also germinated, and out in the veggie beds the lettuces, radishes and parsnips are all up. The carrots are a bit more tricky. I sowed three nice rows of them a couple of weeks ago and covered the area in plastic, at which point thousands of weedlings germinated. At the moment I've no clue if any of them are carrots, so they are all being nurtured until I can distinguish the fluffy carrot leaves from the other stuff. As long as I get some carrots this year I don't mind. I've had zero success with them since the very first year I grew them.

The car boot sale I mentioned earlier is part of a big programme of fund-raising events planned to support this year's HorsePower Festival. Some of the money will go towards the entertainment, and some has to be used for maintenance of the site e.g. the stadium field, the campsite etc. My main role again this year will be in helping to plan the routes for the horse races, and my aims will be to stay off the farmer's fields as much as possible and to cut back on the amount of stone or tarmac the horses have to ride on. With that in mind some of us had an exploratory walk up through the forest last week, and as luck would have it we found an ideal track running alongside the forest which will be perfect for the horses.

I've plotted the routes on Google Earth and so far the distances are working out. Now it's a case of seeing if the terrain can be improved in places to make it passable. So, anyone reading who wants to come pruning shrubbery, contact me NOW!

I've still be attending the dance lessons in Kereka, and have been practising in between lessons, using YouTube videos of the dances we've learned so far. I'm even becoming familiar with the names: Zelena Salata, Arap, Chichovoto, Tsigansko and Paidushko horo. The cats are becoming used to me prancing round the house whilst the music plays! When the weather is more suitable I shall take my practising into the garden, though the dogs must first promise to bark if anyone's peeking through the fencing!

To see pictures from this blog entry, click here.

Friday 9th March, 2018
Category: 2018/03
Tags: Baba Marta snow

We finally had some proper snow last week when it fell steadily for about two days. It was incredibly dry powdery stuff and I was amazed to notice that you could actually see the individual snowflakes with their tiny six sided patterns.

The snow always brings the birds into the garden for the seeds from the feeder, although this year I noticed quite a lot of birds feasting on the berries on the ornamental apple tree.

The fieldfares and the hawfinch were a favourite of mine.

The cold weather doesn't faze the animals in the slightest, and in fact they quite often just lay out in the snow. The cats of course love it because of all the great tits swooping down to the bird feeder, but the dogs just love bounding about in the snow.

Bella's a great one for scenting out the tracks of everything that's passed by, and the snow doesn't stop her as she just shoves her nose into it and has a good hearty sniff anyway.

March 1st is the day when we traditionally exchange the red and white Martenitsas with each other, and prior to this there's usually a workshop at the community centre to learn to make them. This year I had a go at making the two characters Пижо & Пенда (Pizho & Penda) which are commonly seen. I've seen them where the male figure is the one in white, but I guess it doesn't particularly matter. My Pizho is a very red-blooded character!

To see Pizho, Penda and other pictures from today's blog, click here.

 

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