Following the arrival of the removals, we were busy unpacking what we needed and storing the rest in either the basement or the cellar. Mums room was priority as she had brought all her bedroom furniture with her. Monday saw Ben and Ed dismantling the wardrobes and bed that were in her room and reassembling them into what was to be Ben’s rooms and replacing it with her antique wardrobes and four poster bed. This meant Ben had his own space and a proper bed as he had been sleeping in the lounge on a sofa bed, poor kid! It also enabled us to move the sofa bed into his room and allowed us to use our own sofas 😊
On Wednesday, Ed and I went in search of a fire and more by luck than judgement stumbled across Temax. We were passed it before it registered that it was a DIY store and so like many of the locals we pulled onto the pavement between two trees and walked back. Ah ha! They did have fires and they looked more sturdy than the ones in Mr B! We were soon approached by a store assistant, he looked baffled when we spoke in English and muttered “moment” and disappeared, he was soon back with a young lady who spoke English, who asked if she could help. We explained we wanted to buy a stove, she translated for us and the gentleman started pointing out various stoves and she translated what he was saying 😀 We chose one that pushed out 11 watts (we have a large room to heat!). We then pointed to the chimney parts and he helped chose the amount we needed, we tried to ask for a topper but he shook his head and pointed out another bent piece and just said “Dobrie”. (Good), we went to pick up some kindling..”Ne!” Was his response, ne? Ok, he pointed out to some white sacks and explained these were what we needed (at least that’s what we understood, as the young girl had disappeared by then!), he piled 3 sacks onto our trolley and led us to the check out before helping Ed to lift it all into the back of the car. Rather chuffed with ourselves we headed for home.
Around two, the Russian builder appeared, he seemed satisfied with our purchase and indicated that it should be lit first outside as it would give off a lot of fumes. We hadn’t bought capping pieces to go through the wall, so he and Ed headed into General Toshevo to look for what was needed. By the time they got back to the house it was starting to get dark and the Russian said he would be back on Friday to fit it. 😥 That meant another two nights huddled around the electric fire, which was as much use as a chocolate fire guard!
Later that evening Ben and I went into General Toshevo to buy some Coke (the drink, not drugs!) and stopped to buy a pizza. Whilst Ben was being served by a lady who was pointing to the menu and gabbling away in Bulgarian, a large lad of about 16/17 years old entered and explained in a very high pitched voice what toppings was on each, Ben choice a meat feast and the young man then asked “beeg or small?”. I didn’t dare look at Ben for fear of laughing, transpires Ben was praying I wouldn’t look at him for the same reason. Thinking, a small would be just be one piece, he asked for a large one. We were told it would take 20 minutes so we headed back to the car. About half way across the car park and at a safe distance not to be over heard, we both turned to each other and grinned and said in high pitched voices “beeg or small?”. Collapsing into giggles Ben said he thought it was another lady speaking until he looked up! Poor lad did have an incredibly high voice. 20 minutes later Ben went to collect his “beeg” pizza, it wasn’t just big, it was ginormous! It fed Ben, mum and I for tea and the remaining 3 slices Ben had for breakfast (ugh) and all for £6.00!!
Friday, true to his word the Russian builder returned and began to drill the hole through the wall. One drill bit was quickly ruined and he went to fetch another one. 🏃 On his return he re-commenced drilling and chiselling out the hole. It soon became apparent why his first drill bit died a sudden death, he was drilling where not one but two reinforcing metal rods were located in the wall. Hmmm……. Did we want him to cut through them! Er, no! Hole relocated a couple of inches and this time no metal rods, yay! He pushed the metal tube through the wall and disappeared, returning with a bucket of cement and proceeded to fill in gap, with the aid of google translate he said not to use the fire that night 😪
The next day we headed up to Popina to take advantage of my uncles wifi so that we could print off Ben’s ticket to Thailand and sort out his PADI insurance. We had a lovely couple of hours with Archie and Lorelle before heading home and finally lighting the fire! Harvey was especially happy as you can see!
On Ben’s penultimate day, we headed into Varna and mooched round the malls. Mum who had got it into her head that Bulgaria was devoid of decent shops and been buying clothes and bedding like it was going out of fashion all year, was suitably impressed! I found the newly opened “Next” store and was not so impressed. It was tiny and apart from a few pairs of jeans was filled with their smart, work wear collection, grrrr! I don’t need work gear!! Lol. We found Ben some waterproof, breathable sandals as I had stupidly packed the ones he’d bought in the UK in amongst mums ornaments and things and the box was somewhere in the back storage room. Don’t ask, it made sense when I was packing! After a bite to eat we headed home to help Ben pack for his four month sojourn to Ko Toh, where he was to undertake his training as a PADI Staff IDC (when qualified he will be able to train other people as instructors) jammy bugger!
We were up early the next day, as Ed and Ben had a long drive to Sophia. I got up to say au revoir and wish him a safe trip, with lots of long hugs and let me know your safe before I finally let go and waved them off. Later that morning, mum and I ventured round to the village post office to see if we had any post and the electricity bill. I showed my passport to the lady in the post office and whilst pointing to the energy bills on her desk asked if I had one? She had a look, shook her head and kept demanding “Ulitisa?” I had no idea what the heck she was saying, smiled and shrugged and said I didn’t understand, she kept demanding and finally pointed to one of the bills which showed a street number (Ulitisa) and house number! I didn’t know the village streets were numbered! I held my palms upward and still smiling said “I don’t know”. She kept on asking and mum and I began backing out of the office before making good our escape!
The day passed and as the sunset
The temperature in the house dropped rapidly and mum volunteered to light the fire………it began to smoke and didn’t dissipate as it usually did but got thicker and more acrid. The patio doors, temperamental at the best of times, refused to open, I opened the window and suggested we should vacate to the garden, which we did all bar Tizzy the pug. We tried calling her to no avail, so I went back into the house to find her. The smoke was so thick my eyes were smarting and my throat stung. I found Tiz curled up on the floor and chased her outside. Once, the smoke had cleared we returned and the fire seemed to be behaving, until the time came to throw on another heat log when it began to behave in a very strange manor. It would blaze and then die down and start smoking, then blaze and fade again all the while pouring thick, black smoke out of every orifice! I, again, suggested we retreat to the garden, threw open the window and called the dogs and led them through the house and put them in the garden before heading to the bathroom. When I did go outside only the dogs were there. I walked round the outside of the house calling for mum, no reply. When I reached the living room window I peered inside and there she was stood in the middle of the room flapping her arms around, surrounded by dense smoke! I yelled to her to get out! Eventually the fire settled down and the room cleared so we went back in and decided to let the fire die! Where was my hubby, the fire Meister when we needed him?! Poor man was driving back from Sofia, through fog 😢. He finally arrived home after 9pm having left home at 7am. Transpires (alright Ed realised) the wind had changed direction and was blowing the smoke back down the chimney, thanks to the stupid bend that we had been advised would work as a topper! Needless to say we have since bought a proper end for it!!