Monday, 30 December 2013

Eight months

We we've been here roughly 8 months now.
Its the end of 2013, & we are keeping warm & fed.
It has been hard, finding new skills, but the locals have been great especially Vlad & also Marta from the shop.
We have been told that so far it has been a very mild winter.
Chopping & splitting logs ready to store them seems the norm, so we are going with the flow.
Night for now


Monday, 23 December 2013

We're back.

It's been a while, I know.
It's December 23rd, Sue is in the new kitchen baking some dark chocolate and cherry cookies.
We are now living in the "old" house.

We moved in while our guests were staying in the lodge when they visited us.
The lodge as it has been named is nearly completed with just a few small jobs when the weather clears up in the spring .
I have drained down all of the water from the boiler and pipes and taps.
All of the pipe work is PVC and a bit more forgiving with the cold weather.

Back to the old house.
So, we have a front room with a log burner that we brought from the UK in April.

Our tv and DVD player.
No satellite tv yet.
We have only recently set the tv up as we have had full working days.
The wet room is finished apart from the window and door needing to be refurbished.

Kitchen is installed with new wiring, ( still waiting for the mcb box to be fitted ) by me after Xmas.!

A few days off for our 1st Christmas in Bulgaria.
It seems very low key and definitely low key compared to the UK, and to be honest it's quite nice !
One thing we don't miss is everyone rushing about trying to get the last things off the supermarket shelves !
They are only closed for one day !
We woke up on Saturday morning to minus 7 degrees.
We popped into Lom for some final bits of food etc.
We have shops here in the village but they are a tad sparse, even this time of the year.
The closest to us, is about 50 paces....

Thursday, 25 July 2013


Well what can I say, apart from we are so sorry.
Due to the work we are doing on the houses & having possibly the worst internet connection in history, the blog just hasn't been updated.

The photos take forever to upload.

We are hoping to do a brief run through what has happened since we got here, & then hopefully update every couple of days or so.
WE have managed to keep a short diary every day so that should help us along....

Sorry to all of our readers.

Sue & Paul.

Monday, 27 May 2013

26th May 2013 WE ARE HERE !!

Blog. Thursday 25th April

We packed the vans, until 2am on Thursday morning.
Woke up at 4 am & carried on !
Left for the ferry fully loaded & I MEAN fully
A lot of stuff was packed into the attic, whilst other items were left in the shed, including the 2 push bikes that were specially bought for the trip :(
Got on the ferry & managed to catch a few minutes sleep.
We had arranged to meet up just out of the ferry, which went disastrously wrong.
Sue took the wrong road, & unfortunately had both of the walkie talkies whilst I had the only mobile phone.
Sue was behind me and managed to blag a free call from a British couples mobile , so we managed to arrange to meet up at the first services from the ferry
This turned out to be in Belgium !
It was the worst time of the whole trip down this time.
I stopped at the services & parked on the slip road, after what seemed an eternity Sue drove in ...
We were both pleased to see each other.
Filled both vans up with diesel, 1.56 euros per litre
Off we set, a walkie each !
Driving along a German motorway I was in front in the Transit, luckily I had the window down when I heard a hissing sound, it sounded like a hydraulic hose had burst ?
I told Sue over the walkie talkie that I had a problem.
There was a lay by that was particularly for vehicle problems which we pulled into.
The drivers side rear valve on the wheel had blown due to being perished.
A quick wheel change took approx 35 minutes.
We carried on until we found a decent looking truck stop near Cologne where we parked up in front of the restaurant and shop.
Total mileage for today was 210 miles & we were pretty shattered.
After an amazing meal , with a ice cold lager we slept in the front of the vans.

Friday April 26 th
Waking early , we looked in the shop and bought some food for the journey.
We had decided to drive on & find somewhere to stop for breakfast.
It was 7.30 when we set off
We drove 100 miles looking for an Autohof, a service area for trucks.
Asked a chap who could speak English where we could get the tyre valve replaced, he gave us directions which we followed & found a small village garage.
They only had 1 mechanic who seemed to be stacked up with work, the lady on reception gave us more directions.
After driving down the road through great countryside , we found a garage that specialised in part worn tyres.
He replaced the valve at a very reasonable cost of 7 €
I decided to change the tyre over & put the wheel on the van back into the spare carrier.
We were heading for Passau which was close to the Austrian border.
Decided we deserved a hotel, we found one which was basic @ 80€ for the night.
Went for a buffet Chinese meal which was possibly one of the worst we have ever had!
At least we could have a nice shower & the wi-fi was free.....
Covered a much better 485 miles today.

Saturday April 27th
We woke up @ 7am, @ hit the free wi-fi.
Had a quick shop in Kaufland, but couldn't buy much as we didn't have the space for anything.
The 1st Vignettes were bought on the German /Austrian border 
Stopping in Austria for breakfast, we drove through Austria, then through Hungary to just before the border.
We had to stop driving through Hungary as we were both tired, we managed to sleep for about 45 minutes as it was so hot.
We resumed our journey until we found a good place to park for the evening in a services that had a nice wooden picnic bench.
A couple of tins of chicken curry cooked on our camping stove , & some crusty bread went down a treat.
Off we retired to the drivers seats of our individual vans.
Again a respectful 450 miles had been covered.

Sunday 28th 
Woke @ 5.30 am
Drove past the border town of Szeged, which was much easier than the last trip down in September.
There had been heavy rain in the night & the roads seemed a little greasy, but were very quiet.
We arrived at the Romanian border & drove into Romania.
The lunatic drivers started almost immediately !
Over taking only when vehicles were coming from the opposite direction!
The roads were a lot better this time & the new town bypasses really helped munch up the miles.
There were less trucks on the road, but the hills started, Pauline the Transit handled them very well considering what she was carrying
3rd gear was the lowest that had to be used.
We had been monitoring the fuel consumption of the vans.
Pauline the Transit was averaging out @ 33mpg
The Caddy however was an impressive 61mpg
It seemed that Sue was hardly using the engine due to slipstreaming behind me.
We drove through Romania , until just before the border we were pulled over by the Border Police , who asked me for my Passport, looking inside he said that something was missing ?
I worked out that he was asking for some € to buy a coffee !
He spoke decent English , but didn't say exactly what he wanted, I gave him 2 € to keep him happy.

Arrived at the Calafat ferry at 4 pm.
We then put our watches forward another hour as Bulgaria is + 2 on GMT
A full ferry had just set off for Bulgaria so we had to wait for the next one.
A small one arrived and parked up.
It was roughly 90 minutes before our tyres hit the hot Bulgarian Tarmac !
A routine check on both vans by customs , they looked at the inside of both vans and waved us through.
We had decided to drive straight through as the booths try  to sell you insurance that you really don't need.
We arrived at Si & Mandy's earlier than expected to a lovely home cooked meal, thanks guys that really was appreciated !
Total mileage for the last day was approx 300 miles, but it takes ages through Romania due to the speed restrictions everywhere.

Monday 29th April
Woke up early, had a wander around Si & Mandy's & couldn't believe the progress they had made.
Handed over sometimes they had asked us to get them from Ebay for the horses.
Had breakfast but as you can imagine we were keen to get away.
Left at 9.30 am &stopped at the local water spring to fill up our bottles.
We drove into Vidin, parked at Kaufland for a few provisions and our Vignettes for BG for the vans.
Got a month for Pauline @25 Lev = £10
& 12 months for Caddy @ 67 Lev = £28
We headed off for home ! Driving along the RiverDanube.
The temperature @ 11am was 20 degrees
We arrived at the houses it was 30 degrees.
Opened the gates, checked out the house, all o.k just as we had left it in December.
We turned on the electrics & then the water, but there was a problem.
The face glass on the water meter had cracked during the winter & the "new" bathroom taps had cracked during the winter, even though they had been drained.
We had heard about exploding taps in BG before but never quite believed it.
After phoning Dimitar for advice, he suggested we drove into our local town of Lom for a new meter.
Expecting it to be a fortune, we were pleasantly surprised at the cost of 27 Lev = £12
We also picked up 2 x blanking caps to blank off the bathroom tap pipe work .
Illians brother & his Italian mate turned up as promised & fitted the new meter after attaching an adaptor.
Started emptying the Transit, & Sue made a chilli & rice.
We both had a cold bath then off to bed.
Any bath was great as it was SO hot.
We had also found out that we had new unwanted residents in Stanevo , MOSQUITOES !

Tuesday 30th April
We emptied the Caddy, also removed the 2 x Honda C90 Cubs.
Had breakfast then drove into Lom to try to sort Internet mobile
& bank. 
Lots of assorted items to buy.
It was really hot in Lom, we treated ourselves to lunch in what was to become a regular place.
We bought some new taps for the bath @ the bathroom sink.
We only managed to sort the mobile as we couldn't find the bank & we needed a BG ID card to get the Internet.
Back home Paul strimmed the long grass in a desperate attempt to get rid of the mossies.
Sue unpacked some of the clothes etc.

Wednesday 1st May
Woke up @ 6.20 am, breakfast.
We had decided that the first priority was to get the garden sorted as we needed to get the crops in for the Summer / Autumn.
Sue started on de weeding the veg plot, Paul flattened molehills & strimmed yet more grass.
Chainsawed around the apple trees.
We visited the local shop where Marta / Mariana the shop keeper explaind that we needed to get our grape vines pruned.
She came back to the garden & noticed the old broken water meter on top of the water box, she told us in Bulgarian that she was worried about our new water meter not being officially sealed.
We explained that Dimitar had arranged for the technic to call & seal the new meter, which he did the following day.
Marta arranged for 3 local lads who worked at the surrounding vineyards to call in after work & prune our vines.
We were concerned at the cost for this, but so far we have not been charged.
Fitted the new bath taps, & we both had a lovely hot bath.

Thursday 2nd May
Woke @ 6.10am, I think we may have finally sorted the mossie problem!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Sunday 26th May 2013....

Sorry its been so long, but we have been flat out working !
We will be updating the blog with plenty of pictures , including the 4 day drive down , asap......
Service will be resumed, just keep on coming back for the latest updates.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Moving on......

Well things are moving on....
BUT due to the weather conditions the Bootfair has been a no no over the last 2 weekends.
Sues Mum & Dad brought a car full of stuff up last weekend, but the weather was really bad.
I popped down the booty on Saturday & Sunday, but it was terribly cold.
A day of sorting out stuff for eBay etc instead.

Its starting to sink in now what we are really doing.
Sue has handed her notice in & finishes work on the 20th of April.
I am finishing this coming Thursday.

 Am hopefully taking a few Motorcycles and other motorcycling items down to the Bike Jumble at the Ashford Market on Bank Holiday Monday.....fingers crossed.

This is my 900cc Triumph Thunderbird Sport that will be going....

I will also have a 1965 Honda C100   which is a 49cc....
& an early Honda CM91  both of which are ripe for restoration.
Next job is to empty my garage out & then clear out the workshop here.

ITS ALL GO !!!!!

4th April 2013

We woke up at 5.20am on Sunday morning to a frost, took the Transit down to the bootfair & we   DID a bootfair on Sunday 31st March...
It was cold & it snowed quite heavily TWICE, we were warm due to trotting about & unpacking boxes.
Sold a lot of stuff & made what we thought was a good amount.

The van is still loaded with items to get rid of at the next Booty which will be in 2 weeks time..
At one point I had 120 items on eBay !
The front room in the house looks like a bombs gone off !
We are painting the kitchen, the freezer & cupboards are getting emptier, no point in carrying tins of food to BG as we can do a big shop when we are there.

I removed the grille & front panel on the transit , ready for the cambelt change on Saturday morning.
Ray came round early today but we decided as it was snowing we would postpone it until Saturday....
Got the doctors in the morning to get my 3 months drug supplies.....
Hopefully finishing off clearing my garage out that is up in town.
Workshop at home is next, sorting out what to take & what to bin / place on Ebay/Freecycle.

8th April 2013

Ray came to the house & helped with the cambelt change on Saturday.
It was cold, until we had finished , when the sun came out ......
All done now, with just an oil & filter change, change over 2 x wheels & propshaft UJ greasing up.
We went down to Selsey to say goodbye to Sues family.
We had a good night on the Saturday, it was like having Christmas but in April !
It all got a bit emotional saying bye on Sunday morning.....
Sues Mum & Dad are flying out to their house in BG, on Wednesday.
They are going out for 6 weeks this time.

Other family members have been scouring the Easyjet website for deals to come over & visit us.
Back to Ashford & the stuff I listed on eBay had gone nuts, with the front room looking like Amazons despatch department.
Printed off the postage using eBays programme, just the C90 parts to wrap now, so I must go & do it....
They are all stacked in the back of the Transit
Sue is cooking THICK Smoked bacon for our Breakfast sandwiches, ( I think we will miss smoked bacon ) & then I am off to the Post Office , then we are finishing off the painting in the kitchen..
Must admit, the actual idea of what we are doing is now kicking in !
The Car goes for its MOT at 2.30pm & then on eBay tonight.
The garage up town is nearly empty & I still have to start on the workshop here at the house.

13th April 2013

Had the Triumph on ebay again , & had a message from Bob from Margate, who came over this morning & bought it.
Thanks Bob !, I was getting a bit of a panic on....
Transit loaded & ready for the Booty tomorrow, hoping thar tonights rain stops...
We are off out for a meal with our  friends Chrissy & Dave tonight, a chance to say goodbye for a bit.
Still got oil changes to do on the vans & final check overs, the car is on ebay.
Garage has minimal stuff left in it now.

  17th April 2013

Selling carrying on...
Sold my Vintage Honda 50cc, & we have sold Sues car, which was a great relief.
Had a multifuel wood/coal burner delivered today.
Then sent off 4 parcels with the courier, popped out to collect some sofit board that I won on eBay.
Did some final listings on eBay then set about ripping the workshop here at home to pieces.
I reckon a couple of hours tomorrow & that should be it finished.
Hoping to finish off the garage up town on Saturday.
Last bootfair on Sunday for us.Then whats left after will be going to Barnardos on Monday.
We have LOADS of books which we are hopefully giving to the "Bookman" who does the booty every weekend.
Sues last day on Saturday, then we have a few mad days left, before the ferry.....

18th April 2013

Well, we have decided that last week was in fact our last booty, we have listed all the stock onto Freecycle & have also offered it to my mate Dave....
We reckon our time would be better spent here at the house sorting & packing rather than standing at the booty !
Just having breakfast then chocks away for another day of sorting,....

19th April 2013

Wrap wrap wrap, send send send.
The printer churns out the eBay invoices ........
Chris the kitchen fitter called in today to change over some doors & worktops, & fit some plinths  on the kitchen ( great job Chris!)
I got the new tyres / wheels swapped around on the Transit ( Great job by Roadrunners Kent )
Just delving into the workshop, to sort out the stuff in there & work out what to take with us in a week from today !!!
Eeeek that sounds close.
Will we be ready in time ?
We've GOT to be !
We have people lined up to collect the booty stuff left in the transit, then we can sweep her out & start the loading, XT500 Yamaha first in across the back of the bulkhead.
My workshop tools will have to be accessible from the side loading door, hopefully wont have to touch them.
Loading the new boxec multifuel stove in & then pack all around it.
We havent got much furniture to take.
2 x double beds & matresses
2 x bedside cabinets
Oak coffee table
Oak 3 drawer cabinet
Oak dining table
Thats about all really ?

Popping down the booty on Saturday morning to get some more banana boxes for packing.
& so it continues.........

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Transport update Feb 23rd 2013

Hi everyone & welcome back to the next phase of the move to Stanevo.
After a few quiet weeks, things have started to move on.
Lists being written of items to take.
Motorcycles & ladies clothing being sold on eBay to top up the BG account...

We have purchased a Ford Transit Long Wheelbase van.
W reg , year 2000 with a genuine 74,000 miles
This will be used alongside the Volkswagen Caddy that we will be taking already.
Collecting the Transit tomorrow, then back to Ashford for a check over.
Going to replace the oil & filter, power steering drive belt.
Will also remove the cambelt outer cover, probably replacing the cambelt as it seems that these get neglected, but for the cost involved it is stupid not to do it.
You do NOT need a " Locking kit " to lock the engine at the correct point, to replace the belt.
A selection of 3 drill bits do the same job.
I found this link that will assist with the cambelt change.
Cambelt change Transit

Here is the van that we are using to drive down to BG at the end of April 2013

As you can see, we have named her Pauline after the last owner.....

We have also joined a forum on the net
The forum is an absolute goldmine of information about Bulgaria
Our leaving date is towards the back end of April 2013
Still sorting out the most economical route, ferry or Channel Tunnel
Sue will be driving the Caddy & I will be in the Transit to start with but we could swap over the 1,400 miles journey.
Hoping to get a good start on the 1st day so we can get to the Truckstop in Erlanger in Germany.
The same one that we stopped at in September on the way down & then back.
Busy sorting stuff out for :
The charity shop
The Bootfair
Storing in the attic

Fuzz & Sue

Thanks to all of our readers !
I never in my wildest dreams imagined that the blog would be so popular ....

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