Sunday, 20 March 2016

Golden shower.

I'm back, it's February,  it's cold!

Fuzz is in the UK,  we meet at  Gatwick,  arrive at Sofia.  Hire car picked up & we are disappointed at the lack of snow along with all the gobby teenagers lugging skis through the airport. A 2 and a bit hour drive to Lom, we're in T market buying bloke essentials, beer, ham, beer, cheese, beer & bread!

A grey overcast day, we get to the house, light the fire & get the water back on. The next day it's beautiful sunshine, 17 degrees, a quick mooch round to see if anything has been nicked but everything is fine apart from a big pile ol rubble where my barn used to stand. The weight of the previous few weeks snow has finished it off.

So after realising we can't live on ham, cheese & bread for a week we go to town for a kebab. Then back into tea market to meet our dietary requirements I stock up on beer & for the rest of the week we dine like kings on chicken nuggets, chips & beans (plus beer, kebabs & cakes)!

We stop off for a lunchtime refreshment at the recently built hotel on the road to Stanevo from Kovachitsa, due to the woeful decor we have named it the horse head hotel or Triple H, I still have no idea of what it's actually called. So I'm half way through my 5 day visit & still have not done any work, so a a quick hole in the wall for the waist pipe, glue the shower try to the wall with some silicon & go for a beer.

I've now scrounged a tile cutter from the next village & set to work tiling, this is pretty much now just drunk DIY, I've decided to change how I was tiling, going for easier with less cuts rather than it looking nice. I've glued the whole tiles on with the magical Bullmaster adhesive & have now realised how pissed the walls are. The cuts are made, gobbed onto the wall & grouted!

The grout is going off before I can get it onto the tiles so I fix the shower cubicle to the wall, seal it with silicon & it's done.

This is a major milestone in the development of Festerville, I no longer have to wash my arse over a bucket, I have a working shower! Admittedly the waste pipe just dumps the water into the garden but that's a job for another day.

To celebrate being clean it's time for a quick one in the Black Pussy😉

Fuzzy fashion!

So, let's step back a bit to Luton airport, a small mortgage was taken out to purchase 7 pints of Guinness & a full English. I'm now bored & half cut so it's time to go shopping, ooh look duty free crap! So I'm in Curry's or whatever the electrical shop it was connecting my phone to various Bluetooth speakers to see how loud they are, turns out that not everyone is a Hawkwind fan!

Vaguely aware of my travels ahead I head to WH Smiths for some sustenance for the journey, so the drunk diabetic heads off to the boarding gate with a bag full of M&M's & jelly babies!

Fast forward to the hotel in Sofia, the restaurant is closed as it's getting late & the next pisser is my train to Lom is  at 07.10 & the hotel breakfast does not start until 0730. The train to Lom is around four & a half hours so basically all I had to eat in about 24 hours were M&M's & jelly babies, not my greatest bit of planning but I had made it from home to Lom using public transport.

Now my old mucca Paul was picking me up from the station, as the train rolled in I spotted his van parked outside. Now what I saw next was possibly a fashion disaster even by Bulgarian standards, in BG the shell suit is not making a comeback,  it kind of never left! Usually combined with a pair of Bulgarian stringy shoes , the shell suit is not gender specific & can be enjoyed by anyone of any age & in any temperature!

What I saw next kind of left me feeling like my soul wanted to escape via any available orifice. Walking towards me was Paul wearing a tee shirt, and shorts with his usual braces, this wasn't the issue, the shorts were cut down jeans cut quite short, then I though he had rigger boots on, but no, they were hand made Bulgarian knitted winter socks with a matching pair of Crocs!

Needless to say, Hot pants, Crocs & socks didn't make it to the catwalk for Sofia fashion week!

So enough piss taking for now. The main point of this journey was to buy bathroom tiles, a rough measure up to get enough for the bathroom & possibly the kitchen we visited several did type stores. Now when enquiring with the wife what colour she wants, the answer of "well you know what I like" is a trap to see if you've taken any notice of anything she's said over the last 16 years.

So after visiting several hardware/DIY stores it became very apparent that they were keen to sell you all the brown,  orange & cream patterned tiles that they had in stock since the mid 70's. Plain white was to be the safest option so after finding an off white I liked, I placed an order that would be there Monday. Monday arrives & we go back to the shop only to be told next day, just to be safe we gave them until Wednesday & they still weren't there.

It's Thursday, I'm due to get a train back to Sofia at 2pm, we pop into the shop & the tiles are there but it's too late for me so Sue & Paul return after lunch to pick them up for me.

I'm waiting for the train & there in a little old lady standing there with the biggest bag I've ever seen. I lift her bag onto the train for her & she says thank you in perfect English, not something you expect from an older generation, I'm stuck with her & her BO for the next 5 hours!

I've returned to the same hotel as before, rooms are clean etc & it's a few minutes walk from the station. I'm in the small bar area ordering food from an old blonde girl that's dressed like an ageing stripper. The food is cooked in a restaurant over the road, the old bird totters over in her stripper heels to collect it. I'm sitting eating by meal and in the hotel reception is a younger blonde dressed in black who I assumed was a lady of negotiable affection. She approached a chap in the bar, they exchanged a few words & went upstairs,  I wondered why she never approached me earlier as a potential customer. The next morning the same girl served me breakfast & it turned out the guy was her boyfriend who worked there too. That could of been embarrassing!

So I set off home that morning, I walked to the metro station which is all new, managed to work out the route & where to change & made it to the airport, the new metro station at the airport is really nice, all shiny marble (looking) floors. Jump on the shuttle bus to terminal 1 & I'm on the plane.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

The loneliness of the long distance plumber!

Apologies if i start repeating myself, as BG beer is about 25p a pint i feel i usually come back with considerably less brain cells than what i went with!

So August 2014 was a family holiday, so far i have moved the water supply to the far side of the kitchen, we have running water to the kitchen sink & a flushing bog, a boiler is on the wall but not plumbed in. A 2 week family holiday nipping round to see Fuzz & Sue for a shower & various trips out to a few other towns & tourist sites. Too many mozzies & the girls are being bitten, i'm not being bitten so being an alcohol sodden diabetic does seem to have its advantages. I don't get much work done but i do get sunburn whilst sorting out the leaking porch roof.

Happy family shit over with i return in October alone to play with my plumbing! Now i must admit, thermoplastic welded pipe is the dogs dangly bits, no messing around with copper pipes that would either freeze or be stolen, instead  you buy 2 or 3 metre lengths of plastic pipe with whatever fittings you need, elbows, straight joints, threaded tap fittings etc. You buy a £20 pipe tool with male & female fittings, melt the end of the pipe & the fitting, line them up & push them together, piece of piss! We should use this in the UK!

So my next break through after a week of cheap beer & kebabs is hot water! This is a milestone in Festerville history! You learn to appreciate these small triumphs, as you're standing naked in front of an open fire washing your nuts in a bucket of hot water from your own tap! (note to self, must buy curtains!)

So, the new hot water is on the day before i leave, which means i have to now turn all the water off & drain the system for the winter, the novelty was indeed short lived.

I return again in the spring with the family to do more, mainly to see if anything has burst during the minus 20 temperatures of the winter, the only issue is the outside tap has blown out of its fitting, i screwed it back in & we were leak free. More family orientated holiday type stuff, strangely enough the girls didn't seem to share my enthusiasm in washing in a bucket so trips to Fuzz & Sues shower it was.

My next plan was to return in the summer alone, i was to ride my motorbike down to Austria with a few friends over a couple of days then leave them to ride on through Swiss territory, Stelvio pass etc while i buggered off to BG. It didn't happen!

In the mean time i had managed to get tickets to see ACDC at Wembley, on the day we drove up to Wembley & parked in the Multi storey car park & saw the concert. We planned to sleep in the car rather than wait 2 hours to get out of the car park, we slept reasonably well, paid the robbing bastards £50 to get out of the car park then went to the nearest McDonalds for a coffee & a McShit! This was around 7am & we decided to drive to Southend for breakfast, we found a cafe & sat on the hard wooden chairs then i felt a clunk in my back, i then spent the next 8 weeks off work unable to sit down & walking like the elephant man. Summer over!

We move house at the end of August & i return to work. After 2 months of opiate based pain killers, muscle relaxants, an MRI scan & a finger up the arse from a lady doctor with nice small hands, the conclusion is my old back injury has reared its ugly head & i need two prolapsed discs removed (its now March & still not happened!).

October 2015, i feel fit enough to travel so i manage to book flights with Wizzair from Luton in a big pink Dildo! Using all public transport, high speed train service from Ashford to London which was delayed, another train from London to Luton then a shuttle bus to the airport. The flight is then delayed by about 3 hours so marooned in the airport i went shopping. 7 pints of Guinness later we are finally boarding & the mysteries of the bladder begin! After 3 or 4 visits to the bog we land, by the way, 7 pints of Guinness in an airport costs more than the flight.  So its now around 8pm in BG, its pissing down & i need to get to my hotel, i find a man selling shuttle bus tickets to the station for 6 lev, result as my hotel is a 5 minute walk from the station, after 20 minutes of standing at a bus stop in the rain the wanker comes out & gives me my money back & says no driver. I get a cab to the hotel but the restaurant is closed as its so late, i head to my room to sleep off my liquid lunch.

Thats enough for now.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Hells Kitchen pics

Just a few before and after shots of the kitchen, a couple of the garden, the new bathroom wall with boiler & a sunset on the Danube.


Hells Kitchen

OK I know it's been a year since I posted anything but I've just found out that a few people have actually read it!

A lot of people ask how easy it is to get building materials etc in BG & to be honest you can get most things pretty much anywhere, hence our list of codenames for places to keep us amused.

One thing we have noticed is a lot of things are sold by weight, for example if you wanted 4 metres of polythene sheeting, they will measure out 4 metres, fold it up & then weigh it & sell it by the kilo etc. Another thing is they measure things in centimetres whereas I was taught that apart from imperial measurements, everything in the UK is measured in metres & millimetres, this is why when I tried to buy 60 x 60 bits of timber they looked confused, probably wondering what I was building with 2 foot square timber!

So moving on to the kitchen, down to Jocks (codename), for ballast & cement. You can't actually buy ballast but you can buy sand & gravel to make your own, outside the yard are a fleet of rotten ford transit & Mercedes flat bed trucks, you agree a price for delivery, they pull onto the weigh bridge & your sand & gravel are dumped in the back along with the bags of cement. The truck then follows you home & dumps it all in a big heap in your garden.

I then plan to dig out the mud floor in the kitchen to get it level to lay the concrete, John then points out why bother leveling it as I can sort my levels out when I tile it & as nothing else in this country looks level why could I worry about having the best floor in the country!

We then start the mixer up, John loads the wheelbarrow up outside, wheels it up the steps & I chuck it in the mixer & splosh it on the floor & spread it out with a trowel.  20 square metres of varying thickness concrete took about a day & a half, it's was about 35 degrees, John almost melted & accused me being a slave driver & abusing an old man but I can live with that! He also suffered the worst mozzie bites I've ever seen & several months later still had scars from them.

As it was so hot the concrete dried quickly & we started to assemble the Wickes kitchen I had brought with me. Units were assembled pretty quickly, the water feed pipe was already in place,  I had a load of waste pipe ready to install, just no worktop! Apparently decent worktop is expensive & hard to find in BG so John suggested we make one. We had a jolly round a few timber yards & hardware stores, we found some tongue & groove flooring about 25-30mm thick. We strapped a couple of packs to the roof of the focus & off we went. A trip to Vidin market where I bought polyurethane varnish & some Sash clamps & we were in business.

John made the worktop & it turned out better that I could have imagined, I had previously bought a stainless steel sink in Vidin & we plumbed it in, it looked spot on.

Next job was a bathroom wall, as the house didn't have a bathroom I had just plumbed a bog in at the end of th hall or central room, a poo with a view as it was known. A stud wall had to be built to create a bathroom, 60mm timbers from Jocks (codename) & some plasterboard we were nearly done, I had previously bought a door from a man that couldn't speak English so he spoke to us in German instead, this was no help at all but we got what we needed.

The wall was built using the looking level rather than being level approach, which resulted in a self closing door!

The 2 weeks flew past with John being eaten alive by mosquitos, the pair of us trying to avoid Emille the local drunk loon & previous occupant of the house. We had an early morning trip through the mountains on the train back to Sofia & flew home.

Next trip August with the family.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Road trip.

So the road trip is almost upon us. I've bought my £300 left hand drive Ford Focus, its all on the road legal & ready to go. We decide to buy a few kitchen units from Wickes to take out as they were in a sale & the boxes contained everything i needed. The plan is kick the arse out of as many miles as i can on the Autobahn on the first day then 2 more days through Hungary & Romania as i don't know what the roads are like.  I buy a £30 Chinese Satnav from eBay to leave out there in the car. The Ferry is booked for 2am on a Saturday Morning & i have booked a hotel near Linz in Austria for Saturday night. The plan was to wing it from there on. I have aquired a new labourer to come with me under the false pretence of a free holiday!

Early shift at work Friday, i get home around 3.30pm & start to load the car with bits of kitchen & a bathroom sink I've pilfered from the skip at work. I am loading a few tools & bits to enable me to work & Liz has been stockpiling her own stuff for me to take. We have a few essentials for Sue & Paul, ie a huge slab of cheese & enough tea bags to enable Mr Typhoo to retire. I get to bed around 8pm & i'm up ready to roll at 11pm. Sleep not an option. I pick my mate John up in Dover at midnight & we head to the docks in the overloaded Focus. We check in at the port & are given the option of an earlier crossing, no queue, drove straight on to the ferry, a good start to the journey. During the crossing i program Lom into the untested Satnav, it seems to work ok.

We roll off the ferry around 3.30am Kermit time & we're off, we get a good start towards Belgium, then through a small corner of The Netherlands & into Deutchland. The sun is up, its getting very hot & John is in the passenger seat snoring, i'm feeling tired & shut one eye & then swap eyes from time to time in a bid to stay awake. John & i have both brought a flask of black coffee but its still not enough, eventually i pull over for a power nap somewhere short of Cologne. John wanders off to have a fag & a sausage roll so i can have a kip in the car. Half hour later i awake in a pool of sweat as it must be about 30 degrees & its only 10am. I didn't sleep too well as every lorry in Germany had driven past my car in the services. Back on the road again & i put my foot down to eat a few miles. We are now near Frankfurt & i need to stop again as my eyes are closing again. I find a bench in the shade & i'm out like a light. A hour later i'm awake, the sun has moved round & is trying to burn my face off through a gap in the trees. Now i have driven to Austria before, about 20 years ago, but i'm following the Satnav that's telling me to turn off the motorway, half hour later the signs are telling me im heading to the Czech Republic. My initial plans was once we were at the Austrian border i would look up the hotel address on my phone & use that to guide me to the hotel. I pull over to look at the Satnav to see why its sending me to Czech only to find a blank patch on the screen that were driving round, the blank patch was Austria, the Satnav showed all the countries around it but not Austria. I now have to use my phone to get us back on track. We lost about half hour but eventually made it to the border, I found the Village of Ansfelden on my phone & headed off to find the hotel. Ansfelden is a small town consisting of nothing other than hotels, there are dozens of them all together, after about 45 minutes of driving around we finally find the right one, it is now 6.30pm & i've driven 750 miles with very little sleep. We dump our stuff in the room & head out for food, no bar or restaurant so we go outside to find a Chinese buffet, everything else in town is closed but the Chinese has beer. Never has a Chinese tasted so good, 3 beers later & i.m nearly asleep!

After a decent nights sleep in a very hot room, we noticed as we left it had air con! Down to the cafe opposite the hotel we have a continental breakfast, we explained to the girl serving us that according to my Satnav Austria does not exist. It does she replied, you are definitely here. She also explained that Japanese & American tourists have asked her where the Kangaroos are! Its 8.30am & we decide to try & do the rest of the journey in one go, we top up with petrol & head towards Hungary. A quick cup of coffee at the border & we were off again. I must admit i was impressed with the Hungarian motorway, it was all new & much better than the Austrian roads, we headed towards Budapest & saw miles of farmland with hundreds or even thousands of wind generators gracefully turning in the sky. I also noticed that Tescos have made their mark in Hungary, we passed loads of them. A few hours later we've passed Budapest & the car has about a quarter of a tank left, I'm thinking a few more miles & i will fill up before we leave Hungary as i have some Hungarian Florint to get rid of.  Im now faced with the dilemma as the junction approaches, Romania or Serbia? Romania has small roads & villages to get through but Serbia has better roads but they are not in the EU, I've also heard that Serbian Police & Customs are quite corrupt & like to pick on British tourists as they seem to think were loaded. I had always favoured the Romanian route as it was supposed to be less hassle, too late, I'm in the wrong lane & heading to Serbia!

We queued at the border for about 20 minutes, the Hungarian border police clocked the UK number plates & head to the right hand side of the car, I'm in a left hand drive & feeling rather smug at this point. He walks round to my side & takes the passports. Asked where we were going & why, asked if there was anything to declare, we said no & were on our way for 2 minutes when we get to the Serbian border control. They seemed to be pulling vans over & making the drivers empty them out so they could look through the stuff. We were just waved through & were on our way. So now i have hardly any fuel & no Serbian currency, 2 miles up the road was a huge services & they took Euros so panic over. I must admit i was Expecting Serbia to be a bombed out dump after the war a few years ago but it was just 3 lanes of empty motorway through miles of countryside. We drove at about 95 miles an hour & passed another car every 2 or 3 miles, it was great. The motorway went through the capital Belgrade which was strange as the motorway through the city had bus stops on it. It was busy for a few miles then back into the countryside & up through a few mountains where we has our first bit of rain. We turned off the motorway to travel few miles of mountains that followed the river Danube towards Bulgaria.  We made the Bulgarian border in about 10 hours from Austria, I text Paul with an ETA of around 9pm but i was not entirely sure at what point in the journey the clocks moved on another hour. The Bulgarian border Police took our passports & the car documents & disappeared for about 10 minutes just leaving us at a barrier in the road. They came back eventually after probably cloning our passports, had a nose in the back of the car & seem surprised that we were there for 2 weeks. We headed into Vidin & found the Kaufland supermarket & stocked up on a few essentials, beer, bread & some dodgy looking ham. I text Paul to say we were just leaving Vidin, he seemed amazed at the speed we got there. An hour later we were at Sue & Pauls drinking a nice cold beer & scoffing a nice curry.

So 11 & half hours from Austria to Bulgaria was pretty good, i worked out that the 1600cc Focus had done just over 40 mpg & had cost around £220 in fuel.

So after 2 days of intense driving, we did bugger all on Monday!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Another dodgy hire car!

So after spending a week wiring, concreting floors & trying not to get raped or shot we head for home. Ive broken Ray or destroyed in his words & he decides he may not want to be my labourer again!

Back home & I've managed to book another week off work in May as Liz still has not seen the house. So another early start is upon us & were off to Heathrow this time as I've got a last minute flight with BA cheaper than Easy Jet believe it or not.

British airways indeed, so i thought a better class of crumpet working as stewardesses, well i got that wrong as we were greeted by a bruiser! But leather seats, more leg room & complementary food & drink, which was typical as i had to drive. This is far better than Stelios & his £5 sarnies on Cheesy Jet, well worth the extra 30 minute drive.

Usual stuff, we land & get collected to get our hire car. Ive opted for a budget car this time & budget it was, a battered Renault Clio. So first stop is Ikea for more household items, none of which i can remember. Back on the road now into rush hour as the BA flight was a bit later than Easy Jet. Were now stuck in traffic on the outskirts of Sofia, me being a smart arse tries to detour off the main road in towards the city to miss the the traffic, big mistake.  So were now lost in a mass of traffic & road works & i have to switch the data back on & use my phone & Mr Google to get me out. Destination of Montana set & we make our way back out of the city. Ive have now driven from Sofia to Stanevo a few times & thought at some point I'm going to recognise a road, it didn't happen. The most sensible route is mainly major roads but a bit longer, the shortest route that Sat Navs use is over the mountains, lorries & busses seem to use the mountain route too, so when you are in a 1.2 Clio the chances of overtaking anything are pretty slim. It was a beautiful scenic route with lots of hairpin bends & streams running beside the roads but you need a car with a bit of grunt on the hills or you do most of the journey in second gear. We arrive in Montana & hit Lidl for supplies & eventually reach the house around 7pm.

This is the first time Liz has seen the house & bare in mind we was working on it up until we left it looks like a building site, the look on her face was priceless, i think we need to go for a beer were her first words. We go & find Sue & Paul & head to the bar.

So we spent our first night in the house together listening out for anything that might be living in the roof, but all was quiet. I had previously bought a bog to install & had the waste pipe in but the 2 were not connected. First job then was fix the pan to the ground & connect the waste. This was done with no drama but we still had not water supply to it so we fill a bucket from the sink. First thing i did was flush it then run down the garden so i could listen to it falling into the cesspit, i really am a sad bastard aren't i! The only problem now was that the bathroom was being built at the end of the hallway & there was no wall up so as you walked into the house you could see people on the bog, this was called a poo with a view!

From this:

To this :

Not too bad after a weeks work, but theres plenty more to do. So we have a few trips to Lom & buy a fridge freezer & a cooker to sit on the worktop that we haven't got yet. Ive salvaged 3 tables from the out buildings, one table seems to have been in a fire but we have carrier bags to cove the tables & now have a makeshift kitchen. 

Getting towards the end of the week & we have heavy rain, come out next morning & the lane is flooded & the car won't start. I finally get it going but its miss firing so i limp it round to Sue & Pauls to higher ground. Paul has some WD40 type spray which i cover the plug leads in & it starts better. We run it into Lom & it coughs & farts a bit but seems ok. We park it outside Sue & Pauls overnight just in case we flood again. More heavy rain over night which has highlighted a slight leak in the porch roof. We walk round to get the car & again it won't start. I finally get it running but its not well, i ring the hire company & they agree to send another car out as we have an early start the following day back to the airport & i don't want to be under the bonnet in the dark trying to get it running. So they send a man out in an identical red Clio to swap it & off he goes. Not bad service really as its a 5 to 6 hour round trip.

So I've spent the week plumbing, Liz has been weeding. We've cooked a meal on our £50 cooker & we have cold beer in the fridge, its coming together slowly.

We have a nice drive back to Sofia, a nice flight back to Heathrow & the M25 at 5pm, back to reality.  We gat back home at 7.30pm & i have to go to work at 10pm straight onto a week of nights!