Wednesday, 25 June 2014


So as the work progresses, i decide to use concrete posts as shuttering for my concrete floor for the bathroom, dig them into the dirt floor to get a level & lay the concrete in between. We do this & it works great but with anther 30 square metres of floor to do I'm going to run out of posts.

Now there are miles of grapevines all around the area & they are all supported by concrete posts. Mr Fuzz has had a few excursions around the area with his metal detector & says i know where there are a load of old posts we could possibly acquire. We get in his van & disappear into the vineyards for a nose, we drive past an old farm house that Paul said was empty, we drive down a steep hill & find a stack of posts. I have a look at the posts but they are much thicker than the ones i had in the garden. we move on down towards the river, there is a nice freshly ploughed field at the bottom that Paul points out was part of an old Roman hill fort & that he has had a dig around with the metal detector. Next to the field there is a large stack of old broken concrete posts, perfect for what i need.

We get out the van & get ready to load when i hear a diesel engine getting closer, i look up towards the deserted farmhouse & see a 4x4 heading our way, we quickly get back in the van & drive towards the river, the 4x4 follows us along the field & we come to a junction & turn left towards the river. The 4x4 stays at the top of the road, we get out of the van & walk down towards the river, the driver sees us & then drives off in the other direction.  We wait 10 minutes then drive back to the posts, Paul turns the van round ready for a quick get away, we load up the van with enough posts & head off back towards the river. As we drive along the track at the edge of the field there is a 4x4 approaching from the direction we're heading. We are trapped!

The 4x4 pulls up, waving for us to pull up along side, inside is a big scary looking farmer type Bulgarian man. He starts shouting at us, we don't speak much Bulgarian & he speaks no English. As we are in a right hand drive van, i have the angry geezer on my side, my reply is "Anglichanin, ne razbiram" (Englishman, i don't understand), this is my standard response in most situations! He then shouts AK74, Bulgarian national 12 years! Which is the international term for i have a gun & your fucked! He kept repeating this & signalled he had been watching us through binoculars & he recognised Pauls van. We came to the conclusion that he thought we were metal detecting, Bulgarian national 12 years? Did this mean you get 12 years for illegally metal detecting? Or he was in the Bulgarian national army for 12 years but had forgotten to hand his Kalashnikov back in? Ne detector we tried saying hoping that he didn't want to look in the van, it then seemed to dawn on him that if we weren't metal detecting we up to something more sinister. Ah sex he shouted! He laughed & we laughed back thinking perhaps we should agree with whatever is least likely to get us shot!

He drove away laughing & we escaped with our stolen fence posts, no bullet holes & bottoms still intact!

The moral of this story is that in Bulgaria, if you're not metal detecting then you're obviously having sex!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Bobski the builder.

So its Saturday 29th of March, im on a 12 hour shift at work with a 6am flight the following morning, oh & the clocks go forward, planned that well didnt I!

Home from work at 19.30, throw a few pairs of pants & socks in a bag & a short kip! Or no kip due to being too excited. Its 1am with the clocks going forward to 2am, i pick Ray up & he gets in the car in shorts & a Tee-shirt shivering. Under the impression that Bulgaria is foreign it therfore will be hot so he has no jeans, jumpers or a jacket! So then the usual blurry eyed drive to Gatwick, park the car & get the bus to the terminal & wait for Sue & Paul who have had a few days visiting family. They have suitcases weighing as much as a family car which i add to by giving them some padlocks to take through for me. We go our separate ways as they join the queue with 2000 other people to all check in the cases at the same desk, while me & Ray head straight to departures.

We get on the plane & go!

2 hours & 40 minutes later & were at Sofia, Sue & Paul go off to get their van & we go to the car hire place for the latest executive car, a Romanian built Dacia Logan, an ugly van like MPV but i must admit it was a nice car to drive. We meet up at the local Ikea for meatballs, which is compulsory at any Ikea! Food scoffed, time for shopping. After the usual arduous trek round the Ikea 1 way route ive bought 2 double beds & some other shite im not really sure i needed, im also 960 Lev lighter (£400 ish). We get back on the road & meet up again in Vratsa at Lidl where we stock up on supplies of bread, water, dodgy cheese & chocolate buiscuits. We hit the road, wave at the tarts selling it in the laybys & eat the buscuits. An hour or so later were in Stanevo.

Its now starting to get dark so we go on a mission to have a look round my new house, we have no keys yet so we climb over the fence for a sneak preview before tomorrow. The general feeling is, it dont look too bad, but more importantly im kind of on holiday so why am i still sober?

So after another stay in the highly recommended Stanevo Lodge, we're up & im eager to get into Lom to get my keys & Deeds. We meet up with the estate agent for coffee then head off to the Notary Public to sign the deeds.

Now me being a 6 foot tattood skinhead, im not easily intimidated, but shut me in a room where i am wedged inbetween 2 Bulgarian guys facing a man in a suit who is talking to me & sounding like Pingu, where i have no idea what is being said, then its fair to say my confidence faded a little. There is lots of talking where the agent is translating but to be honest he could be making up any old bollocks! This is followed by me signing lots of paperwork with lots of wiggly writing on (courtesy of St Cyril) & then lots of stamping of the signed bits of paper & a bit of hand shaking. We leave the rather sweaty office & im told to return on Thursday to collect the final paperwork, im also told i wont need to say anything as they are pretty sure they will recognise me. Not sure how to take that.

We now arrive at the house & im handed a set of keys & basically thats it, I own a house in Bulgaria, this is followed by a strange ovewhelming feeling of what the f*ck have i let myself in for.

I think a beer is needed! So now the fun begins!

Now we need supplies, surprisingly there are loads of hardware stores around in Lom & most are very helpful despite the painful language barrier. The Fuzzwoulds have already been through this so know the best places & seemed to have created their own code for various places.

Tuesday:   i bought a boiler & electrical stuff from the electrical shop as you do.  I needed a door for when i build the bathroom & Paul & Sue remembered a shop selling second hand white goods that had doors. We get there, no doors! The man then says the guy that had the doors was in the shop next door. We go to the shop, no doors! We are then walked 2 roads away by this guy to his house, he cant speak English but decides German will do. We go into his house where the stair well is comlpetely full of doors, i chose one, we do the deal, he tells us about importing dogs for some reason & then we leave.

Wednesday:  I bought a toilet & some plumbing stuff from Jacks (codename). I also bought paint from Dannys yellow shop (codename) & some bits from the flats (codename).

Thursday:  I bought sand & cement & tried to buy timber from Jocks (codename).  This was quite bazaar as using google translateski we had written our order out, 1 ton of sand, half ton of ballast, 10 bags of cement & a sheet of re-bar. This was for putting down a concrete floor onto the rock hard mud floors & also to put a cap over the cess pit the gypsies were going to dig. Now the timber was another story, in there wood shed they had a pallet full of 4 metre lengths of 60mm square timber, this was ideal for the stud wall for the bathroom. We asked for 6 lengths & were told no! We were now confused, the wood was there, the owners mate decided to phone a friend then repeated back in Dalek English "we will sell you the wood in 15 days" WTF was that all about?

We left, woodless!

Fridays was all about doing a bit of work, Ray changed dodgy wiring, Sue painted while Paul & i layed concrete to make the bathroom floor, the gypsy lads appeared & agreed to come & dig a cesspit on Sunday  for 500 lev which i thought was a lot of money but i was buggered if i was doing it!

Saturday was a day of rest, off to Vidin market for various bits & a visit to the Kin Dobre cafe (my codename), we then went to visit other friends as the British Empire slowly gets a foothold in Eastern Europe!

Thats all for now!