Monday, 27 July 2015
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.