When we first moved to Bulgaria, one of the first things we did was to get the mains water connected to the house. Having visited the nearby
spring with 10 litre bottles for a week it was quite a luxury to have water coming out of tap!
The process here is some what different to the uk. First we had to go to the local builders yard and by a water meter. Then we had to inform the water man
(Moojoo – who has an uncanny resemblance to Annies Uncle Ade) that we would like hook up to the mains.
This was all done with minimum fuss, and Uncle Ade came and plugged us into the mains one sunny morning. My Bulgarian at that stage was somewhat limited to saying hello
and counting to 10. Much miming went on and finally he took out his wallet showed me a 20 lev note then pointed at my pocket then back at himself. Light bulb goes
on in the brain, and I hand over the required 20 lev for connecting us to the mains.
6 months pass no sight or sound of a water bill, when someone I had not seen before is at my door saying ‘Arden, Arden’ my six months of Bulgarian was obviously not enough as
this waas a new word for me. I explain to him that I do not understand (I learnt this the first week) but all I got in return was a blank look and a repeat of the same
He then points at my outside tap, points to himself, then proceeds to repeat ‘Arden, Arden’. At this point my neighbour passes by the front of my garden and
starts to laugh. He calls out in Bulgarian ‘He needs to know your name for the water bill’. It transpires that water man doesn’t know any Bulgarian so was speaking to me in Turkish!
I hand him my passport so he can copy down my details, then he announces to me ‘Chelasea, Chelsea’ and smiles (I didn’t tell him that I am Tottenham fan) so I returned the smile
and listed off a few Chelsea footballers much to his appreciation.
Another month passes and my Turkish speaking water man comes round again with my water bill in hand (6 months worth = 28 Lev = 14 Euro = 3 pints in a pub in the UK). I promptly pay
up we have another Chelsea footballer naming competition, which he won hands down as I got stuck after Drogba, Lampard, and Terry.
During this time we had made some progress on the house including a concrete path that led to our road (un-metalled road I should add) so that I could get my motobike close to the house.
When I noticed that there was a torrent of water flooding down the path and onto the road. I get in touch with Uncle Ade (Moojoo) and he promptly comes to rectify the problem.
The mains water pip runs right through the middle of my garden and had sprung a leak. He came armed with two labourers who found the leak directly under my new path.
My concrete and steel path soon gave way to two pick axes and some sawing with a hacksaw. After completeing the job they called me over and told me I was not to fill in the hole they
had dug for 24 hours to ensure the leak was properly fixed.
It was at this point that I realised I would be the one filling the hole in. There job is find and fix repairs, but this does not include filly the holes back in
afterwards, let alone fixing my new path!
Now having been here nearly 3 years last week whilst strolling around my garden I noticed another puddle in the garden, dirctly in line with the repaired hole
in my path. It had not rained for 3 weeks. It was time to call Uncle Ade again. I phoned him at 12:00, he arrived at 16:30 (Sameday call out I was impressed).
However he had got a lift down from wherever he had been, inspected the puddle. Then said ‘I’ll come and fix it tomorrow as I have been drinking beer’. I just love
the honesty of the people here. No making silly excuses like its a bit late in the day to get started, or that he has other things to do. Straight out with it.
Best leave it until tomorrow as I have been drinking beer.
The next day Uncle Ade arrives again with his two labourers, and dig me a new hole.
This time again they inform me after they fix the leak that I must not fill the hole in for 24 hours. I thank them much for my new hole in my best Bulgaran.
To which they look a little confused I then ask if they will be coming back next to dig me another one. I think irony has yet to catch on in Bulgaria, although I am trying my best to introduce it!