There is nothing I enjoy more (or at least used to), than was a night in the pub enjoying a pint of beer, a crafty fag, and some salty crisps. In the last couple of years all three of my vices have been turned into public enemy numbers one, two and three. I am not sure why, the looming pension crisis would have me believe that living past my pension age would soon be treated with the same disdain as force feeding children with heroin (at least in the eyes of politicians) it seems not though. So why does the government want me to live past retirement age (that’s if you are allowed to retire before you are forced into state provided care facilities – at your expense).
Is it because the closer you get to retirement the more likely you are to vote for these numpties?
Bugger me that simple.
After my successful attempt at Rakia, my neighbour Ilyas (as usual), showed me how the locals do it properly. He started with 300 kgs of very ripe plums and fermented them in an old oil drum for three weeks. This was then put through my still and made a very respectful 35 litres at 38%. 38% alcohol in Bulgaria is ‘girls beer’ so through the still it goes again, and out the other side comes benzene! (petrol) He now has 20 litres at 68%! Just so there is more to it than a burning sensation he also added a bottle of creme de menthe (25%alc).
So after a hard day in the sun making petrol we decided to treat our selves to a night in the pub, where the coverage of the 3000 american deaths in the planes that crashed into New York appears on the news. My pub is full of conspiracy theorists, whilst I am just mathematician. Numbers get my goose. This is why.
Now 3000 deaths is a very sad thing, so it is no shock that America has a day of mourning for their people. What I also find shocking is that there is no day of remembrance for the 660,000 dead people in Iraq since 2003 as a consequence of Saudi Arabian nationals attacking America. Or the 10000 deaths in Afghanistan to bring them ‘Democracy’.
That is a twin towers destruction everyday for 220 days, now that really is something quite sad.
Or for the London Bus bombings where 52 people lost there lives imagine that happening everyday for 34 years (12692 days).
No conspiracy theory required, innocent people dead due to the action of a few idiots. Unfortunately for Britain and America we actually voted(not me) for the idiots.
I have excelled myself this year, not only have I made brandy out of my not so good homemade wine. I have even made a fair stab at ‘Guinness’ type beer. This is my first attempt at beer and it really is not as difficult as I thought, so if you ever wanted to have ago I would highly recommend it, a few hours prep, 7 days of fermenting = 30 litres of beer!
Here is what I used for my dark stout (Guinness)
- 3kg Pale Malt
- 900g Flaked Barley
- 400g of Roasted Barley
- 50g of Dried Fresh Hops
- 1 x Protofloc Tablet
- 12g sachet of ale yeast
All these things are available on-line or in your local brew shop and for the thirty litres of good beer you will get will probably set you back not much over a tenner!
How to make it:
- Mash the grains in hot water – 65C for about an hour.
- Top up with 30 litres of water and bring to the boil.
- Add the hops
- Boil for 45 mins then add the protofloc tablet
- Boil for another 15 mins then allow to cool to 30ishC
- Syphon off your ‘wort’ in to your fermentation vessel and add the yeast sachet
- Wait 7 days or so…(this is the hard bit)
- Drink and be merry!
I have also made 6 litres of Brandy that will probably send me blind, and even if it is no good for drinking I can always use it to start the fire throughout winter.
I have plans to get an oak barrel to let it mellow a bit before I attempt too much drinking of this!
I have just been into Djebel, the local town to do some shopping and get my gas bottle refilled. I don’t buy much, coffee, washing powder, and rice. Things that I have trouble doing without, and have yet to work out how to make my own. So to depress all those that do their weekly shop in ‘every little helps’ this is my shopping bill.
300 g of Coffee – £1-70
500g Washing Powder – £0-80 (I have guests coming normally I don’t bother)
5 Litres(nearly 7 bottles) of Red Wine (Essential) – £4-30
Loaf of Bread – £0.29 (at < 30p a loaf it really is not worth making your own, and there are no preservatives in these loaves)
750ml Gin (Essential Again, it is summer!) – £3.51
2 x 1.5l Schweppes Tonic (see above) – £1.70
1Kg Rice – £0.70
Total (excluding new Liver) = £13.40
Think you would be hard put to get the bottle of gin for that in the UK! I have a lamb lined up for dissection to be put in the freezer (15Kg of meat for £44) and I get to select it from a field full, and keep the wool if I want.
I have just a had my quarterly water bill (£12.55) and that is with the hose going daily and I even have a wash whether I need it or not.
Two pints of beer a packet of fags, and a grilled salami sausage – change from a fiver(£4-03). Whats not to like. Before moving to Bulgaria, a quiet beer after work (playing with computers), this would have set me back nearer £15 and I would have to stand out in the rain in case I killed anyone else in the pub with my dirty smelly habit!
Bulgaria has just started to intergrate no-smoking policies (so they qualify for EU money), they are just doing it with a bit of common sense. For example if you own a bar/cafe and it has over 100sqm of floor space you can have smoking/no-smoking sections. If you have less than 100sqm then it has to all smoking or all non-smoking. I have yet to find a non smoking bar. They would be bankrupt within weeks. Most buses are now non-smoking, well almost.
Every bus that I have been on the driver is normally getting through 20 smokes, as the ban does not affect him. No-one complains, no-one screams that they are being killed by his sencond hand smoke in fact the seats directly behind the driver are much coveted so you don’t get the DT’s before the 2 hourly ‘fag-brak’ that is compulsory on all long distance bus trips. All taxis have no-smoking signs that are ritually ignored.
Which brings me nicely to planning permission. In Bulgaria you need planning permission, and as in the UK it is virually impossible to get, works out very expensive, for example if you wanted permission to build a new house, all the documents would set you back about 10,000€, whereas building the actual house would cost you less. So the Bulgarian people who have become accoustomed to ignoring legislastion that serves no purpose other than to line the pockets of politicians and civil servants do what anyone with any common sense, and total disregaurd for legislation should do. They just don’t bother with it. One of my neighbours has converted a one storey building and stuck another storey on top. So being a bit naive I asked about getting the documents etc for this to which he said the documents would cost him €8,000 whereas the fine, if he ever gets caught would be €300, or more likley just €50 as a back hander to the planning man. The last government was only over thrown in 1989/90 so the current politicians are still wary of upsetting the masses as they should be! A victory for the people!