Ruddy Freezing - 31 January 2011
My Neighbours Wedding Day - 24 January 2011
Bring Back the Communists All is Forgiven - 17 January 2011
Smoking Ban Bulgarian Style - 10 January 2011
New Years Eve Report and a Lidl madness- 05 January 2011
Snow Good - 19 December 2010
Winter has come early here just as with the rest of Europe. This makes it the time of year
to stay in side and keep warm..................
Spontaneous Combustion - 10 December 2010 I have spent 4 years studying electro-magnetic waves, I could design you a small power generator (in principle), but can I get my kitchen light to work!
How hard can it be?.................
A New Pub - 1 December 2010 My village of Samodiva has about 300 residents, and yet can support 3 different watering
holes. I am all for it. Just recently a new place has opened, I say new it resembles someones old shed, has seating for about 10 people, and is nowhere near anyones house.
Kimets Cow - 30 Nov 2010 The end of November comes and with it the start of the colder weather. The wood burner has
been in use almost nightly. The logs are all chopped. The coal has been stocked up. Southern Bulgaria has an excellent climate. I have lived near the equator in Africa
where after 10 in the morning it is too hot to move. I have spent time travelling around Thailand, where the humidity is suffocating, and of course the UK where the types of different
rain need a 5 volume book to catalogue them all. Here though there are proper seasons, cold in the winter, hot in the summer, and a bit wet in between..................
Chimney Sweep - 24 Nov 2010 Part of trying to live self reliantly is having a go at things you would normally leave to experts, or in the case of sweeping the chimney
someone who knows what they are doing. Not me though! Sweeping a chimney how hard can it be?.................
Korban Bayram - 16 Nov 2010 Today is 'Korban Bayram'. The muslim festival of sacrifice. I am no expert so if I get
the details wrong I apologise in advance! The village of Samodiva in southern Bulgaria has come to a standstill today as the festivities begin. I
was invited and attended the sacrifice of one cow, two goats and a sheep. Ilyas my neighbour was kind enough to give me a leg of goat to take home with
me as well.................
Magic Beans have Sprouted - 15 Nov 2010 One of the good things about living in another country is the chance to learn new things, as well as pass on your knowledge in the hope that your
neighbours can learn something about you and your culture................
'This is Bulgaria, it's normal' - 10 Nov 2010 I have been accused of having rosy tinted glasses on when I eulogize about my life in Bulgaria. So I thought for balance I should point out some
of the things that have infuriated me (albeit only mildly) in the last two years. Without exception (maybe pot holes) obsessive documentation is the all
I am a Woodworm - 5 Nov 2010 With this being a quite time in the self reliant garden. I am doing other tasks that
normally get put off. One of those has been to make book shelves for all the books that I have aquired...............
A Walk in The Woods - 3 Nov 2010 Today I have had some time off from the self reliant garden. I have taken a stroll through the
forest that surrounds my village. The weather has been very knid and although a little nippy in the morning the sun has been out and there has not been a breath of wind..............
Ty Bach - 28 October 2010 Translation from welsh: small house
This is a subject not normally discussed, however, in light of the recent news reports on squat toilets being introduced in Rochdale shopping centre and
subsequent discussions with colleagues, I think it is time..............
A Helping Hand - 26 October 2010 Bulgarian village life, along with good neighbours is a good way to live. There can never
be two days that are the same. Coming up to the end of October, and there is little to be done in the garden, except to dig for next year. This can not
be done in a day and I typically set two hours aside each day to do a bit of digging. Yesterday after my mornings work in the garden, I was just settling down with a book
when Ilyas came knocking on the door..............
Dig Chop Rake - 23 October 2010 The rain has helpd of for a couple of days som I have been busy digging, chopping logs
and raking where I have dug. I have created 3 deep beds for trial next year. Just haven't decided what I shall test out compared to noraml beds. The
obvious choice would be root vegatables of some sort as these will surely do better in a very well dug out bed.............
Preparing for Winter - 20 October 2010 As the days shorten and the weather starts to turn, quite a lot of time is spent preparing for the
short but very sharp Bulgarian winter. Last year we managed day time temps of about -15C for a about a week and for those that don't know how cold that is.
It put off several brass monkeys from coming to visit me!.............
A Month of Parties - 19 October 2010 I am still quite new to my life in Samodiva, and although I have been here for over 2 years
and the holidays happen every year. As each celebration passes I am getting more involved. I suppose intergration into a foreign culture is not something
that is done over night, but is a slow gradual process.............
Free Lunch - 26 Sep 2010 There is no such thing as a free lunch or so the saying goes, well I have disproved the rule. There is in fact
such a thing as a free lunch if like me you are lucky enough to live near Hussain the 'Hodja' (Imam)............
My new name is Dotchka - 17 Sep 2010 I have recently being doing documents. Now this in Bulgaria can be quite
a convaluted process. But unless you have documents you cannot get anything done. At least officially..........
I am Stuffed 11 Sep 2010 The holiday season comes to an end, this year I was lucky enough to be invited
to the Bairam festival at my neighbour Ilyas house. He had mot of his family coming over, there were about 30 people in all.........
Car Insurance and MOT - 7 Sept 2010 It is the time of the year when the car needs to be re-insured and tested, the previous two years I have had help with this, but my Bulgarian is good enough now to get pretty much anything done. It does not really sound as if I am being self reliant if I am having help with everyday things either.
So today I took my trusty and rusty 10 year old ford escort to be (MOT) tested.........
End of the Growing Season? - 6 Sept 2010 Here in Samodiva, the main employer is SocoTab, who export aromatic tobacco
from Southern Bulgaria, Northern Greece, and North East Turkey to major cigarette producers around the globe. The type of tobacco that is
grown is usually used as a small percentage in each cigarette (5 - 10%) and adds the aroma........
Rain Rain Hooray!! 1 Sept 2010 Saved at last, just as the month ended a storm erupted in my village and poured
buckets of lovely rain all over my garden. Also the tempreature has dropped to a lovely 25 C.......
End of August - 31 Aug 2010 The BBC's promise of rain has yet to materialise, and I have been without
water for two days. I should point out that this is not a rare occurence in Bulgaria, and normally I would not even mention it. However
this month I have been without water for 10 days in total and since it hasn't rained my crops are not coping well................
I want rain - 28 Aug 2010 It has not rained at all this month, which is quite typical for southern Bulgaria, although for a whinging 'pom' the novelty of 35C 'hot and sunny' everyday is starting to wane. I am not the only thing that has had enough of the sun. My garden (apart from the parts that get watered daily) is starting to resemble a desert scrubland, and the slightest spark would set it of in an inferno.
My two cats Dave & Alan think it is great, they lie around snoozing all day, which in the afternoons is pretty much all I am capable of...............
The Mosque in Fotinovo - 27 Aug 2010 As it is Friday and the middle of Ramadan, I thought it would be
interesting to attend the local mosque in Fotinovo with my good friend Hussain, who just so happens to be the Hodja (Imam). I
suppose this is like visiting church as a non believer but being brought as a guest of the vicar..............
Dimitrovgrad - 23 Aug 2010 I shall never again complain about Annie dithering when she goes shopping.
Yesterday I experienced my own personal hell and I had actually volunteered for it.............
Ramadan & Cars -21 Aug 2010 My village is currently celebrating the month of Ramadan, which is also a treat for the not so devout,
as the Huassain the 'Hodja' (Imam) belts out everynight to call to an end the period of fasting. I don't understand a
word he is saying, but his voice makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. This is all done with out the use of a microphone
and I think in his day could have given any one of the 'three tenors' a run for there money............
Fish BG Style -10 Aug 2010 My first real encounter with my neighbours didn't really occur until I had been here a month,
yes I had said hello and been invited for coffee at all their houses, but that was about the extent of it. Then one afternoon in early Sept 2008 I decided to take a stroll around the village.
I bumped into a few people I knew and asked for directions to the nearest cafe. At the time I didn't think there was one in the villgae. How wrong could I be. Not only was there a shop,
cafe and pub (all the same place) but they were just...........
The Pub, to ski or not to ski? - 6 Aug 2010 Is there a better place in the world than your local pub? I have yet to find one
wherever I have lived, be it in Swansea, Tanzania, and now Bulgaria. There is nothing better than after you have done what you have to do
for the day than sitting back with a few beers, putting the world to right...........
The Greenhouse Grows - 5 Aug 2010 Part of the joy of trying to live a more self reliant lifestyle, means you get to try and
attempt at building what you would otherwise buy. My greenhouse is starting to take shape although very slowly, as it is 35C and moving any faster than a snail
in that kind of heat is dangerous..........
Our Politicians Are Worse than Yours! - 3 Aug 2010 I try not to get involved with politics, especially when in the pub.
All guide books advise against it, and sometimes opinions can be quite extreme. And let's face it apart from lining their own pockets
what are politicians actually good for..........
Greenhouses & Funerals - 2 Aug 2010 I have eventually started my greenhouse for next year, so that I am not at the mercy of the weather
quite as much. Unfortunately I have attended a funeral also. It really was quite a sad occasion. My friend Sulyemans wife passed away with a brain clot. It was all quite unexpected
but I suppose sometimes that can be seen as a blessing. I have seen my grandmother waste away for years with Alzheimers, and more recently my Auntie suffered years of
Chemotheraphy in a battle against cancer that was eventually lost. Sorry to be all down, funerals are a time that make you reflect on what is important in your life
because you just don't know what tomorrow brings.........
Pets in Paradise - 31 July 2010 Prior to the unexpected windfall and thus our move to Bulgaria, Dominic and I had settled into the mundane life of the Jones's.
I was working and getting paid a handsomely amount of money and Dominic was expanding his mind by doing a Maths and Physics degree.
We had the house (actually still do, that's why I'm stuck in Blighty…. I digress), the car, the standing orders, fortunately minus the 2.4
children and 2 cats - Dave and Alan........
Not Just Fruit & Veg - 29 July 2010 As well as growing lots of fruit and veg I have given over quite a lot of my garden
to flowers not just to help the bees but to make it look a bit nicer. I don't know the Latin names and to be honest I don't really want to.
People that tell me I am growing Lavandula angustifolia, oh you mean my lavender........
24 Hour Melons - 28 July 2010 The last couple of days have passed in a blur, the weather has proved all those
climate change enthusiasts right (at least this week), it is coming up to the end of July, the weather in Southern Bulgaria should read: Today Hot & Sunny,
Tomorrow Hot & Sunny, etc, etc. However we have had tropical storms........
Taxis, Doctors and politics (a bit) - 23 July 2010 No, I am writing about the dodgy taxi drivers at the airport, nor the really expensive ones at Sunny Beach. The tobacco picking season is in full swing
in my area so the village is like a ghost town most of the day. The temp is hitting 35C, and my water has been off for a day........
Central heating BG - 20 July 2010 I like to think that I am quite sensible when it comes to the necessities of life. Food and Shelter are a must. Here in Bulgaria
it gets quite 'nippy' in the winter, we had -15C day time temps last winter. So keeping warm is definately a must........
A Goat A Sheep and Lots of Beer! - 19 July 2010 This weekend has been mainly spent eating meat and drinking beer. I am not sure if there is a reason for all the barbeques that have
been occurring, or whether the change in weather from to hot and sunny to absolutely boiling has sparked a sudden change in peoples
social activity but it was a welcome change to integrate.......
The 'Weekly' Shop It is when I do nothing out of the ordinary that I realise just how unordinary (to me anyway) that living in a rural community in Bulgaria is
completely different and better than living in UK......
Tomatoes, Cucumber and Hail - 12 July 2010 The world cup is over, Annie has gone back to the UK.
So I am getting back to normal routine in Samodiva. I lost a bottle of whiskey to Osman, who seemed quite surprised that I paid up our bet.
(I went for Argentina getting further than Germany, only for them to meet in the quarter finals and lose by the odd goal or 4!)......
Kolla e Djenna, drougata hora ne mojay! 6 July 2010 Well I have been very busy the last week or so, my trusty old Ford Escort has started to have a mid life crisis.
So I suppose that, in conjunction with my servicing philosophy (don't fix it until it breaks) it has served me well.
I don't really get attached or possessive towards my possessions, after all it is just stuff......
Double Glazing The Truth! 18 June 2010 The continuing saga of a computer engineer slowly turning into a mr fixit.
Well almost. I have not owned a television since 2000, but I know that it was, or maybe still is filled with programmes on interior design
, changing rooms type programmes, and all other such tosh of interior design. Well being a typical non effeminate bloke.......
How (not) to be an Expat Part 2 - 12 June 2010 I am really concentrating this article on my experience in Bulgaria, but have used the same approach in Tanzania, and other countries whose first language
is not English. Obviously if you have emigrated to a country where you have a good command of the first language this makes integration a lot easier.
I live in the centre of a small village consisting of no more than 300 residents.......
Annies' World Part Three - 12 June 2010 As mentioned previously, I am the only girl that frequents the local pub and the
only reason I get away with it is because I am British and I am accompanied by a man. Never would I be accepted into the pub if I was a
single white female. That is how it is, no point getting all feminist on them.......
How Much does it Cost to Setup(part1) - 8 June 2010 I have often been asked this question so I will try and put figures on the overall cost of setting yourselves up to be more self reliant.
These figures are only based on what we did in Bulgaria. Doing so in different countries will vary enormously I should think.......
How to get Cheap Firewood - 7 June 2010 My first year in Bulgaria, my firewood cost me 65 Lev a cubic metre, and came
in strips 1 metre long, which then had to be cut and split by yours truly. This is quite cheap or so I thought, but there must be an
easier and cheaper way. Well there is......
Annies World Life in Bulgaria Part 2 - 7 June 2010 Having travelled to many countries, I have experienced the extremes of beliefs and religions. Being a strong minded female, I have had
some issues with the way women are treated, you know - they walk ten steps behind the man, don't speak, accept that male strangers can
fondle and 'rub' against you to their hearts content. I was therefore very concerned when......
Annies World Life in Bulgaria Part 1 - 6 June 2010 I hope you have been enjoying Dominic's insight into life in Bulgaria. I thought it was time you heard it from a female perspective. I am Dominic's long suffering partner (his words not mine).
From his blog you will know that I am still stuck in the 'Land of my fathers' otherwise known as the pretty
shitty city of......
A bit about Bulgaria I have lived in Bulgaria since Aug 2008. I find it an absolutely stunning place with friendly people, beautiful scenery, and a little bit of high level
corruption. So all in all a good edition to the EU. Anyone thinking of an unusual get away from it all holiday, who is up for a bit of a challenge, I
would highly recommend it. Even if you normally spend two weeks getting inebriated near a beach, Bulgaria can accommodate you......
How Not To Be an Expat - 5 June 2010 I have lived and worked in 5 different countries, so I feel that although I am no expert, I have at least be there seen it and done it.
I am currently living in Southern Bulgaria, near the city of Kardjali. In fact if you have Google Earth......