And how we cut off the water supply to over a third of the village!
The final phase of getting our infrastructure sorted out is in what we call “area #3” and includes (a) demolishing the bits of mud-brick wall and installing a new fence and gate (b) re-roofing the barn, putting in a proper floor to the hayloft and adding power and water so that the barn will be properly useful in all seasons and (c) putting in some internal fencing to make it easier with livestock, particularly growing fodder and being able to rotate animals through them and protecting the newly planted “forest” (more of which in a later post).
Work on the new fence started last week with the coppicing of some very large well established Mulberry trees – their branches were interfering with the power/telephone cables anyway. I did think about pulling them out completely but they fruit very heavily which will be good for chickens and pigs.
We are using some the beams from the house we demolished (it was attached to the barn) in this area, and the picture shows them being painted with the traditional protective coating of diesel and old engine oil. At the same time we also took the opportunity to re-empty the barn – we had stored some baled straw, hay and lucerne (alfalfa) in there last year – but it had been stored/stacked on top of 20 years of trash, so that has been sorted and cleared out too.
But then disaster 1 – something on the “bagga” broke (the bagga is a very elderly communist era JCB type digger but not very sophisticated and it seems that every part needed has to be hand machined!) and so with getting that repaired and several days of wet weather it wasn’t until today (23rd) that work restarted. The bagga arrived on time and started demolishing the wall, scraping the mud bricks from their foundation stones which we will reuse to finish the fence.
All good then, right? Wrong!
Middle of the morning, disaster 2! After the bagga had moved from outside the wall to inside, water started bubbling up from the ground… not a little, but a lot and then a lot more!
The Water Company was pretty prompt, the local Water Meister, Nikolai, arrived followed by his “chef” Vladimir, and then a nice shiny yellow JCB arrived, and to work they went digging an ever bigger hole.
And then Dimitar the кмет (mayor) turned up – probably because so much of the village had lost their water supply. He was very nice and upbeat and left after asking us to make sure that we tidied up the common land after we finish the fencing.
The good things… nobody did anything daft or negligent to cause it; the water people were quick and efficient; half a day lost is nothing in Bulgaria; work progressed pretty quickly after the water people left; work on the fence can continue even though the water main is not fully repaired yet; we will likely get a nice new hydrant/control valve on the mains just outside our gate; we won’t need to move where we wanted our gate.
The not so good things… Somebody’s got to pay for it – even though the old hydrant wasn’t marked; there will (apparently) be an administrative investigation whatever that means/entails; about 15 houses (families) will be without water until next Wednesday when the permanent solution is put in place; we’ve got to move the old mud bricks further away cos the Mayor says so
Thankfully, after the temporary fix was installed the work on demolishing the old mud brick wall continued quickly. There is some urgency as having no fence or wall in that area makes the rest of the property open to anyone coming in, and if the dogs get into area #3 they could get out and run anywhere – so it needs to get done quickly.
I’m looking forward to Wednesday and we will see what the final fix for the broken water main will look like – and hope we don’t get too much flak for some houses still being without water! Watch this space.
What a day! Educational, entertaining, idle (didn’t get much done in between waiting to see what happened next, planting a few dozen seedlings, feeding/watering/playing with the pigs and writing this blog post) and quite a lot of smiling. And still to come tonight … baked potatoes and chilli for tea, the next episode of Masterchef UK and sowing my final bunch of seed trays for this spring before I go to bed!