If it’s July it means we move next month!

With less than 40 days now until the “big move” it’s all very exciting here at home in the UAE – and frantic for Nigel in Alekovo, of course.

Toby and I will be traveling a bit earlier than planned but that shouldn’t be a problem.  Hopefully the first job we’ll have will be doing the snagging list with Nigel :-)!  But we’ll still be “glamping it” when we arrive because the shipping container with all the furniture etc. probably won’t arrive until mid/late October.

The biggest job this month has been the laying of the drive – quite a few tons of gravel, in two sizes – have been laid after the sloping drive was compacted.  We’d decided on this because to concrete the drive would have been really expensive and, because we have not heavily engineered the slope down from the street, we thought that there was more chance of the concrete settling in a bad way when the temperatures change.  We will see!  One thing I hadn’t thought about was the dogs digging up the gravel – but hopefully they will have plenty of other areas to dig up that they’ll leave the drive alone! We are adding a kerb on the slope of the drive to help retain the gravel (and the car LOL).

As I write the radiators have gone in, next week the two wood burners and central heating pump will hopefully be installed.

We’ve also taken delivery of the kitchen “powerhouse” the cooker, and an oak larder cupboard that we’ve had made by a local craftsman to match our oak dresser. We are not having cupboards around the kitchen because we thought it would (a) spoil the openess of the space and (b) make it feel too low – and it’s already fairly low!

Nigel has been making all the new internal doors.  We decided on a very rustic style and we bought the pewter door furniture from the UK.  These will all be stained/varnished to match the beams in the house.

During our visit in May we purchased some large, Arabic style, lamps from a Turkish shop in Veliko Tarnovo.  They don’t have a website otherwise I would be promoting them because the service was excellent, we got a decent discount, and the items are terrific – very similar to what we fell in love with in our Egypt days.  You can see them installed in these pictures, although they will be taken down when the ceiling gets its final paint job.

Externally on the house we’ve built the bases that the IBC’s will sit on (to collect rainwater from the gutters); built a new chimney for the heating stove in the living room and repaired the original chimney on the main house; concreted the edges of the patio, which we extended, and the path to the back door so we can finish laying the paving slabs; and we have started fixing the decorative stonework all around the house – we think it’s going to look great!

Things are growing – they say that in Bulgaria anything will grow if you stick it in the ground!  The cover crops that we sowed are coming through nicely and the Paulownia trees are shooting up really well.  The only problem we seem to have is that in the orchard the cover crop we sowed between the young fruit trees seems to be taking over, so we are fixing that just by mowing and mulching the growth to give the young fruit trees more light, room to grow and no competition from the cover crop.  But hey – we’re learning right?

Finally, we thought that we had better try to get a bit ahead, and maybe avoid higher prices later in the year, by buying in a stock of hay, straw and lucerne now so that we have some for when we get some critters – which will be a priority after we arrive in August.  We’ve utilized the old barn in area #3 to store this and we will see how that holds up in the coming months!

That’s it for now!

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