The next morning was much warmer and sunnier than yesterday, and after the usual breakfast of coffee, cereal and milk again, Ian, Alex and I set off on an adventure!
We’d come up with the idea of looking around the abandoned house over the road to see if we could find any spare pipe there that we could use to hook up our stove.
It was truly mind-blowing that perfectly good houses were just abandoned and left to rot/fall down, and it felt incredibly sad too.
Still, we were incredibly grateful that we managed to find enough to enable us to use our stove!
As I was waiting for the dough to rise, Ian and the boys decided to have a little walk round the block, along the lane at the back of our garden.
We were still waiting for potential deliveries though so I stayed behind.
As I pottered, I heard a knock and a shout, and looked up to see the next door neighbour coming through the gate carrying gifts!
He had very kindly brought us a bottle of home-made red wine, a bottle of home-made rakia, a jar of honey, and a jar of home-made cherry plum jam!
I was very effusive in my use of “Blagodaria”, mostly because I was relieved that the one Bulgarian word I definitely knew was “Thank you!” and I wanted to show him how grateful we were!
Soon after the boys came back, Ian and Alex were exploring the garden and wondering about what appeared to be a load of onions growing there when the next door neighbour came up to the gap in the wall between the two gardens and offered the use of a rake!
He showed them how to rake the ground around the onions, which he’d presumably planted there.
We were all rather puzzled though as to why he had planted onions in our garden!
We wondered if he’d planted them for us as a gift, or if he’d had an arrangement with the previous owner where they shared the ground and the work, and then shared the produce.
With the language barrier though, it was hard to know, so we raked them anyway, thinking that even if we were just doing it all for him, it would be a nice gesture towards our new neighbour.
So Alex set to making a great job of it, considering he’d never done anything like that before.
Later on in the afternoon, we decided it was unlikely we would get any more deliveries that day, so we went for a stroll down into the village to check it all out, try to find a shop, and try to pick up any mail for us from the post office.
We popped into the post office and queued up, seeing our next door neighbour in there and smiling hello to him.
When it was our turn, we tried to use Google Translate to ask for any mail and after checking, the woman tried to tell us that there was none!
Which was very confusing, as we’d actually tested out our postal address by sending ourselves a card from the UK!
Plus, we also expected there to be some form of communication from the electricity and water companies, and the local equivalent of the council, so we could pay our bills.
It all seemed rather weird!
The postmistress gestured to the town hall and tried to get us to go there instead.
So we trotted over there and left the boys downstairs with B whilst we climbed the stairs inside to find the office we needed to visit.
Inside, was a large office with a woman, who we guessed was the mayor’s assistant (since we knew the mayor was male).
Using Google Translate and our notary documents showing we’d bought the house and its address, we tried to explain that we were picking up our mail and had been sent over from the post office.
After several minutes of miscommunication, the lady clearly realised we were getting nowhere so had the idea of phoning another office somewhere and tracking down someone who also spoke English, so we could talk to them over the phone and explain what we wanted and then they could talk to the lady and explain in Bulgarian!
Ian chatted with them for a few minutes and we were finally able to be told that there was definitely no postal mail for us, but that the mayor’s office DID have a letter for each of us that was from the equivalent of the local council, with our Council Tax bill inside!
Success! We DID actually have something official to prove we were registered with at least one of the local authorities!
We thanked the lady profusely and said goodbye, then collected the boys (who had done a brilliant job of keeping B happy and entertained!) and wandered back up the road to the house again.
After noticing one of the boxes of fudge we’d brought from the UK (ostensibly for all our next door neighbours, but which were now spare as we only had one house next to us that was still occupied!), Ian picked it up and dashed back down to the town hall to give it to the lady as a thank you for all her help.
For dinner, I threw together a simple pasta and tomato sauce, with the terrible home-made bread, and chunks of Bulgarian cheese on top (as we had no grater!), and we sat on the floor of the bedroom to eat (except for B, who sat strapped in the pushchair to keep him from wandering around and knocking everything over!).
Weather forecast for the week – bit warmer than our first night!
Rustic Bulgarian lunch!
Gradeshnitsa town square monument with abandoned old school building on the left
Gradeshnitsa tablets monument
Gradeshnitsa Town Hall
Plaque on the wall of the town hall
Empty fountain in the town square
Gradeshnitsa post office and café
Goose with an attitude!!
The glamorous ambience of dining hastily thrown together pasta on the floor 😀
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