Clearly, the garden had been rather busy since we last saw it!!!

We couldn’t get the gate unlocked either as the key wouldn’t even go in the hole, but luckily, Alexsander showed us how to open the vehicle access gate (which we hadn’t even been aware COULD be opened until that point!), so we could at least access the property!

Turns out I’d been trying to open the gate with the wrong key (even though we THOUGHT we’d clearly checked them all when we were there last time and had marked them, as there were five keys to keep track of)!

Next, we couldn’t unlock the cottage door either!!

Ian was the hero of the day that time though, as he went round the back of the cottage, originally to see if he could somehow break in, but just used the key I’d been trying to unlock the front door with on the cottage back door!

He then unlocked the front cottage door from the inside with another of the five keys we had!

What a hero <3

After we’d managed to get all the doors finally unlocked, Ian switched the water and electricity back on and Eureka, it all still worked!!

Our Bulgaria house was back in business again ๐Ÿ˜€

Ian also fired up the wood stove with some of the leftover wood in our garage from our last visit so we could get dinner cooked.

I got the food bags unpacked and put away, and also prepared our dinner of fried mince and baked beans.ย 

It was a quick, make-do dinner as we were all tired and needed to just eat something then crash.

During this time, I also got a phone call about our missing pushchair!!

I was told it was now at Sofia airport, presumably after being put on the next plane, but there was an issue with getting it to us at the house because the courier company only delivers to that area on Mondays and this coming Monday was a Bulgarian national holiday so nobody was going to be working.

So could they deliver it on Tuesday?

I explained that we were leaving the house at Tuesday lunchtime so it would probably make sense to leave it at Sofia airport now and we would pick it back up from them on our way home on Wednesday.

At least we now knew where it was and we still had the other one to use as a temporary measure, although we had no idea if EasyJet were going to be OK with us transporting TWO pushchairs on the flight home!

But we’d cross that bridge when we came to it!

Whilst I was making dinner, Ian took B upstairs to the main house, unpacked the bedding from the wardrobe and made up the two beds we were planning to sleep in this time around.

We’d decided to try sleeping in the main house during this visit, instead of the cottage, so we could get a feel for the rooms and start planning which rooms we were going to use for which purpose.

B had the smallest room with the only double-glazed window in the whole property, and we trialled the original lounge this time round.

We ate quickly, then I settled B to sleep by lying down with him, and falling asleep myself!

I HAD been awake since 1:49am that morning!

I woke a couple of hours later and Ian told me to come outside and listen.

It was dark by then and as I stood at the top of the outside stairs leading up to the first floor of the house, I could hear a lovely soundโ€ฆ

sound of crickets singing to each other!

It reminded me of all the films I’d watched set in the States, where that sound could often be heard in the background of night scenes ๐Ÿ™‚

I’d never heard it like that with my own ears in real life though!

After that, we pretty much collapsed into bed and fell asleep.

Well, at least until B woke up crying a couple of hours later, probably a bit scared and disorientated in a new room, and came into us.

And because the bed was too small for all three of us, Ian left and went to sleep in B’s bed.

This was a pattern that continued throughout our visit!

The next day, B woke us up bright and early, likely down to the fact that next door’s cockerel was crowing and that we had no curtains on a window that faced east, which would normally have been a cause for a bit of grumbling on our part!!

But we had our friends C and D coming over from their place in a village about 20 minutes drive away, and we were really looking forward to seeing them as we’d not seen them since March!

So instead of feeling grouchy at being woken up early (especially after a restless night where B had thrashed around a lot and kept waking me up), I felt in good spirits ๐Ÿ™‚

Plus we were back in our lovely Bulgarian house, which we’d missed over the last few months.

So we had breakfast in the cottage sitting on one of the beds we’d slept in back in March and afterwards started working on the garden to clear some of the massive overgrowth.

We were expecting some deliveries of quite large items and we’d need the delivery men to be able to carry them safely into our house, so clearing the path from the road up to the cottage door was a priority.

C and D were also planning to bring helpful tools to assist us in all this as we’d so far not managed to get a delivery of supplies to our house.

It was wonderful to see them again; they are lovely, warm people, and I’m so glad I saw C’s post on an Expat forum and was able to contact her and make friends ๐Ÿ™‚

They helped us out in the garden, clearing some of the weeds, and C and B had a lovely exploration and found that the next-door neighbour’s tree had dropped some black walnuts into our garden!

So they picked some up and she showed him how to crack them open and check if they were edible or not.

He now sorts a lot of his food in a similar way, declaring “That one’s good; that one’s not good” as he examines it!!

I cooked us all a quick pasta dinner with a bottle of ready-made tomato sauce and added some of the dried sausage and red peppers we’d bought, to give it extra flavour.

It was a very simple cuisine and not the kind of meal I’d ordinarily like to cook for guests who I hadn’t seen for months!

But planning and cooking meals with reduced facilities is quite tricky!

At least we have a new fridge-freezer being delivered on Saturday so that when we buy food for our NEXT visit, we’ll be able to get more fresh foods and know we can keep it cool so we can plan better meals ๐Ÿ™‚

Their visit passed all too quickly though, as time often does when you’re enjoying yourself, and we were all chatting the hours away!

But at least we’d arrange to visit THEIR house on the Sunday, so we knew we’d see them again in a couple of days.

After they left, I pottered around as I was physically flagging by then, and Ian carried on with a bit more gardening.

B seemed to be having a great time playing in the garden with his cars and his brand new remote control bin lorry that we’d bought for him at the baby supply store where we’d got his emergency pushchair ๐Ÿ™‚

We also put up the charity shop curtains I’d found back home in the room that was now our bedroom, as we thought having something to keep out some of the daylight would reduce the risk of another VERY early morning wake-up call from B, who would inevitably end up in our bed again ๐Ÿ˜‰

We weren’t feeling very hungry after our large, late lunch so just had a bit of bread with butter and Bulgarian cheese for a light supper that evening before bed.

Again, I crashed out quite early and again, B ended up playing musical beds in the middle of the night!

But we’d survived our first 24 hours in Sleeping Beauty’s castle and with C and D’s help, made some progress on clearing some of the weeds at least from the once beautiful flower garden just in front of the cottage!

It was good to be back ๐Ÿ™‚

A few photos from today…

What the garden had looked like in March…

And now, after 6 months of growth… :/

The windfall walnuts from our neighbour’s tree ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Charity shop curtains up on a curtain wire! Reminds me of my student days, renting a complete dog of a place and chucking up any kind of soft furnishing just to make it look a bit more homely!ย ย 
Our bedroom for this visit (note the painting on the bed; this felt like actual oil paint, as if the images had been hand-painted on ๐Ÿ™‚ )