We spoke too soon

The decision to remove the living room ceiling due to the weather being so mild was a bit premature. The long range forecast started showing we were in for a lot of snow and freezing temperatures. Usually the fire in the living room also warms our bedroom as well, but with having no ceiling in the living room we obviously weren’t using that fire. We had a couple of weeks of going to bed in freezing temperatures, in the dark because we’d stripped out all the old cables!

We do have the fire in the kitchen so at least we had somewhere to go that was nice and warm but with temperatures due to drop to -15C the race was on to get the ceiling back in. We both liked the look of the original mud and wood ceiling so we decided we wanted to put that back in. We didn’t want to reinstall the mud, mainly due to the amount the joists were bending under the weight of it, but we did need some sort of flooring up there for the loft space.

We decided to use OSB board for the floor, then reinstall the wood panels underneath it, these will be held in place by batons running down the sides of the joists. One of the problems that we came across would be that we wouldn’t have enough boards. Originally there was mud between them but with removing the mud and pushing then together would leave spaces at the ends. Fortunately some friends of our had recently taken down their ceiling and decided not to reuse their boards and they were all sitting in the barn, so that problem was solved quickly. While Joe spent his time laying the OSB down in the loft, I spend my time washing the mud off the old boards. I calculated I needed about 600 boards to be able to cover the ceiling, Quite a few of the boards were wood-wormy so they got discarded and some had been used as shuttering for concrete and I couldn’t get them cleaned but in the end we managed to have enough boards to cover the ceiling. Putting the boards up was like doing a giant jigsaw puzzle, finding the right length of board for each space, but after a week of fitting the boards the job was done, boards fitted and linseeded and Joe finished the boarding out.

It wouldn’t have taken so long if we had had electric, but with no lighting we had to finish working at around 5’o’clock. Just before the really cold weather struck a couple of friends came round to do the electrics so the timing couldn’t have been better. We now had a ceiling and working electrics so could move back into the living room and get some heat into the bedroom.

The living room still had gaps in the wall to the outside and the OSB boards hadn’t been taped up and the insulation put back,  but it even with the cold air coming in and the warm air leaking out it still stayed relatively warm.  We have now plastered all the holes up, the OSB boards have been taped up and the insulation has been replaced so normality has been restored.

Even though the main beam and joists aren’t sagging as much as they did we have decided to add another beam under one half of the ceiling to help support the main beam where it narrows, this is now in place but is currently held up with acro props, ( yes you guessed it, these are loaned from another neighbour )  until we get a cement base made for the upright. Before we install the base we need to do some further investigating on what is under the current cement floor.

We have got all the walls washed down and filled the gaps between the first and last joists with chicken mesh and clay. The wall between the kitchen and the living room is made up  from the original mud brick wall with brickwork on top of it. Originally we were going to plaster over the brick work but we have now decided to leave it exposed, so this has been re-pointed with clay and cleaned up.

The end of February and the beginning of March have been very busy socially. We’ve had Trifon Den and because there are 2 clubs we are friendly with and they had celebrations on different days we ended up doing both parties. Then we recently had Liberation day with yet another party and we managed to fit in a three  birthday parties as well. So our plans of detoxing after all the Xmas parties isn’t going too well 🙂

Hopefully we are now seeing the last of the really cold temperatures and the snow is melting, so everything should get a bit more comfortable!


  8 comments for “We spoke too soon

  1. Iris Voorhees
    March 4, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    The ceiling is beautiful!!! Hope you thaw out soon….Think of you both often!

  2. Marilyn laugesen
    March 5, 2018 at 4:35 am

    Wow that ceiling is fab . We have just been through the most snow we have seen in our 16 years back in England , came from Syberia , starting to melt now ..

    • Joe
      March 5, 2018 at 8:02 am

      Yes, we’ve been reading about that on the news. Hopefully spring will soon arrive and life can get back to normal for the UK!

  3. March 14, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    Hi Julie and Joe, we are moving to Bulgaria at the end of the year, did you find it beneficial taking a trailer with you ie have you used it much since you have been there. I’m torn between car and trailer or van ?
    Also you look pretty well self sufficient what size is your land ? the house we are buying has 2000 sq Mtrs with probably 2/3 of it sloping but accessible. We aim to grow our own veg and possibly have animals.
    Love your blog and the information we have gained from it has been invaluable.
    Mark n Julie

    • Julie
      March 16, 2018 at 9:14 am

      Hi Mark and Julie, We find having a trailer is better for us, advantages are we can carry 5 people in the car and leave the trailer at home. We do not use it much but it has come in handy, we would probably used a van more but then wouldn’t have had the advantages of having a car. The down side of a trailer is that here it gets it’s own number plate so needs to be registered, for this you need the original purchase document from the dealer.We bought ours new so it came with a certificate of EU conformity and we had the original purchase documents, I don’t know how you go about registering an older or second hand trailer bought privately. Also the trailer needs to be MOTed each year ( 30lev ) yearly municipality tax ( 8 lev ) and insurance can’t remember price but it’s not a lot. You can use an unregistered trailer around the village but not on the main roads, ours is one of the few that is registered so we do lend it out quite a bit :-).
      We have 1900 sq meters, we grow our vegetables on about a third of this and about a third is orchard and the last third is buildings or the flower garden. We are now into our second year of being self sufficient in fruit, veg, and eggs are almost self sufficient in meat. We don’t breed our own life stock, but buy them in young and rear them up. Hope that helps, if you have any other questions feel free to ask.
      Best wishes
      Joe and Julie

      • Anonymous
        March 16, 2018 at 3:57 pm

        Thanks for the reply very helpful

  4. March 15, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    You have been working hard, but the results look fab! Looking forward to warmer days…

  5. March 17, 2018 at 4:42 am

    A very interesting post!

    My wife Irena and I will soon be retiring to Bulgaria and we are planning to do a lot of work to our house in Kalotina. At the moment we are still in China and that is why my blog is called http://www.bulgariawithnoodles.blogspot.com

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