It’s been well over two months since our last update so I thought it’s about time I wrote an update especially since I now have a new keyboard for my laptop so I no longer have an excuse to keep putting it off.
We’ve had quite a busy March/April/May and we’ve been back to the UK for a couple of visits. I don’t recommend 4 flights in just over 2 weeks, I think I’ve seen enough of airports for quite some time. We had only been back a few days when we had family to stay followed shortly after by a couple who were travelling round Bulgaria looking for where they want to move to and just after they left we had our first couple of volunteers arrive. Although we are not doing much in the garden this year we still wanted to get some vegetables growing, so have limited ourselves to cabbage, brussel sprouts, onions, potatoes, beetroot, butternut squash, cucumbers, gherkins, spinach, peppers, aubergines and of course tomatoes. But with going back and forward to the UK we fell well behind with our planting, but luckily our volunteers, Janice and Ian, arrived just in time to help us get the garden weeded, some of our plants potted on and our vegetables that were ready to go in the garden planted out.
The living room is taking a lot longer than we initially thought it would, (no surprises there) there’s been a couple of things that have slowed us down. The first one is the lime plaster. Where we have taken the ceiling down and chased out for the electrics the plaster needs to be built up in layers, leaving three days to cure between layers and in the case of where the ceiling came out this needed 4 layers of plaster on it to build it up to the same level as the existing walls. After the finishing coat has been applied it is then another 3 weeks before it can be painted. We have also spent some time sorting out the doorway to the kitchen, smoothing the edges out with mud paster before adding lime and plaster. This job didn’t really need to be done but we are pleased we took the extra time to get a better finish than there was before. The next big job was to lay the new wooden floor, but before the floor went in we needed to install the column that will help support the sagging joists that we have at one side of the room joists. After seeking some advice on how deep the cement base need to be to support the weight we finally plucked up the courage to take an angle grinder to the cement floor and cut a big hole in it. We made a frame from rebar and then filled the hole with cement. After we got the column put in place we were still worried that it might move so we have put some markers on the side of the beam so we can see if the cement base moves. So far so good, no movement at all.
We needed 80 x 4 meter planks to board out the floor. These were all sanded, linseeded and 2 coats of stain put on them before they went down. While I was juggling the planks Joe was busy finishing the lime and sand plastering and painting the living room. This is the first time he’s been let loose with a paint brush since we got here so it was a nice change for me to get out of the painting. Our first attempt at laying the floor didn’t go too well, it was like walking on a trampoline and very noisy so we decided to pull it all up and start again. Our second attempt was a lot better and all though the floor is nowhere near to being perfect, there’s nothing a couple of strategically placed rugs won’t hide 🙂 The floor has now been finished with a couple of coats of, well I’m not sure what it is but the man at the shop recommended it for wooden floors so we’ve used it and it seems to be quite tough and leaves a nice finish.
With the floors down and the walls painted (all except one) it was now time to install the wainscotting. This turned out to be easier than we thought, although even then it did take a few days to get it all in and painted.
While we have been here we have gained a few hand-made cushions, a couple were in the house when we bought it and some others were made by our neighbour Nadelka. I love these cushions but they are filled with straw which, over time, breaks down then you end up with a very flat cushion that needs refilling, so I have unpicked them all (no they don’t have zips) and refilled the liners with wadding I had from a old sofa and resewed them up. I haven’t put zips on the covers but probably will sometime in the future which will make them easier for washing.
So we now have an almost finished living room, there’s still a window to paint and double glaze, a wall to paint (waiting for the lime to go off) and a couple of finishing touches but we how have a usable living room and dining area again. We have also made the decision to make the living room a pet-free zone, so Joe has made a temporary gate to stop them getting in. The dogs could quite easily knock it over but they seem to understand that because there is a barrier there they are not to cross it.
We are also pleased to announce that Sid and Nancy (the geese) are now the proud parents of 4 goslings and they all seem to be doing well, so that’s Xmas dinner sorted. Our remaining 2 bee hives are doing really well so hopefully this year we will be able to harvest some honey off them.