Archive for the ‘The Dogs’ Category

farewell my friend

Over the last two months Mia has faced her fair share of battles, and one by one she’s beaten the odds.  Sadly, at 12.01 this morning she lost the war.  My gorgeous bundle of joy is gone.  I cannot even start to describe how much I will miss her.

Goodbye my lovely friend…

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Crisis ?? What Crisis ???

I thought I was going to actually catch right up on here, but you know what they say…” the best laid plans of mice and men…”

I have wonderful tales of pig kills, ginormous fish and deep white snow and I’ve even started to write them all down.

Everything was looking great…Mia was making a good recovery from her Op and the life and joy was returning to her.   Now that winter is upon us, every morning I clean out the fireplace, head downstairs with the ashes, let the girls out and have a bit of a play and some big morning cuddles before I come in and have breakfast.  On Wednesday morning I headed downstairs with the ashes, walked around the corner of the house fully expecting to see Mia’s huge happy face beaming at me over the gate of their little compound. Every morning she greets me like she hasn’t seen me for months, but today she was absent and then I found her lying outside their little house in the snow, whimpering. I tried to get her to stand and at first she wouldn’t, then I got her up and was horrified to see that her stomach was HUGE…distended, tight as a drum and she was very distressed.  Looking about as bad as one can first thing in the morning, dressed for a chilly  start, I just got her into the car and headed for Yambol.

I was driving way too fast but she was crying and it was so distressing, so I prayed to the gods of driving and kind policemen and planted my foot…  we were there in no time

Yanko took one look and right away he knew what had happened…her stomach had twisted on itself !!  Again, something not uncommon in dogs, especially big ones and especially one that jump around a lot…Hello Mia !!

He then told me that dogs didn’t often survive this because the blood vessels  get cut off as well and even if they sort the stomach out, the dogs often get clots and die from massive heart attacks.

Yanko told me to prepare myself for the worst…

By this time I was lying on the floor next to her howling….jesus, my dignity goes right out the window when it comes to my pets.  Anyway, a matter of twenty minutes after arriving Mia was on the table and opened up from arsehole to breakfast…literally.

I took myself off to a cafe and sat in the corner weeping.  The lady was terrific…she spoke a little English and understood my Bulgarian enough to work out what was wrong.  She bought me coffee and kept patting me and making sympathetic clucking sounds…which helped !!

About an hour and a half later, I’d heard nothing, which I figured was a good sign so I went back to the vets. She was still alive and Yanko came out of the operating room and said to me ‘Sue, it’s a miracle !!  ”  He had removed 7 litres of ‘stuff’, liquid, gas and half digested food, so she must have been in agony.

I had fortunately found her early.  He said if it had gone any longer, she would not have survived and without the Op she would have certainly been dead by evening. He let me into the operating room where she was sprawled on her back and tied down with a drip of glucose and supplements going into her.  She was under anesthetic still and I was standing there talking to Yanko about what had happened and what her prospects were when her tail started to wag.  It was really funny because she was out cold. I asked Yanko if it was like a nerve thing after the Op, like a twitch and he said ‘No Sue,  she can hear your voice..’  So even after everything that’s happened to her, she still loves me   🙂

She’s home now and has to stay inside and be kept very warm. Yes, I know she has a huge thick overcoat, but her body temperature had dropped so much because of the blood supply problems, that she was freezing cold.  So she downstairs with a bloody heater on…!!  the things I do…

She’s not allowed any food or water.  Yesterday I returned to Yambol and she got another 1.5 litres of glucose drip, but today I’m snowed in, so Yanko has instructed me to give her 100mls of warm water every hour and 3 teaspoons of yoghurt with warm water, which she’s just had. If she doesn’t vomit, she get to have the whole tub .   This is a dog who loves her food and probably eats a couple of kilos of good food every day and she drinks large amounts of water every day.  Can you imagine how she’s feeling ??  I take her out for a wee and it’s a battle to stop her eating snow, which she can’t have because it’s too cold on her very delicate stomach.  I’m fighting a 55 kilo dogs every time..shit, she’s stubborn and strong !!  Her powers of recovery are obviously very good.

And here’s what a 55 kilo dog that has far too much enthusiasm does to the buckety things that go over her head to stop her picking at her stitches…and she’s now onto number 4.

So, here we are, me and Mia.  She’s got more thread in her than the average tailors shop, she stitched from head to bum, but she’s happy.  She amazes me, she’s so resilient.  Let’s hope she comes out of this as well….and fingers crossed there’s no more little surprises waiting around the corner for her…or me.  The gods are obviously testing us, but as they say in Bulgaria, ‘Stiga’ !!!   Enough !! She’s exhausted and so am I…

And on a slightly lighter note, if that’s possible just now, Gina has turned into the snow fairy.  She’s hilarious and just loving the snow.  The first winter I had her, she had the pups and her teats were so huge they dragged in the snow everytime she left their little house…she didn’t like it at all. Of course, the next two winters I was in Australia and missed out on being with her and Mia.

Yesterday the snow started and by this morning it was about half a metre deep. I happened to look out the back window and there she was, flinging herself around like a teenager, frolicking and enjoying herself so much.  I went down to see if she was open to a little playing company and she certainly was.  She kept doing that playing thing that dogs do when they kinda go down on the front legs and stick their bums up in the air.  She would do this and then throw herself about in the snow with me chasing her…she just goes mad.  And she growls at the soft snow and bites at it and then sticks her face in really deep.  She comes up looking very funny with snow stuck all over her silly face.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so happy.  The sad part is that Mia can see out the back door. There’s this really sad big face looking out, wanting so much to be in the play and she whimpers, which is awful, but she has to be very good, or she could die…so I have to be strong.

I tried to get some pics of Gina at play but she’s a wily old bugger and she can sniff out a camera a 500 paces.  As soon as she lays eyes on a camera, she’s gone …back into her house with nothing but a dirty look for me !!

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again…she really is a bitch, in more ways than one…but I do love her.

And before I go, do take a look at this.   http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=123260.

Now his little darling is weeing all over his house.  I can sympathise. Being stuck indoors, Mia doesn’t always ask to go out and when a Karakachan wees, you really know about it.  I haven’t had any poos, but there have been a couple of wees to clean up…thank god for tiled floors…I bet Putin doesn’t have to clean up after his though  🙂

If you get the chance, take a few minutes to look at this:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeS3Eq4e8Qs

The words he says at the end in Russian translate to ‘ beautiful’.  Regardless of what you think of Putin, I reckon anyone who clearly loves animals the way he does, can’t be all bad.

So that’s where I am just now.  I’ll get that pig kill up come hell or high water and in fact, I’m invited to another tomorrow, so might even have some different pictures to entertain and impress you  🙂

Now, it’s time to check on my big ( though rapidly reducing) girl.  Give her a big thrill, another 100 mls of warm water…she must really be wondering what the hell is going on at the moment.

ciao for now

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A little information…

I guess I should explain a little more about what happened to Mia.

Because I check the dogs over quite thoroughly, I guess I find things that might otherwise go undetected. I found the lumps in Gina’s teats, which could have led to neoplasty disease, which would have killed her if undetected and then I found a lump on Mia’s left flank. This lump grew, so I went into the vets to have it checked out.  The area around it was shaved and there it was, this rather strange looking ‘thing’ that was diagnosed as a bite, possibly a snake bite. Anyway, it started to increase quite rapidly but it was being treated and seemed to come and go, but never go away completely. I was becoming concerned about it before I went to France…when I returned I was horrified to see how much it had grown and it now looked like a red, bloody brain growing out of Mia’s flank.

It was straight into the vets with multiple questions and because it had become so bloody, I was seriously concerned about some kind of blood feeding cancer, which we know exists.  Anyway, I was told not to worry and I listened to that advice, my first mistake I think. It didn’t improve and so back I went, this time a little more determined to get a better answer to my concerns.  The other vet at the clinic, Yanko, was standing in the front office when I walked in.  I showed it to him and he immediately said it had to be biopsied ASAP and so began a very distressing month.

But I’ve already talked about all of that…my big girl has now had three operations in just over a month, but this time I think the guys and gals at Stara Zagora have (hopefully) sorted the problem and Mia will be with me and even get to have some pups.  Let me say, she’s a strong as ever, is throwing herself about the place like a puppy and is as happy as a sandman, all good omens I hope.

There is one really weird thing though.  When the tumour was growing out of Mia and was all red and hideous, Gina would not leave it alone…she constantly bothered it and in the end I had to separate them, which distressed them both because they have never been apart, not even for a day.  When I took Mia away for her first Op, Hristina told me that Gina sat at the fence all day looking down the road in the direction I had taken when we left.  When we came home, she nearly went nuts with excitement.  But Yanko told me she mustn’t be allowed to lick the wound from the operation (s) and I had to keep her away. When I bought Mia home from Stara Zagora with her HUGE wound I figured it was going to be a real nightmare keeping her away from this one.  Guess what ??  she hasn’t shown a single flicker of interest in it..nothing, nishto, zilch.  It’s really odd.  I know they say dogs can detect cancer but I have no idea about the validity of that theory, but I do think it’s very odd that Gina would not leave it alone when the tumour was there, even after the first two Ops when some of the tumour was still there,  and now it’s gone, she doesn’t give a tinkers toss.  She’s not interested in the wound, only in playing with Mia.

I’m happy, the girls are happy and so we soldier on towards Christmas…

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I know this is out of whack, especially after the entries on Mia, but I’m still playing catch up…so here we go.

So, after my fabulous time away, it was time to get back home to Miladinovtsi and get to work.

Firstly though,I must tell you about leaving the dogs.

They had to go to kennels for the duration of my time away.  I can’t convince anyone here to look after them in my absence because they are all scared of them, particularly Mia.  Why ?? Because she is big !!  That’s it.  She a lovely dog and they all agree with me on that point, but she’s big…and that’s that.

Anyway, they love Andon, the guy that runs the kennels and when I took them there they cheered up as soon as they saw him. I pretty much got frozen out straight away…and I can’t blame them.  The last time I took them to Andon, I didn’t come back for two years. Anyway, Mia at least said goodbye to me, Gina just curled up in the corner and looked miserable.

Now, a few weeks before I went away, Gina hurt her foot and she had quite a bad limp.  She got lots of extra attention because of it, not just from me but  also from my guests who were with me at the time. By the time I left, the foot was fine.

When I got back to pick them up, they were both curled up asleep under a cover in their kennel.  I stood at the fence and called their names.  Mia reacted first and just went nuts….Gina saw me, leapt up, came running towards me all excited and then suddenly, about 30 feet from me, she suddenly developed a dreadful limp again…almost had to drag herself to me.  Ah, it was a tragedy…but then she realised I was there, the car was there and it was time to go home, so she bolted into the car, got comfy and back to the house we all came…everyone very happy to be reunited.

I had been thinking about returning to Australia to work the winter.  I wasn’t really sure if I could take a really cold winter, so I started putting my feelers out for work before I went to France.  When I returned and saw my girls and the house and got a lovely welcome back from everyone around me, I made the decision to hunker down here and see what happens.

I knew I had to get organised though.  I needed wood and I needed to stock the house foodwise, in case of getting snowed in.  Though at this time that seems almost impossible as the weather here continues to be very balmy indeed.  While the UK grinds to a halt and western Europe freezes, we’re still having days of 19 degrees and I’ve hardy lit the fire since October. Not  a flake of сняг (snyag – snow) to be seen here yet, even though a bitter winter was forecast earlier this year.  I guess there’s still a few months to go, so maybe I’ll get my white Christmas.

The upside of the warm weather though is that I’ve been able to get so much done in the backyard. My yard has been a nightmare from day one. This year, I’ve made some real progress getting it sorted.

The very back part has been cleaned out and ploughed…the old fashioned way

This is Ivan ( another one) and Mariana…she’s the donkey. The donkeys here are well looked after, and I can see why.  Most of these people wouldn’t manage without one and unlike some countries where they virtually work them to death, the Bulgarians treat them well and I guess that’s the smart thing to do.  They are their work horses.  They all have names, which I think is really cute and they are lovely animals and like the folk around me, they work very hard.

The middle section of the yard was a bit more complicated.  Ivan tried to plough it but all we found was concrete and bricks.  Hristina told me that that area was where all the animals houses and shed had been back in the old days, so I made the decision to get a man and his machine in.  I was put in touch with an English guy called Dave. Yes, I let an englishman onto my property…but they’re not all bad, and this guy is a particularly pleasant fella.  And what a terrific job he did.  He had this mini digger thing on tractor tracks and he managed to skim all the sand and crap from the old floors without smashing them up and so I now have these four different layers of good cement and brick floors.  I was going to put my vegetable garden there, but now I’m thinking I might utilise the good floors somehow, some way and the vege garden can go where Ivan has ploughed for me.

So that’s another big job almost sorted.

As always, it hasn’t all been work.  Ivan, the man that ploughed the yard and his wife Donka are friends of Hristina and Volcho and I was invited to join them all for lunch a few Sundays ago. Again, I had a terrific day and again, with my improved Bulgarian socialising is that much easier.

Lunch was very good. The Bulgarians ‘grow’ rabbits for food, the only thing they’re good for, and on that day one of Ivan and Donka’s BIG (cute) rabbits went to meet its maker and we had a most delicious lunch.  Rabbit can be a bit dry and stringy, but Donka clearly knows how to cook them.  It was gorgeous and I will certainly be seeking the recipe for it.  My contribution was a lemon meringue pie.  I wasn’t sure how it would be received and initially,it was regarded with a certain amount of suspicion, but after a few fingers were poked into it and then into various mouths, Hristina and Donka especially, made a far more serious assault on it.  It was bloody good, even if I say so myself and can on my list of things to take when I’m invited to places.

In between them all telling me I MUST get a man, Hristina managed to organise Ivan to come and plough…so a fruitful day as well.

And this man thing…Ivan used to say to me ‘Sue, you should find a good Bulgarian man’…and I used to laugh and tell him to find me one.  Hristina has never said anything like that to me, but now I’m back here this time, she is…and so’s everyone else.  I feel like I’m under siege and just keep using my ‘I don’t speak enough Bulgarian’ excuse as to why I’m not out hunting a man down.

I think they’re worrying about me in my dotage being alone…and in some ways they might be a little bit right.  I had a terrible fall in my bathroom before I went to France and have to admit to feeling a little frightened when I eventually stopped ricocheting around the bathroom. As I lay on the ground I realised that having the shower over the bath and having to step up into it all the time was dangerous and it’s time to admit I’m 55 not 25 and so the bath is being ripped out and the area will be just a tiled shower space.

But I still reckon I can survive without a live in bloke under my feet 🙂

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and then …

It is with a light heart that I write this tonight.

I was up at the crack of dawn this morning to take my fat bottomed girl up to the animal teaching hospital in Stara Zagora.  Dimitar, a young fella from the village who speaks English, said he would accompany me in case I needed translation and for helping to lift Mia when required, so just after sunrise we hit the road.  I was filled with trepidation and my heart was very heavy, given the information that the vets had given me about her cancer on Tuesday.

Just a few hours after arrival, it was done and the news is very good.  They removed a very large tumour…I asked one of the vets how big and he said that when she had arrived that morning she weighed 55 kilograms, this afternoon she weighed about 54.5…They took a chest Xray and there’s no evidence of lung cancer, which was one of the great concerns on Tuesday.

And the poor love looks a little disheveled with her mostly shaved arse and tail….it’s going to be a cold few days for her I think.  She has a fairly substantial wound and she will be ‘ole buckety’ for a good few weeks

but she’s alive and the vets are pretty optimistic that she will be with me for some time to come…how good is that ??  🙂

To all of you who contacted me after yesterdays entry, a huge thank you.  It helps to deal with stuff like this when you know there are people out there thinking of me…and my dog

Now I can get back to my proper entries…I do have lots to talk about and the weather is forecast to be as cold as charity for the next few days, so a great chance to bring this up to date.

for now…ciao


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I made mention at the end of my last entry that I had lots of news, not all of it good.  When I wrote that I thought I had a little bad news.  Unfortunately, after spending yesterday at the Stara Zagora Animal Teaching Hospital, that news has become a little bigger than I’m quite ready to handle.

Mia has cancer. It’s a canine sarcoma and in a lot of cases the prognosis is good…if it’s caught early and dealt with.  Unfortunately, due to a misdiagnosis by my vet, it’s been dragging on for some months. About 20 days ago it was seen by another vet, Yanko, who said it must be biopsied immediately.  He removed the tumour sent it off to Stara Zagora for testing and sadly, it came back positive AND to make matters worse, in the ten days her wound was healing, the tumour started to grow again.  Yanko cut it out, again and again, within ten days it started to grow.

He trained in Stara Zagora and assured me they have the best facilities, the best vets, so yesterday I took Mia there. They told me that it is serious and if there is metastasis, it could have spread to her lungs.

Tomorrow we return to try one more operation. This will be a bigger one as they intend to remove a lot of surrounding tissue to try and get all the tumour.  If it regrows after this, then her time is up.

I’m completely shattered and utterly devastated.

Wish us luck tomorrow…

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I thought I had finished with France, but going through my pictures the other day I remembered something else.

As you have probably worked out by now, I have something of a soft spot for dogs and while in France, I was both amused and interested in all the different ones I saw.  The French clearly love their dogs and no matter where we went there would be one or many…

So say ‘hello’ to the dogs of France…..

The first I met belonged to Debs friend Mikey.  His name’s Oscar and he really is a terrific little dog.  I met his mum and she was a beautiful Golden Lab, but obviously his father was a travellin’ man

He was such fun.  Deb and I took him for a few walks and he is just such a fun dog.  Deb even lets him in her car, and she’s not that enamored by dogs.

There were plenty more around the village, lazing in the town square

and generally being busy ( or not) in various parts of Deb’s village.

And no one seems to mind..they’re very much part of the local scenery.

Everywhere we went we saw dogs.  Some were huge:

Some were cute and interesting:

Quite a few were those nasty, snappy little Ba*****s that you just want to dropkick down the street ( not that I ever would), but you know what I mean…

and this one had so many diamante around it’s neck, that it could hardly lift it’s snarling little head…

Some were just ordinary,everyday dogs going about their daily business…

There were hairy ones ;

Hunting ones:

One dressed as a hunter;

and some that were just plumb dog ugly, no matter from which angle you looked at them:

Add an Image

but all of them were clearly loved and cared for and none of the owners were at all reluctant for me to take pics…in fact, most of them posed their dogs for me, so I had to share them with you.

enjoy  🙂

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There just aren’t enough hours in the day here.  I’ve been very busy indeed, and as always my website and my emails suffer. But I’ve got a lot done and the house is coming along at a gallop….I’m as happy as a pig in poo.

I decided that I wasn’t going to miss out on the  seasonal produce this time, so I’ve been eyeballing (and procuring) as much produce as I can for free and buying up other stuff when it’s at peak production, and therefore cheapest prices. I have a cupboard full of mulberry, strawberry, apricot and peach jam. I’ve got peach chutney and three fruit marmalade and some terrific plum sauce. I’ve got a freezer full of tomato pulp and various stewed fruits for cooler weather pies …or something.

And my tomato bushes are still producing a little, so there’s going to be probably one last cook up.  Maybe some Lutinitza.

The peaches are just coming to the end of their season, so in between all the cooking, I’ve eaten my own body weight in the damned things. God, they are just gorgeous, so many a meal recently has been peaches and yoghurt, or peaches and ice cream or just a big plate of juicy, delicious peaches.

So that’s my excuse for not keeping my site up to date…and I’m sticking to it.

It’s been really, really hot for quite a few weeks, but amazingly, yesterday, the first day of Autumn saw the temperatures plummet.  It’s gone from high 30s down to low 20s…I’m cold !!!

The change in season was heralded by an almighty storm on Tuesday afternoon, the last day of summer.  It came roaring in and, just to keep me on my toes, was enough to smash a window upstairs.  I guess this is just  part of living in a house with over 100 large windows.  There’s been many a window smashed here in the short time I’ve owned the house. Now I’ve found the glass repair man, I did ask about safety glass. Only in Sofia, apparently…

Anyway, it’s off to Yambol tomorrow to get the bloody thing repaired..thank god it’s only a few lev.

And my house…

As much as I regret losing Ivan, it’s interesting just how much more I’m getting done.  I became far too dependent on him, but he did come into my life when I was very sick and vulnerable and I let him do things.  He was always telling me not to do heavy work, he would sort it, and I let him. I guess what I failed to see was how slowly thing were moving, because I was often waiting for him to sort different things out for me. I’ll never forget the time he was a big part of my Bulgarian experience, but I’m my old independent self again and I’m fairly ripping through the work.

And the new builders ?? fabulous….

take a peek at the changes…

Now, anyone who has visited me in this house will remember the incredibly precarious stairs…with no ballustrades !!

One of the last things my Sister in Law, Enid said to me as I left Australia was ‘get those bloody stairs sorted’ !!

well, I have.  Not only do I have railings, but tiles as well

The railings are still to be painted, but as I type, Lozev paints…

And they’re still as steep as buggery, but your mountain climb will be so much more pleasurable because they look so much nicer AND you’ve got something to grab onto as you struggle to reach the top   🙂

The large area of very rough and ugly cement at the front of the house has gone through a bit of a change.  A large, old Russian truck arrived one morning and dropped off even MORE cement

The truck was driven by a big bloke that looked and sounded like a Bond villain, Russian, of course.   I was leaning over the balcony taking pictures and decided I wanted one of him.  He spotted me, posed on the step of the truck and said, in a very deep and heavily accented voice, ‘hello dollink, you take my picture, yes ‘?

Well, yes… and here he is

Anyway, he drove off and the men got to work.  

And not too many hours later, and after a visit from a metal worker, the house looks like this:

And yes, that’s Lozev…still painting, painting, painting.

One of the main things I’ve wanted since coming back is a fence that will keep my little darlings in.  My Gina has always had a real talent for escaping, so I asked the builder to think ‘dog proof’ while it was being constructed. Now, your average Bulgaria man doesn’t much like getting advice,specially from a woman.  Dimitor( builder) kept telling me the fence would be very high and that was what I needed.  I explained that my dogs were too bloody lazy to get out of their own way, let alone over a fence.  I stressed that they were under the fence dogs, not over.  Did they listen ? Not for a moment, and when the fence was finished, it looked great, and it was very tall indeed.

And how long do you think it confounded Gina ??  About 10 minutes actually.  And she is such a  bitch, in more ways than one.

I watched her from the window, just to see what she would do.  She did the entire perimeter until she found a weak point.  She immediately started to squeeze herself under.  I shouted her name, over and over.  She looked back at me and with a contemptuous flick of her tail, she was gone.  Mia was contemplating joining her, but perhaps my tone of voice was enough to make her hesitate. Needless to say, when madam eventually came home, soaking wet and covered in black mud, it was the chain and the tiniest dinner she’s ever seen in her life…and the cold shoulder from me.

I rang the builder, and we have now (hopefully) ‘Gina Proofed’ the fence.  Sometimes cement really is the best thing in the world.

Another thing I’ve always wanted here was a nice area, under the grapevines, to spend the lovely summer evenings…and I’m well on the way now to having just that.

I had to sacrifice half my tomato garden

But there’s a very nice man called Stoyan down there right now who’s making it lovely

He’s doing the stonework at the moment and hopefully, I’ll get a few last warmish nights so I can take advantage of it.  They’ve already installed a power point in the garden so that me, the Queen of fairy lights, can turn it into a lovely little twinkling corner of my garden.

What else ???

I’m going to see if I can stretch my money a little further and get the last wall of the house rendered.  Unfortunately the money I lost to Ivan has made a large hole in my budget, but I’m thinking of heading back to Australia for the worst of the winter months to work and earn some more money to make up for my loss…if I can get some work, of course.

And my lovely, albeit sometimes naughty girls?  They are just pure joy for me. I’m still can’t help going downstairs and spending time with them in amongst all the work I’m doing. Gina is turning into a ‘talking’ dog and always has plenty to say, especially first thing in the morning. She and I are a little alike …we’re both a little past our use by date and she awakens as stiff as me in the morning. The two of us have this sort of walk around the yard first thing, stretching our aching bones and making groaning and cracking noises….

Mia, on the other hand, just goes nuts every morning and runs around and around the yard…gallumping around with her huge happy face beaming.

They’ve both lost weight, which is good. Though I didn’t really want Gina to lose too much, it seems to be coming off her faster than off Mia, which is the wrong way around really. I take them for a walk/run every day, or when I can and they just love it.  Mia now walks up to their leads, which are hanging off the front window, and takes them in her mouth pulling them towards me in the hope that I’ll spend my entire life walking them around the village.

Because of the builders being here, and because every Bulgarian is scared of Karakachans, the girls are having to spend a lot of the day in their compound.  Mia is constantly plotting a way out and always gives me the badly done by prisoner thing when I go out there

I think she really was contemplating whether she could squeeze her enormous self through this window in a bid for freedom

but when I suddenly appeared, she cleared off back behind her mother.  Which is also very funny…when Mia is in trouble, she tries to hide behind Gina.  It really is like an elephant hiding behind a mouse.

I reckon that’s probably enough for today.  Ciao for now

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My little darling…

There are 3,742 reasons why I never had children…

I got me a couple of dogs instead, but after the last couple of days, I’m almost thinking children might have been a  better option.  And why am I saying this ?  That’s a question only Mia can really answer, but as she is a dog, I’ll have to answer for her…just before I strangle her. !!

Let me take you back to Saturday afternoon…

Ivan delivered bags of cement here for the start of the work on my balconies.  The driest and safest place to store them seemed to be the garage, and so they were all stacked in there.

I was busy doing things around the place and suddenly realised that I wasn’t hearing a lot from the dogs.  They usually hang around me quite a bit, so their absence is always noticeable. I went searching and was greeted at the garage door by a very large, very ‘grey’ dog with a great big stupid cement filled grin.!!

Bloody Hell !!  Mia had been playing in amongst the cement bags…half of them were torn open and she had clearly been having a wonderful time. Gina’s innate sense of Catholic/Jewish guilt had stopped her from participating…she was sitting in the back corner of the garage looking very uncomfortable indeed.  She certainly knew that what was going on wasn’t going to please me.

Actually, my first reaction was to laugh because Mia really did look funny…completely grey and as happy as a sandman.  But then I looked at the reality of it and quickly figured that ingesting cement probably wasn’t going to do her  much good.  I dragged her around to the hose and did my best to flush out her mouth and get the lumps of cement off her gums and teeth.  She’s a very good dog…I had my hand right in her mouth and she never once resisted me or growled or made any attempt to bite.. She’s a very big , strong dog and I’ve no doubt if she wanted to, she could take my hand off at the wrist, but she was a very good girl.

Anyway, I watched her for the next few hours and noted that she was having difficulty eating, not a  problem my girls ever have, and I knew there was something amiss. I just had to get to the vet and find out what damage had been done to her.

So, first thing yesterday morning I filled my car with dogs.  Yes, I know there’s only two of them, but that constitutes a car full of dogs for me. And off we went to town.  Mia was still very quiet and I was feeling a lot of concern about what might be the outcome of her crazy day in the garage.

The good news is that she’s fine, but she had done damage. Apparently cement ‘burns’ and she’d burnt all the delicate tissue in her mouth, her tongue and her gums.  They looked worse than they were, and it’s amazing what an injection of anti-inflammatories and antibiotics will do.  She back to her old form today….big, boisterous and full of joy and mischief AND she got stuck into her breakfast this morning  like an animal who had never been fed.

It was a big day at the vets for both of them..they both had their ‘we don’t want any babies just yet’ injections and Gina had a pedicure, well, she had her nails clipped, and I got to give my first injections. Rather than cart the dogs into Yambol everytime they require rabies shots, or ‘no babies’ shots or whatever, I can just buy the drugs and do them myself.  Maria taught me how to do them and I was so nervous about it.  I was sticking needles into my girls and I felt this enormous sense of responsibility…crazy really.

We managed to get them both on the scales…Mia came in at 53 Ks and Gina a mere 35Ks…

And the best part of it all…I walked out of there yesterday with two mostly healthy dogs that had had injections and pedicures and care, a handful of pills and potions for Mia’s mouth, the next lot of worming tablets for them plus 15 Ks of biscuits for 89 lev…They’re happy and I’m certainly happy.

Here’s a little Bulgarian lesson for you:  The English word ‘happy’ is the Bulgarian word for ‘bite’…so never say to a Bulgaria that your dogs are happy, because they will back away very quickly indeed  🙂

Today, my house is echoing with the sounds of scaffolding going up around the building.  There’s downpipes to be put on the house and I’m getting another wall rendered. There’s various Bulgarian rough wandering around on my numerous balconies repairing and strengthening them and making them look nice and one day, in the fullness of time, I’ll get a decent fence so the dogs can roam a little more around the yard.  I did ask Ivan if the fence could be done first-ish, but that seems to have fallen on deaf ears. The rest of the work is pretty important anyway, so I’m just thankful that there’s something happening.

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Phew !!  Nana’s been a wee bit sick.  Bloody hell, I can see why they call it ‘Grip’, it gets a hold of you and won’t let go for love nor money.   I’ve even had to take to my bed for extended periods during the day.  But like everything in life, one can usually find something amusing and even in my sweaty, feverish days (and nights) I’ve been amused by the sounds coming from my chest…thank God I don’t smoke anymore actually because I reckon I’d be dead if I’d combined smoking with whatever is in my chest.  Anyway, if you’ve ever picked up a squeezebox or a piano accordion in your life without knowing how to play it, you know the strange range of sounds that can come out of it…think of those sounds and you’ve got the noises coming from me just now.  I’ve been lying in bed  just breathing, as you do, and I’ve had noises both when inhaling and exhaling, so the opportunity has been there to see just how much I can vary the sounds…and I can.  🙂  I’ll be a lot happier when I can’t though. My cleaning regime has ground to a halt basically because I don’t have any energy. However, today, after 24 hours drinking a tea made with chunks of lemon, handfuls of mint, fresh garlic, cloves and large dollops of Miladinovtsi honey I’m feeling decidedly better and ready to tackle the house again.

And I haven’t been completely house bound.

It was my birthday on Wednesday..and no, the bottle of Verve I picked up in Dubai on the way over did not get opened.  I was too crook and couldn’t see any point in wasting it. Anyway, when I lived here before, the Mayor used to ring me every year to wish me Happy Birthday and even though I’ve been away for two years, he remembered. First thing Wednesday my phone rang and I was greeted with a great big ‘Chestita Roj Den Den’ (Happy birthday).  Now, a little aside here…while I was in Australia, Dimitor and Sanka, The Mayor and Mayoress, lost their only child, their daughter. I attended the christening of her first child in 2007, she was such a young woman and I was devastated when Ivan rang me to tell me the terrible news.  I guess I’d kinda been avoiding going up to say hello to them since my return.  In Some situations I’m not as courageous as people think I am, and facing them after their awful tragedy with my limited Bulgarian somehow seemed a little daunting. But when Dimitor rang me for my birthday, I realised that these are more than just some folk I know in a village, they are my friends, and friends are there for you when times are bad and good.  So I got myself dressed and headed up to see them, and it was as hard as I thought it would be, but not because of the language barrier.  Dimitor, as the Mayor, is the person that everyone looks up to, the person that everyone goes to when they have problems… Sanka, his wife also plays a strong role in the village. They are the strength of the village. As I walked up into the village centre, he was walking towards me.  We shook hands, did the cheek to cheek kissing and exchanged a few words. He then started to talk about his daughter and I could see him crumbling…he just looked defeated. I just wasn’t sure what the right thing to do was or whether there was some protocol I should follow, so I did the thing I seem to do best in times of peoples stress and distress…I gave him a great big Sue Mercer bear hug. I probably frightened the living bejezus out of him, but it just seemed the thing to do at the time.  I asked about Sanka, and she was walking through the park in the village centre so I headed over to see her as well. Sanka’s a woman of quiet strength but like Dimitor, she looked exhausted and a little defeated, so after a few tears (from both of us) I did the same to her as I had to her husband, just hugged her really hard and hoped that she could draw a little strength from me…I have plenty to give.

Now, there’s more….me and my storks.  There are a couple of new kids on the block and they’ve moved in just up the road from my house.  I can see them from the window that I’m sitting in front of writing this.

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and they’re building a new nest up there, which sees them wandering around on the ground collecting sticks and the like

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But, there’s something going on with other storks around the village.  I think it’s possibly territorial and last night there was some dive bombing going on.

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So the new kids were defending their nest last night, but all seems settled today and they’re back building again.

While I was out taking pics of the storks at war, the homing sheep came home

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and for a moment, I thought they were all going to come home with me.  They seemed a little surprised to find me standing in the middle of their road and proceeded to crowd around me, baa-ing loudly

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and miles behind them, looking a tad weary, came the shepherd

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Life in the village continues on:  Volcho’s donkey still gives a nightly performance when it’s time to come in and Volcho is forever patient, eventually getting her in the yard

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and though Gorgi’s donkey may love to sleep on the road, she’s much better behaved when it comes to being put to bed at night

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I have more to say, but I think this is a little long, so will leave it now and write a little more later….

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