There and back again.

I have become a considerable landowner. The week before I flew to Bulgaria, the Council sent me a letter notifying me that I had an allotment. I had a look at it, it was a split allotment, it had been divided in two, just the right size. It was situated across town, a 10min bike ride away. I sent off the agreement and committed to pay £12.50 a year rental. I came back from Bulgaria, cleared the ground on the allotment, chopped back the hedge and dug four rows. The soil was quite heavy but looked productive. The following day I got a letter from the Council notifying me that I had an allotment. This time on Welland Park Road (very convenient). I had a look at it. Not as picturesque as the other one and quite untidy. But, the soil is very good. I rang the man at the Council (a Mr Parrott). I pointed out that I would like the Welland Park allotment, but I had already dug my other one. Can I have both I asked? I thought your name was familiar he said, I have made a mistake offering you two. Can I have both I asked again. Well I made the offer, so you can, he said. Nice Mr Parrott. This one costs £14 a year. I shall be drilling for oil soon.

Nan, Roger and I went to Bulgaria. I drove up to Thurcroft on Wednesday, via Newark to see Charlotte and Ellis. I drove back with Nan on Thursday. I picked Roger up on Friday and all three of us caught the 6.45pm train to Luton Airport. Our flight was an hour late and eventually we flew with WIZZAIR at 11pm to Sofia. We were first on the flight, first off and first out of the airport (team work!). We arrived at 3am (Bulgarian time) and David and Genya were there to meet us. We were tired. After a 3.5 hour drive along roads that had not improved from last time, we arrived in Ritya. We went to bed.

We didn’t go anywhere for a few days, the weather was pleasant and Roger and we busied ourselves with David, chopping down trees and sawing into logs. During the week we ate out on three occasions (very cheap). We visited the local Monastery, Veliko Turnovo and the local market in Dryanovo. The weather turned very hot. 35 degrees in the shade!!!! We did a few jobs around the property in the early mornings, but it was too hot to do anything after that. Roger and I did buy some honey off a neighbour in the village and planned lots of walks that we didn’t go on because of the heat. We spent a lot of time near the pool, though only those called David ever went into it. We did a lot of talking, dozing and listening to Nan. David’s house looks very nice now, quite comfortable. One evening was chilly so we lit the fire in the lounge and the room got very hot, very quickly. The insulation work we did last November has certainly worked. We cooked some bread on the oven above the fire, cooked it very fast and some got burnt. I was in the loo when the bread was dished out, guess who got the burnt ones!

The return journey was a re-run of the previous week. A midnight start and a four hour gentle drive to the airport. First on the plane, first off, first to the train station and then a 2 hour wait for a train to Harborough, because of Sunday track workings. Went to bed when we arrived home.

I took Nan back home via Newark on Tuesday. I picked up Charlotte, Lucas and Ellis. They were coming back to Harborough as Charlotte wanted to check out the pre-schools and nurseries in the area. Sue was working on Wednesday so I drove them around all the establishments we could find and looked after Ellis. Suraj joined them that evening. He is now working in Wellingborough and has been suffering a 2 hour drive each way from Newark. He looked tired. He has bought a Fiat Brava to save on petrol, but it is still costing £25 a day. On Thursday both Sue and I were at St. Joseph’s, so Charlotte and the kids were wrinkly free! Suraj had a car run into the back of his Brava on the on the way to work at 7pm. Not much damage but, as it is an insurance job he is picking up a courtesy car this week. Hope it is economical on petrol. On Friday I took Charlotte and the kids to look at the schools in Desborough. Loatlands is just 5 mins walk away. The Head is Andy Spencer, I went to DeMontfort University with him and we also played rugby together. I think I rather confused him, he didn’t know whether to offer a cup of coffee, pass us on to the secretary, let the Foundation teacher take us to the unit or go to the pub for a pint. We had a look around his foundation unit, quite impressive, very efficient Unit leader. Shame FF couldn’t employ her.

Charlotte is hoping that the house will be built for Christmas and they do seem to be cracking on with it. They are on the second story, but the roof needs to be on before the weather turns. They are getting headaches negotiating with the builders on doors, wardrobes etc. It is amazing how the cost of things seems to mount up. Stressful time, glad I am not moving house.

Jamie sat down with me this morning and wants me to help him attempt to get on the Housing ladder. We shall be looking into purchasing a one-bed apartment in a new build by the railway station. Could be an investment for him, but he should have started saving a lot sooner and not wasted so much money on his car. He seems serious about it, so we shall find out what it entails and if he can get a mortgage. More on this no doubt in the future.

On Saturday the Newarks went back to Newark and I refereed my first game of the season. It was in Leicester, the Vipers were playing Harborough Vets. A bit of a shock for the guys when they turned up. They narrowly lost with a try against the run of play in the last 2 minutes, they nearly scored at the death, but a desperate defence kept them away from the try line.

On October 3rd I am off to Italy to do some grape picking, and meet up with an old friend Wags. I will be taking an old dog with me, Roger.

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