Thunderstorms forecast, but never appeared. We did have a small amount during the night, but nothing significant (according to David’s coffee cup left on the garden wall, 2 days ago). It was a fine sunny day.
I had decided to attempt a new circular route for Banjo’s walk and set off down the lane towards Dryanovo with a bouncy, tail wagging mutt sniffing every blade of shrivelled grass behind me. Kicking off to the right through the second stand of trees past the (very dry) cornfield, we followed an old logging track. Around a quarter of a mile it fizzled out into a small glade where in the past the loggers had made their base for that week, long ago. We know followed animal tracks towards our goal, the little overgrown field next to David’s place. After a while we lost site of the house of Ritya and I navigated using the outline of the surrounding mountains, then I lost that support as we dipped down into ravine after ravine.
The sun was now getting quite hot and the ups and downs of our trek, as it had now degenerated into, had become quite tiresome as the trees and bushes became thicker and thicker. We stopped awhile in a small glade for a chat and a wuff and then carried on. Breaking through some bushes we came across a swampy area where two clefts in the ground met, as it lay in the direction of our journey’s end we pressed on, soon to be stopped by a pond surrounded by thousands of hoof prints. We had found the place where the deer drink. Banjo decided to cool off by plunging into the rather stagnant and muddy water, he loved I don’t think David would.
With some difficulty we managed to circumnavigate the pool and again followed animal treks in our now supposed direction. Banjo had started to take the lead and I trusted his nose. Crossing one more ravine which I hoped I recognised from previous years we were stopped by a thicket of thorn bushes. There ensued a one way conversation. I wanted to cut right where the barbs seemed less fierce and also towards where I judged home to be. He wanted to go left following a low trail under the thorns towards a stand of trees. It was a stand-off. I made to go my way, he didn’t move! I called him, he just stared, determinedly. “You had better be F…..ing right,” I said and made in his direction. He wagged his tail and set off. Fifteen metres further on we hit the track that was our original aim. He was lucky!
Ten minutes later we were walking through the new reconditioned gateway and a much needed cup of coffee and bowl of water.
After a quick change of clothes from the ragged, thorn scraped tatters which I had arrived back with, David and I (less Banjo, fast asleep on the bed) set off for a much needed appointment at a garage in Gabrovo.
On arrival David was assured that the car would be hooked up to the technology and the fault identified. The journey there had been quite ‘lumpy’ so I was feeling grateful. It would take an hour, o we had a walk into the city/town. We visited a plumbers merchant to enquire about taps, a car shop to enquire about the cost of a new coil-set that David thought might be the problem and Lidl to buy dog food. On return to the garage we were told the diagnostics had not shown up anything and on trying the car David thought it felt smoother. They had tightened the leads said the mechanic. Perked up by this news we decided to have lunch at the Bulgarian Heritage Village and visit the little workshops there. That was where we spent the afternoon. A lovely place and well worth a visit if ever in the area. Despite the time of year there were quite a few other tourists, though most seemed to be Russian and little interested in the history and more occupied with texting.
On the way back over the mountain to Ritya our little car got lumpier and lumpier until finally it gave up. Brilliant. Despite starting again after a few minutes wait, I was not reassured that it had never let David down. I have been telling him for the last 3 weeks that the car is getting progressively worse and he should put it in a garage to get it sorted. Tomorrow, I fly from Sofia (maybe).
Later that evening we drove into Dryanovo to eat. On the way there the car gave up again. After starting, it was decided fill up with gas and petrol in readiness for tomorrows 3 hour, midnight drive over mountains higher than the Shipka Pass to the aeroport. As David filled up he informed me that his rear number plate light cluster had fallen out and that the bulb was not working, plus one of the side-lights. The police were stopping cars further down the road (he had spotted hem) and he was going to get some bulbs in the garage and put them in now. After selotaping the cluster to the boot door I was further depressed when he informed me that the garage didn’t sell bulbs. As we left the garage with David planning a route that wouldn’t take him past the police check, luckily they had moved on, so plan B came into operation and we drove to another garage across town and purchased the bulbs. I think they worked, no doubt the police would confirm this if we came across them.
We watched Bulgaria v Czech Republic on the TV in the bar with three ‘butch’ locals attempting to wade through a 2kg pizza and several glasses of wine. Bulgaria lost 1:0 and look like missing out on Rio. Back in Ritya, after another shutdown for the car, I followed the England v Poland match on the BBC website. It read like an exciting match, but difficult to watch for for the faithful. I guess 2:0 was the right result and should ensure that there will be no immigrants hanging from lamp posts back in Sleaford and Boston, or for that matter Harborough.
Through necessity (hopefully) I am continuing this blog into today as I should be back in the UK the next time I switch on my tablet. David woke early and set off for Gabrovo. I think he is planning to buy the part he thinks is causing the problem and fit it back here. I hope he puts the car into Crassy’s garage and get them to fit, fix or keep and lend him a courtesy car. Assuming of course that the car makes it to Gabrovo or indeed that is where he is going and doesn’t change his mind in the meantime. He was thinking of replacing the fuel filter, but as I pointed out that he has been running the car on gas for most of the time that is not the problem as it appears during the use of both fuels. I wasn’t reassured that he said that it needed changing anyway. That sounded desperate.
After this mornings shortish walk with Banjo I have set about making a rockery for Genya. She requested that it be put on the list and we never got around to it. If I am still here when she returns in two weeks time, it just might please her enough to continue to house and feed me.
As for now, I toil breaking rocks and wait. We shall see.