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 A month on...

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oldun
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PostSubject: A month on...   Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:35 pm

Some of you maybe interested in how we are getting on here in Blighty. Its a month today that we arrived at our caravan in Felixstowe. Its beautifully cosy and warm though we will probably go through quite a few gas bottles this winter. Not too cold yet but often a bit murky. Arctic weather on its way apparently but nothing we can do about that.
It was quite a relief when our lovely dog, Xera, arrived the following day none the worse for her long journey. Our removers were great and helped pack and unpack and looked after the dog very well. She was even more hyper than usual as she had so many different things to see and smell and no big garden to roam in. However, as many told me, she seemed happy to be with us and liked the caravan balcony and soon made a home for herself outside in the small shed provided with the caravan! Not keen on the proper kennel I bought and destroyed the dog cushion I installed preferring the waterproof cushion covered with a couple of her smelly blankets. She has got used to the beach although not interested in going into the sea. She also loves the park and in both places she can have a good run and I have to go equipped with her usual treats and her poop bag! Other dogs seem a bit wary of this jumping, spotty animal who just wants to play.
There are some very nice people both on the campsite and in the town. It seems strange to have long conversations at the bus stop or with fellow dog walkers! Not what I expected from comments of fellow Brits in Bulgaria who gave dire warnings about what we would face. There are a couple of real pubs nearby and my Hero has become a popular member of the crowd.

Of course, not everything is as we would like. Although my Hero has work, it is not what he really wants but needs must until something else comes along. I spend 100pounds a week on the housekeeping which is double what I spent in Bulgaria and doesn't include bills for gas and that is on a strict budget using a nearby Lidls and Iceland. I have applied for Pension Credit, to which I am entitled, to top up my pension. There is no way 2 of us could live on my basic State Pension here. What a rigmarole that was - goodness knows how immigrants can get all their benefits especially with no or limited language. It starts off online, as absolutely everything does nowadays, and I found on the website that they say the quickest way to apply is by phone!!!! Bulgaria I love you still! Having spent nearly an hour answering question after question about both of us I then was told to wait for a house check. Two weeks later a very nice lady arrived and interviewed us for another hour. I have finally just received a letter stating that my pension credit will only start a month after arrival. No real problem but when you read the press it seems that immigrants come in, get a NI number and help immediately. How do they do it, IF they can do it? Also, bus pass forms filled in together with proof of age and accommodation documents and as my permanent address is my daughters in Cambridge it all had to be done through that address. It will take about a month.

Apart from these hiccups, we have settled surprisingly well although I had a fall when walking the dog a couple of weeks ago which I could have done without. It really shook me up and my back and hips still really hurt. I finally went to the doctor who reassured me it was a pulled muscle and to keep taking painkillers and rub in ointment. Also, got a prescription for my blood pressure pills. Gratified to hear that my blood pressure is now normal which it hadn't been in Bulgaria even taking the pills.

Its been nice having family close although only my eldest daughter has been able to visit. She bought a second-hand bike for my Hero to ride to work as he also sprained his ankle and had difficulty walking. What a pair we are.

How do I find Britian? Well there are good and bad things of course. Mostly the Christmas frenzy is in full swing here and of course I miss the bright blue skies of Bulgaria and the lovely white snow. People seem quite spoilt in their quest for buying things which I have learnt after my years abroad, are really not necessary. People think they are poor when they should live in a Bulgarian village to understand real poverty. Having said that, of course there is real poverty here and people living on the streets and even having to use soup kitchens which just shows the difference between the rich with jobs and nice houses and those with no work or hope of any.

Its lovely to eat fish and chips on the beach front and there is a Sunday market even in the winter which draws many people out with family and/or dogs. It is largely an elderly population so I feel quite at home here beside the sea and watching the waves crash on the beach wrapped up just as I would be in Bulgaria.

Do I miss Bulgaria? Of course I do and it was quite hard for the first two weeks thinking of our Bulgarian village friends we left behind and our comfy home. However, overall, I know we made the right decision and once winter is over it will get easier and better here. I have had an email from our buyers who visited for a week in November. They love the house and didn't want to leave so that was so good to hear. We are going to keep in touch.

As for the Brits that drove us to such despair, I hope they are now happy that we have gone.

I wish all of you on this great forum a Very Happy Christmas and New Year.
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Equinus
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PostSubject: Re: A month on...   Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:07 am

Good to hear you are all settling in so well Oldun. g

Dave and Sara

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PostSubject: Re: A month on...   Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:03 am

Great to hear from you and glad you are settling into your new life.

Love the pic of your dog on the beach.
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Chris
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PostSubject: Re: A month on...   Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:15 am

Thanks for the update oldun ... I'm glad you're settling in
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PostSubject: Re: A month on...   Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:01 am

What a lovely post oldun - you seemed to have settled in OK and negotiated the intrepid benefit system. When we were in the UK we went to a restaurant every Saturday in Surbiton and it was owned by two men and one was from Albania and other from Macedonia and they new the benefits system like the back of their hand. Nesti used to perform translations for the benefits system and court cases and was well paid for his services. If there was anything we needed to know about the system they were the ones to ask and I am sure that is how things are done over there. As for yourselves, the system does not work in favour of retired people and the state requires you to have intimate knowledge of what you can claim and what you cannot claim. At the end of every financial year there are £billions not claimed because retired people have not claimed certain benefits and the government probably pat themselves on the back for saving the money and making the system difficult to negotiate. Anyway rant over . . . enjoy yourselves, your dog looks real happy on the beach!!

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PostSubject: Re: A month on...   Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:18 am

Nice post oldun . . as interesting as always. Good luck David and Brenda
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oldun
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PostSubject: Re: A month on...   Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:54 pm

yipee - I have my winter heating allowance of 200 pounds! Should buy about 3 large gas bottles but every little helps.

My Hero thought he should apply for Jobseekers Allowance as his work runs out before Christmas. He gave up! After I went online I found that the questions were exactly the same as I had answered and it ended up that he had to go to the local Jobcentre to get an appointment in Ipswich which is our nearest centre. So why the online part of the exercise? Cost cutting in staffing and time I expect. Also, its not worth it as whatever he would get would be deducted from our Pension Credit. It seems that everything is designed to make it so difficult that many, like us, just give up. I think this is what you were saying Itchyfeet. Its bad enough having to ask for help without being made to feel you are being 'difficult'. Having said that, the man in Housing Benefit said straight off that it was my right and I filled in the same forms once again only to find I can't have anything until I am awarded Pension Credit but at least the forms are filled in.

I know this is nothing to do with Bulgaria, but anyone else making the move might find it of interest and also, when we all complain about Bulgarian Bureaucracy just compare it to what we are experiencing in Britain. The only upside is that we can speak and understand the language. We will get there in the end and I am not so worried as I was in the first few weeks and I do have some savings for now, but it is difficult to understand the media hype about immigrants seemingly finding it so easy to get their benefits. Its NOT!
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PostSubject: Re: A month on...   Wed Dec 04, 2013 1:20 pm

oldun, It's refreshing to open up the forum and find up to date information on your well-being and your transition period. I have felt that the postings you contributed in the pass have been a great asset to many members and of course the forum itself, so T for that
If you ever want to have a holiday or just a visit back to Bulgaria, pay your air fares and you can have my villa FREE for one week
Enjoy yourself in your new abode and surroundings. Please would you pm me your email address
All the best to you both and the hound
Bryan g

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Equinus
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PostSubject: Re: A month on...   Wed Dec 04, 2013 1:46 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
oldun, It's refreshing to open up the forum and find up to date information on your well-being and your transition period. I have felt that the postings you contributed in the pass have been a great asset to many members and of course the forum itself, so T for that
If you ever want to have a holiday or just a visit back to Bulgaria, pay your air fares and you can have my villa FREE for one week
Enjoy yourself in your new abode and surroundings. Please would you pm me your email address
All the best to you both and the hound
Bryan g


What a lovely offer!

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oldun
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PostSubject: Re: A month on...   Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:41 pm

T :Thank you:Willowsend it is truly a fabulous offer. I know the story of your terrible problems which I have supported as best I could. I hope eventually 'you know who' will eventually give up. There is so much bullying these days that one wonders what on earth is happening to people. I love watching the old movies on British TV which is the world I was brought up in and I can also hear every word! Is it just me or does the dialogue really go too fast to understand nowadays? [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

Apparently we oldies are part of today's financial problems with paying our pensions and asking for help via benefits and living longer. Sorry about that but not long ago I remember people over 40 were being made redundant whereas now people have to work until they are 70. How will that work in some industries??? The world has gone mad but I think the only way to cope is to take one day at a time and enjoy the moment. Life can be quite good if you take little notice of the media. I do more book reading now and rarely buy a newspaper.

I am basically a happy and optimistic person but there are days..... Basically I still think that Bulgaria has a lot to offer and in spite of its problems, it is still easier to live cheaply and relatively comfortably, at least until, or if, Bulgaria goes into the Euro. Goodness knows what will happen then especially in the villages.
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PostSubject: Re: A month on...   Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:16 am

Great to hear from you flower thanks a million for the update.

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PostSubject: Re: A month on...   Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:24 am

Berni and Dougie
Good to see that you are back safe and sound in your holiday home. Hope you found everything in order and the key fitted the front door

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PostSubject: Re: A month on...   Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:49 am

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Berni and Dougie
Good to see that you are back safe and sound in your holiday home. Hope you found everything in order and the key fitted the front door

Thanks Willow it was a struggle getting Dougie home, he really wanted to stay there but you know how persuasive I can be We are here now until March so have lots and lots of work to do - just have to work out a way to raise transport funds now I will be uploading the wonderful photos you too at the Garden Party soon, thankful I have a proper internet connection now. s

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PostSubject: Re: A month on...   Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:59 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Thanks Willow it was a struggle getting Dougie home, he really wanted to stay there but you know how persuasive I can be We are here now until March so have lots and lots of work to do - just have to work out a way to raise transport funds now I will be uploading the wonderful photos you too at the Garden Party soon, thankful I have a proper internet connection now. s

Poor old Dougie, shame on you Berni, he obviously likes living here in BG!!


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PostSubject: Re: A month on...   Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:38 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Thanks Willow it was a struggle getting Dougie home, he really wanted to stay there but you know how persuasive I can be We are here now until March so have lots and lots of work to do - just have to work out a way to raise transport funds now I will be uploading the wonderful photos you too at the Garden Party soon, thankful I have a proper internet connection now. s

Poor old Dougie, shame on you Berni, he obviously likes living here in BG!!


:: ::


Actually Itchy I would have liked to stay myself but unfortunately the villa is not set up for winter and with Dougie's heart condition I have no doubt if he had stayed, he would not spring. Next year will be better - I will be on the look out for a burner and boiler for the cellar as well as the radiators so if anyone hears of this heating system for sale please do let me know. :Handshake:ABC had one for sale some time ago and I wish I had got it than.

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