Countryside Holiday Homes - A Dream Undone

The idea of a holiday home in the Bulgarian countryside paints this lovely picture of living in a beautiful unspoilt part of the world with an abundance of nature around. Wake and get real, it is a major headache for many who fall into this trap of Eden waiting for them.

It's not so bad in towns and cities without gardens, perhaps just a yard, but in the villages and rural areas it can be a nightmare with the land that comes with the property. Nature being nature takes over is left to run free and invade the land turning into a jungle and breaching the property with their wedge affect roots, lifting cement based foundations with ease. The vermin and insect community take residence there and eat their way into every nook and granny. Ants actually enjoy picking up grain of mortar and storing it elsewhere, so even if you think you property is sealed, think again, eventually a maze of tunnels will give access to more insects and vermin if left unattended.

My brother has a house in Bulgaria some 15 kilometres from Yambol City, right next to the River Tundzha. To be quite honest you couldn't get a better setting. It is a dream house in a dream position and bought and renovated at a dream price. It is only used for maybe two or three weeks a year.

It is left for up to 6 months without anyone living there and the problems with this are dream shattering and soul destroying. We went there recently to find that apart from all the overgrowth in the one acre of land that surrounds the place, the pathway had been decimated with couch grass roots, a massive outbuilding have collapsed and was in rubble, nicely kept flower beds where shrubs had needed pruning in the autumn were ruined. Quite a few vines had toppled down during the winter; some will no longer produce grapes.

In the house the rats had got into the kitchen and had eaten away at the fridge door, the food and utility cupboards had been breached with big dropping and electric plugs and plastic gnawed everywhere. To the side of the house a big crack had appeared where a small leak had been left unattended, which had froze and defrosted. To get the electric connected again you needed to pay a fee on top of the last bill and this would take three days get switched back on. So when he arrives there would be no electric for that amount of time. Luckily this year we had insulated the water mains garden shaft and drained the system to prevent bust pipes, this is what happened last year and the year before so we knew. The list of problems goes on.

Many holiday homeowners have exactly the same problem and maintenance and a weekly check on the house is essential to keep in check of the problems of absent owners. The biggest problem is finding someone to do this without taking on specialist expatriate companies and paying extortionate prices. Local Bulgarians can usually take care of security in the villages, they are around all the time, but foreign styled garden and modern house maintenance is a major hurdle and headache for all.

We were away from our village home for six months the year before last, but we knew all the problems that are involved with being away and we made sure our time away was in the winter when the growth in the garden is minimal. When we got back everything was in order. We had our neighbours to pay our electric and water bills throughout so no need pay and wait to reconnect. We even put the Lada car battery on a trickle charge on a sunny windowsill with a solar charger - It was fully charged when we got back.

These problem with countryside residences are not restricted to Bulgaria of course, anywhere where nature can take hold is a headache.
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