Malta not Bulgaria This Time Around

We have decided to go to Malta for 12 days. The UK is getting too much for us and the pressure was beginning to affect our health. 

This choice of destination was not chosen lightly, We know we will be living in Bulgaria eventually and that swayed our thinking as to where to go for a break. It was just a case of getting away from everything and thinking of ourselves for a change instead of others.

On a day to day basis, I never see much of Galia, I get up for work at 5:00 and return home by 18:00 and Galia doesn't finish until gone 20:00 most nights. I am in bed by 21:30 so we are lucky if we get more than 90 minutes together each day. The only day I get to see her is Sunday, but we are so tired it is difficult to have quality time together and do things we want to do.

So, Malta here we come. We have been told it is beautiful there and the weather is still warm this time of year. All we are thinking about is being together for a week or so and try and get some relaxation before things that are going to happen which I cannot say right now. Needless to say, it has to do with karma and horrible people.

Looking To The Future in Bulgaria

Today, we went to Hyde Park. Galia now has her free travel pass from TFL, she has been without it for the past 5 months due to my change of work. We traveled by tube and went to a Bulgarian Orthodox church based at the back of the Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington. We had been there a few times before, in fact whenever we get the time and free travel! After a few candles lit and some Bulgarian chanting we took to the park and walked for miles on a nice sunny day popping into a couple of park based art exhibitions en route. It was lovely just to get out of our studio in Edgware for a change!

Not a day goes by when the thought of living in Bulgaria for the rest of my life comes into my head. Making that happen is just a case of hard work and patience in terms of waiting for my pension. This now is at 66 years of age, another eight and half years of graft. This will happen although the only worry is can I mentally cope with being in the UK throughout this time? Trying to do things to cope with this may help, I digress.

Image result for chinatown londonAfter walking for an indefinite amount of time, we were hungry and going against all out normal ritual of not spending money we didn't have it was decided to go to China Town and eat in a buffet eating house. We did exactly that! After only one plate of Chinese food and a cup of Chinese tea to wash it down we left, not too full and wobble out, unlike most who dine there with second or third helpings! We walked around the area dodging tourists and made our way back to Leicester Square tube station all the way back to Edgware and the studio.

Did this day off and getting out of the studio help ease the frustration of having to work in the UK over the next 8-9 years? No, not really as all we talked all day was about the plans we have to try and get over to Bulgaria sooner! That is another story!

Cycle Accident - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

It has been just over six weeks since my bicycle accident and is something that plagues me on a daily basis.

Still with pain in my right knee which is due to be scanned in a couple of weeks, I hurts to think of myself on a bicycle. This is not from the thought of physical capability but from the fear and trepidation of not being up to it mentally.

In recent weeks I have felt isolated not being able to talk about the accident or cycling which had always been a big part of my life both in practice and verbal promotion. Each time I was drawn into conversation about cycling and the accident in particular I had to stop in my tracks or break down in tears without any warning. So, what I do is avoid the topic completely and not get trapped on the subject when it comes along.

Sleep is another factor, or should I say the lack of it. Getting to sleep is a problem as my mind wanders into many areas, including reflections on the accident focusing of the sequential events of that ill fated morning. From the joy of a lovely morning in second wind on quiet roads looking forward to the undulating road across the other side of Kingsbury Road, to the sound of the van crashing into the car, then the deflected car speeding towards me and the head on impact into me. The lying in the street realising I was injured and daren't move, which felt like a lifetime of waiting. People around me staring, then the police, the paramedics and total confusion. Trying to be polite and not cause people trouble joking but from shock.

The journey to hospital in the ambulance with sirens running, the rest was a blur until I found myself outside the hospital with some surgeons trousers on and broken cycling SPD shoes faced with getting public transport home. All I remember about that was deciding whether I should actually go to work at that point, even though I was in severe pain! Why? I did go to work the next day and that was a bad decision

Even now I feel it hard to write about this and I have butterflies in my stomach thinking about how I can cope it I cannot mentally get back on a cycle again. Depressive thoughts.

I need therapy and counselling I feel. Being a very strong mentally disciplined person I felt I could get through this myself by now by pushing myself hard to make out there is nothing wrong with me, but I can't. The though of buying another bicycle usually excites me immensely, but it doesn't for the first time in my life and I have no incentive to look. This is very worrying and out of character for me as anyone who knows me would tel you.

Right now I just want to stay in my flat and not talk to anyone, not text or ring friends and feel like a recluse. At work I get angry, whereas that is completely the opposite of my history of working practice as a teacher/trainer. 

Seeing other cyclists on the road make me feel quite numb and I am not sure what to make of them. There is a no thought of emotion seeing cyclists. Why?

Lastly, the planned cycle rides and events I had booked up and planned will not be ridden as it stands. I really don't know how I can live without those normally exciting goals in front of me!

Bulgarian Winter Salad - A Yearly Reunion of Delight

Well it's October and the season of Autumn has gripped nature well and truly with vibrant colours galore - that is if you can find trees between Edgware and Willeseden!

The reminder of Bulgarian dishes on the dinner table is a welcome sight when coming home from work but this week has been a reunion of a long lost delight over the late Spring and Summer. Green salads it seems in the UK just are associated with Summer, not the case in our bedsit!

The simplest foods sometimes just hit the mark and this week is no exception. Having had salad almost every day throughout most of this the year based on cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and green onions as the base it is now time for change.

Bring out the Turkish cabbage, carrots and celery leaves seasoned with sunflower oil, red wine vinegar and salt and the end result is a daily salad throughout the Winter that runs a riot of enjoyment. There has never been a time that this salad has failed to excite the taste buds and the added bonus of a healthy regime of vitamins without any chemical additives!

One week's worth of this salad for under a fiver notwithstanding, the portions are massive!

Dober Apetit!

I Love Travelling to Work and Back!

Travelling to and from work with my personal HiFi blaring out in my ears to block the bellowing voices from other foreign travellers is the most relaxing part of the day.

During the travel time, which varies from 60-90 minutes, it is rife for freedom of sound waves of my choice and what a mixture of music! Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony to Bulgarian Chalga with a little French Light Rock from Des Palmas. A variety of Mozart Piano Concertos and Lara Fabian. Then Handel Concerto Grosso to Toni Storaro. By the time I get to work it is as if I have been to a concert!

Then there is the closing of eyes, but never asleep. I can just hear the announcement of the bus stops or train stop whilst in the grip of music.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

The icing on the cake is that I get free travel courtesy of TFL! Before this it was hard to swallow having to pay to go to work. Just the concept of paying hard earned money to go and earn more hard earned money doesn't make sense. Lucky in that respect I guess.

What this cocooned form of travel does is transport you into another world for part of the day and you come out of it as if you have been on a short holiday.

Until such time as I give up work, this will continue to be enjoyed each day I travel to and from work.

Someone said many years ago that when I grow up beyond the teenage years and that romantic phase of life, I would grow out of Tchaikovsky music - Well, they are either lying or I am Peter Pan!

In London Dead or Alive? Who Cares?

Everyday I live and work in London and see things that should shock but don't.

Cycling to work through Harlesden one morning, I see someone lying in the middle of the road, I think to myself that he was dead. Drivers were driving past not stopping but swerving to avoid running over him. Pedestrians walking past staring, but that's all. It was unreal as I approached the body,  I parked my bike and tried to drag him out of the middle of the road. It was a late to middle-aged Afro-Caribbean man wearing old clothing and he stunk of stale beer. There was no reaction to anything I did as his trousers began peeling down to the extent of embarrassment as I pulled him along on to the pavement. There were blood stains from a head injury left in the wake of the dragging. Someone seeing me struggling, stopped to help after firstly hiding his manhood by pulling his trousers up again.

Eventually amidst the stream of traffic rubber-necking a car finally had the grace to stop in front of us with his hazard lights on to stop traffic behind and rang for an ambulance. The body was eventually propped against a shop window out of the road and on the pavement, Moments later the ambulance sirens could be heard in the distance and that's where I left the scene with blood on my hands, still unsure whether he was alive.

An uncaring, selfish and disjointed community were evident with this occurrence. This is not the world I want to be part of. What hope is there for people living in this area? What have they to look forward to?

The worst bit? I am not shocked.......Why?

A Will? Good idea, but for what?

It is quite funny how sometime you can overlook such blatantly obvious things whilst getting caught up in an idea.

After joining new work Union with my new job and one of the benefits was to give a free Will service for members with a firm of solicitors that they work with. Great, was the thought that went through my head, I had been meaning to do this for years but never been in a position to have disposable income to throw at the idea. Also, because I had a serious cycle accident, this provoked the thought of getting it done before I get killed!

So, it was with an eager pen I wrote to the solicitors to get the process started. The letter of application was send a few weeks ago and to be quite honest I had forgotten about it until a letter arrive yesterday. (This one wasn't stolen form the communal letterbox this time!)

I was tired from work but forced myself to get the application completed and sent off; one less job to later on was the thought.

As the first part was completed with formal stuff like name address, union membership number etc., it came to the section as to what I was to leave. Now it may seem strange to think that this was something that had been completely overlooked. I suddenly looked at my assets and felt quite shocked from the fact that I had nothing! No property, no savings, no car, no jewelery, not even any furniture I own. I used to have a bicycle a few weeks ago, but that was written off with my accident and worth nothing now. All I could leave to anyone was my clothing and that wouldn't even cover my funeral bill! After further thought I discovered that the most valuable thing I owned was my prescription glasses.

It was a very long time of thinking and coning to terms with what was state of fact that I realised that there was no point in a Will if there was nothing to leave anyone. And that wasn't about to change either. At 57 years old I wondered and tried to work out how could this be at my age? 

At least I get a state pension at 66 years old, but unfortunately that can't be put in a Will! 

How could I have ever overlooked such an obvious element to the point of making a Will?

Work History in the UK since 2010

Well since I have been in the UK I have had a variety of work over the last 6 years. Let me recall....

Ah yes. The first job was as a postal sorter in Hatfield. This was a temporary post to cover for Christmas. Within two weeks they asked me if I wanted a  permanent job in the sorting office with prospects beyond. I didn't take this up and moved into a permanent job as a warehouseman in Asda working nights. This lasted for around six months where I started by shelf filling. After a month they put me in charge of movements of stock in the warehouse and responsible for going onto the shelves for fillers. They paid for me to be trained up as a forklift driver and made it clear they were looking to put me in line from promotion to supervisor in due course. I was looked on by other workers as a spy in the midst as my attitude to work was positive and constructive and this didn't fit the bill to many who worked there. I left as I was headhunted by Tesco who I worked for before as a warehouseman before I left for Bulgaria in 2005.

Into Tesco team again which lasted another six months or so working nights as a 'picker' again. They were looking at my potential as a supervisor as they planned to make me up from my time there before, but I didn't get to stay long enough for this to happen now or back then, I was off again.

I had applied to become a bus driver for various bus companies and I was accepted to work on them all. Arriva, Arriva Shires, and London Sovereign. I decided to go for London Sovereign based in Edgware. Having passed all the tests put in front of me I was now a Bus Driver and quite enjoying it. Withing 18 months I was pushed into applying for a Driving Instructor and was accepted having passed all the tests, interviews and trial instructing. With my teaching background, perfect attendance and proven driving skills and interpersonal relationships I flew through and was appointed Relief Driving Instructor and the training began from January 2014. 

Whilst Instructing I also completed an NVQ level 3 in Driving Instruction as well has being given opportunity to teach CPC and BTEC in the classroom. In addition I was out assessing drivers and giving preliminary assessment for prospective drivers coning int he company. I was loving my work now, but my mind was on Bulgaria throughout. This was the passport to leaving the UK and I was very lucky to have a job I loved whilst I was here in the UK against my will.

London Sovereign did not offer me a permanent post as a Driving Instructor so I looked elsewhere. Tangerine was a company who taught me to be an Instructor and also supported me in the NVQ I qualified for. I applied for a Trainer/Assessor with the company, I job I would have loved to do, but there was not free travel with TFL and that was worth a hell of lot, not least freedom for me and Galia at the weekends. We did not have a car and relied on free travel, a perk that TFL gave us being employed by the bus company. I still wonder now whether this was a bad move refusing the post, time will tell.

So, it was only another couple of weeks and I got a job with Metroline as a permanent Driving Trainer and not have been there from nearly 4 months. The money is good, the job is something I still find very easy to get up in the morning and go to. Also there are prospects ahead which is why I took the post. This how is where it is at.

Well, that's progress for you in the bus industry for you after such a short time there. Like I say, I love my work and count myself very lucky doing this and using it as a vehicle to Bulgaria!

That's the work history for you since I have returned to the UK,

Simple Treasures in Bulgaria - On Kindle from 1st October

Simple Treasures in Bulgaria - BOOK OUT NOW! Click here to Buy

Simple Treasures in Bulgaria - By Martin Miller-Yianni

Paperback: £11.95 - Download: £3.75

Most, if not all travel books about Bulgaria cover well-trodden tourist resorts and understandingly ignoring lesser-known parts of Bulgaria. These 'fortunate' neglected areas, where tourism hasn't affected, remain in my and many others' opinion the most treasured parts of Bulgaria. The writing contains a variety of titles ranging from an epitaph of a simple Bulgarian village farmer to a traditional Bulgarian recipe with a local twist; articles giving humorous moments to more serious issues that Bulgarians have to contend with. It is seen with a clear view of how Bulgarians live and work both in towns and villages remaining firmly family and community bound.

This is also available in Kindle format from 1st October

You can pre-order now!

Just click on this link:
Simple Treasures In Bulgaria

The UK - Still the Same Reasons Stand for Leaving

Well, having now been in the UK for a few years with a few brief trips back to our home in Yambol, each day that goes by makes it clearer and clearer why we shouldn't be here.

There are things that have happened here that would scare the living daylights out of people I know both friends and family if they knew about it. But, right now it is being kept locked up in a box which will be opened and revealed in due course when the time it right. There are things that need to be said to expose the evil that has been done by people who think they are Gods. This I might add doesn't just encompass a certain part of people, but a variety of parties not related! I have a great desire to write all about it and all the parties involved should be scared and not sleep at night from worry. This is how we felt over the last few years and continue to suffer.

Enough said for now on this and to looking ahead to the future, and the future is bright! Mainly for the reason of knowing our home is going to be in Bulgaria with no return the the UK for whatever reason, unless my children happen to want me invite me to their wedding. 

The plans are laid it is just a question of when. Galia is just as desperate as I am to get back and live the life we had before, but not in poverty as we found ourselves before. I love my work and that's the only reason that keeps me sane and the thought that the work I do is the key to life in Bulgaria eventually. All else about our life here is essentially a rat race. We have no friends other than old friends who we knew before I went to Bulgaria for the first time. There are acquantainces from work but socially; we are isolated.

I will go into how we arrived to living in a box in the centre of Edgware eventually, but we are happy in our own company without any strangers to have consideration for. The 'room' we live in is 16m2 with a bathroom 2m2 (which is the size of a cupboard). The kitchen is a sink with a microwave underneath and a fridge wedged under the draining board. There is a couple of portable camping hotplates besides the sink drainer. That's it. We have had cockroaches and mice, (the mice have just returned this week again as we live directly above a fish and chip shop which is where they come from.) There are parties in neighbouring rooms every weekend and our post get stolen froma community post box in caged letterbox in main entrance door. With no washing machine, the launderette however is only 100 metres away so that is a bonus. People stamp past our door at all hours which is something we have had to get used alongside the stifling heat in most of the spring summer and autumn with no air-conditioning, remember we live above a fish and chip shop. It has taken a long time to get used to and bare up to things, but there are people far worse than us, people who have nothing to look forward to!

More, much more to come...

Why Back to the UK?

It has been quite few years now back in the UK working, but that's all I do here. The question as to why I came back is something that is quite difficult to answer, although many may suspect it is to do with money.

With life in Bulgaria is was really a quest for survival. There was never going to be any time when the worry about where the money was going to come for the next electric bill or repairs to the home let alone anything else considered a luxury. Let me stress though, this is how most Bulgarians live and you can totally understand why the draw to places that pay decent wages for work appeals so much. After all, it is a sense of dignity to try and do something proactive to find work and build for the future to many Bulgarians. When the walls of red tape went down for freedom to work anywhere in Europe look what has happened. It is still very difficult just to go to a foreign country and find work and even harder if you don't speak that language, but many have.

The question still runs through my mind on why I left Bulgaria. Part of that was with the same ideals as why Bulgarians leave. I have a duty to my family both in Bulgaria and the UK to find work and pay for basics and that was not happening in Bulgaria despite my best efforts. I of course had a head start, I was a qualified teacher with lots of work experience in many fields.

Well the decision was made and I left heading towards London where the streets are paved with gold but was never going to be my new home. The story unfolds.

Back to the UK and London? Not my home, hasn't been for nearly a decade!

Been away too long!

Well, being off sick for a week with a cycling accident, gives time to reflect on what has happened over the last few years. I have missed keeping blogs up to date tremendously! Now I feel its the time to wade in with thoughts and news of what has been happening in this time away. I won't start today but do a little each evening. I can't wait! Needless to say, my passion and love for Bulgaria remains as strong as it ever was.

Me and Galia's son Ivaylo doing the BBQ thing!