Romanian House Project Update.September 2015

Hi, I haven’t posted on this site for a while because life took us back to London. I found this post lying unpublished, fully written. It’s 12 months old exactly and sadly, the situation hasn’t changed. Our paperwork STILL hasn’t been rubber stamped. We’ve heard a rumour that there is a feud between the vendor and the guy who owns the rubber stamp, so that could be it. Whatever the reason, we’re still in limbo. We’ve loved living in the village, the longer we stay there the clearer it becomes that it truly is where we want to be. We’re still renting our little house, even though we’re not there right now. We’ll be back soon. So, to that post from this time last year. It’s hard to believe a year has passed so quickly!

We’ve been in Romania now for just over a month.

We’re having a great time here in the village, life is good, but how is the house project coming on?

Where Are We Living?

Our house is nowhere near liveable at the moment ( see pictures of the village house we’re buying in this post) so we’re renting a traditional village house from a local family. I think it was built by their grandparents, it’s very cute and cosy inside and comes complete with traditional embroidered wall hangings, Orthodox Christian pictures, net curtains and rugs. It’s semi furnished, everything is wooden and home made. It didn’t have enough beds for the four of us, but that’s not a problem round here, they just built us a couple of beds in an afternoon.

The family still use the attached garden and orchard, they come to gather grass for their cows, potatoes, carrots, beans and tomatoes from the garden and apples pears and plums from the fruit trees. The walnut crop is coming along and I think we have some hazel nuts out there too. There must be 30+ trees in the orchard, all producing well.

Legalities of Buying a House in Romania.

We’ve run into a few issues. We payed the deposit back in June and the completion paperwork should have followed shortly thereafter. But things never go to plan and we’re still waiting.

No major problems, I think we’re just waiting on rubber stamping. It’s no biggie and we’re not stressing about it. At the end of the day, if it all falls through, so be it. We will still have had the wonderful experience of living here for a few months.

Progress With the House Build

Solar Power

Chef has tracked down a company in our nearest big town, Baia Mare, that provides and installs solar panels. They’re pretty thin on the ground around here, despite this region receiving some of the most days of sunshine in Europe.

He’s been in for a chat and yes, it will be possible to equip the house with solar panels to provide all of our hot water and electricity. In winter we will still need a wood burning furnace to run heating.

Water and Sewage

We’ll have an inside toilet and an outside one . The outside one will be composting and not require any plumbing.  In the little house we’re renting now we know that the indoor toilet will possibly freeze in winter, we will have to rely on the outdoor one in emergencies. The cold should see the spiders off, so I’m OK with that. ( Update: the toilet never froze, right through last winter, see Living in The Freezer)

Most houses in the village only have an outside toilet. For our indoor toilet we’ll have to dig a cesspit of some sort, maybe look into green ways of treating sewage. We’ve got a lot more research to do on that.

The plumber has been to look at the site and he thinks that getting mains water up to the house won’t be a problem, we’re up a bit of a hill so we were wondering about extra water pumps and so on. If the plumber is happy, so are we.

The plumber is also the electrician, thankfully he speaks beautiful English and will be able to handle the whole plumbing and wiring job for us in the spring.

Building The Village House

Unsurprisingly, we’ve done nothing. We’ve measured up to see how much aged wood planking we’ll need for the floors and stairs. About 8 cubic meters, so I’m told. Chef has been out hunting for wood around the neighboring villages and so far has only found half a cubic meter tucked away in a barn, which he has secured.

It seems we can’t just buy wood from a DIY store. At the moment I totally don’t understand why, maybe they don’t stock it.

The wood has to be aged. Fresh wood straight from the forests will warp, so there has been talk of buying it now and aging it 6 months to use next spring.  There seems to be a wood shortage, partly to do with logging restrictions and partly to do with the number of new, modern houses going up. The old village houses are disappearing at an alarming rate, sadly.

This removal of the old and construction of huge new concrete houses has made us even more keen to preserve what we can of the traditional village buildings, fences and gates. They’re really beautiful, but nobody can blame the local people for wanting new, modern, easy homes.

Learning Romanian

We’re trying but we’re not very good! We’ve mastered numbers to ten, basic greetings and a whole bunch of nouns.

We’re poor students. I’m so busy teaching the kids maths, English and science that learning the local language isn’t the number 1 priority, as it would be for most people in our situation.

Our land lady, Maria, pops by most days, communication with her has probably been the biggest help, that and listening to the radio in the car. We will get there, I know we will.

Life in the Village in September

apple juice suc

This little plot produced tomatoes, beans, potatoes, carrots, cabbages and more. The orchard, to the left, still has apples, pears and wallnuts, but the plum harvest is over. The luxuriant grass and wild flowers fed to cattle and makes our dairy products.

The weather has mostly been beautiful. Daytime temperatures have reached over 36 ºC, night time temperatures have got down below 10°C occasionally. We’ve had a little rain but nothing major.

A few cold days prompted us to buy fluffy house slippers, wellies, gloves and long johns, the boys love all these new experiences. The thermometer has risen again in the last few days and we’re back to comfortably warm.

We have a whole bunch of swimming pools in a neighbouring town ( Ocna Sugatag, famous for it’s salt water pools and Thursday market), so on hot weekends our taps have run dry, the pools take all the water. We manage OK, our cellar has a secret tap that, being below ground level, always works.

We’ve been helping with harvesting the fruit and veg, hanging out with Maria and family some days, drinking far too much in the village pub and just living quietly. There are a lot of other expats in the village at the moment, a few residents, more volunteers, working at the hotel. We’re not short of social interaction at all.

Maria has taken a shine to the boys and sometimes whisks them away to her house to let them milk the cow and feed the pigs. She’s a lovely woman, a real gem.

So life in the village is good, but unfortunately, no house progress to report other than research.

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