Monday, 29 June 2009

Keeping your chin up

In these rather challenging economic times its difficult for many people.This is especially true for myself and other colleagues trying to make a living in the property world.This sector is always one of the first to be affected in a downturn, especially so when the segment we are working in is for second homes.

The secret is to diversify and try to offer better value for money.There are bargains still out there and the pound is slowly starting to recover some of its value.

The agents who survive and let us hope prosper in this recession will be the ones who can show a quality client orientated service.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

This is funny

A monkey urinated on Zambia's President, Rupiah Banda, on Wednesday during a press conference in the Zambian capital Lusaka.

"You (monkey) have urinated on my jacket. I am going to give this monkey as a lunch to Mr. Sata," Banda joked referring to the opposition leader Michael Sata, as quoted by the BGNES news agency.

The monkey was playing in a tree just above the President's chair. Several monkeys reside around the grounds of Banda's residence and his office.

"Perhaps these are blessings," Banda said continuing his address, whose main goal was to instill confidence in the people of Zambia as the world copper prices, the country's main export commodity, have declined amidst the global economic crisis.

Buna Ziwa Romania !

The number of Romanians spending their holidays in Bulgaria has increased by 5-10% since the beginning of 2009 compared to 2008.

The news was reported by the Romanian news site ziare.com, which points out that the number of Romanian visitors to all other major tourist destinations is on the decline.

According to a survey of Travel Advisor Media, the number of Romanians visiting Turkey has declined by 7%, and those visiting Spain and Greece - by up to 12%.

The main Bulgarian resort preferred by Romanian holidaymakers is Albena. While in 2004 only 1 780 Romanians spent their summer vocation there, in 2008 their number rose to 52 200, or 25% of all tourists in the resort.

According to the article, the Romanians coming to Bulgaria prefer "all inclusive" and "ultra all inclusive" packages.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Its not April 1st is it ?

Novinite News service reports that a poll of Real Estate 'experts' ranks Bulgaria as the 4th best place to invest in.This is good news, the only problem for its credibility is that 44% of correspondents chose Iraq as the No. 1 venue !. I think they must have taken a controlled substance before they filled this questionaire in !.

Good News and Bad News


On a good note,this is the itinery for the Kaliakra Rock Fest in July

On a bad note,I have just read that BA are cancelling their flights into Varna this winter and restarting in the spring, but the Wizzair flights Varna-Sofia remain an invaluable lifeline.BA must be in a financial mess if they are doing this.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Useful info for telly addicts


For frustrated Bulgaria based Brits. On this website you can watch ITV for free, and quite good quality as well !.

Sorry Folks it was www.myp2p.eu

Well someones doing ok..bless 'em

Bulgaria to Check All 105 Bentleys in Country as Luxury Motor Becomes Car of Choice for Mafia Bosses

Views on BG

By Daily Mail Reporter

All 105 Bentley owners in Bulgaria for possible tax evasion and other fraud as part of efforts to curb rampant corruption, the country's revenue agency said today.

The European Union newcomer is under growing pressure from Brussels to tame chronic corruption and powerful organised crime. Failing to show result could lead to more sanctions after last year Brussels cut Bulgaria's access to millions in EU aid.

The revenue agency statement said it will investigate the sources of income of the Bentley owners and appoint audits if checks proved there were discrepancies between declared incomes and actual assets held.

The statement made no reference to whether the owners of other up market cars would be investigated.

'It turned out Bulgaria is one of the countries in Europe where the number of registered Bentleys is...very high,' said Rossen Bachvarov, the agency spokesman. 'There is nothing wrong if one has a Bentley as long as they have paid their taxes.'

Bachvarov declined to say whether senior government officials were among the owners of the luxury brand, owned by Volkswagen AG. Bentleys retail for at least £165,000 in Bulgaria, industry officials said.

Local media have reported Social Minister Emilia Maslarova owned a Bentley and some published pictures of her with such a car car, but she has dismissed the reports.

Maslarova came under fire earlier this year for spending more than 8,600 euros for a ticket for a ministerial trip to Korea -- the equivalent of an average pensioner's pay for eight years.

Earlier this year, the revenue agency also launched checks of owners of luxury yachts and expensive property.
Bulgaria's average monthly salary of about 300 euros remains the lowest in the EU and all opinion polls show the ruling Socialists will get punished at a July 5 parliamentary election.

Polls show over two-third of the 7.6 million population want the Socialist-led government to go over its failure to act against the economic crisis and crack down on crime and graft.

Bulgaria has not convicted a single senior official of graft and has sent to jail only one crime boss since the end of communism in 1989.

Despite the recession and falling budget revenues, the annual Sofia Motorshow reported over 600 new car sales last week and the economy ministry recently ordered 15 new cars.

Monday, 22 June 2009

New Property Pressure Group


Interesting to see the launch of this group, and I wish them well.It begs one question though.Why is it a pressure group just for 'off-plan' problems ?.Surely it should be for all property issues in Bulgaria ?.

More election news


This link goes to a very interesting article on the elections from the Novinite news service.Note that Borisov has ruled out any coalition with BSP/DPS.On the face of the Euro results he will not win an outright majority and there he has nowhere else to go except to NDSV/Blue Coalition.

BG Elections 2009 rundown

For the uninitiated here is a basic guide to next months Bulgarian General Election.The runners and riders (yes Uncle is still obsessed with racing metaphors) are as follows:

BSP   The Bulgarian Socialist Party (formerly the BKP The Bulgarian Communist Party).The Party of the former Soviet era has tried to re-package itself as a western style Social Democratic Party, led by Sergei Stanishev.However most of the leadership are either former apparatchiks or their relatives.The BSP is part of the governing coalition with the DPS and NDSV.It is currently second in the opinion polls and has lost significant support though its base is with the elderly and poor and in rural areas.

GERB  This is a scratch party only formed in 2007.Its leader is the charismatic former Police Chief Boiko Borissov, who is currently Mayor of Sofia.He has an interesting background as bodyguard to the former dictator Todor Zhivkov and featured in 'Insurance' companies after the fall of communism. GERB pollled around 36% in the recent Euro polls and is considered centre right in the rather fluid world of Bulgarian politics.It will almost certainly feature in the new goverment probably in coalition with the so called 'Blue Coalition' of the rightwing SDS and DSB parties.

Blue Coalition.This is an electoral arrangement between the SDS/DSB featuring the former Prime Minister, and Dracula lookalike, Ivan Kostov.It will probably win 8-10% of the vote and will be a key player in the post election horse trading.

NDSV. Formerly called the National Movement Simeon II. This party is led by the eponymous former Tsar who was Prime Minister until 2007 in coalition with the DSP.The NDSV came to power full of promises but achieved virtually none of them (except getting some of Simeons property back from the state !).It was duly massacred at the polls in 2007 and now stands to gain around 8% of the vote.It is still in goverment but could easily switch to a GERB/Blue Coalition.

DPS. This party is supported mainly by the Turkish minority and the gypsies.It is particularly strong inthe South where the Turks are most numerous.It is led by the wily Ahmed Dogan and it was perceived political wisdom that no goverment could be formed without their vote.This time round they will get circa 18% of the vote, but could well be on the opposition benches.

Ataka. Last, but not least, of the major players is this extreme nationalist party led by Volen Siderov. It hates in order: Turks,Gypsies,Jews and everybody else. It feeds on the frustration that ordinary Bulgarians feel about corruption,poverty and crap goverment.It will get around 11% of the vote but no other party would go into any kind of governing coalition with it.

Whichever permutation forms the next government little will change, as Bulgarian politics is mainly about juvenile mud slinging and personal aggrandisement, not about competing political philosophies.IT'S JUST A QUESTION OF MOVING THE DECKCHAIRS AROUND.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Ascot yesterday

Well my spelling mistake on yesterdays nap, which I have just noticed was very apposite.I wrote Scared Kingdom instead of Sacred..how true.It was according to connections 'sweating much more than normal' and finished an off the pace 5th.Uncle should have binned the Chinese and stuck to good old fashioned steak and chips as the winner was Art Connoisseur at 20-1, a Coventry Stakes winner last year but largely out of form since.

Well readers, there's always next year.Just so we wont have to wait that long, the King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes beckons back at Ascot at the end of next month.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Monday back to reality

From Monday, Uncle will return to a more mundane but hopefully, nonetheless, interesting regular digest of all things Bulgarian.In particular some commentary on next months Bulgarian general election which should see some significant changes, as well as day to day observations on Life,the Universe and Everything !. 

Ascot the final reckoning !

Well last face it readers, yesterdays tip was a complete and unmitigated disaster and lets hope Baliyani's next outing will be working out for Associated Dairies.

However its the last day of the Royal Meeting today and to celebrate we are going for a Chinese !.Yes todays inspirational nap is Scared Kingdom in the Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes.The trainer is very enthusiastic and the horse has impressed in its Singapore outing.The other option, Sir Michael Stoutes Kingsgate Native, has not been out in ten months and when it did was beaten into third behind Borderlescott, itself beaten earlier in the week.

The big one to fear is the South African JJ The Jet Plane but its odds will be no fun and Uncle inevitably goes against the favourite.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Royal Ascot Part four

Uncle is today a little miffed, following his failure to realise that Yeats would run like a poet rather than a wine lodge !. The favourite gave a mesmorising performance, to bag the Gold Cup for a scintillating fourth time.My nap, the hampered Pataki, managed a creditable second in the circumstances.

However, we now turn our attention to todays feature race the Group One Coronation Stakes.This fillies race has a hot favourite in Ghanaati (best price 9/4) but today we err on the side of caution, with a spot of each way value in the John Oxx trained, and Keiron Fallon ridden Baliyana. This horse has been supplemented, for this race,  after a strong debut performance.Current best price is 10/1, but there has been a significant volume of betting this morning and punters should jump in and get the early value !.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Ascot Part Three

Uncle is VERY VERY pleased with himself, having napped Vision D'Etat, the 4/1 winner of yesterdays Prince of Wales Stakes.Not only that, but he had a last minutes plump on the American raider Jealous Again in the 4.55, which obliged again at 4/1.

With these successes under our belt we now turn confidently to todays 'Gold Cup'. Run over 2m4f this is a race of stamina.Here Uncle will take a gamble that Aidan O'Briens Yeats is not up to form and prefers Michael Stoutes Patkai (3/1) over Geordieland 3/1.The form suggests that Patkai can stay the distance and at 4 years old he is to be prefered to the 8 year old.

Fingers crossed !.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Ascot Part Two

Mixed bag at Ascot yesterday. Aqlaam represented great each way value when 3rd at 10-1.However Tax Free at 2nd last was a waste of space.Of course Uncle now realises that nothing is always 'Tax Free' !.However fear not, as in todays feature race the 3.45 Prince of Wales Stakes, we may be on firmer ground.

The French raider Vision D'Etat at 7/2 best odds ridden by Olivier Peslier looks a sound bet.Uncle is quietly confident !.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Ascot again !

After yesterdays opening pontifications I now turn my attention to Tuesdays second Group One Race the 'Kings Stand Stakes'. This is a five furlong sprint and here Uncle is tipping two likely winners.

The first is Borderlescott (9/1)trained by R Bastiman and ridden by Pat Cosgrave two progressive outings at Haydock and Newmarket in May of 2nd and 3rd respectively

The second and possibly more interesting is the David Nicholls trained Tax Free again with two progressive outings in May of 1st and 2nd. These are both seven year olds but I feel that they both have 'something left in the tank'.

On Balance I plump for the 10/1 Tax Free..lets hope he is !.

Not unexpected as they are flying to Burgas !

Varna airport hosts fewer charter flights

Passenger traffic to the coastal city of Varna has slumped by 7.8% since January from the same period of last year, the airport’s director, Dimitar Kostadinov, said. The airfield handled 232,758 passengers by June 7, he said as quoted by state-run news agency BTA. The largest outflow was recorded on the Ukrainian market, where numbers diminished by almost 18%, while Poland picked up 5%. Kostadinov forecast that with airlines scaling back charter programmes, the fall might reach 10-15% by the end of the year.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Ascot begins !

As promised the Ascot commentary begins !.Tuesday is the first day of the Royal Meeting and we shall look at the statistics for the recent performance of Top trainers and Jockeys:

The Godolphin stable is markedly out of form with the prospect of few winners at Ascot this year and its horses are generally best avoided.However look out for Gladiatorus in the 2.30 Queen Anne Stakes which is ridden by a relatively inexperienced arab jockey in preference to Frankie Dettori.Best Price is currently 9/4.

Sir Michael Stoute,Willie Haggas and Jeremy Noseda are in form trainers, and Richard Hills and Richard Hughes are the in form jockeys.On this note Aqlaam trained by Willie Haggis and ridden by Richard Hills is great value at 12/1.He has been working out well and won at Ascot last year.

Uncles Choice- Aqlaam

Saturday, 13 June 2009

English Language Newspaper Folds in Bulgaria

It was with sadness that a few weeks ago I learnt of the closure of the Frontier Times,Bulgaria's second English language newspaper.Produced in Veliko Turnovo by a young and dedicated Anglo-Bulgaria staff it was funny, thought provoking and genuinely informative.I actually wrote articles for it myself.

The problem was that they could not get people to pay the princely sum of 2 lev for it !.The newspaper was a real asset to the english speaking community and it appears that tightfistedness has led to its demise. 

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Some good news, for a change

A leading international property consultant reports that there are signs of recovery in the markets of some countries.Mercifully Bulgaria is amongst them.All we need now is a return to lending on a significant scale by the banks and we will be in a position to revive the market.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Ascot week beckons !

Yes its Ascot time again, and, even though Uncle is far away, there will be a full tipster service from Monday afternoon.Remember I will be there in Spirit, sipping my champagne and eating my  strawberries. If you can fight your way to the bar have one or ten for me !.

Black Sea, white sand and invisible tourists

I have been to Albena, and Balchik to the beach and restaurants,bars etc.We sat on the beach and there were maybe 30-50 people there.The recession is hitting and hitting hard.Scandinavians,Germans,Romanians, Russians but no Brits,Irish etc.This year is a disaster for Bulgarian tourism.

The authorities need to look hard at pricing and quality, the tourist market is much more consumerist now, and cost and quality need to be looked at good and hard, otherwise the economy will go into freefall.

'This is the end my friend'

Well looks like its all over for Gordon Brown.Tonight there is to be a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party at which the knives will be sharpened and plunged in with gusto.After the Euro and County Elections debacle and the carefully choreographed ministerial resignations it is difficult to see how Brown can survive.

Contrast this with just a few months ago when the government appeared to be boldly handling the economic crisis.Then along came 'trough-gate'.The people blame the goverment for this crisis but in reality its a whole system in which all parties are involved.The great irony of this all is that a tory government will emerge from this committed to sweeping cuts which will create much misery for ordinary people.