Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Zaftra .....

...which is the Ukrainian equivalent of the Spanish 'manyana', and is the word which most seems to rule my life at the moment.
Got the Ukrainian permissions for exit on Monday, and eventually met up with the vet - but he then announced he was not qualified to complete the EU forms, and I was passed on to the customs veterinary department. Had a mad drive in Zhenya's Lada through the melting snow to Mukachevo twenty miles away, but too late to do anything on the day. So the following day Zhenya drove me out again, and we spent most of the day in a bleak office with peeling yellow paint in a run down building filling in interminable forms for both Ukrainian and Hungarian customs. A little tricky to complete the English and Hungarian EU certificates when the vet did not speak English and my Russian is severely limited to say the least, but with the help of Natalya on the mobile we managed somehow, and the forms were copiously signed and stamped.
Then it was off to a nearby office to scan and email twenty-three pages of bumf to Dr Halasz at Zahony.
Got back to the hotel to find he had emailed to say that one of the pages had not been filled in correctly, though happily everything else was OK.
Back again to customs this morning to correct, sign and stamp the relevant pages, on to the office to email them to Dr Halasz, and now I am back at the hotel waiting with bated breath for his response. Cross fingers all is positive.

Life here in the meantime has been reasonably comfortable, though the hotel has not had water for four days which has made the sanitary arrangements rather challenging. I have been scooping up snow in a saucepan and melting it on the radiator so I can have a cat-lick wash every morning.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Ukrainian Department of Circumlocution Reigns Supreme

I am now back in the Carpathians at Y Tarasa, the small holiday complex where little Zorbee is stabled. The countryside is under two to three feet of snow, and it was topped up by another few inches last night.
I arrived on Wednesday, but was told that Nikolay Mihailovich the vet would not be able to see me until Thursday afternoon. But on Thursday I was then told that until the unfortunate Big Bolashak's body had been burnt and buried and Nikolay Mihailovich had signed the death certificate, he would not be able to complete the paperwork for little Zorbee's entry to the EU.
Some progress was made yesterday in that not only was the death certificate issued, but also the Hungarian isolation permission for little Zorbee to stay at the stables at Fonix Park near Mateszalka in Hungary.

So today I was hoping that once the EU documents had been completed, emailed to the Hungarian border vet service at Zahony, checked and OKed, I would be able to set off for Hungary with the horse.
But this is Ukraine, where nothing is ever straightforward as I discovered once again after waiting around for a couple of hours this morning. Firstly I was told that vets in Ukraine (or certainly not this part of Ukraine) do not work at the weekend for religious reasons. And secondly, although I was originally given 10 days to get the horses out of Ukraine and had to apply for an extension on medical grounds, apparently I now cannot leave here for Hungary without some sort of official permission. This cannot be sorted out until Monday. And of course I only have ten days from the issue of the medical results which I think was last Tuesday (but not sure!) to get the horse from Ukraine to Hungary.

So I must continue to kick my heels here. At least I have a very comfortable suite which even includes a jacuzzi, not that I intend making use of it! The room temperature was so tropical when I arrived that my butter melted and I had a restless first night's sleep, but I have now turned off the radiators and it is just beautifully cosy. I expect I will spend the weekend in my pad reading and drinking wine to drown my sorrows. I will probably give telly a miss as it is mainly limited to pop channels sporting scantily clad Ukrainian beauties writhing in hay barns and the like.

I would like to include a few photos, but in typical style I have forgotten the lead to download them from my camera.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Another Tragedy

If I have gone very quiet for the last few weeks, it is because I have been madly concentrating on negotiations to get the horses into the EU. Last weekend they fulfilled the 90 day requirement for importation rather than temporary entry, so it was decided to go for that.  Dr Halasz of the Hungarian border vet service at Zahony has been indispensable in identifying all the necessary documentation, and I have been frantically emailing the wonderful Natalia in Kiev to keep abreast of progress in the Ukraine. The horses had a series of veterinary tests over Christmas (all clear) and another set last week, giving me a week's grace to transport them into Hungary. So everything seemed positive.

On Sunday I set out to drive to Zahony, arriving late Tuesday evening - as the snow was whirling outside the windscreen for much of the way and the heating in the lorry is not working, my feet were like blocks of ice and I had to stop regularly at service stations to defrost.
I was expecting to spend today in the border vet offices double-checking requirements for both horses.
But this morning I received the tragic news that Bolashak (whose passport name is Sunkar) had unexpectedly died due to a freak accident. Apparently a couple of days ago he slipped and fell on ice, knocking himself out on the edge of a well. He received immediate veterinary treatment, and the vet thought he was recovering satisfactorily, but last night he was found dead in his stable. Another heartbreaking tragedy as he was a lovely easygoing horse who was proving increasingly perfect for the job in hand - a comfortable ride who was good to shoe, load, handle, tether, and in traffic. He will be difficult to replace but replace him I must.
I am plodding on with arrangements for little Zorbee, and intend to travel into Ukraine tomorrow with copies of EU approved Health certificates for the Ukrainian vet to fill in and sign. If little Zorbee crosses successfully into Hungary, then he heads straight for a 30 day isolation period that I have organised at a nearby stables.