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Sunday, 19 January 2014

A 50th wedding anniversary do.

As mentioned before, the neighbours had their golden wedding anniversary party in the village hall, and we had the honour of being asked to attend, along with our English neighbours.

Venka had asked if we could make some 'sweets' like the ones we made at Christmas. I felt really honoured that she asked. I had brought some fondant icing out with us and used it on the shortbread biscuits (sweets!) at Christmas but only had a little left, so used that to make some flowers, intending to make some more using recipes from the internet.

 But as previously mentioned the icing sugar is quite coarse and I had major problems trying to make the icing. I used four different brands of icing sugar and three recipes and the only decent batch was the royal icing I made to stick the decorations on with. Normally I would have just gone with whatever, but the pressure was on because they were for a special occasion, at special request. But we managed in the end. Both batches of rolling icing were dry and wet at the same time and really difficult to work but we had to go with it and were happy with the way they looked in the end...though we did manage to break a load!

Dave had painted a picture of a golden oriole (for the gold connection) as they are common birds over here, first doing a google search to make sure they were not unlucky! And I made them a card, sismilar to one I had made for Dave's mother which had turned out so well, and found a verse which we translated into Bulgarian.

When we arrived at the village hall to find Venka looking lovely in a dress (didn't know she had legs!) with her hair beautifully styled by our English neighbour and Jordan dapper in a blazer. Biscuits handed over we sat and watched as people arrived, many handing presents to them. The tables were groaning with bottles of pop, cans of beer, a bottle of rakia (of course!) and another of their own wine, as well as the starter of the meal which was a lovely garlic yoghurt dip with chopped walnuts and gherkin in a filo basket, and cured sausage and cheese cut like crinkle chips. Jordan and Venka were summoned to the front where the MC/DJ/Singer made a speech, Jordan said a few words (not his thing) and Venka said lots, but also thanked the four of us for coming and wished us well.

 They then did the round of all the tables and wished everyone well, picking up small gifts and single roses on the way. We didn't know but cards had money in them, which was an impressive amount.

 A couple of the family came round and pinned a single snowdrop and a (geranium?) leaf on everyone and the dancing began.

 And Venka danced and danced and danced. Not just a shuffle either, but skipping and jumping, where does she get her energy from? These people are nearly (if not) 70 and they work so hard, only this week they have been digging the garden and planting, and had the sheep killed and processed, working well into the evenings.

There was then a ceremony with a lady who appeared to be some sort of registrar or simlar. There was a cloth placed on the floor and strewn with flowers, another of Venka's amazing decorated bread creations and three glasses of wine. Jordan and Venka walked over the flowers joined by a serviette (?) and the lady read out lots of words, after which they broke off a bit of bread and all three drank some wine.

And then Jordan went back to his buddies and Venka danced and danced.

 With son in law Angel
 And daughter

And Baba Danka joined in
This lovely gent on the left is 85 and he likes to dance! If people want to dance, they just do, regardless of gender. He also did a very dramatic oration, which was quite moving considering we had no idea what he was saying. But he put his heart and soul in to it.

The main meal was served. It had been brought in by the family lads in big trays, hot, but in true Bulgarian style had been left to go tepid before being plated by the ladies. As usual, lots of meat in the form of sausage, meat patty and a chunk of the unfortunate sheep, with pickles and cold rice. After everyone had been served young Jordan, the grandson, brought my vegetarian bowl of cold potato, boiled eggs, olives and stuffed peppers. Bless Venka. Then huge bread rolls to go with.
Venka having a quiet moment with her grandson Little (very tall) Jordan
And our English neighbour
With daughter Pipa
The man off the telly!

Then Venka got up and danced and danced, as did many others, including Dave, who danced with the lady who helps with the butchering, who he sees in the village often, Baba Danka from across the lane, Venka of course, Venka's pal, and Venka's daughter, not forgetting our English neighbour. Everyone was well oiled by this time and a couple went home, including a lovely chap who Dave often chats with, who is not well.
 Dave with meat lady above,Venka below, Baba Danka below her, and Venka's pal Maria at the bottom

Next it was the cutting of the cake, which was adorned with fireworks, when lit they smoked out the room. More speaches in appreciation of family including beloved son in law, very touching. More rounds of the tables and Venka danced and danced......

The singer (off the telly!) mingled and sang and Venka danced. The visitors were starting to leave so sweet was served, a plate full of goodies including our biscuits and cake the English neighbours had made.

Jordan had his photo taken with the man off the telly, who was then presented with the bread creation.

 Then Venka did the rounds with a basket of sweeties, and I left them dancing while I went off to lock the chickens in. We had arrived at noon and I left around 5.30, exhausted by laughter and emotion (I cried a lot while filming as much as I could) and feeling as if we had been embraced in a big hug by the village we call home.

Apologies for the photo quality, I was opposite a bright light and not using a flash much as I was videoing at the same time.


  1. I love your account of the festivities, what wonderful neighbours you have Sara, I am so envious of your life in Bulgaria a bit like I remember in London in the late 40s/50s.
    Enjoy yourselves.xx

    1. That's what Dave says Brenda, reminds him of childhood on the farm. The community spirit is not what it once was, people move away to work so often. And we didn't grow up with that either. We are trawling through the videos now and getting all emotional again. Loving life.

  2. What a lovely anniversary party! Looks like everyone had a great time. I think your pictures are great! I saw nothing wrong with the quality. Your cookies and card were beautiful. I think it would be very hard to figure out customs in another country, and I applaud you for making sure the bird was not bad luck. I don't know if I would have thought of that.

    1. Thank you Tana. It can be a bit awkward figuring things out with the language barrier. Every time you let it be known that you can understand something they think you can understand everything! My next post will tell how things can go awry for that reason.

  3. What a fantastic party, and a lovely write up. They certainly know how to enjoy themselves.

    1. They certainly do, and on a budget too. You wouldn't step into the building in the UK, damp, dark, green walls, ripped furniture and a wood burning heater which would give H&S palpitations. But the warmth of the people is priceless.