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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Jordan's name day
The sixth of January is Jordan's name day and we were honoured to be invited next door to the family celebration, for Jordan and his grandson, Little Jordan....who is, of course two feet taller than Jordan! Our English neighbours were also invited. We were the last to arrive and most had started on the salad course which consisted of some of Venka's wonderful pickled peppers and gherkins, washed down with plenty of rakia, of course, and accompanied by toasts in every European language. Next a centrepiece of bread was brought out, a work of art of lovely light bread, perfectly cooked....I need a lesson in Bulgarian bread making! Where does she find the time?

 With that there was a chicken soup, presumably made from the cockerel which accompanied the next course (thought it had gone a bit quiet over there!) Venka had made me a special soup, a traditional yoghurt, cucumber and garlic soup served cold, very delicious, rather like a thin tzatziki. Mmmmm.... And the bread was broken and everyone had a huge chunk.

The rakia was still flowing, as was the luminous pop and home made red wine. Lots of 'conversation' and laughter. I love these people. So the next course was brought out, a mountain of stuffed vegetables with sausage, pork and chicken, all piled on plates the size of a larger size side plate. And cold. I had just the veg (pepper and cabbage stuffed with rice, bean stew) and a couple of cold fried eggs. It is strange having cold food which you would not consider serving any other way than piping hot, but that is the way it is, and means everything can be prepared in advance. It is something which is hard to get used to.

Much merriment and more rakia and wine. Then sweet, a cold custard slice topped with a layer of jelly...oh dear...but I was brave and ate it as Venka is always keen to know what we think of sweet things as we often send them cake of different kinds. The table was littered with half eaten bread and plates of food, and in a way it is good to see that they rarely finish their main dishes as I never do, there is only so much cold rice I can take!
Jordan and our English neighbour having a little rakia kip...

Time for Dave to have another dancing lesson. The ladies started dancing round the table, Graham joined them and Dave couldn't resist. But the combined efforts of Venka, Pepper and her sister-in-law couldn't make much headway in Dave's dance education. But we were all in stitches!

Venka and Jordan
 Their daughter Pepper and her husband Angel
 Angel's brother and his wife

I had taken round a plate full of brownies, something that would keep a day or two, but which seemed to confuse. I had the honour of being asked if I would make some 'sweets' like I made at Christmas (the shortbreads) for Venka and Jordan's 50th wedding anniversary party which is being held in the village hall. How lovely, my head is buzzing with ideas on how to decorate them suitably and on a card. Bless them, the two cards we have made so far, a thank you and a Christmas card, are displayed in the dining room. I am not sure if the 50th is recognised as a Golden anniversary in Bulgaria, research needed. But gold is something I can add to the card and biscuits. Our neighbour has also been asked to make her speciality, which I may have to remind her about as I am not sure it sunk in while she was having such a good time.
Here she is with her little friend, made from her bread.

Elsewhere, we had a message to say the builder will be back this week, but not when. We just want it finished now so we can decorate and show Venka and Jordan what we have done. We will have to shut Bella away first though! It is about time they made friends.

On the subject of dogs, the poor soul who was poisoned has finally moved a week after he died. We are told it was a 'wild' dog but we are not convinced. Anyway, at least we can walk down the road without coming across him.

We are still getting presents from the neighbours. The other day the neighbour from behind came and chattered away to Dave as he was handed a box of chocs, then one for me for the super torte. Bless them. Then when Dave went for milk yesterday he found out that the milk man's name was Jordan so wished him happy name day. Off he scuttled and came back and offered him a chocolate. It might not seem much, but it means a lot that we are not just dismissed as English visitors, especially with the bad publicity and scaremongering in some newspapers.
On a sadder note, Rosa, the lady who had the stroke over Christmas, has been sent home and her daughter summoned to look after her as she can't do anything or speak and it seems she is being kept on her back, which is surely inviting pneumonia. The daughter can stay five weeks but will then have to go back to work. A worrying time. We are all keeping our fingers crossed that Rosa makes a good recovery. I can't believe this same lady was dancing and joking on Christmas Eve.

It is about time the chicks started to go to their new homes. We are keeping one black male, one blue male is going over the mountains when it is safe to take him, which leaves two more blues and a black to find homes for. Two hens are staying in the village and the rest are staying I think, unless someone really wants them. We were hoping to get some eggs in the incubator this month, but only one is laying and she seems to be agile enough to stay away from Sevi, who favours his big girl who can't run fast. The pullets will be starting to lay soon...the first batch are not Sevi's...and we will be splitting the Shumens off from the house hens who will be laying for the table. Sevi is getting increasingly cross with the boys, especially the one from the first batch who is booked!

 The blue boy who is booked and the black we are keeping
 Sevi, handsome boy
 This is the pullet with the twisted feet who is quite tame as she had to be rescued regularly when she was learning to perch, she used to fall off. Now she will sit on your arm.

.Somebody who shall remain nameless left the gate open the other day and the adults made a break for it. Sevi fussed around his ladies, and Bella kept an eye out for wolves or any other she could let them know before she scarpered inside!
She's not happy about the one that wants to be a parrot though. That's her job!

It is a beautiful day today, the sun has returned and it feels lovely on your face.

 We decided to go off to the supermarket the scenic route and enjoyed the sun on the way. Called in at Dave's favourite swimming spot to see if we could spot the kingfishers or egret, but there were a lot of people fishing so saw a solitary heron! Dave went in for a quick dip as we were there, this from someone who used to gasp at the sea temperatures in Greece in May!

 There are still signs of otters down there and there are plenty of fresh water mussels, easy to find.

We had a lovely little cabbage for lunch. Though the big ones are rotting as they freeze and thaw, small ones have grown on some of the stalks where the big cabbage has been cut off. Apart from that, not much is happening. The weather forecast is now saying the cold snap next week is not happening so we might be sowing peas and beans in the greenhouse, and some bedding plants in small trays in the house so they can be moved about if it gets too cold.

Dave has just finished another commission for an ex work colleague which has caused a bit of a stir in the records world. And a new style again, this time a cartoony pic. Poor Dodo.

Meanwhile....the keepers of the fire. If they get any closer they will roast!
I have nearly reached 10,000 page views which I find astonishing for what is, in effect, a diary so I don't forget anything and family can keep tabs. So thank you all of those who read this blog, and a big welcome to new followers.


  1. 10,000 page views is no surprise (I'd expected it to be higher). Your blog is entertaining and very easy to read. What may seem to you as mundane is obviously manna for people like me. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks Farmergeddun, and thanks for sticking with it. I am told I need to sort my page out to get more followers, and will try when I get time, but anything computery is a mystery to me, especially jargon.....

  2. Once again another excellent read. As Farmergeddun said it is always entertaining and with your way of writing it makes it easy for the reader to follow, also as the old saying goes 'a picture paints a thousand words', which really helps those who have no real idea about Bulgaria and some of her unusual ways.

    1. Wow thanks Chris, what a lovely comment.

  3. Have just found your blog and have spent the evening reading it from the start. I find it fascinating and beautifully written. Please keep writing. Best wishes to you both for the new year and to your Bulgarian neighbours from here in Ireland.

    1. Thank you Emma and welcome to our world. Gosh, your eyes must be tired! Thank you so much for the lovely comments.

  4. I discovered your blog today and have been trolling your posts. So different to our life and the productive gardens are a wonder to me. Could you add place names and the price of items and labour, please? I sure appreciate that work that goes in to just a few sentences. eg I made jam. It's all a long process. Thank you for adding your recipes too. I'm not into cooking cakes on a regular basis but do dream.

    1. Hi Lydia. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. I do not do much in the costings side as they are not relevent to most who read the blog, being in a different country, though I do comment when things are particularly cheap in comparison to the UK. And again, we go to few places as any shopping is done in the supermarket or hardware store, and anywhere visited on a trip out is documented by name and photos. I try to cover what is relevent to anyone who might visit or buy out here, but generally genuine enquiries are covered by email.
      I have only recently got heavily into making cakes myself. Mainly to use up eggs when I had too many, but also because my neighbours love them! Like all processes in the kitchen, the more you do it the less time it takes.

    2. Thank you for your lovely reply. The most I've had to do with Bulgaria was when a Bulgarian doctor put a canula in the back of my hand 5 yrs ago. He was surprised that I knew where it was....
      The cost of fuel is a killer in the UK and it is creeping up here. We are around $1.54 a litre! Good luck with your dreams and I totally admire your guts in making this huge step. Well done.