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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Looking forward to spring

I know we have a way to go yet, and the weather is bitter at the moment and due to get worse before it gets better. But I always feel that New Year is just that, a time to look forward to what the next twelve months brings, in the hope that it will be all good.
We had more snow in the form of a blizzard

It blew to the door

Then it froze and glistened like sugar

We have hibernated and Dave has taken up his paint brushes in an effort to keep his mind occupied. He has almost recovered from a bad chesty cough which he has kindly passed on to me, so I am not feeling guilty for veging out on the sofa, only rousing myself to make meals and see to animals. The fire is in constantly though we don't have it roaring. Once the temperature is up it doesn't take a lot of wood to keep it mellow. The upside being we have a constant source of heat for cooking and boiling water. (I do like my hot water bottle) The animals take turns to sit in the warmest bit when they are not on he sofas.
Taking turns

These two seem to end up on my knee
Splash trying to reach the mice which have moved into the open loft out of the cold. They are wily and we can't trap them, so it's about time he found his way up there!

But this isn't the way

We were round at the neighbours' house the other night to celebrate the daughter's 50th birthday back in September, with some of their friends and family from the village. As usual a lovely warm evening, with celebration bread and fireworks on the Christmas cake we gave them (we knew they would give it to the daughter) Lots of food as usual, such generous people.

Celebration bread, adorned with fireworks and some of the Christmas biscuits we gave them

SIL Angel, Venka, daughter Pepa, Dad Jordan

Christmas cake

It seems the mince pies had gone down well the previous evening when a party was held at their home. It's nice that we can introduce them to something new.

So, with the weather as it is the chickens are fed up (but still laying) but the ducks seem to like sitting in the snow and having a bathe in their pond which Dave is fighting to keep liquid. The wild birds are flocking to the chicken food and wild bird feeders with grain and walnuts in them.
Spot and Spotty (they have no names yet)
Some of the sparrows waiting for dinner

The weather has brought chaos to the roads and there have been several deaths directly linked to the cold. You often hear about Britain grinding to a halt at the first whiff of snow, and that other countries cope much better. But that is not always the case. There is a lot more traffic on the roads with it being a holiday season, not just Bulgarians but skiers too. Roads have collapsed, there has been sheet ice and many accidents despite winter tyres. An old person even died in the garden going to the outside loo (fell in the snow) I think if people here had to travel to work in the numbers they do in the UK there would be more problems but the population is only just over 7 million so the percentage of mis-haps is high. Many villages have been without electricity in our region making the wood burners absolutely vital for survival for heat, boiling water, cooking. There is a lot to be said for moving into one room, though they don't tend to have multiple pets cluttering up the place. But many in rural areas are still using the outside loos as it is considered unhygienic to have one inside and many don't have that option in the villages.

The house pets are doing quite nicely, they like a romp in the snow, even Splash, then there is a fight to see who can get closer to the fire! Bella likes to bring 'finds' in and currently that means large icicles, bless her
Bonnie still likes a play in the snow

Splash trying to see out of the window to find out what the noise is (Dave scraping snow)

We don't want icicles in here thank you Bella

We didn't go to the end of year do in the village hall this year. We are both feeling under par for one, and these days feel uncomfortable being segregated into the British group. How things have changed in a year, something I will have to think about for next time.

Meanwhile, we would like to wish all our readers, old and new, a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. I hape you all get what you want in 2015.


  1. Happy New Year from W. Canada! You have a lot more snow than we do. It is quite mild here, 1 degreeC. It's suppose to get colder by the weekend though. We also have been dealing with terrible coughs. I'm in my 4th week with it. I have friends that have had it for several months. Hope 2015 turns out to be everything you expect.

    1. Happy New Year Janice. Bit nippy here this morning, -15c in the structure that holds the sink, so colder outside. Sevi is doing his best to wake everyone up with his crowing after people keeping him awake with fireworks
      Lucky for Bonnie they were not fancy ones, just bang, bang, bang,

  2. Happy New Year to you from Northern Ireland.

  3. Well you certainly have very changeable weather! Xmas dinner outside in the sun followed by all that snow! Looks like you had a good time. Happy New Year to you both. :-)

    1. I don't think it's supposed to be like this! We had a milder day yesterday but now rain with very low temperatures tonight. I am so glad we don't have to go out anywhere.

  4. How cute your dog brings in icicles. It sounds like you are keeping warm with your wood fire. Happy 2015,

  5. Has there been a split between the locals and the ex-pats? My friend has very little to do with the ex-pats in her village as she says that they can cause problems.

    1. Some ex-pats com here for cheap living and warm summers with no intention of contributing anything to the village. They stick to their groups and do nothing all day, get bored, get drunk and can be very rude. They want everything English and turn their noses up at traditional food, (but not at free drink) don't learn any of the language and think Bulgaria owes them something even though they don't pay taxes. All the things people knock immigrants to the UK for. Respect needs earning wherever in the world you are. If you try to ask for your post in Bulgarian, or your milk or bread, say hello to neighbours in doesn't matter if you get it wrong... and learn a little of their customs (like taking a gift if you are invited to a meal, chocs or wine, flowers from your garden) and also if you are passed a big bucket of tomatoes, give them something typically British when you give the bucket back. Whatever other ex-pats do, it's up to you to let these generous (though often extremely poor) people into your life or not, your choice. But the ones that don't miss so much from their lives.