There was an error in this gadget

Monday, 11 April 2016

ново начало

Time is just flying away these days and before I know it I think to myself " I must get and write another post on the blog."

Only a week ago, I cannot be precise as one day seems to merge into the next, my niece and her partner arrived in Bulgaria and are staying with me whilst they get a feel of the country and may even in the future possibly move here and live a similar dream themselves. At the weekend her partner and I drove to Sofia airport to collect my eldest sister with her OH who were coming to help and give me support. The drive to Sofia was pretty uneventful and on arrival her plane had landed and so hiding behind a pillar in the arrivals lounge I waited and waited for what seemed like forever. Eventually she appeared through the sliding doors and she scanned the crowd of people who were waiting for friends and relatives themselves looking for Dimitar (the taxi driver I had told her would be picking her up). Creeping up to her all of us got a surprise, her that I had come to collect her, me because she had not arrived with her partner, but my younger sister as he had given up his booking to allow her to come with my elder sister.  I cannot write what the conversation, reactions were as there were too many expletives contained within it, but I am certain you can all imagine of the surprise, joy that a large part of my family were here to support me. It was a major thing for my younger sister as she had only flown once before, over ten years ago and had spent most of a day in London getting an emergency passport in order for her to be here to give her support .

Their main reason for them coming was that on the 5th April, the 40th day of Sara's death, in Bulgarian Orthodox tradition a ceremony is carried out at her graveside by the priest and is seen as the time that Sara's spirit leaves this earth and she enters heaven. The day before there was the dash down to the florist in the next village and we pretty much cleared her out of flowers to enable us to make up bouquets on behalf of myself, my sisters and my parents who sadly could not attend, but were with thinking of me at this time. Fortunately the weather was good and the service took place and was duly attended by family, friends, both English and Bulgarian. My Bulgarian neighbour and her friend had already asked beforehand if they could plant for me at the service pansies and forget-me-nots on the grave. After they planted them I carefully watered them in. As you can imagine the days leading up to the actual service were fraught with a helter-skelter of emotions, of joy that family members were here to support me, to periods of tension building up to the service and spells of sadness and grief of missing my beloved Sara. I had also got a little stressed as I wanted to read out a poem I had written in memory of Sara at the service, but was unsure if I could keep my composure at the service, but with the support of sisters by my side I read out a poem at her graveside to all.

A poem in Sara's memory

Bulgarian neighbour and friend planting flowers on Sara's grave

The mass of flowers bought by those who attended the service.

Family members had also brought with them painted stones with messages
 which were duly placed on Sara's grave in her memory.

After the service all the people who attended the service were invited for a meal that I had provided at the local restaurant, again part of Bulgarian custom is that after the service it  is customary to have a meal in Sara's memory.  After the meal that consisted of soup, then Bulgarian burgers (Kufteh) sausages and potatoes followed by the usual highly sweetened Bulgarian dessert before everyone left a necrolog (obituary poster) was handed to each to place on doors and gates in the village/home in Sara's memory along with a gift of food including biscuits, Kolivo (Bulgarian ritual food made from boiled wheat, sugar, milk and crushed walnuts and cheese scones made Sara's recipe were made by myself, my sisters and niece.

Sara's necrolog (obituary).

It has been fortunate to have family members over for the week as many jobs that needed doing, but had not been able to be done due to the typical March/April weather of one moment blazing sun to the next day heavy rain. So early morning was set aside to get the troops together to prioritise what needed doing and setting to get some of the tasks carried out. My eldest sister enjoyed hoeing in the garden morning and evening. My niece assisted with planting tomatoes in the newly dug trenches that I had made for them that helps with watering them later in the year. My nieces partner sorted out removing dead and diseases wood from some of the trees in the garden as he is a tree surgeon and my younger sister and I sorted out concreting the base for the pool that will sooner than later be put in place to help with cooling me off during the day when I am working away in the garden. 
Tomatoes, runner beans & cucumbers planted. 

Courgettes planted (old tyres used to assist with watering)

Concrete base for the pool completed

Along with the reduced risk of night time frosts and the increasing day time temperatures earlier sowings are now beginning to emerge.


 The peas and broad beans that Sara had planted a couple of days before she died.

Beetroot seedlings emerging

Carrot seedlings with the occasional weed seedling

 Broughton Bride clematis in flower (I bought Sara this as a present last year as we were married at Hawarden, Cheshire a couple of miles along the road from Broughton)

Lemons getting bigger and enjoying the sun


On the livestock front the eldest batch of Light Sussex chicks have been sold making way for now 20 plus Light Sussex chicks of varying ages now being housed in the outdoor shed and being given access to the outside pen during the day. Sadly with the first batch of Indian Runner duck eggs only two hatched, I think partially due to extreme daytime temperatures (a couple of days 30C +) and the problems with one of the incubators the eggs were initially in being a little temperamental. They seem to be healthy enough and eating well and on a better note I candled the next batch of Indian Runner eggs which are in a more reliable incubator and of 24 eggs, 23 are fertile and are due to hatch at the end of the month.
 First Indian Runner ducklings of the season

With more coming along nicely

The goats Millie and Tilly are now regularly going out with the goat herd during the day and coming back around 5pm totally exhausted whereupon they immediately have a drink then lie down and ruminate the days browsing/grazing so feed costs are down a little with them. It would seem that both are likely to be pregnant as neither have been back in season for nearly two months so there may be possible kids at the middle and end of July. To increase milk production I have been searching for Anglo-nubians which also their milk also contains a higher butterfat and have managed to find a couple, one only a kid the other an adult which will enable me to produce more cheese with the possibility of selling some at car boot sales next year.

After one day of being up at 4am until 10.30pm making jams and brown sauce, my niece and I attended the first car boot sale at Hotnitsa for the year and pretty much sold everything including cheese scones and quiches my sister and niece had made for me to sell. I am only going to attend one car boot sale a month at Hotnitsa as literally there are not enough hours in the day to get everything prepared what with increased amounts of livestock and now maintaining the garden.

Whilst my sisters were here we did mange to get out for a couple of days and visited a couple of local spots and check out some of the local wildlife and I had the opportunity for a swim in the river 
Hotnisa waterfalls  

 Time for a cooling off period

                             Surrounding landscape                               The storks are back in town

Local flora

Now my sisters have gone back to the UK and much of the garden planting has been completed, I now have time to sort out other legal aspects following Sara's death. I have managed to get her death certificate translated so that I can inform relevant people in the UK (banks, work pension, and pension/tax office) and have also arranged to see a solicitor in Veliko Tarnovo to assist with changing the house deeds into my name, all part of the process and all things I do not relish having to do, but necessary. 

I thank all my Bulgarian and English friends for their support since Sara's passing, but more importantly over this last week to my sisters, niece and her partner who have been a source of strength, comfort and help to me whilst I go through these last days of the period of mourning as is seen in Bulgarian custom. They have known when to back off when I just need "my time" to reflect on the situation, they have been there for that all important hug of comfort when the going for me just gets that little bit too much, and have been there to take a little of the pressure off me in getting the backlog of tasks in the garden carried out.

As I sit out each evening and light the candle in the lantern that was decorated and given to me by my sister, I think of what I had in the all but too short time I had with Sara (two days after the 40th day service would have been our eleventh wedding anniversary), but more importantly knowing that by having that time with her and carrying her memory with me of her that I can continue my journey and see it as a new beginning (ново начало) and not an end of a journey.






   

24 comments:

  1. A really moving post, Dave. Those painted stones are just beautiful as is your poem for Sara. I think the Bulgarian way of dealing with death is a really sensible one, much better to have the two ceremonies where you have the time to better prepare for the second one after the intial shock has worn off. I'm so pleased you had such great support from your family and that they also helped you with your garden jobs. Amazing that you are having such hot days already and that you already have your tomatoes planted! All the best, Mandy xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks Millymollymandy. Sara had as far as I was concerned had planted seedlings far too early and so they had become a bit leggy to keep indoors and so were hardened off in the polytunnel and then planted but with a large water bottle placed over them to act as a clotch. Here's hoping we do not have a major cold snap.

      Delete
  2. So pleased you had your Sisters and Niece and Partner with you, which I know has been a very painful time. We were all thinking about you at this time here in Chester. I am sure Dave that you feel a little better now the setting out of the garden has been done and you can tackle the other things that inevitably need doing that can't be put off. Sending much love and hugs, Cindy (Sister in Law). XXXX

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can't tell you how reading about your life over the past few weeks has affected me. I have begun to wonder what I would do in your situation. I too live in a foreign country where my husband and I are living our dream. But without him I don't think I could carry on. The amount of work is too much for one person and most of it requires physical strength that I don't have. It brings me a lot of hope that you are able to go forward with your dreams, albeit perhaps modified a bit. And I wish you lots of success in your endeavours for the future. You are an inspiration for anyone who has chosen a different lifestyle in a faraway place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks for you support Jane. One of Kaen Blixen (Isak Dineson's) quotes is “God made the world round so we would never be able to see too far down the road.”. The sudden loss of Sara truly confirms that, but as hard as it may be I go on. All I can advise is do not try to look too far down that road, live for the day and live it to its fullest and cherish the love of those around you. When the time comes they are what makes each day bearable and give you the strength to go on. Maybe, just maybe there is a reason to all this in that if I can write of the love Sara and I had together when she was alive and that life does go on after her passing and that in turn gives others inspiration and hope then so be it.

      Delete
  4. A really moving post, sad but encouraging at the same time. Like Jane, I also live in a country which is not my homeland and do sometimes how I would manage to carry on living and farming here, but somehow I would. One thing for sure, and that is that the UK is not a place I would want to go back to. Sending you hugs and blessings, Vx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like you I do not want to go back to the UK, Bulgaria is now my home. Yes it is hard even more so now with not having Sara physically by my side with such things as the language and general conversation, but I will continue our dream albeit alone. There may be factors out of my control that would force me to have to go back to the UK, but to me as with your concerns you have indicated you face those challenges when they arrive and not waste precious time worrying about them now when potentially nothing can be done to prevent them. Live your dream Vera and live it to the fullest, Bless you.

      Delete
  5. Dave love, you have no idea how much you inspire me. You and Sara built your dream together and I think it is wonderful that you are carrying on the dream. It will be tough at times but you are doing so well and I bet Sara is walking beside you every day

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well written and entertaining....well done that man :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dave, the Bulgarian tradition around death have been so insightful. Thank you for sharing this sad time with us all, as I know it can't be easy. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks Judith, your comments like many others posted are much appreciated and gives me the encouragement to continue on with Sara's blog even more, albeit less frequently.

      Delete
  8. I read the first part of this post with a lump in my throat. I am so glad that you have had your family with you for support. I have said it before I know but Sara would be so proud of you.

    I thought the two runner duck chicks were adorable. The garden is coming on a treat too.

    It is so good that you are finding time to continue with this blog. You are an inspiration to us all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks Carol, if I inspire people through my writing then even more so continuing Sara's blog is of value not only just to me, but then to others as well.

      Delete
  9. Hi Dave, so pleased you have the love & support of your lovely family at this sad time for you. I've just lost my mother & don't know how I woukd cope without my wonderful sister & my husband & children. Well done for having the courage to continue yours & Sara's dream, may it bring you comfort that you are carrying on in her name. I think the Bulgarian traditions at this time are just wonderful & insightful.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Dave, Spring really is here, ducklings, kid goats (hopefully) and all. It was lovely to see the peas and broad beans that Sara planted. I find your blog very spiritual, just as when Sara wrote it. We are thinking of you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All systems go now especially on the weed front and must get to check out the bee hive before the weekend. Many thanks for your support and words Janet & Mark.

      Delete
  11. A moving post - as others have said, it's good to think you had your family to support you. I hope & pray that your memories of the time you had with Sara will sustain you through the days and weeks ahead. God bless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is those memories that keep me going and that I had albeit a short time with Sara in which both of us were happy. Everyday I go to her grave for a coffee with her and everytime I leave I glance back in the hope that I will see her once more. At times moments of life without her are excruciatingly painful but those memories when we were together just make them a little more bearable and to continue on. God bless you too.

      Delete
  12. Admit to having a lump in my throat!. What a fabulous personal 40 day service, don't know what to call it.
    Love The stones, beautiful, will make one for my dad ,neighbours planting flowers precious.
    2 pregnant goats n lots of duckies hatching, erm you will be so busy!.
    Duck eggs yummmmmm.
    Hot i
    Hotnitsa water full looks like paradise, enjoy.
    Regards Kirrie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks Kirrie as you say very busy at the moment what with livestock and planting now in the garden.

      Delete