Day to day events mostly cataloguing my complete lack of understanding and common sense!

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There is now a separate site with information on living in Bulgaria, including:

  • An introduction to Gostilitsa and all it has to offer
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Unfortunately I've been having an increasing number of problems with storage on this site, so I've decide to continue the diary section elsewhere. Click here for the link to the new site.  The old diary entries will remain here for anyone wishing to delve into the murky past

Thursday 20th December, 2012
Category: 2012/12
Tags: snow DIY

It is still snowing! Last night I couldn't resist wrapping up again for another play in the snow and had a mess around with my camera trying different settings:


The one of the sky came out unexpectedly and makes me think of looking at a dust cloud in outer space:

This morning I think it must be about a foot deep and it took a while shovelling the paths clear in the vain hope that Mitko will make it through at some point over the next day or two with the milk.  I've scattered rock salt down as well which seems to be working well.  No sign of the interlopers in Molly's bed this morning and despite the cold she seemed quite happy to go out again after breakfast.  There are little trails of cat paw prints here and there cataloguing their pathways around the buildings.

I forgot to mention that a few days ago the DIY bug struck again and I made a small table to go next to the wood burner stove so that I've got somewhere to put plates and utensils when I'm getting things in and out of the oven.  I still haven't quite figured out what to do about the legs which at the moment consists of a single pole wedged underneath and might well remain that way.  The table needs sanding too as the edges are a bit splintery and there's a nasty patch on the wall where a chunk of plaster fell off when I was drilling... but apart from all that, it's completely functional and doing a great job!


Wednesday 19th December, 2012
Category: 2012/12
Tags: snow


Today has been very exciting as it hasn't stopped snowing all day!  There was still some snow on the ground yesterday though it was all very wet and slushy as the temperature had been well above zero all day, but when the snow began again at about 10pm last night it was cold enough for it to settle, and it's been settling ever since!

 (Click picture to see video)


Molly had her second lot of vaccinations including for rabies yesterday so I let her sleep in the house last night in case she felt ill.  Her absence outside meant that two squatters have taken over her little igloo bed - Baba Ivanka's tabby cats. They were both curled up together in there and Molly wasn't happy about joining them!  It seems I shall have to make a second bed in the shed and hope that Molly gets to use one of them whilst I'm away.  No doubt she has half a dozen other little bolt holes that she curls up in too, and probably more to her taste than an old cushion and a bit of fleece blanket.

I went down to see if Baba Ivanka needed any help clearing the snow so she can get her chickens out but she'd pretty much beaten me to it and there wasn't much to do.

Pottered around indoors wrapping a few presents for Christmas and then decided to take a walk up to the shop to buy some bread.  Everywhere is so quiet in the snow and all you can hear is the tiny tapping of little bits of snow landing on the trees and bushes.  It's very dry powdery snow and clouds of it suddenly swoosh in the air when the wind blows across roofs.

Since the snow is so dry I couldn't resist laying down on the patio and making a snow angel!
Monday 17th December, 2012
Category: 2012/12
Tags: Veliko Tarnovo insurance snow survachka


This week I have two main things to get done: The second dose of vaccinations for Molly due on Wednesday, and a second visit to the insurance agent regarding my medical claim.  I checked the weather forecast last night and it warned of snow falls beginning on Tuesday night.  So, I planned to do the insurance today and then take Molly to the vet's a day early on Tuesday.  Well you know what they say about the best made plans... As I opened the curtains this morning I was greeted by a completely white landscape and a steady fall of snow.

I bought a cover for my car last week which was of course still stuffed in its box in the kitchen, so I grabbed a broom and headed outside to clear off the car and wrap it up in its new anorak.  Surprisingly it keeps the snow from building up pretty well so far as the snow just seems to slide off it.  There was no sign of anyone else around so I hurried back indoors to the blazing fire and made breakfast whilst waiting to see if the milkman would brave the elements.  Sure enough he made it through and listened patiently while I tried to explain about my absence over Christmas.  Hopefully the lack of payment will prevent me arriving back to a doorstep full of beer/milk bottles.

The weather forecast now decided it was going to snow all week with ever decreasing temperatures so I figured I might as well attempt to get to Veliko Tarnovo to see the insurers.  I shovelled a short runway in front of the car so that I wouldn't embarrass myself by not actually getting away from the house, started the engine and slowly headed off.  Two snow ploughs passed by on the road through the village which boosted my confidence though once I got on the road to Dryanovo I suspect they came from a different direction.  I hate the feel of the car when it gives those little sideways slips in the snow so I happily crawled along at a very slow speed, pulling over as much as I dared to let everyone else woosh past at normal speed.  Once I got nearer to Dryanovo there was a lot more grit on the road which had melted the snow and ice nicely.  

I got to Veliko at about 2pm and thought I'd better park in a proper car park for once instead of tackling the back streets, so I made my way to the underground CBA carpark near the market and luckily someone was just leaving a space as I arrived.  I was accosted by someone trying to sell me perfumes while I was busy putting fifty layers of coats and scarves on.  Perfume madame... very cheap.. No thanks, I don't like perfume... For a present madame, very cheap... No, no and NO again! Finally bundled up I left and he mosied on to the next car.

The next time I go out in the snow I might try the trick of wearing socks over the top of my shoes, just to see if it really does give more grip.  I'm so nervous about twisting my ankle again it's not true!  The insurers are always very friendly and filled out the claim form for me with just a few questions.  To be honest, I only expected to be able to claim for the actual visits to the hospital doctor but it seems they are putting in a claim for all the medical items and the x-rays too. They said there is a chance that head office in Sofia may require me to show the x-rays as proof but I can provide them as when needed.  The whole visit only took a few minutes so I thought I'd have a look round the Christmas market.  This year it's in the park, all set out in little wooden cabins:

With the Christmas music playing it all looked very pretty.  I bought some traditional biscuits and then made my way to the tourist information office to get the latest edition of the 'What's On' magazine.  
I made my way eventually back to the market area and had a stroll through.  It's amazing the variety of fruit and veg being sold even at this time of year - I certainly didn't expect to see so many lettuces.  One thing that puzzled me was the number of stalls selling bare sticks.  Could these really be for people who can't afford a tree?  In the end I plucked up courage and asked a stall holder what they were for.  Of course I didn't understand a lot of what she said, but picked up that they are survachka sticks which are used to tap people and wish them health and good luck for the coming year.  Always a sucker for traditional stuff, I bought one and was given a little bunch of smaller ones too which she said was something to do with banitsa (a traditional pastry snack).  Maybe if I waft it at my cooking everything will be super tasty from now on.
Apparently it needs to be decorated with little coins, ribbons, etc so I shall get busy with the tinsel and chocolate coins and then stand ready to beat some good wishes into people :)
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