Archive for September 30, 2010

Dead Bees

It has come to the end of a busy month for me, I have not posted on here as often as I would have liked and I am afraid that to
end the month on a sad note. My busy bees who have been working their socks off all summer making me wax and honey have gone to the big
hive in the sky!

As I am still a novice when it comes to bee keeping, it came as quite a shock. I have had several expert opinions from neighbours, it appears
everyone here is an expert in hindsight! Opinions vary, from bee flu to the queen flying off and not being replaced. One thing is certain though
before they departed they took all their honey with them. As it is the end of septmeber they will not be able to be replaced until swarming season
next May, so I will have plenty of time to read up to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

The reason I have been so busy this month is not down self reliance either. I have been getting official documents done in Bulgaria so that I
am 100% legal. I will still have to wait the normal 5 years for citizenship etc, but I now have the equivalent of a NI Number and can be employed etc
I am also in the process of having my degree certificate made legal in Bulgaria, I can’t wait until they get it translated as it comes from Swansea Uni and
is half in Welsh!

This month is also the month of getting everything ready for winter, I have had the roof checked, the chimneys swept and am working my way through
chopping a couple of ton of logs. The winter here is only a short one Jan & Feb are the only really cold months, but it really does get quite chilly.
Last year we -15C during the day, just walking to shop and back (150m) and you would be all chattering teeth and what not.

I am also busy tidying up as the better half arrives in 2 days, and it is surprising how much mess a single man can make in 3 months without proper
guidance from experts on house cleanliness!

Free Lunch

There is no such thing as a free lunch or so the saying goes, well I have disproved the rule. There is in fact such a thing as a free lunch if like me you are lucky enough to live near Hussain the ‘Hodja’ (Imam).

Yesterday on his way back from doing Imam duties he dropped by to say hello, or at least I thought he did, then between my bad Bulgarian and his attempt at ‘charades’ he managed to communicate to me that I needed to fetch him a large bowl and a spoon.

I quickly went inside and found a soup bowl and a dessert spoon, ‘golyam, golyam’, (big, big), again I returned with a serving bowl and serving spoon ‘ah tacka’ (not really sure what this means, but sort of ‘there you go’)

I place the said items on my garden table and he was busy opening one of his many bags, my serving bowl was then filled to the limit with beef and rice, and then duly left without saying another word!

I still do not know why he felt the need to deliver me food, perhaps I was looking a bit thin. It was however greatlyfully recieved and I can’t wait if he decides to pop by again!

PS I would like to say thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read this blog/website, some have asked for more pics, all I can say is I ate all the food before I had chance to take a picture! Also I find people who constantly go round with a camera in front of there face taking pics ‘beef and rice’ are a bit sad. If you want to know what it look likes, well it was beef mixed with rice – that is lumps of brown mixed with lots of little white bits! There is also more pics on the forum which is linked to on the left hand side!

Chasing Cows

It is not just me that lives a self reliant lifestyle in my village. In fact compared with some of my neighbours I really am only playing at it.
Or at least they find it very amusing when my attempts at food production go awry.

As of yet I don’t have a cow, although I do intend to get one it is not high on the list of priorties. Every other household however in my
village does. Every morning after milking they sent on there way out of the village to fend for themselves. Again each evening they saunter
back to there owners house to be milked and get there head down for the night. Or at least most of them do.

Unwelcome guest!

My unwelcome guest

Unfortunately the cow belonging to the village mayor(Kmet), has decided that it does not want to return to his own house but would rather come
and visit me. Now I don’t mind cows, I really do like cheese, but this cow is not keen on giving me its milk, and after breaking through my
garden fence this week destroyed my cabbages and finished off my peppers before demolishing my second lot of french beans!

Cabbage Remains

The remains of my cabbages!

Not pleased does not cover it! I was seen chasing his cow through the village and lucky enough no one here speaks English as I was using
some quite sharp words!

Pepper remnants

The remains of my peppers

The fence has been fixed, this however has not put off my unwanted guest and for the last three days at about half past six in evening I am
now seen escorting the kmet’s cow back to his rightful owner. All this without even a pint of milk!

My New Name is Dotchka

I have recently being doing documents. Now this in Bulgaria can be quite
a convaluted process. But unless you have documents you cannot get anything done. At least officially. My latest document, was to get the
ability to work in Bulgaria, which requires an EGN (their equivalent of NI No). I automatically qualify for one of these after 5 years residence, but thought
I would try and get one early as they are quite useful things to have when getting other things done.

The lady in the local document office when I visted there told me there would be no problem, as I had all the other documents, they were having a
problem with the computer though. The program that registers people requires three names, first, middle and family. The problem being that I only have two!
This may seem trivial but if I can’t get a record on the computer then I can’t get my EGN! After much telephoning around, and checking with others in the office
(about two hours of shrugging shoulder!) they decided to insert my middle name as a full stop! = dotchka!

So in Bulgaria my middle name is officially “.” and has to be used whenever I write my name, I am at the moment relearning my signature to incorparate the full stop.

I Am Stuffed

 The holiday season comes to an end, this year I was lucky enough to be invited to the Bairam festival at my neighbour Ilyas house. He had mot of his family coming over, there were about 30 people in all.

Everyone was very welcoming, and interested why I had decided to come and live in rural Bulgaria. I have trouble explaining this most of the time but when I tell them that the UK is nothing but large cities, which are noisy etc, they soon come round to my way of thinking. Village life is much better. “Sello Jivot Po Hobavo!” (Village life is much better)

Before we went to the feast though it is customary to deliver ‘chapatis’ to all your neighbours. Here is my collection this year, this I should point out was minus the 8 that I managed to eat before turning green!

Pile of Chapatis

So back to the feast, I was quite hungry and not sure what to expect. First of all, 16 of us were knelt around a large circular table on the floor. The first dish up was a kind of hot rice pudding, with a side salad of fresh tomatoes and the obligatory half a loaf of bread. So I tucked in. Not knowing how much was to come (I should have watched evryone else though, as they knew and were pacing themselves!)

After everyone had their fill, the rice pudding was replaced with beef and potato casserole, salads were refreshed, more bread was placed on the table! Still quite peckish though I ploughed on, with much encouragement from my host. The beef was really good so I didn’t need much encouragement! (I still had not caught on that most people were taking it steady!)

The beef casserole was whisked away, and out came a gigantic ‘Banitsa’, a sort of cheese pastry. Again thinking this might be near the end I filled up as I am not big on desserts.

The banitsa though was soon replaced with the main course! Large half kilo lumps of steak cooked over rice. Ilyas insiisted that I eat at least two steaks. At this point I started to worry. The waistband on my trousers was being put under quite a lot of stress! Surely dessert next!

Oh No! Out came a pasta dish cooked in youghurt! Saying I was full, everyone in the room decided that they no longer understood a word I said, and so I was given an extra large portion!With bread!

At last the pasta was taken away, and this time replaced by Baklava, the sweetest dish I have ever eaten, I could feel my teeth corrode as I took a mouthful!

Ilyas then gave me the tour of his garden whilst ‘the women cleared up!’. He said he was very impressed with amount I had eaten, and that the second feast of the day was to held at his wifes brothers house and would I like to come. At that moment in time just the thought of eating made me turn green! I politely refused saying that I had a lot of work to catch up with (sleep off the food). So a top tip if you are ever invited to Bairam with a family make sure you pace youself as you are in for at least 5 or 6 dishes. Only when the baklava cake comes out do you know you are nearing the end!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...