Archive for June 29, 2011

Is It Me?

I have just read an article on why people are fat, on the BBC website, now these boffins have collected data over a 30 year period and they claim,
get this, that the main reason people are overweight and obese is because….

and I quote:

“for those trying to control their weight, it is important to manage both how much and how often they eat.”

The text in bold is my emphasis. But that is right, fat people eat too often, and too much. Well stone me. No big bones,
underactive thyroid, genetic dispostion. ‘Oi Fatty – you eat too much’.

Anway if you want a laugh at how your tax money pays for research grants in this,
the full report from the BBC can be found here.

When I went back to the UK with Bulgarian neighbours, they could not believe how fat some people are in the UK. Don’t get me wrong there are fat
people here but the UK has well a larger portion of fat people.

I can’t wait for the next study,

Research has just shown that the abundance of very skinny African people has been blamed at them not eating enough.

Right far more importantly, my banana seeds have started to sprout, and their infamy has already caused them to have two visitors to check them out. If
I ever get them to the size where banana’s are actually growing on them I think I will have to open a theme park.

One of my Bananas from seed

This is an Ensente Venticosum, which in normal language is a Giant Abyssinian Banana and can grow to 14m in height! We shall see.

On to the cucumber conundrum. How many cucumber plants should you grow? I am still quite a novice and it can be quite difficult to know how many of anything to grow.
Last year I didn’t have enough (only 4 plants) this year I have about 20 dotted around the vegetable patch and at the moment I am up to my ears in the damn things. I have
pickled a few jars, but I am also growing a special variety of gherkins just for this purpose as well. So if anyone out there (without being rude) knows what else I can do
with cucmbers I shall start I thread on the forum. Free packet of banana seeds for the best idea.

My Gherkins

Todays crop of Gherkins!

Terrible Twos


One of the joys of living in a remote village with little influence from the outside world, is that what is now considered
‘beyond the pale’ where we lived in the UK is considered absolutely normal (as it should be here).

‘I like children’, is a phrase when said by a man in th UK is deemed inappropriate, and would probably leed to your neighbours reporting
you to the SS (Social Services). As every grown male adult in the UK is actually a closet paedophile. I think this has come about for a few reasons,
I certainly don’t think there has been any sudden increase in the number of weirdo’s out there. I remember always being told not to take sweets from starngers
when I was young, now though through the sensationalist media, the subject has been used as our daily ‘two minutes of hate’ so we don’t worry so much
about other things that are going on.

So last night whilst enjoying a beer or three in my local pub (it has been very hot, and as beer is so cheap seems a good way to rehydrate), which is located in the middle
of the village. In comes Ozhan. Ozhan is two years old. The rest of the pub, range between 36 and 85. All male. Not one CRB check between them. Ozhans dad is away
working in Belgium for a few months, so his mum sends him round the pub (they live two doors away) for an hour every night if he needs some male company. Ozhan is spoilt rotten
by all and sundry in the pub and everyone makes an effort, which is unsuprising as with most two year olds they are easily engaged, especially when chocholate is involved. Having
come from the UK where children are seen but not heard, it is quite refreshing to see. What is more refreshing is that men are not automatically considered weirdo’s for liking
small children.

As the nights are still light well into the evening, we are sat outside enjoying the breeze as it has been in the mid thirties most days this week. When Ozhan’s cat
enticed by the smell of salami sausage (a traditional side dish with beer) comes along. Ozhan in full show off mode introduces the cat by pulling its tail, much to the amusement
of all. Said cat not best pleased decides that the best course of action to rid itself of its tail pulling owner is to ‘spray’ him. It worked a treat. The look on his face was
of utter astonishment, and the tail was immediately released. Ozhan is cleaned up, and has his ‘trauma’ treated with more chocolate and crisps, which seems to work well. His mum then
comes and collects him as ‘evening creche’ has finished for the day.

No risk assement compiled on the dangers of pulling cats tails, no CRB checks for ‘men that like children’, no SS demanding that children should be hidden from
alchohol, and whats more no children with social skills promblems, no teenage delinquents. No drink until I am sick young aldults. How is this managed, I will leave it to you.

Tortoise Slalom

As the summer starts in earnest so does the national sport of Southern Bulgaria. Bear hunting – no, wild boar hunting – no,
the main sport down here by the Greek border, participated by anyone who owns a vehicle is the ‘Tortoise Slalom’.

The much beloved pet of council estates through the late 70’s and early 80’s, and still to some point now. The tortoise. Our plodding little
friends are native to this part of the world and are as common as hedgehogs in the UK. Where they differ slightly from the spiny ‘road-kill’ of the UK is
in the fact that here people swerve to avoid these little creatures at all costs!

I have the feeling though this has more to do with not getting there cars damadged or dirty than through any thought of compassion for the tortoises.

On your marks, set, GO!!!

Council Tax – Bins Included

My grandad always said to me, you get what you pay for. This was normally directed at buying a new spade,
or boots. Don’t buy the cheapest as they are not the best value in the long run.

In Bulgaria there is a house tax, which I suppose is the
equivalent of the council tax in the UK, it pays for such things as emptying bins, and er well no that is about all the services the
council provide. Some may think this horrid, but less is definately more, in fact it has only been the last 12 months that they started collecting household refuse
before everyone just burnt theirs, in fact most still do, but now at least they have nice shiny skips to put the ashes in.

So for my once a month refuse collection I pay 22 lev (11 euros) not a week, not a month, but for a whole year. That is unless you pay within the first
month of recieving your bill, in which case you are given a 10% discount. My communal skip is emptied the first
saturday of every month for the princely sum of less than 1 euro a go. So my grandad was right, you get what you pay for, and I don’t want to pay for anything else.

My electricity bill, and water bill have also been paid up (elec = 7 euros(a month), water = 15 euros for 3 months and I have the hose going daily).

So my total spend on utilities is 13 euros a month give or take a stotinki. That is the lot. 80% of my food comes from my garden, and here in Bulgaria tonic is more
expensive than gin! Whats not to like.

It is times like these that I sit back in my garden in the cooling afternoon sun with (aforementioned) gin & tonic at hand with a smug grin on my face as I imagine being on the M25 on
a Friday at 5 in the evening racing to get back to my hovel of a flat in the outer suburbs of London.

First Crops 2011

The thermometer has been turned up to scorchio!, so what better way to enjoy the hot weather than
to task myself with digging up some new potatoes – idiot!

The first lot of New potatos

I think I lost half a kilo (2.2 pounds in old money) just digging up these few!

The rest of my peas have also been picked and are bathing in the sun awaiting a good threshing, so even if all else fails I have
potatoes and peas to live on.

Sun bathing Peas!

Two days ago (16 June 2011) we had the lunar eclipse pass over Bulgaria at the not unreasonable time of 21:22. I
informed the concregation at the pub, that the moon would be turning red and then disappear (during totality). To which Ali in his
usual dry sarcasm translated this to Hussain (Imam) that I am like Gallileo.

At approximately 20:30 that evening Ali was outside, and called to say that moon had already disappeared (It had behind a load of cloud
and that was the last that was seen of it). I will not be making predictions of celestial happenings again in the pub as seems they are just wasted!

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