Just been up the pub – what a shock!
They are watching the champions league on telly (Trabsonspor v Lille) and the adverts come on for half time. Not your normal heinz beans stuff. The Turks are having problems with some of their neighbours at the moment. They have enough of them. This time it is the Syrians.
So on comes the advert with a cartoon picture of a tank with a syrian flag emblazoned on it and a caricature of the young syrian president ‘Bashar al-Assad‘ he is pointing his tank at the ‘masses’ where one person out of a hundred is wearing a tee-shirt with ‘Terrorist’ written on it. the tank fires and kills 3 people nearby a terrorist but not the terrorist. Then another tee-shirt is emblazoned with the word ‘terrorist’, he shoots again into the masses, misses all the terrorists and kills more blanks, where upon they turn into ‘terrorist’ tee-shirt-wearing proles.
The message is simple, the more of the innocent you kill, the more terrorists you will create. If only ‘Bush & Blair’ had seen this video clip 8 years ago. The war in Iraq has lasted longer than the second world war! Enough said.
The new ‘austerity’ measures being applied across the western world in order that our elected elites can spend more and more money on things that we don’t want or need will have absolutely no effect on rural life in my part of the world. I live in an almost agrarian society, milk comes from the cow, eggs from the chicken, fruit and veg from the garden. As of yet the powers that be have not found a way to tax these things, and even if they did no-one would comply.
So only being 35 km from Greece and all their public sector workers striking because they have to retire in their forties on half pay pensions doesn’t cut much sympathy on this side of the border. Especially when they are seen driving new BMW’s when my neighbours are still driving around in 25 year old Lada’s. One of the main differences is that the people of Bulgaria, although now fully democratic (whatever that means) have never thought much of their politicians and have never believed a word they say. So if some new politician came in and told them all they could retire at 50 on 1000 euros a month they would realise that this is just some scam to get elected and then line their own pockets. So why is it the rest of the world so happily vote for these stupid people.
Instead of the ‘normal’ Bulgaria is better than the UK drivel that comes from these blogs, I thought I should put some perspective on what here in Bulgaria is a problem akin to the public sector pension deficit in the UK.
Documents. Bulgarians just can’t get enough of them. I have just sold my car here to one of my neighbours. This does not just involve the handing over of a V5 and sending it to Swansea – Oh no. I and the purchaser “Sali’ had to drive 35km to the nearest ‘Notary’ office where Sali as the purchaser had to pay for three documents in order that he could buy my car. The first document confirmed that I was selling my car (signed by me), the second that I had paid all fines, and taxes on the car (again signed by me). The third which still makes me smile at the thought of it, was a document that I had to sign to say that I am not married, or have any children.
This one caught me by surprise also. I enquired as to why my marital status need confirming by a notary, to be informed that if I had been married and had children, my signature only, would not have been enough to sell my car. It would have required the signature of spouse & children over the age of 16. Can you imagine DVLA in Swansea requiring the permission of your wife to sell your car? They would be fire bombed within days!
It being the back to school month, my village has emptied of children from the age of 14 upwards. My village is 35 km from Kardjali in southern Bulgaria, and although there are secondary schools in the nearest town of Djebel, the better schools are all located in Kardjali. The idea of commuting 35 km each way to school is a completely foreign idea in Bulgaria, as is commuting for work. This probably has something to do with roads (there not finished yet), and even more to do with the long harsh winters which making driving either very hazardous or just completely impossible. So for every child in my village from the age of 14 to 18 they live away from the family home in student accommodation near the schools in Kardjali, and just come back at weekends.
My neighbours son started doing this last year, the costs involved are not high, but the parents have to contribute towards the text books, and pay a small charge for the accommodation, and obviously food during the week. This at first seemed quite strange to me having grown up in the UK where education is provided for by the tax system. It however, makes a great difference in the attitude of the students towards their learning. Since mum and dad have to pay directly, if their ‘little angels’ aren’t doing the work and getting good marks they are brought home and put to work in the fields – not a nice option. The philosophy here is if it is being paid for you will make the most of it. Waste is considered almost criminal.
Which made me come round to thinking how this could and should be done in the UK. If the parents of children had to pay even a contribution towards the education of their ‘little miracles’ it would probably cause a little less of this.
I don’t believe education should be compulsory, I myself dropped out of school at 16, and it wasn’t until my mid twenties that I had any inclination to return. Then I was there because I wanted to be there, which made it a more enjoyable process than being forced to learn stuff that is really of very little use to the vast majority of people – academics apart. Quantum mechanics anyone?
I have just finished preserving the last of my garden food, it is all canned, jarred, or dried. Most of it will keep for a year or so, the stuff in jars will probably last even longer. Every now and then though one might go bad. I don’t however have to put ‘best-before’, or ‘use-by’ dates on anything that I have preserved. So when reading this article about ‘sell by dates’ being removed from food packaging in UK it did make me chuckle! Why is it that we as humans in the western world need informing when food is off and shouldn’t be eaten. I can tell straight away, the stuff stinks, or tastes like old sick.
‘Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman: “People are confused about food labelling” – who exactly is confused? What is there to be confused about? If it stinks and is not blue cheese chuck it. If it tastes of sick throw it away. No date is required. If shops sell you some crappy food take it back or even better don’t shop there again.
A loaf of bread in my local shop is 38p for fresh bread after 24 hours you can get it for half price. After another 24 hours it is sold as ‘dog bread’ for pennies. Not a single label in sight. Amazing. Bulgarians are obviously much more intelligent than British bods who would all poison themselves if not told exactly when food goes bad, or confused even when told. I know most people aren’t idiots, so why do we accept being treated like them.