Archive for Religion

Gods Salesman Arrive

Anyone that knows me, also knows that I am an atheist.  Atheism is even considered a religion by the BBC.  So whilst sat at home on Saturday and there is a knock at the door.  Not expecting guests I wonder who it can be.  I open the door to a well dressed man holding some leaflets and smiling at me.  He informs me that he is calling on behalf of the local church, and proffers some of his leaflets towards me.  I glance down at the leaflet, and politely inform him that as a physics graduate it is scientifically impossible for me to believe both in gravity and god.  He smiles back a little more nervously and states that there are many famous physicists that are Christians. I offer in reply you mean like Galileo, who is also known as the ‘father of Science’ and was ostracised by the Catholic Church for heinous crime of suggesting that the Earth is not the centre of Universe, and perhaps the Earth actually orbits the much larger Sun.  How dare he.  I returned his leaflet and off he went.  I wonder if I would have been so politely spoken to had I turned up at a Religious household and tried to hand out free copies of Richard Dawkins latest books with the intent of converting a few.

So as Atheism is now considered a religion, do I get protection from the religious intolerance that I have to put up with.  Or is that only reserved for idiots who believe in sky fairies?

Happy Christmas! It is August!

The joy of not believing in dragons, pots of gold at the end of rainbows or the tooth fairy, may make me a miserable git.  Thankfully though I don’t have to get carried away buying shit for people to celebrate the birthday of the son of a carpenter from 2000 years ago.  Why am I mentioning this now.  I have just had an email from the better half advising me that now available in shops are this years christmas cards.  It is August 22nd!


Why are shops selling this crap now?  I really have no idea, can it be that some people actually buy them in August?  If you really are one of these people that plan so far ahead why not buy them in March, I am sure they are stocked somewhere on the internet 365 days of the year.  So that cannot be it.  Is it so people like me will laugh at the stupidity of selling seasonal goods out of season?  I can’t imagine so.  So somewhere some shop manager has decided to advertise christmas goods when they should really be pushing school uniforms, and new pencil boxes.  It really is quite funny.


We have ‘Santa’ in my village of Samodiva, although the village is the Muslim brand of after life, and he appears not on the 25th, but on New Years Eve.  So good is the marketing of ‘Santa Claus’ that he now sells across the religious divide.  Perhaps I should get Hikmet to stock up on ‘Faity Lights’ next time he goes to the wholesaler!


Water Melons & Big Bang

A strange mix I know, for those that don’t know 1-29 Aug is Ramadan, which I suppose for some parts of London with its
new ‘Sharia’ Law means no eating and drinking whilst the sun is up! Makes me laugh. As I live in a Muslim village, am good friends with the Imam, and this
month whilst he is doing his evening shift I am next door in the pub having a beer! The other night whlst I was rehydrating and those partaking in Ramadan
were waiting for the allocated time to start there evensong, we were all sat in the pub and a documentary about ‘Mecca’ is on the telly, so I explain that as I am not a
Muslim I am not allowed to go there (I think thats right), to which the rest of the crowd thinks this is quite unfair. Hikmet advises me to grow a beard and
they probably won’t ask too many questions. The conversation then switches to visiting the ‘Vatican’, I tell them that I am not sure what the rules are there
but since I am not a ‘Christian’ either I would probably be not to welcome. Now most people in the village know that I don’t believe in unicorn’s, dragons, or Harry Potter,
but were under the presumption that everyone from England (Apart from London) was at least some strand of Christianity. So when I explain that I have studied Physics,
so believe more in the scientific method of empirical evidence and such this causes some interest. I try my best to expalin ‘Big Bang Theory’, and Einsteins
‘General Theory of Relativity’. This is quite difficult after a few beers, none of the Maths just the thought experiments. To which I usually get “Ah, but
what was there before ‘Big Bang’. Now you try explaining in Bulgarian, to Turkish people, that if Einstein is ‘correct’ in that if space = time and time = space
then if space =0, it follows that time =0 and there can be no before. Took me 3 years in University, and I had 10 minutes before the service started!

On to more important things ‘Water Melons’. If the only time you have eaten these things is from ‘every little helps’ you have missed out on a real treat in life. If you do buy them
from supermarkets, the trick is to buy the smallest one they have, the huge beachball size fuits are all water and no melon. The ones in my garden I allow to get no bigger than 15cm
in diameter. The difference in the taste is amazing, they can be as sweet as honey dew melons, and nearly as refreshing as a cold beer on a hot sunny day.

Here is one of the first ones I have picked this year, next to a mug for scale.

Unfortunately if you live in the UK, you will have to wait for global warming to get a move on before you will be able to grow these or else invest in a poly tunnel
or some those magic hydroponic light systems, they take up loads of space, need really rich soil, and plenty of water. They are when eaten stright from the garden
worth every effort though.

9 Eggs, 4 Chicks, 2 Tomatoes & A Hive Of Bees

So there I was in the pub last night wondering what I might get up to today, when in walks Hussain the Imam of the local mosque. He wanted to know
what time the buses to Kardjali were the next day as he had to go in and buy some chicken. After my last day trip with the Imam
this was too good an oppoutyunity to miss.

So I told him that I would give him a lift and we could go whenever he wanted. 08:30 the next moring we depart for the metropolis that is Kardjali. Park next to the market and head off to the live
chicken stalls. Much haggling, inspecting and choosing later we head back off to the car with a box full of chicks all chirping away quietly to themselves. Before leaving Kardjali
we visit one of the soup kitchen thingys for Chicken soup (Irony just doesn’t work here), the obligatory half a loaf of bread, and lots of dried chilli and garlic
sauce all before 10:00 am.

On the way back through Djebel Hussain suggests we stop off for a quick Turkish coffee in his local cafe in Djebel much to delight of everyone in there. After the usual greeting
of everyone it seems in the whole of Djebel we head back to the car to make our way back to Samodiva. In the car park we spot one of our neighbours so fill the car up with his shopping and head back.

It is still on 10:30 when we get back and I already feel as though I have had a good day.

The sun is out, so start on the planting out of my red cabbage (everyone else grows green ones but I like to be different). I am not in my garden more than 20 mins
when Hussain is back, thinking he must have left something in the car I go over to meet him. He is carrying the chick box with 4 chicks still in it.

Turkey Anyone?

My Turkey Chicks

At this point Halil turns up telling me that as Metin his son is away in Belgium could I go and give him a hand as his Bees have swarmed. This whilst taking detail instructions
from Hussain on advanced Turkey husbandry – By all accounts they are a bit more difficult than your standard chickens!

So off I head to Halil’s house with bee mask gloves and smoker. I should say that I have never actually done this on my own before I have seen it done, and I have helped, but actually
hiving a swarm of bees on your own is a bit like the first time you drive a car on your own after you have passed your test. It just feel a bit weird not having somewhere
telling you what to do!

I am now though a complete Pucheli Maestor, All bees successfully hived and not one sting!

As I was leaving Halil’s house I was presented with 9 fresh eggs and two fresh tomatoes for my trouble, they know I don’t accept cash as payment only beer or food.

It is still only 12:30 and I feel as though I have done a days work – so decided to take it easy for a while and study up on Turkey’s.

I should point out that my village is completely Turkish, so I shall have some fun come New Year when I tell them I might be killing a ‘Turkey’!



Annie is over on her 3 monthly visit, so the house is getting a well deserved ‘spring’ clean. In doing so we have unearthed, that although we use an
outside toilet, our cats have decided that during winter they would prefer one inside! Size 10 boot to each of them!

Annies message to the cats!

The planting season is in full flow, the tomatoes are being trained on poles in the greenhouse, the cucmbers have germinated along with the peppers, and at last I have finished
digging my ‘deep-beds’. John Seymour eat your heart out!

The deep beds are finished

So now we will see if it is true that upto 4 times the yield can be grown for the same amount of space! Not sure what I will do with all the onions if it is true.

Our fruit orchard (apples, pears, cherry, peach, and nectarine) has started to get a bit over grown so the Bulgarian lawnmower has been out. If nothing else
it will help keep me fit. When we first moved here I bought a strimmer, much to the derision of my neighbours. So to fully integrate I am now only using the scythe.
Although not yet fully licenced I am slowly getting better with it.

The Bulgarian Lawnmower

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