Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from a mild and muddy Bulgaria! The snow is almost gone here and temperatures are rising, well above freezing today.

The kids have opened all of their presents, tried on new clothes and boots plus started eating their way through the chocolates they've been given. Dinner is cooking and our home bred turkey looks wonderful.

I hope everyone is having a good day and enjoying the holidays. Take care and have fun xxx

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Latest Photo's

I promised a few days ago to try and upload some more photo's so here they are. Uploading anything from here takes ages due to the fact that our internet connection is rubbish, unfortunately it's the only way we can access the internet until one of the companies here in BG decide to upgrade things in our neck of the woods.

Rural living does have it's disadvantages and despite the estate agents telling us that broadband wouldn't be a problem where we are that proved to be a bit of a false statement!

And a pic of the goose I got a couple of days back for some friends......It'll be in the oven at some point but for now it's having fun chasing the small chickens and attacking Snotty the cat!


Tis The Season To Be Jolly

I'm not feeling very seasonal today and finding it hard to believe that Christmas day is not far away. Hopefully I'll start to feel more festive over the next day or so, right now I'm just feeling cold despite having lit the wood burner early and the snow outside. it's hard to get motivated to do anything when you're cold so there's not much been done here although there are a few jobs that I should have done.

My winter garden is impossible to find and I hope the vegetables still in there are ok. I'm really looking forward to the growing season and hope to fill at least the main house garden with food stuff, and possibly some of the other plots with food for the animals. Planning ahead is key here, trying to buy hay at this time of year is almost impossible as we found out last year, and when you find it invariably the price is at least double what it was in summer.

Anyway, back to Christmas! Festivities here are a little more low key than back in the UK. There are decorations about but not to the extent as we used to see. One or two houses in the village have lights at the windows but there's not the whole "Let's drain the national grid" type that seems to be quite normal now in other places. I don't miss the competitiveness of our old neighbours with the christmas lights, every year they bought more lights to try and outdo each other and it drove me mad, but must have pleased the electricity companies!

The village church bells are ringing as I type this which means unfortunately another resident has passed away, which seems to be a daily occurrence in this type of weather, also in the heat of the summer. Living in a small village where at least 40 % of the occupants are elderly means that death is often the talk of the cafe, where they get together to commiserate and chat about all aspects of daily life. Our friends have been round this morning with 2 liters of fresh (straight from the cow) milk and to ask if I'll be making the normal friday morning trip to the cafe for a coffee! Just because it's Christmas day doesn't mean anyone here is going to change their weekly routine.....apart from me, because I'll be at home, warm and enjoying a festive break with my husband and children.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Time Flies

I've been in Bulgaria full time for 2 years today and can't help wondering where the time has gone! Doesn't seem that long since I left the UK to start a new life here and maybe that's because I can honestly say that majority of the time we've been here I've loved it warts and all.

Bulgaria is far from perfect, as a country there are still some quite large problems and issues that do need dealt with and a lot of left over things from communist times that probably aren't helping the country move forward as well as it could. On the whole though life here is peaceful and less stressful. I'm not saying that life here is better than the UK but it is different, in a good way.

Looking back we've had our share of problems and will continue to do so, some things could have been avoided and we've learnt a lot from mistakes. Isn't that what life is about?

There are a couple of things I would have changed that we've done so far but nothing major I guess. I'd still have bought a house with land, something to renovate that will hopefully turn out to be our dream home one day. I'm glad we decided to move to Bulgaria even if it ultimately doesn't work out as we'd hoped, things are always changing and there is scope to do so much here. If we hadn't moved then we'd have stayed in a rut and continued to think about moving but not actually done anything proactive. I read somewhere that the first 2 years of living somewhere new can be the hardest, and we've managed to survive that far without any major mishaps. Whatever happens I'll be writing about it!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Current Driving Conditiond

Today it's snowed all day, last night the temperatures rose to -0.5 degrees and it felt quite warm outside, things had thawed during the day thanks to the sunshine and we were hoping the snow was going to make a quick (and early) exit. Alas, that wasn't to be and the temperatures here are falling again.

Driving conditions aren't great in villages, although the snow plough does usually come out to clear the most used roads. Winter tyres are wonderful and really do help - I can't understand why they aren't used in the UK to be honest. Snow chains are another essential to have in your car boot during the colder months and they've helped us out of some tight spots. Most of all common sense is the biggest must have when driving in heavy snow, taking things steady and concentrating on what you are doing can save your life.

The Bulgarians in general seem to drive like lunatics although from my experiences they aren't the worst drivers I've encountered. Romania gets my vote on that one, driving through there was terrifying and not something I'd like to do again. One thing I will say though is that when the bad weather is here the Bulgarians at least know how to cope, they drive slower, all have winter tyres, wrap up warm and are usually well prepared....of course if they aren't they have a stash of home brewed rakia that's guaranteed to warm even the coldest parts!