2nd Christmas dinner

It rained all day on Friday – just about the first day of rain since early October. It began melting the snow but the next day, that rain turned back to snow and we now have another foot of snow covering the land. This morning, there was a white-out – a freezing white, snow filled, frosty mist. No glorious sunrise today. This could be the beginning of the main January winter – I wonder if we’ll hit -30 this year?

Last Friday we had our second Christmas dinner with Lisa, Euan and Rueben and the food was all so great that its worth listing what we had:

  • Roast leg of goat cooked slowly with garlic and herbs – done to perfection
  • Roast potatoes from Lisa’s garden cooked in goose fat
  • Yorkshire Puddings – an essential of any roast dinner
  • Sweet boiled carrots with basil
  • A treat of frozen peas
  • A wonderful mash of white turnips, pumpkin and Jerusalem artichokes – all from the garden
  • Fantastic gravy

Then we has two deserts – Lisa made a lovely, moist Christmas pud with dark beer, with a Rakia flame and Elly made a simply delicious baked white chocolate cheesecake.

Elly also made xmas crackers with a load of recycled xmas paper with very useful little gifts inside like a safety pin, an elastic band and a plaster with a picture on it. We also had charades to act out.

A lovely evening and we were suitably full as you only can be after a Christmas dinner.

I’ve spent the day today sorting out the website in relation to our holidays that we’re offering next year – A Tour around Village Life. I have such a rubbish internet connection here that its taken most of the day. We had such good fun last year with the first Tour – everyone in the village loved it and we hope more people will want to have a different and quite alternative holiday. Anyone who has any suggestions as to where I can advertise this, please let me know.

I’m making marmalade today. No bitter Seville oranges here but I put lots of lemon in – looking forward to breakfast.



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Sun, snow and three legged animals

sunrise this morning

I had an email today from a friend in Glasgow – she said she was weary of the wind, rain and grey skies. Then I listened to the radio with news of storms and other nasty things all over the UK. It wasn’t quite like that here today.

Elly came up to visit and we went for a walk. Lots of snow on the ground and the temperature was about zero but the sun was shining and the sky was blue – it was gorgeous. We tramped over some fields and started noticing a load of tracks. Some of them were obviously some kind of dog – maybe a wolf because they were big prints, not jackals because they were single and jackals usually hang about in packs. But there were a load that we just couldn’t figure out – they looked like some kind of three legged creature.

something with 3 legs?

I should have put something here for perspective – this set was about 50cm long and there were lots, in lines. I must research animal tracks.

We then walked over a ploughed field but because of the snow, we couldn’t see the big troughs between the big piles of earth so we fell down a lot! I dont understand how snow fills holes to the same level as the snow around it??

We met some friends from the village out for a walk (riskotka in Bulgarian) and then some

any ideas?

guys with a lovely white horse and cart gathering wood.  We had an interesting conversation about what 2012 might bring and wondered if anything might really happen this year.  If you accept that its really arrogant and stupid to think that we are the only living creatures in the Universe then you maybe also have to wonder how long we’ve been the ‘main’ living creatures on this planet. When do we think our history began? Not just a couple of thousand years ago.

I’m being really attracted to the idea that there have been massive civilisations here before and for whatever reason and by whatever means, they got wiped out. I’m also interested in the theories put forward by Von Daniken in Chariot of the Gods that aliens visited the Mayans and others……..and that they’re coming back. Maybe that’s why the Mayan

elly in the snow

calendar ends – that’s when they come back. Wouldn’t that be amazing if a whole load of creatures from another planet/galaxy came here, right on time, next December. I think we need something else to think about on this planet – something bigger than our petty wars and economic ‘crisis’ . Of course they might not be very happy with what they find……

Just in case it does happen, I’m going to have a cellar full of food and I’m going to improve my basic survival skills. I do have a great advantage in living in the back of beyond in Bulgaria.

Meanwhile, I am eating yet more of my wonderful pig suet dumplings – the soup was just a

the lime tree in the sunset


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Pig Suet

The other day my friend Lisa asked if I wanted some pig suet. Some of her neighbours had just killed pig and they didn’t want the suet. I said yes and next day, I got over 2k of lovely fresh pig suet. Apparently, it keeps for a 6-8 months in the fridge and more than a year in the freezer……good job too because 2k is lot of suet!

I was a pretty radical vegetarian for about 30years and then something happened about 10 years ago and suddenly, it felt ok to eat meat again…..more on that another time…..but right now, my feelings about meat are quite passive. If it comes along, I buy/cook/eat it. That might sound weird if you normally go to a butcher for your meat, but its a bit different around here.

Right now, in the freezer, I have a couple of legs of goat that I bought of my neighbour Jorge earlier this year. I have a couple of kilos of pork – I passed a neighbour’s house when he was cutting up a 200k pig so I asked if I could buy some from him. He plied me with rakai and hot wine and then cut a big chunk off the pig – wouldn’t let me pay. One day, Lisa said that some one in her village was killing a cow – did I want some? I ordered 2 kilos of mince. The duck and the chicken we had for Xmas dinner were plucked that morning.

plucking the chicken for xmas dinner

Back to the suet – the other day I had half a pan of soup left so I made a few dumplings just to try out the suet. They were so good, I didn’t eat the soup….just the 4 dumplings. There’s a possibility I could live on dumplings this winter.

Have to go and make some bread now.

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Tarot and snow

We went to visit some friends in Cherven for New Year – it’s about an hour from here, in normal weather but when we set off on Saturday evening, the blizzard had been in action for most of the day. I suggested to Dancho that we put a bag of sand in the boot as the car is rear wheel drive and it turned out to be quite useful! The journey there was OK but by the time we got to the track leading to the house, the car sort of gave up. The snow was about 8 or 9 inches deep and the car just wouldn’t go. We walked and arrived just in time for a bowl of hot goulash.

new year ddiner with Ian and Kate

We had a great night with the neighbours, setting of a load of fireworks in the garden at midnight and then, because Kate is from Austria, we then all waltzed around on the snowy lawn.

Next day, we finally got it together to leave about 2pm – blue skies, bright sunshine and lots of snow. The car started ok but after about 200metres, the track went slightly up and the car slid across the road. It then took us about 45minutes to go 500metres but…..fortunatley, we had a bag of sand in the boot!

The journey was slow, very bright and beautiful. We only came off the road once and Dancho, who had a wonderful hangover, was a ‘great’ backseat driver.

where did that one go?

I’m getting into the Tarot now – every morning I do a quick reading – mostly with an open, blank mind, not trying to to think of anything specific. Its been so interesting and inspiring. I get a lot of the same cards each time that are all about positive thinking, intuition, spirituality,creative thoughts, progress and long term happiness and success.  Sometimes, I ask a specific question, that brings up new cards and new thoughts. But its all been very relevant – a reflection for myself, positive introspective on my self and my life and a very positive perspective on the future.

The sun is shining now, the snow is glittering but I dont hear any drips so it must still be very cold outside – maybe I’ll get out of bed soon, go and get some wood, put the fire on in the other room and make some marmalade.


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It’s snowing again

Hi – my name is Kathy. I come from Newcastle upon Tyne in England but I now live in a lovely little village in Bulgaria, called Voditsa. This blog is about my life here and at the moment, it is snowing…a lot.

I came to live here about 5 years ago…for lots of reasons – I have a fairly short attention span when it comes to life – I like to move and live in different places and unexpectedly, the opportunity arose for me to live in Voditsa. My daughter, who was a Graduate Engineer at the time, had bought this house for the amazing sum of £5000 and I agreed to come and live in it for a few years while she got her career together.

I’ve had a pretty exciting and interesting time over these last few years – with virtually no money and no steady income, the property has slowly been transformed, the barn has been restored and the field now has a new life as a beautiful garden. My daughter took a sabbatical from her career and came to live here in the spring of 2011 and one of our reasons for making this blog is to share our life.

We live in a lovely place where life pretty much goes on as it has for decades; where the climate is challenging -30 to +45 is a big range of temperature; our neighbours are brilliant; we grow and eat fabulous food and slowly more and more interesting people are coming to live here too.

We dont want to subscribe to the materialist, capitalist perspective on life so we’ve stepped out of it. I dont think I ever fully engaged with it even when I was working and living in it and my daughter now views this as an opportunity to learn some real skills in life – like how to build and repair things, how to grow your own food, how to kill a chicken, how to build a house from natural materials and how to keep yourself alive and warm in January here!

We both feel that something is going to happen in this world in the near future that will shake everything up – it has to really, because the way that people generally live right now is unsustainable and it’s just generally not nice. We certainly feel that we have a place here where we can feel a degree of safety and assuming that we physically survive whatever apocalyptic thing happens, then we’ll be able to keep ourselves alive here. More on my thoughts about the apocalypse later  ……..

Another reason for doing this blog is to talk about our new business venture ‘A Tour Around a Little Village’. We started this last year and our first guests loved it – again, more on that later. I’m watching the snow fall very hard outside and thinking about the journey this evening to visit some friends about an hour away, for New Year. We’ll need snow chains on but at least the snow covers the potholes.

Enough for now – I need to figure out how this blog stuff works and fix up my home page so you can all see what I’m talking about.

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