It’s been an eventful couple of weeks, what with one thing and another. Probably the most significant news to blog readers is that we’ve heard from the architect, which should mean that by the middle of next week, we should have the planning/building permission in our hands. Sadly, it’s now too cold for concrete (and other building materials) to dry properly, so would be a bit silly to start building anything significant now.
However we can still find ourselves an electrician, windows fitter etc and at least make a start on other things indoors, so we have not yet ground to a complete halt. Quite.*
Back in the Yambol region, things trundle on. We were very sad to hear of the demise of a friend of ours Dimitri, who had been suffering from bone cancer over the last few months. We spent Xmas Eve with him and his family last year and they had been so friendly and welcoming that we felt we should go and pay our respects.
In Bulgaria, for the first day after death, the body is laid out in an open coffin in his home, where locals and friends can view the deceased and commiserate with family. So we thought we would follow tradition and do the same. Despite the initial shock of seeing a dead body, and my surprise at how small he was, it was clear that the essence of the man that we had met nearly a year ago – once so full of life – was no longer there.
We had brought four carnations (even number for the dead) and laid them on his shoulder on top of the countless other flowers, which combined to give the little room a sweet floral fragrance. Other mourners had laid money and even gifts of hankies and socks on the body. We were given a little candle to light and a boiled sweet (we both declined the rakia that was also on offer) and wished we knew what to say. It’s difficult enough in English but doubly so in a foreign tongue, so we (respectfully) breathed a sigh of relief when we left the house and stepped out into the dark, drizzly evening.
Onto brighter things, we have just enjoyed a wonderful few days with Helly who left yesterday, after a whirlwind visit to catch up on the latest occurences. With all of us converging on Sofia on Wednesday evening, we whisked her off to dinner and then back to the family room we’d booked, where all three of us gossiped into the night. We marched round a very chilly Sofia the next day, wrapped up against icy cold winds that whipped around corners and somehow got in between coat buttons, dashing into cozy shopping centres, art galleries and even the Metro to thaw cheeks and fingertips at regular intervals.
We are very pleased to report that Osem & Sedem also very much enjoyed Helen’s stay – Osem, in particular got more attention in a few days than he knew what to do with! Both cats are very well; I had thought that Osem was losing weight earlier this month, but we invested in some different food (three times more expensive than the usual stuff we now discover) and he’s looking fine.
We have however found that these new biscuits are in fact the equivalent of a Big Mac Meal for Sedem who has not really stopped eating since they were introduced. At all. She’s started looking really quite heavy in the thighs, and seems to have no problem to ‘Go large for an extra 30 stotinkis‘. Still, it means she can now warm BOTH feet when she’s curled up at the bottom of the bed, which is no bad thing, as the electric blanket season is well and truly upon us.
So on that note I’ll sign off, as it’s time to make a warming drink and perhaps put another layer on over the measly two I’ve got on at the moment. Happily, this proves that the work we did renovating the windows is actually paying off! YAY!
Happy December all, lots of strokes, purrs and love from Yambol
* I think I said that last time