It’s official! It snowed in Yambol last night! OK, so it’s only a light white powdery covering, but it’s still on the fields and might even mean we get to have a white Christmas! Yippee! On the downside this also means it’s veeery cold now. Electric blankets, hot water bottles and thermal nightwear is now a necessity.
The heating is still staying indoors though, which is a bonus. Which is more than can be said for Osem, who has started venturing further and further down the stairs. Last week he disappeared altogether for a whole 20 minutes. We think he’s been exploring the cellar. Although very worried at the time, we have giggled retrospectively at the thought of our neighbours wondering why the ‘Anglichani’ who live upstairs were rushing about calling “Eight!”* into the night. We have now introduced a curfew: as soon as it’s dark he can’t meaow his way through our front door. We have had no lighting in our stairwell for over a year now, and finding even a white cat in the pitch black is nigh-on impossible.
This is not the only issue that we’ve had with the cats recently. We knew that decorations were likely to be a problem, so when I spotted a little plastic Christmas tree in Sliven market for 1.50lev (60p) it was a done deal. It is perfect – suspended three feet off the ground on a little hook between the windows, draped with all manner of lights and baubles,** neither of the cats can reach it.
However, I wasn’t thinking when I assembled the laundry rack one evening. It was obviously used as a convenient ladder for Osem & Sedem, and lo, we were greeted with a little puddle of tinsel-filled sick on the floor the morning after. Imagine my joy. Following on the destructive theme, the festive lights have already stopped working. Indeed, I did spy Sedem trotting past me the other day with a two-pin plug hanging from her mouth…
Onto more constructive things, we have finally got the planning/building permission! After organising a meeting with the architect via our good friend Gallia, we went to the meeting alone and communicated (just about) with her in Bulgarian. Now we have a big cardboard file FULL of drawings, each one having been signed and rubber stamped by the municipality, the architect, town planner, and probably the cleaner for all we know.
Buoyed by our success with the architect, we have also managed to appoint an electrician to rewire the house, after receiving a recommendation from the mayor of the village. Again with Gallia’s help we were able to ascertain that he lives only a couple of doors down from our new place and will start on Monday! We intend to nip down there at the weekend to get the place prepped for the building work and make sure all the wall/floor coverings are covered up and furniture out of the way. I have even bought myself a pair of dungarees so I can be suitably attired for the work. I suspect thermal underwear may make a daytime appearance too.
After a fabulous, amazingly realistic ‘faux-Christmas’ with Mark, Shell, Stef & Gallia with turkey, prezzies, silly games and even a brisk walk, we are settling down for a quiet time with the fur-kids on the 25th. We have managed to line up quite a few TV treats from a site we’ve discovered (shhh) so we’ll be all set for our first marital yule!
Thank you all for your greetings which we have received in writing, via email and even on YouTube (brilliant!). We want you to know that you are all in our thoughts whilst we’re over here, and wish you a peaceful, happy time with friends and family and lots of love for a bright and sparkly 2009.
With love from us all
Anne, Jeremy, 8 & 7
* Osem is the Bulgarian word for eight
** Thanks for the loan of the plastic baubles Louisa – it was the only way