January Tales

After resolving not to get sucked into a dark and gloomy winter this year, I’m happy to report that January has proved to be quite the opposite: both metaphorically and literally.

Petya washes her hands in her role as 'Village Midwife'

We have enjoyed one of the most social months since we’ve been here, celebrating name days with our friends Yordan and Ivan and their families. Yordanovden has the added curiosity of a priest coming to the village, blessing a cross then chucking it into the reservoir, so some semi-naked teenagers can jump in after it. Apparently if you’re first to swim and catch it, you get a whole heap of luck for the rest of the year. Or pneumonia.

Dancing away the winter blues (in sleet)

I was also invited to join in at the old pagan female festival of Babinden (Grandma Day) which is dedicated to women who help in childbirth. Our good friend Petya ‘played’ the midwife and washed her hands under a fruit tree in the square, splashing water over the gathered crowd for health and prosperity. This was followed by a bit of diddly-diddly dancing in the square and an intense afternoon with 51 other village ladies: all of whom smoked at each other and drank rakia across tables heaving with food. Possibly negating any effects of the earlier ritual.

Me & my good mate Penka on Babinden

We took ourselves off skiing for a long weekend and had an absolute ball in Borovets, having discovered the resort with friends a couple of years ago. We were staying so close to the slopes this time we could have skied back to the apartment had it not been on the second floor, and we revelled in the fact that whilst we were there, we were enjoying the best snow for some twenty years! We had so much fun, we hope to go back again in March – but not with squeezy Marmite this time, which at altitude doesn’t stop squeezing. At all.

Jeremy at the top
Anne playing catch up
Well earned hot wine break at -11C - George's Bar

We are very pleased to announce the opening of a restaurant in NovoP: Mehana Terzievi. Indeed we are so extremely excited that there is a local eatery now, that we celebrated by drinking rather too much wine there last week and dancing the hora (Bulgarian line dance) with the owner. Just the three of us. I can’t decide whether the other diners were entertained or simply bemused by the whole evening, but at least we keep it interesting!

Yay! We've survived January!!

There have been low points. The dustbin lorry drove past the house last week scraping the whole wing mirror and some of the paint off the car, which has meant we’re now wading into the world of Bulgarian insurance claims. ‘Midwife’ Petya drew on some of her other skills, and was a tremendous help filling in the forms and liaising with us and the lorry driver, making what seemed like an impossible task more bearable. Next stop is taking the damaged car to Burgas to show the other chap’s insurance company, a trip we haven’t been able to do yet, as we’re currently up to our armpits in snow.

Blizzards besieged the country last week, leaving a lot of Bulgaria under code orange (whatever that means) and in some cases without electricity and water. We are lucky, in that although we have had power cuts, they haven’t lasted long enough to allow our petchka to boil over (or affect our television viewing) and the internet has only dropped off for a few hours at a time. It has however meant we have not been able to leave the village at all, as the roads are polished to the point of being lethal.

Having said that we have had some beautiful crisp, sparkly white days covered with a canopy of cloudless blue, which have lifted spirits which might otherwise have been frozen solid. Time to slide to the local shop and see whether they’ve had their bread delivery, otherwise it’s plan B: make our own!

Much love from an orange & white NovoP xxx

And this is where we have spent many an evening cosied up in front of the petchka


7 thoughts on “January Tales

  1. Maura

    OMG Look at your lovely front room. How cozy does it sound? I am eaten up with jealousy and want to be there so much. Also an eaterie now in Novo P? Stonkingly brilliant!

  2. Debs

    So interesting to hear about/see your latest adventures. Looking forward to February’s entry already. Dx
    P.S. No photos of semi-naked people jumping in freezing water? Maybe next month.

    1. Anne

      They’re definitely there! Click on the link to J’s Flickr site, there’s a plethora, but not as *hot* as you might be thinking. Sorry in advance (weeeell they’re only teenagers…)

  3. James & Judy John

    Thanks Guys for the update. You write so well Anne!! You should weave it all into a book.
    The winter weeks sounded very “winter” and we are glad the restaurant has sparkled up the greyness. Also the skiing. Ugh – about the damage to the car. What a pain.
    James & Judy xxx

  4. Clive

    Great to hear your news and see your pics!! All busy in the world of panto here!! Looking forward to a week in Colorado – flying out the day after panto. πŸ™‚

    1. Anne

      Never a dull moment for you either, Clive (oh yes there is, oh no there isn’t…repeat to fade) but I’ve been keeping up with your emails, so ta for that! Oklahoma, eh?? Sounds fab. And now I have that tune in my head, and will have for the rest of the day πŸ˜‰

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