After the departure of our fabulous guests, January hasn’t been all doom and gloom as I was expecting. Until the last few days it’s been unseasonably warm; the simple addition of sunlight making all the difference during the long, eastern European winter.
That’s not to say we haven’t had a few hiccups. Our big metal gate fell off its hinges, making it easier to climb over the fence than use the usual entrance. Then the handle on the back door broke. After getting wood in, the keys were discovered outside and we found ourselves barricaded IN the house. At virtually the same time, Jeremy’s big Mac computer wouldn’t turn on (impossible, I know, as Mac computers never go wrong) a problem which would have been just about bearable if we had had running water at the same time. Yes, that too just stopped for no apparent reason.
Just think for a moment how many times you just …I don’t know, wash your hands, wipe a surface down, boil a kettle and – most importantly – flush the loo. It’s definitely more often than you think. And then imagine not being able to do any of that for THREE DAYS.
Anyway, Ivan welded the gate back together (without being asked! wonderful!!), Jeremy read every Mac forum from beginning to end and fixed his computer, the water came back without explanation (after many trips to the restaurant for food/loo stops) and the door handle is still broken (J reached the keys through the window).
It wasn’t just us with technological issues though. We went to see The Hobbit at the cinema, all set with our 3D spectacles. During the first half hour the picture started creeping to the right. Apologies were shouted up from the front, someone kicked the projector, the picture whizzed up onto the ceiling, back down and the initial credits rolled once more. Again we had to watch the Shire spread slowly across the right hand wall. After an hour and more of the same, we were asked to move to the next door screen where it was starting afresh, so what had been a 3 hour film turned into even more of an epic!
In the constant quest to improve the working of the main petchka, Jeremy and Steve have fashioned new chimney pipes, greatly improving draw. Even better still it has a strangely eighties look about it, glamming up the living room no end with its rivets and fire rope.
We also donned our aprons and hairnets to lend a marigolded hand to Mitko & Zlatina for the feast of Babinden, which once again was held at the restaurant. What started with 55 (beautifully laid) covers, quickly dissolved into a screeching mass of women, the sound of whom was only drowned out by the diddly-diddly musicians. We worked ceaselessly, chopping, grating, frying, washing and drying from 10am right through until 5pm when we went home and collapsed in a heap, not wanting to hear another SQUEAK from a gaida.
Cooking has been central to the last few weeks. How can you keep warm in this weather if you’re not eating properly? I’ve made six different types of muffin including Rocky Road Chocolate and Spicy Apple Streusel, tried a Beetroot Chocolate Brownie recipe and celeriac has featured heavily in many a warming soup. Ivan & Elena were treated to Indian night at ours, where both bravely tried everything on offer, from lime pickle to popadums, mango chutney to chickpea curry and made all the right noises.
Shest too has decided that his winter coat isn’t quite enough to keep him warm and has been demanding food at all hours of the day and night by meaowing at the top of his voice or (rather effectively) biting us awake. More recently he’s discovered where we’ve hidden the biscuits bucket and has started knocking the lid off and helping himself. He currently looks like a medium-sized dog.
And finally we have had snow! Two days of fluffy flakes have fallen leaving us wading through half a metre of the stuff and inspired us to book a trip to the mountains, so next month you’ll see how the NovoP posse gets on in the Pirin mountains.