Monday, 25 May 2015
In the years before the archeological excavations began, the villagers of Gorno Varshilo and Dolno Varshilo would pass by the ruins as they took their produce to the city markets. As dusk began to fall, any villagers near the fortress remains began to hear strange hissing noises. Villagers the whole world over are quite a superstitious bunch, and soon they began to believe that they were hearing Samovilas, or Samodivas. These are beings from Bulgarian and Romanian folklore. The Romanians refer to them as Lele's.
Thursday, 7 May 2015
Once the livestock, and children, have been sorted out people can then start on their own daily bits and pieces. More often than not this will involve tending their gardens. So above the hum and drone of bees visiting flower beds and blossom, you might hear the odd word or two or a radio being played. What we do often hear though are two shy visitors. Every so often you might see a flash of yellow flying between trees, this will be the Golden Oriole, but it has a very melodic call. The other is the Cuckoo, definitely not so melodic, but always a pleasure to hear, even if it is bad at telling the time. Whoever heard of 27 o'clock? Some villagers don't seem to have a working volume control, and any conversation is carried out at one level, loud. I am sure that these could hold a conversation between them selves from one end of the village to the other.
We often get wood lorries growling their way through the village. Many appear to be ex-military, and have definitely seen better days. Like the old tractors they keep on going, often only on a wing and a prayer. Then there are the recycled rotavators, which will putter along, towing a trailer. It might be quicker to walk, but in the Summer heat no one wants to rush anywhere. The quietest time in the village seems to be between 1 and 4 in the afternoon, which coincides with the hottest part of the day. We are often sat up under the barn then, reading and just letting the sounds of nature wash over us.
The warmer weather has woken up a numerous amount of field crickets, much to the cats enjoyment as they seem to feel that they need to be hunted. From the remaining crickets there is that constant chirruping in the background. In a few weeks time they will be joined by the tree frogs. Sometimes it sounds almost tropical living here, thankfully we don't have quite so many nasty beasties living here.
After having eaten their fill of crickets our cats seem full of energy, and will play fight between themselves. Heaven help any strange cat which dares to venture into their garden, as they will gang up on it and have a full on scrap. The cats fighting will even drown out the sound of the local frog and toad population. From around the lakes, and beside the stream they can be heard, croaking, booming and chuckling. This will carry on throughout the night, and at times it sounds like a constant hum, similar to what you used to hear if you stood beneath a power pylon.
Finally, you can lull yourself off to sleep by listening to various Bats, Owls and Nightingales. During the Spring and Autumn we sometimes hear Foxes having a nose round the village. It is easy to trace their path, as the sound of village dogs barking follows them. Then in the Winter there are the Jackals up in the woods, the colder the Winter the closer they will come to the village.
Maybe with Paisii being in a small valley up on top of the hills, sounds might be a little more enclosed and tend to echo a little, but if you listen it is always full of life. This village life certainly might not be as quiet as I once imagined it, but I wouldn't want to swap it.
Sunday, 12 April 2015
How successful was the April Uprising? For one thing it did highlight, to the Western world, the atrocities that the Ottomans had used to suppress the rebellion. In short maybe this helped to focus public opinion from outside, which in turn maybe they saw the forced removal of the Ottoman yoke as a justifiable act. Would this understanding have happened were it not for the sacrifices that such men made throughout Bulgarian history? One good thing that I have found is that Bulgarians do not lightly forget their national heroes. Their lives live on through history lessons taught in schools, roads, stadia and schools are proudly named after them, and their statues can be found all over the country. Their houses are preserved as museums, and some even make it on to stamps.
Thursday, 2 April 2015
So let us take those flying out, as for anyone flying in this hopefully handy guide will operate back to front. Many choose not to drive and leave their cars in the long stay car parks at the airport. This tends to give them one of two options to get to Sofia, either by train, or by bus. Fortunately the Central Bus and Railway stations stand almost side by side on Knyaginya Marie Louise Blvd, not that far from the Lions Bridge. Previously, to get from either place out to the airport, involved dealing with taxi drivers and their somewhat erratic tariff schemes, which in some cases cost the unwitting 100 Leva. As of today, April 2nd, there is another option, as the Metro line out to the airport has opened, and the price of a ticket in 1 Lev, for anywhere on the Metro.
Saturday, 28 March 2015
After having been cooped up indoors throughout the winter months, it is nice to be able to get outside and start pottering in the garden. Apparently clearing snow from the paths, and doing the daily log runs doesn't really count as getting outside. The cats are enjoying watching the birds who come to visit, but I am assuming they are thinking more along the lines of lunch, or toys, rather than them being a welcome indication that Spring has returned. The dogs are much more laid back about things, and their main interest, besides food, is where the sun will be at any given point during the day, and how can they ensure it is comfortable for them to bask. Fenric is also happy to have rediscovered his tennis balls, which had been buried under snow. I wish that they would all learn to wipe their feet before coming back in though, as we seem to have a constant battle against muddy paw prints on floors, walls, window sills and windows, alongside nose prints on the windows.
Yesterday, we went into town to do our shopping, and pick up a couple of bits from the ECont office. The Storks might not have made it to the village yet, or even Strelets, but they were there on one of the nests in Draganovo. One flew in front of the car as we went through Pravda. It is surprising that such a large bird, which looks so graceful in the air, can look like a broken hang glider when coming in to land. The one in Pravda was then quite happily strutting around the football pitch as though it didn't have a care in the world. My knees are hoping that the warmer weather will soon be following them, but that's what you get from kneeling on too many cold and wet steel flight decks working on aircraft.
The only thing left for me to do on this blog is to remind everyone that the clocks change in the wee small hours of tomorrow. The clocks go forward an hour, so that means an hour less in bed. Hopefully the dogs will not be in too much of a hurry to go outside tomorrow morning. Wishing you all a wonderful Spring and Summer from us here in the back of beyond.