As I look out of the window, I am pleased to report bright blue skies and ice crystals sparkling in the air as the gentle breeze blows them from roofs and tree tops. There are even birds singing, no more coughing and wheezing for them.The temperature outside, in the sunshine, is a very pleasant 10C, but understandably a bit cooler in the shade. The night time temperatures are still below zero, but what more could you expect at this time of year, and once you are indoors with the fires burning you don't really notice. The sunshine streaming through the windows is most welcome, apart from the fact that it does show the dust, but that is part of the joys of the wood burners. they do seem to create dust and soot smuts when you open them up to stoke them.
On a personal note, I'm not too disappointed to see the back of January. It seems to have dragged on for quite a long time, and we could have done without the trips to the Doctor and the Hospital, amongst other things. The various goings on throughout the world, though newsworthy, seem to have little impact on village life where everything continues much as normal. It does seem much longer than a year ago that our neighbour, Baba Donka, passed away. We might have been able to understand much of what she said, but she was always ready with a cheery smile and a wave, and we still miss her. Thinking about it the church bells have been remarkably quiet this winter.
Yesterday, we managed to get Net in to see the Doctor, where she was given another jab for her Asthma. This jab should last for three weeks, we mistakenly thought that the jab she received at the Hospital was for the same periodicity, but were told that it was only for 8 hours. It was a bit like a village outing, as Mum and Dad were also in town. Whilst Mum and Net waited to see the Doctor, Dad and I were allowed to go and get some plumbing bits. Just so Dad could once again fix one of his loos, don't you just love the plumbing over here. Once again the Doctor was in no rush with her examinations, and while Dad and I were waiting for the ladies we went from coffee shop, to cafe, and then to restaurant. Thank heavens for mobile phones, otherwise they would never have found us. One good thing has come from Net's asthma attack, she has now given up smoking without even realising that she was doing so. So far the last cigarette that she had was on Friday night, so that is five days without one, so well done to you Darling. I know that I ought to follow her example, but at the moment I don't have the inclination to, and as they say you have to want to give up to enable yourself to attain that goal. I am trying to cut down though.
This morning, we woke up feeling much better, and hopefully Net will now not try and rush things. It doesn't matter that the housework isn't done by a certain time, I am perfectly capable of helping when I have done all of my little chores. The first of which is to empty the ash pans from the fires, and turn on the gas fires so that the house starts warming through. Perhaps the most important of the early jobs is to put the kettle on, as neither of us really functions very well until at least the second cup of tea. Then it is letting the dogs out, and then the cats, it is so much easier tidying up without them underfoot. I'm not sure exactly what the night time temperatures are getting down to, but come the morning the dog's water bowls are frozen solid. There is a good chance that these blocks of ice could sink the local equivalent of the Titanic, apart from the fact that yesterday I noticed our local lake is also frozen. By then the gas fires have done their job, and it would be time to light the fire in the upstairs lounge, it certainly pays to have a handy stock of firewood. With the fire lit I can then top up the log basket while Net puts her feet up with a cup of tea and catches up with world events on CNN. I do miss the BBC news, but hopefully once we get broadband, it can't be much longer surely, I will be able to stream UK radio to the computers.
I then have to replenish the logs down in the cellar, so it is a case of taking the wheelbarrow to the log pile, and re-splitting any oversize logs. The cats have worked out that if they get under my feet, I will give in and they get their breakfast early. That way they are happy and I can get on in peace. All jobs done and Net packed off down to the cellar with her laptop, tea and TV, I could then get on with other bits and pieces. Having lit the fire down there, made sure that she is comfortable and that she has got all that she needs I can go off round the village. First stop was Jolanta's house, just to make sure that all was well there, it does seem surprising that in just a month's time she will be over here. Then round to the magazin, for a fresh loaf of bread, a coffee and a natter. Reni was very apologetic, she had forgotten the honey that she had promised Net yesterday, and also that the cost of bread had gone up.
Some of you may be aware that the official Bulgarian census will be taking place this month, for many between the 10th and 28th. I have downloaded an English copy of the census form from the UK embassy in Sofia, which might help. The embassy has been assured that there will be English speaking census takers available, but I am hoping that should that not be the case then the English version of the census might come in handy. Mum and Dad weren't aware about the upcoming census, but I have taken them up a copy of the English version of the census form. No one seems to know exactly when the census takers will be round, but hopefully it will be promulgated somewhere centrally in the village. If you would like to request an English speaking interviewer then this bit that I have 'borrowed' from the Embassy might help.