Monday, 24 September 2012

Independence Day Wrestling

For those who are regular readers of our blog, you might remember that this time last year we were invited to attend the wrestling in the village of Parvomaytsi. Net and I enjoyed ourselves there, and luckily a friend of ours Victor remembered this and invited us both to attend again this year. We didn't want to keep it to ourselves, so in turn we also invited Barb and Dave. In the lead up to the Saturday we were getting rather concerned as it was bucketing down with rain, fortunately it did dry out on the Friday and so we were confident that the wrestling would be going ahead. We got there ahead of most of the other people so we sorted out somewhere that we would have a clear unobstructed view.

We even had enough time to move tables as it did get a wee bit chilly sitting in the shade. Barb and Dave turned up in plenty of time, so we were able to sort out drinks and nibbles. They had these fried fish things, fortunately for me they also had chips. For anyone who has not experienced Bulgarian style wrestling, you are missing out on a treat. It is nothing at all like the Saturday afternoon wrestling that I used to watch with my Nan. It is all done to 'musical' accompaniment, I can't really imagine the likes of Big daddy and Giant Haystacks wrestling to the squeal of bagpipes, and the beat of a drum and an accordion being drowned out by both of them. It was remarked upon that they all seemed to be playing different tunes.

There was wrestling for all age and weight categories, and the best of it was that it was all carried out by people with big beaming smiles on their faces. There is definitely something that other sports can learn about sportsmanship. There was no animosity at all, the crowd were openly drinking and urging the wrestlers on. It was an occasion for all of the family, but there was not one scrap of drink fuelled loutish behaviour. Everyone was just concentrating on the wrestling. It was more like the wrestling in the Olympics than Nan's Saturday afternoon bouts, and seemed to be scored for throws and pins.

The wrestlers were definitely agile, and in some of the bouts is seemed as though some competitors were trying to get the better of an eel. Barb was getting quite enthusiastic about the various bouts, and the locals seemed to enjoy the idea of Barb enjoying herself. I can safely say that I thoroughly enjoyed my Saturday afternoon sat in the sunshine, watching this sporting spectacle unfolding in front of us. It did feel nice being included like that, and I think that we were the only foreigners there. Even the squealing of the bagpipes seemed to fade as the hubbub rose as people discussed the various techniques being utilised in the ring.

There are much worse ways to spend a Saturday afternoon, and I even had my camera there to capture some of it. As you can see I found a way to change the images from colour to black and white. For some reason I am enjoying black and white images at the moment, and thought that I would share some with you. I am just hoping that Viktor will also remember to remind us about the wrestling next year if it is on, it really is that enjoyable. Once the bagpipes had faded away into the background it was all even more enjoyable. So if anyone ever invites you to go and watch some wrestling I can highly recommend that you attend. Before I forget I had best let you know the prize that they were all fighting over, it was a sheep.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

As We Go Into September

Well we are now nearly midway through September, and even though the days are still sunny, the evening temperatures are definitely dropping. During the day we are still facing temperatures in the 30s, but at night we are down to about 15C. That might sound warm to those still in the UK but because we have got so used to the temperatures in the midst of the summer, it does feel quite nippy of a night time.

The trees are starting to take on an autumnal hue, now whether this is due to the time of year or that they have had so little water through the summer is anyone's guess. Whatever the cause there are now starting to be drifts of leaves at the road side. I have noticed the days are getting shorter too, we left Gorna in daylight yesterday, but it was dark by the time we got home. There didn't even seem to be any real twilight, it was light and then it wasn't. It even seemed to catch a lot of the wildlife out too.

So the summer seems to be losing its grip on the country, the summer Olympics, and Paralympics, are now finished for another four years. The football seasons have kicked off again, in both the UK and over here. Farmers are busy in their fields, and quite often you get stuck behind a lorry, carrying grain or wood, as it drives round the back lanes. Well it seems to be lorries or farm vehicles at the moment. The trees all seem quite laden with fruit ad nuts at the moment. It might have taken nearly 4 years but I have finally managed to pick, and eat, a peach from one of the trees in our garden.

The fruit trees about the village will soon be battered by the local gypsies, as they try to gather up as much fruit as they can. It wouldn't be so bad if it was for their own consumption but they sell it on for a pittance. It is the same with the walnuts. If ever you see the locals hands at this time of year, you would think that they have all been doing oil changes on the village tractors, but they have been shelling the walnuts. We have already been approached about the nuts in the trees surrounding our house.

The winter fodder for the animals is also being collected up and put into storage ready for the winter. At least the weather is that much cooler so at least you can get out and about and do things. We have learnt to start to adopt a siege type mentality round about this time of year. Down at the fruit and vegetable market as things come into season the price drops, so we stock up and freeze a lot. At least this means that we do have access to fruit and veg when we get snowed in up on top of our hill. Some things like the basic bread, eggs and milk we can get round at the local magazin, other things like pet food we can't. So we will shortly be doubling up on certain grocery items. It might sound a bit early to be doing things, but winter doesn't always give you advance warning before its arrival.

Our wood pile has been drying out since this time last year, and has now been cut up into cheeses. This means that come the winter while Net is indoors doing the housework, I am getting some exercise splitting logs for the fires. I think that the animals are already eyeing up their spots in front of the fires. It does seem to be worthwhile doing a winter job a week at this time of year, at least everything isn't going to be such a rush when you don't need it to be.

So soon we will be able to look forward to the smell of wood smoke on the evening air. If we get any rain then we will always get mist and fog up on the hill. So soon it will be a case of putting the shorts and t-shirts away for another year, and digging out the warmer clothes.

Before I forget I would like to welcome John, who has just started to follow these Blogs. A pleasure to have you here with us all. Once again thank you all for taking the time to read these Blogs, please feel free to pass the link on to any friends who you feel might like to read them. The more the merrier :o)