Thursday, 21 January 2016

Winter Shows Its Teeth

Just when we might have been getting a bit complacent, and hoping for a short lived, mild winter, it arrived in full force. Those early bits of snow, which we had at the start of the year, were nothing by comparison. Being a 'Brit Abroad' I seem to have developed a slight fascination with the weather. One of my first tasks each day, once we have finished the housework and sorted the animals out, is to log on and check out the weather forecast. So with my normal coffee, I had noticed that we had three days of snow to look forward to, as time moved on it became two days, and then back up to three again. So we could safely say that snow was expected, just not how much would fall. Then it arrived one evening, the first flakes dancing in the street light in the lane outside. The wind began to blow them into neat little piles, but nothing to get too concerned about. Those bits of snow from the start of the year had all but disappeared, and the frosts had frozen the ground, so this fresh stuff did start to pitch.

Throughout the night, and all through the next day the snow came down continuously. When we woke up, everything had a thick blanket of white laid across it. The dogs were quite eager to go out and play in it, the cats were a different matter. The snow was deeper than they are tall, but they seemed quite happy sitting on window sills, watching me dig yet another trench for them to get up under the barn. Sirius, our bad tempered sawn-off dog, was quite happy doing an impersonation of a snow plough. Nose down and trudge forward, clearing a path for Fenny and Polly. Their water trough was frozen, but fresh warm water soon took care of that. So with the animals sorted out, trenches dug, logs brought down, and the fires lit we could actually sort ourselves out. Well, we could have done but at that moment the power went out, and for the rest of the day it was on and then off again. Thermos flasks were filled with boiling water during some of the on times, and using the gas rings on the oven we managed to feed and water ourselves. Somewhere in the village a power line came down, and due to our location and the amount of snow no one could come out and fix it. Fortunately we were not one of the houses affected by this, unfortunately our village Kmet's house was.

So we have spent days with cats and dogs snoring and steaming in front of the fires. Which is fine, until I have to feed more logs onto the fire, and then they seem very reluctant to move. Once the fire is banked in again, the dogs want to go out and play in the snow again. Why can't they make this decision before I have to step all around them. So over a period of about 36 hours we had almost 2 feet of snow fall. If wasn't the dry powdery stuff, but the wet clumpy version. The type of snow which brings down branches, and possibly the power line too. Every couple of hours I was back outside clearing my trenches again. For those first 36 hours nothing moved in the village unless it was on foot.

Everything looked like a winter wonderland, with the surface of the snow largely unbroken. Since the snow finished falling we have had a couple of days of sunshine. So the snow has glistened and sparkled. It's own weight starting to compact it all down. We have even had a slight thaw, which has caused some of the snow on the roof to melt and drip from the eaves. This in turn leads to icicles forming, not so much the icicles of doom from previous years, more like the fangs of fate. They do look quite spectacular when the sun shines on them. I was going to get a photo of them today, but the sky has turned a pale grey, with no hint of sunshine.

The sunshine on the snow might make everything sparkle, and it might cause a slight thawing possible, but we also have the night time temperatures to take into account. Where things have melted on the paths and other trenches, and then refrozen overnight we now have our own skating rinks, -19C seems to have that effect. So these paths and trenches have now been dusted with ash from the fires. That might give some extra grip, but it does mean that there is an increase in grubby footprints being trailed indoors. Taps are left dripping overnight, to help prevent frozen pipes. Anything with a rechargeable battery has been boosted, mainly because we never know when the next power cut might happen. Torches and candles have been dotted round the house.

It looks like we have to wait until the middle, or end, of next week for those night time temperatures to start to creep back up again. Although things have been a wee bit parky, we haven't managed to break any records yet. Mind you, we do still have February to look forward too. Even though a tractor has been round the village with a plough blade on I have no idea what the main roads are like. Maybe I will have to make one of my winter forays into town on the village bus next week, but much can change in the space of a week.




   

6 comments:

  1. Hi Kris,

    I stumbled across this Blog the other night whilst seeking solace from the dire offerings on the telly. As an ex service wallah living in Turkey and making annual forays into Bulgaria I must congratulate you on an amusing and informative read. Have often thought about re-locating to Bg but the winters have so far put me off. I suppose when you are well prepared they are manageable. Looking forward to our next bike trip up there in June. Keep up the good work.I look forward to reading about the thaw!

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    1. Hi David,
      Thanks for your kind words. There are plenty of Ex Mil who have set up home here. The pension goes a lot further here than in the UK. The winters can be harsh, especially in some of the remoter areas, but for the other nine months of the year the weather suits me to a tee. Much like Turkey, Bulgaria isn't for everyone, and some have drifted back to the UK, or ventured elsewhere. The vast majority try to give it a fair go. The military training helps, with a positive attitude and an ability to adapt to different situations.

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  2. Hi Kris
    I would love to make contact with you, as I am currently looking at properties to buy in BG, in fact one is in your village according to the website! Your input and opinions would be extremely helpful to me in deciding which property, and areas to seriously consider.

    Any chance we can catch up by emails, or phone calls? Are you on Facebook possibly?

    Best regards
    Trish

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    1. Hi Trish,
      If you think that I can be of any help then please just ask. You can find me on Facebook under my proper name Neil Sheead. If you are willing I can even add you to a FB group made up of ExPats and Bulgarians. If you can find me on FB I will pass on my e-mail address in private.
      I hope that this might provide a solution
      Neil (AKA Kris P Baykon) :o)

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  3. excellent, thanks Kris ( Neil) found you on FB and have sent a friend request.
    Trish

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    1. Accepted, so if you think I can be of any help then please ask :)

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