Friday, 10 February 2012

Bulgaria's Polar Winter, Will We Sveti Trifun?

Our Sophie
Well we are, as you may have heard, unless you have been up a mountain somewhere, in the midst of a Polar winter! Yet as a household & I would say village, this is no way near the worst we have lived through. We have, so far, done well! Yes we have had very prolonged cold & yes we have deep prolonged snow BUT we have had worse winters since we have been here.
Bulgaria as a whole has had it bad, though not as bad as the Ukraine, Romania, Serbia & other Eastern European countries. I feel so sorry for the suffering that is going on! In Bulgaria we have also had a village called Biser flooded by a burst dam, killing 10 people. I can't imagine this! In this terribly cold weather with so much snow to then be besieged by freezing waters.A terrible tragedy! Take a look at this link
If anyone wants to or can help, here are the details;
The text service (17777) is a national service organised by the BG authorites. send SMS with text in Latin DMS BEDSTVIE to 17 777 (for customers of three mobile operators in the country). The cost of SMS is 1.20 donation.
If anyone wishes to send parcels they can do so to:
Sakar Hills Camping
2 Georgi Rakovski Street
Matt says "When sending the parcel if people include email addresses or FB stats I can acknowledge the receipt via email".

I have friends who have had frozen pipes (one for over a week!), cars, batteries etc, this makes life very difficult. I count us very fortunate to have got to here with no problems (so far). Roads in Bulgaria have been closed & lorries & trucks have been stopped so food & supplies are not getting through. This has lead or is leading to lack of food etc in the shops, but unlike in the UK the Bulgarians do not panic buy & will always find something. We are hoping that the thaw will start in a week. The dates are being put out are Nationally the 20th Feb & my village the 17th Feb, fingers crossed!
Nigel has been out in blizzards & freezing temps to feed the little dogs that have no home. It started out as just a little black dog we call Hoppie, as she has a bad paw. Now it can be up to five dogs.They come running when they hear him coming & jump up & chat to him, awe bless them.
Here they come running up to Nige, Hoppie leading the way.
This is Hoppie, unfortunately we can't see her in the glare of the snow
We have fared really well which is through a combination of things. Mainly we have not lost our electric, up till now, which has meant we have not had frozen pipes. Our meter pit is deep & made of very thick concrete with a very heavy concrete lid. All we do is chuck a load of sacks & bags in to keep it from freezing, on the advice of Plamen the voda man. This for the last four years has worked even though it doesn't sound enough!
Our main problem last year was the pump room where the water pipes come into the house, even though the pipes are all lagged its just not enough in -20c odd . So this year we have a little heater in there which has stopped the room freezing & therefore the pipes, so far. I keep saying "so far" as you never know what each day will bring.
We have also stocked up two freezers full of food, just for the time we would be stuck. I preserved everything I could from the garden & made sauces & soups out of all our produce, which is only now being used, froze vegetables & we made sure we had more than enough dry wood for the log burners, all chopped & ready to just chuck on. We still have plenty in the form of beams, from taking down a barn roof. These need to be chopped, but by the time we need them we will be in spring, so it won't be a problem getting the chainsaw on them. They will only be needed for some evenings & the nights.
Our main problem, so far, has been crashing the car but now I just stay home. Nigel has managed to get out once a week but I have only managed once in the last 4 weeks. We have a 4x4 with 4 x snow tyres & snow chains on the back wheels, yet still it is too dangerous apart from on these 4 days when the roads have been recently ploughed. Our village road out is not plowed, as the tarmac under the snow has subsided & there are huge pot holes,  so not even the village plough has been down it.
The problem gets even worse as time goes by,  the snow gets impacted & freezes then the sun comes out , melts it just a little & when the temp drops it freezes again. Then more snow is added & on & on. We now have thick layers of ice with more snow to come.
I find myself ready to give up & dreaming of spring. The smells & sights. The little flowers, crocus, snow drops, primroses etc, will soon be poking through & then the daffodils & tulips.
Looking forward to seeing the cherry blossom on our trees & the apple blossom that will be everywhere. I have been daydreaming of sitting in the sun reading my books & spotting the first Stork's to come home, Spring will soon be here!

One of my lovely cherry trees
My boy Reg, guarding something
Then there are the weeds! Kammi sunning herself
Mini chewing a stick & pretending to be angelic
This years Sveti Trifun, Feb 14th,  may be slightly different. I will certainly give it a try though. Our weather last year was very different on that day, but I'm sure the Bulgarians will not let the snow stop them! You can read about the Bulgarian tradition of Sveti Trifun on last years blog entry, just click on the link  below....
I am not even sure if we are celebrating with our friends, we will have to find out, as I really want to show off (again) last years vino. We think its the best yet but I know they think it is very strong. The reason for these differing opinions? We added more sugar! Personally we prefer the sweetness but the villagers although they like the taste believe it to be "extra" meaning it will be very much stronger. I am not at all sure about this??? I have a friend who prefers the previous wines which are drier. Wine really is all about personal taste, I guess the way to go is, make one barrel sweet & one barrel dry, that way everyone is covered ;-D
Here are some photo's from last years celebration & boy was this a celebration!!!!
Note the mobile in his hand, the only source of the music
So much food & drink, foods we had never had before & quite frankly some we will NEVER try again ;-D


  1. Once again a great read x Keep up the great work x

  2. What happened to Nigel? No mention of him lately,is he still there or has he been freed?

    1. That is a funny thing to say, he features in this blog post even in pictures, strange LOL


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