December was soon upon us, but you wouldn’t have known it from the bright, warm sunny days. Having lived in the UK, we are used to December being cold, grey and invariably wet, so to have warm sunshine was an absolute delight! As the sunset we would draw the curtains, light the fire and settle down for the night, all warm n cozy feeling. Ha! Yeah right! The truth is the fire would blaze away, pushing the temperature of the lounge way up and we would be sat in light weight pj bottoms and tee shirts, sweating cobs! Escape from the heat was possible by way of a visit to the bathroom, which as it is constructed of single skinned block, with no windows and only attached to the back of the house with the use of expanding foam remained just a few degrees above freezing !!😂😂
One of the things we love about Bulgaria is seeing the contrast between the old and new ways of living. This was demonstrated perfectly one day in early December , when I received a phone call from DHL to say they were in the centre of the village with a parcel for us. As I went of to meet them, a horse and cart pulled up outside the gate laden with wood and asked Ed if he wanted it? So whilst I was signing one of these for a blue ray disc ordered from Amazon, Ed was buying wood from a horse and cart!
The second Sunday of every month, there is an English market held at the garden centre in Dobrich. You have the odd person doing a car boot type sale selling second hand clothes, books etc, but the main reason people go is for the food stalls. One lady sells English chocolate bars, crisps and sweets. This is our first port of call and after parting with several 10s of leva and suitably laden down with bags full of fruit and nut, toffee crisps, toffee flavoured popcorn, cheese savouries, and wine gums we move on to one of the other stalls to stock up on sauces, spices, weetabix and oxo cubes and gravy granules! Then lastly but not least the frozen food van! As a child growing up I would spend my summers with my Granny in the borders of Scotland in a wee hamlet (although calling a row of houses and a couple farms a hamlet is stretching the imagination just a tad!) known as The Milton on the outskirts of Dunscore village, it was an idyllic place to spend your holidays, running barefoot across fields and down sun softened Tarmac roads and being made to sit on the back step and butter your feet to remove the tar! To me it was and always will be a taste of heaven but anyway back to the point! Once a week a grocery van similar to the one in the photo, would come by and my cousin Karen and I would mount the steps with great excitement as we got to spend our pocket money on sweeties! I loved the way the steps and the van moved when ever anyone climbed on or of the steps, I have always looked back with nostalgia at the time spent with my Granny, the grocery, butcher and library vans visiting and to my joy the frozen food man has a van like the one from my childhood! The van moves in the same way, the lay out of the shelves and the products available all take me back to my childhood 😃. From him, we buy such delights as Cumberland sausages, pukka pies, lamb chops, beef burgers, cheddar cheese, sticky toffee puddings, pickles and on our first visit and it being December, Christmas pudding! Nom, nom, nom!
The 21st of December saw Ed and I heading to Varna airport to pick up my best friend for the past 28 years, JV and her partner MM. The day before JV had text asking whether they would need puffer jackets or wet weather gear, puffers was our response but on this particular day the sun shone and the temperature was in the high teens and neither was required. Ed and I sat outside enjoying a latte whilst we waited for their plane to land. OMG! If, like me, you have a sweet tooth then the caramel latte is to die for! They pour not a shot of caramel syrup but actual molten caramel into the glass!! Mmmmmm 😍 When JV and MM appeared they could not believe how warm it was! Where was the snow?? Er, not had any yet, welcome to a warm, sunny Bulgaria!
JV had brought lots of goodies from the UK for which we were very grateful and our favourite was a tin of cave aged cheddar, by far the best cheddar I have ever tasted 😊. Pressies were distributed around the tree and the house was filled with festive cheer.
We had arranged to meet up with my uncle and a few other expats on Christmas Day at the Izida Hotel for a meal, so in true Bulgarian style we had our traditional Christmas dinner of turkey and all the trimmings on Christmas Eve, kindly cooked by my lovely hubbie. The next day, I was up first and could be heard quietly murdering Christmas songs in the kitchen whilst making a brew. This was my way of waking the house up! I am like a big kid at Christmas, I want everyone up and the present opening to begin, no waiting til everyone is up and fed for me or no, up and at them, I’ve been tortured by the sight of them under the tree for weeks and now I want to know what is hidden behind ribbon, bows and wrapping paper!! My wish was soon granted and I don’t think anyone was disappointed by their pressies, I know I certainly wasn’t. 😀👏 JV and MM had bought us all Christmas jumpers and these were duly donned before heading off to meet Archie, A & A, and J & M in Dobrich,
for an afternoon of festive fun with a great group of people 🍷🍻🍹🎉🍾. The alcohol flowed, faces were stuffed with delicious food, the boys were especially festive and chose to try Rudolf, er Soz I mean reindeer, the boys requested reindeer only to be told it was of the menu, must have still been out with Santa on his rounds!! Lol. Big thanks to JB for organising it and for allowing 4 strangers to join you! 😘