One warm and sunny morning towards the end of April, Ed and I decided to take the dogs on a long walk across the fields and Mum said she would take her two out as well but on a shorter walk. I suggested that she should take the house key as she would be back before us. Armed with thermal cups full of tea and bottle of water and a bowl for the dogs, we set off. It was a lovely, warm day and despite the early hour, (alright perhaps not that early 0930) the temperature was already reaching the high teens, a gentle breeze kept us and the dogs from feeling too hot. The air was full of birdsong, nightingales, cuckoos, and sparrows all singing their hearts out and the local cockerels, not to be out done, were adding their voices as well! Swallows were sweeping down over the brilliant yellow fields of rape and the wind was rustling gently over the fields of barley (or possible wheat, not sure which! Lol) and through the trees. We walked along chatting amiably, stopping frequently to soak in the views and on one occasion to watch a bird of prey glide over us and away over the fields. We thanked our lucky stars that we were able to live in such a tranquil and beautiful country and that we no longer had to battle commuter traffic on the M6, me heading south and Ed north, to get to our respective places of work. 😊
About half way round I had a strange thought that giving mum the key might not have been a wise, I shrugged it off and thought no more of it until we got home. Mum was sat in the garden looking pale and worried “I’ve lost the key, I’m so sorry” she said. No matter, we chorused we will retrace your steps and hopefully find it. Thankfully, she hadn’t thought to lock the patio doors, so we could still access the house! 😅 Jorgie, our neighbour and who also looks after the house for the landlord, came by on his horse cart and stopped at the gate to ask how we were and to pass the time of day, he in Bulgarian and us in English! We asked him if he had a spare key, (our miming skills are getting very good! hehe) he shook his head but indicated he would look to see if he had one that might fit.
A few minutes later Ed and I set of walking very slowly to retrace Mums steps. When we were about 200 metres beyond Jorgie’s house he called to us and we when turned to look at him he gesticulated for us to turn back. Ed, nominated me to go back and said he would continue looking. I headed back to Jorgie who held up to 2 keys which he thought might fit, sadly neither did. We walked back up the lane and I said I had to catch up with Ed. “Yes,yes” he said in Bulgarian, “moment, I’ll take you in the car”. “Oh! Ok, thanks” I beamed back at him 😄 He backed his ancient merc out of his drive and we set of in the direction that Ed had taken, at the next junction I indicated that Ed had turned left to which he replied “da, da” and something about seeing a Baba (elderly woman) first, puzzled I sat back. “Magara” he said pointing out a donkey, “Margara, donkey” I dutifully replied. He grinned at me and simply said “da”. We pulled up outside a house and he indicated for me to get out and wait. He opened the gate and called out to the owners, a lady appeared, Jorgie asked her something and she agreed and Jorgie indicated for me to follow him in. The lady in the meantime had called out something to her husband who appeared holding a small pottery jug. Ah, I thought, perhaps for some reason she may have key? She indicated that we should sit, Jorgie chatted away in Bulgarian and mentioned my name, she turned and smiled at me and took my hand. She then proceeded to empty out a load of beans on to the table, I had absolutely no idea why or what we were doing there and looked at Jorgie perplexed. He smiled, motioned me to keep quite. I turned back to the Baba and watched in fascination as she counted out a number of beans (41, I learnt later when I googled what I was about to witness) and put them into piles making a square composed of 3 rows and 3 columns, she then flicked away various beans from the different piles starring at them the whole time, then moved some around and removed some more. After a few minutes, she said something to Jorgie, the only word I recognised was “doma” meaning home, and handed me 4 beans and closed my fingers round them. Jorgie passed her 2leva and we both thanked her (me still none the wiser as to what she had said or what I was supposed to do with the beans!). When we were back in the car, Jorgie explained in Bulgarian and by tracing on his hand that the keys were not lost but somewhere on the property. I went to open my hand but he stopped me, I got the impression that if I looked at them some how the magic would wear off. I dutifully kept my fingers tightly closed over them, so much so that I soon had indents from my nails in my palm! Back home we found Ed and he said he hadn’t found them. “No” says I ” that’s because they are here in the garden!” I proceeded to explain what I had witnessed and that the Baba said they were somewhere in the garden. Neither mum nor Ed looked convinced. Jorgie and I began searching the long grass along the path, I praying we found them as I have always been fascinated by tarot cards and the like and I really wanted the Baba to be correct! We were soon joined by Jorgies wife, Baba Denka’s son and another passer by! After an hour of searching, Ed strimmed the grass down but still no keys could be found. All the while I was grasping the beans in one hand! We eventually gave up and everyone departed, I was disappointed to say the least but at the same time I felt extremely honoured to have had a glimpse into a side of village life that I suspect few foreigners know exists.
Ed and I headed into Dobrich to find a locksmith, an hour later we had the door open and a new lock fitted (with 3 keys) and all for 55 leva about £22! 🤗.