Into Winter?

Into Winter?

This summer’s wet start finally gave way, at the end of July, to the kind of weather we expect here; long, hot days of sun and little or no rain. Up until the end of September we could rely on almost every day being dry, warm and pleasant – then, same as last year, a sudden, virtually overnight change in October to damp, miserable and cold weather. Your mood changes very quickly as you pile on the layers to keep warm! Thoughts turn to wood-burning stoves and central heating systems, to kindling (nothing to do with e-books!) and woodstores carefully filled with split oak logs in August…

Then, as suddenly as the nasty weather arrived, it was replaced by warm southerly winds, which took the temperatures from 3 oC – 4 oC back to positively summer-like 23oC! Blue skies returned, and we could once again enjoy working outdoors in T-shirts, getting our outbuildings and garden tidied for the autumn, and completing all those jobs put off during summer, like replacing roof tiles damaged by the previous winters’ snow and ice! Happily, we had about 5 weeks of this “Gypsy Summer” as it’s known here, (like the “Indian Summers” we’d talked about but rarely experienced in the UK) and only within the last 10 days have we seen more typical Bulgarian winter weather appear. We’d been wincing when watching and hearing reports of the UK’s early onset of winter, and now it’s our turn for some snow and ice. BBQ & Garden sink SnowThis is a place of extremes, with summer temperatures regularly approaching 40oC, but winter minimums easily fall below -25 oC… luckily it’s a short winter compared to more northern climes...
Coincidentally, this years’ snow started to fall on exactly the same day as last year –
12th December, but didn’t amount to much; no more than a dusting really.
Today however, the snow’s falling heavily, the temperature’s well below zero, and the forecast suggests a full day of snow, so we’ll probably end up with 20 or 30 cm. Christmas Day will see us (possibly battling through the snow) meeting up with friends to enjoy a traditional, home-reared free-range turkey!
Christmas Eve in Bulgaria seems to be a more important celebration, families will gather and eat a very traditional simple meal, without meat, and again following tradition, the table will be left uncleared, with food on the plates, until the next morning, to allow those who have passed to enjoy the celebration also. 

The house is booked for New Year by a young Bulgarian family group, Icicles on sink roofand we’re looking forward to preparing the house for them, making it comfortable and homely so they can enjoy their get-together. I’ll be looking after the central heating for them for the three days they’re here, and I can access the wood-burning boiler from outside through the basement without disturbing them in the house!

Let’s see what 2011 brings for us all!
Do skoro!
Rob.