February swine flu'?

Cold...Waiting with bated breath for a repeat of last years’ nasty January & Febuary weather, but as yet, it hasn’t happened. This time last year we’d had several falls of snow amounting to well over a metre, but so far, we’ve only seen modest falls, although the temperatures have been low enough to keep it hanging around, at least on our (north) side of the valley. Even the mountains haven’t been getting snow; the country relies on the melt water to fill its reservoirs in spring, so unless there’s a big fall soon, it may be a very dry summer.

 Chose one of the coldest days so far this year to go out on the quad – it was minus 15 when I set out, and after about 10 minutes I couldn’t feel my hands – took about half an hour of fairly extreme pain to get the circulation back! As I was by then well off-road, and going pretty slowly, I was okay for the rest of the trip… It was a fantastic sunny day, with great views from the top of the ridge above the village, and all went well until it became apparentLooking downhill I’d made a wrong turn… Because the forest trucks were still working taking oak out of the woods, the ruts were huge, and after the ice broke you were into very deep mud.  I’d struggled through a few gnarly sections, then got totally stuck and had to physically man-handle the quad out of the mess I’d got myself into. I couldn’t really turn back, because that would mean going back through the quagmires I’d already been through, so I finally managed to get out of the tracks on the downhill side, and eventually made my way down to the road. I’d planned an hour or so to do this trail, but three and a half hours later I got back home, covered in (frozen-on) mud and exhausted…(must get fitter.) The quad’s still completely covered in mud, as the outside temperatures are still very low, we don’t have any outside running water, so it’ll have to wait for warmer weather to get clean!

 This week’s challenge has been trying to keep going with severe flu symptoms, the likes of which I’ve never experienced before. They started on Monday night, and as I write (Saturday) they show no sign of abating. All over Bulgaria schools are closed, hospitals are closed, and doctors’ surgeries are refusing to see patients, all because of the fear of the H1N1 virus (Swine ‘flu) getting even more of a hold in the country. We saw people in surrounding villages wearing surgical masks, but didn’t really think much of it; it was the same story last year. Anyway, after 5 days and nights of fever, headache, sweats, chills, joint and muscle pain and so on, I don’t know whether I have that kind of flu’ or not, but I’d definitely not recommend whatever it is to anyone! It’s easy to see how it could wear down a person who wasn’t in good health to begin with… On that cheerful note I'll sign off...!

Until next time,
Nazdave, Rob.