A Boring Blog about Blogging

In his wonderful BBC travel series, Around the World in Eighty Days, Michael Palin says that his round-the-world trip could only be interest of interest to other circumnavigators and therefore most ordinary people would find it boring. I have to disagree with Mr Palin, as I must have watched Around the World at least fourteen times. 

What has that got to do with blogging? As I have mentioned in a previous post, I used to bore to death all of my poor wife and my colleagues at Green Oasis School by talking endlessly about Bulgaria. (In fact at one point, I had the idea of marketing Bulgarian real estate here in China, but that particular attack of insanity did not last long.) Now I bore everyone to death with the latest news about my blog. “Yesterday I had nearly 200 hits!” and “Expatfocus have done the piece I sent to them and they also mentioned my blog!” 
Et cetera, ad infinitum. 

It is freezing in our apartment. Yes, southern China is supposed to be a “sub-tropical” climate. Well, you could have fooled me. Last night, as I woke up several times during the night because I was so cold. Irisha has stitched our two thickest duvets together and I was wearing socks and my thermals, but I still felt cold. The real problem is that apartments in Shenzhen are just not built for cold weather. Our windows have one pane of glass and there is no central heating. The small two-bar electric fire can keep the smaller bedroom feeling a bit warmish, but that is all.

As I lay there shivering last night, my mind wandered to the pile of firewood under the garage of our villa in Kalotina, the wood-burning stove in the kitchen and the black metal petcha in the sitting room. For some strange reason, lots of stoves in Bulgaria are called “Prity”, when in fact they are really quite ugly, but boy do those black boxes kick out some heat. Oh how wonderful it would be to see the flames through the glass, to feel the warmth radiating out! As it is, I am sitting at my laptop here in southern China and every so often I have to stop and rub my hands together because they are so cold.  

However, just before breakfast I read a reply from Minty. That cheered me up a lot. “And who is Minty?” I hear you ask. Minty and Peter live in rural Bulgaria, not far from the Rhodopes and the Greek border. They have a funny dog called Lucy, smoke their own bacon and have a camping site that we must visit. Minty also writes an excellent blog called www.movetobulgaria.blogspot.com and I left a comment at the end of one of her posts. Actually, I thought that she would probably delete it straight away, as it was more or less a shameless “plug” for my blog, but she graciously replied.

Hello there! This is Minty from the movetobulgaria blog - I just wanted to say hi! Firstly, I should apologise for going 'off the radar' on the blog front! I got a bit lazy with it and currently we're back in the UK (just a working visit) and we've been so busy I haven't had time to catch up on the blog. I have had a look through yours and have thoroughly enjoyed reading it! :-) Hopefully one day we can retell our stories in real life, over a beer!! Let us know when you are back in BG! Lots of luck on your adventure and Merry Christmas! Xxx

I have really enjoyed Minty’s blog, partly because it is a doggie blog (Auntie Bulgaria’s is great too, but it is more cat-orientated). Minty’s blog has lots of good photos of the Rhodopes and rural Bulgaria. It is also interesting to read a blog that is being written by younger people, as so many “Brits in Bulgaria” blogs seem to be written by older folk, who are just about to retire or have already done so.

Auntie Bulgaria, aka Claire Ruston, also writes a great blog and you can find it at www.auntiebulgaria.blogspot.com. Claire makes some serious points about winter in Bulgaria. 

Here in Shenzhen, the temperature drops for a few months and maybe it even gets down to single figures, but a Bulgarian winter is not like that. Snow, more snow, long and dark nights, frozen pipes, impassable roads, power cuts: not so easy. Preparations are needed and in our case they will include a new central heating system, a new freezer in the garage, additional shelving for food storage, a new backdoor on the ground floor and plenty of firewood to go in the storage area under the garage. For our apartment in Veliko Tarnovo, we will need external insulation to the walls and a new garage. Most of the blogs I have read all emphasize the need for careful preparation in order to survive what can be the “snowmageddon” of a Bulgarian winter.  

Claire (Auntie Bulgaria) also took the time to respond to some of my comments that I wrote. 
During our first Christmas in Bulgaria. it went down to minus 25C at night (yes, honestly) and our pipes froze. Then we had to collect snow from the garden and melt it on the petchka, in order to flush the toilets.

Do you recommend getting some snow-chains for your car or is it better to buy "snow tyres", the special chunky ones with lots of knobbly bits? And are you still driving Uma the Puma or have you bought something sensible?

Thank you again for your good wishes for my blog. Yours has been an inspiration!
And Claire generously replied!
Hey Simon, we do still have Uma (she's falling apart, but still gets the odd run out)! But we also have a more sensible 4x4 these days. Personally, I'd go for good winter tyres (normal winter road tyres, not the chunky off-road tyres, unless you live in the wild). The difference between winter tyres and summer tyres is really noticeable in the snow. I've not yet seen snow chains that fit our tyres, but if I saw some, I'd get them and bung them in the boot just in case... Hope all is well in China!

And today we went to Lizhi Park and it was wonderfully sunny. The flowers, the trees, the architecture, the beautiful weather: yes, it was all pretty good.


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