Ritya 19

Another bitterly cold day, but as we were in need of supplies it was planned to go to Sevlievo to acquire them so work clothes were not donned, but instead I rummaged out the warmest, cleanest and driest set of suitable items (chosen in that order) I could find, out of my small suitcase, and put those on. It felt like going on holiday.

On the journey there it was cloudy and we had drizzle for part of the way and the car heater was on full blast until a strange smell started to emanate from it, then a window got opened. The roads here are not good, but we came across a section of it that workmen were scraping back the invading flora with a bulldozer. Though this potentially would widen the road by some significant factor, the soil stones and shrubbery were dumped into the centre of the road. There was no warning signs and it meant the opposing traffic would meet head on. Luckily, this being a poor part of Bulgaria you are just as likely to meet a couple of gypsies riding a horse and cart rather than an automobile. We met one lorry and a Trabant (astoundingly it overtook us).

It was Market Day and that is where we first parked. Not an impressive market, most stalls were pedalling recycled goods. I did buy a hat to keep out the cold for 2 levs. David negotiated to buy some wood off the back of a lorry (I kid you not) and promised to come back later.

We moved on to pick up a blind for the apartment that had been ordered weeks ago and give the shop owner a wood cut that Milen’s grandfather had made for 50 levs. I looked at it briefly and it did appear to be very intricate. On the way back to the car I photographed a young kitten sitting on our front wheel, quite sweet.
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Next stop the supermarket. After scoffing a 0.99 lev sausage in a bun (at David’s insistence that they were good) and had the calorific value and taste of burnt sawdust, we threw things into the trolley that we thought we needed. Returning to the market, we loaded up the roof rack with 10 packs of machined wood from the back of the previously mentioned lorry. Upon seeing the load our little van was carrying, the vendor changed his mind about putting this transaction to one under the counter and filled in the paperwork for a receipt. I think the clincher was when he asked how far we were going and David said Dryanovo. He obviously thought that we were unlikely to make it without scattering our load over the carriageway or by being stopped by the police for overloading. We did make it, albeit rather slowly.

After coffee David we unloaded then David drove into Dryanovo to buy some plugs for a now increasingly sickly car. I took Banjo for a walk then may on the bed listening to music and may or may not have dropped off to sleep. David returned without the plugs, but with an appointment to pick them up tomorrow.

We spent the rest of the afternoon chopping up every piece of wood we could find and stacking it on his now mountainous woodpile.

That evening we ate in the bar and later got halfway through watching a film that we eventually agreed on as being far fetched and rubbish before retiring. It was minus 3 and frosty outside.

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