winter in mogilino

winter in mogilino

In a couple of months I will have had a house in Mogilino for two years and right from the get-go this village felt like home. Quite apart from the breath-taking scenery, it is a friendly, welcoming place to be. I often wonder however, how the other villagers really perceive us incomers. Certainly, as British, it’s automatically assumed that you have ‘Money’ and equally, it is hoped, that you’ll be able to provide at least some type of short-term employment.

I suppose in comparison we are ‘wealthy’, at least in terms of having cash coming in. But what Bulgarians often fail to appreciate is the one thing that most of us westerners strive our whole lives to achieve – the elusive, fully paid for, mortgage free home – they have in spades. Often owing more than property, it is one reason for the abundance of abandoned houses that are on offer across the country at bargain basement prices.

My welcome into the village has been warm and help always at hand, no matter what problems have come my way. But having a career that doesn’t include physical work has bestowed on me a level of respect that I don’t believe is warranted. Even after I explain that I’ve spent most of my working life hip deep in horse shit, and grafting is something I’m well acquainted with, it makes no difference. So now I feel obligated to be a writer that someone wants to read!

I must confess that I’ve always been a little concerned about people’s reactions when they first find out what it is that I write. Not the blog stuff, the general rambling about my life. But about me and my Pagan roots. Religion is a funny thing as we all know, and I’m still unsure as to how these things are perceived here in Bulgaria. Particularly in the villages.



It’s New Year – again – and as the old year slipped away a number of projects reached completion. Now 2015 stretches before me like new note-book.

A new year, a new project. Well, it’s not exactly new. This one has been incubating for a while now. It’s my first full length foray into the world of fiction – for the sake of argument I’m calling it fiction. A spin-off from The Stain of Time, it is a complete retelling of the past life story which I always felt deserved far more of my time and attention that the bare bones airing it got first time round.

As a stand alone project it matters not at all whether readers believe in past lives and more particularly, whether they accept this is the tale of a life that was once lived by Trent Reznor. From the outset there was no doubt in my mind that the whole past life thing would be a hard sell, and so The Stain of Time was never meant to be anything but a means to an end – a way to pass along some information to Mr Reznor when all other attempts had failed.

Although for some of us reincarnation is unquestionable, there are many others that come hard-wired with disbelief. Those naysayers are more than content to ascribe their fear and phobias to any number of unknown causes, but rarely can they be persuaded to consider they may have roots in a past life. And so the new project, Claude’s Story, is being presented as a work of fiction.

It’s been a while in the making, picked up and put down so many times I wasn’t sure I’d ever complete it. Why has it taken so long to shake the dust off the notebooks and put the proverbial pen to paper? Perhaps it is that I couldn’t pick it up again without revisiting my own past – recent past, that is.

During the years since The Stain of Time was first published there have been a great many changes in my life. Changes of residence, relationships, points of view and perspectives and a variety of other projects to keep me busy. However, there comes a time when the nudge becomes too strong so here we at last with Claude’s Story.

Buggering off to Bulgaria

This particular move has been picked up, put down, thought about and mulled over for the better part of three years yet when the time came it was executed in a matter of weeks. As usual I ignored all the best and most sensible advice: visit the areas where you think you would like to live, see many and varied properties, research the estate agent who is going to help you buy your home….actually, how about, visit the country you are planning to move to…even once…for a weekend perhaps….

You guessed correctly, I did none of the above and selected a property off the Internet, got the pets their passports, arranged shipping for all and sundry and, well, here we are. I would like to say I flew in the face of sensibility and came out unscathed. That would be a lie and no one would believe me anyway, such foolhardiness is bound to encourage a few knocks and dents (happily the already battered furniture took most of the dents but http:// there were a few knocks to the already fragile bank balance).

So, six weeks later here we are in this most beautiful of countries embarking on a new adventure, hoping to find a new way of living and working. Make no mistake, I love my home country and miss it very much, but it had become increasingly more difficult for me to find the finances to live there. The compromises were becoming unacceptable. I can live without a lot of things (I’m only just getting an inside toilet installed in the new house) but I need space and a garden, I want my animals but I don’t want to be worrying every time the dog barks or the rooster crows.

I’ve breezed through life doing work that I love without a thought about future security or pensions or anything that those of a more sensible nature started taking care of in their twenties. Well, it’s been a while since I saw forty never mind twenty. Inevitably  the day came when I realised I was getting to a certain age without the proverbial pot and I’d better start making plans to secure the future I wanted as I slip in to older age.

Enter Bulgaria. The impossibly cheap real estate is enough to get you thinking this might be the place to make a new life. Couple that with a super climate (proper seasons were important to me) fertile soil that makes for a good garden (a level of self sufficiency is a must) and the  low cost of living (essential when trying to budget with a flexible income from writing).

What I wasn’t prepared for was the rejuvenating atmosphere which is both relaxing and invigorating.  I’ve spent the last six weeks pottering in the garden, camping out in two rooms to avoid the disruption that comes with renovation and exploring this little village, wondering how it must have been in its heyday. I’ve watched the land throw off the last vestiges off winter and come to life. Already fruit is forming on the trees which are everywhere, in every garden, edging common land and lining the roads and lanes. The air is brim full of the heady scent of blossom and growing things.

Everywhere has its downside and certainly Bulgaria is no exception but for now, for today, I’m feeling the sun on my back,http:// listening to the air alive with birds and all kinds off buzzing creatures (some of which are out to make me their lunch) and thinking only of the positive.

A Little Shaken

Size varies greatly among horse breeds, as wit...

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It seems ages since I last posted – and so much has happened in that time. My whole world has been up ended, squeezed, crushed into something new. And so now we begin again, and not without trepidation. I can only hope we’re out of the woods and onto a clear(ish) path. However, there is so much that is still undecided.

For starters, Sophie and Jay are still apart. I am confident they will put their marriage back together, but will it be soon enough for Sophie? She is being torn apart by this separation. It’s hard to say how Jason is coping as he is keeping a low profile at the present.

On a positive note, despite all the turbulence that has been surrounding our lives in the past few months I seem to have reached a plateau healthwise and at least if my symptoms have not improved they certainly have become no worse.

With the move to the new house finally done and dusted Sophie and I have almost finished unpacking the mountain of boxes. Only a small amount of books have had to be rehomed – always a sad day. Happily all the animals have settled into their new home really well. I was particularly concerned about Tubby hiking back to his old stomping ground in Berriew as it certainly is within walking distance for a determined cat. However he seems to become a bit of a stay-at-home since the move. Weather permitting he still disappears about 10 pm (returning for breakfast of course) and on clearing out a shed for the new chickens I discovered his new larder for rabbit parts that are currently surplus to his requirements, but all in all he has become quite civilized.

Throughout all of this mayhem the one thing I am sure of is, regardless of this mysterious malaise that has been plaguing me, I am not ready to give up my horses just yet – or the rest of my haphazard lifestyle. While I concede that things I took for granted are becoming increasingly more difficult I am just going to have to find new ways to get everyday jobs done. Also, with our income further reduced, no doubt there will be budgetary  measures that need to be addressed. So after all these years of harping on about, and playing at, self-sufficiency it really will be time to put my money (or lack of) where my mouth is.

All talk – time for action

I’m an ideas person. A planner, a thinker, a schemer, a dreamer. I’m never short of business ideas, cunning plans or innovative marketing ploys. At the plotting stage my blood runs hot and I’m fit to bust with enthusiasm. It’s when the time comes to actually execute the plan that I’m not so keen. The nuts and bolts of it all bores me. Rarely does a plan come to fruition and so I continue to roll along in what is becoming an ever deeper rut.
As much as I wish it were different, I’m not motivated by money, job security or pensions. Whenever I’ve tried to reconcile job satisfaction with financial commitments I’ve approached the search for a ‘proper’ job with all the zeal of a terrier on the trail of a rat. Fired up by the thought of a regular paycheck I research the company, beef up my CV and go into the interview prepared to dazzle. But it has become increasingly obvious that whatever my initial motive it is the chase that is my prize. Should the phone call come that offers me the so fiercely contended position, it is a bittersweet moment – I’m elated that I secured the prize but deflated that now I actually have to do the job. And so I work for myself. But let’s face it, neither horses nor writing are going to make me rich and so when the coffers need topping up I take a minimum wage/no responsibility job. This way if I should start to dread going to work I’m not going to feel I can’t quit – I won’t be letting anyone down and the money isn’t enough to hold me somewhere no longer want to be.
However, my working MO has been scuppered by the current economic climate and ‘top up’ jobs are scarcer than hen’s teeth meaning my writing projects are going to have to pull their financial weight. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever write something that is commercially viable but if I can reach a good proportion of my niche audience just maybe I can keep the wolf from the door.
They say that when the student is ready the master will appear, well, by happy coincidence earlier this year Trent Reznor posted on the Nine Inch Nails website his ‘ew Business Model for Independent Artistes’.
I believe Mr Reznor is a master schemer himself. The difference is that he actually acts on his plans, granting him undeniable success. So even though his advice was aimed towards musicians, with a new project underway I’m taking his advice on board Will it work as well for procrastinators writers? We’ll see.