Of necessity travel as been by taxi recently, lots of them, for short trips. My insatiable curiosity concerning other people’s lives and backgrounds has the driver spilling the beans in no time.
I fear it’s too late to go to Plovdiv or Varna; and climbing the Vitosha mountain is out of the question. I did know about the fabulous and largely unspoiled churches in Bulgaria, but that’s it.
Today a friend has set off for the Altai Mountains, weighed down by luggage of nineteenth-century oddity: ancient guidebook, compass, probably a folding camp-stool, Kendal Mint Cake, aspirin. Even BH has never been that far East.
My Bookmarks need weeding. Scrolling down to try and find that excellent website saved to tell me the quickest way overland to Ohrid (when you decide you just can’t face Luton Airport ever again), it’s obvious there’s too much dross.
Buckthorn, which I have always associated with the sea as a sort of wind-blasted shrub, has berries that are crammed with vitamins. The tea is a valuable antidote to sore throat and colds.
If the mouse is away the cat will get up to all sorts. One might say I hit the ground running, or perhaps stumbling — and made a nonsense in the photo shop. Yes it still rankles; I pride myself on never allowing modern gizmos to defeat me.
Try saying the name “Videniskiai”: for an Anglo-Saxon of nearly eighty years it was an almost insurmountable challenge which I got round by British mumbling. How cross my mother would have been! “Do speak up dear, no-one can hear if you mumble into your bosom.”
One watches events just over our Eastern horizons with a mixture of hopeful anticipation and fear. New words will be added to future editions of the dictionaries: glasnost and perestroika. Exotic words, full (perhaps) of eastern promise.
Is someone, somewhere, failing to educate the young? Are parents blind to the need to teach at least the rudiments of good behaviour, and is society too chicken to get involved? Today daffodils, tomorrow saplings, next week OAPs?
Stripped of the romantic embroideries beloved of simple Christians, St Frideswide’s fairy tale of imperilled virtue, escape and hiding emerges more or less intact.