Start Of A New Year

Well it’s now January 2014, the start of a new year and our first winter in Bulgaria. This is the real tester for us, will we be able to cope with the cold, the never ending days of snow, being stuck indoors for days, maybe weeks?, only time will tell. So far so good. This has been the worse month so far, in terms of weather, that is. The first half of January was pretty mild, cold in the mornings and nights but mostly sunshine and warm during the days. There have even been days where the temperature in the sun has reached 34c ! ( that’s in the sun,not the shade, which in my opinion, is the only important temperature reading I’m interested in haha !). Of course that sort of weather didn’t last long as now the snow has arrived! It started on the 24th and it hasn’t stopped. It’s now the 1st February, ( just realised January is over already!), so it’s been snowing now for 8 days and there is no sign of it stopping. In fact as I’m writing this, the snow is coming down thick and heavy.
Cabin fever is now slowly setting in. We have now been stuck in our village for 9 days and it doesn’t look like we won’t be getting out any time soon. There is only so many films you can watch and we’ve watched a few! I’ve tried to occupy myself with a bit of sewing and baking but at times it’s been just too cold to do anything. Every other day we venture out to the barn to chop and collect more wood and kindling as the wood is going down rapidly!
The first couple of hours in the morning is taken up with my constant battle with the petchka in the kitchen, bloody thing just won’t stay lit ! By the time I finally get it lit, I’m frozen to the bone and it takes me all day to warm up again. Andy’s not much better as he has poor circulation so his feet and hands are constantly frozen. Sometimes the only way to get thawed out again is to have a hot shower halfway through the day. Only problem with that is, we have no heating in the bathroom, so it’s a case of taking the chill out with a small blow heater, jumping in the shower, ( which is pure heaven to have heat on your body ) then quickly dry ourselves before freezing to death again! Then it’s layer upon layer of clothing ( for me anyway! ) to keep the heat in. The coldest it’s been was -14.5c, although some areas in Bulgaria have had it a lot colder. Day by day we are slowly getting used to it, if there’s such a thing as getting used to feeling like a snowman!
How are our dogs coping ? Well Kenzo (the Staffy) doesn’t like the cold, so snow is a big no no in his book, he only ventures out when he can’t cross his paws much longer. Twix (the Spaniel), is a different story, he loves the snow. He would play for hours in it given the chance but that’s a big no no in my book! When I take him out, the first thing he does is get his ball, plonk it in front of me then jump around like a mad man until I throw it. So amusing to watch him retrieve his ball that’s buried in the snow, it doesn’t seem to bother him, he just dives his head straight in, covering his head completely and he won’t stop till he finds it. By the time I decide it’s time to get back in the warm, Twix has masses of marble sized snowballs hanging from his fur on his belly and legs. It then takes me about an hour to melt him and get him dried ! Half an hour later Twix wants to go play ball again!



  1. Nancy

    Hope you can get warm in your house and the snow will stop soon . I would hate it as I feel the cold here in uk . Take care and cuddle up and do lots of jumping up and down xx

    1. andyandmariet

      Thanks, it’s just so cold and really can’t seem to get warm. I think our wood is still damp so not burning very well. Hopefully it will be spring soon, can’t wait. Definitely going to buy a bigger fire before next winter. It may be cold here but I’ve been reading about the weather isn’t very good in the UK, rain, wind, floods etc. Anyway take care and keep warm xxx

  2. Kevin

    Google “rocket mass stove”. Easy to build and burns wood so efficiently that it uses 80% less fuel and it can be used for cooking. Downside is that it needs refuelling every 30 minutes – not a problem if your housebound during the winter. Upside is that the thermal mass continues to radiate heat for up to 24 hours after the stove goes out. Hope this helps,

  3. Kevin

    Another idea would be a single skin masonry heater which again would meet your self sufficiency aspirations – a bit more difficult to build but a design which has been used for centuries with millions still in use in Russia and probably Bulgaria too. Here’s a link showing a modern approach on the traditional design. The outer shell could be faced with ceramic tiles if you prefer.

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