Another New Year Celebration In Skalitsa

At last we got to get to the village after a month of town life over Christmas and New Year. We have had absolutely no time on our own together throughout this time and we looked forward to the trip and stoking up the wood burner and doing the things we do in the village.

We also had to catch up on the news from out neighbours in Skalitsa who we also hadn’t seen or spoken to since before the festive season. We knew that much of the time there this weekend would be talking and perhaps having a belated New Year celebration with them.

Just of a point of interest, the celebrating has not stopped in Bulgaria after the New Year as the name days and other special days of celebration are now upon us. There seems to be a never-ending stream this time of year. 5th was Jordan name day, 6th was Ivan Name Day, 7th was Baba Day (midwives’ Day) and more to come over the next few months. Well, not much happening in the smallholding world to the design of celebrations days this time of year was thought out well.

It was dark when we arrived and the first job was to empty the water meter shaft of the damp boxes and hay stuffed sacks that were put down there to prevent ice damage. The shaft had ½ metre of water standing due to the tremendous amount of rain and snow recently and had made its way there form the tilt that lies on the main road onto my land. This is something that used to worry me, but now I just accept that flooding of the shaft happens and that’s that. What’s the point of changing the landscape for a little water that truckles in? If I had the money a few years ago with my English brain I would have spent it on re-landscaping the whole area to stop this happening. Glad I didn’t have the money now.

Job done in the dark as Galia had the wood burner going and we could relax for the rest of the evening. It was early to bed as we were both tired from a hard first week back at work.

The following morning it was me up at 6:30 before sunrise, I just can’t sleep in her ein the village, too many things I want to do and before I knew it daylight had arrvived by 8:00 and I had spoken to my neighbour who wanted my help with the slaughtering and butchering of two goats later that morning. He wasn’t a well man, but that’s not the reason I offered my help. I love this type of chore, I certainly don’t mind the killing, in fact I quite enjoy it because I know it if all part of the ways things are here form the point of survival. I also knew that these two 5-month old goats would feed his family through to spring when more would be slaughtered for the same reason.

I now consider myself a bit of an expert in goat slaughtering and butchering having done this, including my own goats, on many occasions so I would be genuine help not a hindrance when I turn up and lend a hand. As so it was to be. By 1:00 there were two goats having gone through the process and it seems so right doing what we do here.

My neighbours being good neighbours and generous to the hilt rewarded me with some goat parts. I used to kick up a fuss about accepting gifts like this, but now take it away without any protest knowing that they were actually just as pleased giving it to me. This was taken back home and put in the freezer no doubt processed into excellent food and returned to our neighbours in the future when they visit.

That same evening we returned to our neighbour’s house for a belated New Year celebration and of course fresh goat on the menu that night – Homemade rakia and wine to accompany the talking, chalga music and dancing just after midnight. Then the short walk home in the pitch darkness with winter stars pinpricking the sky, we wished the walk were longer.

Next thing we know its Sunday and we travel back to Yambol in what has been a busy weekend in record warm temperatures, it didn’t seem like winter at all as we loaded the car up. Skalitsa really is a food factory and warehouse for us as the larders and freezers were raided for supplies of food for the coming week.