Winter In Bulgaria - The Problems

Probable unemployment tomorrow aside, we have had some serious weather here, but things just plough on as normal. It takes longer to do things and some things you can’t do with extreme cold weather and almost a metre of snow that remains part of the long-term feature of the landscape in Yambol now. I think I have mentioned many time before that I just love living in these conditions and adapt accordingly. It makes the appreciation and luxury of the other seasons in Bulgaria so much better.

Freezing weather is fine for most if you are tucked away with a wood burner and a outbuilding full of chopped up wood to burn, winter food that has purposely been stored exactly for this season. Eating, drinking and socialising is a long term vocation for most in the villages up and down the country. This was what I used to do, but now during this particular winter I am based in Yambol City with work to attend daily although we still have the winter store of food and drink that last year brought, in fact it was a bumper crop.

Getting to work has been a problem but only because I still have not fully come to terms with dealing with extreme Bulgarian winters and tips to take up with the Lada. Let me explain…

The previous cold spell at the end of last year taught me not to apply the handbrake as it froze solid and couldn’t be released. I learned from that and now this won’t happen again, bit this is only the start of it. The learning curve was the steepest to date as I found that I shouldn’t lock the doors as not only the lock was frozen, but the inside locking mechanism froze up and no way to defrost it.

The battery was flat after a few days of not running the Lada so I wanted to take it out and re charge it. Oh dear, I couldn’t get the bonnet open as another locking mechanism had frozen solid under the bonnet. Finally I got the bonnet open in the evening with hot water, but couldn’t get into the boot as not only the locking system had frozen, but the boot rubber trimming had welded itself to the metal.

After finally getting the battery out and checking the water level, there wasn’t water there but ice. So it had to be defrosted before putting it on charge. Another two days of taxis to work and back. This actually takes away 30% of my daily wages so I wasn’t too happy, especially having to fork out 68 leva for the year’s road tax (vinetka) this month.

Then the was the problem of the road once the car started, after a slight thaw during the day and freezing overnight Ladas don’t work well on skating rinks, I ended up on the opposite side of the road on the kerb and couldn’t move from there, another taxi was sought again. The comfort was that many other cars had been abandoned alongside me.

I take a packed lunch to work each day and have to put it in the fridge in the office, not to keep cool but to stop it becoming rock solid ice. This happened the first day back last week. I had a frozen lunch that day. I took my hat and gloves off at lunchtime and couldn’t get them back on due to being frozen solid. The toilet had frozen up and of course no water at work for over a week now. We have to melt snow for out water source and work in sub zero conditions.

At home we have not had water now for 6 days, the underground pipe had frozen up last Monday and even though we have had a little thaw over the weekend, still no water. There is colder (sub zero) weather forecast tomorrow, so unless we get some water running by the end of this evening it is set to continue. Our water supply comes from purchased water from shops, which have to be carried as the Lada has been out of action, more expense due to the cold.

Baba hasn’t been outside for nearly two weeks as it is too slippery underfoot. At least she is in a warm house and food is ready for when we get back from work. Both Baba and Galia hate the cold and are counting down the days to spring. We all will be very happy when it arrives, but for me winter is a rest season, not labouring in the fields and gardens, I love winter here and for some reason love a bit of suffering in the cold at work. Even with frost bitten hands from work, I really don’t mind the pain, as to me it is a small inconvenience with the seasons to come.

We are in bed at 7:30 in the evening watching television and for us this is the best place to be from the point of saving on heating bills and total relaxation.