Today some housekeeping was required if we were going to generate any electricity - John had to go up onto the roof to stretch across and encourage the snow from the panels. The snow had frozen overnight and was now sitting in a fairly solid mass on the down slope of the panels. Yesterday John had no wish to go out and sort it and to be fair we didn't actually see the sun so there was little point. The forecast today was much better and we had arranged to meet up with Elena and family to have a bit of a walk to get some fresh air and then come back to ours for some soup.
I had prepared some bean soup in the slow cookers in advance. I had been careful to make sure that it was vegetarian to suit Elena's mum but had a right old panic on when Elena told me late last night that Bassam was allergic to celery - I couldn't actually be sure that the stock cubes I had used were celery free and as a trace of it made him sick I couldn't take any chances. A quick scour of the fairly bare fridges resulted in a parsnip, a leek, some potatoes, some ginger, some chilli and a lemon - so spicy lemon leek, parsnip and potato soup was hastily thrown together in the pressure cooker!
The weather was dry but the wind was bitter so John dresssed up like a Drouseia Ninja in preparation for our walk out to the Bandstand and back.
We hoped that we would be joined for soup by Simon, Melanie, Jasmine and Frances as we have failed to catch up with them so far this festive season.
En route to Elena's we encountered the local bull mastif that regularly wanders around - today it had dribble hanging from its jowls that was longer than my legs! This is a beast of a dog but a real softy as he just rolled over when we walked on by.
At Elena's Rabia was in the middle of a snowball fight with one of the other local boys - I say snowball in the very loosest sense as it was more like an iceball. How much fun can a small boy have with a bit of frozen water? well loads it would appear!!!
We decided to walk out to the bandstand and back - although initially we thought this was a madness as the wind was biting but on the way back we took a lower road back into the village and were sheltered either that or the wind dropped and by the time we neared the edge of the village we were all moaning about how warm we had got - particularly Elena who was wrapped up in the worlds biggest faux-fur coat!!! She looked a bit like Great Uncle Bulgaria and the tourists who passed by us three times must have thought twice about asking us the way - their loss - we had a good old laugh at them as they drove past the third time staring very firmly forwards refusing to make eye contact.
Lola was delighted that the cows at the top end of the village were still there - one of which was a nursing mother and the little calf was desperate for milk. These are a strange breed but not as strange as the ones which used to be there which looked like they were wearing ginger wigs.
There is some work being done on the outskirts of the village and we assume the road is being prepared for these massive pipes to be laid. They provided a photo opportunity for the kids if nothing else!
We were so glad that we made the effort to go out - sometimes it is just too easy to sit in watching the TV and forgetting what a beautiful part of the world we live in - even in the winter when it is bitterly cold!!!
As we returned home the sun was beginning to set and there was an amazing sky. Hopefully it was heralding an even better day tomorrow. Not that it really makes a difference to us as we are off to Emba for lunch with Mum and Dad.
This just about brings to a close our Christmas/New year festivities and we have had a really lovely couple of weeks and spent it with some lovely people.
I have lots of plans for 2016 - one is to keep a photo album - one photograph for every day of the year that we can look back on - it is all too easy to forget everything that goes on.