Coming home

by | May 2, 2019 | Bulgarian life, Gardening bore | 7 comments

I’ve always been happy calling anywhere ‘home’. Bulgaria is ‘home’. England is ‘home’. Anytime I stay in a hotel or Airbnb for more than a night, I start calling it ‘home’. So, yes, I’m home (in Bulgaria) after my long trip back home (in England).

The cat gang missed me terribly and were really excited to see me. Not.


Christ, but it’s a readjustment, coming home (Bulgaria) after spending several weeks at home (England). It’s lots of little things, like how small our house feels (even compared to my folks’ terraced house in Portsmouth) after being away from it for so long. Or how strange it is to come downstairs in the morning and be swamped by cats, after staying in a pet-free household for weeks. Or how long it takes to boil a kettle on a gas hob. Or, you know, our quirky plumbing. Every now and then, I stop and think, oh right, this is how we live.

Then I go outside, sit on the terrace, and absorb the quiet, like it’s vitamin D. I can’t hear any sirens, or trains or traffic. There’s no one around, except the cats playing under the rhubarb and the neighbour quietly fussing over his tomatoes. And I think, yes, this is how we live.

It takes a while to pass, this ambivalent state of being both pleased to be home (Bulgaria), and missing the ease and convenience of home (England). But at least there’s plenty to keep my poor confused mind busy, both in terms of actual work and the mounting list of garden jobs.

As a result of the chilly-ish April weather (we even had a frost about a week ago), and because Rob’s been holding the fort on his own for so long, we’re way behind where we’d normally be in the garden by this time of year. We’ve only just sown squash and courgette seeds (not much point sowing early if it’s not warm). I’ve hardly sown any flowers beyond sweet peas. And I’ve not sown any of the direct-sow veg seeds like beetroot or parsnips. Oh, but the dahlias and gladioli that we started forcing indoors are doing brilliantly – more than ready to go outside, providing we don’t have another frost…

Gladioli watch: look at these ridiculous whoppers!


Nice, bushy dahlia ready to be planted out.


Elsewhere in the garden, everything shot up in the time I was away. When I left in early April, the garden and surrounding countryside was still a bit brown and bare. I came back to green trees, fat grass, and flower beds that look like a crazy, neglected cottage garden on steroids.

Really need to get the flower borders under control.


Alliums getting ready to flower.


Unusual tulips. Can’t remember the variety, but aren’t they nice?


What about you – how do you feel every time you come back to the Bulg? Am I the only one who experiences a period of readjustment? Maybe you feel nothing but relief every time you clamber down from the plane at Sofia Airport?


  1. the hippopotamus

    Clare, your blog is wonderful, as always. I shall be going to Kalotina this coming weekend and checking again on the asparagus. I am still hoping that some of the seeds might actually do something.

    Yes, coming back to BG can be a strange and not always pleasant experience, like the time we came back from Qatar and discovered that lots of squirrels had been partying in our living room, having climbed down the chimney.

  2. Katt

    I know what you mean about the noise in the UK I've been back since late April and it took me ages to get used to the cars and sirens. I'm back in my village home late May for several weeks and am looking forward to the peace and quiet and hopefully the veg I planted in March will be flourishing along with the fruit trees. One day we'll be in the position to move fulltime into our little village house until then its holidays only.

  3. Auntie Bulgaria

    I know what you mean. If Rob and I dare to go away together, the cats repay us by leaving all sorts of 'presents' for us to find. Usually, the bathroom looks like a scene from The Shining. I dread walking in there after we've been away.

  4. Auntie Bulgaria

    Not long until your trip. I hope it's both productive and restful! It's a lovely time to be here. Everything is getting lusher by the day.

  5. Боби Димитров

    Oh I meant on the city, or even on a household level. I wouldn't be able to call any other territory "home", even though "home" is a rather more local thing for me.


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