by | Mar 3, 2020 | Bulgarian life | 0 comments

This is actually a pretty standard number of toilet rolls for us to have at home. Growing up
in a big family, we constantly ran out of loo roll. Behold the mental scars.
Nowadays, I get nervous if we have fewer than 40 rolls in the house.


Being a fan of zombie apocalypse movies and list-writing, it’s perhaps no surprise that the ‘prepper’ movement appeals to me. Not in a hoarding-guns-and-building-bunkers kind of way. Just in a mild hoarding-food-and-water-and toilet-roll kind of way. Having spent eight winters in Bulgaria, and with the luxury of a large pantry and chest freezer, we’ve honed our winter prep skills to perfection.

Imagine my enthusiasm, then, for the opportunity to extend my winter hoarding in light of the new coronavirus. Now, I’m not saying I’m thrilled about a potential pandemic. I just happen to enjoy the sport of extreme food shopping.

And so I found myself in Lidl the other day, manhandling a trolley half-full of soya milk, tinned delights and fresh vegetables (ready to cook down for the freezer). One guy took a look at our trolley, said something about coronavirus to his friend and then laughed heartily. Laugh away, I thought. I’ll be the one chilling at home in a couple of weeks while you’re queuing to buy whatever’s left on the shelves after people start panic buying. (Actually, it’s hard to imagine Bulgarians panic buying, or indeed panicking about anything. They mostly just shrug and have another glass of rakia. But you never know.)

Being in rural Bulgaria and working from home, I’m not very concerned about being exposed to germs. But it’s nice to know that if we do want or need to stay home for a couple of weeks, we’ll at least have nice things to eat.

Speaking of nice things, being the borderline Millennial clichés that we are, some of our prepper priorities are slightly embarrassing. Sure, we stock up on the sensible stuff like loo roll, tinned goods and long-life soya milk. (Like everyone else in the world, we’ve recently watched The Game Changers documentary and given up dairy milk.) And we always keep the pantry stocked with pasta, rice, flour, chickpeas and lentils. But some of our more questionable purchases included:

  • Half a dozen avocados – because no public health emergency is going to interfere with our smashed avo on toast.
  • Tequila, rum and vodka – because, if you’ll excuse the pun, you’ve got to keep your spirits up.
  • Several 5L boxes of wine – see above.
  • And, through a slight miscalculation, seven tins of coconut milk. SEVEN! So, if anyone needs me in the next few weeks, I’ll inevitably be in the kitchen, making curry AGAIN.

Anyone else indulging in a little prepper’s delight? Are you going to bother with the whole surgical mask faff? The other day we asked the pharmacy in Etropole if they sold masks, and they reacted like, no, why would we? It was all very nonchalant and Bulgarian.


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