April, is that really you?

by | Apr 1, 2021 | Bulgarian life, Gardening bore | 2 comments

My calendar, filthy liar that it is, is trying to convince me that it’s April. But that can’t be right, can it? How are we already a quarter of the way through 2021? How can time fly when none of us are having any fun? It doesn’t seem fair.

As it’s April Fool’s Day, I should really try to fool you with a ridiculous tale, but I worry that readers are so used to me saying stupid shit that you’d all just believe it. Case in point: I’ve spent my afternoons this week updating my recipe spreadsheet – oh yes, I have a spreadsheet that compiles all my favourite recipes (and recipes I want to cook but haven’t yet got around to), organized by ingredients. So when we have a glut of courgettes, for example, instead of looking through each of our many, many cookbooks, I simply look up courgettes on the magic spreadsheet and it’ll tell me every relevant recipe, along with the book it’s located in and page number. Like courgette fries with sumac salt, which is on page 61 of Sirocco by Sabrina Ghayour. Or spiced carrot and courgette fritters, which is on page 276 of Tender by Nigel Slater (and is, of course, also cross-referenced in the ‘carrot’ section of the spreadsheet). This spreadsheet – which I made back in lockdown 2020 but needed to update with all the cookbooks we got for Christmas – has now blossomed into an 1100-line beast. It makes me so happy. It may be my finest achievement.

I mean, why make up an April Fool’s tale when my real-life crazy is so entertaining?

There’s really not much else to report here. It hasn’t snowed this week, which is progress. But the forecast is threatening a bit of snow this weekend. (A right kick in the fanny, considering the UK is by all accounts enjoying stunning weather right now. Good for them, of course. God knows they deserve it. But I want my share of al fresco dining and mild sunburn.)

Because of the weather, we’re quite behind with our seed-sowing, having only sown the most urgent stuff so far: tomatoes, chillies, parsley and lettuce. There’s been little point starting anything else, unless we want to be overrun with pots and compost in the house. (Rob promises he’ll soon finish the rustic greenhouse that he started last year.) And we haven’t even started prepping the veg beds yet – weeding, adding a fresh layer of compost, etc. The garden is a terrible mess, to be honest, and it all feels a bit overwhelming. But I have to remind myself that it always feels like that at this time of year. As soon as we get out there, get our fingers in the soil and feel the sun on our forearms, it’ll all make sense again. We’ll remember that we actually like gardening, and, while the garden sometimes feels like a burden (I’d be lying if I said it didn’t), it gives so much more than it takes. We just need to get back in the saddle, so to speak…

In the meantime, we’re planning to sow more seeds this weekend. Snow or no snow, we’ll be doing some indoor gardening and trying very hard to get into the gardening bore mood. Expect more gardening talk next week and a breakdown of everything we’re planning to grow this year. I promise not to create a spreadsheet.

For now, I leave you with this photo of a very Bulgarian bus stop, spotted outside Troyan Monastery the other week. For my non-Bulgarian readers, this chap is Vasil Levski, Bulgarian revolutionary, national hero and – I can’t be the only one who thinks this – a bit of a babe.


A proudly Bulgarian bus stop.


  1. Sylvia yuill

    Hi again, lovely to read your blog, you really do make me smile, you have a great wit , you should write scripts for stand up comedians, maybe you do. You’re right some of the uk has had glorious weather but here in Northumberland we are just happy to see the sun but definitely not planting out weather, infact, we are forecast snow on Easter Monday. My love of planting is growing trees. I collect seeds from trees in the autumn and pot them, then when they are about 10cm pot them into bigger pots then whatever I can . I’ve grown about 40 over the past 8years or so but am running out of places to plant them. I’ve put about 15 in our garden in Bulgaria and we now have a mini wooded area, we have oak, ash, sycammor, horsechessnut and laurel. When we first bought the house we bought what we thought was black and red currant bushes from that garden centre in Sofia only to now have enormous hazelnut trees. As you probably know we are currently band from leaving the UK so can only imagine how the garden will look when we eventually get out. Dandelion and nettles grow in abundance which ,I’m told make lovely wine but we aren’t there long enough to put a brew down. Anyway hope you and those around you are keeping safe. Sylvia

    • Auntie Bulgaria

      Hi Sylvia, that’s so interesting that you grow trees. It’s something we’ve not had a lot of luck with so far, but it hasn’t exactly been a priority (we inherited quite a few mature trees in our garden). I’d love to add to them, though. I’d like to grow peaches, more apples, hazelnuts and large, purple plums (unlike the cherry plums we have in abundance). Unfortunately, our track record with trees hasn’t been great. We grew three peach trees from saplings … Rob accidentally strimmed one and killed it, the neighbour’s donkey ate the second, and the third (which we’ve managed to keep alive for several years and was just starting to produce a little crop each year) looks like it’s been totalled by this year’s snow!

      Fingers crossed you can get back to your garden soon and introduce yet more trees! Thanks for reading.


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