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Viivikonna abandoned village, Estonia




Estonia





From Tallinn we headed East, into the forest of Laheema Nationa Park for three weeks with Jim and Mari at their Projekti Kodu - Project Home, an off-grid paradise, with the use of natural and reclaimed materials at it's core.
As Winter approached, we helped with the very satisfying job of finishing off their cabin, constructing a cordwood porch and sealing straw-bale walls with cob. They taught us how simple it can be to make your own solar panels, and how asking for 'waste' can get you treasure, like a beautiful circular window from a window fabricators, made in the 'wrong size'. We explored abandoned submarine bases and in the evenings we laughed and kept warm, between the fire under the bath tub and the darkness of their green-roof sauna.










Estonia  Estonia





After docking in Tallinn and finding a leafy residential street in the Kalamaja wooden-house district to park the home for a few days, we went in search of a source for our new addiction:




Finland 15





'All people are created equal; but nowhere more so than in a sauna.'



Engeløya to Angelniemi






Engeløya to Angelniemi






Engeløya to Angelniemi






Driving from Norway through Sweden in a continuous pine forest landscape for 500km, we got quite used to Freedom to Roam: being allowed and encouraged, almost everywhere, to turn off down a forest track, park the home for the night and make a fire. The bases of tree trunks sunk into a thick carpet of berries; wild blueberries, crowberries and ripening lingons. Jella snuffled around with us like a truffle-hunting pig, eating berries off the bush like she did on Fejø with the strawberries. Purple mouthes and hands.




1. wood water




Engeløya, Norway






Engeløya, Norway






angusfulton / film / Engeløya 2015






'FUCKING HELL NORWAY IS LONG.'


We crossed the Arctic Circle on some sort of moon-like plateau; an Arctic Circle Centre in a sea of excited white motorhomes. £10 for a slice of cake (welcome to Norway). We thought we'd said goodbye to luscious green to head a good 200km further North into a bleak 'Arctic landscape'. But as we descended from the moon, the boulders and straggly wind-swept Pines became dense forest, fresh and warm.




Angus Fulton - Sweden





Angus Fulton - Fejø






Don't stand between the bees and the sun, and if there is thunder in the air they'll become aggressive… We must always leave enough honey in the hive for the bees to eat. When we get the honey-loaded frames to the house remember to look all around us to make sure no bees have followed us, if they know where we've taken the honey they'll go back and tell the colony. 





Goodbyes to Angus's family and an early morning drive down to Harwich for our ferry to The Netherlands. Casual, chatting about what our next months in Scandinavia would hold. We had 30 minutes before the 9am departure so we stopped to let Jella out, trying to persuade her to do a wee before having to spend 5 hours on the boat in a kennel. At some point amidst Angus's increasing anxiety at the approaching departure time and Jella doing not much else other than sniffing road-side crap, I spotted in big fat letters at the bottom of the ticket, 'Check in closes 45 minutes before departure'. FUUUUCK.
We whizzed around the corner and right up to some big barriers, swearing about how in Calais we could drive on up to 5 minutes before the boat left… Fuck. The window of the ticket desk went up and the irritatingly smug man inside told us that there was definitely no way we were getting on the boat and the best he could do was charge us a surcharge and give us a ticket for the next morning.

So we explored through a hole in the fence of an abandoned military base in Harwich, watched the ferry we were supposed to be on chug off into horizon, and ate fish and chips. A quick look inside a pub to ask if Jella was allowed in turned into an impromptu night with the barmaid and her friends, who poured us Fosters for free, shared brownie, and told us about their mate a Harwich local and his hideous acid-throwing incident.






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A 10 day journey from Casa Na Colina, M & D's house on the hill in Portugal, to a short stay in the UK.
Via a wild, non-stop-rainy Galicia, a whole lotta sexy green grass, sunshine and water vole families in France, foggy Devon, nostalgic Wales, London loving and Angus's Mum's.







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Throughout the months we were in India, 'mine' and 'personal, private space' were things we experienced as almost non-existent: Beds and bedrooms were communal spaces, countless selfless acts of kindness towards strangers, an all-round sharing of food… You could be on a bus, train or auto-rickshaw that magnificently redefined the definition of 'full' - people pummelling their aunties and their suitcases into any last inch of air-space - definitely no chance of getting a seat/perch... But within a few seconds and shuffles, a slither of space appears with a hand tapping it and a head nodding in its direction.

Some things we learned the 'hard' way. At Nature Care Village, Angus and I were sat outside our room watching the birds, when Angus went inside to do a poo. The bathroom was immediately to the right, as you went in through the door, partitioned off by a thin room-dividing type wall that had a good metre gap between it and the ceiling. A few minutes after he'd disappeared, a 'VIP' appeared from nowhere, being given a tour. Straight into our room they went, without warning or knock or comment to me as they passed. I thought, 'Should I say he's in there taking a shit!?', I could picture Angus settling down, all relaxed, to suddenly hear strange voices in the room the other side of the bamboo door, and thinking, 'Should I tell them I'm in here taking a shit?'. Instead he decided he'd left it too late to say anything and just to 'keep quiet', hoping one wouldn't plop and that the bathroom wasn't going to be included in the tour.




We met a 'VIP' with a bag of fruit and a bottle of Smirnoff who couldn't look either of us in the eye. He introduced himself as from a 'high-caste' family, ensuring we understood exactly what he meant by 'high'. He caused huge upset of ambience when he called Khayam the 'servant' and left him out of the drinking party. We declined 'VIP's offer to get into his car at midnight, with him in full cricket-gear + bat, to drive into the jungle and find a leopard. Wealth and power, more often than not, coming hand in hand with being a general arse-hole, even in India. 




Introducing myself as 'Holly', 'What, like the festival?!'...
So when Holi Festival arrived, it was all, 'Spending Holi with Holly!!!' from Raju and Khayam.
'Happy Holi Happy Holly!!!'






Nature Care Village



Train station platforms are a blanket pile obstacle course; Little children wriggle out like Roos emerging from their mumma's pouches, leaving a gap into a warm blanket pile of humans sleeping on humans.
We were 3 hours into a 5 hour wait at Moradabar for our train to Rishikesh. I still had the shits after 10 days and couldn't stop my nose from streaming. We were rapidly running out of any sort of tissue and a 'female' toilet was apparently nowhere to be found. An old man dressed smartly all in white with a black waistcoat and sharp eyes walked over and greeted us with quiet 'namaste' smiles. Ram Babu Kumar was his name. He said, 'I could sense that you were feeling unwell and became anxious to talk to you…' He checked that we had medicines and gave us a long, kind, look in the eyes. With more 'namaste' smiles he disappeared down the platform. Later that evening whatever illness it was that had been stewing around in my body evolved into a week long monster.


We met Mr Raju, a tall man in a tracksuit and a turban with a thick, combed, black beard, at the junction somewhere roughly 25km outside Rishikesh. He gestured with one slow, sweeping arm movement that our rickshaw driver should continue down a bumpy track, following him on his moped. Mr Driver was not pleased about this long, pot-holed addition to the journey that threw around his rickshaw and seemed with each corner to have no approaching ending. Constant head-roof / arse-bench crashing. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, and by the sound of it neither did Mr Driver. Angus laughing (obviously). I might shit myself or vomit… Mr Raju miles ahead on his moped… We expected Mr Driver to ask for the extra that we'd haggled down on the price. Eventually Mr Raju stopped and so did we, preparing for disgruntled Mr Driver. Mr Raju and the other tall man (his brother we later found out) whom we'd pulled up next to, with eyes that lit up when they smiled, deep laughter wrinkles and wide grins from behind their thick beards, seemed to win the heart of Mr Driver; They spoke just a few words and bad feeling diffused into laughter, pointing him in the direction of a smoother way back to the main road.






Nature Care Village





'Jugaad (alternatively Juggaar) is a colloquial Hindi-Urdu word that can mean an innovative fix or a simple work-around, used for solutions that bend rules, or a resource that can be used as such, or a person who can solve a complicated issue.'

---



6. angusfulton / this and that - India 2015



Jedi skills are essential.



5:30am, still dark, on a paddle-boat in the fog on the Ganges. The sky and river melt together in a thick, velvety grey. Just the dunking of the oars into the still surface. Nothing else. No focal point or sense of perspective, we've all been swallowed by the velvet grey and we're slowly paddling down its never-ending throat. Smooth peace on continuous repeat, with a dunking oar for a heartbeat. Directly above us, a small, suggestive circle of bright blue. 






Varanasi






Varanasi






Through squinted eyes and tightly shut mouths we pushed through swarms of mosquitos along the ghats at night, hopping around dark mounds of things that could have been sleeping people, to a traditional Dhrupad music concert, 5 ghats down the river. We pulled off our shoes and sat on a big white sheet on the floor, decorated with splatted mosquitos.




Varanasi






Varanasi






In Varanasi we volunteered at a little hostel where we painted walls and ceilings with murals, and took care of the hostel's newly adopted street dog and her litter of puppies, in return for bed and food. One afternoon Angus disappeared into the city on the back of a motorbike to help one of the hostel workers, Sunil, with a mysterious favour. At lunchtime on every day of our stay, Sunil sought us out from wherever we were in the hostel, to share his lunch with us. We'd bring food to share but he was always insistent that we eat more than him, to the point where, despite us giving the tiffin tins back to him with enough left inside for him (hoping not to offend him, stumbling our way around Indian selflessness), it began to seem like his wife was making a delicious lunch every day just for Angus and I. Over a tiffin tin of spicy peas and chapatis he told us that Monday night we were to go to his home for dinner, to meet his wife, his mother, his father, his brother, his sister, his grandma, his grandpa, all of his uncles, their wives and their children. His wife would cook for us, some rice, chapati, vegetables and dhal… We spent the week looking forward to it.



Khajuraho






After 4 weeks apart, Angus and I were reunited. Coconut and banana lassis and masala parathas on one of Khajuraho's roof terraces, with a backdrop of the spectacular temples carved with the spectacularly erotic (think group orgies with hybrid mythical animals).



I waved goodbye to Holl one miserable morning as she drove off with Amit-the-driver to her Ashram near Khajuraho. 4 weeks to kill before we would see each other again. Amit drove a white Tata saloon with four 6x9 speakers on the parcel shelf... I would spend lots of time in it over the next month. Back into Mithla's kitchen for breakfast, tearful and it was cold… Munalal the father of the household I was staying with gets me to sit right next to him by the chula (fire), sharing the little stool he sat on with me. He gets out two bidis (hand-rolled cigarettes), lights them both with a match and hands me one, putting his arm around me and his hands to the heat; he gestures to keep my hands warm over the smoky flames. Mithla (the mum) passes me a steaming chai, smiling with her buck teeth… Shanti (their daughter-in-law) is shuffling around making breakfast. Nobody speaks any english. It is 6 in the morning. These guys would be my family for most of my stay. 

 For the next 28 odd days I would get up to all kinds of stuff. Primarily I would be helping Ashok, who was a little younger than me, to run the home-stay project I had volunteered to help with. We did lots of good work together, as well as riding around on his motorbike and generally doing what 20 year old Indians do in their spare time; forgetting things, cricket, smuggling girlfriends out of town in Amit-the-driver's car, chewing tobacco and of course eating lots of food and perhaps the odd shady beer*. 

 Each day was most changeable, as things are in India. Every corner is exciting. Who knows what the hell will be around it. Anyway… It was a wonderful, stressful, happy, frustrating, insightful, beautiful and most of all a very fun 28 days.

*Orchha is a Holy site so technically it is illegal to drink alcohol...but Ashok had friends at the bar of one the swanky hotels.

01. angusfulton _ Orchha 2015

5am looking over Ganj with the Chhatris of Orchha in the distance.    




Arhanta Yoga TTC


Orchha






The Friends of Orchha home-stay was in the village of Ganj, up the hill above Orchha. Ganj begun at the gigantic vine-covered mango tree; the tree that hung over the road hundreds of long, limp fingers that might stroke you on the head. A mud-house village of 64 families. Smooth mud walls merged into smooth mud floors which merged into smooth mud alcoves, shelves, benches, window ledges and smooth mud paths. Vibrant pista blue and deep ochre. Namaste in dusty streets. Cows, calves, chickens, buffalo, goats, puppies, children and motorbikes watched by girls and women lingering in arched, mud entrance-ways, toe-rings and bangles, immaculate coloured sariis. And breathtakingly beautiful. The village looked over the domes and spires of Orchha's Mughal temples and palaces, the river Batwa and forest until you couldn't see any further. 

Gwalior Fort






Hiking up the 700 steps to Gwalior's magnificent fort on the hill, decorated with stone ducks and elephants painted yellow and blue, we met a boys cricket match on a dusty levelled out platform half way up. One of the boys handed Angus the bat. Luckily he hit the ball. We explored up and down the narrow stone stairways and passages between what once were bathing chambers and music rooms, until we stupidly ran out of water (with the 4km walk down the hill and through the hot city via a climb around the 50ft tall carvings in the cliff-face, still to go).
Delhi





In the middle of a dense-intense Delhi junction of roughly 6 indefinable 'lanes' of traffic, the taxi driver stopped. The two swollen, white plastic bags slid off his dashboard and onto his lap. He left the car, taking them with him, leaving us there. Dodging rickshaws, taxis, mopeds, cows, and road-side rubbish mounds, stepping up onto the central reservation. He carefully untied the knots in the plastic bags and emptied the bird-seed contents into the middle of an excited flock of Myna birds.
He did it yesterday and the day before, and he'll do it tomorrow, and the next day, 365 days of the year.




'Most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities.' 
- The Dalai Lama



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We arrived back to Portugal after 3 incredible months in India, with 20 rolls of film ready to be developed. There was much debate over how and where to get this (so very precious to us) job done. Should we keep hold of the films and wait another 2 months until we're back in the UK? Should we post them to the UK?  Should we split the films up into two packages, just in case?
Reassured by the number of safely-arriving packages we'd sent between Portugal and the UK, missing India terribly and DESPERATE to see the pictures, we decided to post them all in one box from Portugal to a film lab in Brighton. Slightly shitting ourselves, standing at the post office desk Angus took the postal receipt for priority, track and trace delivery,
'So, just to confirm, if this package gets lost, you'll be able to find out exactly where it is?' 
'Yes, absolutely.'

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Cruuuuzing the Silver Coast, with wild Atlantic beaches and house-sized waves mostly to ourselves. Although we accidentally (really) parked up for 3 days in a popular dogging spot down a track by the coast at Nazare…

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We spent September at Mum and Dad's new home, painting walls white and working in their house and garden. A predictably and unpredictably eventful few weeks including an almighty argument over a toilet cistern and puncturing an electricity pipe with a spade.

I want a network of young people creating a different economy’

30 OCT 2014
1 (c) Alt-Gen
With young people trapped between unemployment and underemployment, the political response is too paternalistic, says new organisation AltGen.
Praia Da Carriagem, West Coast



NO LONGER ARE WE RULED BY THE MORNING ALARM!!!!
OR 5 DAY SCHEDULES!!!
OR THE FEAR OF LOSING OUR JOB DUE TO TELLING OUR TEENY PEENY BOSS WHAT WE ACTUALLY THINK OF HIM!!!

Lesson 3 of living in a van:
Don't leave it until 30 minutes to sunset to try to find somewhere to cook dinner and sleep for the night, when you're relying on a road map that bears 20% resemblance to reality.

West across the Algarve with the intention to stay for a night closer to our next family visit in Loule. Following the map (we still haven't learnt) we thought we'd take the coastal road to try to find a quiet-ish place to park. 'Quiet-ish' and 'parking' don't go together on the Algarve coastal road (duh). After 20 minutes totally lost in traffic, HOT, wedged between hotels and stopping every 3 metres for road-crossing inflatables, we found ourselves at a dead end next to a water pumping station, HOT and in a fucking strop... Rather drive inland and sleep on the side of the main road... There were a few Pine trees on our left with, between piles of dumped rubbish, a path that smelled a bit of the sea.
Leaving the van, the path took us through some more trees and some more rubbish, to a quiet cliff-top between beaches, with tall columns and walls of rock around deep ocean-bottom wells. We picked our way across to the furthest bit jutting into the the sea and watched the sun go down with the fishermen, Azure-Winged Magpies, and the Algarve Party Boats pumping Cascada...




Albufeira




Lesson 4 of living in a van:
Didn't want a bike rack, thought our back door had done enough in life being a door and could do without two bikes hanging from it's neck.


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“What strikes me is the fact that in our society, art has become something which is related only to objects and not to individuals, or to life. That art is something which is specialised or which is done by experts who are artists. But couldn't everyone's life become a work of art? Why should the lamp or the house be an art object, but not our life?” Michel Foucault



Despite getting lost between goat herders and villages, our only sign of direction being the occasional other scruffy campervan to try to follow... they are actually following us... we found BOOM FESTIVAL, alongside a lake near to Idanha-A-Nova in the middle of the Portuguese countryside. We queued, picking up an assortment of hitchers, for 5 hours. Endless tracks through Eucalyptus forests and a phenomenal number of teasing brows of hills, definitely just over the next one...
A festival of oneness, art, environment, music, culture and love. We were blown away (literally) by the spectacular, kaleidoscopic structures, intricate and magnificent and almost entirely bamboo. The festival is rooted in ecology: trying to establish an active, sustainable change beyond the Boom land.
From a workshop in mud-building to gong-yoga to floating on our backs in the lake, to the wavey pulse of a didgeridoo playing live psytrance... Purchases could be made using Bitcoin. The de-criminalisation of drugs allowed a testing centre with intention to reduce health risk, publicly reporting safety and purity.
A tribal gathering of 30,000 people representing over 100 countries, united to visualise and manifest an alternative, positive vision for the future. Completely free of corporate sponsorship, no VIP areas or special treatments. It was a transformational week in a transformational place. Typically hard to put into words, holding a place in our hearts, 2 years, until next time. <3











3 for me and 6 for Angus, years of totally brilliant fun in London. But student life and loans came to an end, staying in London faced us with the prospect of 6 days a week, before 8 in the morning to varyingly late at night in a job we thought was sort of great at the start, but over weeks we'd start to resent for depriving us of a sociable time to have dinner with our housemates, any days off spent mostly sleeping… Wondering when we last made any art… and how long are we supposed to pretend we are enjoying this? Trying to 'climb the ladder' in an economy where half the ladder rungs turn out to be an inaccessible illusion. Being a part of Actionspace when they got their funding cut and could no longer provide a free art centre; Watching the individuals with disabilities and learning difficulties who had come regularly to make their art, which for most was their best or only way of communicating, disappear off the radar. Their disability allowance had also been cut. Angus working hard and reliably for 5 years for Evans Cycles in Holborn who, after an 'extraordinarily successful year', wrote to tell their staff (working for £6.50/h without any real pay rise) of the millions they had made in profit, and to reward them for their hard work with a box of Quality Streets to share between them, equalling at a reward of a chocolate and a half per staff member.

There were ways to live around the economic kind of shit- we had 3 years of delicious meals for next to no £. At around 7pm Peckham Rye bins overflow with slightly bruised vegetables and ripe fruit. Covent Garden Market will give you bags of focaccia and samphire if the market manager catches you rummaging in a bin, he walked us around the stalls collecting bits that didn't sell, happy to ensure no food from his market would go to waste. Or New Covent Garden Market at 5am if you put on a 'I'm supposed to be here' high-vis and avoid the security guards who have now been told to get rid of the people diving into skips to make meals from the mountains of food heading to land-fill.










Sofia
Karadere, Osikovo & Popovo, and LunaDolina festival http://www.flickr.com/photos/41086222@N02/sets/


Lisa powered us by SaraLara and Foaly in the cart from Osikovo to the festival site for the final few days of set-up. Traveling by horse and cart is officially an extreme sport ya know, and Lisa once was an amateur rally driver... Their farm at Osikovo sits at the top of a near-vertical, rocky, dusty, pot-holed track. The van always stays parked at the bottom. One evening, Gracey, Nick and I had been sitting in the front seats with Lisa at the wheel. Lisa decided it would definitely be better if the van was up there outside the house, so that we could load it up with festival stuff... Reversing a few metres to get some speed she foot-slammed the accelerator, we flew at the track, bouncing and clattering to a metre from the top when Gracey squeezed her nails into my arm, the engine roared and in a dust cloud we started sliding backwards... Before we backwards flipped to our death, Lisa pulled the handbreak and reversed us back down where we laughed and made to climb out, clearly Mr Van wasn't capable of making it to the top. Before we could get the door handle we were flying again, jabbing our seatbelts back on as fast as we could. Three tries later we had made enough speed to climb over the brink where we found Ewen and Zoe grinning. Laughing at our white faces, Lisa assured us "ONLY PANIC WHEN I PANIC."









The final 2 weeks of our Bulgarian venture was spent camping in a valley outside of the village of Voditsa, volunteering for the set up of the first year of LunaDolina Festival. http://lunadolina.com/english/
Organised by a small group of British, Belgians, and Bulgarians living in Voditsa and surrounding villages, and part of the helpX scheme, work exchanged for food + accommodation (+ a cold beer after work).

Nick, Gracey, Ewen, Lisa and I piled into the van, picking up Kathy from her house in Voditsa + her daughter Elly who lives opposite her (both ex-Newcastle) + her partner Dancho (Bulgarian) + Raul (French) on the way. Raul cycled from France, with a tent and an accordion, it took him 2 months. He hates his bike and wants nothing more to do with it. On the last few metres of his journey he found a puppy, a week or so old with maggots in it's feet and covered in sores. Eyes closed, barely responding, but alive. Lunan we called him, after Lunadolina. And began mission cure the puppy.










Smooth hitch back to Varna (BapHa) where we found the train station and began another uneducated attempt to translate some town/city sense into the Cyrillic alphabet timetables. We reckoned we'd bought two tickets to Popovo (Попово) so found a cafe to sit in for the next hour.
     As we were about to leave to find the train, a man on a nearby table signaled to us that he'd like to buy us two drinks. We smiled and politely shook our heads, we had to go and were too tired for attempted Bulgarian conversation.. His excited expression didn't diminish and a few minutes later two cherry drinks + straws arrived at our table. He grinned and pulled us out 2 chairs next to him. Awkwardly we stood up and started heaving on our bags to leave, not really sure what to do about those drinks... Making stupid train-like movements with our arms, we poured the drinks into a plastic bottle and left him looking pretty frickin disgruntled.
As we walked away we remembered, in Bulgaria, shaking your head means YES and nodding means NO. Ah fuck.

     The train walkway was half the width of me + our bag so Grace pushed me to our shared carriage with sliding doors like Augustus Gloop in the chocolate pipe, where we threw our smelly, dusty bags onto the rack over the heads of our companions. We had been warned to BE ALERT, the train will only stop at each station for 30 seconds. Cleverly we had no idea whether the journey would be 2 hours or 5, and as the train set off we noticed the growing trend of lack of station names at the stops. How would we know when we were nearing Popovo and how would we get our bags down in time without crushing anyone and how would we squeeze outta the train... in 30 seconds... Within minutes we could (we decided inexplicably) barely keep our eyes open, Roofies in the cherry drinks crossed our minds... There was no Roofies in the cherry drinks of course, but we ate a carrier bag of fruit and kicked each other in the shins for 2 hours. BE ALERT.






 






Arriving at Popovo station in the middle of miles and miles of fields. We saw one very full 15 seater mini-bus + a queue of 20 Bulgarians scrambling at the door. We weren't getting in. We asked the only other human we could find if he could speak any English, he shook his head. We were probably stranded, then a lady leant out of her car shouting over that she spoke English. We explained our situation, we were right, that was the only bus into town, we weren't getting on it. She smiled and drove us into town.






   





A few more busses and we found naughty Nick in Osikovo, a beautiful village nestled in a forested valley, accessible only by one 8km long dust track from the next village. The streets are covered in yellow, blue, pink, red, purple wild plums, and walnuts, EVERYWHERE. Nick had been at the farm for the weeks we were at the beach. We met Lisa and Ewen, our hosts.  (Their workaway page:  http://www.workaway.info/9177822224b6-en.html )


















They moved here from Ireland 4 years ago. Houses are, on average, £1500, council tax is £12 per year.. They live totally off grid, no bills, 2 horses and a cart, 4 goats, Foxy the dog, and a kitten, Sugar, found abandoned a few months before. When they brought Sugar home she started suckling on Foxy the dog, Foxy the dog made milk, Sugar got healthy, Sugar stopped growing and 6 months later she is a pint-sized, kitten-size cat. Sugar, the smallest cat in Bulgaria, with the biggest attitude.












   





We had our first delicious dinner in the outside kitchen, cooked on the wood-fired mud-brick stove. Water is collected from a nearby spring so washing up is done once a day, Lisa said we'd need to lick our plates if we wanted to keep the wasps off between lunch and dinner, suited us well being a flat of plate-lickers.


















   





With no electricity there was of course no fridge or freezer. We learnt how to preserve ratatouille and roasted goat in jars- ready meals for Winter. We made apple and pear spread in a swarm of wasps and hornets, Grace and her phobia nearly had a nervous breakdown. Although all at once 28 wasps will try repeatedly to get inside of your mouth, they aren't aggressive like in the UK. To have a bath in Winter when it's -28 outside Lisa and Ewen fill an oil drum with snow, build a fire underneath and climb inside. Milk was drunk straight from the goats udders, (so tasty and for sure we oozed feta from our pores), anything that wouldn't be drunk within the next day was made into cheese and Lisa had a brilliant egg-less pancake recipe for any milk gone sour.
























     Osikovo is in a basin and we got properly pummelled by some spectacular storms. One jumped on us at dusk as Nick and I were in the middle of delivering a herd of goats back to a local Baba (old lady). Goat chaos. We leapt into the bushes to avoid a stampede, bursting udders swinging left to right hanging on by strips of skin, spraying milk like an out of control garden hose. We opened our mouths to catch a drink as Whitey charged past. Couldn't find the old Baba, and had been warned that her dog we could hear snarling on the other side of the gate would get our necks if we entered without her. We waited and shouted, the rain poured, the fork lightening struck, meanwhile the goats climbed a wall and broke into a nearby garden. Nick clambered in to catch them and the wall fell down.


















 





 Inspiring conversations and so much laughter with our wonderful surrogate family. Falling asleep to the sound of a choir of singing Jackalls. And one night to the whirring hum of a low-flying alien spacecraft.








Get a message when we do another one!







 
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