What do you think? Have I been properly honest in writing about my part in this book? Some readers have been shocked at my openness over mental health, and so on. But why should we be scared to be honest? Mental illness (and most unplanned life events are not crimes, they’re usually not our fault, and usually they are very common experiences. We need to discuss difficult bits of life. How would you handle it?
Today (8th August) is apparently International Day of the Cat. So here are mine for you to enjoy. I get a buzz out of watching them play, and just having them around. Hobbs and her three kits Mouse, Buster and George are now middle-aged (7 and 6) but they are the happiest cats in Romania, and sweet-natured with it.
It’s true: I know it, and am grateful every day. My brother Charles and his family came to Magura this month for their first visit, and he was utterly bewitched by the place. He told all my neighbours that it was magical, like a fairytale. And not just the beauty of the landscape, but the survival of so many traditions: folklore, traditional dress, time-proven skills, food and the whole way of life.
He was fascinated by my neighbour Viorel’s skill with the scythe (I’ll post a video later), and was captivated by a happy moment when Viorel’s wife Roxana and a little chorus of children stopped on their way to a village wedding to give us a preview of the song they would sing for the bride.
Here’s my piece in the first edition of the new print magazine OZB (O Zi Buna). The English-language mag, well-illustrated, is produced by a British-Dutch-Romanian team for Romania’s international community (aka immigrants / expats) and is a lively read. Get stuck in – if you’ve got a story of your own, or know of one that needs telling, get in touch with editor Douglas Williams. And if you can distribute copies (they’re free), let him know that, too.
This year’s Transylvania ultramarathon runs on 20 May, starting and finishing at Bran Castle, just down the road, and winding around the Bucegi and Piatra Craiului mountain ridges (both over 2,000 metres).
The masochistic runners will almost be passing my door, so if the occasional runner gets lost and ends up on my doorstep, painting and faint, I won’t be surprised.
Too late to register for this year’s race, of course, but put the date in your diary for 2018!
Dandelions (flowers, leaves and roots) are one of the great stores of nutrition, and free, widespread and delicious
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The meadows all around my house are dotted with splashes of sunshine – dandelions. Heralds of Spring, these little sunny plants are crammed full of nutrients and have lots of healing properties. So don’t curse them, don’t poison them or dig them up… pick them and eat them, make syrup, salves and tea with them. Along with nettles, the first great gift of the natural year.
I came across things to do with dandelions on Pinterest – you can get a free ebook of ways to exploit these wonderful plants, so get cracking!