Nine years today…

8th July 2010

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My poor little car rolled into Magura, loaded to the gunnels, bringing me to the village as the newest resident. We trundled across Europe for 8 days, after leaving London SE1 on 1st July, taking the scenic route and having adventures in six countries.

The house was nowhere near ready, even for camping in.

And it was years before every room was habitable. But I had my books and other comforts, and I acquired cats.

IMG_6939First, skinny kitten Hobbs, who blackmailed me for biscuits and tins of food.

Then she became Mama Hobbs, producing three kittens in May 2011. Mouse, Buster and George grew to become handsome and all bigger than their mum. Officially the happiest cats in Romania.

I only survived thanks to my neighbours, who have been kind and tolerant of the odd English writer in their midst: they’ve fed me, entertained and helped me since I arrived.

There have been furry souls in need of rescue:

…and members of the neighbouring family, and occasionally a new and beautiful friend.


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There have been visits from friends, strangers and family over the years, the strangers becoming friends, of course.

But every day there is beauty all around me, in every season, wild and domestic, rain and shine.

This is indeed a little corner of heaven, my stake in Transylvania.Stake_AMB 3D render with shadow

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I live in a fairytale

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.

Roxana & girls singingHe 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.

I love it here. Wouldn’t you?

New book news!

I’m delighted to be able to tell you that my next book – something rather different to the last – will be published in the next few weeks.

COVER dragoni

 

It will have its own book blog which will launch after Easter, so keep an eye out for the link.

 

Magura school singers charm bookworms

Speakers and singers involved in the launch

Speakers (L-R): Alison Mutler, Arabella, David Hughes, Roxana Preda; and the children Georgiana Banu, Cristiana Cotinghiu, Diana Secarea, Natalia Boboc, Julia Preda, Andrada Preda, and Sebastian Râpea

Seven children from Magura village school came with their teacher, Roxana Preda, to the book launch at Gaudeamus in Bucuresti; their traditional song about dor charmed the many book fans gathered to see Din Liverpool in Carpati fly from the shelves.

Lucky prize draw at book launch

Wow – someone’s going to be lucky on Saturday! The village school in Magura has given me two charming icons (this one of St George and one other) – painted on glass by one of the school’s young pupils – as a special prize for someone buying my book at the launch on Saturday afternoon at 1700 hrs.

Everyone who buys a book will go away with a little something, but will you leave as the lucky owner of this fabulous image?

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