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This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Back in the Carpathians

Monday and Tuesday were the last days in Sofia until September. The last cycle rides – in quiet streets since May Day is taken seriously in this part of the world and many people had decamped in the warm weather.  
Loaded the car Tuesday – except for about 12 paintings which were loaded early Wednesday. 
Two new paintings which Yassen had produced for me were left in his tender care – one of which is this great Dobri Dobrev.
Then a leisurely 3 hour drive to Veliko Tarnovo to visit the Boris Denev Art Gallery there – in a superb location. 

The walk across a footbridge over the River Yantra offers the perspective of the ancient town given by the painting I posted last Tuesday

The Gallery was originally built in the 1970s as an Art School but actually opened as a police station! Very symbolic! 
It was eventually opened as an Art Gallery in the mid 1980s. 
The Director showed me round a great collection – 2 Tanevs on display and a room and a corridor devoted entirely to Boris Denev’s work – the room with about 7 large oil paintings of the town and the corridor with aquarelles mainly of Italian scenes. 
For this post, I have selected this moving portrayal of his mother.

Then another leisurely 3 hour drive to Bucharest where, once again, the car conked out while sitting outside the Vodaphone shop in the heat. But started and drove fine after a wait of 20 minutes or so. 
I’m writing this a few days later – after a visit to the great Bosch garage at Zarnesti in the Carpathian mountains whose boss (Sorin) tried to diagnose the problem on Friday afternoon after my drive to my mountain house Thursday. 
Some further work is needed on the old car on Wednesday – and has made me question the notion of my 7,000 kilometre round-trip to Scotland next week for my daughter’s wedding. I've done the drive several times and know the road well and driving this time seemed a good idea since I could take the 30 litres of Bulgarian wine I have to the wedding plus the Slovak, Austrian and German I could buy on the trip - and bring back books from the second-hand bookshops I intend to visit in the UK. But it is about three times more expensive than the plane (with about 6 overnights plus 450 euros for the Zeebrugge- Hull ferry) AND the stress on the old body and car!!   

This morning I had the bath taps and boiler replaced and water therefore restored in the house. For the last couple of days I have borrowed water from a neighbour in large plastic bottles. There are actually ecological advantages in operating this way. You waste less water!
For those interested in the vagaries and delights of the English language, have a look at this highly entertaining website and weekly post 

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