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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!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

On resilience; and wines and painters from Pazardzhik

So much happening – the continuing human and political crisis of the ongoing wave of immigration to Europe’s shores; the Panama Papers and its political fallout in Britain – not least on the Brexit vote; the last remnants of the steel industry being sacrificed in Britain to the neo-liberal God…..and all I  do is wallaw in self-pity from the facial discomfort of the past 2 months!!

I know our various worlds have always been governed by cycles of gloom and bravado but, somehow, in the past half-century, social “expectations” seem to have experienced a tectonic shift – such as to have made us incapable of dealing with a world that is in decline….
A few years back, there was extensive talk of “resilience” – the social capacity to deal effectively with crises….why some communities seem to have this….and others don’t. Sad that this concept seems to have gone the way of all fads…Or is it perhaps that we have simply become overwhelmed with the notion of “Crisis”???

Bulgaria is a society which, at first sight, seems to have avoided the temptations of debt-driven modernisation….even in Sofia most people eke out a living – and one-person businesses seem to be the norm. A wine-tasting in young Asen’s little Vina Orrenda (at the Russian Monument) offers a real social occasion in such a modest society and I was glad to have made the trip last Thursday. Not just for the excellent taste of the Riverside range of wines being offered by the Manistira winery (3 whites; a Rose; and 2 Mavruds) but for the easy conversation which flowed between us. The left part of my face is still semi-frozen and I therefore have problems tasting – but I coped manfully!

It was the first time I had attended a group wine-tasting – and I appreciated the ceremonial aspects as Asen and a young lady first introduced the winery and the wines and Asen then poured us our respective samples…

It was also nice to be approached by one guest and be asked for my opinion on the wines….and to have the chance to speak to the 2 young ladies representing the winery (who remembered me apparently from the November wine-tasting!). It's in a village near Pazardzhik and I suggested they might put Pazardzhik’s most famous painter on one of their etiquettes – Stoian Vassilev. He was a prolific painter (the local museum is reputed to have some 5000 of his paintings and sketches). I have 4 of his - the first being very untypical. The second is more typical of his style......

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