From the pen of Turlough Ó Maoláin ...

The Chronicles of Bulgaria

Frosty the Snowman


I was going to go out to the garden and build a snowman but then I remembered that I needed to put some fat on the cat’s abscess.

I haven’t been outside for several days because the ground is covered with snow and the sky is full of snow and the bit of space in between the ground and the sky seems to be constantly occupied by even more snow transporting itself from one place to another generally in a downwards direction including down the back of my jumper if I happen to be out in it, though I should wear a coat. And because there is so much snow there doesn’t seem to be any light. It’s incredible how something so white can make the place seem so dark. I have calculated, however, that after all this time the task of transferring snow from sky to ground must be almost complete. The clouds are very grey, and you’d expect them to be pure white if they were still full of snow, just like the ground is, but the grey clouds are making everything grey. I paid good money for a winter solstice not so long ago but so far it doesn’t seem to be having any effect. I had hoped that by now all this Earth tilting on its axis thing would have shooed away the greyness. Perhaps we all ate too much over the festivities and now the Earth is having trouble getting the tilting on its axis thing right on account of us all being so lardy.

I was going to go out to the garden and build a snowman but then I remembered that I didn’t have a corncob pipe and a button nose and two eyes made out of coal handy to give him a humanoid form … as if!

Periods of heavy snowfall, often lengthy, are virtually a guaranteed feature of a Bulgarian winter but Bulgarian people are always prepared for this. They spend the summer taking their home-grown vegetables and preserving them in jars, stocking up with winter fuel, fitting winter tyres or even snow chains to the wheels of their cars, zipping up their overcoats sometimes as early as September and preserving their own bodies in homemade rakia. To my own list of preparations, I add filling the freezer with delicious comestibles that aren’t home-grown and preserved in jars, ensuring that the bookshelf is freshly stocked with new reading material and darning the holes in the knees and elbows of my underwear.  


The runner up in the Malki Chiflik New Year Camouflage Competition 2021.

The runner up in the Malki Chiflik New Year Camouflage Competition 2021.


I was going to go out to the garden and build a snowman but then I remembered that because of the extreme meteorological conditions, no one has been out to the garden with a canine toilet brush during the last few days and I didn’t want to be involved in any incident of poor hygiene or yellow snow or do anything that might cause embarrassment to any prospective snowman during his creation phase.

The current batch of icy whiteness and greyness is into its third day now. In that time, I have read a book and eaten quite a lot of delicious comestibles that aren’t home-grown and preserved in jars. I’ve looked out of the window at fifteen minute intervals to see if this year’s long hot Bulgarian summer has started yet, but with disappointing results. I’ve shared on the internet photographs that I took during previous, harsher winters to make friends and family in other countries feel sorry for me and send money for new underwear. I’ve listened to loads and loads of David Bowie music (it’s been his birthday / death anniversary this weekend) but resisted any temptation to watch The Snowman animated film, even though it includes an introduction by Bowie, because I might feel under pressure to go out to the garden to build a snowman or go walking in the air.

I was going to go out to the garden and build a snowman but then I remembered that I’m no longer six years old so the associated level of excitement would be virtually nil and even if I was six, or even eight, I would return to the house twenty minutes later feeling cold and wet and wishing I hadn’t bothered because it wouldn’t have looked anything like a real person or even a real snowman and it would melt within a day or two making everybody sad like the kid in the The Snowman film.

You may wonder what I have been doing about exercise during our arctic lockdown. Conscious of the problem of possibly becoming lardy and having an adverse effect on the Earth’s attempt to tilt on its axis, I have spent a lot of time rushing about the house looking for somewhere to sit.  It seems to me that we need to spend a lot more time rushing about to find a vacant seat than we actually spend sitting in the seat in this house these days. We have a profusion of cats and dogs, none of which are terribly enthusiastic about going out in the cold weather and seem more than happy to spend the whole of each day sleeping in a chair, but for the few minutes of each day that they spend eating. I can’t say I blame them but it does make sitting down to read a book and eat delicious comestibles that aren’t home-grown and preserved in jars a bit difficult as we can rarely find a space on a chair and when we do we have to fly across the room to get ourselves in it before another hibernation-struck animal arrives. Sometimes it seems that we have more of these animals than we had when we embarked upon our latest winter. To be honest I’ve forgotten what the exact figure actually is. I’ll ask Priyatelka later tonight when she gets in from gathering winter fuel in the forest.

And isn’t Frosty a ridiculous name for a snowman? If you try to build a snowman when the weather is frosty and the snow is deep and crisp and even you will get nowhere. With that crisp and dry powdery snow, the corncob pipe and the button nose and the two eyes made out of coal will just fall out and you’ll look the complete fool. To get the snow to hold together in the shape of a person it needs to be a bit soft and moist and not at all crisp. For this reason, I always think that Slushy would be a more appropriate epithet. But no matter what it’s called, you’ll never get me out there making one.

Number of comments: 2

14/01/2021 11:36:45 - Michaela B, E-mail address is hidden

As always loving your comedy.. you have a brilliant way with words and always leave me
Smiling x see you soon x

15/01/2021 04:54:09 - Lorraine, E-mail address is hidden

That was cleverly written and very amusing!
Hope you’ve found somewhere to sit by now!
Lorraine & Keith x
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