The book that made Magura famous

Grab the chance to get my book cheap, in time for Mos Craciun, with the lovely discounts at librarie.ro! The online bookshop is almost giving the book away – a lifelong present for the cost of a couple of coffees. How could you resist?

Book cover, Din Liverpool in Carpati, Arabella McIntyre-Brown, TransilvaniaReaders have said:

“…extrem de sensibilă în fața miracolului naturii, împovărată de un trecut cu lumini și umbre, frământată de griji cotidiene, o femeie despre care cred însă că nu e conștientă de farmecul pe care-l posedă fiind timidă și în prea mare măsură rezervată.”

“You lend us your sharp eyes and understanding. You make us understand ourselves better, you make us better understand you. You give us importance by understanding us better than we sometimes do. Your book gives us hope in a world where we have lost heaven.

A real painter in touch with the pure essence of things and beings. I found myself immersed into a dialogue with you, dear Arabella, about solitude, the energy that comes from living close to nature, the joy of being present to the sounds of the forest.”

I simply love the way in which it is written, the fact that the words can make me actually SEE/FEEL your world, is just brilliant!”

I’ve appreciated both your humour and your self-irony or the finger pointed at various strange characters you’ve come across … I got carried away…”

“The book is unlike anything I’ve read, full of emotion, in which the author puts her heart out for you, so it’s impossible not to be moved. And the language is so normal, alive, it’s like a friend whom you haven’t seen in a long time.”

“I had a ‘white’ night last night. I couldn’t take my hands off your book. It made me laugh, it made me cry or both at the same time. Regardless of what this country has been giving you, I am sure I speak on behalf of all of your Romanian friends when saying: “Thank you for what YOU give us.”

“Honest, deeply sensitive, beautifully expressed. What a fabulous book this is.”

“…the quality of your writing is top-notch and I adore the naturalness of your use of metaphor: ‘longing for dreamless oblivion cradled in the city’s roar’, ‘I’m a molecule on the skin of the earth’ and your precise punctuation, which gives your writing such a lovely flow.”

“Really, it’s wonderful – you’ve basically opened the door to a different way of seeing and understanding Romania.”

“…fascinating, and it reads just as you talk, flows so naturally. … Your chapter on Ginny was painful to read,  powerful and compelling as the reader joins you every step of the way as you navigate the darkest of times.”

Buy the book online here!

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Second book about Magura soon out

Book cover, Din Liverpool in Carpati, Arabella McIntyre-Brown, TransilvaniaAfter six years in Magura, I wrote a book about life in the village, why I came here, why I stayed. Non-fiction, it’s all true; factual as well as a little philosophical. A patchwork of impressions, stories, portraits and essays all written from my window on the world, 1,000 metres up in the Carpathians. One chapter told the story of a stray puppy who came to my door and begged to stay. Starving, and weighed down by balls of ice on his feet and face, he inveigled his way into my house and my heart until I found him a permanent home. The adventure wasn’t without its dramas, but all’s well that ends well.

FLOSS mock-up 3D COVERThis year, in November 2017, Booklet Fiction will publish a book called Floss the lost puppy (Floss catelusul pierdut). This is exactly, 100%, purely the story of my stray puppy… but I have turned myself into a Romanian girl and her family (much more interesting) who have to overcome some challenges to save the lost puppy.

It’s a bilingual book, in English and Romanian, to help children of 7+ to learn English (or Romanian) and perhaps to offer them some new ideas about owning dogs.

Now, when you read it, you can imagine the Thimble family living here in Magura (called Fân in the book) and sparing the life of the little black dog who begs for mercy at their door.

You can find out more about Floss, and read some early reviews, on the book blog here.

Your chance to have kittens

If you’ve always longed to have kittens, now’s your chance! Here are two Transylvanian feral kittens, about 12 weeks old, happy and growing fast. No longer wild, they purr like Ferraris and are now pretty tame. The girl is still a bit shy but no longer feral. No more hissing!

Click here for a short video of them.

Click here for a second short vid.

They’ve been wormed, but I will take them to the vet for a proper check-up and neutering before I let them go. They should stay together, and need a loving home where they’ll get affection, play and good food as well as care when necessary. They’re already very different characters, but both very sweet.

Fig, the boy (grey tabby and white) is smaller, but full of spirit, and loves to play. Loves cuddling, too, and promises to be very affectionate as he grows older.

Mango, the girl (with orange splashes in her brindle coat) is the bigger, but shyer of the pair. A fierce huntress, though, judging by the way she plays with a thing-on-a-stick toy. Has a massive purr and will snuggle inside a dressing gown very happily!

I love them already, of course, but I have a family of four cats who are ridiculously happy as they are, and don’t appreciate newcomers (I’ve had this problem with rescue kittens before). And six cats is a lot of cat.

If you would like Mango and Fig to be yours, and will give them a warm, loving home and lots of affection and care, do please send me an email to abbspepper@gmail.com.

NB They (we all) are in a mountain village in Transylvania, rural Romania, so long distance adoptions will be expensive… (best to adopt locally, really).

Mango, Fig and I hope to hear from you.

More maps to orientate you

These are two of the seven maps I’ve uploaded to the ‘Where we are‘ page, which should give you a better idea of where we are, from Romania’s place in Europe to the coordinates of the village. Now you have no excuse for not finding us…

More books to read here

I’ve updated the books page on this site with two new entries on the non-fiction page and an interloping entry on the fiction page. If you’re coming to Transylvania, or have been here, and want to read more, here are some cracking books to buy or borrow. Here’s the non-fiction page to start with.

Thunderstorm magic – cool down

Yesterday, Magura had the best of a gentle thunderstorm (must have been violent off to the south-west) with a hail shower, distant lightning and rumbling thunder. This cool, damp greenery makes for relaxing viewing in these two little vids. In the first, you can hear the huge hailstones clattering and bouncing off the house; in the second, the birds, animals and insects keep singing as the thunder growls over the Bucegi Mountains. A classic countryside moment to cool down all you overheated city dwellers, sticky with humidity and longing for the cold sting of rain…

DSCF1982_2 cloud and sun

Sun and shadow as the weather changes

Medicine Cabinet Salad (MCS)

My ‘lawn’, which is actually part of a virgin wildflower meadow, is crammed full of medicinal plants and herbs, so by eating my way through the lawn over the spring and summer, I should be bursting with health.

Today I had my first MCS – mostly salad things from the shop (celery, butter lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese and toasted sesame seeds, with a squeeze of lime juice) but the final thawing of snow and a return to seasonal temperatures gave me a handful of chickweed to add to the much less nutritious commercial stuff.

Here’s a link to more information about chickweed‘s incredible list of nutrients and properties. No wonder chicks love it (and they do!). We’ll be competing for it…

Chickweed in my vegetable garden

The spinach bed is crammed with chickweed, which makes a tasty and highly nutritious salad…

Mixed salad in a bowl

My lunch – salad with sesame, feta… and chickweed fresh from the garden