It’s white and cold – still February

This was today. This is winter in the village. Saturday – I woke up late (10am, shameful) to find more snow falling. Forecast is dire. Fridge close to empty, gas bottle getting light. If I don’t go down to Zarnesti NOW, I might be stuck for weeks. So…

Car under tarpaulin so that’s okay – no shovelling of snow off the vehicle. But the battery is dead as the proverbial dodo. Trudge up to the neighbour and beg for help. He’s happy, as ever, and cracks open the crocodile clips and the power pack with the longest cable imaginable – about half a mile of it, seemingly. Bonnet up, clips clipped to battery, men retire to shed, I sit in chilly car while juice flows to battery. Now then I try the ignition and slowly, slowly, there are signs of life. After 20 minutes, the ignition roars. I hoot for neighbours and they come back, unclip clips and carry on with their day. I owe them beer and more.

Off to Zarnesti. Gas bottle swapped (69 lei today), Husqvarna chainsaw chain not to be had anywhere, not even for ready money. Off to Lidl to stock up on cat food and me food, for a siege. Snow bucketing down, blotting out all but nearby buildings. Magura hills invisible under snowful low cloud. Shoppers scurrying in and out, wrapped in fleeces, hats, scarves, boots. Intent on doing only the necessary before retreating to warm homes.

Me too. Scurry to car, load up and flee. Not really cold, just -2.5C, so nothing is freezing yet. The car pootles unconcernedly into the national park and up the hairpin road, snow settling fast but not yet icing over. Even the north-facing track, with new snow on the old iced ruts, is no problem for my heroic little car.

Do I drive down to the house with my heavy shopping and the full gas bottle – and risk being snowed in for two weeks? Or drag the gas bottle down, then make two more journeys for the shopping? Lazy. Drive down, unload, and spread the tarpaulin.

Shopping in, then have to go out and get wood from shed to light fire. Feed cats, who missed lunch.

All urgent wintery chores done, it’s 3.30pm. On with my postponed working day….

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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…

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Sun and shadow as the weather changes

Happy May Day!

After a wet, foggy weekend, 1st May is mild, still and dry, the sun trying to break through the hazy cloud and everyone about their Spring business.

How’s your Monday?

Fishy patterns on the hills

Snow melting in bright sun today. Fierce winds blowing from the north, but blue skies offer hope of a returning Spring.

The patterns of the melting snow remind me of shagreen – shark skin to be made into objects d’art. A green leopard shark, perhaps, or a coral reef-dwelling fish. Beautiful!

In limbo, longing for Spring

We’re not there yet… March is a limbo month: the winter snows have gone but the new grass and the colours of Spring are still waiting below ground, waiting waiting for the sun to warm the earth and give the signal to begin the growing season. But soon, soon!

Just another Magura sunset

One of the things I love about being here is the clouds. Are you a cloud-watcher too? The sort of person who looks for shapes in the clouds, luxuriates in the colours and textures, is happy leaning on a fence and watching for ages? What do you see in tonight’s offering?

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Icy white Carpathian January

Forget frost – this is the real Transylvanian, Carpathian, Central European start to the New Year… Hard winter, knee deep powder, frozen pipes, icy fingers, cats by the fire, sun making diamond dust of the snow… Happy New Frozen Year!