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?
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!
Mr Jack Frost and his rime needles
If there’s wind as well as snow, the drifts can climb at least halfway up the kitchen door…
Put the date in your diary! Gaudeamus Book Fair at Romexpo, Bucharest: Saturday 19 November, at 5pm (1700 hrs) is the moment when my new book is launched on the world. Come and join us! We have one or two lovely surprises for the launch itself, and of course I’ll be there all day to sign your copies (one for you, lots more for Christmas presents…). Meet some of the people from the book and sample a taste of Magura’s English corner.
The book is available from the start of Gaudeamus, which runs from 16-20 November, so if you can’t get there on the Saturday, don’t worry – the book will be waiting for you. I’m looking forward to seeing you there.
Our nearest city is Brasov – the most beautiful city in Romania, in my opinion. Medieval bastions, cobbled streets, elegant 18th and 19th century civic buildings and houses, stunning churches, parks and gardens, public squares, and the citadel. All set against the green darkness of Mount Tâmpa and the surrounding forest and hills.
After weeks of searching for firewood, I have enough to see me through till the New Year, at least. All too many people in rural Romania are struggling to find firewood this autumn, and those that find it have to pay twice or three times the normal price. It’s a scandal of old-fashioned proportions, with poor forestry management and pathetic governance of illegal logging.
So I’m extremely grateful, in this chilly start to autumn, that my neighbours have come to my rescue and found me a stock of logs for the winter. Tonight I’ve been cosying up to my soba and basking in the gentle warmth of a wood fire.
We’ve been warned! Yesterday we had our first taste of snow – wet and transient at village level, it left a dusting of powder on the higher forest slopes.
The first dusting of snow yesterday, above the first turning leaves
This morning, there was a proper covering of white ice on the mountain ridge and its rocky sides – hidden by cloud yesterday – but by the afternoon a warm sun had melted most of the snow. Bucegi was better covered, but still, not quite winter. But it’s coming!
Piatra Craiului this afternoon
Bucegi with its first autumn snow. But the village meadows are green enough for Spring.