the skinflint philosopher

Attempting to thrift our way to a better life, with a toddler in tow!


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Solidarity with Baba Marta

That cantankerous Baba Marta (Bulgarian Grandmother March, see post here for an explanation)  has clearly been appeased with all her martenitsa offerings that she mellowed beautifully in conjunction with International Women’s Day (March 8th) and the UK Mothering Sunday on the 11th. I like to think she felt the vibe.

Gone are the snows and the -15 temperatures of last week, as early Spring has suddenly descended on us in all it’s glory.

Diado has begun his garden regime early, and we are already gaining the first of the salad crops.

Digger and Tiddler set out for a jaunt around the village in her Bulgarian version of a palanquin, waving like royalty to little old grannies sat out on wooden benches, and families eating their lunches under the bare stems of their vines. A flock of sheep wander up past the houses until Tiddler shouts a random string of gibberish with the clear intention of a ‘Tally Ho!’ and they high tail it out into the fields beyond.

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Women’s Day is a big thing here in Bulgaria, and is to all intents and purposes a Mother’s Day. People in the street go about their business laden with bouquets, either for the giving, or the getting, depending on the gender.  I’m invited to a presentation at Tiddler’s nursery to receive flower crafts and gifts, and Tiddler even manages to astound us all by getting into an actual dress for the occasion and handing out her yellow paper flowers that we have made in return. The mums and grandmothers all are sporting bright red lipstick and discussing going out for celebratory drinks after work. Clearly, the menfolk of Bulgaria are in charge of childcare tonight.


Digger disappears after breakfast and returns with a wooden flower pot ornament he has made as my token for Mother’s Day. I cynically wonder is this a romantic gesture, or a chance to go and play in the workshop with the power tools, but I love it all the same.
Tiddler’s plucked primroses in a tiny rakia shot glass bring the spring into the apartment with her.
It is the simple things.
I am blessed.

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A rose by any other name, would smell so cheap

Digger, a man who takes after my own skinflinting heart is, to be brutally honest, not very great in the romance stakes. He quite rightly knows if he turned up with the somewhat ‘traditional’ gifts of chocolates, perfume or lingerie, I would quite probably ask him how much it was and whether he still had the receipt. If asked to say something deep and meaningful he always wrangles his way out of it by using the excuse “my English isn’t good enough for that” which is a complete fib and were he Pinocchio then his nose would almost reach to Bulgaria by now on it’s own accord.

What Digger is pretty good at however, is a little bit of thrifty relocation-ing . At this time of year, many of his customers are away for long periods, and he sees the literal and metaphorical fruits of his and their labour fall dead and rotting to the ground. Does a tree falling in the forest make a sound if there is no one to hear it? Does a rose bloom and delight if there is no one there to smell it’s scent? Of course not, which is why it makes perfect sense to relocate those poor unloved blooms with absentees owners to me. No garage forecourt cellophane wrapped inconsequentials for me, oh no. I arrive home today to these.

Photo on 08-07-2017 at 22.00Photo on 08-07-2017 at 22.01 #3

Romance is dead? Long live romance!