Charming short article in The Guardian, by Rena Effendi, about the living tradition of haymaking as part of the still-extant peasant lifestyle of Transylvania. This picture (also by Effendi) was taken in Maramures, where the haystacks are tall and thin.
Here where I live, in southern Transylvania, the haystacks are fat and stable to withstand tougher winds.
Another article, this time in the Financial Times, suggests that Transylvania is the new Tuscany. An Italian living in the Saxon villages is extolling the ancient ways of Saxon Transylvania as being reminiscent of the old Tuscan lifestyle.
I’ve just found this video from the Romanian Cultural Institute’s event at the 2018 London Book Fair. I was very much the easy-reading grit in the academic literary oyster… My bit starts 1 hr 11 mins in.
Dahlia’s Pet Detectives (Dalia si micii detectivi) will be in the spotlight at the end of next week (Thursday 31st May, Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd June) when my new book is launched at Bucuresti’s Bookfest (Romexpo).
If you read Floss the lost puppy, you’ll recognise the village of Fân (Hay) where Dahlia and Chip are neighbours and schoolmates of Thea and Tudor Thimble. A completely new story, but set in the same Transylvanian village, high up in the Carpathian Mountains.
Beautiful TV presenter Ioana Mihalca and her expert crew came to see me in Magura last month, and made a charming 8-minute film from their afternoon’s visit. They also talked to my neighbour Roxana, and my friends from Zarnesti, Dan and Luminita Marin.
The resulting film was broadcast on the show Bonton at the end of November.
And yes, Alex, I’ve already started the next book. It’s set in the same village, but it’s a very different story! Funny, and a bit bonkers, with some proper baddies. I don’t know when it will be published, but keep your fingers crossed!
In my piece in the second issue of OZB (O Zi Buna) magazine, expats (aka migrants) tell me what they love and hate about their chosen home. Food, traffic, music, steps, bureaucracy, architecture, people, people and people… Includes contributions from Shajjad Rizvi (left) and Karam Alsaty.
This is George Cat. He is a ginger guru, and I love to learn from his natural, unaffected wisdom.
He lives with me in a remote mountain village in Transylvania, along with his brother, sister, and mother. As you can see from the photos, George is a live wire, except when he’s dead to the world. He’s sweet-natured (as they all are), ridiculously happy, curious, persistent, optimistic, opportunistic, loving, affectionate, entrepreneurial, funny, and magnificently beautiful.
George teaches me something every day. Here are eleven of his life lessons that we should all remember.
Number 1 – family comes first
George loves his family. With his sister and his brother, he was born to his mama Hobbs here in my study in 2011, and they haven’t been separated since. Family is very important to George, even he does have the occasional spat.
Number 2 – get plenty of exercise
Always make time for physical activity. You can dance by yourself in the snow, you can take a hike in the mountains, you can use a chair for some gym work, or you can race your mum to breakfast…
Number 3 – get plenty of sleep
Slumber in peaceful solitude, or catnap with friends. If you get enough rest you’ll have all the energy you need to life life to the full.
Number 4 – be honest
Never be afraid to say what you really think, even if it’s a controversial opinion.
A year ago today (8th November) I’d asked George what he thought of the new orange incumbent of the White House. Despite sharing hair colour, George told me precisely what he thought of America’s choice.
Number 5 – take no notice of big egos
Don’t be intimidated by flashy loudmouths. You can ignore people who think they’re cock of the walk just because they are snazzy dressers and like the sound of their own voices. More often than not, underneath the fine feathers, they are chicken.
Number 6 – take your work seriously
You must never miss an opportunity to hunt out a tasty deal, and be persistent in persuading people to your way of thinking. Persistence, for an entrepreneur like George, is critical. He doesn’t take offence when his advances are rejected; he just keeps trying. Never say never, says George.
Number 7 – never stop learning
Always take advice from experts. Whether you’re young and on a steep learning curve in life, or whether you’re mature but still eager to advance your development, seek out those who can teach you something worth knowing. Your mum is always a good place to start. Mums know best.
Number 8 – always be kind to children
…especially if they’re lost, lonely and frightened. When hungry youngsters appear at your door and want to share your sofa, your toys and your breakfast, give them a warm welcome, even if it’s difficult. It can hard letting strangers into your life, but offering a friendly paw can bring many rewards.
Number 9 – be curious
Explore new situations, meet new people, investigate potential opportunities. Even if they go wrong, explorations are always worthwhile, even if they’re sometimes scary; at the very least you’ll learn something of value: don’t do that again!
Number 10 – be magnificent
Remember – you are the culmination of evolution. You are the savannah cheetah, the jungle tiger, the mountain lion and the snow leopard. You carry the memories and wisdom of all your kind. Never forget how unique and remarkable you are.
Number 11 – above all, laugh
Be daft. to hell with dignity. Fill your life with happiness and be thoroughly adorable. Life is short so live it with joy.
Which of George’s lessons do you like best? What lessons does your cat or dog teach you? Do tell me in a comment.Send George a message!
Cats = opportunists. We know this. I try to discourage my small clan to desist, but when there’s fresh fish, freshly cooked and sitting on the counter top, all law-abiding morals go out of the feline window. George and Buster are determined to help themselves to the kitten’s supper as it cools…