There are so many things I just love about Georgia, and I have to say that strawberry season is without doubt my all time favourite season here. It is neither too hot, nor too cold, but just right as the story of the ‘Three Bears’ goes. I love it because its the only time of the year where its hot, and then you get cooling thunder storms, with spectacular lightning, hail stones, floods, and the pitter patter of large globs of rain on tin roofs.
Tbilisi changes. Outdoor cafes appear and people re-emerge after their winter hibernation, stopping to chat on the street, and living outdoors, windows and doors open, and welcoming neighbours in. People shout at each other through windows, or from their balconies, and hold enture conversations from one side of the street to the other, not caring who hears. Kids start to play on the street – football, with mums (and their prams) sat on street walls gossiping with other ladies, dads shouting encouragement at the boys as they try and kick the ball at each other, and kids rushing down the cobbles on skateboards or bikes, screaming at the tops of their voices as the vibrations of the stones rattle them and help them make their funny carefree, laughter-full noises. Its as if time just stops. No one cares if the kids are out playing past 7pm, and you’ll even see them sat outside cafes at 1am with friends and family, enjoying a milkshake or whatever. Like everybody is free, and just enjoying the moment whilst it lasts, because soon enough winter will come again, and everyone will be back indoors trying to stay warm.
I love that I live on an Italian ezo, that my neighbours call me from their houses offering me some of their lunch, or bits of salad that they picked up from the market but will be too much for them to eat just themselves. That the neighbours bring back honey and other such items from the village, and the offers of teaching me to cook different Georgian dishes, as well as daily things such as homemade jam, made when things are in season, and used to tide you over during winter, everyone collecting their jam jars together. Neighbours calling to check you are ok or if you need something, and knowing that you dog is safe and happy as she decides that she wants to spend the afternoon with the children, or with the neighbours, sitting on their knee or just enjoying some quietness with me. I love being a part of a community. In Britain, I don’t think I ever met my neighbours in any of the places I ever lived, even when I bought my house on a street of terraces. Yet here I know the goings on and hear and see life unfold every moment of every day.
I’ve been watching a lot of horror films this week, not so much by choice, but because I borrowed a friend’s hard drive and there were lots of movies on there thatI’d never heard of before. So I’ve been randomly going through them and watching them as a bit of down time. I need down time, as I don’t have a TV, and although I love to read before bed (I only have two books left to read, so have to try and make them last as I don’t have a kindle of source of new reading material), its nice just to sit and stare and switch my brain off from fundraising and project for a while. That and I’ve always loved movies, and I find they sometimes help me to come up with ideas for project whilst I’m purposefully not doing work stuff, just as decorating and gardening also help to give me some creative and relaxing time.
This week has been quite funny though, mostly because I was in the middle of watching a horror film with Rennee Zelweger (I had no idea she was such a good actress, and I’ve only seen her in comedy before and Miss Potter!) when my dog, as usual decided that she desperately needed to go out for a pee. I don’t know why, but the dog has a tendency to only want to go out when she wants to, and when you decide to take her out, faffs around and decides she doesn’t need to go, then 10minutes later, she’s desperate!
Anyway, I was watching this film called ‘Case 29’ about a Social Worker (Rennee Zelweger) who picks up her 29th case, visits the family at their home and the daughter is taken into care. The child convinces the social worker to adopt her, and it turns out that basically the child is a demon. Well, this very sweet looking child demon is the same age as my little neighbour, and I know that because my cute little neighbour had a birthday this week and was all sparkly in her dress and excited to go to McDonalds. Her English is coming on very well and she loves to say hello and talk to me in what ever she has learnt that day at school, she is also very smart and well behaved. So, it must have been around midnight or so, my dog decided she needed a wee, and out we went into the dark, trying not to fall over the stray cat that has taken to living on the balcony, negotiating squeeky metal gates, which always seem to sound much louder at night, down the steps which were wet from the rain (first shower in ages, and very novel), out into the street trying not to walk straight out onto any passers by or cars, whilst dodging cobble stones, and parked cars, and stray dogs, faffing around for ages whilst the dog finds the perfect spot for her wee. Back through the big gate, trying not to get tangled up on the dog’s lead as she rushes off ahead, trying to fight the gate spring as it tries to slam shut, avoiding easy to trip over drain cover and uneven ground, all in the dark, whilst still very psyched up from the crux of the film, just as the little girl appears and says ‘hello’ from above my head as she pears out of the window. Talk about jumping out of my skin!!!!
I also really need to start work on making the curtains for the window near the bathroom, as the stray cat has a tendency to jump onto the outside windowsill, with her white cross on her face and nose, just as I’m half asleep and can’t be bothered to turn lights on as I nip off for a pee, having drunk too much tea. Nothing like a thud at the window (very small ledge), two green eyes and meiouw to put the creepers on you! Especially in an old and dark house! Still, its all fun and games and certainly makes for a fun night, even though I am going to go quite grey in a matter of hours! Ironically, I’m not afraid of things like psychopaths or murderers or whatever, but its aliens and poltergeists that freak me out! And I’d say this Case 29 is probably the more modern equivalent of Poltergeist or Child’s Play or one of those films. Its nice to be scared from time to time, but not when you have to go out at 2am or whatever and its dark!
Used to be the same at the family home in Latvia too. We live in the middle of nowhere, right on the beach, and this means that you can see the stars really clearly at night, and its pitch black. We have an indoor toilet now, but there was a time, when you would have to walk outside to the outdoor hole in the ground, set away from the house. A little wooden cabin, knee deep in snow, sub zero, dark, no one for miles, sounds of the sea, and absolute silence, and just as you would reach the toilet (which also had no light, lots of spiders, and a toilet roll holder that always seemed to be covered in cobwebs, and perhaps a couple of bats or butterflies living in their too), the flippin dog (a big black thing – neighbour’s dog) would appear from nowhere and start licking you to death as you tried to recover your heart rate and not get freaked out about aliens or whatever. I don’t know why, but I always had this feeling that if those bug eyed aliens ever landed on Earth, that would be the ideal place, and they could easily abduct you onto their space ship with no-one hearing or noticing a thing!!
Aliens are the only think I am most afraid of in life, mainly because I once had a very surreal dream about them, and it left me freaking out about them), rather like one of those dreams where you have an argument with someone, and it upsets you so much, that when you see that person the next day you can’t help but feel that they slighted you or that they should apologise to you for being nasty in the dream, even though you know it was just a dream, because emotionally it was real. So you won’t catch me watching any alien films, apart from ET or the actual films called ‘Aliens’ as I’m only afraid of a particular kind of alien, and for some reason its also put me off cave diving, because I think underwater caves would be a perfect place for them to hide, and I don’t like it when things jump out when I’m not expecting them to do so. Just as I hate finding dead spiders, which is something that often happens in England, but thankfully not in Georgia as spiders don’t need to come into the houses to shelter from the rain, and they don’t crawl into the book shelf and die stuck to your lovely books, or die at the botom of cardboard boxes, or hang over your head or behind tins in the shed. I love live spiders, I find them fascinating, but dead ones….give me the goosebumps! In fact I can cope with people losing limbs no problem at all, doesn’t freak me out, but insects without legs, just wrong! Lizards that lose tails fine, and in the Caribbean I’d often find little dried out lizards and geckos everywhere, usually under the rim of the toilet seat, where they had presumably hidden and then my big fat arse had sat on the seat and squashed them, only to be discovered all shrivelled up and flat the next time I cleaned the toilet! Or they would end up squished behind big text books, or on the skirting boards or whatever. That never freaked me out, thank goodness.
But the thing I love the most about this time of the year, is the strawberries. They start at 10gel, then the next week they are 4gel per kilo, and you can gorge on as many of them as you want, because they are so cheap and delicious, and you can justify it because they are good for you, and they won’t be here before long as soon it will be too hot for them. Its great because you know they are Georgian, and the ones that started appearing at the bazaar today were all from Georgia’s famous wine growing region of Khakheti, so soon they will be in abundance, along with other fruits, but the only fruit I’m interested in the whole year is strawberries! I just hope I can find enough space to freeze them, and also to make jam from them with my neighbour. BUt I’m super happy today, because my lovely neighbour brought me some as they were cheaper at the local grocers for the first time, and weren’t the ones from Turkey. So now, its favourite time of year, and I think to mark the occasion, I’m going to try and set up an evening of Georgian sparkling wine, English shortbread, and strawberries, and I might even attempt to make some scones to go with the strawberries. This week I made a few lemon biscuits and I didn’t burn them all so that was a bonus!
I’m loving the chance to decorate, and also t tidy up the porch, and I’ve now planted out all of my seedlings, though its been really dry, and I seem to either flood them or let them dry out so far, as the temperature is quite changeable right now. I hope some of my plants survive anyway, as I really want to be as self sufficient as I can. I also went to the bazaar with my neighbour today, and as always she found all the bargains and helped to get some great deals of seeds and soil, so I’ve now planted basil, mint, thyme, strawberries, and some flowers, though I know they will only last for the summer (if I can get them that far!). Is always great to go shopping with my neighbour as she knows where to find absolutely everything, and I was staggered and gobsmacked as we walked through all the stalls selling jeans, or shoes, or cake decorations, or cakes to decorate, or whatever, and a lot of the things that I thought you couldn’t get in Georgia, it turns out that you can, just that you need to go to the right area of town to get them. So now I know! And its like a whole new world of possibilities has just opened up! I love this time of year.