In honour of Prince, my daughter has opted for a purple cast.
Having watched the plasterers apply this, it was with a mixture of guilt and gloom that I viewed the second x-ray. It’s a stubborn break, and still isn’t lined up. Poor girl! ☹️
By the time we were done, having spent more than a half-day pinging back and forth within the A&E department (aka emergency room), we’d been checked by two doctors, one consultant paediatrician, three radiologists, three nurses, two specialist plaster-casters (though it’s not plaster anymore) and two porters: a service available to any citizen, on demand. This was also the hospital where my purple-legged daughter was born, delivered by another large team of medics.
I won’t gush, but it brought home yet again what a precious thing our health system is.
It might have seemed odd to outsiders that the UK’s health infrastructure had a prominent role in the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, but to those whose lives it has touched it would have appeared perfectly understandable.
I’m relieved to be back in my own bed again, but must be up in a few hours for a prior engagement. It feels like we’ve been away for months. Daughter with kaputt leg is asleep already, having suffered an uncomfortable day. The place is a mess, but tidying can wait until Sunday afternoon. Goodnight!
My boarding passes have arrived for the flight that takes me and my ski-injured daughter (tl:dr she picked an argument with a snow blower and lost, breaking her left leg in the process) back to the U.K.
Instead of getting two tickets I got four, to cover me, my daughter and both her legs.
I’m a little concerned that my paperwork might not be in order, as I don’t have the passports for my daughter’s legs on me. UK border officers might impound her legs until I can come up with the documentation.
I’ve got a bit of a backlog of material to disgorge. I’d never really appreciated the flexibility of iMovie until this week, either. For on-the-go edits where an iPhone or iPad are the only gadgets to hand, it’s very useful.
This is a work in progress so the format and duration are all likely to change as I get my head around the podcast plugins at my disposal. The delivery mechanism is more of a challenge than the cinematography! Cross-posts in particular like to modify their format as they transition to another platform. Bear with me.
Okay, so here’s the deal: mostly.social is kicking back and relaxing (if masochism is your idea of leisure) in the Bulgarian village of Borovets, some 50-odd miles (75km) south of the capital Sofia.
You have my full understanding if the name draws a blank in your lexicon of famous winter resorts. Even though it’s the St Moritz (or Chamonix, or Garmisch) of Bulgarian snow sport, Bulgaria isn’t that big a country, so there not much competition for the top spot. Put another way, Borovets is to St Moritz what Brighton is to Monaco.
I likened it in an earlier post to the Wild West. It’s a hamlet, a bend in the road, which geography has blessed with a rich touristic seam of gold.
Borovets sits on the northern approaches to Bulgaria’s highest mountain, Musala. At a rounding error short of 3000m it casts a long shadow over its northern flank, gifting it a microclimate that leaves it frigid and snowbound in winter. Drive a mile out of town and there’s no more snow, no more gold rush.
The first time I made the journey here in the winter I thought climate change had cancelled the holiday. A chill wind whipped across the bleak forecourt outside Sofia airport, but that was it. This didn’t faze me: Sofia is a pretty big city, and such cities are often smothered in a grimy insulating fug. Aboard the shuttle bus the urban bleakness gave way to rural bleakness but the weather remained the same.
Even after unofficial road signs popped up, pointing the way to this or that hotel or restaurant, it could have been one of those days in London when sporadic 2cm patches of snow bring the transport infrastructure to its knees. We kept on trucking down the forest road at Bulgarian speeds as though it were midsummer.
A glorified shed in alpine style appeared: a restaurant. Then another, then an unbroken line of them. Some horses stood on the right, bored, chewing and ejecting their feed.
We had arrived.
As I said earlier, Borovets is on a bend in the road. In between the haphazard collection of lean-tos, mega sheds and mini villas are several low-rise hotels, punctuated opposite the main cabin lift by a hotel of astonishing architectural brutality.
This is the Hotel Samokov, giving a socialist middle finger to the puny capitalist sheds thrown up around it post-’89. I imagine it hosted commissars and ministers in its glory days, but now looks almost embarrassed still to be standing. I can bet the local government would dearly love to knock it down and start again, but a makeover will be all they can manage: there’s so much reinforced concrete in this building it will surely be a landmark in the desert once climate change puts a stop to the alpine fun.
I’ll end with a nod to the title. A 2013 census put the population of Borovets at 94. Estimates from around the same time put the hotel capacity at 10,000. Since this place is currently heaving I suspect the natives are outnumbered 100 to 1.