Veronica Richards

Postcard From Bulgaria

Veronica Richards The early morning mini-bus from Yambol trundles into the village, and drinking a coffee outside the bar the village mayor from a few years back calls out jovially to those of us waiting to board: “Mask!” Unaffronted (you’ll see why in a moment), the majority of us pull from our pocket a crumpled, grubby-ish scrap of ear-looped linen and don it, at least until we reach our seat. “Losho!” laughs the ex-mayor, rocking merrily back and forth on his seat (maybe it was a rakia he was drinking, not coffee), and nobody disagrees. ‘Losho’ can mean anything from ‘bad’ to ‘useless’ to ‘barmy’ which I would say is the majority view now in Bulgaria with regard to mask-wearing. Masks there are ‘said’ to be mandatory on public transport and in shops, but I discovered by no means everyone wore them except for in some chain stores and in Sofia’s metro, and even there most soon pull them down under their nose (humans feeling better for a free flow of air). This under-nose style one I’m not that averse to for the same reason that men of a certain age start growing a beard: it covers a sagging jaw-line but doesn’t render them faceless. I arrived in Bulgaria mid Sept and have just returned to the U.K. a month...

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October 2022
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