Singing from the heart

The Bulgarian singing holiday was a wonderful experience.   Stela, our singing teacher and Mitko, our accordian player,  did an amazing job.  The students sang their hearts out for 3 days and amazed themselves by learning 5 songs. 

Yuliana and the village choir were delighted to host them for a final concert in the village bar.  They cooked up a storm of village food washed down with plenty of rakia, the local drink. It was heart warming to see the women of the choir listen to their own songs sung to them in foreign accents.  They loved it and joined in to support at every opportunity! Watch a clip here. 

Looking forward to our next one in 2018.  Click here for more info.

The perfect Bloody Mary

In early May, an email arrived asking if we had any horseradish.  ‘A few plants’.  ‘Wonderful, book us in.  We’re on a quest to find the ingredients for the perfect Bloody Mary!’.

So it was that in June we had a crazy week with Matt and Ruben tracking down some horseradish in the village. 

Our neighbours, Anna, Simeonka and Colio and our shepherd Yomeer were all stars of the show.  Colio even had a makeshift cocktail bar pop up in his garden.  He took it all in his stride after a few shots of complimentary vodka! 

And then off Matt, Ruben and their crew went to source tomatoes in Italy and spices in Morroco!

Delighted to receive the videos:

Click here for Palamartsa. 

Click here for Italy, Morocco and Palamartsa!

A highlight for us was seeing Anna and Yomeer’s faces watching the final films in our living room on the laptop!

Art on the farm

Our wonderful artistic year deserves a blog all to itself.

It started in April with a great fun day in the garden with our little friends Immogen, Hegarty, Maya and Erin splashing and being creative with paint.  They painted everything from paper to the grass to us!  And continued with splashing paint with Lily.

Then we were delighted to have artist in residence Danny Mooney join us.  Danny spent a week  painting the landscape and local characters.  And he left us with some beautiful pieces now hung in the guesthouse.

Come June, we were joined by Hannah, a young artist from Bristol.  She came and painted us a new mural, her first one ever, which turned out amazingly. She even included Baba Nedelka, whom many of you will know from collecting the goats.

She has now gone on to make a career of it, which is great news.  So if you’re in Bristol and need a mural, you know who to contact!

Then our friend Ashtar, a mud sculptor and artist from Israel, came and painted us a beautiful little surround for a niche in the garden and also gave us an art lesson under the walnut tree!

Finally, we were very happy to welcome Danny back in October to work on his ink collection on Chinese paper.  Very beautiful.

I think art was just in the air after spending January with my beautiful art therapy teacher Meera Hashimoto!

From the kitchen

Wild Thyme Farmstay

Delicious food all season from the garden – from our first fruit of the season (cherries) to pumpkins!  We’ve also included a photo of what we receive from our neighbours every start of November.

In this beautiful tradition, they spend all day lovingly preparing gifts of food to pass to all the neighbours, in memory of their ancestors.  There’s always a little candle included which we burn and remember ours too!


I’m in the garden

So much life and beauty in the garden.


ShepherdingOur friend and great helper, Alper, from Turkey spent a day with our village shepherd.  The old tradition of taking animals to pasture is still alive and well here in Bulgaria.

Wild Thyme Eco RetreatAlper took our goats, Dennie and Monnie, down to meet the herd as usual in the morning and then spent the day wandering the fields with Razim.  It helped that Razim is Turkish Bulgarian so he and Alper could chat in Turkish.

Village flockThey hung about under trees in the shade; met with other shepherds; made a fire to cook lunch; rallied the flock; and kept an eye on the sheep dogs who protect the animals from wild dogs and wolves.


Herbal Healing: Agrimony


To whet our appetites for the Herbal Healing Course in May this year, here’s a little information about one of the herbs we shall meet along the way.  There are still a few places left on the course.  Contact us to book.

This is Agrimony (agrimonia eupatoria, also known as cocklebur, church steeples, tea plant, catch as catch can, furr burr). There are several subspecies Fragrant Agrimony (agrimonia procera) and Bastard Agrimony.

It is a perennial and grows in dry grassy places between June and August. You may know it by the sticky burrs.

Its uses are primarily to stop all sort of bleeding. It also aids the liver and digestive system and can help with problems in the urinary tract and will ease the pain of kidney stones, IBS and chronic systitis.  In children it can help with bed wetting, anxious potty training and incontinence in the elderly.

It helps with stress, tension and pain by restoring balance and releasing constricted energy.

On our herbal healing course, we will learn how to collect agrimony; how best to dry it; and how to make it into various types of medicine, samples of which you can take home with you.  The course will be led by UK herbalist, Frances Wright of Green Lane Herbs, a herbalist with over 20 years experience.