This Sort of Thing...


A Century Per Day Per Month - October 2023



1 Sunday

Well there’s this website for people like me who like to write things and the idea is that you write exactly one hundred words every single day. It has to be exactly one hundred words, not ninety-nine words or one hundred and one words and you should really write them on the actual day.

If you manage to write something for every single day of the month the people who run the website tell you that you’ve completed a batch and they send you one hundred thousand Bulgarian leva in used notes.

This is my first day. Wish me luck.


2 Monday

My second day on this one hundred words thing and so far there have been no complaints, but that’s probably because nobody has read what I wrote yesterday.

I wonder if anybody has read this. It’s a strange thing to wonder about because at the time at which I was doing the wondering I hadn’t even finished writing it. Maybe fortune tellers were reading it. Maybe in a parallel universe that’s a couple of minutes ahead of the village I live in someone has read it.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to a complaint. Then I’ll know that I’ve been noticed.


3 Tuesday

When I lived in England I often used to go for a curry with my friends on a Tuesday. Being masters of rhyming slang we used to call a curry a Ruby Murray, to show that we had equal levels of respect for the cuisine of the Indian Sub-Continent and the lovely Irish singing lady.

Our antics also fitted in quite well with the Rolling Stones’ song ‘Ruby Tuesday’ and we would often sing it as we ate our standard two poppadums each and the pickle tray first course at the delightful Star of Bengal restaurant, the finest in Harrogate.


4 Wednesday

It’s only my fourth day at the one hundred words thing and already I’m waffling. Can you tell that I forgot to do it and now I’m playing catch up?

I haven’t a clue what I did on Wednesday but it was probably a hot sunny day because where I live in Bulgaria we’ve had hot sunny days every day since Bealtaine.

It’s incredible that I’m still watering the garden at this time of the year. When I lived in England I very rarely watered a garden. Especially during the final two years there. I didn’t have a garden then.


5 Thursday

Today is the birthday of English actress, Kate Winslet and Václav Havel, the first President of the Czech Republic.

So they both fall under the Libra horoscope sign thing which means they are best suited for careers that require them to be active and make changes, and they don't like routine.

Taking the lead female part in the film Titanic is definitely not routine. I wonder why Václav Havel wasn’t in the film. He must hate Leonardo DiCaprio.

I wonder if any of them ever listened to that awful song by Céline Dion without putting their fingers in their ears.


6 Friday

My birthday is exactly one month from today. You’re probably not thinking of buying me a present because you haven’t read this but if you are then here’s my wish list:

  1. That elusive Etch-a-Sketch that I’ve asked for every year since 1964.
  2. The freedom of the city of Polski Trambesh.
  3. An hour trapped in a lift with the Dagenham Girl Pipers.
  4. Knives.
  5. The twelve CD box set entitled ‘Dana, the First Fifty Years’.
  6. An end to bloodshed in the Middle East.
  7. A clavicytherium.

Actually it’s only number 6 that I really yearn for.


7 Saturday

My lovely partner and I are going away on holiday again tomorrow. This year we’ve been to Ireland, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Ireland again but this time we’re only going to a different bit of Bulgaria.

I love different bits of Bulgaria almost as much as I love my lovely partner.

She may be late. Sometimes messy. You can't always understand her. She's beautiful, warm and hospitable. It's precisely because of her contrasts and heavenly beauty that you can't help falling in love with her at first sight.

This could be said about my lovely partner or Bulgaria.


8 Sunday

The scenery between Malki Chiflik and Srebarna wasn’t so special but we went through some nice villages and stopped in Razgrad for salads but the waiter forgot to write down my partner’s salad in his little waitering book so in the end only I had a salad and there was a little semi-salad tension. Luckily, Razgrad is a nice town so we smiled.

Srebarna by the Dunav is a nice village but the fish restaurant was closed and there was a weird dust storm which at first looked like a thunder storm but we didn’t get wet, dusty or fishy.


9 Monday

I love being by the Dunav. It draws you in, but luckily not right in because I’m not a brilliant swimmer. Silistra on the bend where it goes off to abandon Bulgaria and flow only through Romania is lovely.

Lev Tolstoy was stationed at the fortress there during the Russo-Turkish War 1877–1878 so the war bit in War and Peace was probably about where we went for our holidays a century and a half later. I got the urge to read his books, but I’ve said that before.

Speaking of War and Peace, awful things happened in Israel today.


10 Tuesday

Nobody in Pliska seemed to know where the original Pliska Rosette was and the ruins of the ancient city of Pliska were so ruined that they had rebuilt some of them so that there was something worthwhile to see.

We were a bit disappointed so we went to the Stone Forest on the road to Varna, which was fabulously impressive even though it was fifty million years older than Pliska.

In the town of Provadia we saw some very drunk English people. They were easy to spot because they couldn’t stand up and they used the word ‘fuck’ a lot.


11 Wednesday

We’re staying a couple of nights in the village of Madara so it would have been rude today not to have visited the Madara Rider, a knight on horseback killing a lion, carved one hundred metres high up on a cliff. Apparently this was the principal sacred place of the First Bulgarian Empire before Christianity arrived in the 9th century.

Later we climbed to the top of the cliff to see the impressive ruins of a fortress. The climb was quite exhausting so we went to Shumen to admire the rundown Communist era shopping centre and have an ice cream.


12 Thursday

The last day of our mini holiday was celebrated with a delicious breakfast of coffee and banitsa in the OMV petrol station in Shumen. We’re hoping that they’ll issue a map showing where all their petrol stations are so that we can visit them all and underline them with a green biro on the map and when we’ve been to them all they can give us each a tee shirt emblazoned with ‘OMV – We’ve been to the all!’

Then to the Founders of Bulgaria memorial which is very impressive with its sculptures like the figures in the Transformers television series.


13 Friday

Nice to be home. Our house and garden are much nicer than anywhere that we ever go on holiday and our animals are here and our books, music, computers, djezve for making the bestest coffee and not forgetting that no sanitary earthenware in the world beats the comfort of your own toilet.

All that was missing was a bit of energy. I seem to get post-holiday hangovers, even though I don’t drink alcohol.

So I didn’t do much. It’s going to be difficult to write one hundred words about today. Unless of course I repeat some of them them them.


14 Saturday

I weep for Palestine. Their Hamas butcher boys have really pissed off the Israelis who now seek revenge, which they are able to do quite skilfully. Innocents will die. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole world got dragged in to this. Western leaders seem to be siding with Netanyahu who is a psychopath.

The good news is that I think that the war in Ukraine must have finished as nobody in the news talks about it anymore. There was one going on in the Armenia and Azerbaijan area but they appear to have got bored of that one too.


15 Sunday

I should have done some work in the garden. The weather was perfect. Instead I sat around the house all day writing a poem for my writing group website (the other one). The poem is called Jacques in the Box and the writing group people said it was jolly good. Sometimes I surprise myself.

In the films the people who are writers only ever drink coffee and write. I could do that. They never have to work in their garden or take their cat to the vet or go shopping in Kaufland.

James Joyce never had a bag for life.


16 Monday

If our Golden Labrador that we had when I was a kid was still alive it would be its fifty-ninth birthday today. The woman who looks after our house when we go away had her birthday today too. The habits and personalities of the dog and the woman are very similar except I’ve never seen the woman licking her arse on the rug in front of the fire. Also I’ve never known a dog steal scouring pads.

We have two dogs. One is very unhygienic and the other barks outside all night keeping us awake but we love them dearly.


17 Tuesday

Today’s events escape me but I remember that in 1843 I broke my shovel across my knee and I went to work for the company on the Leeds to Selby railway. I was wearing corduroy breeches, digging ditches, pulling switches, dodging pitches as I was working on the railway.

But that’s the imagination. I did live in Leeds a while and I have been to Selby but in 1843 I was minus one hundred and fourteen years old.

Even if I had been born back then it’s unlikely that I’d have been wearing corduroy breeches because they chafe my thighs.


18 Wednesday

Maria is our oldest neighbour but also our newest in that she is seventy-one years old but we’ve only known her for a couple of months. Every morning she catches a bus from near her Communist era apartment block in Veliko Tarnovo to the bus stop in the square in our village and then walks for twenty minutes to her country residence, passing our house on the way. Later in the day she does the same journey in reverse. Her routine for every day of the year. It seems that she can’t not do it. She’s like a migrating wildebeest.


19 Thursday

Yantra Mantra

Both crossed Europe from afar

To avoid the sort of people that we are

And then we met here

In a bar

Not the sort of thing we do

Strange it made our dreams come true

Right upon the doorstep

Of the Tsar


And the Yantra flows along

All day she sings her songs

And she gets all the words



Antique eccentricity

Is what our friends and neighbours see

When they visit us


A house that’s full of junk and cats

Cyrillic welcome on the mat

From a world of madness

We are free


By me.


20 Friday

We took Boris the cat to the vets’ today. Fluid was oozing from a hole in his front paw. The vet said it was an abscess that he had got from fighting with other cats. He told me not to let our cats dig their claws in me because I might get abscesses too.

Where pus had leaked from the puss there was a hole as big as a peanut. The vet squirted saline solution into it and squeezed it. Understandably, Boris screamed.

Poor cat. If I had been Boris the vet would have felt my claws penetrate his skin.


21 Saturday

Our garden is very tidy at the moment. Partly because we have been working hard in it but also because at this time of the year everything is dead.

Death = Tidiness.

I can imagine that Benjamin Netanyahu’s garden is very tidy.

This summer just goes on and on. The sting has gone out of the sun but the weather is still fantastic. Every day I am more thankful that I live in this beautiful country.

Ismael, our neighbour, showed me some old photographs of Malki Chiflik. Sadly, the ways of the west are slowly creeping in. We are deteriorating.


22 Sunday

For my other writing group, I’ve written a poem about how miserable I feel in the wintertime. I describe how, despite the autumnal colours around us I see only black, how I hate Santa Claus with his fucking little elves and turkey dinners and things with glitter on them and trees that have been cut down and subsequently died in the celebration of the time of year. Apparently that is so much better than having a plastic tree.

The poem really is miserable; possibly too much for the folk of the writing group.

But writing it really cheered me up.


23 Monday

A real Christmas tree grows in our garden. We won’t cut it down or stick fairies and balls on it. Around it we have a one metre other plant exclusion zone. The Google man suggested this and our baby has grown a lot this year.

The lady in the shop where I bought it a couple of years ago gave me a not insignificant discount because during the transaction I spoke only in Bulgarian and she was impressed.

So our tree exudes happiness. We’re not going to call it a Christmas tree in case it’s slaughtered with all the others.


24 Tuesday

We dined this evening with two friends at Pizza Uno restaurant in Veliko Tarnovo. Yesterday morning, we had coffee with two other friends at the Madame Roshee café. On Sunday we had lunch at the house of more friends in the village of Ganchovets.

All three meetings were very pleasant. All our friends are very nice and kind people. But none of them make us laugh like we make each other laugh.

The most striking thing that we share is our ability to be insular and unsociable.

Some of our friends have noticed this and become our former friends. Hurroo!


25 Wednesday

Tonight we have rain at long last.

I love my life in Bulgaria but I seem to spend so much of it watering our garden, as the hungry mosquitoes welcome me there.

This is our first for five or six weeks. I want to go outside and see it but it's late and I'm already in bed. Take me dancing naked in the rain, the woman sang, but I don't want to get my slippers muddy.

My baby trees will be rejoicing as my partner and I are. We are hugging each other. Tomorrow we will hug the baby trees.


26 Thursday

I pruned our fig trees.

What a sticky horrible mess! There were decomposing figs everywhere which stuck to my shoes but took my mind off the squadron of wasps that threatened to carry out a seek and destroy mission against me.

The worst bit was the sap, the white fluid that dribbled out of the branches where I cut them and caused itchy rashes where it came in contact with my skin… my tough, weather beaten skin.

Fig farming can be as tough as pig farming you know. The only consolation is that in fig farming no pigs are harmed.


27 Friday

My partner and I seem to have become our vets’ best friends, or certainly valued benefactors.

We have a significant collection of cats and dogs (but mostly cats) that we have rescued from the street. They seem to enjoy taking it in turns to have a ride in the car to the vets’ practice in Veliko Tarnovo.

They remind me of my children when they were small. A big medical crisis in the home often turns out to be a mere scratch when we reach the place of treatment.

But at least our pets and our vets are blissfully happy.


28 Saturday

I shaved my head again today. I shave it every couple of months to disguise the fact that I’m going bald.

But no other bits of me are going bald. In all the places that hair shouldn’t be growing it’s as if some farmer fella has come along with a cart load of horse shit and shovelled it around to make them all super fertile and requiring frequent harvesting.

My hair stands on end whenever I see a horse!

But I don’t know what’s going on up my nose. Surely if the manure was up there I’d have smelt it.


29 Sunday

When they say they’ve changed the clocks, they haven’t really. They mean they have made the decision that the clocks must be changed but it is we who must do the fiddling about with our timepieces.

At this time of year, we are told that we get an ‘extra hour’. I always spend mine adjusting the clocks around my house which seem to suddenly and temporarily double in number.

I’m tempted to change them all to different times, none of which correspond with the time that we are told it must be.

I’m tempted to exchange them all for sundials.


30 Monday

A couple of days from now I’ll be away to Manchester and Stockport to see the lovely family, so I went in town today to buy presents. I got all the traditional Bulgarian stuff like Kazanluk rose water, bagpipes, yoghurt, galoshes, nylon tracksuits with Real Madrid spelt wrong and a few litres of rakia for the journey.

It’ll be grand to see them all but I wish they lived somewhere a bit more pleasing on the eye. Even Polski Trambesh would be an improvement.

Meanwhile, Israel’s genocidal tactics in Gaza intensify. The situation sickens and scares me in equal measure.


31 Tuesday

I visited Alexander the barber. He trimmed the beard. I’m told it was making me look like a Muslim cleric which is something that wouldn’t normally bother me but these days I’m worried about a helicopter gunship wiping out our village in the middle of the night.

I also visited the office where they translated my English Government ‘get out of hospital free’ card into Bulgarian so the cost of having a heart attack will no longer cause me to have a heart attack.

In the evening I dined at Pizza Tempo with my lover and a very aggressive cat.


100 Words - October 2023

Number of comments: 1

23/11/2023 12:37:26 - Madame Roshee

If you could kindly return the cups, saucers and teaspoons within the next twenty-four hours there'll be no questions asked.
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