Sunday, April 11, 2010


The weather here in Romania is not of the very best, but it was still great to get into the hills and check the land that had most recently been bought. I had seen pictures and maps sent over the internet, but there is nothing quite like walking over one's own land, and seeing what the views are like from it.

We have huge amounts to settle in the next week or so, from what to do about the goats, which are beginning to take over everyone's thinking in Nemsa, to registering additional land for subvention payments, appearing before the land court and many more.

But today was Sunday, so it was more important to just get the feel for the area again.

This is the time of year that the snails are collected.

Every wet patch of grass has its own seeker or two, complete with sacks to pop the little darlings into.

I was most impressed to see this, and stopped to watch for a few minutes. I remarked what a good food source they were, after being hung in a sack for a week to drain them of any residual dirt.

"No, Mr. King, " said Alin." We Romanians are definitely not eating such things. We think of them as kaka ( a universal European term for poo)"

Apparently, snails go for about GBP3.5 per Kg. to the collector, and each village has it's own super collector who pays out, then takes a van load to the main town where huge lorries are waiting to take them to other countries. They are never eaten in Romania.

In the season, the ordinary collectors, after some rain, can make up to GBP30 per day - just about a week's wages in the countryside.

As we were going to visit the Mayor, we stopped in Medias flower market to pick up a bunch of roses. There were some lovely yellow ones, with red centres, and I immediately bought a bunch of 7 for GBP2.50. I raised them to my nose and sniffed.

There was a sort of plasticky smell. My thought was it was the paper around them, so I plunged my nose further in.

Still plasticky - indeed, rather moreso.

I turned to Alin.

"These flowers smell funny."

He looked at me and burst into side-slapping gales of laughter.

The red bits in the middle were not natural - they were spray-painted on.

And it had been comprehensively and expertly transferred to my nose and face.


Winchester whisperer said...

How's the mayor?

kinglear said...

ww- Mayor is absolutely fine - there will be a report later in the week...