Today I turned 51, not a milestone birthday in the U.K. but here they celebrate birthdays ending in a one and not a zero. Having a birthday at this time of year has normally been uneventful it was always difficult to plan anything because friends were busy with work Xmas doos so it’s usually been a very quiet affair. Today was different, a few of my Bulgarian friends had got together to have a party for me at the Anatola pensioners clubs room. They organised the food and supplied beer and rakia along with some soft drinks for anyone driving. Apart from me and Joe and one other English friend the afternoon was spent with 17 Bulgarians including the mayor, I now have friends in high places :-). Not only was is great to have a birthday party but it also makes me feel like I am becoming part of the local community, even more so that most of my friends had just got back from doing a television show in Sofia on Saturday and didn’t get back till 5am on Sunday. I was also touched by all the gifts I received including a decanter filled with homemade rakia and glasses, another bottle of rakia which was drunk at the party, a couple of house plants,( I hope I can keep them alive) a nightie for the cold winter nights, and a box of dates which I will be saving for Xmas.