I spend many hours in my Mountain Retreat organic garden, planting vegetables, weeding, hoeing, tending plants, harvesting, and as the garden is big most jobs take a lot of time. It’s lovely being outdoors everyday in the unpolluted fresh air, sun shining brightly in the intense blue sky with majestic scenery of surrounding mountain peeks carpeted in trees, instead of being cooped up in an office staring at a computer screen. People thought I would be bored here but while I work in my wonderful remote location and the initial peace and quiet, I start to hear more sounds, like the constant crickets, the beetle flying past that sounds like a miniature lancaster bomber, one of my bees buzzes by on his nectar gathering errand, chickens clucking and a cockerel cock-a-doodle-doing, a cowbell tickling as a cow passes in the lane below and another cow in the distance moo’s like a dinosaur in Jurassic Park, a donkey ee-ors in a far-off field and sounds like he’s singing. Now and again there’s a shout from a villager across the valley and a holler back, a buzzing chainsaw, a neighbour filling his waterbucket at the communal water fountain, a dog barking at a visitor, who whistles as he approaches, screeching eagles and buzzards overhead and the commotion erupting in the jays nests, cawing from crows and the housemartins chattering and sounding to me like they’re blowing raspberries!
Then, remote as Melanya is, you do here a vehicle approaching, the milk collecting van, the weekly vegetable van who also buys the dried wild mushrooms villagers have picked from the mountainside, the monthly chicken feed delivery, the lorry delivering a stack of hay, the timber truck collecting wood, a family visiting their relatives playing Turkish music on their car stereo, the off-road bikes on their way past, the noise of an aeroplane flying so far away we can’t see it.
Then there are the sounds that are seasonal, like of the cuckoos mating call in June, baby house martins chirping in their nest, a cat on heat calling, the flap of the black stork wings as it gracefully circles over the house, frogs producing the most bizarre sounds in August, roaring stags rutting in September and the distant rumble of thunder.
These noises are all intermittent and the sounds I’ve described above were not all heard in one day. In reality (apart from the crickets) it’s quiet 90%. of the time so life is very peaceful here in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains but the silence is never truly silent if you listen.