Boomer on Books: The Interview

Today I did a live (yes, that’s LIVE) interview with Vincent Stevenson – a speaker/trainer on overcoming the fear of public speaking. He is also the author of the self-help book, The Fear Doctor.

We talked about reading, writing, and goats among other things. I burbled away for England while pulling an amazing array of weird faces. The vid is worth watching just for that.

Don’t forget to check out other interviews on Vince’s YouTube channel. And if there are any authors out there: he’d love to hear from you. @vincestev @boomersonbooks

Discover Prompts: Tempo

The Rhythm of Life: Part 3

Why did I spend most of my life in such a rush? Maybe because I came within minutes of being born on the front seat of a Ford Cortina. But after that hasty start, I did calm down briefly because I was slow to learn to walk and talk. As a toddler, I crawled around, grunting a lot.

I often imagine my babyhood as a plodding donkey with my school years as a frisking pony. But my adulthood has been dominated by a racehorse whose sole purpose is to whisk me over the finishing line in the fastest time possible.

Moving to Bulgaria has slowed down this beast; rural living has that effect on people. Hard, backbreaking work it may be, but there is no headlong rushing around and no moments of extreme boredom. The tempo of life is measured and balanced. The changing seasons dictate the pace.

My new life makes me wonder why I didn’t take my sweet time saddling up the horse. And why did I let it gallop ahead like a front-runner in the Grand National?

I should have taken more care to canter through the woods and walk in sun-drenched meadows. If I ever go back to the UK, I will ride my horse on a tight rein and only allow it its head when I want to run.

Ah, the wisdom of age and experience!

Two More Items off the Bucket List

For those of a faint disposition, vegetarians, and vegans: this post contains content you may find disturbing.

For everyone else: please put down any food you are eating.

Yesterday we slaughtered the goat and ate his testicles.

Being novice butchers, we gratefully accepted our Bulgarian neighbour’s offer of help. At nine o’clock in the morning, we herded the dogs into the barn and led the goat to his doom.

I won’t go into detail, but the dispatch was quick and (hopefully) painless. Also, the butchering process was not as messy or stomach-churning as I thought it would be. Just a lot of hard, and careful work, which yielded about 30kg of goat meat.

This is nose-to-tail eating of the highest order. Very little of the goat is wasted only the hooves, horns and the contents of the intestines. These have all matter squeezed out and are rinsed clean with cold water for use as sausage casings. When doing this, be sure to stand well back and don’t wear your best shoes.

Then we had lunch.

It is an odd feeling sitting down to eat a meal, knowing the meat was skipping around the garden just three hours ago. I pushed all thoughts of Hannibal Lecter from my mind and chowed down on goat testicles and liver served with beans and washed down with Rakia.

Recipe for Goat Testicles

  • Remove testicles from a dead goat.
  • Wash, cut in half, and soak in water and vinegar for an hour.
  • Place a layer of the abdominal membrane in an oven-proof dish.
  • Arrange slices of liver and testicles in a pleasing pattern.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Cover with more of the membrane and pour in some water and a splash of beer.
  • Bake in the oven until crispy on top.

How do gonads taste? Uninspiring. They have a strange spongy texture and not much flavour, but the liver was delicious.

The lungs, heart, kidneys, and rest of the liver we chopped and froze for making Drob Sarma [дроб сърма] over the winter. This is a dish with rice and onion, topped with beaten eggs and yoghurt, and baked in the oven.

We threw the goat’s head in a pan of water and boiled it until cooked. The resulting meat was scraped from the bone and turned into headcheese.

This left the goat’s stomach, which is for Shkembe Chorba [шкембе чорба] a tripe soup served with mashed garlic in vinegar and chilli flakes. It’s also considered a cure for hangovers.

This may come in handy tomorrow because our wine is ready to be bottled.

Goat Versus Chicken

Lost a ruddy chicken this morning. Searched all over the yard and no sign of the little flocker: No evidence of a brutal fight to the death with a fox, and no buzzards in the vicinity.

We assumed she made a break for freedom. Not so, the husband subsequently found our missing hen in the goat house. Under the goat.

At least the meat’s been tenderised, he said, waving a dead bird in my face.

Still, there’s no loss without some small gain; it’s Chicken Chettinad for supper tonight.

Food of the Gods!

And to round things off, here is a book review for Her Faithful Cowboy (Steeple Ridge Romance #2) by Liz Isaacson

Just Add Water…

Last Wednesday the water pressure began dropping, so we filled up a 10-litre bottle, and the kettle. Being British, we need to drink tea regularly. On Thursday, we woke to find the taps doing nothing but hissing and spitting out air.

Only a minor inconvenience because we have a well, but lugging buckets of water around for the animals and us is a time-consuming and back-breaking business. Especially as the water didn’t come back until Friday evening: The longest we’ve been without it has only been a few hours.

Scary how you rely on indoor plumbing. Get me and my first world problems. But I loaded up the washing machine without thinking, tried to rinse food and wash hands in sinks with no water.

But I am lucky, I don’t have to walk miles to collect water, and whether it comes from the well or a tap, our water is clean and safe to drink.

It’s a sobering thought, but according to Global WASH, about 790 million people (11% of the world’s population) are without access to an improved water supply. And about 1.8 billion people (25% of the world’s population) are without adequate sanitation.

On that serious note, I’ll round off this post with a book review:

Flying by the Seat of My Knickers (The Travel Mishaps of Caity Shaw, #1) by Eliza Watson