When I think back to the months I spent in Bulgaria, there's a lot of memories to choose from. My boss, the world class prevaricator with the heart of gold, feet of clay and head of wood. Tania the secretary who ran everything, and who helped me escape. The neverending variety of mostly horrible food. The empty luxury flats next to the overcrowded crumbling towerblocks. The absurd bureaucracy and the people's casual contempt for it.
But the memory which comes back most often...is of a little stray dog who wondered into the office one day. A tiny mongrel, small enough to sit in the palm of my hand, affectionate and starving. Radi the odd-job man (who pretended not to know any English) named her Wednesday - after the daughter in the Addams family.
I adopted her, and in the next two weeks - was it really only two weeks? - watched her quadruple in size, while intermittantly forgetting what the newspaper on the floor was for. She slept on the end of my bed, chewed on my shoes and fingers, watched movies with me, and cheered me up enormously in the depressing last days after I decided to leave.
I'd received a camera, and took some minute-long home movies of her. I just found them while sorting through a load of backed up old files. Here's two.
I could have brought her back with me to England. There would have been problems - quarantine, the fact that fully grown she'd come up to my waist, the issue of where on earth I could keep her - but I could have done it. It was just easier to for Tania to find a good home for her - Bulgarians are a dog-loving people.
She'd quickly got used to being locked in the flat while I went out to work - only crying the first two or three times. But the last time I locked the door, at four in the morning, carrying too much luggage for the two hour coach journey to the airport, she cried. I think I did too, just a little bit.