IN his first official act as Secretary of State for International Development, Douglas Alexander is to spend the summer with his pen pal in Bulgaria.
Leaving next Monday, Alexander will spend eight weeks with the family of 16 year-old Todor Vonkovich, who lives in the town of Smolyan about 50 miles south of Plovdiv.
Alexander said: "It's such a great thing to do before I go to university in September.
"Todor and I have a lot in common. We're both huge fans of Bono, we both love Time Team and we're both 10th level wizards, although I have considerably more realm points than he does."
He added: "I hope to learn much of Todor's culture. Perhaps I'll start a 'Friends of Bulgaria' society at Edinburgh University. It's important to demonstrate a wide range of interests on one's CV."
Vonkovich is a typical Bulgarian youth. After buying himself out of the army he set about avenging the deaths of his ancestors.
His hobbies include football, chess and running the biggest zinc refinery in central Europe.
Vonkovich said: "I have told Mr Douglas to bring lots of credit cards and enough cash to buy a big van."