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Elsa Peters living a new life in Bulgaria    General Boards    My Diary by Elsa Peters  ›  DECEMBER 2010
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Elsa Peters
December 1, 2010, 4:36am Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 1st December

Well white rabbits is the cry that usually goes up on the first of the month and I bet there are a few of those in the UK at the present time freezing their little socks off.  Now to carry a rabbits foot used to be considered lucky but lets hope that they are buried deep in their burrows and that their feet and the rest of them survive unless you are partial to rabbit pie.

Five forty five and I had this urge to get up, attend to my fire which was hanging in there, get a cup of coffee and watch the crescent moon.  The lights are twinkling on the hillside and the only light pollution on this side of the valley is one table lamp on my desk.

I spent my first night in my fleece duvet cover and how warm is that then.  Maybe I've started a trend!!  Now there's a thing but I think mine must be the first zebra print one.  The lady in the shop must have thought that all her Christmas' or Byrans had come together when I asked for five.....no one buys five.  I must show here the picture and I bet there are some for sale by the end of the week....now I want a smaller one to make pillow cases but I've got to see what will go.  I did suggest to Bekir that he didn't put his fancy pidgeons on the bed....he would never find them again...(see page 5 previous month to get the picture..)

Onwards and upwards....my job for today should I choose to accept it is to get out the bezir (wood preservative) and a brush and do the job that Sally is expert at but with no Sally, yours truely has to learn..
Catch you later...
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Elsa Peters
December 1, 2010, 7:02pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday continued

So yes I chose to accept may challenge....Bekir decided that the other builder was dispensible and so we dispensed of his services...he did talk rather a lot so there is a saving.  Yes my challenge 2 x 10x4m lengths and I wood preserved the lot and paid myself for the priviledge of working.  There is photographic proof at the end.

So what else did we do.....I had a good bonfire, we went firstly to Dzebel to buy some drills for making sure the polystyrene didn't leave the walls and end up in Greece.  Great idea, let's come back with two....stone is strong...let's break two and then we can go back to Dzebel and get some more which is exactly what I did.

Spoke to Princess tonight...she got sent home from school and not for being a naughty girl....snow stopped play but junior frog had to go the whole day but let's see what tomorrow brings...as I said in UK....everything stops.

Sally is still not well so tomorrow I have yet another workman to fill his shoes...unlike yesterday when there was someone filling his trousers because he had no work clothes of his own.  I must wash Sally's so that they are clean, aired and pressed for his return

Saw D of S tonight and he has given me various seeds that should be beautiful should they germinate....I'll keep you posted on that one.  He's about to concrete one of his rooms before Annie comes out....I suggested two but he thinks this is too much and she wouldn't cope....I reckon she might try.

Now pickies of the day.  The bed is because Princess dared me to so as you can guess....I'm normally up for a dare.....the rest are how the day started and my task that I did accept....LN....see's you tomorrow.....



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Elsa Peters
December 2, 2010, 11:46am Report to Moderator

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Thursday 2nd December

So today I cancelled my lesson.  The task that I chose to accept yesterday was on offer again today so I've come to the end of the bezir (wood preservative) so lack of supplies has stopped play.  Now this wood is now being put to good use.  Bekir has started to fill in under the eaves and it looks cracking.  His brother in law is helping out today since Sally is beyond working but silly man won't go to the doctors despite the fact that Bekir and myself have worked out that all he needs are antibiotics, a few days rest and then he should be fine again.  If he'd have done it on Monday he could have been back by now..... ....no consideration some people

Oops have to go and make coffee for the lads....be back soon with some pickies of the under eaves woodwork.
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Elsa Peters
December 2, 2010, 4:41pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday continued

So they drank their coffee and then went back to the job in hand which was sawing up all those long tongue and grooved planks that I insect proofed yesterday and then nailing them to the underside of the eaves.  The photos were taken when it was getting time to go home (battery on the camera like the proverbial dodo earlier) so hence a little dark....sorry...will do better next time.  I then noticed that the house had developed a 'rash' of thin rendering and this is to cover up the plastic rawl plugs to stop the polystyrene sheets from heading to Greece or wherever the wind happens to be blowing.  As I've said before....Bekir is enjoying this project.  He is using his professionalism to the full.....aghhh....but it looks better in thin strips than in lengthway planks....OK...Kak ku ishkus...or words to that effect....as you wish ...your choice.  I'm assured that the scaffolding will be down by the end of the week....but they didn't say which week

The wnd has got up tonight and goodness knows where my plastic buckets will be in the morning.....so to stop the escape I should go out and put a log in each one of them....yep...it's a plan...

Now to load some pickies from today.....and then supper to sort.  I have the remains of the slow cooker meal from last night but this time with pasta.....rice is such a b*****d to cook here.  For one thing there are about twenty different sorts in the supermarket from everywhere and it all looks the same to me.....LN....oh I have heard that Billa has opened in Kardjali....just like going shopping in UK....now there's a thing.....I'll send in the report when I manage to get to Kardjali...LN



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Elsa Peters
December 3, 2010, 11:40am Report to Moderator

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Friday 3rd December

So there I was sitting in the car waiting for Bekir to emerge from his morning bolt hole.  His brother in law obviously doesn't enter such places so he was sitting in the car with me and a local lady approached the car.  I opened the door since the engine was turned off and she smiled at me and I did all of the Bulgarian words I know and then she came out with 'Sally gena' and then I realised who she was.....Sally's wife.  I ascertained that she was waiting for Sally to come out of the bar and they were on their way to Kardjali to go to the hospital.  Eventually the two men emerged, I told Sally that he was a bad man and that we could have fixed his knee with a couple of nails and then gave them a lift into Dzebel since they had a job lot appointment at the hospital.  Now his wife has been ill for a while but not allowed to get sorted until the tobacco was finally put to bed for the year, so now let's get on with getting healthy for next year.

The men are putting the first coat of 'stuff' on the house and a decision had to be made as to the final colour of the outside of the house.  Most have white but it's not for me so we've gone for two of white and one of brownish which takes it back to the colour it originally was....much nicer.

Now I caught my neighbour chasing the cows from her field so I just asked to pose for the camera...which she gladly did.  I did suggest that if she had a gate on the field that they couldn't get in so I have volunteered Bekir for five minutes work later....

A few to be going on with.....



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Elsa Peters
December 4, 2010, 6:27pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 4th December

Men decided to take a day off since the weather was forecast for rain and by goodness didn't it.  Not too bad this afternon, rain eased but this evening it has been the mother of all thunderstorms.  So much so that the computer has stayed off until it eased but now it has started again so it's going to be short and sweet.

Had a lovely day in Kardjali buying everything that wasn't on my list...hey somedays, that's how it goes.  The fire was still in when I got back.  Not necessary though since it is ticking by at about 16 degrees but it's nice to see.  Anyway short and sweet tonight....thunder has restarted with a vengeance....I'm battening down the hatches...LN

I'll update tomorrow,....
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Elsa Peters
December 5, 2010, 2:04pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 5th December

This morning's sky after the storm looked equally as threatening but it's turned out OK today but the wind has a slight chill to it unlike England where it seems there is more than a chill and I'm supposed to be in the 'winter' zone.

I've decided that Sunday is the day for visiting.  I think I've set a bit of a challenge.  I bought with hard cash a pair of little slippers that all Bulgarians wear all the time in shoes, in the house, in bed and I think one or two of my neighbours thought that I shouldn't have paid.  So my other little neighbour that was very generous with the meat brought me a pair round as a present and I'm not sure if it was because Bekir make her a gate to stop the cows getting into her field or not but a nice gesture.  So the one that I had bought them from came round with another pair this morning as a present so this is really upping the anti and now I have to think of something original as return presents...think it might have to be pairs of my fluffy slippers from England on my next visit.

Two more visitors arrived about half an hour ago and I knew not from where.  I didn't even recognise them from anywhere in the village but as the stilted conversation (Bulgarian / Turkish) moved along I worked out that one was the mother of my Bulgarian teacher.  They couldn't get over how warm the house was from one woodburner.  In most houses they usually have a couple, warm one room and when the door opens it disappears.  The had the full conducted tour, thought that it was wonderful and had to touch the duvet cover.....I don't think they have zebra print on their beds.  I think I also have ordered another pot of yoghurt from 'mother' and their hearts are so kind.  I'm a bit of a novelty in the village but harmless enough.

So my list yesterday didn't contain knitting wool but I am halfway up one sleeve of a chunky knit sweater.  Lovely airforce blue and I paid about ten leva (just under a fiver) for a kilogram.  Cheap egh...and pure wool...no acrylics were killed in the process.

And now for a few of the morning sky.....and the sheep.  I'm sure one might have my name on it for the freezer.



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Elsa Peters
December 6, 2010, 9:16am Report to Moderator

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Monday 6th December

Sally is back....with a bandage covering his knee that he says keeps it warm.  Today I have three....brother in law is still with us and my downpipes from the guttering seem to be going up.  The rain that came down on Saturday seemed to have spurred them into action in getting them up.  

I had to thaw the car out this morning.  My outside thermometer said -3 and I definately need to make a  polytunnel for my broad beans.  I'm assured that they are OK in the cold, just need a litle bit of protection. I also noticed that the freesia corms that I though I'd lost have appeared in the garden.  So now I have two in and two out.  I also have my geraniums in containers but I forgot to bring them in from the balcony so I really ought to go and check.....now I'm on a mission   
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Elsa Peters
December 7, 2010, 7:09am Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 7th December

So my greeting was this morning is that there is going to be snow on Friday and Saturday....I think they were just prewarning me  and have advised me that the stenapore or polystyrene to you and me will be attached to the long wall of the house by then...joy oh joy.

True to form the scaffolding was down last night and today it goes up again so that they can work on the long wall and I shall definately need some more drill bits....they seem to like them.  I've given Sally the task of putting up a sort of shelter to stop the rain falling on the back door as a temporary measure and told him to use the biggest nails possible.  They did suggest to polythene me all in but I don't like the feel of that.  If it get so bad I can get up onto the balcony with some big chunks of stone and drop polythene down myself with more stones to hold it in place....quick solution to everything in my book.  We'll see what the weather brings...

Now for the scaffold demolish.....heavy stuff to move and I'm pleased that the brother in law is still here....Sally's knee is still playing up.



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Elsa Peters
December 8, 2010, 6:25pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 8th December

And again it was a beautiful sunrise.  I sort of have to pinch myself and then I check the roof of the other house to see if it is white over with frost as it was this morning.  Just on freezing at 7.00 this morning but no wind, just beautifully still and calm.  

So today has been a day of bistsas....bits of this and that.  I got to sawing more of the old roof timbers, tidying up the wood pile and bringing more of the purchased wood under the balcony and my new shelter.  I forgot to take a picture of it....and so I will tomorrow.  

So what has happened to the house?  My old water inlet pipe cover has gone and to be replaced by new.  It was always high on the ground so now it will be the same height as the rest of the new north facing wall.  That was Sally's job today while the other two put the polystyrene cover on the long wall....the house is much warmer now that it has its jacket.  

My little lady brought round a pot of yoghurt today and when I say pot....I actually mean 'bucket' load of the stuff.  Home made so I set into it tonight but didn't do it justice but I'm reliably informed by the font of all knowledge (Bekir) that it will keep for two weeks (no problem) in the fridge.  I've also had a report of a phone call from Star Mush saying that he is fine in Turkey and apparently he was asking all about us .  Bless....



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Elsa Peters
December 9, 2010, 6:01pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday 9th December

Beautiful start to the day...the sky was just like yesterday...vivid red after black-grey start.  Man arrived, nothing much to report until Bekir suggested that it would be wise to remove the 20 odd meters of old metal piping of cold water to the house and replace it with plastic.  It all started when Sally was ...boob, booming yesterday and I think he disturbed a connection which was construed as a weak pipe.  So they were digging and I was watching and the next thing the electricity wagon pulls up and says that ....job's worth...I haven't paid my electricity so he has to cut me off but if I pay with the next couple of hours he can reconnect me that day.  Now I have a petckca that relies on a pump....so now electricity...no pumn...boom....no central heating....so I go into emergency shutdown procedures with a bucket and a shovel and remove the said ignited materials from the body of the burner.  Tomorrow's promise...get the UPS sorted.

I have a standing order with my bank to pay the 'tok' (electricity) and I'm wondering what's it all about Alfie????  So I try to phone my bank...no response ....so off I go to the bank in Kardjali to sort it out.  Now it appears that I have two accounts and the one that I though had got 1000 leva in it had zilch and they couldn't touch the other since it wasn't due for payment until March.  My only question to the bank was why did we set up standing orders on a bank account that had nothing in it.  Now they were very apologetic....obviously a misunderstanding but in the meantime I have no electricity to the house, I have also to pay a fine of 20 leva since I didn't pay it on time....no ifs...no buts....jobsworth....

So I went to the cash machine, drew out some money to stick in the account and from out of nowhere it appears that I now have a payment due of 250 leva that is old interest....question was....why didn't you find this sooner and they I wouldn't have had to go to the cashpoint.....grrrr....banks....I think I'm going to put it under my mattress...bugger them.

And now we go back to the builder's yard that I call home and we have three men with two shovels and a pick sorting it all out and I come back from Dzebel with everything on the list....jobsaguddun....I now have new plastic pipe to my house and first job was to light that petchka.

So as we were packing up I got the shout that I had to go outside and there was this little lamb only born half an hour ago and what a cutie....unfortunately the mother thought that I was after the little one for the freezer and started to chase me back home....I said I'd leave it for later....and thought it would be better if it learned to use all four legs first....he's the pickies....LN....



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December 10, 2010, 5:32am Report to Moderator
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no electricity due to the bank, I hope you told them

'tok off!'
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Elsa Peters
December 10, 2010, 8:59pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 10th December

Well the bank grovelled, they didn't pay the fine but I told them a little more than 'TOK OFF' through my Bulgarian teacher and I think that they understood....

Today has been a day where I have been nothing more than a materials delivery service and coffee provider since the temperature has dropped considerably and I just had to keep the men going.  They even took their coffee inside by my woodburner and I was close to filling up the hot water bottle and stuffing it inside Sally's jacket but I think the other two would have thought that favouritism...

Now I had this thought that if they were concreting around the house that they ought to think about water to the other house from the meter point which they thought was a good idea so I was off for some more water pipes and they were left to dig the channel.  I didn't take photographs....I really don't think it would have been appreciated

The Beast went in and got the antifreeze checked and topped up, tyre pressures, oil and gearbox fluid checked and screen washers topped up with the antifreeze stuff.  I'm told it can now withstand -35 degrees but I think it would be on its own....I don't think I could.  

When I got back Sally indicated that a 'little red wine' would keep out the cold so I went out there with my measuring jug containing about half a pint and a glass and poured him one. As the other two looked up I said, 'same for you two' and there were nods of the heads, well Bulgarian nods of the heads which is the opposite way to the rest of the world.  Side to side means 'Yes'  so I went in and got some more glasses and topped up the measuring jug.  Next they settled for a coffee but when they came in to get changed, the jug came out again and they clinked glasses after a hard days work.  The pictures will be posted tomorrow.  It was too dark by the time they had finished.

Popped in to see D of S on the way home and received an Advent calendar sent over by Annie complete so I am told with cooking chocolate.  I look forward to the ceremonial opening and I think I have a few days to catch up on or perhaps I'll save it for one blast.  

Gale force winds tonight....the plan is that if there is snow tomorrow morning that the men won't work....if there isn't they will....let's see what the night brings....LN...of to my virtuous couch....
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Elsa Peters
December 11, 2010, 8:22pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 11th December

So no snow overnight so off I went but the temperature was down to -3 this morning.  Now I don't think anyone should work in -3 unless you are a penguin incubating an egg but nevertheless they were ready with their little plastic shoes blacked.

So it was coffees all round, I kitted two of them out with fleece hats and Sally out with one of my body warmers and provided toast.  Apparently it went down to about -9 overnight and I was lucky to escape with only the outside water tap freezing.  The only reason they were here this morning was to continue the work that light stopped play on last night.  They had to insulate the water to the house 'in pipes' and I suggested that as soon as they had finished that they were homeward bound and this as achieved at approximately 11.00 this morning.

I cleaned all through this afternoon getting rid of the dust and dirt from living on a building site.  If they don't come back this side of the holiday then I am ready......if the weather improves and they return then....same again next week.  Just one snow flurry today and nothing really to write home about.

I have a roaring fire going and it is again in the minus on the thermometer....can't see exactly what and it's too cold to go out and check but it hasn't risen above minus three all day today and the wind, apparently from Siberia, has made it feel much colder......so tomorrow.....since I have moved all of the excess building materials upstairs, I am erecting my tree and decorating it and that should take all of ten minutes....I'll keep you updated.

LN.....it's time to throw another log on the fire....
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Elsa Peters
December 12, 2010, 6:25am Report to Moderator

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Sunday 12th December

Beautiful morning, really cold night and a few pickies from yesterday and this morning....here you go



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Elsa Peters
December 13, 2010, 6:44am Report to Moderator

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Monday 13th December

So yesterday I cleaned all of the downstairs windows removing the residue of cement and concrete with hot water until my fingers and the water were too cold to do any more..........finishing them off with my new silicon window thingie which I can vouch works a treat.  I just have to improve my technique and what happens when you've cleaned them .....it rains but not here....

This time last year we were packing up the house for my return to England for the festivities and it started to snow.  What's it doing now.....snowing.  I received my weather report from D of S showing the BBC latest for Kardjali and they got it right....heavy snow for today and....no the men are not working.  It's nice snow....no wind with it so it is just falling prettily but I might not say that this afternoon when all exits are blocked.  I've brought in enough wood to last for the next couple of days and after that it's a hike to the woodshed....OK it's twenty meters away so only a little hike but I might have to quote 'this might take some time'....as did Shackelton's hero.  My tree looks pretty and will soon have a white hat on....I found out that it was Star Mush who chopped off the lower branches when he was storing animal hay on it....bless.

Just a few.... and a few more later I'm sure and not a sheep in sight....



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Elsa Peters
December 13, 2010, 4:28pm Report to Moderator

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Monday continued

Well it snowed for a few hours and at four this afternoon this was the result.  Unfortunately it's very grey and not inspiring....I love it when the snow has dropped and the sun comes out and it's cold...very beautiful.....so I'll just put up with it until tomorrow.  The sky's still full of it and it's supposed to be light snow overnight according to the BBC weather....so we'll wait and see.

So what did I do today? I kept the woodburner going and listended to the instructions....little and often and it works until you go to sleep reading the rise and the eventual fall of Hitler....one of D or S's book that is hard going but interesting.   All I know of him (Hitler not D of S) is the war years not the struggle to get where he did....as I said hard going but interesting....apart from the fact that I know the ending.  Unfortunate thing is that woodburners don't know that you're asleep and load themselves but it was still warm so no real damage done.

Tonight I am about to have local sausage in chilli sauce with potatoes from my slow cooker.  As I've said before...it goes in when I'm interested and comes out when I'm not....LN....

Afternoon pickies, here you go....



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December 13, 2010, 10:46pm Report to Moderator
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now thats snow but where the reindeer with the big red man on his sleigh
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Elsa Peters
December 14, 2010, 8:01am Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 14th December

In response to Martin, probably checking out my post code for the 24/25 of this month and as for the 'rain dear' probably destined for UK anytime soon.  

Well it's trying hard to snow again but nothing like yesterday.  There was a glimmer of pink around dawn but that has now disappeared but not so grey as yesterday and only on freezing.  I've just dug out the top of my other tree that should now be decorated and adorning the lounge but it got put into a bucket of water and that created a lovely 'ice' stand for it which I've just removed and now it's resting under Sally's latest creation that was designed to keep the snow off the entrance door and my wood pile......and it worked.  House temperature was about 15 this morning when I came down but there were little bits of red in the woodburner that I coaxed into a roaring fire in quicksticks with two or three....quick sticks. and the pump kicked in about ten minutes later.  Little and often is the recipe for success and so shall it be.

Now must get on with my homework....I'm guessing that Gouljan will be taking the already snowploughed highway so that the children could get to school and the mobile shop could get in....after all this is BG....not UK...now to go and add a little more to my woodburner....I'll post a few pickies later of the tree, the wooden structure and whatever else takes my fancy....
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December 14, 2010, 3:26pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday continued

Well Gouljan made it and I had to have my lesson....got a bit frustrated since I only want to SPEAK it not read it and write it....but I suppose it does help with sentence construct....though I think I might sentence her to a few years solitary if it continues like this

It's a beautiful night....there is snow on the peaks but not saturated and the temperature has gone up somewhat but according to the BBC....-9 tonight so it might be the calm before the storm  Supper tonight done and dusted.....I had some minced something in the freezer and this got turned into home made hamburgers but I doubt if it was ham knowing the religion with chippies and a fried egg....now that has to be good and of course it had to be washed down with a glass of the red stuff....bliss...

Now for the pickies of Sally's construct....my glass vase for the tree and the view from my lounge complet with bars....one day they'll take the supports down for my bedroom balcony.



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December 14, 2010, 10:15pm Report to Moderator
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I see the kettle has come back into use
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Elsa Peters
December 15, 2010, 6:21am Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 15th December

Well was it cold overnight????  Was it heck as like.  Bed was toasty with my zebra stuff but I was up throwing a log on the 'still going' fire at 5.30 this morning.  I've just got into the pattern of going to bed at 10.00 so obviously wake up early and wish I could sleep in until 7.00ish....now that would be nice.

Today I am off shopping to Kardjali to get seasonal goodies and taking Gouljan with me.  I had go give her a little lesson on being able to say 'NO' and 'OK' and got her to repeat these words to me.  Some people put you over emotional barrels sometimes and you just have to stand your ground.  Not only did this person want help....she wanted her to do it for her.....not on and this 'but you are my friend'.....arggggg.

The tree has dried out and will be 'done' later today when I get back.....now to find a suitable container and this time without ice at the bottom or water that would soon turn into.  I'm looking for a small child to shin up the biggies with light bulbs clutched to his / chest but to date....no takers....but there again, it's pretty tall.

Update you later with the purchases.....

So now I'm unders strict instructions that the tree can't be decorated until Gouljan is here since she supplied it and that's happening tomorrow morning as part of my lesson.  I managed to get lights, a Santa and mini wreath for my front door, tinsel for the tree from the Leva shop and who was like a little kid in Santa's grotto?  We went backwards and forwards to find gifts to put in the gift bags that I bought and Gouljan said that it was my own fault because the bags were too big.  I've got 'useful' items that the ladies would like to buy but are considered luxuries and I was guided by my mentor.  I even was introduced to the second hand cloths shop and spent three pounds on a super long multicoloured pashmina scarf and a red fleece overjersey that I mush get Bekir into with a red hat on sitting under my tree.  Well it was his idea but now I've got the outfit.  Just have to get some cotton wool to make something that looks like a beard.  Ho..ho...eat your heart out Santa.

Well we managed to get onto the new Lidl's carpark, did two trips round the store, queues were really very long so came out with nothing.  Good to see that they have an element of non-foods, like glue sticks for the hot glue gun that I brough out from England and one or two other Parkside goodies.....

It got much colder while we were shopping and by five tonight it was about -3 and the moon and stars are out so I have the feeling that it is going to get much colder.  Just have to keep on stoking and tomorrow I have to go into the loft and lay the insulation since Bekir and Sall ran out of time before the snow set in.....just can't get the staff these days....

LN...Brandy, hot water and a little sugar looks to be tonight's beverage and then in for another instalment of Hitler.  Let's hope I manage to sleep in a little later tomorrow.....
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Thursday 16th December

BBC weather for Kardjali Bulgaria was correctly predicted.  Heavy snow started about eight this morning and the temperature was -5 overnight....why don't they get it right in the UK???

Wood in, pump going, destined to knitting and finishing Hitler off during the day.  The tree is in but I'm thinking the Gouljan is not going to make it up the hill and she would be silly to try but having said that, I really should do my homework....just in case.  



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December 16, 2010, 5:52pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday continued

So yes, I did have my lesson and it was Demonstrative Pronouns closely followed by soup and a funny noise that I thought was coming from the cooker....now that I am cooking on gas I thought that there was a slight reverberation but then I decided to check the rest of the house and the electricity was OFF and the alarm was the UPS....well yes it;s nice to know that it works but that set about my resolve to get the old petchka installed in the kitchen so that if the electricity does go off, there is always another means of heat.  So in came the petchka and the old metal pipes to the kitchen but I was short of an elbow to go into the chimney so off I went and managed to scrounge one from my little lady.  At this point it is snowing for Snowdonia, my avatar is clearing a path to the loo and we managed to get the 'elbow ' across quite nicely and yes I now have one.....only problem is...these pipes come in predefined lengths and I am short of 6 inches.....so I either have to cut down an existing pipe or get one ready made from Dzebel when the weather breaks.  I'll see what tomorrow bring but currently it is still snowing....

There is two foot of snow between me and the road and now the snow plough has been down there is a three foot bank between me and the road.  Now I was warned today about driving in the snow....can I categorically state that I can't even get out of my parking space parallel to the road and why should I, I've not run short of anything yet.   Anyway up....I have written my christmas cards to the family today but fat change of posting them so it's special delivery and fingers crossed that I manage to get out.  I have decided to stay in BG for Christmas.  I would have problems getting to Sofia, I would have problems getting to Sussex and then if I went visiting, even more problems....so ...easy option is to stay.  My tree went up this afternoon and got decorated.  Poor Guiljan is still without a tree thanks to the ever vigilant forestry men but the least said about that the better.  My camera battery is flat so tomorrow I will take pictures of the tree, the garden, the cars and anything else worth potographing.  As for the woodburner, the electricity came on after about an hour and so everything in the garden is rosy....now that's a lie....everything in the garden is white over....

LN....off to stoke my woodburner before the electricity goes off again.
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December 17, 2010, 3:18pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 17th December

It was really cold in the night.....I wasn't but 'it' was.  Again I rescued the woodburner this morning and it had to be poached eggs on toast just to get the circulation going.  I have two robins fighting over the scraps that I put out and both very territorial.  This morning there were about fifteen bluetits in the walnut tree and I think how I used to thread peanuts and watch them devour them in England.  I might even get some and dangle them for the balcony....let's see if they understand the principle.

Well I cleared the snow between me and the road this morning and most of the drive....and blow me down...the snow plough must have come round about lunchtime and dumped me another lot.  I did think that would be the case but I've removed it again so let's see.  It started to thaw earlier, the sun was quite warm but I think it has dropped again to freezing.  I just hope that's as low as it's going to get tonight but I doubt it....heading for the snuggly zebra quilt, not yet though, I've got a lamb casserole to get through.  As I said, put something into the slow cooker when I'm interested, out of the slow cooker when I'm not.

My ladies came round today I know not for what....just checking up what I'm up to.  They peered around beautifully and commented on how warm the house was....and that was just before I was working outside and let the thing go out but it was soon up and running again once I had given it a good talking to.  I've made some Christmas cards today for my four ladies to go with the silly gift bags that I have for them.  I found that by inserting 'symbols' in Word I could write the greeting in Bulgarian and copy the Turkish that Gouljan had written out for me.  I used the photograph of my snowman from the top of my little Christmas tree.

So tomorrow I need to go into Kardjali / Djebel for Selotape, post the cards to England and I have seen some zebra print cotton material in Kardjali that I want to get (not that I think there'll be a rush for it here).  It's 6 Leva a meter for 2.20 wide and I thought I could make curtains and a summer quilt cover and pillow cases.  Cheap as chips....approx 10meters ...£28 ish for curtains and quilt cover, that can't be bad.

Now for a few pickies.....



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Elsa Peters
December 18, 2010, 6:08am Report to Moderator

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Saturday 18th December

Startling skies this morning....if a red sky is a warning for a shepherd, it should also serve as one for me...it could be rough later.  Well the sun rises in the east as we know but to the north I detect really dark clouds and it depends how the winds blow is my reckoning.  Must check out the BBC website for Kardjali...it's been accurate to date.  Last night was recorded at -9 in Kardjali.  Thought it was a bit nippy. Now it has changed again.  The snow is glistening with the sun shining on it....fairytale..

Yes today I am venturing out....Gouljan's PC is ready for collection so we can kill two birds with one stone so to say and get all those things that are now on the new list made up of those that we forgot the other day and others that I just can't live without like....butter.  I'm down to one pack and for me that's serious.

Boots blacked by 10.00 at the bus stop near her house....morning sky pictures....I took so many that it was hard to choose....



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December 18, 2010, 5:39pm Report to Moderator
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Beautiful
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December 18, 2010, 8:42pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday continued

And now the thaw has set in....+2 and horrible....just the sound of water running....but at least the woodburner is doing its stuff and heating the house at last.  I didn't manage to get up into the loft and sort out the insulation...tomorow's job I fear but I did get in to Kardjali and buy my zebra print cotton for the curtains so that could be another job for tomorrow...keep lining them up....and as they say...tomorrow never comes

LN.....time I hit the sack....
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December 19, 2010, 3:32pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 19th December

So this morning I decided that I wasn't going to leap out at silly o'clock.  The weather had warmed up quite considerably so I watched the sunrise and wasn't rushing around photographing it.  I stayed in bed.  It was different from yesterdays dramatic start.  There was just a hint of pink that kept moving around the sky as the clouds shifted.  There didn't seem to be any wind batting them across the sky.  It was very gentle as has been the whole day.  Different story in Gatwick I hear.  Today would have been the day I took off for the UK if I had bothered to get the ticket....so pleased I didn't, I'd still be in Sofia.

Achievements?  I did manage to get eight rolls of rockwool type insulation up into the loft and ready stored for when I get either a man to do it or somebody else in the house while I'm up there.  The ladders I have look suspect and finish half way up the wall meaning that you have to have the leap of faith.  I might get it done tomorrow if the mood takes me and ask Gouljan just to hold the ladder while I take that extra step up and then again down.  I'm not quite as agile as I used to be.    I should hate to get stuck up there for Christmas without a bottle of the hard stuff or my chicken drumstick

Second achievement...I've measured and prepared the curtains for sewing.  The linings are ready too so sewing machine at the ready....I should have them up for Christmas...my present to me in my zebra bedroom.  I suppose I have not been that dramatic before but I just liked them and there is enough for a summer weight quilt cover of the same material.....

I had a surprise delivery of food today.  I don't know if it is special in my neighbours calendar but it was rice with kidney beans and lamb delivered by my lovely avatar lady.  Came at the right time so no need to cook tonight.

So out with the beer tonight.....the woodburner is going and doing it's stuff....LN....I'm still with the Hitler book....he's just taken Austria....and not even a mention of the Von Trapps yet.
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December 20, 2010, 6:39pm Report to Moderator

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Monday 2oth December

Didn't mention it on Saturday but on my way back from Kardjali I had the battery warning light come on and I though...that thing that charges up the battery....a...and the word escapes me for the minute....and I'll come back to it.  I called into the garage on Saturday night and was told that they were shutting up shop and Monday it had to be so I have been planning and working out what I should have to do if no go....ALTERNATOR...I knew that I would remember.  So this morning the car started perfectly, no battery light and I though 'bulb' so I did my shopping round the market and you've guessd it. I started the car and yes...red battery light so straight round to the garage....new alternator and completely fitted....35 Leva so I don't feel hard done by by that.

Rest of the day very mellow.  Bought the material for making the book covers and pencil cases for the children of the village so that's my task for the next few days....I've also desiged a special gift for Gouljan so we'll see if I manage to make it before the 25th.

The wood burner is behaving itself beatifully tonight.  I'm up on the landing and the rest of the house is toasty.  There is a wind getting up though.....just wait and see.

Now did anyone tell me about using that spray can that fills up all cracks and crevices and sticks on fingers very heartily.  Now I have read the instruction but nowhere does it say to use with extreme caution.  Spent the evening picking it off my fingers....I've watched the men before and no problem...seeing is believing....will read the instructions again.   Bulgarian  doh....

LN.....off to my little pit with Hitler,,,,Chamberlain is forging his place in history at the present time....
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Tuesday 21st December

Very windy in the night and only pockets of snow left...temperature up above freezing so thank goodness we are not suffering here unlike UK...my thoughts go out to you.  Travel disruption at any time is a nuisance but at Christmas....it ruins any plans.

I've got grey storm clouds this morning with just a hint of the sun lingering in there somewhere.  Another dramatic start but today I have my list of things to do already complosed.  Must pay my internet bill before I get cut off....the bills here are sporadic....I still haven't received anything for my home phone but they are installing a new platform apparently and since I used to work for a telecoms company in the UK, I understand that this means trying it, testing it and falling back to the original if it doesn't work.  Unfortunately it seems to have been an ongoing problem so perhaps they should just revert to the old one and let it go at that

So to horse or rather to Clio.....got to borow back my iron for the things that I want to do today and get my sewing machine threaded up....
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December 21, 2010, 5:35pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday continued

Here we go with the best laid plans of mouse and men.....or women for that matter.  It took me ages to get a glimmer out of the woodburner this morning and by the time that I had a decent fire going, the electricity went off, the UPS kicked in so I decided not to leave the house until it came on again.  Decided instead to start my creative pressies and have had a good day.  The power was resumed about an hour later by which time the fire had gone out so back to the drawing board.  Fire going again, sewing machine able to do its stuff and then D of S and Annie arrived so on with the kettle, Dom doesn't do Christmas, it's against his religion so not to offend, Annie and I are having our Christmas chicken on Boxing day and Dom is just coming for Sunday Lunch.  Sorted.

So they went about four o'clock and yes, you've guessed it, the power went off again so it was a matter of watching the clock and the pump to make sure that the fire was 'removable' towards the allotted deadline of two hours but it came on about an hour later.  What's with this power thing.....I've paid my bill and the 20 Leva fine so they have no right .

Anyway...supper calls, sweet and sour belly pork with pasta and then back to Hitler I suppose....he has just declared that if he wants Chekoslovakia he'll just take it.  I suppose I grew up with knowing there was a war but didn't know the background.  I've also got the complete set of Ghengis Khan heading my way and Stalin...am I going to be knowlegeable after this .....LN....I'm off for supper....Sorry forgot to mention....it's 12 degrees today......
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Wednesday 22nd December

Silly o'clock again but my fault for not closing the curtains...the moon was so bright.  SO I left my telephone upstairs, since no one phones me usually but, three calls in the space of a half an hour and my stairs are not that easy to negotiate at speed, as you know they are only temporary.  The permanent will be installed when I don't have workers running up and down stairs.

No as for workers, the weather has taken a turn for the better and I half expected someone to be here but that was one of the phone calls, Bekir has 'gosti' from Turkey so would like time off for good behavour so 'granted'.  After all, I'm in the Christmas spirit, tree, Rudolph tea light ornament so bring it on.

My second call was from Gouljan to say that she had got the job yesterday but that she was tired and she too had guests so she cancelled my lesson and the third was from the bank asking me to call in for a present.  As it happened I was going to Kardjali anyway so I did just that as well as buying several presents to finish off my ladies goodie bags and managed to get into Lidl's carpark without much effort and out again without much queuing.  I also changed my tariff on my internet connection, unlimited for 20 leva less a month...not I call that a result.

Homeward bound to find the water off.  Now I don't know if I can run my central heating with no water, I know the electricity is covered by my UPS but no one mentioned the other.  Fortunately it's not cold...thank goodness it's not last week (-11) so I let it go right down but it's just come on so I've stoked up the woodburner to give the house a boost.

Photos done for my ladies, tomorrow I am doing their cards and probably going up into the loft to lay the insulation.  Gouljan will be here so she can hold the latter steady and I'll do the rest.

LN....I've closed the curtains already this evening so that I should get a goodnight's kip....the half bottle of wine should also help...LN
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Thursday 23rd December

Morning and what a sky it was...I swear it can't get better but I looked up from my computer and just had to take it...so I've put it below.

So what happened today....I went into Djebel and got my material for the rest of my presents but had to go and dig the owner out of the cafe when his entourage...two Turkish women and one Turkish man proceded to tell me that I should carry a Rechnik (dictionary) at all times but I managed to converse with the shop owner in ...wait for it...French so why should I bother.  I got my material (two sorts), my knitting needles and found out that 'pins' are more difficult to come by.  In the absence of pins, I have rescued my iron for D of S's and will press down the seams of the book covers I am making for presents for a variety of people so that it is a matter of just stitching it without the hassle....

Annie is sitting in Samodiva and we have a date for shopping.  Dom doesn't 'do' shopping and at the mention of my second hand shop and my new jumper for 8 Leva, designer label and 100% cotton she grew very interested.  This is my life in BG

Had my lesson today and you are right, I hadn't done my homework but I bluffed it.  Gouljan managed to get the job she had applied for so at last she has a real job, not just trying to educate me.  I'm a really bad studejnt.  She arrived with a pot of homemade yoghurt and a bag of walnuts used to make I know not what and went home with a Struddle courtesy of Lidls supermarket in Kardjali...I do what I can.

Tonight's supper was a chicken leg that was too frozen this morning to go into the slow cooker so I left it for the day and pan fried it and had it with chippies.  What a decision thought...do I leave the last mouthful for a chip buttie or fried chicken....the chicken won out in the end but it was a close thing.

Fire going like billio and really toasty in the house, I'm downstairs now for another shot of wine that I thought was vermouth but really not sure...one more glass and it might be classified.  Just about to post the pictures of this morning...I'll put on the photos of my neighbours which deserve another showing and of the presents I have made tomorrow....makes more sense since a) I haven't made them yet and b) not taken the pictures...

Guess who got a christmas card today from the UK?  My special friend Angela posted it and it was delivered personally by Gouljan who was coming home on the bus yesterday and was handed it by a friend who lived in the next village....the Anglechanka of Dushinkovo....I hope famous not notorious...

LN....off for another drink and then my virtuous couch...pickies first



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December 25, 2010, 5:40am Report to Moderator

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Friday 24th December

Tried to post last night but no connection to the internet.  I think all the Bulgarian world and their wives were on it.

Went to my restaurant to visit my lady and pursuaded her to come into Kardjali with me on an 'expedition' for the last few things on my list, like chicken and potatoes for Boxing day /(Sunday Lunch day for Dom) and she asked if we would be quick.  I said yes because I intended it to be but those best laid plans.  Firstly we went to a new second-hand shop, then the Leva shop where she picked up lots of 'stuff'.  We went to Billa for my chicken, thought they were expensive so went to Lidls.  It was heaving so much so that I left her at the door, I went to the section, found that they didn't have any but were expecting some tomorrow (Christmas day), went back to the door, she wasn't there, went to the car and she wasn't there either.  I hadn't seen a spaceship land so I thought that she had to be in there somewhere so I went back in and searched every aisle full of people waiting to pay and thought .....she hasn't so I went back to the car, still not there, phoned her, number not available, and then she emerged triumphantly complete with two bags of goodies including bananas just because they are 90 stotinki (40p to you and me) a kilo.  So now back to Bila for that chicken.  Went back to the restaurant, three hours later and she cooked chicken so I was suppered already.

Got home sorted the fire out and finished all those jobs that I intended doing three hours earlier and now I am ready for tomorrow......thereabouts since nothing happens here.....it's just like any other day and New Years Day is the focus....bedtime...LN
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December 25, 2010, 5:49am Report to Moderator

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Saturday 25th December

Firstly......Merry Christmas to those that celebrate it.  I woke up at seven to a thunderstorm going full pelt, lashing rain and a raging wind.  Santa must have had a bumpy ride last night.  We've also had a power cut since my clock radio is flashing out a warning but I didn't hear the UPS alarm but the fire was long out so no panic there then.  

So my day today is to visit those neighbours who are Muslim and give them presents for something that they obviously don't celebrate and try to explain that they give me gifts through the year, pancakes and meat at their festival times so this is my little thank you.  I'll wait until the street (there is only one) is aired and they have finished milking their cows....I think every house (except mine) has one or two (or a donkey or a horse or a donkey and a horse) just to keep them busy.  

The rain has stopped and so has the thunder but the wind is still raging....so breakfast and then visiting and I'll take the camera just to try and capture some of their little shocked faces
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Elsa Peters
December 27, 2010, 2:20pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 26th December

Well again the best laid plans....found out that yesterday was not a good day to go visiting and giving gifts.  The mother of my avatar lady died and the funeral was yesterday so the gifts are still sitting under my tree.  I have seen her briefly today but not to speak to and since they are all in it together, no ladies were available.  So yesterday

I ended up doing a Delia in the kitchen for Annie and Dominic...chicken with local sausage meat stuffing (delicious), roast potatoes, carrots, peas and pan fried cabbage with onion gravy to be followed by apple struddle and squirty cream.  As it happens the struddle is still sitting in the kitchen but we devoured stilton with what were described as 'digestive' biscuits but were more like malted milk and the wine was freely flowing.

This morning, Dom went home to feed the cats and Annie and myself have had a day in Kardjali visiting those shops I have found that are 'different' and the tile shop so that she could have a look what was on offer since she has the kitchen to do.  We were 'ladies what lunched' and it was obvious that the smoking ban has not yet taken effect in BG.  I think that the EU has issued the ultimatum so we'll see how long it takes.

Now from my last visit to Doms I have the Ghengis Khan trilogy and I am half way through the first.  Hitler will have to wait some....he was heavy going anyway.  Log time....the fire is demanding....the temperature is about to drop and we are expecting snow on wednesday so I am told. I have an invite to the New Year celebration at Dom's local and have bought fireworks since apparently everybody buys fireworks and the sky is ablaze on the night.  I have kept them here just in case I can't make it to Samodiva because of heavy snow and I'll end up having my own little party

Lecka nosht....I'm stoking the petchka....
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Elsa Peters
December 28, 2010, 7:29am Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 28th December

I have snow.....but I have always said that once it falls it seems warmer.  There is no wind yet so the threatened big minus quantities on the thermometer scale look not to descend.  I was guided to the BBC weather for Kardjali and so far, all as predicted.  It is supposed to be white cloud today but it didn't say that it would be depositing the 'whiteness' on the green grass but it is very light at the present time.

I've finished the first Genghis Karn and so on to the second.  He has just brought all of the waring tribes together and now they are known as Mongolians and are just about to attack China.  I have been really educated by D of S's choice of literature (or is it Annie's in the charity shops of UK?).  I've done Alexander the Great, Julius Ceasar and now Genghis.  Hitler?....this is the study in tyranny, the others are just romantically inclined fiction with a bit of gore thrown in.

Poached eggs on toast for breakfast, kitchen tidied, fire going and nothing to go out for.  Too cold for the men to work so just a gentle day.  I checked out flights last night and had a shock...New Years day, cheap as chips, after that mega bucks so I'll leave it for a few weeks.   More coffee, Genghis part two and a roaring fire....nice..
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December 29, 2010, 3:47pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 29th December

Was it cold last night?  Yes it was and was it raw this morning?  Yes it was.  Gouljan had to go in to start her new job today and since the early morning bus is at 6.45 and she didn't  have to be there until 10.00 I offered to do the honours at 9.00.  Now I have to convince her that I was going in anyway...she is an independent soul and she said that she would be alright to go in with the milk wagon at 7.30.....NOOOO....be ready at your bus stop at 9.00 and she was.  Now her lane is quite muddy and my little joke is that I call her Cinderella since a) she is waiting for her prince to come and b) she has a penchance for my pink slippers that she has to put on when she is at my house.....all out doorshoes remain outdoor.  So this morning she is running up the lane with her boots in her hand and I expect her to put her rubber shoes in the bag....and what does she do?  Leaves them by the telegraph pole and of course I had to make the joke that Cinderella only lost one and they certainly weren't rubber shoes.

My excuse for going was that I needed petrol which was good enough.  I then went round various shops to try to get a diary but obviously China isn't doing the trade with the shops here that it does with Poundstretcher in the UK.  Not a diary to be had but there is a man who is going to try and get me one for tomorrow.  I'm not really sure that he understood what I wanted and think that he only speaks but doesn't understand English but we'll wait and see what's delivered.

No water today....I heard a noise of someone taking something out of Star Mush garden so I was out there.  Fortunately I recognised the boss from the waterboard and he was taking a concrete pipe so obviously there is a problem somewhere in Gouldjan's village.  He didn't know that that was where I lived and said that he would come for coffee....I suggested that he first get the water on or ...no coffee and he hasn't been back and it's still off.  Fortunately I have a seven litre bottle but I didn't tell him that....he had too many friends with him.

Now tonight it is a brandy and coffee night.  It's down to -4 already and it's only half past five here so we'll see how far it goes tonight.  I'm still with the second Genghis, he's just survived an assasination attempt but since there is another book to go I sort of guessed the outcome.  Downloaded what I thought was a set of instructions for knitting socks on four needles today....as I got to reading it, it was just hints and tips advising me to follow the pattern very carefully.  Now if I had one I would so back to the web to try to find one....don't they make it hard sometimes.

Anyway, just a few random picks that haven't made it before.  One on my tree on Christmas morning and a couple from this mornings sunrise....they really are spectacular.

Quick update...there is a gurgling from my boiler....I think I have water....let's go check......LN..



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Elsa Peters
December 30, 2010, 6:30am Report to Moderator

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Thursday 30th December

It's ccccc.....old....-8 last nght according to my thermometer but inside the fire was going most of the night so stayed reasonable.  At six o'clock I went into the lounge to get the third Genghis and infront of the lounge window ..on the inside, was a little frog.  Now those of you that know me know that I don't do those sort of things at all.  Creepies, crawlies none of them.  My father used to tell me to remember that they are far more frightened of me than I am of them...not a change.  I imagine them jumping feet in the air and landing at my throat.  Now we have to devise a plan.  My sweeping brush normally is the tool of the trade.  When I put the light on he/she/it casually went under the planks of wood that consititute a book case so I removed the books, removed the wood and there he was.  Second part of the plan.  Take one cardboard box, easy gently into the corner firstly making sure that there is an area around it from which there is no escape.  Frog in box, book over it to stop it jumping out, open door to patio, lift box out carefully onto said patio, tip box on side and shut door.  Reassemble book case, make coffee and onwards with Genghis.  I don't know how it got in but until the concrete is laid by the back door and the patio door, I tend to leave doors open when I'm bringing in wood and after all is tempting if they get a waft of warm air.

So beautiful fristy frosty morning.  I managed to download a knitting pattern for socks done on four needles so that is my task for today should I choose to accept it.  Never tried it before so let's see what I can do!!
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December 30, 2010, 1:06pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday continued

Hectic....my avatar said she loved the photo and that her daughter in law had taken it with her to Djebel so that she can look at it.....so  said 'I'll do you another' and I did.  Now one of my ladies I didn't have a photo of and she saw the one that I'd just done.  I'd put the frame in her goodie bag but no pickie....so back for my camera, two photos taken, printed and she came up to fetch them and to give me a present of a headscarf.  Beautiful not my usual colouring but perfect (purple, white and lemon) and great with navy or brown.  So now I'm just waiting for the others to want more and I'll set up a production line.

So what else have I done?  Tidied the builder's timber, well my timber, I paid for it, but they left it in a heap when they were working at -3 and never to be seen again....perhaps in the New Year .  I've also casted on and done two inches of my sock working with four needles...piece of cake....but I've yet to get to the heel and the grafting....

Back to work.....
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December 31, 2010, 6:53am Report to Moderator

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Friday 31st December

And so another year draws to a close and I realise that I am nearly another year older and any the wiser? Probably...builder's terms are second nature to me now, not that I've seen any of them for a couple of weeks .  There again would you if you had a choice...it was -8 overnight and not much warmer now except that the beautiful sun is penetrating the house and making it bright and cheerful despite the hillside being white over and my volcanic pools are now silvery with the covering of ice.  Skates on????  Not big enough or deep enough and not foolish enough

Into Djebel today to see what I've got when I ordered two diaries, (every day's a mystery).  Well it is a diary after all so every day should be a mystery as it unfolds.  Now on to breakfast....I'm having a couple of poached eggs especially for Princess....see I remembered.  The rest of the day could be spent inside unless it warms up considerably and I have to get my bedding ready to take to Samodiva since I might not be in a fit state to drive home if my luck holds.  Fireworks at the ready, I'll head the ten k south at about eight tonight but I'll have a good meal before I go to lay down the foundations.  Onwards and upwards.....
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December 31, 2010, 12:51pm Report to Moderator
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Just in case can't get through tonight
Happy New Year[color=red][/color]May it bring you what you desire
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Elsa Peters
December 31, 2010, 5:38pm Report to Moderator

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Friday continued

May I wish you all a Happy New Year....a tad early but I'm just about to set sail.  Samodiva calls and it might take some time. See you all in 2011.....
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