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Elsa Peters living a new life in Bulgaria    General Boards    My Diary by Elsa Peters  ›  FEBRUARY 2011
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Elsa Peters
February 24, 2011, 2:34pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday 24th February

And yet another cold one over night and it hasn't got above -5 all day and because it started to snow I knew that Djebel was on the agenda at some point this morning.

So last night I had a mail from Princess saying that she was quite impressed with the touch of Nigela that was adorning the pages.  I did remind her that at one stage I could have given the voluptuous Nigela a run for her money (size wise and I make no other comparisons), now that I have lost just over two stone and feel much better for it, she would win every time.  

I sorted two fires out, had breakfast so set up for the day and I'm not going to say yet what it was (special photo for Princess) but can I add that 'the pirates didn't get me' for those that understand children's games and those that don't, not a speck of egg touched the plate. I decided to write a shopping list so on it went the onions, leeks, potatoes, tomatoes, oranges and bread.  The list would grow with things that had never made it to the list but that's the beauty of a list. Washed up, thought I'd better get the logs in first and then to horse.

Did the shopping, no decent potatoes in one shop so had to go elsewhere and invested in some dried beans that I thought I could make sort of baked beans with and they are soaking as we speak.  I've tried the Heinz out here but I don't know what it is with imported stuff or that made under licence....it might have the same ingredients but they just don't taste the same. Then suddenly realised that my insurance for Beauty had expired so went to my motor shop, his wife who normally does the paperwork wasn't there but he said that he would take it to the apartment and I would have it in 15 minutes...so off for a coffee and sure enough...I am legal.  Fine or rather, no fines.

Went to the hardware shop and got screws, nails just incase the screws don't work or I lose interest in the aesthetic beauty of the project, drill bits and screw driver adapters for the drill....so the intention at this point is definitely to use screws.   That's for another day though.....it's four thirty here....I'm just going to sort my soaking beans out and look at the recipe again and prepare supper.  I've downloaded an ebook so I might get stuck into that....not quite a book at bedtime....you can fall asleep with a book, the laptop is pretty hard and the noise of the fan keeps you awake.

....might be back later....    Now for the pickies....



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February 24, 2011, 9:10pm Report to Moderator
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Not hung on the wall yet and it does look good
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Elsa Peters
February 25, 2011, 8:26am Report to Moderator

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Friday 25th February

Before any of you start getting concerned about Martin's message and not hung yet....he is referring to the picture in the kitchen that is behind the freesia.  It is not hung for the simple reason that my men were too busy insulating the outside of the house before they took their winter break which is a lot longer than usual standards.  Now I can knock a nail in as good as the rest...the reason it is not hung is because there is stone in them there walls and I want someone else to blame if it falls down.  Bekir is good at the 'it's as safe as houses' stuff and hey, it looks OK on the table.

This morning is cold, cold, cold as much as minus into double figures overnight.  This morning has settled out at about minus five but I haven't even made it out of my pyjamas yet.  I did get the wood in and do my usual chores like empty the ash can so I've not been entirely lazy, just cosy in my night attire.  Breakfast....you know I went on about baked beans yesterday, them not being the same out here and I also forgot to mention very expensive....well when it came to it, I wasn't hungry for some reason so I tipped the soaked beans into the slow cooker and left it on low setting overnight and what did I have for breakfast then???  Beans on toast but with spicey sausage and there is enough left over for lunch if I add a little more water to it and maybe with pasta.  Not sure if they are going to agree with me for the rest of the day....sometimes hard to digest but let's see how we go.....

The food is out for anything that want to come to the feeding station.  It originally went out for the birds...but lately it's been my black and white cat and the blue tits and coal tits seem content with bobbing in and out of my wreck of a house and I've mentioned that if they find any builders lingering in there to let me know

So let's see what the rest of the day brings....maybe I should get dressed in case of visitors....well you never know
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Elsa Peters
February 25, 2011, 8:35am Report to Moderator

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Friday continued

Forgot to put these on......as for the log.(basket), when I bought it in the UK I had vision of me wheeling it round the garden in a floppy hat as I dead headed my roses.  Instead it's been used to shift rocks from a to b and for the winter, a new task for it.  I wheel it out to the wood store, fill it and wheel it back and there it sits next to the wood burner.  Not pretty but very functional.  Come the summer, back to normal duties whatever they might be....



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Elsa Peters
February 25, 2011, 8:36pm Report to Moderator

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25th continued, continued

So I went out this morning to burn my rubbish...cold but just had to be done. I refuse to deposit my black plastic rubbish bags and empty plastic beer bottles on the local rubbish tip so out I went.  Mrs/Mr Black and White cat was sitting on the balcony of the bedroom of my wreck and miouing like mad.  I'm now assuming that she has taken up residence and that's OK for me apart from the fact that I believe robin is also in there and the blue tits keep bombing in and out.  

Since it was snowing I moved the feedng station under the balcony to the second bedroom,  So where did she go looking for it, where it used to be so I moved it back and she just moved away.  Obviously not too pleased at the contents.  The magpies loved it and it was fun to watch them,  They took a few steps, looked towards the wreck as if a cat was going to appear at any moment, took a few more steps, swooped and then flew off with the booty.  The robin has a different approach.  Straight in there and the blue tits ignore it but keep pecking under my windows as if there is heaven under there....I'm expecting the window to just cave in under the pressure and deposit itself on the garden. Bekir...come back....all is not forgiven....

So what is it with fires....one day they are good the next crap and I think it all depends which way the wind is blowing and today it was definately from the north and cold with it....  As I said I went out to light the bonfire which I successfully did but then came the blizzard so I went back inside the house.  One advantage of going outside, you realise just how warm the house is...

LN...almost past my bedtime....I've been looking at a cruise today....one in the Carribean looks to be good value....let's see what price the come back with....special offers with the additives are not so special...
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Elsa Peters
February 26, 2011, 11:16am Report to Moderator

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Saturday 26th February

Beautiful, beautiful morning....sun's briefly come out...more snow overnight and pretty as a picture so I've taken lots of them. Still minus six out there but I've done my tour of the garden and yes, I've found Mrs Cats tracks leading from the wreck to the feeding station, round the garden and then they seemed to disappear where the snow was missing from under my bedroom balcony....and there she was.  I went towards her and then she shot off like a cat on a hot....no.... really.... cold tin roof.

The sunbed is out of bounds again...and the swinging chair only acquired one visitor and was completely deaf to my cries of.....get off....it's mine.  I don't know what it was doing out....probably thought, well it's a nice day and was completely knocked over by the weather....it's captured on camera later.  Checked the hive...no bees about...in fact there never have been....Bekir tried to tempt a swarm with a honey comb but every time the scouts came round, the bea-eater birds though it was a take away so take them away they did.

So now the wind is getting up so I shan't get lulled into a false sense of....it's a nice day.  As I've said before, when the sun's out this place gets like a little hot house but as soon as it goes down...boy do you need the fires going so ...time to stoke the engines...



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Elsa Peters
February 27, 2011, 8:01am Report to Moderator

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Sunday 27th February

Bbbbrrrrrrrr......it is cold...and even colder in the night.  I think it settled out at -12, was up to -10 wnen I got up at 6.00 and I'm not sure if it was the cold that woke me.  I didn't 'feel' cold but just sensed it.  So straight into my padded trousers, salvaged both fires by helping them along with fire lighters made out of an old cereal box and made into concertina strips and soon had them roaring away...filled up the log basket and after two cups of coffee and two slices of buttered toast, settled into a book about the days leading up to and the Normandy DD landing.  I didn't realise how many American and Canadian troops were involved and the war is opening out for me.  As a 'just' post war baby,  as I've said before, we never got to know much about it.  At school we did the French Revolution for 'O' level exams (which I failed I'm ashamed to say).  I'm much more interested in the present, the past has gone and the future is in the hands of the gods and will be played out to us at the correct time.  Plan by all means, but the hand of fate is never far behind.....and now the sun has come up and the temperature is climbing steadily.  My footprints from yesterday and where the snow had melted have frozen over again and the ice is glistening.....and it's all well with the world.

So on the agenda for today.  I think I have a language lesson at 11.00 that's if Gouljan is up to it.  I hope she comes round, I need an update on her work.  I have been preparing a few simple English stories for her in Word, two pagers, that she can use for her English language students.  I'm getting together a little library and I'm using it for my village children.  I should really put some questions underneath the text so they can answer them to confirm comprehension....oh well....back to the drawing board.   Homework....I still haven't done last weeks and I have one hour to go.....aaarrrhhhhh.
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Elsa Peters
February 27, 2011, 2:02pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday continued

Lesson over...she was late but her mother has decided to have a 'two away day' with her brother in a village not far away but that has left the milking of the cow to Gouljan and she didn't arrive with a letter from her mother....excused from duties

So the subject of the lesson was Baba Marta...grandmother March and I will set all this out for you tomorrow in time for the festival on March 1st.  Firstly I have to think about getting into Djebel at the crack of and purchasing white and red thread to be prepared for the event.  Alternatively I can get myself down to the local supermarket and buy them ready made 'off the peg' so to speak.

Supper is in the slow cooker.  Pork with mushrooms and onions in chilli sauce, tomatoes and honey and it's all mine.  There is enough pork left over to concoct something else with it tomorrow and I have loads of leaks left from my earlier purchase.  I stripped these off and cut them into four inch lengths, put them in a bowl in the fridge and they are ready as and when.  Got to sort out the biggie....it doesn't want to play for some obscure reason...not a clue why but short of dynamite,  not really got the answer....will settle for the wind in the wrong direction...seems likely...northerly and bloody cold....
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Elsa Peters
February 27, 2011, 5:56pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday continued, continued

Woke up in front of a roaring fire...well I did get up early this morning....supper was delicious...threw some rice in about 2 hours ago and supberb.....the seasoning was just he job.

LN...my beer is getting warm and in this house that is something...my 13.5 TOG quilt from the upstairs bedroom has been moved down into the lower bedroom so that I don't even wake up with the idea of being cold tomorrow morning.  I had one of those dreams last night that seems so real that you wake up and wonder if it was...let's hope for quiet dreams tonight and a late start tomorrow...LN....tout le monde....
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Elsa Peters
February 28, 2011, 2:42pm Report to Moderator

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Monday 28th February

As for that quilt moving downstairs, what a mistake that was.  I was so hot in the night that it woke me up, I think my heart was going ten to the dozen trying to cool me down and the result was that at 4.30 this morning I was wide awake and ready for action.  I got my DS out a did some mental arithmetic (how sad am I) and then started to play Germs.....it's supposed to relax you and then at 5.30 I thought I would get my head down again....did that work?  Big fat 'No' so decided to get up. sort the fires out which was a job and a half this morning, but at minus ten I was pretty determined so by 6.30 the first lot of hot water hit the radiators.

So I managed to find white and red cotton and ribbon and have made my Martinitsas ready for tomorrow.  So what is it all about then.  On the 1st March, Bulgarians celebrate Baba Marta or Grandmother Marta.  Bands of red and white thread are given to family and friends to wish them great health, good luck, fertility, longevity and happiness.  The white symbolises the winter and purity and the red the sun and the coming of spring.  Legend has it that Baba Marta is a grumpy old woman who changes her moods very quickly thus accounting for the March weather.  To appease her local people wear the bands around their wrists or on their clothing as if to ask for mercy, to make the winter pass faster and bring about spring.  This band remains in place until the first stork or swallow is seen or a small fruit tree is seen in blossom for the first time and when the band is removed it's traditional to either tie it on the fruit tree or put it under a stone in the garden.  If there are ants under the stone it signifies that the year will be productive.

So I made four of these today for my neighbours and Gouljan...so I've already been productive...I've received a tiny crochet hat to wear on my clothes, too small for my head...and I've been told that these are being sold to fund some of the 'problem' families that are being discovered as part of her new job.  I think she is having her eyes opened to the domestic issues that some families have.  Today they are having a mini 'conference' with the local 'mayors' to highlight the work that they will be doing and to ask for support.  I thought a good idea would be to get some of the villagers to donate their craft items and have a stall on the market.  I would willing make notebook covers, pencil cases and the likes and I might even make a pair of my special fingerless gloves....   Well may be not....not sure anyone would pay for them

So tomorrow I'm round the village with my red and white wrist bands....then I shall probably have to buy some in Djebel (since I am out of red ribbon) to hand out to friends.  While I'm out and about I might as well go into Kardjali since the snow is going and the roads are clear....I'm fresh out of butter and the local stuff is just not to my tastebuds and Lidls look to be favourite.  Enough for this time....you now know what March 1st is about so I'm sending you all imaginary red and white bands to lift your spirits, and wishing you all health, happiness and longevity and I expect you all to imagine that you are wearing them and I shall be checking tomorrow. ...LN



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