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Elsa Peters
November 9, 2011, 3:21pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 9th November

So this morning I was awake at yet again silly o'clock and I think I was concerned that the Beast wouldn't start to pick up the men.  Out there at seven fifteen and started first time so what was I worried about...and it was white all over.  That curtain has made such a difference...I was really toasty in bed and the house felt really warm with a fire going and it looks like it will be a bit of a cool one tonight again.

Sorted my pipes but I should really number them so that I remember how to put it back together again.  But all is safely gathered in..lest the winter storms begin.  I was reading something the other day, a comment on a blog, and it said that you should not tell the story of bonfire night to the children just enjoy the fireworks.  I didn't go along with it...remember, remember the fifth of November as the saying goes....just teach them the rhyme...

Men are creating the door support for the wreck and they have been mixing concrete as if it is going out of fashion and tomorrow we have to order some more ballast.  I on the other hand have been pottering in the garden, like huge bonfire where they had cut back the grape vine and the 'chai' tree and I think it is a beech and dumped it in the yard.  So much so that when I came to get the Beast in the drive last night it was in the way so me thinks this morning...get rid and so I did.  Unfortunately the wind was blowing in all directions and poor Bekir was the recipient perched on top of the wreck but hey ho for the life of a bear.....it didn't take long to clear.  We've had a day or visitors.  My men are very popular with the locals and Semile was round, Emaulet's father wanting to sell his sheep and my 'little man' who has a super face but the body has been sabotaged by nature.  Coffee was handed round but I told Semile to 'leg it' and not to stop my men from working.  The next time that he has builders at his house I am going to engage them in conversation and considering that I shall probably take a dictionary...'this might take some time'...

Planted out a few trees that had been in pots for the summer or taken from cuttings.  I am still waiting for the men to take their pots of freasias home and there Japonica Kerrias.  Otherwise I shall confiscate and watch the tear-drops fall...

Funny one this afternoon.  Out with my ladies discussing the little calf and who should be coming a long the road with one of the special pancake things in his mouth but Socks.  Looked like a huge discus and he stomped into the field where the calf and cows were, found a flat piece of ground, dug a hole and buried it.  He obviously wasn't hungry but ever the opportunist, was thinking of leaner times...then the animals were about to be put to bed and one of the cows took a lunge at the calf and he went straight through the fence and knocked it flat so out with the hammer... bashed the supports back in a jobsa-guddun.
Men home, supper a mixture of meatballs and last night's gravy with a few added extras and spaghetti...did the job...and filled the gap.  Updating and then getting by the fire.  There is a full moon tonight with a very large star besides it and the temperature is dropping rapidly.  Time to throw another log on...LN....

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Elsa Peters
November 10, 2011, 4:54pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday 10th November

So the bastard Beast did it again this morning....started first time and then had an epileptic fit forcing me to switch off and try again and it was only that I swore at it and pleaded with it to start that it came to life.  It could be battery, it could be anything so it was swaps with Beauty complete with two new 'tampons' and the Beast will be 'tested' tomorrow morning in the garage.  My instructions were...just fix it.  I hate it when you can't trust that it is going to start...it's not that I am impatient.... but positive performance means such a lot...

This morning's sky looked ominous but by about nine thirty it has turned into a beautiful day and I sorted out the old flowerpots, cleaned out the ones that had been reduced to soil and little else and put them in the 'shed' of the wreck to winter.  Swept all the leaves, had a bonfire and generally tidied the terraces so that I'm ready for winter.  If you think that I have a bonfire fetish...you are so right....I just love them...and so for the rest of the day.

Swapped cars with the garage as I've already said...my lesson today was how to tell the difference between an alligator and a crocodile and it's amazing what you learn when you are teaching others.  I try to find a text that is different each session...some fiction and some fact to make it more interesting.  We've started chatting more at the end now and I've threatened to go and watch him play basketball next Tuesday.

The lads have been mixing so much cement that I had to have another four cubics of ballast today and we have run out of metal so the factory has been on half time turning attention to the preparation for the roof.  Tomorrow comes the metal, fifteen bags of cement, the wood that was on order and hasn't yet arrived and whatever else Bekir thinks we need before he makes the phone call to the supplier.  The third man is back tomorrow ...more power to my fellows' elbows so to speak.

They are home....the remains of last night's supper is now tonight's supper...the fire is going well and I'm sipping a vodka Martini as we speak, topped up with tonic, that's the drink topped up with the tonic....I've got to go some first.  It's supposed to be sunny tomorrow and Saturday but Sunday is 'white cloud' and Monday is 'sleet' so I've warned the men.  They might even be working Saturday yet to make up their money and take Monday off instead....let's see how the mood takes them....LN....slow cooker bubbling nicely, glass empty, time to switch off and get in front of the wood burner...LN....

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Elsa Peters
November 11, 2011, 5:26pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 11th November

So today it's the eleventh of the eleventh of the eleventh and at eleven English time I paid my respects.  I did jig around a bit though, the wind was so 'bracing' for want of a better word but another one would be that it was too bl**ddy cold to stand around.  I encouraged the men to get the old wood burner out of the work-shed but they didn't like the idea but I know how Sally hates the cold and the wind and when I went out to see them they had used the old pipes and got a fire going in a wood burner bucket and he was toasting his backside.  It took me back to two years ago when we had the joke that I had to keep a bucket of water by the wood burner so that if he set on fire we would have to throw the water over him...my how time has flown.  I have been cemented to these guys for just over two years now and they have done tremendous work for me and I have been very loyal to them.  Yes I could have cheaper workmen...but Bekir is a true engineer and knows his stuff and is prepared to put up with my 'requests' and they are not demands...I ask him if it is possible and he will come back with the answer.  I mentioned yesterday that a lot of the work they normally do is not creative and artistic and they agreed.  He is able to work to his own initiative and Sally works alongside him beautifully...he is a perfectionist.  Third man had a hangover this morning and it's a good job that he was on the two handles of the wheelbarrow...who was holding what up has yet to be decided upon but he did spend time looking over the fence when he arrived at the bottom of the garden....

The lorry arrived today and there is lots of ten by ten wood and fifteen bags of cement and enough metal to construct the Eiffel Tower should we so wish....I paid off one thousand leva leaving the odd three hundred to be paid at another time.  I did suggest that I go in tomorrow but Bekir warned me against it...it's rather like...he knows where you live.....I'm getting to be local.

My fire has been going non stop today.  My little man that nature has not been kind to who is the brother of the men that owned my houses before has taken  a great interest in my project.  He knows my Star Mush well and Bekir decided it would be nice to sent him a present of a packet of cigarettes and a box of matches...so Bekir provided the cigarettes, I came up with the matches and wrapped them in Christmas paper and put a red bow on them...I'm not sure if he will appreciate the wrapping but he will the contents and the lads thought it was a nice touch....

They worked their little socks off and have managed to put the final wall supports in and the columns will go in on Monday, weather permitting.  Winter seems to have come early this year compared to last and there is a threat of snow or at least sleet on Monday so they will phone if it is too bad.  

Semile has asked me if I will teach English to his little one and so on Sunday I have him for an hour.  Not sure Jaylan's son will appear as well but I'm preparing the lesson for two.  No payment at first...let's see how the boys take to me...if we get on OK then it will be the same as for my other student.   I have an income....

Men are home and my were they working late to finish the job.  I paid the third man so that he could settle his bar bill and told him that he shouldn't buy any more drinks for friends from his hard earned cash.  My little man is heading home tomorrow and is back in May and we have a date.  Avatar came round and I explained to her how central heating works and how I have thermostats on each radiator so that if I only want heat downstairs I can control it.  She was intrigued by the UPS and I had to explain that because of the pump, if there was no electricity to run it then everything had to be jettisoned but the UPS means that I had two hours to source an alternate heating system.  She was intrigued.

LN...I had cheese on toast this afternoon so it might be egg and chips later but at the moment there are no takers for food....no pictures tonight but if it clears up tomorrow there might be a few of the house....LN....I'm now going downstairs to toast my tootsies.  
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Elsa Peters
November 12, 2011, 2:37pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 12th November

Seven thirty when I woke up this morning but I lingered until eightish then got some coffee.  I knew the plan for today.  Check on the Beast to see if it's going to cost me trillions and then head into Kardjali...I've been about a week now without butter and tuna and that's not good for a girl or me.  Did my chores before I decided to get smart for the city, wood in, ashes out, general sweep of the hall floor and terrace to get rid of the leaves that had accumulated after last night horrific winds.  No damage done though...the remains of the wreck is still standing and after all the metal that has gone into it there is only one wall that is in danger and that's coming down anyway over the next week or so that's if Chippie can stay off the 'sauce' and Bekir still wants to employ him.

Went to the car shop and I was faced with a challenge.  The owner's Jeep records distances in miles and he's only used to kilometres so he wanted to know the conversion.  So he had the calculator out and I know that it is five eighths of a mile but do you divide by eight and multiply by five or vice versa?  Eventually I got there and it was so that he could know the checks that needed to be doing on his Jeep and it was nothing to do with mine.  Mine is going to cost me...nothing.  Batteries are OK, it appears that it's the way that I start it up in a morning....I'm just not gentle enough with it according to the garage.

Into Kardjali and my first stop was my second hand clothes shop and I picked up a long skirt for five leva.  Then on to Billa.  So there I am wheeling my trolley and I caught eye contact with a man in there and he turned and said my name and I suddenly placed him as being someone from Bekir's village but I didn't know that he knew my name and I'd never spoken to him before. I'd sworn at him a few times when he drove like a maniac on his way to work but the next minute Bekir appears with his little bit of shopping.  He's a sweety and it's at times like that I wish I was fluent in Bulgarian and he probably wished that he spoke at least some words of English.  Both tongue tied we were.   I seemed to spend quite a lot in there but most on meat for the freezer so that I have things in.  When you walk into that shop the first thing you smell is the spit roast chicken and it had to be done so I came out, got in the car, opened up the bag and ate a leg with fresh bread.  It's what I used to have for supper when I was staying in the hotel opposite during my first days here.  Delicious.  And so next on to Lidl, got my butter and tuna, back to Djebel and picked up the things I'd forgotten.

So home....unpacked the car....relit the fire that was sort of hanging on.....Elaine Page singing her little heart out and I'm just about to organise The Hungry Caterpillar with a view to going through that tomorrow with the boys.  

Enough...don't want to bore you to death.  I'm about to do something with the rest of the chicken...fire is crackling so should be warm tonight.  We are threatened with minus two overnight, I don't think it's moved above zero today and such a cold wind....Have a good evening....mine's starting now....

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Elsa Peters
November 13, 2011, 3:36pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 13th November

Oh it's a cold one.  The wind has removed all of the polythene protection from the new walls and left it strewn around the garden.  So much for the bricks holding it up there.  Sally is going to love it tomorrow if this wind keeps up...it's the dread of his life.

Good, my wood in, my fire going ten to the dozen, prepared for my student(s) and no one appeared.  I'd got a marvellous lesson together of word cards and story time and zilch...oh well...another day.

Last night's supper has been combined with the chicken carcass and potatoes have been added and I'm really warming up to it.  The outside sofa or work bench as I call it has been moved in front of the wood burner and suitably attired in extra cushions and  fleece blankets and is now established as a work of art.  The chair that was there is in the kitchen and the extra wood burner is to go into operation tomorrow.  If this cold persists...it will be needed. The lads can make do with the bucket and timber....

Watching a film as we speak and watched one earlier that I had to go back to the credits to work out the plot when it had finished...why are some films so difficult.

So supper ready, heat retained within the curtain, more wood on the fire and I'm all set for the evening...LN...short post tonight...not much happened...it's Sunday after all said and done....LN and welcome home Danuta after world travels....
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Elsa Peters
November 14, 2011, 5:41pm Report to Moderator

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Monday 14th November

Snowflakes today so the men installed my kitchen wood burner in the second bedroom of the wreck.  I told them I was going to dock 50 stotinki from their salary for every hour I caught them slacking....no not really.  It was cold today so I was pleased that they had a refuge from the elements.  My lad from down the village spent more time in the refuge than the others and he wasn't even working here.  He has just come back from three months working in Turkey so I think his blood has thinned....but he drank my coffee, did help me in with one of the benches into the second bedroom and wouldn't pay up the fifteen stotinki for the coffee.... I reckon the coffee made up for the five minutes work.  AM's bedroom is now the refuge and will be again one day...she knows who I mean...

So what else?  The men have been busy in their metal factory and now there are only two columns to go and then we are on to the roof.  I'm thinking of going to Momchilgrad tomorrow to get my window people out for a measuring session.  I know virtually what I want...the only unknown is the second floor if there is to be one.  Angela it's your fault if you're listening....you mentioned about opening up the views and Sally is the other culprit.  We were on the roof and he commented about how good the view were from up there.  Let's just count the pennies....sod it...it has to be done.

I've investigated Sparklebox.com today in great length for my students and have downloaded lots of lovely stuff.   I found out the reason that they didn't turn up yesterday was because it was cold. It's winter...what do you expect?  

Made two curtains today out of a continental cover and a sheet.  The doors to the upstairs bedrooms are not going to get done while they have so much work to do outside so curtains up and tomorrow they get lined with polythene so that the air doesn't rush straight through them...needs as needs must.

Supper cooked, men home, logs stacked and burning brightly, curtains drawn against the elements...LN....time for drinkies....LN
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November 14, 2011, 8:22pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks Elsa.  I so enjoyed your cheeky comments.  Had a very lazy day doing nothing and am tired again!!!!  Not posted much on our other site either, so you know I will be in trouble.  Your house looks wonderful now.  I haven't read all your posts but have looked at the fantastic photos.  My photos of my travels should be on FB by the end of the week.  
I used to use Sparklebox a lot for resources when I was teaching and thought it was brilliant - lots of colour and I think it will suit your purpose very well.  
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Elsa Peters
November 15, 2011, 4:48pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 15th November

Oh and another cold one today.  I woke up at silly three o'clock and realised that I was too warm in my little bed so took off my second feather quilt and went back until 7.00am which was absolutely super.  I dragged myself out, made coffee, lit the fire, washed my face and put my work trousers on over my pj's threatening to shower later knowing that my hair wanted washing...my student today...  

Went to pick up the men...had a bonfire, pegged out the washing that needed wind dried instead of on the rack in the upstairs bathroom heated my the radiator.  All good stuff.  The men got the wood burner going in their little room, well actually A.M.'s little room and they told me to tell you that they are keeping it aired for you but appreciate that they are only squatters and with limited rights...believe me...this is Bulgaria and and it's mine.  It's turned into a regular little coffee shop and I might just start charging for the ones that don't work here.  There was a bit of a to do mid morning and my neighbour was chasing a calf up the street and my wasn't it shifting.  Found out that mother and calf had attacked Hotfoot's garden but had demolished the fence so out I went with my trusty tartan bag with nails, hammer, barbed wire, pincers and ordinary wire and mended the fence for her.  I am going to charge the cow farmer for the materials and labour....that should be about thirty pence then... .

Washed my hair but forewent the shower...I couldn't bear the thought of stripping off and warming up another set of clothes but I did get properly dressed.  Lesson went well....it was all about constellations and how they came to get their names so I learn something new every day.

Home at four thirty....more coffee for the men and I got the spaghetti bolognaise out that I made last night and managed four portions out of it and three for the freezer.  I liberally sprinkled some chilli into it just to give it a lift.  Caught Emaulet in AM's coffee shop today and told him that it was fifty stotinki entrance fee.  He asked me why so I told him that it was because he came round to get warm.  Caught the men by moonlight...well it would have been if there had been a moon...as it was caught them by inspection lamp in the AM room but as you can see, I was working them quite late and it's a good job that the flash kicked in.

So home now...men delivered safe and sound.  Bought the polythene today to line the upstairs 'curtains' posing as 'doors' until the men get time.  Supper keeping warm in the slow cooker, wine poured, update nearly complete and then...pasta on and supper.  LN.....LG in BG....

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Elsa Peters
November 16, 2011, 12:49pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 16th November

Really cold overnight...pots of water with ice about two inches thick and the hose pipe left full of water so the men had to start mixing concrete using buckets... Beautiful start to the day...I was out taking photos in my jim jams until I realised that it was really cold so took the next lot from my landing.

Men are enjoying the sun and no wood burner for them today.  My fire has gone out and the door is open with just the fly screen closed to keep me from those unwanted guests.  I've trimmed back some of the bushes on the fence line but I need a second effort but this time with a step ladder currently in use.  Bekir found a huge hedgehog asleep wrapped in the polythene in the old barn (little, little house) and despite the fact that they wanted to barbecue it I wouldn't let them so they decided to try to wake it up....firstly Chippy decided to try it with a little metal on metal but then Bekir thought that a different 'timbre' might do the trick but both to no avail.  Is this what I pay them for?.....So big beauty was carted down to the bottom of the garden under the walnut tree and covered with loads of leaves.  

Lots of concreting going on today and I think this has been renovated just in case there is an earthquake.  They might have heard it on the news where I might have missed it...   And it was up to 22 today....

So pickies so far today....

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Elsa Peters
November 16, 2011, 3:19pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday continued

Just had to capture the sunset...about to take the men home LN...

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