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Elsa Peters
December 16, 2011, 8:25pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 16th December

Short and sweet tonight.  I have just woken up with my supper on my knee...virtually.....must get my sleeping pattern sorted out.  I cooked a beef curry and the beef was as tough as old boots and I think that it was the effort of chewing it that made me nod off.

Woken up this morning by the rain and wind and thought that is was a poor day to send two men on to a roof or three if he turned up.  We ordered more ballast from the man and then I made my decision that I needed a Christmas tree so off Bekir and I went off to the woods armed with a shovel, a pick and a saw, in the rain may I add, to see what we could find.  Hardly anything.  The intention was to get one with roots and keep it going year after year but the only one that we could find was not perfect by any means.  I made the decision to saw it off and that it would do.  As I said it was pouring down and this could have influenced the decision..... the outcome....I have my tree erected, dressed and glowing with my Christmas lights, frog has got a pine frond hat and my daughter's present which arrived this afternoon is sitting under my tree.  I am going to deny all knowledge of how the tree got there if the local forest police arrive....it must have been the Christmas fairy...

So what else have I done?  I have tidied the roof of the wreck and collected three bags of offcuts for the fire which are now stored in my wood store.  Emaula and myself swept it off and I have a very clean building site but by the time we had finished it was too late to take pickies.  We sat around at the end of the day though, Bekir and Emaula with a bottle of beer and Sally with his red wine from my new Merlot stash and said goodbye to another week with the Christmas tree lights flashing and reminding us all that a New Year is round the corner. The men associate the tree with New Year...after all they are Muslim so the twenty fifth means nothing to them but I explained that it was my 'festival' so there will be presents under the tree for all of them that's if I get my ar*e into gear and buy them tomorrow when I head off for the highlights of Kardjali.

Enough tonight...I'll post pickies of the cleaned up roof tomorrow and it's definitely looking like a roof now that Sally has done his stuff today and Bekir has put in all the iron work to make sure that it doesn't end up on my Avatar's roof when the wind blows hard from Greece.  And over this weekend I really must design the roof terrace.  There is currently a hole or a three meter run where it will be and I need to make a decision as to how high the brick wall will be and the roof line.  I would like it to look similar to the big house but must get it down in PowerPoint so that we're all sure where we're going.

LN.....as I said pictures will be posted tomorrow.....I'm off to tend my fire, pour me a drink now that the antibiotics are finished and then get to bed.....I have a busy day tomorrow with shopping and my two new students and their mother....


  
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Elsa Peters
December 17, 2011, 6:22pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 17th December

Had a pretty late start this morning and didn't wake up until eight ten which for me is unheard of.  Fire still going but I did stick some coal on it last night and looked out towards the bottom of the garden and yes, you've probably guessed it...a bloody cow munching away.  So in my PJ's grabbed my cow stick and headed out to round it up when I saw that it had a couple of mates with it....and no sign of an entry point.  Got behind them and they went between the wreck and the barn and seemed to know where they were going...but did they.  The gate was shut so the leader turned round going back where it had come.  Now I park my car in front of the main gate so into the house, got the keys, moved the car leaving the gateway clear, back into the garden with the gate now open and headed the bast**rds out.  Did another reckie of the garden and still no entry point spotted and it was only when I was making my way to Djebel to get some antibiotics for my neighbour that I noticed that they seem to have demolished part of my front wall.  It looks like they needed crampons to get in and obviously didn't relish the fact that they would have to leave the same way.   Avatar came round with some lovely warm banichkas (sort of fried filo thing) stuffed with tomato sauce and cheese and a dish of yogurt.   Absolutely delicious and only remembered to take a picture just before I popped in the last two mouthful.

Weather today really gusty winds so it's as well that Bekir did the metal work on the roof yesterday.  Cleaned the house today ready for the holiday and had my new students round this afternoon with mother.  Unfortunately they live in Kardjali so I won't be seeing them all the time.  We've arranged that if I am going in, I will phone and likewise when they are staying with Grandma in the village they will phone.  I introduced her to Superteacherworkbook website, showed her the material that I use and recommended that she did the same.  I did a lesson with them and we read a story and the eldest managed to translate it for his mother into Bulgarian.  Nice boys and they both read very well but it's the comprehension that is missing but with a few hand signals and the occasional dip into the dictionary, they both found the story amusing.  Shaggy dog and the terrible itch...and a roaming flea.

So it was at this point that I went into Djebel...got the antibiotics, some more lights for the tree and shiny balls, popped into the restaurant and had a few quick words with my restaurant lady and then back home.  Fire stoked up tonight...not in the mood for food yet and that curry from last night I don't think I've got the strength to eat it...the meat is so tough.  Might just fish it out and use the sauce with some other meat.

Update complete, kitchen calls, glass needs a refill, fire needs a log and I need to get my camera from downstairs to post a picture....or two so took a few more while I was at it....and please note the present under the tree from my darling Princess....LN...I've things to do...



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Elsa Peters
December 18, 2011, 6:38pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 18th December

So was woken up this morning by horrendous high winds and rain.  Last night we had a thunderstorm so it was as well that we had battened down the hatches and tied the roof on.  Looked out of my winter downstairs bedroom window and noticed that the leeks that I had heeled in had been bloody uprooted by the cows and I hadn't noticed before.  Out I went, salvaged what I could so I was making leek and potato soup at about nine this morning.  I delivered the antibiotics and my lovely lady was swathed in headscarves and all I could see were the eyes.  In my humorous way I plonked my new hat on top of everything and at this my Avatar was laughing so as the hat was removed I put it on my Avatar's head on top of her headscarf telling her how warm it was.  Went back home, finished off and blended the soup, washed Avatar's dishes from yesterday and delivered half of the piping hot soup for her in my T-Mobile thermal beaker.  

Sorted out some books, got two jars of my jam and headed out for my Sunday roast and what a pleasant day I have had.  One of their neighbours apparently was waiting for me at the end of the road in the cafe thinking that I was turning up in the Beast but instead I took Beauty and he arrived at the house to complain that I hadn't made it.  'I was looking for a jeep' he says....and I explained that the little car takes a little benzine while the jeep takes a lot of diesel.  After looking at the road surface though...think I should have taken the biggie....I am spoilt living on a tarmac road.  Roast beef, caramalised potatoes, onions and carrots, normal carrots, green stuff (that I gave a miss), mashed potatoes and really tasty gravy.  Tiramisu to follow and I was hoping that I didn't get breathalyzed on the way back, after all, I did forego the wine.

Home at seven thirty to find three bloody cows in my garden and I still don't know the entry point.  Got them out but tomorrow morning I'm going to be on guard from six and watch the frontiers.  I't a bit like the immigrant's waiting at that French port for a passing lorry to take them to the land of plenty and welfare heaven except that there is lots of food in my garden but a bloody great stick awaits at their peril.  Out they went and tomorrow I get the barbed wire out and it's along my front fence....the only side that doesn't have it so just you wait...

No food tonight...I'm stuffed and guess what...I have an invitation for Christmas lunch which is well received...snow willing, I will be there with my boots blacked and came back with three books so I'm all set in my lead up to the festive season..

LN...I have the Boadicea trilogy waiting so here goes for part one....
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Elsa Peters
December 18, 2011, 10:28pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday continued

Why am I undated with cows this time of night.   The bastards have decided that my garden is good for food and trespassed every border.  Now I am getting angry.  I have moved the beast to stop the access but it doesn't...I have now put the wheelbarrow across the access point.  Let's see what tomorrow brings..bastards....barbed wire tomorrow....I shouldn't be chasing cows at twelve thirty at night'.......
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Elsa Peters
December 19, 2011, 10:00am Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 19th December

That was an angry post but yes, I was angry....so far today...no intruders.

Well I wasted an hour of my life this morning.  Bekir didn't phone so I set off despite there being a light covering of snow which I though would just see itself off as quickly as it had arrived since it wasn't cold.  Heading out to the main road it was getting a little worse and as I hit the high altitude spot of the journey the road wasn't looking very good at all and I was doubting why I was going to pick them up.  The road to their village was pretty bad so I waited for them to appear from the warm cafe, they got in the car and it was obvious that Sally was not looking forward to the day.  I had visions that if it carried on even at the rate it was falling it was going to be a pig of a journey at night.  So out they got and you could see the relief on Sally's face since he's not one for rain, damp or wind.  Bekir is going to phone tomorrow if he thinks it's good enough.

So home I came, was working away upstairs checking up on a couple of websites and my hotfoot neighbour came round to ask me if I was going into Djebel to the Monday market.  I didn't really understand what she wanted so we went to see my Avatar, the translator and intermediary.  As it happens, she wanted to go to the market to buy a gas hob.  Hers is old apparently but I'd done enough miles this morning and I offered to get her one tomorrow from the shop when I went to Djebel for my student.  I told her it was about fifty leva but she thought that this was expensive and that the market would be cheaper.  She'll have to wait for the Friday market.  I did feel bad though since she gave me a pair of hand knitted woollen socks and wouldn't accept any money for them.  

It's sleeting now so it was a good call this morning...tomorrow promises white cloud but dry so all back to normal. Got Annie Lennox belting out, fire going and a book on the go.....bliss...



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Elsa Peters
December 19, 2011, 4:45pm Report to Moderator

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Monday continued

Now my hot foot neighbour made me feel even worse.  She came round and delivered hot rice stuffed cabbage and stuffed vine leaves which she insisted I 'yash, yash' (eat, eat) there and then.  I transferred them to my bowl and off she trotted.  Now I detest cabbage at the best of times apart from when it is fried/braised in butter and oil mainly because boiled cabbage always reminds me of the smell of the school canteen.  So I took a spoon and a fork, picked the rice out of the parcels and ate it but left the greenery at the side of the dish.  The rice was tasty but they do seem to use a lot of fat in the cooking.  Upside....I don't have to cook tonight.

So.....back to my book which I am slowly getting into.  The last set of books I read such as Alexander the Great and Caesar were easy reading but there's a lot of descriptive text so far in this one with a slow story line.  

Bring on the gore...LN
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Elsa Peters
December 20, 2011, 4:52pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 20th December

Oh what a pig of a day weather wise...I seem to forget that it is December though but the poor men today ended up like little drowned rats and so much so that I have taken in washing tonight...washed it and it's drying in my unfinished upstairs bathroom as we speak.

Not much happened today.  I phoned them this morning to see if they could work since it was pretty damp here and they said they were game for a laugh.  The work today consisted of continuing on the brickwork on the under eaves and thank goodness Bekir got stuck in and it's more or less complete.  Next stage is getting the wood nailed on the roof, then hardboard (I never understand why)...bitumen and then the tiles but I have this feeling that the tiles can wait until the New Year and that might even stretch into February according to the weather.

Had my student today and we had quite a giggle.  We were doing a word search about Christmas and I started singing one of the Christmas songs, he rushed to get his music book and the words were in English so we had a little sing song.  There was also the Bulgarian version but I gave that a miss...I told him about Santa Claus and how we hang up stockings on the twenty fifth leaving out a glass of sherry and mince pies for Santa and  carrots for the reindeer.  I also mentioned hanging up stockings and he put the actions to it...like holding his nose for the old socks and Santa weaving about after all that hooch.  He did say 'you know that Santa isn't real' and I replied that he was and we had a 'yes he is', 'no he isn't' little session.  The lesson might not be on for Thursday if the weather does what it has threatened...heavy snow Wednesday night and Thursday and light snow on Friday...just have to wait and see.  He's actually Muslim so their time for sharing gifts is New Year.  

As I said...men's work gear washed and drying....I'm thinking about going down and concocting something in the kitchen, there is glass of red at my elbow, the book is livening up a bit so it's the sofa for me with my feet up this evening.

LN.....I'm hoping for fine weather tomorrow...we need to get some protection on the roof so that it doesn't resemble a swimming pool....enjoy your evening....
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Elsa Peters
December 21, 2011, 3:30pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 21st December

Silly o'clock again this morning....just couldn't manage to get back off again so knocked off a few chapters of my book and had finished emails by six a.m.  Waited for the dawn to come up and there was a feint glimmer of that big bright object that appears when it seems to feel like it these day and after yesterday, it was a welcome surprise.

Men had changed restaurants this morning...well they were fifty yards away at the new one and I asked why.  The response was that it was a GERB restaurant as opposed to the other political party that most people here support.  I asked Sally what he was doing in it and he said that he had started off in the former one and had only popped into Bekir's to dig him out when I arrived.

Handed them their freshly laundered work clothes this morning and they were warm as they came straight off the bathroom radiator.  By eleven this morning they had finished most of the brickwork apart from where we have to work out where the sun terrace is going.  I suggested they ordered more bricks and they should be arriving on today's wagon....that's if it turns up.  The rest of the day has been hammering the timbers on to cover the rafters and they are chugging along nicely with it.  Good call to have a roof terrace / upstairs lounge.  No way could I have blocked out those views but I'll leave you to make your minds up about it.
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Elsa Peters
December 21, 2011, 5:38pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday continued

Sorry....didn't get round to posting the pictures, there was a bloody cow in the garden that smashed through a wooden barrier and a wheelbarrow...they are persistent.  So left you to chase it out and everything was OK but then I focused on helping remove the shuttering from the new ceiling in the lounge of the wreck so that they could use it on the roof since the lorry with the rest of the supplies didn't arrive.  I might even deduct 10% of the cost for not delivering on time....result....I then went back to reinforcing the boundaries to stop that bastard cow yet again and moved one of the scaffolding supports in to place and thought that 'job was a guddun' so to speak.

So back to the PC and everything was on track...photos reduced in size and again noticed the same bloody cow back in the garden but by this time the light was failing.  One of my neighbours had come to speak to Bekir and left the gate open so with my torch and cow stick I went into the garden, chased it as I thought but it hadn't come out the other end.  Up the passage way I went between the wreck and my barn and it was only settling down for the night in the first barn.  Got my torch on it, made a noise, by this time the men were changed and Bekir was wondering what all the fuss was about and Sally said that it had 'left the premises' which I knew it hadn't.  Long and short of it...I eventually got it out, Bekir chased it up the road and I had a great idea to put it in it's owner's garden (Semile) but Bekir wouldn't let me.

Men home, me home, wall reinforced, gate shut, fire glowing, supper cooking, cow chased up the road and a glass of the red stuff by my side.  Let's hope that the weather as provided by the BBC weather for Kardjali is wrong...I don't want snow tonight or tomorrow....LN....



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Elsa Peters
December 22, 2011, 9:34am Report to Moderator

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Thursday 22nd December

Slept in until six thirty this morning and thought I would check the weather by popping my head round the curtain.  The BBC weather man was right....I have a whiteout and it's still coming down.  Currently we have about six inches but drifting in places but all is safely gathered in...plenty to eat and drink so it can do its worse.  

As you've guessed no men....and I'm just hoping that that's not it for this year, not that there's much left of it.  The snow seems to go as quickly as it comes so we'll have to wait and see.

Updating early today since we've just had two mini-powercuts in that they didn't last long.  Trouble is with central heating that you need the electricity to run the UPS  to run the pump and the UPS will last for a couple of hours and then it's empty out the heater.  So my next job is to get the backup going in the kitchen so if push comes to shove, I've got one room that will be heated.

Just a few pickies of this morning...can't see much exciting happening today....so I could be in for a very restful day without the cow brings a JCB down.  So I might be (wo) manning the barricades and playing the sound track to Les Mis at the same time...



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