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Elsa Peters
June 15, 2015, 5:56pm Report to Moderator

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Monday 15th June

Well I didn't sleep downstairs last night I made my way to the guest room and managed there.  It's so nice I have a choice of bedrooms and vistas.  Five thirty start and walking downstairs I noticed that the sun was tying to sneak up on me so I grabbed the camera and got it bang to rights.  I sat out on the terrace with my coffee and viewed my surroundings and what a peaceful morning it was.  The birds were chirping away and I had nothing else to think about in my little world.

Out to pick up the men at seven thirty and switched the cars around so that I took Beauty.  The Beast remained in the lane, I wasn't sure if I had to fetch bags of cement or not.  As it happened, it the first job for tomorrow and I need another thirty meters of hose pipe so that they can get the water down to the wall and not have to mix it half way down the garden.  I suggested to Bekir that we got another workman in today to mix cement and carry stone down to where it's needed.  Emula was not in the offing but his brother was and what a good worker he is and he's back tomorrow.  I was out with the strimmer and cleared some of the high weeds at the bottom of the garden and came in once my battery was flat...well not mine but the one on the strimmer.  It's looking much better down there.

So what have they done!!  The trench is halfway dug and we have stone footings in place.  We're not entirely sure that we have enough to do the wall entirely of stone but we shall see.  There is lots around the garden and on the hillside so we might have to go looking for it.  It will be a shame to finish it off in breeze blocks...and it might be down to me to insist and I will.  Fortunately this afternoon the clouds came over and the temperature dropped.  It was up into the thirties around lunchtime but then the wind got up and it was pleasant apart from the fact that the thunder rumbled and the lightening struck out on the hillside.  I finished sanding down my clothes hanging pole and painted it ready to go back up...it's now sitting in the garage drying off.  More wall building tomorrow and I'm hoping that the cows are in for the night...there is no barbed wire between me and the hillside....On the way home though we did see Semile and I think Bekir suggested that he keeps his cows in tonight so that I'm not troubled by them....we shall see.

Chilled tonight with high clouds and tomorrow is supposed to be manageable....but I'd love to know what's happened to our summer...LN....I think I have found a new book series and I'll report back...LN.

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Elsa Peters
June 16, 2015, 6:57pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 16th June

Five start and the sun was up and then it was gone....and it was playing hide and seek,  Over to pick up the men and we were into Djebel for just after eight.  I stopped off for fuel, over to the cashpoint and forgot and put my expired card in and.....transaction refused...so used the right card and had money to get the cement that they were needing today.  I'd only got Beauty so it took two bags in the boot, stopped at the bakers and got breakfast for all of us with yogurt drinks and home for about eight thirty just as my third workman was arriving.  I think he was most surprised to breakfast provided...I think he's getting to like it here.  I'd forgotten to get bread while I was in Djebel so managed to stop the magazine and ended up in my Avatar's garden with another neighbour and spent a very happy half hour with them.

The men chugged on with the wall and I watched them for a while.  We came to the decision that there wasn't going to be enough stone for all of it so I want the bit that I see on the inside to be stone, the outside can be breeze block which matches the rest anyway.  Those blasted martins have been working hard to get their little homes established on the under eaves on the back of my house.  I was out there shooing them off but tomorrow we're going to hang a CD so it buggers up their flight and frightens them off.  Poor Bekir needs to go up on the roof armed with hammer and a couple of nails in case he drops one to get it dangling and there is no fnar...about it.  If it stops chirpy, chirpy cheep cheeps then I'm up for it.  My solution was to remove the stuff that they've started with, spray a cloth with fly spray and clean what they've built already....I'll know by tomorrow if that worked or not but the CD might just be the solution.

Thunder and lightening and torrential rain hit us about twelve thirty so rain stopped play for the men more or less.  I went into Djebel in the Beast to get another four bags of cement, over to the car shop and picked up clothes that are going to charity and delivered them to Gouldjan at the school.  More fuel for the Beast and I seem to have pushed out a lot of cash today.   Delivered Gouldjan home...now that school has finished and there is no school bus...she's grateful that we managed to get her home in quicksticks.  I made nardenitsa, onions and chili as a snack but I ate it with bread and I'm sure it will do me until morning...

Just had an outage...power went off and back on and I thought I'd lost the post....thank you Google Chrome...you saved it and restored it...I love you.

Rain stopped and men started, wall is cracking on and same again tomorrow with my third worker.  Dropped the men back and bought a couple of bottles of beer and one of them was for the travelling bottle that goes between Mrs D of S and myself...as it stands I'm two in credit.  Chewed the fat with her in the garden for a while...took the photos of the sunset as I drove back through the forest.  I love this country for its sunrises and sunsets and all in between.  Snacking on cheese biscuits with a little mastica....almost time for bed said Doogle....LN from my Magic Roundabout...

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Elsa Peters
June 17, 2015, 4:53pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 17th June

So the thunder is still thundering and the lightening still sending its conductors to earth and I won't be long on this update.

The morning started off well and it looked set to be a good day.I fetched the men and Bekir got in the breakfast from the van and I provided the coffee.  It got gradually warmer or rather hotter and the wall continued.  I got the strimmer out and got more of the bottom of the garden tamed until I ran of juice and so I started on the garden under my special tree, cleared the weeds and put in a couple of nasturtiums.  Off they went for lunch and at two it started.  It got black over Joe's mother so to speak, it looked like it was raining over Kardjali and then it hit us.  Torrential ran, thunder and lightening and hail....and so much for my vege garden.but looking it at it post downpour...not much has happened to it.

I got the coffee on the go and we sat in the garage until it got so cold that we moved into the workshop.  And it poured and it poured and I almost suggested that they start building an ark but it would have got lost in translation.  Avatar came round in a bit of a state.  The rain had forced its way through the roof tiles and she was waterlogged again.  She wanted Bekir and Sally to mend her roof...I think they have too much on but I've insisted that Bekir tells her that.

Men home...if it looks feasible then they will be here tomorrow otherwise we all have a day off.....Paid off my third worker ...I think he needed the cash and may I say he is worth paying...Even when the men can't work I shall be calling on him.  I had a good lunch so I'm on cheese and biscuits tonight, I've just put the boiler on and I'm going for a leisurely soak any time now...my feet are a disgrace having spend the day in the garden in shoes that I should know better than but they happened to be handy.  LN....I'm looking out and everything looks remarkably green but I wish it didn't when I'm trying to get a wall built...LN

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Elsa Peters
June 18, 2015, 8:13pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday 18th June

Well what a lovely day.  Slept well until six thirty and didn’t hear the mosque chanting out this morning and it’s the start of the no food and drink during the hours of daylight.  Some will try it, few will fail but they are normally the very young with conviction or the very old that are soon to be facing their maker.

Got my phone call from Bekir this morning to say that the weather was not good and so I decided that I didn’t want to pay for them standing around again.  I think in the UK we would multitask and look for the next job on the list…here it’s very much tunnelled vision.

With no men to worry about I phoned the Librarian to see if she wanted to come out to play.  My plan was Haskovo and the nursery and she was up for it.  She arrived just before ten and off we set, it was hissing down with rain and heavy mist on the way there but we went through all of the obstacles and arrived at the nursery …in a torrential downpour.  We were given a lady to go round with us that remembered us from the time before but I was left to my own devices when the rain really started to come down.  Bulgarians don’t do well in the rain…English don’t mine…it’s what we’re used to.  So bought lost of plants and shrubs mainly for planting along the new wall and I had a lovely time.  Absolutely soaked we carried on to our friend’s home that we hadn’t seen before in one of the villages along the route and had coffee with them.  Stopped off at a fish restaurant and we had carp, salad and cheesy chips with drinks for the grand total of twenty one lev…..approximately nine pounds…fantastic.

Back to Lidl in Kardjali, Djebel and home…Sorted out the plants and sent the Librarian on her way, unpacked the Beast and tomorrow I have lots of planting to do.  

We’ve had a lovely day despite the weather…men are with me tomorrow and I reckoned what I spent on my plants would have been the same for them sitting around for the day because of the weather….Bonus all round for me.  I’ve just had supper of spicy sausage cooked in the pan and eaten with bread…it will do for tonight.

So LN…I’m off to my bed to prepare for another day…LN..but it appears that my service provider has other plans…sorry if you’ve not been able to get in…I’ve been doing my stuff at this end…LN

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Elsa Peters
June 19, 2015, 8:26pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 19th June

Woke up at six but dog dozed and sprung to life at seven thirty realising that I had ten minutes to get washed, dressed and out for the men.  I was a little late...the road was fairly washed out now that they've stripped the asphalt off it with all the rain we've had and it was a mud slide down in the forest.  I was only about five minutes late but they were up for action and Bekir had filled his day yesterday with sheep work and Sally had done home work...It was too wet to be out in the fields.

Back home and opened up shop and it was on with the breeze blocks, no third worker today since there was a lot of 'bitsa' work and I think they wanted to start the next part of the wall on Monday.  If they'd have cleared the site today it would have been very open to the bovine beasties and as it was, I had a couple in when the men took lunch.  I got the strimmer on the go and cleared part of the grass until my battery ran out from plantain heads that bash on you legs as you walk down the garden.

Planted up the new lavender and the 'Bleeding Heart' from the ones that I got yesterday.  I'm a bit stuck with some of the others since they're going against the wall so they'll be fine for a week or so in the pots.  I did tackle the lilac bed and got rid of some of the poppies that were beginning to look very straggly and in their place I've put the new big daisy plant that should take over the bed nicely.  There's still some work to do on it but I've uncovered more zinnia, marigolds and hollyhocks and  they've now been re-sited...after they've spend all that effort growing, I have a hard job just getting rid of them.  As I was digging over the bed I came across some buried eggs.  They weren't very big but I haven't managed yet to find out what they are or rather were.  While I will save the souls of plants...I have no qualms about getting rid of what Bekir thought were snake eggs.   As the men were working down the bottom of the garden on the wall ...I stood and watched for a while and had a little chuckle to myself,  They were on the outside of the wall and first one popped his head up then disappeared, then the other.  Sometimes there were two of them and sometimes none and it rather reminded me of a Punch and Judy show and I kept waiting for the policeman to turn up or a butcher with a string of sausages...now that would be nice.  The concrete pillar went in to finish the corner of the wall and then they both started on pointing up the blocks on the long wall so that I can get some planting going.  I thought I'd have a go at it and did...very therapeutic.... but I wouldn't make a living at it....

Washed and changed, pen home and over to my student's parents house for supper.  Lovely evening with the family working in three languages and all learning a few words of the other.  The elder sister is an enthusiastic listener and wants translation of everything.  She didn't eat with us, she's doing her daily fasting so we watched for the light on the mosque to signify that she could now sit down to supper but can't eat after three ten tomorrow morning.  She gave me a chart with all the details and the prayer times...I'll be sticking to that then....

So home...a lovely drive through the forest and there isn't a cloud in sight...stars out, fireflies out and soon it will be lights out.  Nothing planned for tomorrow...rain is forecast but they've been wrong before and I'll just have to wait and see.  I'm putting plants in so it's as well really.  LN...my bed is calling...LN

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Elsa Peters
June 20, 2015, 8:02pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 20the June

Such a gentle morning.  I was still awake at six thirty but I had nothing to get up for and even the coffee didn't drag me out until seven thirty.  It was a lovely morning and it looked like it might be another hot one and it was until the clouds started to role over at about two this afternoon.  Went out on the balcony and noticed that the cows were coming over the hill and it made me smile knowing that the fence was doing its stuff.  They were going along at a gentle pace when suddenly I noticed one going hell for leather and realised that it was being chased by Jaylan's horse.  The horse raced down to the lake and suddenly the rest of the cow in front were off and there were shouts from the ones leading the sheep down to the man who was heading the cows up to stop the cows careering down the hillside to the new Greek road, totally the opposite direction than they were being driven.  He eventually turned them and now they were running in the opposite direction and nobody had opened the gate to where they were supposed to be going.  More activity ensued and the horse was moved away from he herd and told to go home but it just stood there wondering what all the fuss was about.  Meanwhile there were more verbal exchanges as the sheep farmer who also owns the cows was viewing this from the top of the hill as he brought the sheep out,  Fun and games at OK Corral,  As all this was taking place the stork flew overhead and I managed to catch it.

So I was out with my strimmer by eight and used it until the battery ran out again and cleared another third of the lawn,  It was very wet underfoot and not from the rain but from a heavy dew and it was hard going for the strimmer and the bits were flying everywhere and sticking.  Breakfast was fried tomatoes on toast and that's the first time this year.  Got a load of washing in and pegged it out and decided that the cucumbers needed a cage so that they didn't loll everywhere so out with the wood, nails and measuring stick and constructed the frame for it.  Finished it off by lashing heavy duty string round it held in place by hasps.  It looks to be working well.  

Next job was to try and get the mower working but it failed to start so after lunch I looked for the engine manual and managed to find it and the intention was to take the machine into the garage but I managed to find a telephone number for a service centre in Kardjali.  By this time the battery had recharged so I did some more of the lawn and then went to Djebel taking the manual with me and asked my student's mum if she would phone the service centre for me to find out where they were but the telephone was dead and 'nobody home'.  I sat with her for a while and yet again she's suffering from the pollen and sneezing her little head off, I borrowed a tool to remove the plug from the mower, over to the cash machine, chicken and jacket in for supper, watched the tennis until rain stopped play and fell asleep watching Gardener's World.  I think it's down to the early morning starts and it won't be long before I'm tucked up tonight.  

Nothing on the agenda so far.  If the weather is good I might head over to the Librarian's village for a swim at the local hotel or maybe work on the mower, get the spark plug out of it and get that sorted.  LN...I'm heading for bed...LN

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Elsa Peters
June 21, 2015, 4:57pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 21st June

This could be a quick update...the electricity has only just come back on and it might just be one of those nights.  There was a bit of a panic since it had got so cold this afternoon that I lit the wood burner but when the power went off I had to transfer to logs to the little burner in the kitchen and it's fire irons and a metal bowl and I always dread doing it but anyway....it all worked out OK.  As it stands it can finish off in the kitchen, I'm not moving it back in case it goes off again...it would be just my luck.

So what an eventful night last night.  I was awakened at about three thirty this morning by drums banging and people shouting and I wondered what the heck was going on.  There was no fire engine or police car in sight so I thought someone was having a heck of a party and wondered where my invitation was and went back to bed.  I managed to get off again but was up at six thirty, saw a little pink in the sky but apart from that it looked pretty drab.  At ten I thought it was about time that I did something so another battery of the strimmer was emptied and back on charge to finish the top of the lawn.  I went and go the scythe from the workshop and attacked the bottom of the garden but it was all too wet, tried a bonfire to get rid of the cement bags and that wasn't really successful so I settled for sorting out the tomatoes that had put on so much unnecessary growth that I ended up being very ruthless with them.  They look rather like the sheep in spring when a blunt knife's been used.  A few tomatoes have set and this should give them more of a fighting chance and then I hoisted the cucumbers onto the supports and I have one that I plucked today of a decent size and three others that just need to fill out a bit.  It's such a pity that I don't like them but the men will eat them.

Suddenly the clouds came over and the wind built up into a raging gale so I battened down anything that needed it, put my toys away and came in and it was then that I lit the fire.  I made a coffee and sat reading my gardening books that tell me where I'm going wrong and decided that the television and the Andy Murray final from Queens was quite a good bet and it was going well but Filmon froze on the last point of the last set played and then the power went off and it was action stations with the wood burner.

Just had a shower in daylight just incase it didn't come on and I can now get the hairdryer going so that I don't go to bed with wet hair.  Cold chicken for supper but I've not done so bad today...my breakfast was bacon, fried potato left over from last night with an egg...Sunday treat but there again everyday could be a Sunday for me.  Men in the morning and down to the materials yard to pay the last bill and order more breeze blocks and cement and it's the big push to get the bottom done, stone faced and capped.  LN...I've managed it and keeping fingers crossed while I post the photos...LN

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Elsa Peters
June 22, 2015, 6:27pm Report to Moderator

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Monday 22nd June

So that bloody tin tray was out again at three thirty this morning telling my Muslim friends that they better get their breakfasts quick before the sun comes up...I'm going down to Semile's house in the morning at two thirty and to tell him that the party was great and I won't be eating for a few days....I've never had this before but apparently they are getting paid for doing the banging of the whatever it is they bank...I am tempted to go go out in the morning to capture it on video.

Eventually back to sleep again and woke up at just before seven.  The sun had beaten me but it was closely followed by mist and I set off in fog to pick up the men.  Firstly into Djebel though and the cash points were so busy that it delayed me by five minutes or so but I wasn't too late.  Down to the materials yard and paid my last bill and the men were so impressed that I calculated it straight to the stotinki...well Sally was impressed any way.  Into the office and ordered the cement, on to the shop and picked up enough of the coffee for the men and into the cafe for free coffee.  Comes of being a good customer.

Home and the third was waiting by the well at the top of the village and I picked him up and out we got to set them to today's task.  We are half the way along the short wall and the canal had to be dug and we are at the stage that the stone can be laid.  I had a brilliant day in the garden.  The lilac bed was full of weeds and now it's weed free.  The poppies had hidden te bindweed...no poopies so the bindweed had to go along with all the other weeds.  Planted it up with zinnia from the bottom stash and others from the market garden and it's looking good.

Got the bonfire going eventually and it's still chugging along now...Men home, no barbed wire on the perimeter fence tonight so I pity the poor buggers that get in...The shotgun is primed.  Came home and strimmed until I ran out of battery...I really must get the biggie out to see if I can manage it.  Fish fingers and chippies for supper with mayo and tomato sauce and suffice to say I'm stuffed and ready for bed and my three thirty alarm call....LN....it's been a good day...LN

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Elsa Peters
June 23, 2015, 7:33pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 23th June

So the banging of the drum to signify that breakfast was over at 3.30 this morning was obviously not given to the village inebriate...it was a much quieter event but unfortunately I still woke up at four this morning and ended up playing with my DS until five and then spent the next couple of hours trying to sleep but still be awake to pick up the men.  Six fifty start and walked the garden with my morning cup of coffee and then out on time.

Back with the men but realised that when counting out their wages for last week that I was twenty lev short because I paid for the cement yesterday.  Ordered some sand and gravel and gave Bekir the money to pay for it and into the Beast and over to the cash machine.  I do not like any debt hanging over me.  Into the garage shop and laughed and joked with my student and his mother and mentioned to the father that I'd come in the Beast to see if he could take it for a test drive.  He was about to but then pressure of work and he gave me the advice to lay off the accellerator if I thought that it was having a problem changing up and to reapply and that should correct the issue.  It's all to do with horses under the bonnet so to speak..

Men still working on the wall and I was out there with the strimmer and my new machine for trimming bushes ...fnagh, fnagh.  It did a good job and the trimmings went on to the bonfire that is still going tonight.  The third workman is really good and despite the sun today ...he kept at it.  Hot today....Bekir took his afternoon nap and I sat with Sally and chewed over the fat....Sally has soul....

So men home...I have three again tomorrow so that they can get the breeze blocks up and then we are on to the stone facing of the breeze block wall with a concrete topping.  After that there is other work but the last side of the wall won't be completed in this session.....it is too hot to be wall building at this time of year despite the fact that it's not like normal years.  

Dropped the men off and went to see Ms D or S since it's on my way home.  It's nice to have a conversation in English where you don't have to think about converting it into another language.  The sun on the way home through the forest was fantastic and I managed to catch the last rays....and out in the garden tonight my fire was still going so I stayed and took a few photos of my garden and sky at night.  The mosque kicked off as did the dogs joined in with the chorus...there's something magic about this place in the world...LN

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Elsa Peters
June 24, 2015, 6:06pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 24th June

Well I slept through the Ramazan 'put the food away' reminder and made my way into the world at ten to seven.  I took my coffee out to the garden and just enjoyed the morning, the morning was gentle and there was warmth in the sun for once.  I gave myself ten minutes to get washed, dressed and out to the car and off I set to fetch the men,  They were ready and it was the normal greeting of 'Dober sutrine from Sally and his normal response of so-so when I asked him how he was.  I said that if he told me that he was fantastic then I would probably have a heart attack...I just wouldn't be expecting it.

Straight into the wall building with the third man delivering stone, mixing the cement and supporting the men,  I supported them all with coffee and I had a couple of visitors this morning who are pensioners moving back to the village from Turkey.  They were some of the ones who left as part of the exodus but are coming back to renovate old family properties.  

This morning I started sorting out the third bedroom and decided that the old bathroom shelf was destined for downstairs and I'm making it into a proper sewing table with a sliding basket to take all the bits.  Bekir did come to my aid with the electric drill to take the screws out while I knocked seven bells out of it to remove the nails.  This afternoon I cut up the wood to make the other legs and supports for the top and Friday is the day for planing the wood....I need to make it better than it was before.  Work continued on the wall and by the end of the day we are there with the breeze blocks.  Tomorrow it's getting the stone down to the bottom of the garden and the frontage doing but at least it is cow and sheep proof...the bovine bastards are out...yeah....and then its the concrete lid to go on it and then it's down to me to make it look as I want it.  

Men home....I went into the shop in their village and bought a bottle of Ariana and as I saw the local boys buying choc ices...it had to be done.  Lovely drive home, got in just before seven, watered the garden and turned round and notice the sunset...it was beautiful.  LN....supper was a half tin of beef pate and toast...it fitted the bill tonight...LN

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My Diary by Elsa Peters (only location)

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