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Elsa Peters living a new life in Bulgaria    General Boards    My Diary by Elsa Peters  ›  SEPTEMBER 2017
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Elsa Peters
September 20, 2017, 5:39pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 20th September

It was a night for sleeping on top of the quilt with the sheet...it was a hot one.  Having said that the dawn was gentle, the sun came up behind the clouds and eventually broke through.  I went out to the terrace to have my coffee and it was quite cool out there but not uncomfortable.  I was joined by Scruffy my woody foraging in the grass again and eventually he made his way to the tea tree half way up the garden and with the lens on top magnification I managed to catch him.  He did oblige though by moving on to my fir tree and it was so close I could here him moving about.  He was joined by one of the others on the top of the tree but then they both suddenly took off and left the tree to the pied fly catcher who bounded between the washing line. the tree and the ground.  I must have been out there for about half an hour just absorbing the activity.

Boiled eggs for breakfast...I read somewhere that they will keep you going all day and they did.  I managed to weed the path down by the big wall and dug it over so that the water can be absorbed quicker and it doesn't run off.  I moved on to the bottom of the garden and put a little bit of effort into the stony area that I'm clearing but I didn't stay out there long.  I was perspiring so I came in and got settled into my book.  I posted a few pickies to Facebook, did my Sudoku, got my head down and was out there at five with hose in hand and got the garden watered early and it sure needed it.  Despite valiant efforts I wasn't able to capture clearly the very large humming moths that came round the garden at sundown.  The camera shutter stayed shut for too long so the image is not clear at all.  Unfortunately the Canon cable is knacked and the new one should be arriving tomorrow...it makes it difficult to get them on to the computer.

So I've got the rest of the mince for tonight...it's been a fruit day after the eggs for breakfast.  I want to take a few pounds off...the activity levels have been down with the high temperatures that we've had.  Sorry for those suffering in the UK for moaning about it....it's been a long time without rain.  LN....Eggheads calls....LN

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Elsa Peters
September 21, 2017, 4:49pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday 21st September

Very disturbed night...at four this morning there was thunder, lightning and torrential rain.  I normally leave the curtains and the door open but I was pleased I'd closed the door last night.  The wind was howling, the rain was lashing and so I snuggled down and managed to get off until seven again and all we were left with were clouds.  There was just a gig band of grey with a reddish twinge over towards Turkey but still a fair amount of blue out there.  I took my coffee out on to the terrace and managed to find a dry cushion to put on the metal chair, picked up the secateurs and dead headed the zinnias so that they keep flowering.

I made a phone call so that my wood could be ordered and decided to take a trip into Djebel to have some cash in the house to pay for it if it was delivered today.  As I got the Beast out of the drive I noticed one of the local ladies walking towards the house so I cleared the back seat guessing that she was off somewhere which entailed a fairly long walk,  I approached her as she got nearer the gate and asked her if she wanted a lift anywhere.  Her little face lit up and I helped her into the back seat,,,she was off to visit her sister in one of the local villages.  She was over from Turkey, had gone out for the seven o'clock bus which in fact left at six thirty and had waited in the bus shelter but had had no luck with anyone heading in her direction.  We carried on towards Djebel and as we hit the main road there was another man that I usually found on the road somewhere so I slowed down and he got in and nothing was really said.  We carried on to the Ustra turnoff and the lady asked to be dropped off and the village she wanted was two kilometres along the road and I was tempted to take her.  As I was about to pull away, a car tuned into the way that she wanted to go and slowed down so at least she had her second lift.  I carried on to Djebel, dropped off the man and popped into the car shop and asked for a tin of yellow spray paint and my student's mum thought that I was serious.  It was when I asked for the 'Taxi' sign that she realised I was joking.

I parked up, got my money out of the cash point and stopped off at the supermarket for onions and potatoes and a couple of cartons of fruit juice and was home for ten fifteen.  By now the sun had escaped the clouds, the sky was blue and there was heat in the sun and I sat out on the terrace again with a coffee and contemplated what the rest of the day held and it wasn't going to be much.  I was tired due to the disturbed night so on went the computer, Sudoku, Freecell and a phone call to the UK.  The rest of the afternoon was a bit of a blur and I settled into my book and watch the storm gathering.  The weather forecast was that there would be rain by four which I'd more or less ignored but they were right.  I put supper in the oven settling for roasted onions, potato and chicken wings and served it up one and a half hours later.  A full tummy required rest so I nodded off for an hour or so and topped up my energy banks.  The upside is that I don't have to water the garden again and everything is looking  so much better...the crispiness is going.

Fingers crossed that we don't have any more eruptions, the clouds are now only on the perimeter of my hillside home and let's hope it stays that way.  LN...Fingers and toes crossed...LN

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Elsa Peters
September 22, 2017, 3:57pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 22nd September

So again we had the rain last night but it was still a warm one.  I slept on top of the duvet again but at four this morning I was awake, cold, so I snuggled down and slept through until seven thirty.  The mists were hanging in the valley over the rivers and the wind was blowing it  until it dissipated.  I hung about in bed until just after eight and eventually made it down to the terrace with coffee in hand.  There was bird activity in the garden but no woodpeckers...I reckon they'd had breakfast before I could get out there with the camera and disturb them.

Boiled eggs for breakfast again and I had enough toast left to smother it with apricot jam.  I cleared the kitchen and sorted out the rubbish and headed down the garden armed with a box of matches.  I don't know whether it was the wind that was responsible or a very large dog but the burning barrel was on its side.  I put it upright and noticed that there was a lot of rubbish that was only half burnt  so the fire was very reluctant to get started.  I found the polythene dug up from under the big wall and added it to the mix, some dried wood that was lying around and eventually I got a good burn going.  I did take time out though to sit on the wall on the bottom of the garden and look just how far I've come.  Amazing how the garden has perked up after a couple of heavy showers.

I then went back to the rose and sloe tree plot and wheeled another couple of barrows of stones under the corner of the little walls.  I'm still trying to think of the plants that I want to put down there...I'll wait and see which cuttings take.  I was out there until two, came in for a drink and suddenly realised that the sky had gone incredibly dark very quickly, the wind has started to blow things around and it had started to rain.  I made my way outside and collected up the tools of my trade, checked the bonfire then came in and got out of my wet t-shirt and into a warm sweater.  I quickly buzzed round the house to close doors and windows before the inside was destroyed and settled down with my book for a while but surprise, surprise....no nodding off.  

I have had an early supper of the rest of the chicken wings from last night and am not sure what I'm doing tomorrow.  My student's father wanted to go into Kardjali....I've heard nothing from him so I'll check in the morning.  According to the weatherman...no rain is forecast for tomorrow so I'll be back gardening.  LN....Another Herculean task....LN

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Elsa Peters
September 23, 2017, 4:39pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 23rd September

A day of rest....I couldn't see the mountains again this morning and it took ages for the mist to clear.  A seven thirty start and it was nine before I went out to carry on digging at the bottom of the garden.  It was really difficult.  It's naturally stony down there and whenever I put in my garden fork I had to jiggle it about to get any depth with my fully clogged foot and I was bringing up shale.  I was out with my sweater on...it was a cool morning but by the time I'd worked for about thirty minutes I was stripping off and down to PJ top and fleecy trousers.   I stopped for coffee and to collect hammer and nails and thought I'd use the old wood at the bottom of the garden to make a surround for the new bed but it was so hard to sink the supports into the ground that  I gave up and decided to edging with stone blocks.  It's part done but I've realised that I going to have to dig the bed over a couple of times and put loads of compost and manure into it to get anything to grow.  

I made it out again briefly but then came in and started to watch the women's world cycling championship. I was doing OK but suddenly the internet dropped on the last lap so I switched it off and headed for the kitchen to make the last of the chicken wings into a rice and curry mix which was ready at about five thirty.  By this point the internet was resumed at really fast speed and I watched the end of the race.

Time to get the tools in...I've not had the same enthusiasm today....it's the ground quality.  If I knew that it was only builder's rubble and underneath it there was soil I would be OK...but I'm realising now that there isn't and it will need building.  LN....My Herculean task continues....LN

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Elsa Peters
September 24, 2017, 4:20pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 24th September

Six thirty start, the sky was a wonderful red and later blue and pink and suddenly the sun was up.  Mist handing around in the valleys and a joy to behold.  I love mornings out here apart from when someone steals my mountains...   Sorted the kitchen and the fridge out...there were one or two things lingering that shouldn't have been and lobbed them over the wall for the animals.  I made it down to the bread van....the ladies were there and I had two invitations for coffee which I declined and one man that asked if I'd been to the UK since he hadn't seen me about.  I came to the conclusion that he might not have been about...they have the garden next to my little house but it appears that his wife does most of the work...normal out here.  Toast for breakfast and then to horse so to speak.

I eventually got out to the garden at ten and was in at eleven with my Sudoku book and pen in hand.  I used the excuse that I needed water but I hadn't got much inclination for the task in hand.  I was out there by eleven and had the plan formulated.  I decided that I was going to abandon the work round the sloe tree and extend the little garden that I put in a couple of years ago.  I treated it like an 'in box exercise'....if I go this going and planted up then something would be happening while I got on with the perimeters of the rest of the ground.  It's not a little area to sort.....but I need digestible chunks.  I was in at twelve thirty again but this time I took to my book and yes...you've guessed it.  I nodded off for just over an hour and it appears I needed it although I didn't think so.  Out with the book again and another couple of games and at four I was out there again and I've just come in.  The garden is extended, the plants are in, the bonfire is moved and is chugging along nicely. I had to really did for victory to clear the stone from the bed and ended up using the technique of saturating it with water to loosen the stone and then brute force and ignorance,  Done and dusted,

No thoughts on supper tonight so far....perhaps inspiration will hit me later.  I'm more likely to settle for a good soak and book at bedtime.  Kardjali tomorrow to sort out some admin and it will be a trip round the cheapy shops I expect.....don't need any other shopping except maybe...a few packets of the equivalent of chocolate coated peanuts from Lidl.  LN...Time to check out TV Catchup.....LN  

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Elsa Peters
September 25, 2017, 4:39pm Report to Moderator

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Monday 25th September

Six thirty start but there was an awakening around two this morning when I woke up, realised that I'd fallen asleep playing Candy Crush....the light was still on and the game was in progress and waiting for input.  I closed up the Kindle, switched off the light and it had to wait until this morning for me to continue.  I'd gone into the bath and chilled out watching The Child in Time....not sure if I enjoyed it or not and was going to download the book to my Kindle but reading the reviews...I'll settle for the adaptation.

Lovely red sky this morning which got more vivid as we headed for sun-up but it disappeared so quickly, the sky went grey and there was very little else to see but at least I saw some of it.  I intended washing my hair this morning but I couldn't be bothered, I was heading for Kardjali so I dressed for the occasion with one of the jackets from my cheapy shop.  Since it was going to be formal discussions with a couple of government departments I wanted to look fairly professional and presentable and it worked.  The jacket went on, boots went on ....and I was ready for them to bring it on.

I parked up at my usual place and paid over one lev and telling the man that I was off to see the Finance Department and said I would settle up with his later and he understood what I meant.  I'd received a latter from them on Friday, had scanned it and run it through a OCR reader and fortunately knew what I was up against.  For the last eight years I'd submitted the same documents before the end of March..  This year there was an added bonus in that I had to go to the Statistic office and I tried to explain that the company was only formed to purchase the houses as was the law in those days.  The ladies in the office were more interested in what I was earning and I told them nothing. since I was a pensioner and whether I actually accepted money for people staying in my house.  Unbelievable...they really hadn't got a clue and the upshot was...there was another form that hadn't raised it's ugly head for eight years but now I'd been 'invited' to visit the department within the next seven days.  And here I was.  The first office was brilliant and they even put me in touch with a lady who had a smattering of English.  She prepared the forms for me, said it was disgusting that there was nothing to differentiate between active and dormant companies and told me where my next port of call was.  I walked to the next venue but failed to pass my cheapy shop and managed to pick up a hag from Gap, two cardigans for my students, a dress for the baby which might be made into a book cover or a cushion and a couple of sweaters for me.  The cost...three leva...which roughly translated is one pound forty.  They held on to them and I picked them up on the walk back to the car park.

Now this office was distinctly hostile.  I was directed to the cash desk, handed over forty three leva to submit the forms and then up to the office and this is where the fun started.  I told her to use simple words with present tenses but she didn't.  I asked her to write down what was required from the first office, headed back with my instructions and we eventually managed to print the forms.  Now Princess and her husband are also on the company and their signatures were required which has never been necessary before....so she instructed me to sign for them, said that no one would check and she was write.  I did add pp...as is 'on behalf of' which was my let out should it be questioned at a later date.  I returned to the second office, the documents were accepted, computerised and I was told to go back to the first office with my stamped form.  I went back to my English speaking lady, she viewed the form and said that it was mine to keep and I questioned why I was there.  She advised me to go home, she was not going to apply a fine because she thought that would be unfair and she assured me that there would be no follow up.  And it only took four and a half hours to sort it.  Next year I shall have all my ducks in a row.

Quick stop off at Lidl on the way home and fuel, back up the lane and home for three thirty and knackered.  Ham baguette for a late lunch and I put some chicken legs in to cook while I was chilling after the gruelling morning.  I'll be popping gifts in the next time I'm in town.  I know they're only doing their jobs but some just don't do it...they think that volume levels improve understanding.  Cheapy clothes washed and dried and tomorrow I shall meet my student for lunch if she's available and if not...I have daffodil bulbs that need planting...that should keep me busy.  On the third photo it looks like something is either sk-ing on the top of my plum tree or something is on fire....I only noticed it when it was on the PC.....I must ask some questions.     LN...Tele-time.....LN

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Elsa Peters
September 26, 2017, 3:03pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 26th September

So after an early night last night I was awake by four thirty but I think it was the rain that woke me in the first place.  Thunder. lightening and pouring rain.  I eventually got off again and it was just before eight when I came to the second time.  I was cold but I hung around in PJ's until ten and eventually got dressed in warm clothes and the internet was up and down like a bride's nightie so I switched it all off since the thunder had started again and I set up camp on the sofa.  

At eleven I gave in and lit the fire.  I expected it to be slow since the chimney had not been used but no...it was soon up and running and I waited for the first time for the water to go round the system so that I could check out the radiators...and it was a goer.  I rescued the outside cushions and put them under the balcony to drip dry, put the heavy duty plastic sheet in the wooden unit by the door so that the rain was held back from the pallet doorstep where the shoes get dumped.  A lake had started by the front gates where the leaves had blocked the drainage holes so I was out there with a section of hose pipe and it soon drained away.  I went back to the desk and started to take pictures of the garden activity.  Woody was out there clinging on to the tree but then decided that it was less precarious on the ground and the very shy jay was parading on the wall until he sensed my presence and he shot off.  The starlings were practising their aerial displays and shot by the bottom of the garden when I was sitting at my desk and I was really lucky to catch them.

Haciber came round with spinach and onion pancakes and sat down which is unusual...she doesn't normally stay but was fascinated by the fire and the warmth throughout the house thanks to the radiators.  They have a single room and once you leave it, you get cold.  I washed her plate, put a couple of bananas on it for her to take home and she commented on the fact that I had a couple of scented tee-lights burning to make the house cheery.  I opened a packed and gave her half a dozen to take home with her bundling it all in a carrier so the other neighbours didn't spot the goodies but having said that...not many people were out and about...too wet.

I've got cold chicken for supper...I cooked four legs last night.  The weather has at last cleared up...we have a touch of blue but I've got the feeling that it could go either way.  I'm doing the blog early...just in case the thunder comes back again and I lose the internet.  So daffodils didn't happen today but the ground should be really soft to get them in tomorrow if the rain stays away.  LN....That chicken's calling....LN

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Elsa Peters
September 27, 2017, 4:07pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 27th September

So a silly night again...I was awake at three so it was out with the book and I was reading until four. I'd closed the curtains last night and the side window and I think I was out of oxygen with the fire going all day yesterday so I re-opened it and eventually went off again until just before eight.   I was intending to go down to get fresh bread but when the van arrived I was still in PJ's so I resorted to the freezer where I managed to stash one.  It was a horrible morning...it wasn't raining but I it didn't seem far away.  I togged up with warm clothing, found my old gardening boots and was determined to get out there and do 'something'.  By the time I was dressed and raring to go, it was raining but it was on with the leather waistcoat for protection and to keep out the wind and headed for the little house.  

I've repotted the orange tree that had roots popping out the bottom, the gardenia has been dug up and I now have two plants instead of one, some of the day lily babies are not in different parts of the garden and two pots of the oriental lilies are being tested.  Two huge pots now have daffodils in them for the spring and the lots of the others are in the main garden.  I headed down to the new garden and cleared some of the stone that was surrounding it, started the bonfire but without much success since everything was so wet  and eventually came in at six.  I'm knacked, but I feel I've had a good day and finished off by washing down the terraces, bringing in some of the outside furniture and making a few steps towards winter.

Unfortunately there was  no let up in the weather at all.  It did stop raining but it's been damp and miserable and the clouds have covered the mountains and now it's started again.  Not sure about supper...it will be what I can find.  LN...And then a bath...LN

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Elsa Peters
September 28, 2017, 3:47pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday  28th September

Oh what a lovely bath...I was watching Strictly roundup but TV Catch-up kept freezing, the sound was out of sync with the picture so I switched it off and headed for the bathroom.  I managed to get my hair washed so got my book out and sat on the sofa to take some of the moisture out of it before I hit the sack.  Five start again and it was the book out again until six when I headed down to the kitchen to make coffee.  I'd not cleared up from last night's fish fingers and potato croquettes done in the oven and in fact I'd not washed up at all yesterday so the kitchen was and still is pristine....just as I like it.

I went on to the PC and I suddenly decided that I was going to lay the rug that I'd bought about a month ago.  I was still in my PJ's at this point so I had to take the computer apart and move as much furniture as I could from the top landing and it will look OK eventually...it has to work itself flat, it's been rolled up for ages.  I was in the process of sorting out the cables that always end up like spaghetti and my painter came to the door and he was querying out telephone conversation a couple of days ago.  He said he didn't understand.  When I came back from Kardjali on Monday there was a pair of garden loppers leaning against the fly screen.  Now I'd assumed that my painter had returned the pair that I'd given to him and that was where the confusion lay.  I thought about it for a while and it suddenly hit me that I'd bought a pair about two years ago and given them to the Librarian and she must have returned them.   Riddle solved.    So back to cable sorting, computer all systems go, cables all tidied and I phoned  the Librarian to thank her and we shall probably be meeting up early next week for a catch up.

Washed and dressed and despite the weather I was determined to continue with the bottom of the garden.  I'd put a load into the washing machine so pegged it out and I thought it might end up in Greece.  Working away I thought it was about to throw it down so it scooped up the washing and it's on the airer in the bathroom and most of it was dry.  Problem was, once in I settled down on the sofa with Soda Crush and I could feel my eyes going so I steeled myself and headed out and gave myself a deadline of six and I stuck to it.  I could do with lighting the fire...it's another cold damp evening.  The house isn't cold but it's the soothing glow of the fire.  Not many pickies tonight...I've been too busy.  LN...Pot luck for supper again....LN

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Elsa Peters
September 29, 2017, 4:27pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 29th September

Silly night again...I was awake at four, read until five and back to sleep until seven thirty.  Cold, miserable, not raining but not a glimmer of sun, blue sky or anything connected with late summer.  Not that it is now...Autumn has been declared and boy has it arrived.  It was twenty one degrees in the house so the house maintained it's temperature but it was a really long morning in my PJ's.  I forgot...supper last night was very exceptional for me.  I'd forgotten that I's removed a joint of lamb that was given to my by one of my neighbours and it had languished in the fridge overnight.  To keep it company on the plate I'd put potatoes in the oven to roast, peas and gravy finished it off.  When I took the lamb out of the oven I was unsure how to cut it up...I wasn't sure what it was so hasn't a clue where the bone lay so I chunked it.  It was really delicious and the potatoes really crispy and as for the peas...they were normal peas.  

So the rest of my morning.  I'd looked at the bookcase on the landing which hadn't got any place for books and had become a bit of a jumble.  It is now sorted....the shoe boxes have been sorted and labelled, the paper stack has been ordered, old Christmas cards have been put into one box working on the assumption that Bulgarian post may not deliver all that is sent so I have some to display.  I've also been through the training material that I used for my student and sorted it into degrees of difficulty ready for my next little one.  I eventually got dressed at two thirty and the pop up container is full of things that now need burning but that's for another day.

At four I took the remains of the lamb out of the fridge and carved the rest of the meat from it.  I worked out that it was from the neck but the shape of the bones and there was enough to mix with gravy to make a shepherds out of it.  Potatoes peeled. boiled, mashed with butter, slathered over the meat and into the oven with it.  I went back up stairs to carry on with the final sorting and suddenly my telephone rang so I went down to answer it  and my painter with a buddy were in the yard and it was him phoning.  Bit of a strange request ...did I have any diesel to which the answer had to be no.  The friend had a diesel and gas car and didn't think he had enough to get to Djebel so I offered to wait for a telephone call from them if they got stuck and bail them out by driving them to Djebel.  There wasn't a phone call so I'm guessing that they made it.  The shepherds pie came out of the oven and the potato was really crispy and the pans are now soaking to remove the last few crispy bit that I couldn't.  I followed it with chocolate ice cream.

I've lit the fire tonight but am using the old wood that was taken from the hillside last year and now I'm settled for the evening.  LN...A day of a different sort of achievement ...LN
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My Diary by Elsa Peters (only location)

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