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Elsa Peters living a new life in Bulgaria    General Boards    My Diary by Elsa Peters  ›  DECEMBER 2017
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Elsa Peters
December 1, 2017, 4:57pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 1st December

So the twelfth month of the year....nearly another one gone.  Happy 50th today to my niece...she's off to party for the weekend.

As for the weather today...no sunrise to speak off...there was probably one somewhere but definitely not here.  There were strong winds overnight, lashing rain and fortunately I'd got everything secured.  I was out this morning at around nine thirty bringing in the swinging sunbed from where I'd secured it last night wedging it with the solid wooden table.  There was no way that was going anywhere.  I brought the swinging part in easily enough except that when I faced it to the wind I thought at one point I was about to take off never to be seen again.  That was easy enough to get through the door to the little house but the frame was a bit of an enigma.  It's long, wide based and needed manoeuvring through the door and I was afraid I was about to take out one of the windows but very gingerly it all came good.  It's not assembled in the little house and it'll be somewhere for the men to rest their weary heads if they make it next week.....fingers crossed.  Next job was to sweep up the leaves that were collecting around the workshop and garage opening, into the wheelbarrow with them and down to the bottom of the garden.  I lost a lot of them along the way but hey...they weren't going to blow into the new porch.  I came in for toast and marmalade for breakfast and settled in to have a go at the DM Sudoku which took three attempts.

There was a knock on the door at about eleven thirty and the Librarian was there clutching a box.  I thought it was an early present for the festive season but wrong....she had a problem with her computer and wondered if I could solve it.  The mouse pad wasn't working apparently so I opened it up, shut the machine down. booted it up again and put my mouse on, in to 'settings' and 'enable touch pad' and everything back to normal.  We sat having coffee and at twelve thirty set off for Djebel for the soup kitchen.  We walked in, found a table, the waiter came for the order and I told him that he knew what we wanted and he did.  He brought the chicken soup and the final cost was just under five leva.  Not bad egh.  We did the leva shop and was home for two thirty and she was on her way by three thirty.

I packed up a present for the youngest son of the garage shop, got the Beast out and headed in to Djebel again.  I got there at about three thirty, the boy was in the shop and I asked him what was special about the day.  I'd got the present behind my back and asked him if he'd had many presents and did he want another one.  His little face lit up and I handed over a carrier bag with a rucksack in it and inside it I'd put his English Word book, a special notebook, lights for his bicycle, a card with some money in it.  He was thrilled and immediately got out a pen to write in the book....and I was pleased that he liked his gifts.  I was handed a hug piece of birthday cake and I demolished it standing in the shop. I left them to it....there was a little party about to take place, I was invited but abstained...my days of children's parties finished a long time ago.

Back home....the wind is still rocketing, two loads of logs in and everything still battened down.  Te lights have been flickering...it's amazing that the power is still up but fingers crossed it stays that way.  Fire's going well...it's not cold tonight and hasn't been all day but it's comforting.  Nothing on for tomorrow so far...probably another leisurely day.  LN...Long slow bath tonight....LN

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Elsa Peters
December 2, 2017, 3:01pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 2nd December

What do they say about the well laid plans of mice and men or women...well mine went completely to the wall last night.  The electricity went off which meant that I had to remove the fire from the woodburner risking life, limb and eyebrows in the performance thereof.  I did managed to find the candles to get those going but it's amazing that whenever you go into a new room you always go for the light switch even though you know nothing's going to happen.  I brought in the ash bucket and the metal bowl, cleared the surface of the little woodburner in the kitchen and the top plates so that I could get the burning wood in easily and managed the smaller of the two logs from the biggie.  The other one went into the bucket and I used the metal bowl as a lid and put it outside.  I didn't want to leave it without a lid, the wind was howling out there and I didn't want anything else to contend with.  I didn't bother banking up the little woodburner, it wasn't cold so I didn't need it.  I settled down with tee-lights around the place with my Kindle, read until ten and then decided to go to bed.  I didn't take long to get off but at twelve thirty I was wide awake and there were all those hours to go before the world came awake.

It was seven when I woke up and there was still no electricity.  I heard the bread van so went down to check if the others in the village were with or without power. There was only me and the street lights that seemed to be affected.  On hearing that from my neighbours I decided to phone the electricity board and after two attempts and my calls cut off because of the number of calls waiting in the queue...I decided to leave it and lo and behold...power was restored.  I went to get breakfast and ended up with soggy feet....the fridge had started to defrost so that was another job that I could put on my list for today.  I left the fire, cleaned out the fridge, started it up again and boy did the heavens open.  I watched the rugby while the electricity stayed up. it was still chucking it down and water was streaming out of the gutters.  It had started to come into the new porch so I went to find a plank of wood to block the entrance.  I made my way to the front gate to remove the leaves from the drain by the gate and noticed that I had a river running in front of the gate and heading down the lane.  I guessed it was due to leaves blocking the grating so it was out with the rake and eventually it went and so far so good.  I'd bought a rubberised cover all from Mania weeks ago but it served its purpose.  it stopped me getting rain down my neck but when I came in. the sleeves of my jumper were dripping so I did the strip off in front of the washing machine and headed for the shower.  I'd overridden the timer so had loads of hot water, it made up for not having my lingering bath last night.

So I settled down after my shower to watch the Siberian tigers and blow me if the power didn't go off again...now this isn't fun.  In with the bowl and bucket, removed the burning log but it wasn't roaring like it was last night and thirty minutes later....it came on again.  Stop toying with me punky.....Haciber has just paid me a visit to bring me some spinach pancakes and I haven't the heart to tell her that I eat them under sufferance.  Not my favourite nibbles.  Just after four thirty my time.  I'm doing the update just in case I lose power again and my evening TV gets sodded up, the trials of winter appear to have come early.  The wind has dropped and it's stopped raining so fingers crossed that everything is hunky-dory tonight.  I've got snooker on at the moment....another thing to get stuck in to but everything that requires power has been charged....just in case.  LN...Supposed to rain again tomorrow... ..LN

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Elsa Peters
December 3, 2017, 3:41pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 3rd December

So at ten last night I took to my virtuous couch.  There was nothing on TV Catchup that was worth catching up on, intended reading for a while but I was just so tired after such an early start.  At twelve thirty I was totally awake but lay there and eventually went off again and at five it was the start of my day.  I lit the fire and made coffee and was settled in to my book  when the power went off.  The panic normally sets in immediately down to the fact that no electricity and no pump for the central heating but I left it a while and it came back on again so all in the garden rosy.  We had severe gusty winds and I think that kept me on half sleep for most of the night and torrential rain again.  It's December...this is normally what goes on in the first months of the new year...go away...much too early.

So I did two boiled eggs for breakfast, brought in the two mats that had been washed and left outside after getting soaked when the fridge defrosted yesterday.  They're now on the clothes airer in the bath and have finished dripping.  I'm not sure I want to put them down again...the electricity is like a bride's nightie at the moment and cant be trusted.  The fire was ticking along nicely so I livened it up a bit.  It wasn't cold outside but wet, miserable and very stormy and very pleasant to sit and watch while sipping coffee and eating biscuits.  Everything was fine but suddenly off it went again.  The UPS back up supply to the pump kicked in and I knew that I had to do something about it and remove the fire from the burner.  I left it for about five minutes to see if it would come back on but no go so armed again with bowl, bucket and shovel I set to.  First job is to remove the top of the little wood burner to get the logs in easily and by now I'd worked up a fair head of heat. and there were three logs to get out.  Two I managed to squeeze into the kitchen burner and the third went into the bucket with the bowl on top again to stop any bits flying off when I took it outside to burn out.  The house was full of smoke so it was bathroom windows and doors open, there was smoke billowing out of the bucket on the terrace and I'm becoming an expert at this.  So far, so good and it does remind me of when I was a girl and my mother used to put a shovelful of hot ashes from the kitchen fire into the front room fireplace to get the fire going.  I always thought it was dangerous then but I think it's more dangerous now.  She had coals...I have thumping great logs...   I did a circuit of the garden and rescued the cover from my old sunbed which is now in Beauty, the polythene covers from the cold frame are stashed in the metal sunbed to save them taking off again and as for the honeysuckle...the wind has dislodged the plant and its very heavy wooden support from the lounge terrace but that's a two person job to get it back up again....or cut it all down and start again from scratch.  I'll see if I get any phone calls about working tomorrow.

So the power was still off at three thirty so I phoned the emergency line and managed to speak to someone in English.  I asked him first off in Bulgarian it he spoke a little  English and I think he was more surprised than I was.  He replied affirmative so he took my address, customer number and at four thirty power was restored and a few minutes later a man and a van was outside tooting his horn checking that I had power.  According to him, it was all down to 'a lot of water' so let's hope that everything stays up.  The fire is lit using the stuff that I took out first time around, the update is early just in case it goes off again and I'm settled in for the night.  Not many photos, grey most of the day but I did managed to catch a hint of pink tonight just before it went back to normal.  The one of the honeysuckle is taken from my bedroom terrace and shows the devastation....and that's about it,  LN...Chill and crossed fingers...LN

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Elsa Peters
December 3, 2017, 3:55pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday continued

This gave me a pleasant surprise....not sure it will be out for long...

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Elsa Peters
December 4, 2017, 4:31pm Report to Moderator

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Monday 4th December

Five start, down for coffee and did the washing up and cleared the kitchen and one load of washing in at cheap rate electricity.  I went back to bed with my coffee and read until six, closed my eyes and went off for another hour.  There wasn't a phone call from Bekir so I decided to call him at eight thirty to see if he could shed any light on the issues surrounding my windows.  Apparently it's the same problem.  They get the glass from a place in Kardjali and it wasn't forthcoming but I've been promised Wednesday or Thursday so let's see if it happens.

So I've not been the only one without electricity, Mrs D of S has had outages as have most people in the villages.  The supplies aren't hardy enough.  I told her I was heading in to Kardjali to get the document completed to confirm that I'm still alive so my pension doesn't get stopped and asked her if she wanted anything bringing back.  She mentioned cat food and said that she was ready for winter, only had to get the winter checks done on her car so I suggested that she put her car into my garage in Djebel and we headed into Kardjali together.  It was a plan so I met her at the garage, she explained what she wanted done and off we went with the car seat firmly in place and the little one giving high fives to all and sundry.  We put three hours on the car for the same price as two, I went to the bank and got the paperwork sorted, she had work in the post office, down to the cheapy shop, paid phone bills and ended up at an outside pizza shop for lunch.  The little one is a great attention puller...the number of people that come up and tickle her or smile at her is incredible and she's such a little charmer.  Back in the car and over to Lidl for the said cat food and a few other items and back to the garage and the car was ready and waiting.  Fond farewells but by this time the little one was well and truly worn out so the last I saw of her was her nestling down again in the transferred car seat for the journey home.

I unpacked my shopping, put a black sweater that I'd bought for ninety stotinki in the washing machine..it probably cost more to wash it than buy it.  The pizza is sitting heavy so I don't think I need any supper.  As for activity levels this afternoon, I lit the fire, lay on the sofa for a read and a snooze and came to at four thirty to throw another log on.  The house is ticking along at twenty two degrees, it's supposed to drop tonight to a minus reading so I intend keeping the home fires burning.  So the plans to get my Christmas underway didn't materialise...I might be heading out tomorrow for the leva shop in Djebel to see what I can find.  LN....Love that little ray of sunshine....LN

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Elsa Peters
December 5, 2017, 3:59pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 5th December

Well it's getting better...it was a six start this morning and it was the printer program that woke me.  When it's in standby or sleep mode and switched on it automatically does a self clean and how noisy was it this morning.  Note to self...switch the thing off....   Coffee, there was no glimmer of hope from the fire so I didn't bother to giver it the kiss of life,  There was hardly a cloud in the immediate sky as morning started up and the central heating came over the mountains and stayed for a good few hours.  I collected together everything that had to be disposed of and had a burn-up at the bottom of the garden.  There was quite a bit of unburnt that had been scattered around the garden by the high winds of the last couple of days so I cleared that up as well and worked up a good head of smoke.  I also cleared up the branches that had fallen from the two big trees in the yard, the leaves I decided to leave until later and as it turned out it was much later.  I finished the rest of the French stick and ham for breakfast and settled on the sofa with the third book in the Arthurian series...it is no more so on to book four.

For the last few days I've been looking at the windows in the hall atrium and very aware that they needed cleaning.  Now this is a job and a half...the extending brush and scraper that I'd got a few years back is really difficult to control but I managed to use the brush on the end to clean off some of the dirt.  The device to take off the water is absolute rubbish and left me with more streaks than Lords cricket ground had ever experienced.  I ended up getting the hose pipe with the spray attachment so sluice off the cleaning agent that I'd used and consequently soaked the downstairs windows that I'd cleaned a couple of weeks ago.  Work yet more work.  I was reasonably satisfied with them....it really needs the ladder putting up and doing it properly but being here alone...no way does the ladder emerge from the workshop.  So now to do the inside ones.  This is more difficult...you can't shoot water everywhere so I tried a couple of methods.  Firstly with a damp cloth tied round the extendable brush which only left streaks everywhere.  I then tried vinegar and water with a damp cloth on the same contraption and they were getting better but I was expecting perfection...and sadly this wasn't to be.  I then moved on to window cleaner on poly-roll balanced on the end of the contraption which kept falling off and eventually put all my toys away and I'll live with the consequences until I have a man or two here to do them properly.  Having said that...they look much better than they did.

Back to the sofa and Arthur..I was ticking at eighty percent until I noticed that the temperature was dropping despite the sun, I decided to light the fire and it's chugging along nicely now.  So my eyelids drifted southwards around two and it was three thirty before I headed for the kitchen and coffee.  Time to throw a log on the fire and to stock up on fuel for the night.  Into the workshop with the log carrier and that's now sitting in the kitchen.  The log basket is full to the brim and the shelf underneath the woodburner has three large lots that are acclimatising before being sent to their fate.  As I took the carrier back to the wood store I noticed how many leaves had collected in the garage and by the door so they were gathered, shovelled into the wood carrier and are now down the bottom of the garden to add roughage to the poor soil down there.  I drained the hosepipe and that's now sitting in the little house and I've left the outside tap dripping ever so slowly just in case.  Everything put away and locked up for the night and it's almost six my time.  

There wasn't much of a sunset tonight....it seems that the evening sky seems to be similar to this morning with the same galloping horsemen making their way along the mountain ridges.  The temperature is really dropping now and is supposed to be down to minus six tonight so winter draws on so to speak.  Post office in the morning for a few long distance cards and my letter to pensions administration and a trip round Djebel to see if I can get the things I want from the cheapy shop or another visit to Kardjali may be called for.  I have to get my Christmas underway.  LN....Supper time ....LN

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Elsa Peters
December 6, 2017, 3:32pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 6th December

Funny night last night.  The internet went off at about nine fifteen so I took to the sofa downstairs to read and as per normal nodded off in front of the roaring fire.  Twelve thirty when I woke up so off with the lights and up the wooden hills and straight off to sleep again.  It was six this morning when I surfaced, down for coffee, checked the house temperature and it was ticking over at eighteen degrees.  Looking at the sky the sun would be up later and true to form, it came over the mountains and soon the temperature was up to the early twenties.  Washed and dressed by eight thirty, sat down with another coffee and the plan was to head into Djebel first with my letter and secondly to see what I could pick up locally toward Christmas.  I was in the Beast for ten more or less, in with the key and the battery was as flat as a pancake.  I phoned the garage to see which battery I had to charge since there are two under the bonnet and they recommended the one nearer the windscreen so I got the kit out of the workshop, fixed up the electrics and they estimated that I should be able to turn it over in an hour or so.

With nothing else to do that I could think of (there was probably loads but my brain wasn't computing), I got the fourth in the series out and lay on the sofa in the sun.  Just after twelve thirty I went out to give it a try and hey presto...it fired.  When I was on the phone to the garage my student's mum was having a conversation with my garage mechanic and he said that when it was in last time they'd had a similar problem and thought that one of the batteries was on its way out.  I was a little rude and suggested that they could have mentioned it, I'd rather pay than have any issues in winter out here.  So they ordered two new batteries, I left the car at the shop while I did other shopping, posted my letter and came back to find the  Beast gone.  I completed my house insurance policy documents and I'm covered for earthquake, flood and pestilence and was handed a new form in Bulgarian that you must complete if you have an accident and hand it to the police.  I better get it OCR'd to find out what I need to complete.  I headed out again to do more shopping and by this time it was back, new batteries in place and hopefully it's good to go for a little while longer.  While I was waiting for the battery charger to do its stuff, I had a word with the man or woman upstairs and told him/her that it was about time that things came good for me...it had been coming a little to thick and fast just lately and now it was time to settle down....I hope someone was listening...

Lovely sunset tonight, the Beast is parked outside the gate, I'm going to my student's family for supper.  I haven't bothered with a fire...it's still twenty one degrees without  the woodburner going  and by the time I get back it will be time for bed anyway.  Almost time to set off...we have an early supper.  LN....I'll be busy wrapping tomorrow....LN

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Elsa Peters
December 7, 2017, 4:32pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday 7th December

So last night I didn't take to my virtuous couch very early...I was watching the box and got my head down at twelve thirty.  I didn't bother reading and went straight off and ti was six this morning when I walked the landing to the little room.  I made coffee and got a load of washing in at cheap rate and went back to bed with the fourth Arthurian.  This one seems to be written from the point of view of children and I found it disconcerting...It's getting better now though as Authur's son delivered form his sister is now making his way to Court and the mother is destined for an Abbey even though she still thinks that she's entitled to royal privileges.  She's about to get her comeuppance along with his other sister,  Families egh....

Spicy sausage, fried bread and egg this morning..it was a cold raw day.  I'd already pegged the washing out and three quarters through breakfast my phone went and I thought it was Bekir with good news but instead it was Princess on her way to work so we had a catch-up.  So back to my breakfast and then Christmas came to Dushinkovo.  I decorated the teasels that have been in the lounge from last year and plugged in the fairy lights and they still work.  I rescued the Christmas tree from the bedside cupboard, the baubles were still attached so I opened up branches and added the tinsel and the other set of fairy lights...now I was getting somewhere.  The snowman sticker is on the window, the door 'thingie' is outside, the tinsel is round the stairs but I left the rope light and the luminous  Santa and his ladder....if the windows go in tomorrow they will go outside otherwise, they'll go in the little house so that they can be seen from the road.  

The bags are done for the ladies of the village with each present individually wrapped and tarted up and I'm down to the last shopping list with the bottles , chocolates, smellies and toys.  That will entail another day in Kardjali and it's going to be tomorrow unless I hear anything for the window people.  The house smells really Christmassy.  I have tee-lights scattered and orange winter oil on the fir cones in a dish in the lounge.  I know I shan't be here but it's my preparation.  So I've just had a phone call...the windows are going i tomorrow so no Kardjali for me....and Bekir is bringing his huge chunk of metal that they put down the chimney to clean it.  That's on my list of 'to do before I go'.  One more thing is to top up the gas bottle for the cooker.  I have difficulty getting the valve back on so it will be removed tomorrow, I'll head to Djebel to get it filled and Bekir will fit it for me.  

I can hear the kitchen calling...I'm not sure what's for supper tonight...I'll stick my head in the fridge/ freezer and look fo inspiration.  The hunger pains haven't started yet...I've got time to look and cook so to speak.  So a day here, let's see how far we get...they are due to arrive at ten or so tomorrow.  I might even get my shopping in.  LN...Working up to the end again...LN

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Elsa Peters
December 8, 2017, 5:57pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 8th December

So silly evening yesterday but I had to stay up to watch the O'Sullivan snooker against the newby from Thailand.  Almost nail biting except that I've worn most of mine away working in the garden...I switched it off on the PC and then put it on the Kindle and watched it in bed.  Next time, please don't leave it so late in the day Ronnie.  I woke at six this morning and it had the signs and symptoms that it was going to be another good day.  White over again but it was a glorious start with those blue and pink tones to the sky.

I put loads of clothes on including tights under my trousers, my zip up woollen cardigan and  my body.  It took me a while to thaw out the  Beast and I was ready to go by eight.  I toyed with the idea of heading into Djebel first to get the money out of the cash point for the windows but decided to pick up Bekir first and then head into town.  He was ready and came leaping out of the restaurant carrying his heavy lump of metal to clean the chimney. I picked up the cash and the promise was that the window's people would be there by ten.
So Bekir set to on the chimney after we'd managed to work out the  tri-folding ladder.  Up he went on to the spare bedroom terrace and then up, up and away.  I got into position in the downstairs bathroom making sure that my fingers were no where near the flue outlet.  Down came the weight along with quite a lot of clinker and soot, I got it out with the potting spade and then he was on to the next chimney which is for the small woodburner in the kitchen.  There was hardly anything in that one so I cleared it all up and deposited it down the bottom of the garden.  No sooner the word than the blow and he took the flue pipes out, cleaned them and put them back.  All I had to do was to clean the woodburner.  So the window  man said that he was having trouble with the lorry so they'd be delayed.  New ETA...twelve but it was one thirty when they arrived.  The set too straight away, they know their stuff and everything is fine.  They're as good as I thought they would be.  The completed photos will have to come tomorrow....it was getting cold when they went, the boss had sorted out the windows that didn't shut easily for me and sprayed everything in sight...good day's work.  Bekir and myself took the white and blue Profilink protective layer from the window frames and doors, tidied up, the men helped Bekir into the Beast with the welding machine...we were taking it back to Sally and we all went out respective ways.  It looks a little stark in there at the moment...needs tarting a little.

Final Christmas shopping tomorrow and I'll pick up my bus ticket for Friday.  I have an evening flight so there's no rush to get to Sofia.  Bekir is coming on Monday to finish off the electrics, sort out my gas bottle and then I'm almost prepared for the off.  Fish ringer sandwiches for supper tonight..that's the best I could do.  LN..Pickies tomorrow of the completed edifice ...LN

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Elsa Peters
December 9, 2017, 6:12pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 9th December

Six start and it was cold out there so I didn't stay long.  I can't get over how warm the house is now that the new porch is fully glazed under the balcony to the guest bedroom..just amazing. I'd kept the fire going last night but lit it this morning...it looked like it could have been a cold one all day but the sun was out but with a very cold wind.  I sat downstairs on the sofa and read until eight or so with coffee at the ready and just after eight phoned the librarian to see if she wanted to come out to play today in Kardjali.  I'd got the main presents to buy.  It was affirmative for her but we didn't rush to get the day started...we were both in PJ's so arranged that she would come over by tenish, so I went back to my book.  Washed dressed by nine thirty, swept out the conservatory and put up Santa on his ladder, two loads of logs brought in but the fire was left to burn out.  The central heating had come up over the hill and it was ticking along in the early twenties....heating without money.

She arrived at about ten fifteen, I'd been down to Haciber's to see if she had a shopping list for me and she did...she wanted mandarins and apples.  We went via the back lane and I was surprised how good it was and came back that way.  It really does cut the kilometres from the journey.  Firstly the super duper leva shop where I got a few things, then to our usual parking place and checked out the cheapy shop, I put some money on my phone and the girl was being very insistent that I take out a contract with free internet but how that works I'n never sure.  Nothing is free.  Kaufland for the main shop and lunch and Lidl to finish off.  On the way back I filled up five ten litre bottles for the ever flowing spring bu the lake, I use it to top up the plants in the little house during the winter.  It saves going backwards and forward in the house once the outside tap is turned off.  Home James, the Librarian's shopping was transferred to her chariot and I brought the Beast into the drive to unpack later.  Tea for two, she had straight and I had ginger with lemon and off she went at about three thirty.   The ladies of the village were out for a walk as I unpacked the shopping and came in to see what I'd done with those windows that were delivered and they highly approved.  I left it for a while and delivered Haciber's shopping and met up with another daughter from the village and tomorrow morning I'm doing a water run for them all.  Starting blocks by nine.  Back home and  I read for a while until I could stay awake no longer and woke up much better for it.  I didn't pack up the presents ...it's a job for tomorrow and I lit the fire, that wind is getting up again.

Strictly tonight and let's see who's out of it by public demand...I really hope Joe makes it.  No supper for me...but I did come back with pears from Lidl so that could do me well.  LN....Should be a day of rest ...let's see how it turns out...LN

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My Diary by Elsa Peters (only location)

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