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Elsa Peters
May 1, 2018, 4:26pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 1st May

Six thirty start,down for coffee and sat out on the bedroom balcony absorbing the morning.  I heard the hoopoe with its distinctive call but no visitations as yet. the cuckoo is still very active and the pied fly catcher was patrolling from the high point on my tree.  As I sat watching the hillside I noticed movement on the tree line in the next field and it was a deer.  I've seen them in the forest but I'm on the edge of a wood...first time so I'll be looking out for it tomorrow with the camera ready.  I did have the camera out this morning but it moved so quickly and I wasn't expecting it.  

Down to the bread wagon and bought bread and cheesy bread for breakfast.  I sat on the terrace with yet more coffee and finished most of it, the rest went to the sparrows.  I didn't fancy strimming today....it was a really hot day so I took to planting up some of the smaller pots into bigger ones and the rosemary went into the terrace bed after I'd dug it over ready for the seedlings to go in.  I've lost a couple before but I've put it up against the wall and I'll give it a winter coat for good measure.  As for the rest of the day, I'm tired of the ballast that seems to get everywhere and encroaches on the yard so I've built a container for it out of two pallets and some lengths of wood.  I've lined it with the stuff that you put under gravel paths to stop the weeds coming through and given it a polythene cover. I've also made a new bed by the side of the little house...it just needed brightening up and hopefully it will.

Tools away at six,,shower time...I need to wash my hair and try out my new hairdryer.  Let's see how long this one lasts. Pictures to follow....can't post on the first post of the month.  I'll just get my Maypole out and do a little jig in the garden.  LN....Hope the neighbours aren't watching....LN
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Elsa Peters
May 1, 2018, 4:49pm Report to Moderator

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Now for the pickies

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Elsa Peters
May 2, 2018, 4:34pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 2nd May

Disturbed night and it might have been something to do with a spicy sausage sandwich at nine thirty last night.  I did put the hot tomato sauce on it and that could have revved it up a bit.  Note to self...if it's that time of night...don't bother.

Having said that I was up and at 'em by six thirty, a lovely morning sitting out with a coffee watching the mist rising as the temperature crawled up the thermometer into a full blown summer day.  I stripped my bed and have now gone into summer sheets and I'll see how I fare tonight.  The nest hasn't been put away, it's still available but it's on it's way into summer storage and into vacuum bags.  So another two loads of washing done and I felt like Widow Twankey  when I brought it in from the garden.  It amazes me how much washing I give myself but it's clean clothes every day even for gardening and gardening I was.

I planted out the ones that had been lying around for a week or so into the steps terrace bed.  I then made my way down to the bottom of the garden and rescued a spirea that had obviously been planted in 'stony ground' and with this lack of free stuff from the heavens, it was obviously distressed.  After two hours in a bucket of water it's looking much better and I'll find it a better place tomorrow.  Where it was is obviously more suited to lavenders and alpines...I'll keep a lookout for the latter.

Out with the strimmer and between the house and the wall is finished yet again and outside the wall.  I didn't stop there, the grave garden is cleared and three of the five beds are weeded.  I have to go steady in the berberis bed, I noticed that there are seedlings of the tall white nameless variety and I think I managed to save most of them.  There they were nestling gently in the weeds and suddenly they're naked and in full view.  Head above the parapet and all that.  I did read that cinnamon is good for making ants feel very unwelcome so I have given it a try on the path down the side of the house and I'll let you know.  If I see any with suitcases...I'll take it that it's worked.

So washing in, bed made up, tuna mayo for lunch so not really in the mood so far.It's a lovely night and so warm, the windows and doors are all open and it doesn't feel like it's time to shut up shop.  Rude not to take advantage of this weather until it breaks so it's more gardening tomorrow.  LN....Time to move outside for a sit....LN

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Elsa Peters
May 3, 2018, 6:07pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday 3rd May

Five thirty this morning…it’s getting earlier all the time.  I lay there for a while but at six I decided that I could stay there no longer, coffee and out on to the balcony and watched the sun up.  I showered and washed my hair, dried it and then walked down the garden and had a bonfire. I didn’t have much to burn and it was over more or less before it had begun. I stood watching the hillside looking out for my deer and instead spotted Harold and three others enjoying their breakfast.  I rushed in the house, got my camera and I thought I’d missed them then suddenly one of them appeared.  It’s going to be same time same place tomorrow morning and this time I’ll be prepared.

Poached eggs on toast for breakfast… I’d dressed for town but couldn’t decide what to do and found myself pottering.  I had a quick message from Mrs D of S saying that she’d come back from holiday with tummy gripes from hell so Dr E was available for a home visit with the magic Bulgarian potion that had been recommended for me when I’d gone down with the same.  I drove into Djebel first to get fuel and headed over to their village and spent a couple of hours with them and played with the little one.  She really is a poppet and has grown in her time away.  I could see they were all flagging or jet lagging so I said fond farewells and was home for three.  I fried off a couple of chicken bread coated things and made them into sandwiches and decided that a full tummy required rest so settled down on the sofa for a couple of hours and feel much better for it.  I’d managed to get off the garden treadmill for a day.

Back on to it tomorrow…I really want to finish the strimming and plant up the seedlings…they’re getting too tall to be not fending for themselves in open soil.  It’s been a funny old day weather wise…quite cloudy at times and I woke up cold but OK once the blood started flowing round the system again.  LN…Internet is at last up … LN

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Elsa Peters
May 4, 2018, 6:09pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 4th May

So bit of a cloudy start this morning and it couldn't make its mind up whether it want to rain or not.  At one point the sky was more or less blue, the sun was out but raindrops were falling on my head...you know the rest.  It was six fifteen when I had my first coffee but i was still in pyjamas at nine thirty...I had trouble getting going.  I got TV Catchup on the little Lenovo and watched some of the election results, caught the end of Jeremy Kyle for what it's worth and as I said before I knew it it was nine thirty and time to get a move on,  

I hadn't got much of a plan today yet I achieved a lot.  I weeded down the side garden, planted zinnia in two places, put in nasturtiums along the side garden but having read the soil that they require, damp but well drained, I decided to add another layer to the trug that I made last year but it was never deep enough to plant up.  It's done and dusted, it has drainage in the bottom and I lined it with the black stuff that stops the weeds coming through thinking that it will slow the moisture loss.  In went the nasturtiums, I covered the potting compost with a layer of gravel, watered them well and I hope they're standing up for themselves tomorrow.  They look a little sad at the moment.  Last job was to sweep the terraces off, I have a habit of going out without shoes on and have hit a few spiky bits lately.  Final check on the garden and I was amazed how many roses are ready to pop.  I never liked roses before but suddenly they have a purpose.  The honeysuckle is laden with buds and once it's flowered it's going to be brought down to size...it can be a bit of a bully, it's covering one of the lavenders on the lounge terrace bed.

So snooker tonight...we're at the semi stage and it's time to hit the kitchen to see what I can drum up. I'm not really in the mood to put much effort into it....we'll see.  LN....So far....no plan for tomorrow.....LN

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Elsa Peters
May 5, 2018, 4:55pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 5th May

I had a bit of a shaky start. The house phone was ringing at five fifteen Bulgarian time and I immediately think of three fifteen UK time and that there is a problem back home.  I got to the phone just as it stopped so I was looking at missed calls, recognised that it was a local number that I didn't know and hadn't registered as one that I should know so chose to ignore it.  Minutes later there was a message so I tried to read it from the Bulgarian but gave up as a bad job...no further contact today so it couldn't have been important.  Unfortunately I was in really a deep sleep when the phone went and no one likes to have an alarm call on a Saturday morning....

So it was an early coffee and I decided to put my wellies on with my pyjamas and head down to the bottom of the garden with my camera to look for Harold and company but nothing doing...perhaps they were having a lie in. I sat on the wall and watched the mist forming in the valley and it was quite a magical morning.  The cuckoos ere out, the shy jay was flitting around and there was a bit of a chase going on with the magpie.  There was a call I didn't recognise and as I walked up towards the top of the garden I saw a fat brown bird sitting on the wall near the cranberry tree but it had gone by the time I got the camera into focus...agh well.  Carried on and was amazed by the number of poppies and the activity around them.  The bees were having a field day and there were two big things that should never have managed to get off the ground.  It was amusing when they landed on the poppies...some of them were bent double almost by the weight of the bumble bees but they were determined and happily made their was from flower to flower.

Washed dressed and down for the bread van and my painter was waiting in the queue.  He was off working down the village scything grass by hand and promised me rain for the next three days or so.  Apparently all Bulgaria is going to get it but looking at the weather tonight...not a cloud in sight.  I got my loaf of bread, popped in to see Avatar on the way back and she was sitting down in the vegetable garden weeding the strawberries.  I caught a whiff of something sugary, looked up and she had the outside oven  with the chimney belching out smoke and a huge pot on it.  She explained that it was Haciber who was making acacia and pine tip syrup and that she'd made hers yesterday and I'd smelled what I thought was a candy floss type of smell and that must have been it.  I went home to deliver the bread and she gave me a jar that she'd made yesterday and I explained that I was going to get my camera to take photos of the syrup making and she asked me if I could take a few photos of the garden now that she's worked on it and if I would send them to her son in Germany.  The rest of the family work and live there and she only comes back for the summer but the son hasn't been back for a while and he misses it....so I did.  

I came home and put them on my Kindle so that I could show her and the syrup process was carrying on and boiling it until it reached setting point.  To me this became rather precarious....between them Haciber and Avatar loaded the large container into the wheelbarrow and took it round to Haciber's kitchen where Avatar ladled it into jars and secured the lids turning the jars upside down.  Nothing seemed to be sterilised and the lids were ad hoc but in the end they had filled around fifteen jars with the syrup.  I moved the container outside and back into the wheelbarrow and off we set settling down in the garden to be joined a short while later by my painter.  And that was almost another day gone....it was two thirty when I looked at my watch...I came home, my painter went to his and we'd all missed out afternoon siestas but it was such a lovely day sitting out in the garden in the sun chatting....and in a different language.

So home, I loaded the photos on Facebook for the family and they've been well received.  I got my head down for an hour or so and now it's just after seven thirty, time to raid the fridge but I did have a huge breakfast of fried spicy sausage and baked beans with bread so if I don't manage supper, I shan't come to any harm.  The snooker has just finished and John Higgins is through to the final and what a superb way he finished the match and now to see who's there with him.  LN...Lovely day....LN

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Elsa Peters
May 6, 2018, 4:49pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 6th May

Silly night...I stayed up watching the snooker semi-final when I should have been getting a few zzz's in and the rain has only just arrived despite being threatened for the earlier part of the day.  I was a bit slow off the mark this morning heading for the kitchen for bacon and egg and yet more coffee to wash it down and then 'to horse'....

I watered the plants that I'd put in yesterday and at least most of them seem to have got there little feet down and are standing up for themselves.  Let's ho[e the downpour doesn't do any damage.  I carried on with clearing the bottom garden beds, attacked the wild rose and trimmed the forsythia, found a couple of plants that I shan't know what they are until they put a few more leaves on but at least they can breath now I've cleared the debris from round them..  The clover and chickweed were pretty thick down the bottom but it was really hard work removing it and I really hate clearing round roses...they always seem to get their revenge.

I came in at four to start watching the snooker final but thought I could do a bit more out there before gave up for the day.  I got the lawnmower out and started on the big house grass but despite emptying the catcher regularly...it got hard to do and it kept cutting out.  I think it needs a dam good service but unfortunately not many experts in Kardjali and to send it away to the manufacturers would be really costly.  So it was out with the  battery strimmer until it packed up and so I got the cable out and the electric strimmer and stayed out there until the thunder got particularly loud....time I came in and I did.  Tools away and caught up with the snooker and not good for Mr Higgins, boiler on, cleaned out the bath and hand basin tap filters and now everything put back together again....another skill added to my repertoire.

Kardjali tomorrow for a few essentials especially if it's raining....I shan't be able to do anything in the garden.  Looking forward to luxuriating in about ten minutes time...supper can wait.  Might be another late night with the snooker.  LN....Better set the alarm....LN

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Elsa Peters
May 7, 2018, 4:55pm Report to Moderator

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Monday 7th May

Normal start, toast for breakfast and washed and dressed for the big city by eight this morning.  I was tempted with putting a load of washing in the machine but the day has been punctuated with downpours so it's as well that I didn't.  I got the Beast out and put it on the grass outside the house leaving room for Mrs D of S's car should they confirm that they were up for a day in town....and they did.  They arrived just after ten, we decided to head straight off despite the rain reasoning that skin is waterproof so the child seat was transferred over, pushchair into the Beast and baby strapped in.  Off we set down the back lane and low and behold as we hit the Kardjali - Greek road we saw a set of roadworks traffic lights which make a change from a man with a flag who hasn't got a clue whose turn it is.  We pulled on to the main road and were first at the light and seemed to sit there for ages and you can image the steam coming out of a local driver's ears but sit it out we did.  I hadn't moved far along the road when I could see a car overtaking others behind and intending to overtake me but with one coming on the opposite carriageway towards me, I applied my brakes.  My life and that of my passengers is more important than speed and the car pulled in in time.  A little further down the road...there was a car in the field which had obviously rolled a few times and the car that overtook me was sitting by the side of the road along with two other cars....and the wreck was still sitting there when we came back.  

First stop the leva shop and I bought new bucket for trees for the terrace, Dove shower creme at really cheap prices and a new book for the little one.  On to the town centre car-park and we'd forgotten but it was a Bank Holiday here too.  Having said that the shops that we wanted were open.  Shoes for the little one, cheapy clothes shop and three t-shirts for thirty five pence followed by pizza and chippies at a restaurant for lunch.  Also one to remember...this one has a decent child seat.  Two trips round Kaufland car park and we gave it a miss....it appears that most of Kardjali was shopping today and off to Lidl and that was an adventure in itself. It's had a refit and I couldn't find a thing....but another book for the little one went into the trolley and she promptly fell asleep as we drove home reading it...bless.

So child, pushchair and chair safely swapped over and off they went..  I unpacked my shopping, made a coffee and promptly fell asleep, woke up and put the snooker on and what a turnaround from last night.  Looks like Higgins is on his way out.  My Avatar has just been round to look at the garden...there was a runaway horse on the road so she waited until it was no longer in sight and I told her to run back home which is a pretty useless comment...she walks with a stick.  No supper for me...the pizza was enough until tomorrow morning...and what a lovely day despite the weather. LN....A little tele and bed....LN

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Elsa Peters
May 8, 2018, 5:16pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 8th May

Awoke at five this morning after a restless night.  I decided to play Candy Crush and what a success...the program must have felt sorry for me and after two weeks of trying the same one I managed it and then knocked off three others at speed, I popped the bottles, spread the jam and found the bears and now I'm faces with another super-hard game.  Why do we do it to ourselves?  I'm offed to buy extra moves or free time but that's not my style....tight wad...

Two  loads of washing in and out on the line by seven thirty.  I walked to the bottom of the garden to see if Harold was out and about but there was so much morning mist rising that I couldn't have seen him anyway.  It also made me wonder why the washing was out but the sun soon cleared the mist away and it was a sunny even if there wasn't much heat in it.  Last night's rain had really perked the flowers up and that grass has taken on a spurt already.  Dressed for Djebel...I'd decided to take the Beast in so that they could look underneath to check out the minor oil leak so stopped off at the garage shop to spend a little time with my student's mum and also to check how busy the garage was before I put in an appearance.  Looks like there might be a lamb roast on Saturday night, I've been invited and I'm waiting for confirmation that it's going ahead...one for the diary.  Down to the garage and over the pit and it's a minor leak from underneath which needs no remedial action so everything good.  I headed for the plant shop in town to see if they had compost to sell but as he said, with so many people keeping animals what was the point...and he had a point.  I did buy a carnation/pink plant from him...I loved the colour and it had amazing perfume so it's sitting in the conservatory by the door.  

I stopped off at one of the springs on the way home from Djebel to fill up some water bottles but a workman stopped and told me that it wasn't good for drinking.  It did look very milky but should be OK for plants which is what I wanted it for,  Home for one....no gardening for me, the clouds were gathering over Smolyan so it was washing in and the thunder was a forerunner of what was to come.  We've had several rain showers and it's really has freshened up the air.  The bee-eaters were out in force in the garden and have gone now the bees have gone to bed.  I reckon there were pretty poor pickings with the rain that we've had.  Head down this afternoon and it's a relief the snooker is over after a brilliant final last night and I really didn't mind who won....it could have been either of them.  Poached eggs on ham for breakfast, toasted sandwiches for lunch so no supper for me...I'm stuffed.  LN...Eggheads and r.e.l.a.x.....LN

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Elsa Peters
May 9, 2018, 4:21pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 9th May

Five thirty start and it was a really misty morning to wake up to.  Washed and dressed by eight and out for what I thought was the bread van but it wasn't so I headed into my Avatar's garden and interrupted her gardening.  She was putting fertiliser around her tomatoes and there was another bucket of something, brown in colour and I asked her what it was.  She tried to explain its use to me but she didn't know the Bulgarian word for 'mole' and I did.  It's a deterrent...they don't like the smell and apparently they disappear pretty quickly when you put it in the runs.  I think she's got mine from last year.  We went in her house and she offered me a couple of cans of mackerel in oil that's provided by the EU for the elderly in Bulgaria...she doesn't like fish so I said a thank you and left them in the house until we'd been to the van.  The neighbours can be a little nosy.  I also asked to buy a jar of syrup from her for my student's mum and asked her the price and it was 'sto leva'...a hundred leva.  She'd turned my joke back on me so I said that we were all square...one hundred for the lift into Kaufland to do her shopping and one for the jar of syrup....no bills outstanding...

So down to the bread van and back to hers for the goodies, breakfast on the terrace with a coffee and back in the house for a warm.  The sun was breaking though but it was slow and I didn't head out to the garden until eleven.  I went down to the bottom and weeded the little bed near the wall and ended up digging out lots of stones...it's a very rocky area but I did manage to find another two little fir trees that I'd put in, another spirea and a creeping cotoneaster.  They're all looking better for being set free and I thought rain was going to stop play but it didn't.  There were several big claps of thunder and the clouds really came over but only a few spots.  Just prior to that I'd raked over part of the vegetable patch and put in the broad beans and only got tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers left to get in.  There's nothing showing yet....I bet the ants have had a field day collecting the seeds that I've already put in...don't you just love them.

Lovely evening, cows are grazing on the hillside and the swallows are very active around the garden.  I've just been on the internet to order more seeds but they don't have Bulgaria as a drop down option for international dispatches so I'm waiting for an email from them before I  can continue.  I've used them before but they manually processed the order...might have to do it again.  LN....Watering time...LN

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My Diary by Elsa Peters (only location)

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