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Elsa Peters
May 18, 2018, 4:47pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 18th May

So at eight this morning I made the decision to go to Haskovo to the market garden for a few more shrubs.  They're not expensive there and by the time you've taken cuttings and nurtured them, spent sleepless nights over their dietary requirements for three or four lev it's a no brainer.  I phoned the Librarian at eight but no response so I gave her another ring at eight thirty to see if she wanted to come out to play.  It was a positive response so I quickly made toast and Marmite, moved the Beast out into the road and took my breakfast over to Avatar's house where she was working in the garden.  She only had one request...some jam pot lids for the next bottling session...she has strawberries and looking at my cherries, we could be doing those as well.  

The Librarian arrived just before ten and we set off for Haskovo.  We stopped off at Kaufland and stocked up with water, cheese straws and a fruit cake just in case we got the munchies but it was mainly for the water.  They were selling off some very under watered petunias and I took pity on them and into the trolley they went.  Back into the Beast, it's a fair journey and there were several Romanian nutters heading back from Greece...a solid white line means nothing to them so I was taking it fairly easily.  We decided to go to the hardware outlet first, they normally have bare-rooted plants for sale but nothing doing today...maybe I've missed them for this season.   On to the market garden and it has really gone down hill.  We were recognised by the assistant and we headed to the back area where they keep most of the shrubs not the ones that come in from Holland.  Like kids in a sweet shop we picked out what we needed, it was all totted up and the grand total was sixty leva.  I'd only got seventy so I ended up with four berberis to make up the change to save her walking backwards and forwards.  We were also given a two foot pine shrub each for no other reason that we've good customers .  We came back looking like Kew Gardens on a road trip, Lidl in Kardjali on the way back, French stick, ham and cream cheese....I was doing lunch at home.  We loaded the Librarian's goodies into her car, mine were left on the terrace, French stick onto the table with the ham and cheese and that was lunch....be it late but it arrived.  Off she went....I gave my plants a good watering and then headed down to the spring with nine ten litre bottles to top up my supplies for watering the plants.  It was very peaceful down there until a car pulled up, four men got out, three swigging beer while the forth one carried the ingredients for a barbecue so I left.

I put the bottles away in the little house, cleaned out the back of the Beast since I'd noticed a few ants obviously from one of the pots.  The shoes were brought into the house, the body warmers that stay in the Beast have been washed and are drying already and I've sprinkled round ant powder just in case.  I got most of the plants I wanted and a few that I haven't noticed before that are nameless at the moment....I'll have to get my book out.

Gardening day tomorrow and feel refreshed after getting away from it for a day.  I've got planting to do and I think there's something special happening in England around lunchtime, my time.  LN...Better get an early night to fit it all in.....LN

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Elsa Peters
May 19, 2018, 5:27pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 19th May

This is going to be a quick update...the thunder is rattling around and those claps are getting closer.  Someone stole my mountains this morning...there was nothing to be seen.  There were a few spots of rain but nothing too drastic at the start and at eight I headed out to my Avatar's house to take back the dish that she delivered strawberries in yesterday and we sat in the garden raking over the coals.  She said that an old man had died in the village and that all the ladies had headed up to his house to pay their respects while she laboured in the garden.  I think the others are going to bypass her eventually if she stops joining in and to cap it all I was sitting in her garden when they came back so that didn't go down well.  I mentioned that I was waiting for the bread van but was told that since it was Djebel day today that he wouldn't be coming so I have no bread.  I thought I had one in the freezer but when I checked I hadn't...ah well...I had to eat cake.

I settled in for the royal wedding and didn't tare myself away until it had finished.  It was getting on for four our time and since the weather had picked up a little and I hadn't taken my Fitbit for a walk because it was charging, I decided to exercise the lawnmower.  I was doing OK until it hit one or two of the big clumps of course grass and packed up on me.  I moved on to the little house flower bed that was desperately in need of love and attention and removed the clover, strimmed round the bed and took out lots of the mint that grows through everything.  Back to the mower and did most of the little house lawn but then the thunder started so it was tools away, mower box emptied strimmer back on charge.  It wasn't long before the rain came again but it is good for the garden.

There were some nice touches to the wedding that I'm sure will be remembered for a long time...fingers crossed it will work out for them both.  I hope they're allowed to carve out their own paths in life.  LN...Food time....LN

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Elsa Peters
May 20, 2018, 6:16pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 20th May

So this morning i woke up and thought it was Monday.  I was already thinking about going into Kardjali and then I fired up the PC and realised that it was Sunday.  The day of rest but it's been far from that.  I was upstairs in my bedroom and out of the side window I spotted Harold belting down the field towards the trees but no camera to hand.  He was just too quick for me,  I walked the estate and noticed that the wind must have been really strong last night.  Three lemons from my tree were on the floor and a couple of small branches had been broken off.  I know the rain absolutely lashed down but the worst of it must have been while I was asleep.  

Down for fresh bread and even he was running late....I didn't make breakfast until nine thirty but enjoyed poached eggs with ham on toast which set me up for the day.  My Avatar was at the van and buying sugar intending to pick the rest of her strawberries and make jam with them.  She gave me a kilo more or less to have straight from the husk but later in the day I made my own jam.  The jam could wait and I ended up gardening, spray painting blue a couple of waste bins and planting them up and planting some of the shrubs that I'd bought on Friday.  .  but instead I set too and made one large of jam and half on an other which was going on toast tomorrow.  Avatar came over again, I showed her my jar and a bit and she threw a fair wobbly...she'd got ten kilo of strawberries bubbling away so I went over to help her in the final preparations and we filled twelve jars of jam which are now upside down and shrouded and will be turned the right way tomorrow.  I shall then make up my jam collection and I've told her that if hers doesn't set properly, we'll have it over ice-cream or pancakes.

I'd put supper in the oven, chicken wings with roasted potatoes, onions and carrots and had to turn it down while I headed over to help Avatar and when I got back home my supper was ready.  I took half of it and put it into a pie dish and took it over to her.  Unfortunately her next door neighbour was at the house so I left the package and headed home and it was her choice to share it or not.  Lovely sunset tonight and it;s better than last night....it's much more settled.

Nothing so far on the agenda for tomorrow.  I might finish off the planting and see if I can manage to finish the lawn if it's dry enough.  LN....Good productive day.....LN

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Elsa Peters
May 21, 2018, 6:01pm Report to Moderator

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Monday 21st May

Five thirty start and meandered around, one load of washing done and out on the line for seven thirty, sat out and watched and listened to the birds for an hour or so and watched the morning come to life.  Washed, dressed and ready for town, I saw Avatar working in her garden and she called me over to look at the jars of strawberry jam that she'd made yesterday.  She offered me a couple to take home but since the neighbours are on high alert as to what goes backwards and forwards I said that I would call round later after I'd been to Kardjali.  I asked her if she wanted anything while I was shopping and she came up with oranges...you don't get those on the bread van.

I set off at nine thirty down the back lane and was amazed at the number of storks that were skirting the fields down by the river.  I stopped off at my leva shop and picked up a few strange items like a small Pyrex bowl suitable for poaching eggs in the microwave, two pairs of trainer socks since I'd put my shoes on without socks and the weather was getting pretty warm.  Parked up in my usual paying car park, down to the cheapy clothes shop and picked up a lightweight raincoat that can stay in the car since it only cost ninety stotinki...not even a leva.  Down to Kaufland and nothing mush worth having except for the oranges and a hot-dog for lunch.  Next stop Lidl for bananas, two tubs of vanilla ice-cream and tins of tuna, diesel for the Beast from the next garage and home for around one thirty.  I settled on the sofa with the tablet and a cup of coffee but I didn't stay awake for long.  Next thing I know Avatar is at the door with the jam and apparently the coast was clear so I handed over the oranges and the ice-cream and reminded her to put it in the freezer as soon as she got home,  She laughed and said that she'd be having some of it before it got into the freezer.

So at four I started the task of mowing the lawn and I finished at seven thirty.  The first part went well but at the bottom of the garden. clumps have formed and the mower just couldn't handle it.  My solution was that I took off the grass box, opened and secured the partition between the grass box and the blade and eventually managed to finish the grass.  So tomorrow as long as it stays dry I shall be going over it again but this time with the grass box in place to pick up the debris.  Needs as needs must.

Nine o'clock my time...I have no pickies...it was too dark by the time I'd cleared up and put my tools away.  LN...Pickies tomorrow...LN
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Elsa Peters
May 22, 2018, 5:45pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 22nd May

So at two thirty this morning I was hobbling around the bedroom trying to get the cramp in my upper thigh to work itself out.  Such intense pair and I went back to bed wondering how to get comfortable again and frightened to change position in case it struck up again.  I must have disturbed a muscle bank yesterday shoving that lawn mower around.  Eventually I went off again but was fair up and running at five with not an ounce of sleep in the tank so I played Candy Crush until it wanted me to buy lives, checked FB and emails and eventually into the real world by six.  It was a cold old start to the day but despite that I opened windows and unlocked the porch door leaving only the fly screen in place and sat of the sofa with the tablet with my second cup of coffee until I realised how cold it really was.  I toyed with lighting the fire but that meant that the petchka pipes had to come out and be cleaned so I got dressed, put another sweater on instead and watched the birds in the garden with the bea eaters been very active.

I've been having a spot of bother with a polecat in the under eaves  of the little house.  I spotted it last night on the grass, it was too quick to photograph but I decided to check out the internet for a solution.  It obviously considers my under eaves of the little house to be its home and while it's not managing to get in the house itself I wanted to deter it so turned to the internet for a solution and bingo.....I have it.  The internet suggested mothballs and the smell drives them away but I didn't know the Bulgarian word for them or even for a polecat so I spent time on Google translate and went armed to Djebel to see where I could purchase some.  First stop at the post office in Rogosche but the lady who runs it wasn't there so I carried on and went to the hardware shop and lo and behold, they stocked it and I bought seven sachets and now i have to work out how to get them into the under eaves gap.  There are bricks with holes in them that are too small for the critter to get through but a bit of plastic pipe and a funnel should deliver it to where I need to put it.  It's my job for tomorrow.  Stopped off at my student's mothers shop and we've both been invited to a private art showing tomorrow night in Kardjali and she's just confirmed that both her and her husband want to go.  Apparently for me it's an opportunity for me to meet more 'ex-pats' but I think you know me by now...it's not top of my list of things to do....but hey...I'm going with locals so we can always bow out gracefully and find a really good restaurant in Kardjali.

I've had a very lazy afternoon, a couple of hours sleep on the sofa and was surprised when Avatar appeared on my terrace.  She'd come round to bring me the money for the oranges which I obviously refused and I showed her the pickies of the bee-eaters.  She said that she'd never seen them before which is mighty strange.  I gave her one of the sachets of mothballs, she seems to have been bothered by my critter as well and I noticed the step ladder under the grape vine.  She's not exactly nimble so I suggested she held the ladder while I got up there and trimmed the vine before it headed for the pear tree.  She managed to find me some long handled loppers and I did most of it from the ground but took to a plastic chair to reach the others...the ladders looked dangerous to me.

So home...no supper for me, I had a huge bowl of tuna, onion, cooked potatoes, peas and carrots with mayo for a late lunch and that found the spot.  Eight thirty my time....critter work tomorrow and a little more planting up.  LN....Gentle day but feel better for it....LN

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Elsa Peters
May 23, 2018, 8:35pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 23rd May

Sleepless night again and by the time of the second coming it was just before I woke up.  I missed the bread van, took a couple of bananas over for my Avatar and I munched  another two for breakfast, meandered around for a while and headed out to the garden by ten thirty.  I had the intention of planting the read plum tree in the little bed at the bottom of the garden but an hour later after hitting stone and even with a pick couldn't break through it, gave up and moved a little up the garden,  It's in, supported and I'll check on it tomorrow....it just makes a change from green bushes.  I did a little more planting out and having read how good it is in general for getting seeds and plants through the initial growth, sprinkled cinnamon around the newbies and we'll see how they fare,

I settled down on the sofa in the heat of the day and Avatar was at the door with bread that she'd made and it came from under her jumper.  I invited her in but she's got guests tomorrow so was in the process of tidying her very tidy home in preparation.  I wish she'd come and do mine.

Showered and shampooed and in the Beast for just before six ready to meet up with my students parents and we headed to the art gallery for a showing.  It was held in a very big old house heading for the gypsy quarter of Kardjali and unfortunately it was very poorly attended.  Not many pictures to my liking but there again, my tastes are not to everyone's liking and unfortunately I got cornered by the local priest who tried to tell me that we are all born with sin and only Jesus can wash it away.  It was when he mentioned Adam and Eve that I sort of switched off and having very strong beliefs myself but different to his, it turned into religious gymnastics.  I thought it was quite arrogant of him to suggest that he'd been drawn to me so that he could enlighten me and I countered with maybe he'd been drawn to me so that he could be enlightened.  He wasn't up for reincarnation and said that there was only one spirit and I almost suggested Jack Daniels but I was ready for the off at this point.  Now the group that I'd gone with were all standing back at this point and watching the show from afar but I managed to extricate myself and we headed for the Makaza restaurant for pizza after a stop off at Lidl so that they could top up supplies.

A little more gardening tomorrow until it gets warm again,  I have an invitation for Saturday to go into Kardjali to watch my student arrive ready for his school leaving ball...it's almost like a right of passage.  Tomorrow night I'm at my other student's home for supper...what a busy old life I lead.  LN...Update and bed....LN

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Elsa Peters
May 24, 2018, 8:12pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday 24th May

Quick update tonight...I've only just got back from my student's home after stuffing myself to the gills with all things local.  As for this morning...I meandered through the day sporting a sweater most of the time....I managed to clear out the bed under the main terrace and cut back the remaining narcissus stalks before planting up several tobacco plants that are outgrowing their pot and a berberis that hadn't even got a pot and hanging on from the market garden.  Two loads of washing done but nothing went outside.  At one point it looked like it was going to throw it down and I think some of the villages were getting it but we avoided it somehow.  I tested out the cherry tree which is thoroughly laden but they're still not ready for picking and bottling.  Some will be turned into jam but no one seems to know where I can get a cherry stoner from.  The last time I made it with wild cherries I spent about an out picking out the stones when it came to a rolling boil....and life is too precious to do it again.

Gentle afternoon with a book and a sofa and set off for my students at five forty five more or less.  We sat out in the garden for a while until the mosquitoes drove us inside.  Supper of moussaka was served followed by fresh strawberries and cherries.  The mother also made some soft cheese, izvara I think it's called by simmering the local yogurt drink very slowly with a little salt.  She drained it , put some of it on a plate with cherry and redcurrant jam and we all dived in.  Really stuffed, unadventurous drive back through the forest and now ready to rest my weary head,  The quilt cover and under sheets are still  drying over the banister...so much for Bulgaria in summer....LN...time for bed...LN
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Elsa Peters
May 25, 2018, 5:26pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 25th May

It's been a full on day.  At seven thirty this morning Avatar arrived with a bucket of strawberries that needed hulling and turning into something so I sat on the terrace for an hour or so doing the dastardly deed.  I'd arranged to be at Ms D of S's and we were heading out to the indoor swimming pool at one of the local hotels her way over and testing the little one out at the same time.  I stopped off at the post office in Rogosche on the way and was surprised to receive a bank card when I'd asked for it to be sent to my address in the UK and had already received confirmation that it had arrived at its destination.  So now I have a dilemma...which card is valid and why were two sent out.!!

Over to the pool and we were the only ones in the pool.  The little one was like a limpet clinging on to mum but when it was time to call it a day she was smiling and enjoying herself.  We need to make it a regular habit and it's so quiet that it really is enjoyable.  I swam for about forty minutes and really enjoyed the exercise but we got dressed to warm up and headed for the restaurant for coffee and cheesy chips.  Next stop was Kirkovo one of the towns that I don't normally go to, Ms D of S had found a small plant shop and what a little treasure box it was.  I picked up a white bougainvillea for half of the price I'd seen them in Kardjali and treated us both to really smelly gardenias.  She'd done the driving to save us changing over the child seat and I'd done the treats.  Back to theirs for two more or less and I played with the little one and sat drinking coffee until three thirty...I had work to do at home...more strawberries to hull and get out the magic wand to get creative.  

By six I'd made three and a half jars of jam, cleaned the kitchen, reported that the jam was made to my Avatar and apparently she'd made eight jars that afternoon.  I don't know where she gets her energy from!!  We had a thunderstorm this afternoon and while I was out it looks like we had a bit of a storm.  I'd got plant pots over and containers where they shouldn't be but all's back to normal now and the garden looks good now it's been rained on and it feels very fresh outside.  

Out tomorrow afternoon to watch the parade of the school leavers and my first student is hopefully heading off to university.  All leavers will be decked out to the nines..it's a custom that has always been followed here and one that hasn't been imported from the States,  It doesn't seem five minutes that I took him to the UK for a holiday and his first flight and now he's heading out into the world.  LN....Life moves on....LN

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May 26, 2018, 8:33pm Report to Moderator

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Elsa Peters
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Saturday 26th May

So the sleep of the just until six thirty this morning and I went to bed at about eleven so a good night was had by all.  I woke up to no water though so a shower was out of the question and that load of washing never got done...another day.  I headed down to see my Avatar...she was just coming back from the bread van clutching her breakfast and we sat in the garden and shared a tout manik as they call it...cheesy bread.  I received another jar of strawberry jam from Haciber so it's now added to the collection.

I decided to print up some labels to give to them in Turkish and Bulgarian so that they would know when the jam was made and that was a disaster.  I created and tried to print on out and the strawberries were all yellow so I set about cleaning the printer and ink contacts, we were getting there but then the machine came back with a message that I had to change the yellow cartridge and in doing so managed to spill some ink on to a favourite pair of blue and white striped trousers....so in to soak they went but too late I fear....bah humbug.   When I opened up the new cartridge lo and behold it was the wrong one so no labels for jam for the foreseeable future.....until I can get to Kardjali with the shop open.

I downloaded some more books on to the Kindle and lay on the sofa reading.  It was a beautiful day but that wind was cold and I ended up closing most of the windows and all of the doors.  Thinks were getting blown around again and then suddenly the clouds really started rolling in along with the thunder and lightening...the joys oi summer.  So out of the house by five thirty heading for Kardjali to meet up with my student's parents.  She apologised for not letting me know sooner about the time and place and was unsure whether or not the arrangements would change now that it looked to be throwing it down in Kardjali....and we were playing it by ear.  Driving in was bad.  It had just started when I set off down the back lane but as I hit the main road the heaven's opened and as I approached Kardjali the roads were awash, it was obvious that the drains were blocked and I drove very tentatively through the floods.  I managed to park up near the hotel that was holding the school graduation event and met up with the parents and grandmother and the mother was still unsure of the  programme so we headed for the square and the roads were closed and the police about so we reckoned we had the right place.  He arrived by car along with lots of other and the festivities began.  Lots of family photos and a touching one of the brothers together and despite the age difference, there was love there.  Group photos of the different classes were taken and they then moved on and filed towards the hotel and fortunately the weather held and it turned in to a beautiful evening.

We stopped for an ice cream in the square and decided that a coffee in Makaza restaurant was on the cards so the children could play and the parents could have coffee in peace.  I said fond farewells just before ten and decided to risk the back road and it was going well until I met a minibus coming down as I was going up.  No way was I reversing down that slope so I stuck my ground and he went back about twenty yards and I managed to get round him.  My one hundred and fifty uphill on a slippery road meant that it was all up to him,

I'm intending a slow day tomorrow.  I want to sort out the photos and send them on to the family and then a reading day I think...after all Sunday is a day of rest or should be....it's been a busy old week.  LN...My bed calls....LN

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My Diary by Elsa Peters (only location)

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