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Elsa Peters living a new life in Bulgaria    General Boards    My Diary by Elsa Peters  ›  DECEMBER 2018
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Elsa Peters
December 1, 2018, 5:01pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 1st December

Happy birthday to my niece who appears to be celebrating it in style complete with steins of beer in Munich....another one following in the family tradition...

I stopped up to watch one or two programmes on the TV last night, snuggled down pretty quickly around midnight and stayed asleep until eight this morning.  I woke up really refreshed, the sun was already up and the temperature was gradually rising to a comfortable level, outside was still only around minus five.  The frost on the ground made it look like a fairy tale...it was all very sparkly.

Shower, shampoo, hair dried, found out a card for my ex-student's nine year old brother and went out to sort out the Nipper.  The windows were iced over, it was reluctant to start but did manage it on the first turnover and I left it running while I sorted out coats, hats and gloves to put into the car.  Zelinger was walking along the road and apparently the water was iced up so she was heading up to see Remsier's husband but I'm not sure what he could achieve.  I passed her along the road, picked up one of the students that I know who was walking into Djebel but unfortunately I was well passed his grandfather and so left him walking.  I stopped off at the chemist to get some more Arthritis tablets to take to the UK with me, put some money inside the card and went towards the car shop and recognised Beauty in the drive.  I saw my student's father and we had a laugh that Beauty was out and about and he'd come up from the garage to get some antifreeze to put in it.  I mentioned that it had no papers and he said that the police are at the top and bottom of the town and he was turning off to the hills back to his garage....so all was good in his world.  My student is back from university in Sofia and we had a catch-up....his English has really improved and mother was asking him for a translation for one or two phrases.  He obviously had a good teacher...

In to Kardjali and I stopped off at the leva shop for presents for my ladies, carried on to the car park, over to the cheapy clothes shop and bought a French designer jacket for two lev, a concealer stick from the chemist, grapes and sultanas from the market, more shopping in Kaufland and fell in love with a static hammock with a fly net all round it but resisted the purchase.  Wrong time of year.  Back to Djebel and stopped off to buy a chocolate cake that I'll share with the ladies tomorrow and home for five.  Car unpacked, shopping away, fire lit and now I'm into evening and have just had a cup of coffee with a slice of the cake, some healthy grapes and half a bag of not so healthy marsh-mallows.

Strictly tonight....and tomorrow I'm round the village with the cake and then wrapping presents and beginning to get organised.  The tree will go up tomorrow, December is here...it's all systems go.  LN....Fire alert...logs required...LN
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Elsa Peters
December 2, 2018, 5:58pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 2nd December

Four thirty trip to the loo so I went down and put a log on the fire....it was another cold night.  I had to go out to empty the ash can in the porch and noticed the thermometer...it was nine degrees in and about minus six out.  So because I was mobile I put a load of washing in the machine at cheap rate electric and took a coffee back to bed and snuggled down with the  Kindle.  Soda Crush awarded me an extra two hours playtime but I eventually got fed up with spreading jam, eating chocolates and finding bears.   The world was calling.

Washed, dressed over pyjamas, bacon and egg with fried bread for breakfast, washed up, put the washing on the airer and it was only eight thirty more or less.  I decided that the best thing for the cake was to distribute it to the needy...I certainly didn't need about three thousand calories.  I managed to get seven slices out of it still leaving me a couple, wrapped them in foil and as I headed out to take them round the village the bread van sounded its horn and I carried on to see who'd come out to greet it.  The usual little crowd was down there and there were six ladies so they each had one and I had to try to explain why I had it and they more or less got the idea.  The seventh on went to one of the ladies mother who is part of the clan but not out with the others.  I skipped back, filled up the log basket and the log carriers, put my cake in the fridge for later and then set about wrapping the presents for the ladies,,,Santa's grotto is alive and kicking in BG.  This was also interspersed with the A!-M-Tel help line...my home phone was only allowing me to make emergency calls so I had to remove the Sim Card from the phone, replace it and he forgot to tell me to switch it off and on again to reset it.  My years in telecoms have paid off and I re-established service.  For a while at least...I think the phone needs to go back.

Presents done I settled in to watch the snooker, Ronnie your actual playing and he managed to get himself three games down until he starting playing with his head and managed to win the game.  Christmas tree up, Santa is on the dried sunflowers in the lounge, all curtains are closed to keep in the heat.  It's going to be another cold night.  Strictly results tonight, the rest of the decorations will go up tomorrow, the phone will go back and I'm in to single figures now for presents to buy.  It's been a good day.  LN...The cake is calling from the kitchen....LN

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Elsa Peters
December 3, 2018, 5:13pm Report to Moderator

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Monday 3rd December

Six thirty start, coffee and back to bed.  Tragic last night...I settled down to watch the Sunday Strictly results programme, saw the first couple to get nominated for the dance off and then the internet went off...panic, swearing, resolving host so nothing to do with me, restarted the machine, resigned myself to finding out in the morning and then...it came back on.  Seeing the other couple in the background, I assumed who the first couple had to dance against and watched the final interview with the couple who were having to leave the competition.  And then to bed.

The fire was just going this morning so I nurtured it and it sprung into life.  The sun was up, there wasn't much heat in it to start with but it turned into a beautiful day.  The wood was in so I didn't need to bother to fill up the log carrier, I finished off the bacon, added a fried egg and bread and that was breakfast to set me up for the day.  I made it in to Djebel for eleven and sent off a couple of Christmas cards that have a long way to go from the post office.  It's not like the UK...they have to register the letter in their computer system and you get a receipt for the purchase of the postage.  Fortunately there was only one person in front of me so it didn't take long this time.  Next I went down to the garage to get the Nipper washed on the outside and refused a wash and brush up inside.  It did get the once over though and the oil was checked...that's one advantage of buying it from one of the brothers at the garage...it gets well looked after.

Back to the town centre and went to the garage shop to have a few minutes with the garage owner's wife, bought some fire lighters since I'm down to the last few and went for a walk round the market but didn't buy anything.  Back to the car and down to the bottom supermarket and just as I'd started my shopping Guljan's mother came up to me loaded with shopping and asked if I could give her a lift home so I left my trolley loaded her shopping into the Nipper, she went back to the doctors surgery to finish her work in town and I went back into the supermarket to finish my shopping.  The Christmas shopping is complete so back home dropping mother off in the next village.  Unpacked the car, lunch was cheese with biscuits and grapes and then it was head down for the afternoon waking up with cramp in my legs that left me hopping around for a while.

No need for supper I've had enough food for today.  I shall be watching the interview with the couple that left the Strictly show last night.  Nothing much on the agenda tomorrow...I need to get the rest of my Christmas cards sorted out and ready for delivery, wrap the rest of the presents and carry on writing the list of things to do before departure.  It could be a very gentle day.  LN....Hoping internet stays up....LN
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Elsa Peters
December 4, 2018, 3:32pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 4th December

Four thirty start but decided to try to get back to sleep and managed it.  Seven of the clock when I came to for the second time.  Bliss...I'd had a bath last night and lay lingering for some time so went to bed really relaxed so I was surprised at the early start but who can say why and what for.  Managed to catch my two Monday night programmes....I do enjoy University Challenge...keeps the old grey cells active and it was a race to the finishing post last night with the underdogs come through on a final challenge...quite a surprise.

Breakfast of the gammon steak with egg...it had lingered in the fridge but was very tasty, fire lovingly tended but by eleven this morning I was leaving it to to out.  I threw out the stale bread and two chunks landed in the wild plum tree creating a takeaway for the birds but unfortunately they've not shown any interest at all.  I'll probably find the cats up the tree tomorrow.  The sun was up, the door was open and the rest of the lights were going up in the conservatory.  I went into the little house to try to find another extension block with the intention of putting Santa and the string of lights on a timer but they were all in use....I might have to invest in another.  The presents are all wrapped, in their respective bags and only a few more to buy...I'm nearly there.  

I've just been round and drawn the curtains, the temperature is dropping and the fire has been lit yet again.  A few clouds are gathering tonight over the hills to the east and the sunset was hidden mostly from view.  I think the balmy days have been and gone and we're back to winter.  Good while it lasted.  Smoked cheese, biscuits and grapes for supper tonight...I seem to sleep better when I don't overload the digestive system.  LN....Fire patrol...LN

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Elsa Peters
December 5, 2018, 5:03pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 5th December

What a warm old night it was....I was throwing off the top quilt and sticking my leg out of bed as a thermostat to cool me down.  I eventually got back off again and got out of bed at six thirty.  Washed and dressed quite early, undecided what I wanted to get up to but I wanted to go down to Zlatograd to get some extra stud buttons on a waist coat that I'd bought from  the cheapy shop and thought it might be the place to do it.  They've got a very good leather shop there.  Heading down that way I realised that I hadn't seen or heard anything from the Librarian for a while so I gave her a call to see if she was up for a visit.  We arranged to meet at ten thirty at the restaurant in her village giving her time to get dressed and for the temperature to get up to strength....but it was slow and there was time for me to have a bonfire at the bottom of the garden.  The wind was cold and there wasn't much sun shining though early on so I came in for toast and Marmite for breakfast...you either love it or hate it and the judges are still out.  

I set off at ten and made it to hers for ten thirty and we set off for Zlatograd old town.  We found the leather shop and no doing...they hadn't got the type of buttons and they couldn't make what I wanted them to make.  I don't think he's a real master.  We headed off to the dinky do shop and I bought some small beaded wrist bracelets and then over to the hotel for coffee.  Back into Zlatograd centre for a walk round the lev shops and we eventually found a small restaurant tucked away and had very tasty mousaka.  Nothing much happening in town so we headed back to her village and I dropped her off just before two and was home for two thirty.  

I relit the fire, it was damp and cold and seemed to take ages to warm up.  I closed all the curtains, put up a temporary curtain rail between the lounge and the stair well and added a fleece blanket to cut down the movement of air between the rooms and the stairs and it appears to have worked.  I settled down on the sofa and watched my make Ronnie get through to the next round of the snooker and he played like an automaton.  

I'm going to try the cobbler that mended my house slippers tomorrow to see if he can do the job for me....he has an industrial sewing machine which should manage it.  My little one just isn't strong enough.  So Djebel firstly and then Kardjali for a meander if the weather is good.  LN....Kitchen bound for nibbles....LN

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Elsa Peters
December 6, 2018, 6:49pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday 6th December

Six fifteen start this morning and boy was it a cold wind that was rattling round,,,I had leaves flying everywhere.  I partly opened the curtains, lit the fire from scratch and back to bed with a coffee, played games but was washed and dressed by eight thirty.  I topped up the fire, played around with button batteries on my little snowmen and realised that I really did have to buy more if they were to see it out until Christmas day.  I'd already checked the bag of button batteries that I had but what was left should have been thrown away.  You know what it's like...you put it back where it supposed to live and there's no life in it so it should have been buried with the dead not the living.  I fried off a spicy sausage for breakfast with an egg to set me up for the day, threw out the skin and a couple of slices of bread and I couldn't understand where the noise was coming from.  I had a stand-off between couple of cats so in the end I disturbed them and off they shot leaving it for the birds.

I made my list and headed into Djebel and the sheep farmer followed me impatiently along the village road, overtaking me on the main road and flashing as he went.  We slowed down as we approached the fifty and were both pulled over on a document check.  My officer checked the window stickers to ensure I was legal and I asked him in Bulgarian if he wanted the car documents and he replied that he wanted to see the 'chauffeur documents' and then he said 'driving licence' in English.  I got it out of my wallet and handed it to him, he said my name, village, handed it back to me and told me to have a nice day.  In Bulgarian I wished him the same and off I set, overtaking my sheep farmer who was in deep conversation with the other officer.  I carried on to my student's mum's shop and bought my batteries.  I asked for them by number so she gave me the box to find them for myself and I bought up the supply.  She did take a note of the number though to get more in for me.  

My first stop in Kardjali was at a shop that I'd had mentioned to me in the summer.  I'd had one attempt to find it and hadn't managed it and thought that I'd have another go...and did.  It's more like a warehouse of secondhand everything and I was in Aladdin's cave and loved it.   I bought  a few things, had others measured up for me and will pay them another visit after I've been round the house to check what I really need.  There's some quality stuff there.  Back in to town, bought a few things, returned to Djebel and made a few more purchases and go home around four thirty.  There is now an extension cable on the porch lights and I'l see if the timer switch is working properly.  I do love things that make my little life easier.  Firer relit, chicken leg in the oven with potatoes and onions and that was ready by seven.  

It's another cold one tonight with the wind coming down off the snow capped mountains....I have nothing to do tomorrow but I'm sure I'll find something...I normally do.  LN....Back to the warmth....LN

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Elsa Peters
December 7, 2018, 4:34pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 7th December

Five thirty start and nothing I could do about it.  I tried to settle down again but it wasn't happening so I decided to clean out the top of the woodburner to get rid of the soot.  It was smoking yesterday and did it need it.  Spring cleaned the grate and no sooner was it clean that I struck it up.  It was cold this morning.  It was now only six and the whole day was in front of me.  I settled down on the sofa in the winter lounge with the Kindle and got stuck in to Game of Thrones, played a few games and watched the sun come up.  It was one of those mornings where thee are lots of dark blues to start off with with a hint of more peach than pink and it gradually changes as the sun gets higher behind the horizon until it breaks through and morning arrives.  I'd left the curtain closed last night between the stairwell and the lounge and didn't  open it until the sun broke through....it makes such a difference at night and stops the heat escaping through the floor to ceiling windows but on the upside when the sun comes through, I catch it all.

There was no rush about the morning..I made toast and marmalade, threw out the old bread for the birds. washed up and cleaned the kitchen and settled back on the sofa with my book again and still in PJ's.  I heard my phone ringing and realised that it was still in my handbag from yesterday so rescued it and it was Princess so I returned the call.  Her suggestion is that I change my welcome note to indicate that the phone is in the bag and that I will call back when I find out where I've left it.  We had a little chat about Christmas and my grandson and suddenly R and K from F were at the door unannounced...I opened up and closed down the call, kettle on and I'd drawn them in with my description of the Aladdin's cave last night so I got dressed and we were off for a second viewing.  It meant that I could have another look at the sofas despite not having got round to measuring whether they were suitable or not.  One or two more jobs in town, coffees and since we were heading back to Djebel for one that I introduced them to my soup kitchen for lunch.

I dropped off at one thirty more or less, relit the fire and this time the sofa was with sleep in mind and I'd just nodded off when the Bulgarian phone went and it was Gouljan from Germany for a chat.  I'd met her mother in Djebel earlier in the week and taxied her home and Gouljan just wanted to say thank you.  There's no need but it's appreciated.  Eventually I settled down again but remembered to put the washing that I'd done earlier on to the clothes airer and it was five when I woke up for the second time.  It must be an age thing...

So up to write tonight's instalment and flicked over to TV Catchup and my mate Ronnie was getting himself into the semis in the snooker and he's through.  Fire stoked up, curtains all drawn, not sure what's for supper yet and at six thirty the evening is all mine.  Off to Greece tomorrow and joined by Mrs D of S and it's just after eight thirty at hers.  I changed up some lev in Djebel today so I've  enough to play with but not enough to do serious damage to my personal economy....the card is always in reserve though.  LN....Kitchen and choices...LN

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Elsa Peters
December 8, 2018, 6:04pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 8th December

Silly night last night.  I woke up on the sofa at one, went to bed but no sleep left in me so read for a while and eventually got off at around three and awake at seven.  My little head was buzzing about the design of the little house and getting a dip pool and a hot tub in there and working out how to rearrange the roof so that the hot tub was enclosed.  Now considering it's winter why these ideas should be rattling round I've no idea....maybe eager to get started again on the design front.  Coffee, toast, beautiful sunrise with lots of planes heading somewhere and leaving vapour trails over the sun.  Washed and dressed, I was picking Mrs D of S up at eight forty or thereabouts and the car was white over and took some defrosting before I could set sail...but I managed to get over to her village by eight forty one so not bad timing.  She was ready and we got to the next drop off and pick up point five minutes early.

The border was a little slower than usual, there were about five cars in front of us and the guards were really chirpy and both the Bulgarian and the Greek were testing out their English on us.  I suppose we still have the novelty factor.  There wasn't a lot of traffic on the road but some of them seem to have a death wish and probably will leave a trail of destruction behind them and come out completely unscathed.  Such is the fate of a Bulgarian driver.  On to the motorway, we were heading down to what is supposedly the largest open air market in Greece and despite the fact it is rumoured that there isn't much money to spare, the coffee shops were heaving.  First job though was to find a parking space and  eventually we managed to find one.  Lovely walk over the bridge over a very old river bed with huge boulders and then on to the market.  I bought grapes, a Christmas sweater and that was about it while others bought vegetables, fish and the fishmonger thought that his Christmas had come early. We moved venue to the old town and  I spotted a parking space very close to traffic lights that I'd seen someone pull out of.  There isn't a lot of parking discipline in Greece....but again no traffic wardens so not a great problem.  There was some very pretty architecture and it just begged to be photographed.  Back to the car and we went on to one of the shopping malls and everything is very geared up for Christmas.  I finished my Christmas shopping as did the others, back to the border and a Bulgarian lesson from the border guard, coffee in Fotinovo, Mrs D of S chauffeured home and I popped in to have five minutes with the little one.

Home for five thirty, car unpacked, fire lit, supper of biscuits, cheese and grapes and I'll manage until morning.  I hear that my Ronnie is through to the snooker finals smashing his opponent today and tonight I have the Strictly semis starting in about forty minutes time.  Final wrapping of presents tomorrow and sorting out the bags for the ladies and then packing for the UK.  There wont be a lot to pack...I have enough clothes there to see me through.  I might just manage a quick bath before  my programme starts.  LN...On your marks, get set....LN

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December 9, 2018, 12:03am Report to Moderator

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Where is this market then? I googled "biggest market in Greece" and it could have been one of about 20. You know what Greeks are like? Everything is bigger, better and cheaper.  
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Elsa Peters
December 9, 2018, 6:44pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 9th December

Xanthi....over the border and west along the motorway....just one of the twenty...nineteen to go... If you actually make it down to this neck of the woods....we've got lots to choose from...

Lovely bath last night and woke up at eight this morning.  The weather was damp, miserable, cold and I only ventured out to throw bread out to the birds and to fill up the log carriers.  The important things carried out first.  Toast for breakfast, kitchen tidied, chicken taken out of the freezer for later and I've had a very lazy day.  I watched the first half of the snooker and very pleased with the way things are going....the boy is doing well and I shall be in for the second half after Strictly results later this evening.

Tomorrow is going to be another day centred here.  I'm out tomorrow night for supper with the family but shan't deliver the pressies until later in the week or they'll be opened by the younger daughter but probably re-wrapped so the others don't know.  You've got to love her.  Supper is ready...LN...Kitchen bound...LN
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My Diary by Elsa Peters (only location)

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