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Elsa Peters living a new life in Bulgaria    General Boards    My Diary by Elsa Peters  ›  DECEMBER 2019
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Elsa Peters
December 2, 2019, 8:21am Report to Moderator

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Monday 1st December

Mare of a day last night trying to connect to the ships's Internet .....I took photographs which I'll post later when I work out how to stop the machine turning them round after I've turned them round.  Much simpler on my machine.  Anyway....just docking in Madeira....I'll update later ...ship's internet permitting....grrrr.
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Elsa Peters
December 2, 2019, 5:04pm Report to Moderator

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Monday 2nd December

So after another frustrating start to the session it now transpires that a new male to male USB connecting cable doesn't work so yet more to add into the pot.  I can't charge the laptop at the same time as doing anything.

The weather is not what it's supposed to be....fourteen degrees this morning an spots of rain.  I came here to get ready for winter.  Of course there are the hardy ones in shorts and t-shirts while the sensible ones put on long trousers and sweater...I'm toasty.  Down for breakfast and then purchased tickets to travel into Funchal on the coach...it was far too misty to think about  a trip to the top on the cable car or take one of the organised tours.  They are rip offs without there's a lot  to see and there might have been a lot but  definitely not to see.

No swimming today although there is a barbecue later around the  pool which we may go to despite the fact that there's far too much tempting food in the eight restaurants on board.  I should have plenty of calories stored to take me through the winter.

So far so good...some pictures from yesterday of the tall ship and the Santa Maria is from today.  We arrived in port an it left.  Beautiful flowers and trees in bloom in Madeira.  I found a seed pod that I shall take back with me from a type of mimosa tree and fingers crossed.  LN...The evening beckons....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 3, 2019, 4:57pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 3rd December

Not such a good day weather wise.  They've closed the swimming pool, god has closed the access to the sun and it's a whole day at sea so I've been catching up on my sleep.  There was a comedian flown in from the UK for last night's cabaret.....not bad but I hope they got  the ticket at a reasonable price.  

Tomorrow we're off to Agadir and I've booked one of the organised trips to one of the coastal forts and they're supposed to have a market so I shall be buying my Christmas pressies with a bit of luck.  I've just checked out the sale prices in the  on board shops....and carried on walking.  Almost five....dressed for dinner tonight so just about to press my gold lamee.....just to fit in.  LN....where did I pack that iron....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 4, 2019, 5:54pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 4th December

It was a pretty sleepless night.  You know what it's like ....you  book a tour and set the alarms and worry that they're not going to go off.  Well they did but that was after I was up and about.

Off the ship and on to the coach by eight twenty.  I had to go down to reception to find the  tickets that should have been delivered to the cabin.  The response that 'housekeeping probably lost them' was not what  I wanted to hear and I told her so.  Ah well....it's a holiday peeps.
The local guide took us through the very dry countryside and showed us goats up trees and I found one not up a tree and then on to a restaurant for a quick refresh and a toilet stop.  He reckoned that there wasn't much chance of finding another one in the town.....I thought I was back in BG.

Quick walk through the Medina with another stop at a perfume shop getting splashed with lots of different 'flavour' coming away smelling like Boots.  Back to the ship by two and in for late lunch and thought about a swim....tested the water and gave the idea a miss.  A bit of excitement...we're berthed near the container port and one of the containers was on its end.  I only hope it's not televisions.

Soon be supper time....from one meal to the next.  LN...I'll check out the gym tomorrow....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 5, 2019, 6:45pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday 5th December

Lanzarotte this morning and we decided not to go ashore since we also pay a visit to it next week.  The weather looked like it might be a mixed bag and it certainly was.  The sun was already up when I put my toe out on to the balcony, I did manage  to get a shot and then down for a very healthy start to breakfast which suddenly deteriorated along with the rest of the day's weather.  Bacon, egg, hash brown, mushrooms and toast and the  first rainbow of the day.

I tidied the cabin and we headed out to the deck and found a fairly out of the wind place on the deck.  I was tempted to swim but the mood didn't  last long, moved on to a sunbed and from what appeared to be a cloudless sky, it started to rain so it was back inside ....lunch was calling.  Quite a strange rainbow....it was horizontal and no I hadn't been drinking.  I've still managed to avoid it even though it's an all inclusive cruise.

Afternoon nap and I've just caught the last of the sunset....cruise band are up on the deck and no one to play for and definitely no one in the pool.  Supper will be on the cards next....I'll burn the gained calories  off in BG.  Rude to refuse it when it's been cooked for you.  LN....Shower and show time.....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 6, 2019, 5:35pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 6th December

One lot homeward bound today  and another lot in.  In some ways I wish the  weather would change and then I'd be happier for the second week but at least today we managed to go ashore and enjoy Teneriffe.  There were two other ships in so it was multicultural and the Ocean Majesty was in port again and I really must find out  where it's based and who runs it now.  It would be good to go on it again.

An interesting occurrence  this morning...I couldn't get into the cabin safe and  I think someone had been finger happy in control and had us earmarked for leaving or perhaps it was just wishful thinking on their part.  Anyway...all resolved..a lady from reception appeared with the master control and all was intact.

Walked ashore and ambled around enjoying the intermittent sunshine and no rain so pleasurable.  Back for a late lunch, stuffed to the gills and not sure where  I'll put tonight's but I'm sure I'll find a space.  M is snoring his little head off while I do the update.  LN...Shower and hairwash for me....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 7, 2019, 5:56pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 7th December

Well pretty entertaining last night for the rest of the table at supper. Now this cruise is all inclusive and the waiters make the wine flow freely but to get an orange juice or a coke you have to present your cabin card which is taken away but the waiter.  The drink appears on your cabin statement with no charge....it's a policy.  So my card was taken and not returned along with the coke so. I requested it twice and nothing was forthcoming so I left the table and found a man in a suit to help me sort it out.  Back to the table, more comings and goings and I decided the best option was to go to reception, have new cards printed for the cabin and the old ones cancelled just to make sure that no one could enter the cabin or use my internet access.  Job done I returned to the table for pudding and nothing has been seen of the old one since.  I shall be ordering a coke from the bar and taking it with me tonight to the restaurant.

I didn't sleep well and read for an hour in the middle of the night and at six was reading again.  Down for breakfast and out and on to the pool side and prepared to swim but chickened out at the last minute....far too cold.  In for lunch and back to the sunbeds only lasting an hour before it was back to the cabin and on to the balcony where the sun briefly shone but now back into the warmth.

Strictly tonight and I'm going to attempt to watch it before supper....I'm not sure how well it will stream.  San Sebastian tomorrow and Island views coach tour so it's best check the weather as to what to wear  Cabaret night after supper...let's see how well they mime tonight to the background backing tracks.  LN...Where's the sun gone.....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 8, 2019, 6:43pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 8th December

Reasonable night last night....we went to the entertainment...Ok but not stunning and I was nodding off.  I'd watched a little of Strictly before supper but thought I'd save the browsing until tonight to watch the dance off...saving my allowance.

Morning sun now there's a thing we haven't seen much of and we were on a coach tour to Gomera today...views and sights of said island...one of the smaller ones.  Very narrow roads and to get to the viewing point we had to go down in size from the coach to an eighteen seater and still had to back up at times for cars coming the other way.  It was the usual tour...flora and forna and some really interesting plants, a demonstration of whistling that they teach in schools apparently and is a recognised language....strange folks  but it got very confusing when we were getting back to the big coach.....the instructions weren't very clear and no way can you get a quart into a pint pot.  Eventually everybody was back where they should be and we made our way to the bowl of the volcano and not staying long...it was blowing a gale.  Back on the coach, back on board and as the ship left port I realised that the cabin balcony was facing the sun so I didn't move far from home base.

It just going down now as we head towards  the next port.  LN....Shower and showtime.....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 9, 2019, 6:54pm Report to Moderator

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Monday 9th December

Better night's sleep and woke up at six.  The latest Kay Scarpetta novel is no more and the twist only came into play in the last chapter and I didn't feel that it was wound up very well.  A twin of the main culprit...now where did that come from.  I watched the pilot boat take us in to port and two others had beaten us to it....the big one that appears to follow us had stolen a march on us and a Saga ship.  Now I'm not young but fairly active....I guessed today was going to be difficult getting around with the little disabled scooters and I was right.

So Madeira it is and the same views from last time.  On to the shore bus....too far to walk for my compatriot....and we set off to walk the town.  Lots of gift shops, street musicians but t...the one next to the band that we found gave up....the competition was just too great.  We walked to the cable car with the intention of going to the top but the queue was horrendous and the clouds rolled in so it would have been a waste of money.  We found a spot on the sea front opposite a lovely garden and I went gathering seeds to bring home with me.  Lots of new ones to try out.

Back on board via the shuttle for about three....late lunch...carried on reading Outlander which is good to dip into and had an afternoon siesta....rude not to.  Almost seven....time to get ready for supper and then more food.  I shall be on a diet as soon as I get home out of necessity with Christmas approaching.  When you have to cook it yourself though it's much easier than having lots of goodies presented to you three times a day.  LN.....A sea day tomorrow....fingers crossed for sun and a sunbed.....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 10, 2019, 5:52pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 10th December

A whole day at sea so what could be better?   A whole day of sea with sun.  There was a hint of pink this morning which did show promise but as the day wore on the promise broken and it's been changeable all day.  I was out on the balcony at around seven watching the gentle waves and the sunrise and down for breakfast by eight thirty topping up with fuel for the day....and there's lots of it.  I shall have to be wearing it off at home.

We managed to find a couple of sunbeds and noticed that the threatened parking ticket system had been introduced.  As you know there are always the ones that grab the sunbeds staking them out with the towel and with space being at a premium with everybody on board for the day the tickets were applied to the offending towels and beds.  It didn't seem to make much difference....the rain did the rest....people came and went all day.  We managed to get a couple under the upper floor parapet out of the wind and light rain and stuck it out until lunch time and finding the same spot on our return.

Tomorrow we're on a tour to Arrecife and a volcano tour and supposedly with various demonstrations which I'll let you know about.  Smart dress night in store.  LN......Just off to polish the gold lame.....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 11, 2019, 7:11pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 11th December

Another day towards departure and today we were off to see the destruction of about three hundred years ago when fissions opened and the island was engulfed in lava and the centre of it was entirely covered.  They've now made it into a conservation area and a good job they've made of it too.  Only coaches are allowed on the lava smooth roads around the entire area.....no car trail.

The weather was promised sunshine in patches but the patches must have been elsewhere...I stuck to my warmish sweater thinking I would take it off but  I never did....toasty. It was a very arid landscape to start off with.  Black ash covering the agricultural areas and walls made out of lava to protect the few plants in gardens. We found the camel statue that celebrates the ones that were wiped out in the disaster and the new additions waiting for tourists.  There was a demonstration of a man digging and handing us a handful of warm lava, and him setting fire to brushwood using the warm coals.  That's tourism for you.  They'd also manufactured a blow hole which was filled up with water and the man predicted when it would blow.

We did a winery and I wasn't tempted, a couple of 'dinky doo' shops where I was and back on board for a late lunch and I had to have my siesta.  I woke up and managed to catch sunset from the back of the ship....and a full moon rising.  Tomorrow packing and airport on Friday .....and the election will be all over and let the counting begin.  LN....Supper calls....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 11, 2019, 7:14pm Report to Moderator

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And a few more



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Elsa Peters
December 12, 2019, 4:56pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday 12th December

So I woke up to an industrial vista of lorries being loaded with containers and the noise that goes with it.  There was a bright orange light outside and I shut the curtains again and got in another hour of sleep.  I went to look out  of the window again and saw that the gigantic ship that has been following us / we have  been following and it appeared to be heading for the quay and smiling all the way.  I was fascinated by this and then it went out of view,  appeared to be heading for the other side of the building on the quay and this time the eye painted on the bow appeared.  Eventually the ship was maneuvered and it crept into its allocated berthing slot.

Food has been plentiful again and after lunch it was time to pack the suitcases and prepare for tomorrow's departure.  Have I enjoyed the cruise?  I'm not sure.  The ports of call haven't been varied enough for me and one Canary Island appears like the next.  Would I come back?  I don't think so.  

Packing done, tonight's clothes are ready for lift off.  The luggage has to be out of the cabin by midnight so that it can be  put on the quay for us to identify before the flight home.  Time for last update and posting of pickies and then the computer goes away.  LN....Tomorrow will be from the UK.....all being well......LN



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Elsa Peters
December 14, 2019, 5:32pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 14th December

Back safe and sound, we delayed from Teneriffe, there were people missing from the plane so luggage had to be unloaded.  Someone probably ended up with a very large bill having to reorganise flights....bummer.  Eventually landed and was held in a holding pattern over Gatwick and despite a clear night, didn't manage to take photo's, the camera was in the overhead and not the handbag.  Train from Gatwick to Brighton and taxi to home at the extortionate price of seventeen pounds so luggage upstairs and then we went on the search for fish and chips but to no avail.  All three chippies in the area closed at nine thirty and we didn't realise it was so late.  Did a quick catch up on the election results.  I'd managed to watch Piers Morgan on morning TV on Transponder TV before we left but the outstanding victory seemed to be well reported and so it should.  Let's hope this does bring the country together but I doubt it.

Bed at eleven thirty and the sleep of the just until six thirty this morning and found a cup of Ovaltine that I'd made last night and not finished.  Set about sorting out my hold luggage, stuff in and stuff out and it was reading twenty three point one kilograms.  I then realised that there were a pair of snow boots that had to be fitted into mine since my guest is only bringing out hand luggage so it was a rerun, my Christmas present from my son and his wife was added to the case and other items removed and now it's better than it was.  Unfortunately I've just got a jar of Branston as a gift and that now means that something has to be taken out and this takes its place.  Another delve in the case.

I phoned Princess to confirm that we are all meeting up tomorrow for lunch and walked over the Downs to the village this afternoon to buy a birthday card for number two grandson.  It was very windy over the Downs and cold despite the sun so I pulled the neck of my jumper up over my ears to keep the wind out.  I crossed over the High Street and headed down to the sea and the waves were crashing onto the shingle and it was at this point that I realised that my camera was at home....missed opportunities.  I did stop off at the local food shop on my way back...six mincepies, a slab of chocolate while I watch Strictly and lottery tickets.  I selected a couple of lines and the man asked for four pounds...they were one pound each the last time that I bought them.  Fingers crossed....five million would be nice...I could learn to handle it.

We have Christmas cards to deliver locally in the morning and lunch tomorrow at twelve thirty making it a rerun of last year, son, daughter, respective partners and my three lovely grandchildren....what could be a nicer start to the holidays.  LN....Taxi booked for Monday for silly o' clock.... LN
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Elsa Peters
December 15, 2019, 9:34pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 15th December

So last night I fell asleep on the sofa and woke up with cramp in the front of my left leg....so painful and the area is still so painful.  I managed to sleep ok though and woke up at six thirty to yet again check my luggage.  There was a problem with the house computer so it upset my plans to print out gift vouchers for my grand-children so a quick call to my bank sorted out the problem but I had to go through hoops to make a simple payment to my daughter.  The lady couldn't understand why I wasn't using internet banking and then I had to explain...I didn't trust the home system.  All ok now....probably an update that went wrong.

So quick sandwich for breakfast...lunch was booked for twelve thirty so didn't want to fill up before the event.  I took the Christmas card to the neighbours and my have the grandchildren grown.  I told them how lucky they were to have such a super granny.  On to our next house call and then back to the house to pick up the cards for the family and off we went.  

We more or less arrived at the same time, good to see the grandchildren again and number one grandson has brand new car with personal number plate..well close enough.  Apparently the one he wanted was in the high thousands so he made do with the one he's got..   Carvery for all except two of the grand-children who wanted burgers.  I don't think they are allowed them at home.  Coffees to finish on, present swapping and home after hugs and promises to meet up earlier than next Christmas.  So I opened some of my bag of goodies from Princess, demolished the hazelnut Ferrero Roche type goodies while I was watching Sports Personality of the Year and repacked the large hold luggage yet again taking out the equivalent of two kilo and replacing it with my son's present of Badedas bath gel and shower gel....large bottles of each. He knows I like them and can't get them in BG.

So taxi booked for three fifteen so not sure whether to go to bed or not.  Decisions, decisions.  I'm at the stage now that I shall be glad to be home....it's seemed drawn out at either end of the cruise and it seems to have faded very much into the background.  I shall have to read the blog to remind myself of the monthly events.  Hoping for a safe and uneventful journey.  LN.....next catch up in BG....LN
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Elsa Peters
December 16, 2019, 6:39pm Report to Moderator

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Monday 16th December

It's been a long old day.  Up at two this morning for the  taxi at three, early morning flight, taxi across Sofia to the bus station, bus to Kardjali which seemed to take a different route and kept me guessing and we managed to catch the five ten to Djebel from Kardjali.  I left my guest at the bus station wit the luggage, we'd both got fed up with it by this time and went to the car shop to pick up my keys.  It was strange driving again and I had difficulty thinking about which side of the road I was on even though I hadn't driven in England....doh.  I stopped off at the supermarket for bread, sausage, orange juice and a bottle of wine for my guest he supped away while I cooked supper.

Home safe and sound, water turned on, gas turned on, fire lit, hot water boiler adjusted and now computer on.  Nice to be back...I've missed this place....back to normal soon with the photos and just to let you know...the house is up to seventeen degrees already...result.  LN....Let's see waht we get up to tomorrow....LN
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Elsa Peters
December 17, 2019, 4:39pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 17th December

The sleep of the just last night.  I woke up at seven with no disturbances at all and felt ready to face the day.  The fire was on it's last legs so I emptied the ashes and threw on some starter wood and a couple of logs and it was soon raising the temperature in the lounge.  Having a guest I'm more aware of keeping the home fires burning, it looked like the sun would break through once it had burnt off the mist and at about eleven it was through and doing what it's supposed to.  Guest surfaced around nine, first load of washing in, sausage sandwiches for breakfast and as I went to open the milk for tea I noticed that the sell-by was in August so I got him to test it first and it was OK....but rest assured I've got fresh stuff in today.

Washing up done, washing on the clothes horse in the bathroom and I was out to get the logs in.  It was three degrees outside, fourteen in but climbed steadily as the sun  came out.  We walked the garden together to see what was surviving and the jobs that need to be done and nothing was really outstanding.  He's got a few days of rest and recuperation before I start loading his wheelbarrow.   Around lunchtime I tried hard to reset the time zone on both Fitbit to no avail.  Hopefully overnight it might  move them on to European time.  At one I was thinking about my nails and couldn't remember if my appointment was today or tomorrow so I went into Djebel to see my lovely lady and as I walked in she reminded me that it is tomorrow so I had a catch up with my student's mum, picked up some shopping and then I shall go in tomorrow so that she can charm her magic.  

As for photos...sorry ...yet another day of inactivity on the photo front....no excuses except that it's taken today to settle in.  The temperature inside has now gone up to twenty three and outside it's eight...I'm getting there.   Tomorrow we've got an art exhibition in Kardjali and I think my guest might have line up one that he's interested in already.   LN....It might be another pressie off my list.....LN
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Elsa Peters
December 18, 2019, 8:21pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 18th December

Beautiful morning again with the mist hanging in the valley.  I've taken a photo but I think I'm unlikely to be able to display it....I've been having a mare of a day with the PC and the USB connectors....aarrrhhh.

I'd got the fire going around seven this morning to warm up the house but it's doing OK....we've only been back for one day more or less and it was seventeen degrees before I lit the fire and shot up as soon as the  sun was up.  Breakfast of roasted veg the remains of last night's supper in an omelette and really delicious it was too but it had to be followed by toast an marmalade....not enough omelette when shared between two.  I had my nail appointment at two so I had plenty of time to get up to a few things  but I seemed to be chasing my tail.  The phone battery was dead and that needed fiddling with, the new card for the Chuwi machine wasn't recognised despite having gone through the install and format stages so I did something practical and got in a load of logs to see us through the day.  That worked.

In the Nipper by one thirty, nails finished by three thirty and I went shopping in the leva shop for more items for my ladies for Christmas and tomorrow I can start the wrapping process to see what I've really got and what's left to get.  Home for four, in the Nipper again by five and over to Kardjali for the art exhibition held in the old house near the gypsy quarter at the back of the market.  Wine an a fabulous buffet were organised so I stuck to the water and Mrs K of Fotinovo was exhibiting three paintings at the event.  I did suggest Securicor to carry home the spoils but not necessary this time but there will be others.  Their neighbours had also turned up...I speak to the mother when I visit Fotinovo and it was good to meet them.

The viewing finished at around six thirty and six of us headed to the Turkish restaurant in Kardjali for supper and a pleasant time was had by all.  Home for nine thirty and that's when I found that the pictures weren't available.  I looked at them, they're of the morning and evening and I going to have another try when I've posted this.  LN...my work is about to begin....LN
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Elsa Peters
December 18, 2019, 8:28pm Report to Moderator

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As promised...I told it who was boss



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Elsa Peters
December 19, 2019, 5:38pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday 19th December

Soon be time for me to start asking where the year's gone,,,well I might as well start now.  Where has it gone?  I thought I was going to hit December running but I'm doing catch-up.  I've spent time round the shops today trying to buy gift bags but they've already been sold...so it wasn't the easy purchase that I expected it to be.....and tomorrow I'll start wrapping and filling.  I did most of the shopping before I left for the UK but the list appeared out of nowhere this morning but thankfully most of it has been achieved.  Just personal presents to get.

The weather was so good this morning that I managed two loads of washing and put it on the line to dry.  There was a little hill fog still around and I soon got rid of it with a bonfire.  My painter saw the car in the drive and visited.  I've already asked his help to take the secondary branch off the cherry tree.  Part of it must have broken in the wind while we were away and unfortunately it's cracked the second branch where it joins the main trunk so it has to come off.  I think my painter is going to try to save the trunk where the starlings made their nest last year and he has visions of putting it back on the cherry attache to the main trunk.  I'll leave it up to him.

Kardjali was quiet today and I scooted round the shops fairly quickly.  I left my guest at various points around the town...it was quicker on my own but we did manage to find him a wool and cotton roll neck sweater in one of the not so cheapy shops because it's early in the week but it was still a bargain.  Home after an expensive trip round Kaufland, washing in before it got too damp and it's on the airer, coffee and mini-eclairs and supper is in for tonight and about to be served.

A day of wrapping tomorrow and we managed to get a Christmas tree that is small but perfectly formed and that needs dressing. It should all be done tomorrow and then on count down.  LN...Pickies of Santa's grotto will be posted tomorrow....LN
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Elsa Peters
December 20, 2019, 7:28pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 20th December

Lovely start to the day, the sky was red and the sun creeping over the mountains but it was a long time coming.  as the dawn broke, the sun went behind the clouds and there were amazing skies.

Fire lit by seven, a two cups of coffee back to bed with me.  I didn't want to disturb my guest and I didn't.  It was getting on for nine by the time he surfaced.   Bacon and eggs for breakfast, kitchen tidied and I put vegetables into the slow cooker to make soup for later but that idea dissipated as the day wore on.  So my challenge for today was to wrap up as many presents as I could and I soon knuckled down and got on with the job.  Unfortunately I realised that I would be running out of wrapping paper so at eleven thirty I headed into the post office to collect any mail and yest again she wasn't there.  I want a job like hers.  I carried on to Djebel and bough boxes of chocolates to add to the goody bags, went back to my work and now the presents for my ladies are all wrapped and all other presents are sorted.

The cheapy tree that we managed to pick up yesterday in Kaufland is now gracing the lounge, lights and balls adorn in and I've strung up another couple of sets on the other wall.  Setting up the tree meant that I had to move some of the large earthenware pots and generally reorganise things in there. the low shelving has been polished, the carpets hoovered and I can more or less say that I am ready for Christmas....or rather, the house is....the presents needing parcelling are on the other sofa that you can't see in the pickies.  

Liver and onions for supper, washing up done and everything put away.  More of the same tomorrow and I must put the conservatory lights on a timer otherwise I know I'll forget.  LN..It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 21, 2019, 7:55pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 21st December

Five start so I got my head down again and it was just before seven when I became conscious for the second time.  I opened the curtains to a vary dark sky with red and navy tinges and straightway went down for the camera and remembering to bring a cup of coffee with me.  There were snores coming from the downstairs bedroom no let sleeping dogs lie was always my mantra....so I did.

I took several shots and as the morning broke the sky got really red and as quickly as it came it went and we reverted to a grey sky with the sun striving to break through.  It was around eight degrees this morning and I was slow off the mark to light the fire and it wasn't necessarily for me.  The house soon went to twenty two degrees and I thank the day that I decided to put more insulation in the loft.  It;s made everything just more comfortable.  I cooked the remains of the liver and some bacon served with an egg for breakfast for my guest while i settled for a bacon and egg sandwich which did me through to this evening.

As for the rest of the day....I finished decorating the house and conservatory, the presents for tomorrow's delivery are ready and I intend killing more than two birds with the same stone.  I'm heading to Fotinovo for a little bash so will take my men's presents down with me and one other.  I also made my Christmas cards today and gift tags so my Christmas can arrive anytime soon...just a few more presents to buy but for local delivery.

I caught the end of African Queen the movie this afternoon and it comes into the category of 'old but good'....very easy to watch. relit the fire so that it could be in while we were out and we were off to the Pizza restaurant in Djebel for supper by seven this evening.  We had a bit of a dilemma in the supermarket.  The wine was on offer at five lev a bottle and the three and a half litre wine box was thirteen so I stood there doing my sums and it was a no-brainer....the box came home with us.  Remember...not for me though...I'm just about to chalk up three years of abstinence....without...may I add...no regrets.  Supper was local burgers, tomato and onion salad and cheesy chips and it went down very well.  We followed it with a Turkish desert that is semolina based with loads of honey and topped off with ice-cream.  LN....It's a book a bedtime for me....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 22, 2019, 8:56pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 22nd December

So today was a bit of a lazy one.....I did quite a lot but I was still in PJ's at twelve thirty.  Poached on ham for breakfast, all the rest of the presents wrapped and ready for delivery and  cards written.  Another line of fairy lights have gone up in the lounge and it's definitely beginning to look like Christmas and the snowmen and penguin have all had new batteries so should see out the season before they get put back in the box for next year.

Shower and shampoo at one this afternoon....we had been invited to a Winter Solstice party in Fotinovo.  The weather had changed and it had forecast rain so we were prepared or so we thought.  I took a brief diversion on our way to call at the restaurant in the men's village and deliver the Christmas presents for Bekir and Sally.  I phoned Bekir and he was visiting a cousin in another village so I left the presents in the restaurant and it was at this point that the rain started.  We got to the house and managed to get inside only slightly damp.  We met the neighbours that we'd met after the art exhibition and more old friends and a splendid evening was had by all.  Most people left though and we stayed on with the host and hostess for a little whizz round the channels and ended up watching a comedic hour that was a little close to the bone but very funny.  It was brought to a close by a power cut and by this time the rain was really coming down in sheets and there was no street lights to show is where I'd parked the Nipper.  It rained all the way home, the road was flooded and there were trees down.  I was very pleased when we'g got though the forest on the way home and even more so when I parked up outside the house.  Our power was still up so no problem with the UPS for the boiler but I had a devil of a job getting the car into the drive...I couldn't see the gates for the driving rain.  No pickies...I'll check out for debris in the morning.  LN....Time for bed said Zeberdee.....LN
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Elsa Peters
December 23, 2019, 6:07pm Report to Moderator

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Monday 23rd December

I had a pretty disturbed sleep, actually there was nothing pretty about it.  The bedclothes were rucked up, I was hot so the leg went out as a thermostat at around five this morning.  I read until six and went down and made coffee bringing back the old jar and a spoon so that I could make more and not disturb the household.  I did breath some life into the fire and got it going again so that the house would be warmed through for my guest even though it's not cold ...yet.  

I opened the curtains to look at my start of day and it was pretty black out there but the crescent moon was hanging in the sky.  The village lights were twinkling on the hillsides and lightning was flashing over the mountains...someone was getting it and it wasn't me.  I made more coffee upstairs and by nine I was washed and dressed and ready to face Kardjali.  My guest took some getting going this morning  so I made poached eggs on ham again, ate mine before he was ready for his and was washing up as he was finishing off.  Last night's wet clothes went into the washing machine and on to the airer and now they're ready for putting away.  I checked the estate and there was no damage from last night's storm but most of the items in the garden were put away before I went to England so the only thing left to do was to clear the leaves that were forced off the trees last night and clear the drains.  There were no major damp patches in the garden,,,the water had all soaked away.

Eventually I set sail for Kardjali and the traffic was horrendous.  It took about an hour to get to the first traffic lights to turn off for Ardino and arrive at the electrical shop.  Purchases were made, I only paid for one light switch, the connectors were a gift and then we went to park in town but my paid for car park was full so had to go elsewhere. Fortunately a car pulled out as I drove towards the cheapy shop and I pulled in.  Two pairs of leather boots and a sweater for five leva...can't be bad.  Back to the car and found another free parking place and paid both telephone bills and then on to Lidl. ....I decided that Kaufland would be a complete pain so avoided it like the plague.  Back to Djebel and yet more wine for presents, home and unpacked the shopping and the thunder started again and then the rain.  I coaxed the fire into life and now I have hamburgers to cook for supper with a few chippies.....it's all go in this neck of the woods.  LN....Easy day tomorrow.....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 24, 2019, 7:52pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 24th December

Pretty dull start to the day but this time the clouds were waiting for the sun to come up to make a sandwich of it but it never did.  It was a cold start but there again, it's December so what can you expect...probably snow but so far this year while I've been here...none.  Washed a dressed fairly early, sausage, bacon and eggs from the kitchen and the fire was salvaged from last night's residue.  I would have let it go out but it's a novelty factor for my guest....while I sit here quietly roasting, or sometimes not so quietly.

I packed up eaven more presents and ran out of wrapping paper so headed into Djebel at around eleven and go stopped on a road check on the way in.  I didn't know the first policeman, he didn't know that I was English and the other policeman that I knew left him to it quietly laughing.  I asked him which documents he wanted to see and as requested got out my driving licence with my blue card and my residence permit and by this time the second policeman sauntered over and in English asked me how I was.  I replied in English that I was fine and asked how he was and he responded that he was fine.  The first one, not to be outdone said that he was fine also, he asked me where I lived and since it's printed on my residency card I wondered why  but told him the village, he handed me back my cards and I was on my way.  He did ask about another friend and I gave the news before I departed.

Christmas paper, leva shop, car shop and supermarket and I was on my way and back for one.  The wrapping is all finished, I have presents for unexpected guests or neighbours and the delivery is tomorrow.  Most of my neighbours don't celebrate Christmas since they are not of the faith but do celebrate new year.  Supper of hamburgers and chippies ...the hamburgers should have been for yesterday but my guest fell asleep so I watched tv on the computer and I fell asleep and y the time I went down to cook supper, he'd gone to bed.  Thorough mix up but it was worth waiting for...very meaty hamburgers to be followed as we thought by bottled cherries which turned out to be bottled olives so that plan was laid to rest.  We ended up with marble cake and ice-cream.

No point putting my stocking up tonight.....it's not quite like my time in UK when I would fill it with all th things I really wanted like Channel No.5 nd telling the children that Santa was so clever to bring me what I really liked.  Those were the days.  LN.....Santa's delivery elf is on the move tomorrow around eleven....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 25, 2019, 10:06pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 25th December

Morning and merry Christmas and today has been about other people not me.  I didn't take my presents to my ladies....the turkey went in at ten, we finished breakfast by eleven, I contacted my student to see if they were here or away and the response was that they were waiting for me.  The youngster enjoys her presents and it's a joy to buy for the family...and I take care what I buy for them from joke presents for the father who insists on cutting up serviettes into halves so that they go further and giving him three packets of a hundred of each.  I also bought a packet for the mother so that she can hand out whole ones.  As for the girls...they normally get the same but now that the older one is married they have a different main present but that doesn't stop the older one still wanting the same as the younger one and it's all good fun.  We eventually made it to their house by twelve thirty dropping off the presents at the garage shop for my student's family...being Muslim they're working but maybe not so hard...commercialism is making more people aware of the twenty fifth of December and joining in.

We arrived home at two thirty and I took the turkey out of the oven, removed the tin foil and put it back in to brown off nicely.  Meanwhile, potatoes on to boil, carrots peeled, potatoes deep fried to provide roasties and peas in with the carrots.  No bread sauce, no sprouts mainly because I don't like them and the parsley root that I dug up out of the garden were too small to be taken for carrots so they're still on the kitchen waiting to find their way into the compost.   Gravy made, food served and the turkey was perfect, kitchen tidied, washing up done and it was time to settle down with my book and relax.  I'd left the car out intending to deliver the rest of the presents but I couldn't raise the energy to go out and be sociable and one day in the grand scheme of things won't really matter.

Nipper put away, I washed Oliver which is a film love, left it to watch Strictly and then went back to watch the end of Oliver, now watching Dolly Parton...and if I can stay awake want to watch Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas show...we'll see how much I manage.  Only me circulating....my guest has taken to his bed about an hour ago while I've developed second wind.  The temperature appears to be going down at night...it was one degree this morning and has fallen to three degrees now.  Winter is-coming John Snow.  LN....A lovely mellow day....LN
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December 26, 2019, 6:03pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday 26th December

So I stopped up last night to watch various things on the television and by rights I should have been in bed long before I was.  I wanted to see Mrs. Brown's Boys but it was not quite what I expected....a funny twist to it.  Slept really well and woke up at about seven and nothing was stirring not even....my guest.  I lit the fire from scratch, there was absolutely nothing left in the firebox and went back to bed with my coffee until it had burnt up.  It was four degrees out and twenty one inside so the house had held up well.

Eventually I was cooking breakfast and it was an omelette with ham and cheese for my guest and I settled for my boxing day favourite of turkey dripping on toast and of course there are always those bits that fall off the turkey that need tidying up.  I cleared up the kitchen, collected the paper rubbish that needed burning and headed down the garden with the garden fork.  There'd been rain and I knew the burning bucket would be damp so I turned it on its side, drained it out, emptied the remains into one of the log carriers headed down the road to the container in the square.  Back to the garden and asked my guest to drill some holes in the bucket now that it was empty but it took ages to get the rubbish and some tree debris burning.  It was cold and wet...not the best conditions.

The side branch to the cherry tree is now down and sawn into logs.  They really need to move into the garage to dry off but that's a job for another day.  I came in at around four because I was cold and just had a very relaxing Badedas bath to ease out the knots.  I'm currently munching on barbecue Cruspies from Lidl which are very spicy and very crunchy peanuts.  Nothing on the television tonight so I shall be in bed early with a chocolate orange that I brought back from the UK....Thanks Princess...for everything.  LN...The fire needs attention...LN



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Elsa Peters
December 27, 2019, 5:01pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 27th December

Six thirty start and there was definitely a chill in the air so I went down and salvaged the fire from last night's ashes.  It didn't take long before the chill had gone.  I went back to bed with a coffee, opened the curtains and there was soon a mist on the inside...it was minus one outside.  Downstairs had held twenty degrees though so it was only the chill of the bedroom that I felt.  Very dark out but soon the sky was changing, the clouds were taking on the pinkness of morning and the frost was sparkling on the grass.  It was kind of magical.  Eventually the sun came up but it was short lived...those clouds rolled in and although light in texture, they blocked out the sun.

I cooked sausages for breakfast with egg for my guest and I settled for poached eggs on ham.  Kitchen tidied and I went out to check the burning bin from yesterday and it was completely empty with a couple of cats hanging about to see if anything new went in ...and it didn't only the rubbish wood.  I moved the wheelbarrow from where I'd left it yesterday over the rest of the debris that needed burning, got the fire going again and headed up the garden for the bench from the grave garden.  It had hung around too long and had to go either one way or another...and most of it went on the bonfire.  As I worked in the garden it was my first Friday back and the mosques were really going for it.  Unfortunately there were a group of builders who had other thoughts and were playing the radio very loudly in opposition and I think somebody must have mentioned it to them before I got the chance.  I was left with the mosque in triplicate.

My ext challenge was to get my old Fitbit to make sure that the steps on the one that I'd just put on charge were carried over to the one that I'd just put on.  I'd knocked off about seven thousand steps and suddenly they were lost into the ether.  It took me around an hour to fix it and it was only when I used the settings screen and not the desktop icon to access it and it updated immediately.  Not to self...go in through the back door.

This afternoon I stripped the mat from the turkey carcass and soup is in for tomorrow, the leg and wing is ready for a curry tomorrow and tonight we have turkey in white sauce with vegetables with a sliced potato topping.  Into the oven it went and now the potatoes have taken on a gentle brown hue and it will be served as soon as the blog is posted.  I hate the idea of turkeys hanging round for days and everyone gets tired of them.  Not in this house.

So tomorrow not sure what's on for tomorrow.  It looks like being a good day weather wise so I might have to take advantage of it.  LN...I'll update you...LN




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December 28, 2019, 8:18pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 28th December

Silly night last night.  I woke up at three this morning with the light on after an early bedtime so I read for an hour or so.  The second awakening was at seven so I went downstairs, made my first cup and took it to bed and used my travel kettle for top ups until the rest of the house was circulating.  I'd lit the fire on my coffee journey so the house was warm to sit down to a cooked breakfast.  One load of washing in and stripped down the guest bed and that was my second load.  I didn't peg out on the line, the sheet and quilt cover adorned the stair we and after a couple of hours could have gone back on...that's fleece blankets for you.  Washing up done and kitchen tidied and I took to the sofa with my book until the urge to do something hit me and I packed up some more goodies, got everything into the delivery bags and took the rest of my gifts round to the village.  I've only got two more to do tomorrow and that will be it...Remsie can wait and Haciber is in Turkey so will get hers when she gets back.

I set off around two and didn't get back until four fifteen, the last port of call was Gouldjan's who has now taken up residence in Germany with her husband.  She told me about her new job helping workers who have recently arrived and don't understand the languages and hoops that you have to jump through.  She has three languages to her bow and seems to be covering any occurrences decided by her city office and loves the work.  She told me her take-home pay per month....and is earning four times what she would be earning in Bulgaria and good luck to them as a couple.

Drove home, picked up my guest and off we went to Kardjali.  I needed to fill up with gas and needed a few things so headed to Lidl and it was heaving.  Lots of price reductions but a freezer can only hold so much so I had to leave loads in the shop. Home for six, car unpacked, shopping and the rest of the turkey was made into a curry for tonight.  Spicy but not too spicy and there is enough left to freeze for next week.  

Temperature is dropping and is down to minus one already so we're in for a cold one.  I thought about Greece tomorrow to the market and will see what the weather is like in the morning.  It won't be swimming weather but they have a very good fish restaurant there....now there's a thought.  LN...Time to throw a log on....LN
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Elsa Peters
December 29, 2019, 4:07pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 29th December

So the turkey curry went down well last night, the bones from the soup that I've made for today went over the wall for the cats...they must have thought it was Christmas...well it was a few days ago.  The turkey is not more...curried turkey and lentil soup...a first time for everything and to follow that we have barbecued spare ribs with jacket.  Back to normal now.

It was a tad on the cold side this morning.  The fire had burnt out over night and it was down to eighteen in the lounge and minus two outside so I decided to stay in the lounge.  It started off very promising with blue skies but that quickly changed to overcast grey so the plans for Greece were cancelled.  It means going through the high pass so snow is more or less guaranteed and I didn't want to take the Beast over.  Toast for breakfast, my guest was pretty slow off the mark and not gracing me with his presence until just before ten and after all, he's on his holidays.  He got his own breakfast, there's plenty in the fridge and just to let future guests know...I'm not much of a hostess if it's out of what I consider meal time.

Today I've delivered the last of the presents.  One of my neighbours who is not on the list watched me take presents to the others that are and I felt really guilty so I made up a bag for her.  I also delivered the gifts to the lady that has the garden next to mine...she's so generous with potatoes and other vegetables and also a genuinely nice person with so much work to do.  She has cows to milk and an acre to dig and look after and she's the one that I'd love to take for a manicure....just to be pampered...but I know she won't go.

Fire going well and I've closed all the curtains tonight. It's dropped to minus two already and the clouds look full of it and with the wind as it is, it if does snow there will be blizzards.  Accuweather has forecast ten centimetres....four inches to the rest of us I might wake up to white over.  I think it's too cold for snow and my daughter used to laugh when I said it but one year I heard her say it back to me....and I laughed but there'll be no snow where they are ...in Florida.

So kitchen and supper calls, the hostess with the mostess is about to put her apron on, yes I do have one, and get the food underway.  LN....Just a few pickies of this drab landscape...LN



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Elsa Peters
December 30, 2019, 7:35pm Report to Moderator

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Monday 30th December

So it was seven this morning when I woke up, checked the thermometer in the hall and tickled the fire immediately into life from the remains of last night's fire.  I didn't linger long downstairs and headed back up to bed with my coffee and didn't come down again until the temperature had risen downstairs.  I was toasty in bed but morning duties were calling.

Breakfast was ham and cheese omelettes for both of us and no need to follow them with toast....they were big omelettes and saw us through until around three this afternoon when the cheese and biscuits came out.  I'd left the curtains drawn in the lounge.  There was a fine dusting of snow this morning and  an attempt to deliver more but it was pretty half hearted.  The wind has been lethal though with the last remaining leaves being ripped from trees and blown around the garden and the yard.  I only made one trip out to the wood store to top up the log carrier and drop it in the porch to warm, the wood through.  Outside temperature has only reached zero today and has now sunk to minus two...it's going to be a cold one.

Lovely afternoon....I saw that My Fair Lady was on and it's a film that I really love and it always brings a tear to my eye especially in the second half.  It finished at around six thirty my time so it was down to the kitchen again to get supper underway.  It wasn't too difficult...hamburger and home made chippies served with beans and a fried egg and that should do until morning.  I need bread from the van tomorrow, the remnants of my loaf had a few of the green spots so the cats will benefit in the morning.  I've got the feeling that we might still be house bound tomorrow...too cold to venture out.  LN....Suits me just fine....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 31, 2019, 5:58pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 31st December

Minus seven last night and it was cccccold.  Down to fifteen inside the stairwell but I'd closed the curtain between the lounge and the stairwell so the house temperature was OK.  I was awake at six thirty and got the fire going from the dregs of last night's and it was soon blazing away. I went back to bed with my coffee and snuggled down leaving the curtains closed but I opened them to the sun coming up but it took ages for it to start doing it's stuff and warming the place up.  More coffee, Outlander has only one hour left to read and it's oly taken me around four weeks to read it.  Such a long book.

My guest surfaced around eight thirty and the omelette was so good yesterday that he requested another for this morning.  I settled for scrambled eggs on toast and I cleared the kitchen up pretty quickly...I had things to do.  I collected everything together for a bonfire, it was such a lovely morning that I wanted to be out there so on with the woolly hat, work gloves and down to the bonfire with a couple of the cats following me.  If you throw anything at them they only think it's food so I've stopped doing that.  So the burning pit was empty, fully burnt out from last time so easy to get going.  It was burning so well that I cleared the beds at the bottom of the garden and got rid of the dead flowers including the seed head...I've collected all that I need for the coming year.  I also made my way into the little house and cleared up the lavender from three years ago and shook the seeds out and burnt the husks and stalks...another job done.

It was at that point that my visitors arrived....Zelinger and the daughter of one of my other older ladies.  They'd both brought presents which I really didn't expect but I accepted them gracefully and we sat in the sun for a while chewing over the fat and discussing a recent village death.  Such a shame she was only mid forties and it was due to cancer, but she'd gone down to skin and bone....god speed her onward journey.  Off they went, I tidied up the workshop terrace and put the leaves down the bottom of the wall so that they'll breakdown over the winter.

My afternoon was spent reading the book in between playing games with a nice end to the year.  There is a gathering tonight in Dhebel i the square to welcome in the new year but I don't think there'll be many takers....much too cold.  We've just had cheese and biscuits and I've put jackets in the oven with barbecued spare ribs from Lidl to see us through until morning.  We'll probably end up looking at the fireworks from the bedroom window like I did last year.  

May I wish you all a Happy New Year.  May 2020 bring you what you need not necessarily what you want and may your health sustain you to accomplish your dreams.  LN....Let's welcome 2020....LN



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tcinbg
January 1, 2020, 11:20am Report to Moderator

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Happy New Year Elsa.
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Elsa Peters
January 1, 2020, 2:51pm Report to Moderator

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And to you Trevor....this could be the year that we actually manage to meet.....xx
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tcinbg
January 1, 2020, 5:34pm Report to Moderator

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Maybe....................
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