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Elsa Peters
March 1, 2020, 6:09pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 1st March

Welcome Grandmother March.....Baba Marta...a special day for Bulgarians.  It's the name of a mythical figure who brings with her the end of the cold winter and the beginning of the spring. Her holiday of the same name is celebrated in Bulgaria on March 1 with the exchange and wearing of 'martenitsi'....wrist bands of red and white sold everywhere.  

I had a horrible night last night again.  I was awake at three this morning according to my Fitbit and I was reading,  At one I was heading to the kitchen and came back with three digestives and a chunk of English Cheddar and at one thirty I relived the experience but this time only two digestives and a smaller chunk of cheese.  I snuggled down and regained consciousness around six thirty . coffee and book and carried on with the life of Uhtred and his civilized  quarrels with Alfred the Great.  I'm on book five now so not long to go...and why am I rushing the journey along?  I'm not really sure.

I made a cheese omelette for breakfast and I was just about to sit down with it at around nine thirty when I my neighbour's daughter knocked on the door, thought that I was asleep so was heading to the window so I went out clutching my omelette so she apologised for disturbing me.  She'd come to invite me to a lunch get-together at Zelinger's house.  It had been nineteen years since her husband had died and she was recognising the event.  I realised that there would be lots of the ancients of the village and I knew I didn't have enough Baba Marta wrist bands so that everyone could have one so I got into the Nipper and went into Djebel to buy some.  I was there for ten thirty so I decided to go and visit my student and her family and hand them over bands as well.  Her mother was working in the garden with a headscarf to protect against the wind and she told me that my student was in the house and that I was to go in.  She appeared with a headscarf on covering her ear and told me that she had earache and had had it for a week and not gone to the doctors and will go tomorrow.  I sat and had cake with them and suggested that if she had to go and see a specialist tomorrow in Kardjali that she gives me a call and I will take her.  

At twelve I walked along the village and met up with the rest of the ladies at Zelinger's house.  I handed over a box of biscuits and got chastised for it but when I got the Baba Marta bands out, one for each of them, they all received them with pride...somebody cared about them and that's so important for me...I do care about them and realise that I am lucky to be here in this time and space.  When these ladies pass over, the life style and village will die.  I don't take my camera with me....it would be an intrusion.  We had crispy pancakes, cheese, yogurt, dried fruit and two types of pine tip syrup and a cake which was delicious that had been made by one of the daughter-in-laws.  I walked back home at two, my fire was still going from last night so I put a log on it, took to the sofa with my book and promptly went to sleep until five...catching up on last night.

I don't need supper....I ate enough at lunchtime and hope for a better night tonight.  Nothing on for tomorrow unless my student has to go into see the specialist.  I shall have to listen out for my phone.  LN....I've had a super day with my village ladies.....LN




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Elsa Peters
March 2, 2020, 5:06pm Report to Moderator

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Monday 2nd March

Much better night's sleep but I was awake at five thirty...serves me right for having a three hour sleep in the afternoon.  I read for a while and made coffee at six taking it back to bed and staying there until seven.  The fire was still going so I turned the log over onto its back so that I could use it again tonight ...and I have.  I made beans on toast for breakfast and sat in in the sun eating it and it suddenly hit me that I could be taking my student to the hospital so it was time that I got a wiggle on.  I sent her a message to see if she had any news but she'd decided that there were too many people waiting to see the doctor so she'd carried on to work and intended going back to the doctors in the afternoon.  Apparently there is no work tomorrow it's a national holiday so I should be catching up with her one way or another.

I put the bird food out and they seem to love muesli and ignore the other seeds.  I've seen no cats around today..maybe I've frightened them off.  There was an accumulation of rubbish in the bathroom and kitchen bins so I had a whip round and took it all to the bottom of the garden and had a bonfire. I've got out of the habit of throwing food out for the cats and have gone back to putting it in the bonfire and if they find it they can have it....I was just encouraging to many.  The seed pot that had stood on the stairwell table was starting to drop some seeds so I gave it a shake and it produced about thirty seeds so they're in an envelope and I'll try a few of them in a pot.

My neighbour came round with a dozen eggs today and said that she's come round yesterday after Zelinger's get together and saw me sleeping on the sofa.  She'd gone to her garden and done some work, called in on the way back home and I was still asleep.  I do lock the conservatory door though while I'm slumbering so she obviously took the eggs home again and brought them today.  Her advice was to only use them for omelettes or scrambled since they were very fresh and leave it for about a week before I did them any other way.  She was on her way to the garden, I asked her if she wanted anything and she asked for a glass of water and off she went.  We joked about her boot that were obviously about a size ten and she said that she had trouble chasing the cows in them.  I suddenly remembered that I had a pair of work boots that I no longer used so I found them out and took them to where she was working in the garden next door to the house.  I offered her the boots and said that if they were no use to her to put them in the skip or by the skip and someone else could have them.

I finished the fifth book and have started another set of three and this time about King Arthur.  I'm undecided what to do for supper tonight and think I shall be standing in front of the fridge or freezer and wait for divine inspiration to hit me.  Waiting for a message from my student to see if we're up to anything tomorrow.  LN....The kitchen is calling me....LN



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Elsa Peters
March 3, 2020, 4:11pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 3rd March

Another horrible night again.  I obviously dress for winter at night-time...it's winter and why not.  I've got two quilts on the bed but unfortunately the outside temperature has gone from a minus to a two figure plus and I seemed to spend the night trying to cool down...and it's only March.  Of course it could change the other way soon enough so 'n'ere cast a clout till May is out'.  Baba Marta seems to have chased the clouds away but I wish she'd take the wind away...gain it stopped me from going out in the garden.  The flower beds can wait.  Even the tits seemed to be making Kamikaze landings on the bird table and not even a cat in sight.  I topped it up quite early on with muesli and have just had to do it again. I notice that the currents seem to be left behind so I'm eating those and not putting them out.  I watched the sheep come over the hill today and it looks like the children are not at school today....the young boy was bringing them out with his father and not really sure if the dog was playing any part in it.

There was no word from my student so I didn't have to head into Kardjali today.  It's the Bulgarian holiday celebrating the anniversary of Bulgaria's liberation from the five century-long Ottoman rule so she's obviously with her family.  I did walk the garden and check up on the burning pit and it looks like that's not even been attacked by cats even though the remains of the chicken went in there.  I did put another plank over the hole in the lid and will set fire to it again tomorrow, there's far too much wind again today.  As for the rest of the activity.  I've had an email from DHL telling me that the Fitbit should arrive, all being well, bu the end of play tomorrow so I'll collect from the shop on Thursday....I'm taking my neighbour for her next appointment at the hospital and we've got an early start so I won't be here to have it delivered anyway.  I did light the fire since it was cool inside despite the outside temperature especially when I'm reading or sleeping and I did both.  The sleep was disturbed after about half an hour, a text message came through on the home phone to let me know that there's a phone bill waiting for payment so there's another job for Thursday.

Nothing on the agenda for tomorrow so far but let's see what messenger comes up with.  Happy Birthday to my very good friend that I used to share a flat with in Gibraltar when I used to live out there.  LN.....We had some good times....LN




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Elsa Peters
March 4, 2020, 5:35pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 4th March

Lovely night last night...I kept the second quilt off and it worked.  I did wake up at four thirty and wondered if I would get off again and it did...it was six thirty, grey, wind gusting and it was a day for reading or finding something really interesting to do....and I ended up reading.  I washed and dressed and ended up poaching a couple of eggs and sat at the table in the stairwell looking at the rain.  I washed up and took some mince meat from the freezer and planned supper.  Unfortunately it was meat from one of my neighbours and there appeared to be more fat in it that I really needed so I planned to boil it in water, stick it in the fridge to remove the fat from it and then fry it off with onions.

The rest of my morning was taken up with DHL as was a lot of my evening last night regarding my expected package.  Their website might be in English but when you have to access the linked pages it reverts to Bulgarian and even though I know what information they need I didn't understand the final command button.  So this morning I received a couple of texts from them, emails and phone calls so I responded to the phone call.  I'd noticed that the shipping company had got my address totally wrong and the post-code was nothing like mine.  I asked the lady to change the details and said that I would not be at home tomorrow when they anticipated delivery and could I collect from Kardjali.  This was obviously too difficult for them and she said that I could go to Plovdiv and collect and I explained that Plovdiv was about two and a half hours from me so think again Bat Woman.  So we set it up, Friday was agreed upon and I settled down on the sofa with my book.  One hour later I had another text and email still quoting the old address and the rubbish post-code so I explained that I'd already spoken to someone this morning and the records should have been amended.  We confirmed delivery yet again...and I still had another email.  DHL are going to get a serious letter of complaint as is the Fitbit sending company in The Netherlands.  

Fire lit, the rain hasn't stopped all day and I'm going to make do with the logs that I have inside...I'm not going out in this and again the birds were having trouble landing but they were still out.  The fields are awash and the fishing lake looks very full.....and I keep checking that the trees are still standing.  Eight start in the morning, my neighbour is off to the hospital.  She did tell me at Sunday's get together that the tablets seem to have worked so maybe she won't need the injection in her knee.  LN...Doctors do know best....sometimes.....LN



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Elsa Peters
March 5, 2020, 7:32pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday 5th March

So I was worried about not waking up in time but at seven my consciousness returned and I was having my first cuppa, waking up gradually and dressing for taking my neighbour to the hospital to see the consultant.  I didn't bother with breakfast, the bread had little dots of green over it and I knew the bread man was coming this morning but it depended on what time he arrived...I guessed it might coincide with the departure to the hospital.  

I was into the car at just before eight. parked up outside my neighbour's house and knocked on her door.  She was still in her sleep wear, doesn't speak Bulgarian so couldn't ask her if she still wanted to go to the hospital.  She invited me in but decided to drive back to the house and left the car outside the house.  By this time the bread van arrived so I decided to buy bread just in case I wasn't on my way to Kardjali and while I was waiting for my turn she decided to walk down towards the bread van and talk to her grandson who is the driver of the van.  I walked home to put the bread in the house, grabbed my bag and went to wait in the car for her...we were on out way and it was now just after half eight.

I had trouble parking near to the hospital so I dropped her off near to the entrance and she decided to wait for me where I'd left her.  Five minutes later I met up with her and we walked to the third floor and joined the queue for registration.  She is the receptionist for three surgeries, she recognised me and after five minutes called us into one of the rooms and explained that there was no doctor.  Apparently our doctor had gone skiing to Italy, is now in quarantine in Cortina and will not be back for two weeks.  I certainly will not be taking her to the hospital next time....her knee can wait.  I loaded her into the car and stopped off at Lidl to do my shopping.  She fell asleep on the way back but roused herself up and said that she wanted to stop at the chemist so I turned round and parked up.  I turned round and set off back home and she promptly fell asleep again....my driving can't be that bad.

I rested for the afternoon, printed off a lesson for my student and set off at just before four but when I got there the light was on in the shop but the door was locked...nobody home.  I went back to sit in the Nipper to wait and see and at ten after four the family arrived complete with the little one.  Apparently his passport was about to expire and both parents have to be present to renew and that's now done and dusted.  We started our lesson straightaway and it turned into a totally different lesson than I'd planned.  It ended up with me writing and him answering the questions that I asked and I'll be using that strategy again.  He still finished the lesson asking if we could go to a restaurant for supper that evening...I told him that I was busy and he accepted that.  We'll go down to Greece when his new passport comes through.

Home for just before seven.  I'd stopped off at the supermarket and bought some spicy sausages and that was supper.  I fried a sausage off with onions and pickled beetroot and it was ready in twenty minutes.  Nothing on tomorrow except that I am expecting my Fitbit replacement so at the moment I shall be in all day.  It's not rained so much today as yesterday....my stream outside was running well this morning but has eased off tonight.....and no one to play poo sticks with.  LN....Not sure the locals would understand the rules......LN



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Elsa Peters
March 6, 2020, 8:47pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 6th March

It was a pretty slow morning but I made sure that my Bulgarian phone was charged so that the courier could tell me when he was getting near his destination.  At eight I was cooking beans on toast and sitting in the stairwell in the sun eating it and wondering what to get up to.  The wind appeared to have dropped, the temperature outside according to my outside thermometer was bearable and another day of inactivity wasn't acceptable.  I didn't have long to wait, the phone rang and the first words out of his mouth were virtually...'English ....I by the bus stop in the square' so in Bulgarian I asked him if he could see the school, we happen to have two squares and he replied that he could so I said that he should carry on for about one kilometer and I would be standing outside the gate.  After five minutes I was getting cold and he was nowhere to be seen but then I heard something big noisily heading my way and it was the courier,  He'g gone back on himself for the said kilometer, met nothing so had realised his mistake and made up ground pretty rapidly.  He handed over the box which was pretty big for such a small object and I signed his screen with my finger to confirm that it had been delivered....and off he went.  I took the box into the house and was amazed that there was no internal packing in the big box and this thing was only clad in a plastic sleeve so I wasn't expecting much.  Anyway...set it up and linked it to my account and everything in the garden looks OK for now...let's see how long this one lasts.

Playtime was over and I headed to the little house and took some of the plants that have overwintered in there and put them on the terrace.  I feel that some of the oleanders that were outside have fared better than the three big ones inside...Sunday's rain should clean away the dust and sort them out.  I potted up more tree seeds...I seem to have had success with the others so these will serve as a testimony when my clock ticks out.  I also moved the bench that had been supporting the plants and now that's ready for running repairs before it does another season.

Came in at four and had a shower and washed my hair.  I was out tonight with my student and her mother...we were off to the restaurant in Momchilgrad.  The father was there and I asked whether he had been invited or not and the reply was negative, he looked so sad at being left behind that I just couldn't do it...so he got his invitation.  He took his time but eventually said that he'd like to come even though it was an early 'Ladies' Day' and I told him that if he wants to come next year he has to wear a dress.  We were lucky to get a table since we hadn't booked, the meal was excellent and the live music was really good and I complemented them as we left.  I think they were surprised that they'd been noticed....Bulgarians don't go out of their way to offer praise.

I dropped the family off, picked up my Ladies' day potted flower and headed home remembering to send them the photos of the evening.  It's not very often that I go out in the evenings and it made a pleasant change.  LN.....Must do it more often......LN



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Elsa Peters
March 7, 2020, 6:27pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 7th March

So I slept really well last night, cosy in bed and in a very pleasant dream until the sun streaming in through the window woke me up.  I had bananas for breakfast followed by two slices of fruit load and it was a bit of a lazy morning.  My student sent me the photographs from last night at the restaurant and I've realised that I have to go out with bigger people.  They are a dinky family and I'm taller and heavier than all of them and it did show up on the photograph...well to me it did.  I tidied around and got everything shipshape again..I do like a tidy house.  I few the birds on the bird table but no many of them out and about today perhaps they'd got better pickings elsewhere.  I did see my first stork today, it flew across the bottom of the garden but no change to get the camera but I'm obviously on the flight path so I'll keep looking out for it.

I phoned the Librarian...it's been a long time since I spoke to her,  she said that she would phone me but it didn't happen so I made the move.  She's coming over tomorrow and we'll do something.  So this gave me another thing to get on and do....it's March 8th tomorrow and I normally buy flowers for my village ladies so I decided to drive in to Djebel to get in a supply.  As I was getting in to the Nipper I noticed that the back tyre looked a little flat so I went down to the garage and lo and behold it was a puncture.  As the lad took the wheel off he thought that it was a nail in the tyre but instead it was a sheered off bolt...quite long and fat and goodness knows where I picked that up.  Anyway...all sorted for a minimal fee.  I parked up in Djebel and bought some pot plants for the ladies and then went over to the leva shop and picked up some cheap white bowls to put the pots in so they could have them in the house and put them in the garden later and they'll come back year after year.  

I got back and unpacked the car, decided to read for a while and then thought I'd print off some labels for the plants  and that's when the fun began.  The ink cartridges seemed to have dried up so I set the machine to clean mod, removed the cyan cartridge and the blasted printer didn't recognise that I'd replaced it and refused to print....another job on the list.  I decided to write the labels and now they're all ready for delivery tomorrow morning.  I lit the fire and and have settled in for the night and not too sure what's on the menu for tonight...probably only cheese and biscuits.  LN....TV and bed.....LN
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Elsa Peters
March 8, 2020, 5:26pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 8th March

Chestit prasnik and happy Women's Day to the rest of us....Bulgaria is awash with flowers and my village was the same.  My women don't do much about it...it's a new found thing for the affluent and young but I was round the village at nine this morning delivering pretty dainty things to my loverlies.  Haciber was out first and told me that Beyser had gone visiting down the bottom of the village so I carried on and as I dropped off Zelinger's flowerbowl I was told that she was in Djebel so not much luck so far.  I found Beyser, she was visiting the last house in the village and the owner started shouting to me in German to go into her garden but I had other fish to fry so to speak so told her so.  Emula's mother was with Beyser so I handed over their pot plants, carried on to my little lady who also wasn't at home or hiding and I left hers on the doorstep and went to my other Beyser's house and she didn't respond to my yells and their dog is not worth arguing with so I didn't bother.  Hers was left at the gate post so all in all...not that successful but I felt good.

I went home and the Librarian arrived at nine thirty and we;d just settled down and I put the kettle on and my other friend from Fotinovo arrived for a coffee and a chat so from the kitchen we moved into the lounge where everyone could have a seat.  We caught up on the gossip and I only listened, I didn't have any and at ten thirty I suggested that we make a move, we were going into Haskovo to the market garden,  I pulled up outside the car shop and their son....'no longer student of mine' was down from university for the weekend so we had hugs and I handed over a pot plant for his mother and we wished each other a happy day.  I think his mother had gone shopping and he was holding the fort and I forgot to ask him if he is still Mr Ten Percent' when he comes back.   We carried on to Kardjali and I stopped off for gas for the car and then on to Haskovo and the market garden had its gates closed so what a wasted journey.  We popped in to the hard wear store but the only thing that caught my eye was a hanging sun longer that would be fantastic on my terrace but it wouldn't fit into the Nipper so I'll check it out the next time I go over in the Beast.  It might still be there.

Back to Kardjali and it was still only one o'clock.  We took a punt on the cheapy shop and sure enough it was open so the Librarian settled for a pair of leather boots and a sweater and I bought a pair of Timberland boots for gardening and a fleece jumper that will be good to cuddle into next winter...or this if we have a cold spell.  We walked to the restaurant and shared a pizza and salad and the young lady forgot to bring the cheesy chips and it was as well...I don't think we would have managed them.  Back home for three thirty and the weather was closing in so the Librarian left, I lit the fire, took a phone call from Gulcan from Germany wishing me happy birthday since she'd missed it in February and a happy women's day for today.  Lots of messages on FB....it's a big event here and lots of flowers are shared and lots of goodwill abounds.

No supper for me...the pizza will see me through until breakfast.  I might go into Kardjali tomorrow to start the end of year company documentation process unless they've change the system since last year.....Statistics, NAP and SUT and I haven't a clue what the initials stand for but let's see how far I get before I reach the inevitable brick wall and that's why I'm starting early.  I did manage to catch sight of my stork this morning but without camera in hand and guests filling up my lounge.  I'll look for it tomorrow with camera at the ready.  LN.....Pictures tomorrow...not a lot worth capturing today.  Far too busy....LN
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Elsa Peters
March 8, 2020, 5:46pm Report to Moderator

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Well may be one...

Tonight's full moon with scudding clouds.  LN



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Monday 9th March

Silly night again...I woke up at four and played silly games until five and then went out again until seven and played catch-up all day.  I eventually got dressed around ten, cooked an omelette for breakfast, tidied round and decided that I wouldn't go into Kardjali, it looked like it might be a decent day to get out and do some gardening.  I read for a while until I got bored, I'd kept the fire going from last night so went out and got more wood in and found the charger out for the battery strimmer and it was still charged from last year.  I went into the wood store and found the strimmer out, had to search for the plastic blades but got the thing working so set to on trimming the garden edgings neatening things up.

There was a lot of noise going on on the hillside and my sheep farmer was out there with his sons using a much bigger strimmer than mine.  They were cutting down a very vicious shrub and stacking it around the electricity pylon and I can only guess that the cows and sheep are getting out and not keeping to their allotted areas.  At least they're not making their way into my garden.  I'd run out of battery power so sat down on the terrace with my book for a while gently swearing at the noisy bods on the hillside and suddenly it went quiet and intensified the mooing of a cow in the next village that was trying desperately to give birth.  I went into the house and made more coffee, sat down for a while outside and then realised that the sun had gone in and there was a chill in the air so I went in for a while but the sun drew me out again.

I unpacked the bird house and exposed its concrete base, cut down the shrub that's planted in the little house terrace because it had got too tall and it's only green and doesn't flower.  I did think about digging it out but the roots must now be well settled under the concrete and it would be quite a job.  The birds have used it all winter as a staging post to the bird table but now they'll have to sort themselves out....I've cut it back to the height of the wall.  It was getting on for four thirty by the time I'd cleared up the debris, getting cold so it was time to put the tools away and get the camera out and marvel at the coming to life in the garden.  The Japonica is flowering already before its leaves appear, the forsythias are about to blossom along with the Japonica Kerria.  I love spring.  

At five I was feeling peckish so I settled for cheese and biscuits and banked up the fire with a good size log.  I settled on the sofa and late as it was, I nodded off for an hour and woke up stiff as a board.  I should be breaking myself in a little more gradually than I had....strimming uses different muscles.  More of the same tomorrow if the weather is good...the flower beds need clearing of weeds.  LN.....Busy time of the year.....LN



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My Diary by Elsa Peters (only location)

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