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Elsa Peters living a new life in Bulgaria  /  My Diary by Elsa Peters  /  NOVEMBER 2010
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 1, 2010, 5:18am
Monday 1st November

Fristy, frosty, cold fingers, cold nose, hot intention of finding out when that man is going to do my central heating....bbbrrrr and gggrrrrrr.

My central heating man arrived today....He must either have accepted my pleadings over the airwaves...or read my diary...but either way he is here.  There were severe 'conversations' from the upstairs between him and Bekir.  As you've gathered I don't like to see pipes and refuse to have them exposed if there is a chance that they can be hidden.  Now I accept that if there is a join there might be a leak....If there's not a join, I'll take the chance that it all might have to come out at some point...much later....So let's see if there is any blood loss or anybody will probably be me....

Beautiful went up to about 22 and I sat out and read a book on my new balcony while two men mixed concrete and made pillars and the third started plumbing in my radiators.  I think that the message was thoroughly relayed that....I don't want to see pipes so tomorrow we go into Kardjali to get a couple of 'elbows' so that we can hide the pipework.....

I dug over my garden and turfed out the old flowers and in the process got rid of about two tons of plastic sheeting(might be a slight exaggeration there,but it did seem an awful lot) from the little garden that housed most of my flowers this year.  I rescued some freezias that were destined for the mice and have potted them up to bring inside and have made a lean-to so that the geraniums and fushias don't get frosted overnight.  I've yet to sort out containers to bring them in....

Well the men went home a tad early tonight but they had been mixing concrete since lunch time so I get the feeling that they were knacked....and with the clocks going back really felt like six at's all to do with adjustment...Tomorrow I am off to Kardjali for those elbows....might cost out the insulation for the loft now that Sally has finished with the polystyrene and the stuff to stick it on the inside of the brickword and bring it home with me...makes no sense in heating the village and not the house....

I'm saying goodnight....I've got a brandy reaching room temperature and a block of chocolate that needs my attention...LN...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 3, 2010, 5:09am; Reply: 1
Wednesday 3rd November

Shame on me...I didn't post yesterday and I'm really not sure why.  I didn't even do emails which for me is a first but I think I was so involved with builders, central heating and three hours of Bulgarian lessons that I was swimming by last night.  I keep getting these odd Bulgarian words shooting into my brain and can almost feel the synapses stretching and pulling...shame that when I come to speaking it I seem to forget all that I have learnt so I am off with my teacher to buy some children's books so that I can start reading aloud at home and get a real feel for the language...

So off to pick up my men....I just feel it's going to be a day of confrontation....I mentioned last night that we don't seem to have an electrical connection for the central heating pump and so I think we are going to start shoving blame backwards and forwards....and after all, I only mentioned it....let's see what happens :-/

What is so difficult about....I don't want to see any bloody pipes.....and wires from sockets to pumps.....arrrrrgggggg.  It's started already....

Just to confirm I got what I the men are all gone and I am due to devour sausage, leeks and potatoes in a mixture of sauces...wouldn't care to think which bottles I attacked it now LN....I'm off for supper, washing to be hung out and then to bed with a hot toddie...the frost normally attacks at about four in the morning....LN tout le monde.....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 4, 2010, 5:19pm; Reply: 2
Thursday 4th November

So today started off well enough.  The men were over in good time, Sally was working on the outside building it, Bekir was finalising the electricity socket for the central heating pump and then came the phone call.  Sally's aunt had died so at 11.00 I was back in the car taking him home since they bury the departed on the same day, I had to cancel my Bulgarian lessons until later in the day and my central heating man arrived at 12.30 to do the business.  At 1.30 I realised that I didn't have enough money to pay the man so off to Djebel and then came back for my lesson at 2.00.  I'm now realising that I knew so little about English Grammar or rather how much I have forgotten.....I have a vague memory of learning it once.  Now my little lady learnt it very thoroughly and so we laugh a she's teaching me English grammar at the same time.

I now have central heating and the house is warm as the proverbial toast and jumped into Beauty tonight to take Bekir home and guess Beauty tonight, battery as flat as the proverbial pancake.  We're into November and you have to have your lights on all the time even if it's 30 degrees and it's a fine if you don't so out came the Beast to do it's stuff.

And now back home and it's still warm.  I have radiator thermometers in each room and it makes such a difference.  You no longer rush back to the hall just to have a warm and I seem to be burning less wood with more value....let's see how it stands up to overnight temperature drops....and it's all automatically controlled, I don't have to do a thing but tomorrow I have to go and get a sort of central heating solid fuel UPS, so that if there is no electricity, I don't have to empty out the firebox......

Anyway....I'm going to enjoy....LN
Posted by: 8 (Guest), November 4, 2010, 11:12pm; Reply: 3
morning Where the pictures you promised? I know senior moments!  
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 5, 2010, 1:21pm; Reply: 4
Friday 5th November

Beautiful, beautiful day and not a cloud in sight and as for the frost and testing out the central heating....the petchka was still going but I didn't pump it up to full steam as there was no need.  It was a nice feeling to have the rest of the house warm, not hot but warm so that you didn't have a cold feeling as you walked from room to room.

Well the picture that Martin published has had to be deleted since it sodded up the format of the diary....sorry but it just had to go....It's posted with the others and it is one of the house before anything I started.  It just shows how far I have come or rather how far the men have come on this project.  We had a brief discussion yesterday, partly because I didn't know the words for what I was trying to explain but it was all to do with sinking pipes etc. into walls.....'Normal Elsa, everything on top' now my men know a bit more and might use it in their future jobs....

D of S arrived with some parsnips picked from his own garden and apparently it's not normally grown here.  We looked it up in the dictionary and I have just been reliably informed that it is good for joints....didn't get as far as asking the men what you are supposed to do with it but that's for a later conversation, can't stop the work as they are both getting on with the balcony from my bedroom.....

As for my other are just a few to be going on with .....and  have just realised that I haven't included one of the balcony that has just been finished to which Martin's picture refers.....I'll do that one when the wood has been removed and the unveiling is completed.....and yes I know that the petchka pipe leans a little to the one side, it went in slightly quickly but it's such a beautiful day that they wanted to play outside.....and who was I to say 'No'........
Posted by: 8 (Guest), November 5, 2010, 3:50pm; Reply: 5
The tiles behind the petchka look very good now they are in position.  I see the Zebra stripes have found a new use, looking good too.  Will email you a couple of pictures to compliment those pictures you have just posted.  Tried attaching them after vso resizer but still too big so will let you sort.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 6, 2010, 6:37pm; Reply: 6
Saturday 6th November

Did I sleep in late or men to pick up so it didn't matter but I vaguely remember waking at about seven but then decided that there was nothing to get up for so dropped off again....wonderful.

So I went out to the garden and heck of a decision as to what to get up to....was it to be pickaxe or sunbed and I'm guessing that you got it right....yes the sunbed was the order of the day and it was up to 24 degrees and the house ticked over at 28.  It did get a tad noisy though....a breeze blew up and the leaves falling from the trees kicked up a heck on a din ;).  Came in about four anticipating that the temperature would drop rather rapidly so lit the new woodburner and I still can't get over that moving from room to room means no change in temperature.

Went back to reading a couple of books that I have been trying to read for a while but still can't get into them.  I don't know why but I feel it's a challenge to finish a book yet try as I might I think that these two would go to a charity shop if they had them here but they don't....thinking about it though, that's where they probably came from.....well, tomorrow is another day and hopefully the weather will be as good as it was today....tomorrow is definately the pickaxe.....I want to grub out some more of the bushes and get some more garden dug since I have been given parsnip seeds that I'm told can go in.....and me being a novice just soak up the advice....anyway....LN.....just about to cuddle up with a good book if I can find one.... :-/
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 7, 2010, 6:38pm; Reply: 7
Sunday 7th November

Again beautiful, beautiful day....woke up really early and then realised that it was Sungay so no men, no taxi went back to bed with my Bulgarian homework...Like being back at school again, :-/

So cooked poached eggs on toast and why is it that when you do two eggs, the one is always perfect and you always seem to eat it first and the second one is that little bit harder and a bit of a letdown...otherwise, fully satiated and then out to the garden.  I took out a couple of bushes, dug three new flower beds and then my avatar neighbour appeared holding a screw driver.  Now my Bulgarian doesn't run to all of the technical terms but in the end we got there.....She wanted me with another screwdriver to help her dismantle a wardrobe that they are taking to Djebel to the new flat.  So after a it of twoing and frowing mission accomplished.  She did do a tour of the house and thinks that it is wonderful and later that day I had the other neighbour, not to be outdone, for the conducted tour.....

Came in from the garden at 6.00ish and lit the woodburner.....everything is toasty but I'm still wondering how it is going to hold up in the cold weather....not really tested it out yet but tomorrow I'm off to get some oak and acacia which I'm told burns hotter than the rubbish that I'm currently burning and some coal to top it off with espectially at nights so that it ticks over.  

This afternoon I suddenly had a longing for chips so I peeled three potatoes and came up with a bowl of the beauties and I've just had my spicy sausage with leeks and potatoes with two slices of toast and so fully stuffed, off for a shower, and I did find a reasonable book, so the half read ones live to fight another day....LN...shower calls....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 8, 2010, 11:59am; Reply: 8
Monday 8h November

What a miserable morning.....light rain, lots of wind coming in from Pamporovo but the men are determined to get the balcony finished before they finish for their holiday on the's the animal killing festival so watch out and hide in the herd / flock before you get earmarked.  The men were quite impresses with my gardening efforts of yesterday....and midmorning I found my second polythene mine halfway down the garden.  It is now partly exposed but I daren't set fire to it today with this wind blowing.  

Well I've just got back from Djebel and have bought yet another lot of metal for the balcony.....I think my men like 'belt and bracers' just to be sure.  Despite the fact that there is no insurance in BG and as my mate D of S states, a guarantee is only good for lighting the wood burner, they are sure that any work that they do withstands hurricanes and earth tremors and volcanic eruptions so much so that they are all heading in this direction should any of the aforementioned occurs  :-/

Well the men have just appeared outside my bedroom window with a chainsaw and are both precariously balanced on the cross beams.  Now the long timbers are being placed across the top but that wind has just approached gale force and I'm thinking that they need to be strapping themselves on or they might end up in Romania.....I think they need sets of crampons and I'll be careful how I type that... ;)

I'm going to find another workspace......and I've just realised if you look to the left of Bekir's hand on the last pickie, you can just spot my polythene mine....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 9, 2010, 9:04am; Reply: 9
Tuesday 9th November

Now my men probably decided that with the wind blowing as it was yesterday that we were destined to endure the same again today so rain and gale force winds stopped also stopped the electricity so it makes it all the more important to get that UPS for the pump for the woodburner otherwise if the pump doesn't have power to it I have to empty the fire box and that sounds like a heap of fun if it's blowing a gale outside...sparks flying special UPS provides about ten hours back up for the pump and that makes sense to me.   ;)

Anyway, back to the gales....really strong, lashing rain which makes the weekend that we've had just seem a whole long time ago.  I actually stripped down to a strappy top (well there was only me and the cows and sheep on the hillside) and got a top up on the colour front.  A decision was taken yesterday on the other house to remove the roof so that nothing could come flying in this direction and maybe taking out a few windows on the way....I think this last lot of weather has just bought the work forward for tomorrow, that's if they decide to work.

And as for that electricity black out....I knew it had been off because the radio alarm clock (posh egh) was flashing to tell me that the power had been interupted and that was at 4.30 this I went back off again and at flashing light so decided that it must be off again and yes, it was....and now I was thanking my lucky stars that my ...and its just gone again...and it's back so it seems more important to get my backside into Kardjali and investigate that UPS.....but as I was saying, I was thinking that my idea of a gas and electric cooker made sense insomuch as I could still have coffee and breakfast and then I remembered it is on the snagging list of jobs that get done when little else is happening....ggrrrhhh....first job on the list for tomorrow..... :-/
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 9, 2010, 4:33pm; Reply: 10
Tuesday continued

So the wind is still lashing, the electicity was off until 30 minutes ago but I maintained warmth by winding up my rechargeable lanterns....not...bloody useless things, I lit candles instead and by the time that I had got light into the main rooms....power was re-established.  The freezer is working its little socks off and I have moved upstairs to get this in before the power goes off again.

Off to Kardjali today and took the Beauty in today to have some air in the tyres and foolishly asked about winter tyres to be told that there has been lots of TV press about the police taking no prisoners and that a rule is a I was immediately pursuaded that they are a must but couldn't have them fitted because the electicity was I came up a brainwave...I would pay for the tyres and have the receiept with me and if I was stopped, show the receipt with me and the telephone number of the garage...what a plan Batman...didn't get stopped, my wallet is somewhat lighter...but needs as needs must.

Got my UPS and returned the pipe that the man didn't use for the central heating but still not a clue how the UPS works....she tried to explain, I tried to understand but never the twain shall meet....must phone him tomorrow...please come back and install.

Now I am going to sort out my Kardjali food shopping.  I came back with a bottle of the winter dark beer that I can highly recommend...I was drinking it at the rate of bedtime at eight because of the power I have to make it last until ten or I shall be up at silly o'clock...

LN winter tyres tomorrow....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 11, 2010, 8:16am; Reply: 11
Thursday 11th November

Sorted out my tyres yesterday + brakes + windscreen washers + antifreeze and my wash bottles for the windscreen can go down to -60 so I'm told......don't think I can but at least I can see out of the car....

The rest of the day was a bit of a none day......I spent about three hours down the garage but did find a couple of Sudokos to do in the local 'Telegraph' but not at all like our Telegraph.  Naughty pictures abound and I tried to convince them that I was learning to read and not just look at the pictures.  Trouble is that when they set up typeface, some of the letters look totally different so now I'm really getting confused.  The book that Guiljan, my teacher gave me about the gnome and his little walnut house is still missing the ending.....I get the gist but not the punchline.....

So I've been wondering what Bekir is about today....firstly he was sorting out the credit on one of my neighbours phones and then planing a piece off wood for another.....who pays the ferryman is what I say and it's for crava mush who takes his time to even talk to me.....and all because I'm a woman without a man in BG...

Sorry forgot the weather report....beautiful calm day, doors open, flies abound, fly spray later..... ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 11, 2010, 4:40pm; Reply: 12
Thursday continued

So there were two men running in and out of my bedroom and onto the flat was a bit like a Brian Rix farce for those of you old enough to remember....  there is more metal on that timbering than was probably used in Blackpool Tower....but that could be a slight over stated on my part.  I think it's designed for a herd of elephants and I can put weight on without worrying about it giving way under me.....

Bekir was out there with his metal cutting tool creating lovely sparks that would have glorified anyone's bonfire party all on his little own and I noticed that the machine had been was lovingly named 'Sparkey' by the manufacturer.  I think I managed to get the point over to Bekir, he smiled and nodded as if to say 'Bless' but maybe I'm being hard on myself.

Three hours of Bulgarian lessons today but I think she wanted to practice her English.  Strange though, as I said, I am learning more about English Grammar but it's just remembering the verb endings and the words....words just pop into your head and then I have to scrabble for the dictionary or one of my text books to try and find out.....talking about Scrabble.....I said that her name would score well on a Scrabble board but mine in Bulgarian would do better, the 's' becomes a 'z' so Top Trumps for off to get supper....LN ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 13, 2010, 6:52am; Reply: 13
Saturday 13th November

Shame on me and yet again....there was lots of activity yesterday, lots of rain, lots of coffee, and lots of concrete being poured and I think I was just too tired to get myself in front of the laptop.  I made some more picked cabbage though but this time red and the remainder of it I fried off last night with butter and olive oil and had it with beef stew that was left over from the previous night...all economy in these quarters.

I stopped off last night at D of S just for a bit of English speaking since not a lot of it goes in in this neck of the woods and asked him what he thought of a book that he brought over the last time....he said that he had got half way through it and gave up.  I managed to get to the end and what a was called 'The Butt' by some well know journalist and the end was nothing like I imagined it would be.  This is often the case when the author receives book prize listing.... I should have done what D of S did but I suppose I was just curious.  I suppose I should have just read the end. :-/

Now for a few of the pickies from yesterday....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 14, 2010, 6:00am; Reply: 14
Sunday 14the November

Yesterday was a day of sorting out my polythene mine...well that's what it seemed like.  The poly-tunnels of years past have been buried on one particular site about a third of a way down the garden, near the hedgeline.  Now that wouldn't have been so bad, but they had obviously set fire to them at some point and there was a four-inch thick (approximately....I didn't measure it) although I did try and get the measure of the wheelbarrow loads that I put onto my new refuse burner.....and what a fire I had.  I did keep checking the house though for stray sparks that might attach themselve to my wooden balcony structures that house goodness knows how many tons of concrete....but all was safe and sound.....I still have my balcony this morning ;)

Yesterday was also a day for digging up some of the smaller bushes that trip you over when you take a walk down the garden and replanting them on the hedgeline and creating a border over the rubbish that was deposit there in the process of building the house....I also found my 'Greek glass magic eye' that I'm not sure if the builders buried it on a purpose so that they though I wouldn't know what they were up to when I was getting materials, but I doubt it very was just strange to find it in the rubble and I didn't even realise it was missing...meant to be found and rehung. ;)

Last night I was too lazy to cook.  I had a long shower, sat in front of the blazing wood burner, started a new thriller from the libary of D of S which I brough back the other night.  The Hitler 'A Study of Tyranny' seemed a little heavy for last night after a hard day in the garden but I did manage fifty-five pages of it yesterday morning.

So to horse....cooked breakfast this morning....Final solution to the polythene mine is on the agenda, moving a heap of other stuff to level it off and cover some of the builders rubble and then more of the little bushes further down the hedgline.....and yes....I shall put some pickies on for A so that she knows I'm not slacking and just talking about it.  Got to give her something to do when she comes out next time. ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 15, 2010, 6:43am; Reply: 15
Monday 15th November

Had my first gift of pancakes yesterday from my neighbour along the way and she is one that hasn't been doing a weekly inspection.  I was stoking up the bonfire at the time so I abandoned my task, accepted a gift of two pancakes and then we set about the guided tour.  The word 'chog i' and 'choc guzel' poured from her lips and she thought it was wonderful.  Her little eyes almost exploded when whe saw that I had a 'bath' even though it is not yet installed and the toilet is sitting in the middle of the landing, well not quite in the middle.  Yes I know, it was installed for my first visitors but it is awaiting the floor tiles but outside work takes priority now that winter is drawing on.  Not that you'd know it today....Yesterday it hit the middle 20's and today looks set to be the same as soon as the mist has burnt off.

As for that polythene lives to fight another day since yesterday I cleaned the house from top to bottom, put all of the tools from downstairs and the landing into one room so that at least we know that they are in same place.  The plastic outside storage chest is going to be used for wood and coal so that it stays dry and is easy reached if the snow sets in.  So today after my Bulgarian lesson, I am attacking that mine if it is the last thing I do and looking at might very well be :-/

So let's get moving.....
Posted by: 25 (Guest), November 16, 2010, 4:13pm; Reply: 16
The internet in Dushinkovo ne roboti!  I will be going to have a look tomorrow, hopefully Elsa will be back on line then!

D of S
Posted by: 8 (Guest), November 16, 2010, 9:40pm; Reply: 17
Do your best Don we are all awaiting the next installment.  Take care   :P
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 17, 2010, 8:31am; Reply: 18
Wednesday 17th November

So no thanks to M-Tel and his reconfiguring my settings so that they didn't work, I have managed to get myself back on line.  I spoke to customer services yesterday morning since the system was telling me that my sim card needed activating.  I've only used this for six months and it needs why the bills.  I went into Kardjali with the intention of reporting a faulty washing machine  which is another story....and getting my sim card sorted since customer services said that it was funtioning and I knew that it wasn't.  The man in the phone shop said my laptop was really a good one, that I needed Windows reconfiguring or reloading and that their system was fine.  Now their system was not fine because he set it up to only connect 3G.  Even I know that on this hillside stuck out in the wilds you need the option of GPRS or 3G whichever is behaving itself that now I've set it to 'preferred' as opposed to'only' and it works...there you go...or rather here I go.

So the washing machine decided that it wasn't going to spin so I went into the shop armed with my receipt and was told that the credit card slip did not confirm payment and that they needed the customer number from the till receipt.  He needed a number to complete the line in his book so I said '3456' and he looked at me rather sheepishly and said that he wanted the 'real' number but that I could phone it in.  So phoning it in was going to be sufficient but since I knew that I was having to take my laptop in at some point I decided to double back to Kardjali and get it all fixed at once.  And I did and also picked up my plane from the shop that had been put in for repair 3 months ago so two out of three isn't bad and the washing machine man has already phoned and will be here today or tomorrow....

I had several more pancakes on Monday delivered and the children were round with their little bags to collect sweets as part of the festival.  Monday sweetie day, tuesday the day of the sacrifice and yesterday morning I had a piece of meat delivered which is now in the freezer awaiting someone to share it with...think it's lamb, not too sure...the cuts look different here.

So a few pictures might be on the cards....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 17, 2010, 10:44am; Reply: 19
Wednesday continued

I've just had another load of meat delivered and I've just had the update from D of S.  He scored highly on the pancake front...fifty eight because you will only be given two, 'No one's enough!!' but you have to have two and on the meat front from the sacrifices, one goat leg, several beef steaks and lamb.  My second lot I'm told is 'children' so not sure if it's the lamb of the sheep that was killed yesterday since the rule is you can't kill the lamb under six months if the ewe is still alive so I think I got mother yesterday and lamb today.  This one is in the fridge and will go into the slow cooker tomorrow....

Now to get on with cleaning those windows and gettting the cement off them... :-/

So the best laid plans.....of me and windows went by the way......I had another set of visitors.  She was one of the daughters that lived in my house for twenty something years and again she burst into tears like her sister did last year.  I just get the feeling that they don't like what I've done to it but I suppose it does evoke strange emotions.  Star Mushes daughters came round with her and so they had the full guided tour.  I just put my arms round her and gave her a hug and said that whenever she was here she was welcome.  She did say that she thought it was beautiful and I just said that I loved the house very much and then they went as quickly as they came.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 18, 2010, 2:20pm; Reply: 20
Thursday 18th November

Beautiful day but the wind is getting up and the temperature is dropping.  I suppose I should head into Djebel and get myself a few cubits of wood so that I don't go cold but there again, if I go out and process the wood that is around I wouldn't feel the cold anyway.  I think it was just because I have sat still for two and a half hours with my Bulgarian lesson.  It's so's the verbs, and the translation doesn't always follow since they make nouns out of verbs and verbs out of nouns and .....I should study more and I'll repeat that to myself several times a day.  It's getting a bit like school where you realise that you haven't done you're homework and you start to feel guilty.....get over it....and get down to it ::)

I've had further deliveries lovely avatar came round with five eggs one of which was still warm and my teacher delivered some of the cow that they had killed.  That is now in the slow cooker with onions, an Oxo, tomato puree and despite tempted to add a little wine, I'm informed that the sacrificial animal should be served without I suppose I should have a drink before supper and after but not during.  Now I only thought it was for the poor of the village but I am dutifully informed that it is for friends and relation....I have reached a new status...  now to get in some wood and get the woodburner up and feet are cold.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 18, 2010, 8:26pm; Reply: 21
Thursday continued

So two men eventually arrived to fix my washing machine at 6.00 this evening.  One of them spun the drum and said normal, the other just sat in the chair in the hall and I reckon he was the driver.....pressed a few buttons, did a few tests and said that you have to have enough in the drum to spin it and that was about it.  I copied the receipt, nothing to pay since it is under warranty and there is water on the floor now that they have left...........I suppose it is pretty difficult for them me not understanding all the questions that they are putting to me but they couldn't get over the fact that I am out here without a man and that I don't have a what links the two I don't know but to them there is a significance.  I'm out here, I can leave both cars unlocked and I haven't had a radio go missing...try that in the UK...and in the summer I sleep with my bedroom door open and again, try that in the UK....and they ask why am I out here!!!

Let's see if the washing machine holds up but at least they know where the house is now...

LN...I'm off to my virtuous couch....slumber calls.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 19, 2010, 5:34am; Reply: 22
Friday 19th November

So the sun has just popped its little head over the mountains at 7.22 this morning but the view from my bed at silly o'clock just had to be captured.  Two cups of coffee later I'm ready to face the day and thinking about a real desk on the landing and not just a green picnic table and whether to try and convert the old kitchen table base or start from scratch which would probably be easier.  As you will see from the pickies that follow, it's a lovely calm morning and the mist is hanging on in there over the river but as the sun gets higher, we should be surrounded with mist and the mountains will disappear for a time until it is eventually burnt off.  I think there was a hint of frost overnight but the house maintains approx 18 degrees and that's not bad considering that the wood burner didn't get stoked up overnight, that to date there is no insulation in the loft and the outside of the house has yet to have its winter jacket applied.  So when Bekir and Sally (hopefully) return next week armed with a couple of heavies, it should be done in quicksticks. ;)

Now for my morning pickies from silly o'clock and yes I did go out in PJ's to take some from the balcony....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 20, 2010, 4:56am; Reply: 23
Saturday 20th November

Once again I'm up at silly o'clock and once again I am seeing the sun taking shape behind the mountains.  Well I don't exactly mean taking shape, it hasn't change for eons but I wonder it it ever gets fed up of whizzing us all around.  I'm thinking this morning of the wonder they worshipped it.  They had no need of it for central heating (unless you were in the desert and boy, did you need the sun in the morning) and they must have spent a small fortune on UV protection rubbing it gently into the camel ears.,,,,,not..... ;)  Again worshiping something that you can see makes sense but then you get the others that were invented as an afterthought....and the stories about the weighing of the heart on passing kept most on the straight and narrow.  Maybe that's a good way to look at it and I wonder if the phrase .....weighing it all up....has some of that I think I should go back to bed after those pearls of wisdom :o

Yesterday I was on the balcony clearing off the cement that had splashed up onto the windows during the construction process....I had to remember not to step back to view my's a long way down.

Off for coffee, check out my fire and boiler, breakfast and looks like a promising day.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 20, 2010, 5:01am; Reply: 24
Saturday continued

Just thought I would add the fruits of yesterday's labour and the chocolate box view from the balcony and this morning's early start.... ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 20, 2010, 3:17pm; Reply: 25
Saturday continued

It's a bit of a sad day in one way but not in another.  Star mush has been taken off to Turkey to stay with his daughter for the winter.  I hardly recognised him as he got in the taxi and I got the feeling that he was being frog marched.  It's a good thing....his little house is damp, he only uses the well for his water and he is not well in himself but for me, the independent soul has probably given in to the pressure.  I look forward to seeing him in the summer.  His daughter came round with the husband and told me that he was leaving.  We exchanged email addresses and I gave her my web address so that she can look at it from time to time.  We exchanged telephone numbers and I promised to phone should there be any problems but I did ask them to speak slowly, especially on the telephone....I'm a beginner at this lark.  The husband had not been inside the house so it was his turn for the guided tour....he loved it.  I waved them off as they left and I must admit there was a tear in my eye....I do hope he comes back in one way...he is such a character.

And so what did I get up to this afternoon.  I have the big daddy of bonfires and it has been going for about four hours, I've been digging up some rogue shrubs that don't have anything going for them and clearing out the old wood and the stone from the side of the other house.  I'm now in, about to light the wood burner, the mosque has just kicked off with the soulful chant and all is well with the world.  I'm tired and have cleared a lot of the rubbish from the garden....hopefully no silly o'clock for me tomorrow morning.  LN supper calls....and don't you just hate it when that happens...I've just posted....the bonfire is all aglow and the sky has turned a most dramatic orange with dark clouds intermingled....and I bet it wouldn't look half as good on the screen.....I'll leave it to your imaginations....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 21, 2010, 7:03am; Reply: 26
Sunday 21st November

Since someone or something has stolen the Greek mountains and every other one in sight, it had to be comfort food.  I can hardly see the bottom of my garden and I'm wondering if my bonfire that I raved about had anything to do with it :-/

So into the fridge and there were two of the free-range eggs delivered warm by my avatar so it had to be 5 minute boiled eggs to show them at their full glory and that always reminds me of the joke, what can you do with a soldier that you can't do with a sailor.....dip them in your egg....(and I hear the groans).  So I made two slices of toast, boiled two eggs for the said five minutes and they were delicious.  Washed down with coffee and I am waiting for a glimmer of sun before I carry on with the patch that I was sorting yesterday.  I believe there is a slight glow from the bonfire and the woodburner stood up for itself well over night and a couple of sticks and four lumps of coal and hey presto....warmth in until there is warmth out.  I might even get through a couple of chapters of my latest read....John O'Farrell's....'An Utterly Impartial History of Britain'....or subtitled, '2000 years of Upper Class Idiots in Charge'.  Funny read with the potential of putting into chronological order all those kings that you had problems with at school.  Come on sun....I need to get on ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 21, 2010, 3:53pm; Reply: 27
Sunday continued

What a beautiful, beautiful day.  I had a beast of a shrub in the garden that I think was twinned with a banyan in Sydney in Australia and would the thing budge ...would it buggery....So I decided to have a bonfire underneath it and it is still going now but it also spurred me on to cleanse the parts of the garden otherwise untouched so armed with my giant secateurs....not for giants but for the 'big ones' I attacked that which had never been attacked for nigh on ten years.....and what a difference.  It was almost like a November day in England...slow to get started with the morning mist but then it changed somewhat as it hit 24 degrees and then it was nothing like November.  I came in at about three and made meatballs and with tomatoes, onions with a hint of chilli and a little of the red into the slow cooker they went and then out to carry on where I had left off.  The beautiful big moon came up at about five so I thought it was time that I packed up my tools and declared that light had stopped play.  It's close to six now and so, shower, and then pasta and the meatballs for supper.  

What a perfect day.... ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 22, 2010, 4:53pm; Reply: 28
Monday 22nd November

Fog, fog and more fog as I set off this morning at 7.40 to start the day.  My men were waiting, they both had new work clothes clutched in their little bags and we discussed the leaving of Star Mush and we all thought it was a shame but his little house with its concrete roof was nor is no use to man nor beast when the weather gets rough and in his case, he was persuaded to get the hell out of it.  I can't imagine him holed up in a flat though, what's he going to do all day.

Well the men got changed and I said 'Chestito' which is the phrase for anyone having any thing new which went down well.  They were a little bit....having to get back into the swing even only one week away....but the balcony has been disrobed and it's still standing...yeh, yeh, yeh.....(after that popular song) and the concrete pillars from the other have been disrobed to make the drying process quicker.   The rest of it is in situ for the next ten days or so and then....all off.  The wood that has been removed is all stacked away for the winter and is earmarked for the other house, I have a pallet that came with the wood, outside the door and I was given instructions how to scrape the dirt off shoes before you get into the house.....Thanks, how long have I been telling you that ;)

So at three this afternoon I mentioned that I wanted the old base from the kitchen table made into a table/desk for the top landing....plastic garden tables look OK in the garden at a push......but not on my upper landing.  Now the base never did pass for square since it was the first thing that I laid my hand to but now it's nearly there.  It has side supports and a middle cross piece and the top gets done tomorrow after we have been down to the builders yard and ordered the materials for the outside of the house.  They measured it up today and we have the list ready to go shopping in the morning.  Joy of joy, down to bread and water for the next few days.  

The wind turned a little chill today even after the fog had lifted and I found another polythene mine so a little bit more for me to do.  As if there's not enough making coffee for the lads. :-/  I am dutifully informed by Crava Mush that there will be snow by the weekend....always was the one to deliver the good news after taking his cow for a walk.

Anyway, that's it for tonight..LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 23, 2010, 5:13pm; Reply: 29
Tuesday 23rd November

I have a desk at the top of the stairs on my landing, I have all the material ordered for work on the outside of the house and the loft insulation, I have three big holes where the men have removed the banked up earth to the north of the property and shame on me, not got pictures of any of it.  I think I was a bit too embarassed to go out as they packed up but I did tidy up all the tools that were left out from the manufacture of the table top.  The men had to take out two stone walls which were about two feet wide and remove lots of rubbish that I'm sure that Star Mush had dumped in the ten years that the property was empty and there was lots of stone that had fallen from the wall so there is a picture shoot scheduled for tomorrow morning but I bet I don't get a smile out of them.

As for my homework, I didn't do it and I admitted it straight out when my lady appeared.  The intention was to do it this morning but we didn't get back from Djebel until fifteen minutes before the lesson started and I had some toast instead.

As for the weather today....warm wind to start off with then suddenly the gentle breeze went to gale force with lashings of rain and thunder and lightening then the wind dropped but the warm breeze changed into a cold one.  You could say a day of variables but the only thing missing was the sun in the day and the moon and stars tonight.  Feels mighty nippy to me so off to put another log on the fire and get some supper and it's got to be started from scratch since I forgot to load the slow cooker so best get on....LN and I promise some action shots tomorrow. ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 24, 2010, 9:14am; Reply: 30
Wednesday 24th November

Spent time on looking for easyJet flights to satisfy all needs and came off thoroughly despondent....Christmas here or UK....both got benefits. The men are still digging for gold and as I said no smiles although Bekir is still whistling or maybe that's just the wind howling through the stonework.  They keep coming up with all these goodies like an empty bottle of Coco cola that was three feet down....why???? :-/

Now for a few pickies as promised....a woman is only as good as her word....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 24, 2010, 4:27pm; Reply: 31
Wednesday continued

So my delivery came this afternoon and looking at the amount of stuff I think I am going to set myself up as an offshoot of the local builders merchants and have the hoardings up tomorrow.  My house vaguely resembles like what it useta....but I am assured it's only a temporary measure since most of it is either going on the outside or up in the loft space to get this little pad toasty for the winter.

Had a good afternoon with the hand saw and all of the old wood from this roof and I am starting on the other roof timbers tomorrow.  It's amazing what you can burn in a woodburner and most of it isn't damp at all and burns beautifully.  Mix that with a few lumps of coal and jobsagudun so they say.  

Supper was just missing something so I made my crockpot into a sweet and sour.  A little vinegar, ten more minutes and it'll be ready to eat.  LN....going to find some tonic water and fruit juice, I've decided that a week without the booze won't go amiss.

LN....supper calls and if you listen carefully, you'll probably hear it.... ;)
Posted by: 8 (Guest), November 24, 2010, 8:31pm; Reply: 32
I assume that the picture "runs the length of the house" is the North wall that used to be the cow shed and store room?  Front porch looks terific. ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 25, 2010, 5:48pm; Reply: 33
Thursday 25th November

This has to be connection is like that slow boat to China only on its return it's bringing lots of goodies that the shops here sell and when anything breaks after the second time in operation.....the cry is heard....China rabote....China workmanship.

A day of achievements by all of us.  My first tick in the box....I did my homework and was already for my lady today.  Our lesson was writing a short passage in the past tense, writing one in the future tense which became my Agenda for tomorrow and my homework is to write my life in Bulgaria in the present tense and a one point in the morning it was very tense.  Stone walls have a tendency to bow slightly and when they finished digging out the long run on the north wall and they put a line across it, there was some consternation on Bekir's face.  Now they both like to do exceptional work.....and in some ways this has been a learning curve for both.  They realise that I don't mind spending on the place to get it just right.  Yesterday afternoon we were all upstairs and Bekir was making sure that the door to my balcony was closed and he just stood there and looked at the view and said one word....hubavo.....beautiful....and it is.  I think they have not had the opportunity to do something like this house, most of their stuff is functional not pleasing to the eye or thought through and they appreciate it more everyday that's why everything has to be right.

The trench on the north wall is deeper and the plan is to put a concrete support wall along the stone to make sure that nothing budges.  They dug this out from under over a meter of stone, soil and rubbish and the wall obviously got damp so they are taking appropriate measures.  

Now for the other ticks in my boxes.  The heap of wood is sawn up into stuff that will fit in the petchka and stashed under the porch balcony.  The wood stored in the other house is under the balcony as well and the store room is now cleaned out ready for the 3 cubic meters of oak that is being delivered tomorrow which should make sure that I don't run out.  I was also reminded that I have another pile that I'd forgotten about and I have the roof of the other house should I run's got to come down anyway before the rain, snow or high winds does in a short time what my men would take a day to do but I think it's a job for them since the wood would be in one place not through my other windows.  Concrete wall going in tomorrow and then the insulation starts....and I'll post pickies tomorrow....I don't want to risk blowing it all away tonight....

LN....back to my History of Britain...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 26, 2010, 7:53am; Reply: 34
Friday 26th November

Beautiful sky, I just had to get up and take a pickie and then down to the real business.  Coffee, salvage the woodburner from last night and get it going again with a couple of logs just to tick over.  The house maintained about 18 degrees overnight so I'm pleased and that's without the insulation in the loft and on the outside which has already started this morning as the pictures proove.  Now it's out to the garden to get rid of the other pile of wood, the wind's in the right direction so I can have a bonfire and I'll catch you later...

Here you shoot....much more interesting than reading the script ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 27, 2010, 4:40pm; Reply: 35
Saturday 27th November

Well this morning I woke up with a list of things that I could do and guess what....I didn't do any of them.  It was dull this morning.  I watched the sheep on their daily pilgrimage to find fresh grass, watched my crava mush taking his cow for the morning stroll stopping off at the dew pond for a drink (that's the cow not the man), chased a couple of cows off the estate and remade the fence so that the beauties couldn't jump it again.  Bastards, they surely are athletic.

So what did the rest of the day hold.....nothing.  I finished the History of Britain, kept the fire going most of the day, have just wax polished my new desk and am about to have supper which is sausages with leeks, onions and potatoes from the slow cooker with garlic croutons.  This will be followed with homemade yogurt provided by my Bulgarian language teacher.  You have to be careful what you mention.....the container is very large and I have lots to get through but she did also provide me with minced veal from the same calf that they killed for their meat Byran.  Delicious the last time and a special reward.  We talked about drop (liver) and I said yes that I liked it but that they also have white drop (lungs) but I said that I would give this a miss......I might need a new set but I'll have them supplied on the NHS.

Anyway, off for supper.  It has just started to thunder so I better get this posted.  Just a couple of pics of this morning.....LN.....Eric Clapton at full volume tonight....just me and the hillside....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 28, 2010, 3:34pm; Reply: 36
Sunday 28th November

Dull this morning, brightened up a shade this afternoon but a perfect day for stashing the remainder of the delivery from my supplier.,  So two men arrived at about 1.00 and asked if the men were here.  I said that they weren't so they said don't bother moving the car we'll put it here.  Now I thought that they would 'put it there' and then move it into the house.  It was seven x 10 packs of 4meter lengths x 5cm and they said the equivalent  of 'Cheerio' and that was it.  It was up to me to move it from 'there' to where it would be dry and ready for use.  Don't go much for the customer service with a smile...I shall have to have a word with the owner.

As for the rest of the day...I've been tidying the garden ready for the winter....I didn't have too good a night..I had some sausages from the freezer and it was on the hour every hour so the rest of them have gone into the bonfire which is puffing away beautifully.  The empty bottles that I was saving for the garage for oil have been burnt along with the remainder of the polythene.  I even went along Stara Mush hedgeline and rescued margarine cartons, old buckets and polythene bags and they have gone too.

As for the evening...I am just about to make myself an omelette since I haven't eaten all day to be on the safe side.  I might just happen to force down a beer (well it has been a day of bonfires) and then and early night for me.  I have work men at 8.00 from their village....LN...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 29, 2010, 7:21am; Reply: 37
Monday 29th November

So there I was waiting in the car and Bekir came out of the cafe to tell me that Sally was ill and that his wife had gone down to the cafe and only just let him know and did I want him to work.  I said that there were jobs for one but then another man was walking by and Bekir shouted to him and the next thing I know, I have two men.  I took him to his house, he ran home and came back with his 'uniform' and ready for the day.  Don't know his name, really should ask, but he takes his coffee 'normal' with no extra sugar so that's the main thing sorted out.

There's a very warm wind blowing and today the men are constructing 'something' and then concreting so I'm reliably informed.  I think it's so they can reach under the eaves to get the final insulation on and the under eaves woodwork.  All go here. :o

I'm off to the garden.  Firstly to collect all those things that got scattered overnight by the wind and secondly to dig in a few more big shrubs that I dug out....just growing in the wrong place and I have to stop that high-jumping cow somehow... ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 29, 2010, 5:13pm; Reply: 38
Monday continued

Well the new guy saw the day out but if Sally is fit tomorrow, then Sally it is but I've said to Bekir that if he is not well then I don't want him and the new guy is in for a second day...don't want to be responsible for flogging the poor man to death if he's not up to it.

The weather topped at 20 degres today and I decided that the shrubs would last another day out in the open so I set about the second polythene mine but I couldn't have a bonfire because of the high wind and I bet my neighbours were pleased.  I turfed out lots of elder roots, a sort of 'mint' root that went on for miles (slight exaggeration) and lots of asbestos that was part of a garage that was burnt down (way before my time).  It's all going into the footings of the terrace from the lounge so jobsaguddun as they say.  I'm making it into a flower bed eventually....well that's the plan.

I went into Djebel and managed, using some sign language, to get some press studs so that I can make a quilt cover out of two fleece blankets and I've worked out that, a) it will be snuggly to get into and b) quick to wash and dry... ;)  and I've found a new shop in the process, so yes, you live and learn.  

Now for some pickies from's my local 'tease' that is posing by the beast....but he still won't clean out my well for 20 leva a day.....and neither would I ;)
Posted by: Princess, November 30, 2010, 10:32am; Reply: 39
Well hello there Mummy Moo Mar, we seem to have your weather here.....Snow, snow and then a bit more. Callumazoo is a bit poorly today so I am at home. School is open but the snow is falling and I am keeping my little pingies crossed for a bit more overnight.

The house is looking fab and you should be really pleased with what you have achieved.

I have started my christmas shopping. We went to Braintree at the weekend so I went shopping. I peeled a kilo of shallots last night ready to make pickled onions...... check my bad self!. Rob came home and asked if I was peeling any more and I said "No, that's shallot!"
Hope you are well.......miss you, moon and back,
Princess xxxxxxxxxxxxx :K)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, November 30, 2010, 7:06pm; Reply: 40
Tuesday 30th November

Thank you Princess and while you're all suffering in UK we were running at about 20 degrees again today but the wind turned a little chilly tonight.  Unlike UK though, when it does get bad here, nothing stops.  Give CJ a hug from me and tell him to get well in time for school to reopen.  Pickled onion egh, Ive got green and red cabbage pickled in the Turkish way.  What are we coming to and I hope Big Frog told you to get a new joke book now perhaps Santa might have one for your stocking...

What a funny day.....I have my new builder since Sally is still not well but we are hoping for his return tomorrow.  We went into Djebel first off this morning before going back to the house so that I could order my ton+ of oak so that I would have enough for the winter.  That added to the stuff that I sawed up over the last few days I'm assured will see me through....if not, let's have another load.  Anyway on the way there Bekir made a phone call and disappeared and returned to the car with a small box from which a noise was eminating.  I asked the question when we all loaded up and he opened the box and a bloody pidgeon flew out.  Now the Beauty (the Clio) is not exactly made for a couple of pidgeons to flying around in but it turns out that he has twenty five of these birds back at his hacienda and they have their own little kushta.  Can't be let out though until April because they make a tasty snack for eagles so I m reliably informed and this was seconded by my Bulgarian teacher that said that they lose chickens to the arial preditors.

So back to the house, the birds were esconced in the back bedroom in a roll of wire netting with a square of house insulation on the top with a pair of trainers to hold everything in place and where is the camera when you need it....suffering from a flat battery but I did manage to charge it so have night time shots.  So what else did I do today besides two hours of Bulgarian?  I made a quilt cover out of two zebra pattern fleece blankets and this now adorns my bed.  Really cool looking and should be toasty to get into at night.  I'll let you know in the morning but I need to cold weather to test it all out :-/

Now a couple of pickies of Bekir's new birds..... ;)
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