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Elsa Peters living a new life in Bulgaria  /  My Diary by Elsa Peters  /  FEBRUARY 2011
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 1, 2011, 6:43am
Tuesday 1st February

White rabbits, white hillside, white dog and making my garden his home....I must check out if he is sleeping in my wreck of a house, no not this one I would know.... ;)

I have no time to spare this morning and will have to post pictures later....I have just been asked if I am OK to have my Bulgarian lesson at 10 o'clock this morning and haven't done homework, haven't had breakfast so I'm in a hurry and for me to be out here in a 'hurry' is not something I do....and we're off... :-/

I've got it wrong....no wonder it's hard to heat the house...D of S thermometer registered minus 17 degrees, I'll post the proof later and considering he is only 10 k from me....I think I'll have to get myself a new thermometer or he'll have to move 10 k up the road into the tropics.....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 1, 2011, 7:43pm; Reply: 1
Tuesday continued

Well my lesson was 'In the Restaurant' so I can now order Bulgarian soup like their is no tomorrow...I went into Kardjali today and topped up with zebra print and also bought the material for the next bedroom...coral with a hint of yellow to match the tiles.  Two meters wide, 3 meters long for 46 leve...£22 of anybodies money---bargain.  Did the rest of my shopping in Lidl and Billa and homeward bound and back to two fire needing attention.  And five cows in my garden..grhhhh.

Fences down, now rebuilt and tomorrow I am buying barbed wire and let the buggars sort that out.... Supper...pork in pepper sauce with pasta..delicious...and fell asleep in front of a roaring fire and woke up to...none in the hall...kitchen still going after three days...I love it...LN..off to sort fires...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 2, 2011, 6:01am; Reply: 2
Wednesday 2nd February

Having read D of S blog and his thermometer recording lower that mine I decided to resite my yesterday so that I could see it from the stairwell window.  So I popped on the outside light and I'm not sure who was more confused.  There was a bloody great cow asleep under my portch....which was obviously disturbed by the light but more disturbed when I opened the door and sent it on it's way.  Now it was still darkish, and it didn't quite know where to go but I threw the nearest thing that I could find at it, namely a lump of wood (and not big before the animal rights people jump up and down and I would state now that animals have no rights in my garden) and chased it and it stumbled over the metal bar that forms part of the lower hedge.  Nice and cosy egh.  I wouldn't have minded too much but I think it emptied its bladder where it lay and it certainly took it's time and made a deposit before it left.  Now at this point I had forgotten about the thermometer but I checked it out...minus 15 and I was out in pyjamas chasing bastard bovine.

So the fires that I thought were on their way out last night seemed to survive the night and now I have both going and I can her the odd crackle from my desk on the top landing.  Today is definately the day for doing the fence...I am fed up of it now....game over....barbed wire, nails, wood from around the place and a sense of humour.  They probably have a discussion in the cow shed at night (that's the ones that make it home) somethig like 'Did you see the look on her face.....can't throw very far can she or very accurately. :-/

Breakfast, shower, car, nails and barbed wire on my list...and then down to action but I'll wait for it to warm up a little first...but  a couple of pickies of the white dog and sunrise....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 2, 2011, 5:33pm; Reply: 3
Wednesday continued

So it has been decided by one of my ladies that I should tie up the white dog and claim him as my own and that would keep the cows out of my garden.  Now I don't want a dog, if I go to England it would create a problem and when I voiced this the three of them offered to feed it while I was away.  They're a determined lot.

So today I did get round eventually to doing the fence and a reasonable job I made of it.  Watching the locals work though on their fences, there is a bush that grows round about that has very sharp thorns, murderous to get near and they cut it down and weave it between stakes in the ground.  So I have asked one of the locals if he will chop down a few of these bushes and thread me up so to speak and we'll see if that works.  The dog idea is OK but if the bushes work even better.

So before I went fence repairing I have made a start on my headboard.  I had a rather lovely piece of timber that had a natural curve on it so I had a brainwave this morning and took it down to a neighbour who has a saw on cogs that will tackle anything.  I was invited in, the wife made me coffee while the man did his stuff and he would not accept any payment for it so there is a present on the way next time I pass.  I also found out that he makes furniture so I might download something as a test peice for him to see how good he really is before I commit to things like wardrobes, etc.  Useful to have him in the next village though.

Got back home and out with the workbench, the plane and the sander and stripped down to my vest because the sun is now HOT and got to work on the balcony.  Wood preservative applied and tomorrow will find another piece of wood to finish the said headboard and then the sixty minute workover can take place.

Lovely shot of my ladies today and one from my day out with Gouljan's mother preparing the dishes of the day.  I still don't know how they manage to get into those positions to work..... :-/
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 3, 2011, 5:18am; Reply: 4
Thursday 3rd February

So this time '29 years' ago I had delivered a lovely 7lb 7oz little girl.  So good morning Princess....Happy Birthday. ;)  Let the frogs take care of you today.

I just love my morning skies out here.....so dramatic and it's so cold even without looking at the theremometer I know it is well into the minus.  I would take more....there is much more red in the sky now and the wind is whisping it with grey so not sure what kind of a day we are in for....let's just wait and see and I'll report back later...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 3, 2011, 6:49pm; Reply: 5
Thursday continued

Sent Princess some flowers and got an email asking if they were from me because they were addressed to Princess and with our favourite phrase 'moon and back'.  I'm told they were beautiful...thank you Interflora.

Well it stayed cold all day and my big woodburner just wouldn't get going.  Tonight though burning brightly as we speak but the little one had been going since Saturday night without being emptied, was due for sorting but then Gouljan appeared with ...pancakes....so we sat down, had a little Bulgarian / English lesson and she left at about 6.00.  Straight on to fire duty, little one relit and now doing what all good wood burners should.

Managed to hang my curtains in the bedroom and cut the wood for making the headboard.  Supper was meatballs in tomato sauce with red cabbage and carrots with cherries and yoghurt to finish on.  Two yoghurts down, one to go but please, no more for a while.  

I've decided that the furniture maker that cut my wood for me yesterday has his first commission.  I want a wooden chest for the bottom of my bed and it will be a test piece for him.  If he's good there'll be more.  LN I'm going to sort fires, pour a drink and then get my head down....looks like being a really cold one tonight....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 4, 2011, 4:32pm; Reply: 6
Friday 4th February

Happy Birthday Mum....no longer with me in spirit but there all the same.  I'll raise a glass later on to you.

Beautiful morning, cold wind so I decided to get the housework done....sorted fires out first, hoovered down stairs and upstairs and then decided that I should really get on with the headboard so opened my polystyrene door to one of the unfinished bedrooms and decided to work inside since it was -10 out and I would have probably been blown off the balcony had I moved my tools outside.  So got the plane going and the sander and then had to go downstairs to answer the door....sawdust everywhere so why did I bother....Anyway upshot is, headboard complete...not sure if it requires modification but I'll save that for another day but then started at the top with the room that I had been working in and made my way downstairs....Kotovo...finished and now to think about supper.  Headboard is in place, bed dressed after a fashion...pillows not secured yet so I really think that I am back to the drawing board.....

No cows in the garden...not sure if it's the repaired fence or they haven't been let out because it's so cold...and it looks like it's going to be another cold one tonight....winter drawers on... LN...supper and drinkies me thinks.
Posted by: 25 (Guest), February 5, 2011, 6:25am; Reply: 7
When you 'hovered' downstairs, I imagined an inspector gadget type helicopter sprouted out of your head?
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 5, 2011, 8:13am; Reply: 8
Saturday 5th February

Quoted from 25
When you 'hovered' downstairs, I imagined an inspector gadget type helicopter sprouted out of your head?


You are right and there is one attached to my hoover as well.....you may mock the afflicted but I even fluffed up my cushions just in case you descended.....

Now I was advised that you could get free ebooks from Amazon and could download Kindle for your PC and I though 'books on tap'.....blighters recognised my IP address as not being in the UK and said that they couldn't send the requested ebook.  The bit that amazes me is that they didn't say that they couldn't accept an order for the book token that I sent to number one son and family for Christmas....no they took the money for that, no problem at all.....that's my top moan for the day....now on to better things....I have done all my 'chores' and I think I might just check if the library in Samodiva is open today....I reckon Stalin would be a little bedtime reading... ;)

Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 5, 2011, 3:48pm; Reply: 9
Saturday continued

The library was open and I took out several books though Stalin is in the UK unfortunately...but I can have several more of Hitler if I was that impressed.  I'll pass on that one.  Then what a good day...my nearside tyre was a bit down so I went into Djebel to buy a tyre pump but was told to go to the garage where they would 'service' me but I still insisted on buying one but then went down to the garage and got 'serviced'...I have also arranged for the exhaust to be renewed on Monday.  It's making rather a lot of noise and even I'm embarassed by local standard, not much wrong but for me, not acceptable.  I give too much warning that I'm on my way.  After the garage I went to the local blacksmith and managed to get over that I wanted him to make my curtain poles in metal so I go back on Monday with a photograph of one from B & Q so there is no mistake and a picture of the windows in my bedroom so he can be sure that he knows what I want and exact measurements.  Quote for a 3 meter length of curtain rail...30 Leva and if they are OK he can have all my business.  He also makes ballustrades for balconies so that could be a bit more for him.....

On the way back I called into the furniture maker.  He wasn't at home but will be on Monday.....I have designed a unit for my bedroom and one chest for the foot of my bed and he can do one as test piece before he starts the second.  It's coming together...

Weather...beautiful today.  I sat out in the garden at the 'library' and had two cups of coffee and now it's a really calm night promising a real hard frost.  Two woodburners going and the one in the kitchen is finishing off my chicken legs for supper tonight with crusty bread...sounds about right....LN...time I put my pc to bed.... ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 6, 2011, 8:52am; Reply: 10
Sunday 6th February

One book down and several more to go.  I started a James Patterson last night and it was good to be reading again.  I've missed the 'getting into a book'.  Nice ending, easy read.

I was right about the weather, minus 11 last night but both fires were still going this morning so bonus all round.  The sheep are in the meadow and the cows are out of my garden and all's good with the world.  Off for a shower, I'm late today and then let's see what the day holds....I do have to measure up for my curtain poles though so that could be a chore in itself.  Brandishing a metal tape measure for that distance could result in any sort of injury....I'll keep the first aid box handy ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 6, 2011, 4:16pm; Reply: 11
Sunday continued

I am so sad..the pictures of the white dog are the last we shall see.  Apparently the sheep farmers dogs..those bastard creatures that roam the hillside apparenly protecting sheep have mangeled him and he is no more.  We are all upset...the ladies of the village have protested most vehemently against the sheep farmer'dogs.  They roam, even Gouljan took the bus the other day so that she did not intercept them and they are the ones that frightened the life out of me when I was driving to pick up my men and the car windows were open and they went for it...bastard dogs.

On a brighter note...the men from the village helped me set up the battery charger on the jeep but I think they chose the wrong battery...I have two and as I said the wrong one was connected.  As I turned it over all I got was a ....zzzz...a sleeping battery.  I've tried the internet but zilch.

So off to the garage tomorow to sort out Beauty..the Beast comes later since it is not top of my priorities..

Supper tonight...rice with chicken drumsticks with Garrys's curry stuff to die for...I'm off, supper beckons and I will sort out the cars tomorrow....
Posted by: 8 (Guest), February 7, 2011, 12:06pm; Reply: 12
Just connect charger to other battery. Red goes to + black goes to -  But depending on charger it could take a while.  Check the meter, if it has one, shows a reading if no meter just remove one clip and repeatadly touch lightly the terminal you have taken it off it should spark. repeat the otherway around.  This is to ensure clips are making good contact.  Good luck.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 7, 2011, 3:18pm; Reply: 13
Monday 7th February

Beauty sorted....the batteries for the Beast are going to the garage tonight...one of the mechanics is coming to pick both of them up and sort them out tomorrow.....thanks for the advice Martin but I think my idea is best...red to black, black to red....black and blue and fingers soldered together............the lad will sort it. ;)

So I went to my metal man to give him the dimensions for the curtain poles and guess what....he has just appeared with the prototype for the supports and all is good.  What service...I did pay him upfront and I think they are used to getting it months later but it's not my way....it's a bit like tipping on the first day for the rest of the holiday when you get into a hotel....they've got the money up front and by golly do they have to earn it.  So I took him pictures round this morning but he obviously wanted to see it for himself.  The wife came with him but she stayed in the car even though I invited her in.  I got asked whether I was out here alone...they just can't get over that there is no man out here with me....and it's because I'm into the realms of measuring stuff and working out dimension.  So I'm told everything will be ready by Friday....

The carpenter is not at home so that will have to wait for another day....Fires going....remains of last night's supper is being reheated and will be ready soon.  So have now to find another book to get stuck into and tomorrow I am off to Kardjali where I am told I can find a second hand PC with 2.00 speed USB ports for little money....I only want it so that I can run my high speed WD Book with films on it.  The USB ports on this laptop just aren't up to it and so then I suppose I'll have to buy a monitor and the bigger the better.  In the UK I have a projector and I thought....blank wall...surround sound....invite the neighbours in now what could be nicer......

Curling up in bed and going to sleep in front of the monitor....now that reminds me of England....and the television.  May be I'll forget the idea and stick to books ;)

Update at 7.00pm....my battery has been collected and is on its way to the battery hospital (garage) and will be returned and installed tomorrow...now that's service....LN...sleep tight through peace of mind not alcohol....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 8, 2011, 6:28am; Reply: 14
Tuesday 8th February

Well did it catch me out....-6 overnight according to my thermometer but the sun is up and it's creating a beauiful morning mist in the valleys or maybe everyone's just got their wood burners going and it's smog....I know I have.  The big one went out and thereby a saving of two logs and four lumps of something that is supposed to be coal but it's nothing like my dad had delivered for free when he was a miner.  I remember the coal wagon dropping a heck of a lot at the bottom of the path and it had to be put into the coal shed and the last thing dad wanted to do after working on the coal face was to start again so yes...mum and I would try to finish the job before he got back from his shift.  Sometimes we did, it depended on the time of the delivery but other times...dad stoically shifted it.  Nice perk...free coal but there again the wages weren't that good for what they did.  So back to my lumps of coal dust and cement....only five leva a bag and they slow down the burning process or in my case last night, stopped it completely but the little one coped beautifully and the kitchen is very comfortable this morning.

Now a clear day ahead of me....battery is being charged as we speak....curtain poles being manufactured, Beauty up and running and all seems well with my corner of the world.  I had my post delivered yesterday and the man who delivered it told me that it came 'samolet' by airmail and I opened it and it in front of him ad explained that it was a birthday card from Angela....and they know Angela since she has been out here and he was overjoyed that he knew who it was from and what it was....and so I suppose most of he village know by now....they just take delight in my little life...and I don't mind a bit.  Shower, dressed or maybe breakfast, shower and dressed....I'm feeling a bit of a lazy tyke... ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 8, 2011, 2:32pm; Reply: 15
Tuesday continued

I got caught out ...big time....just after I posted there was a tinkle of my cow bell by the front door and when I opened it...surprise, surprise, my carpenter was there.  I was stll in my pyjamas at this point but they are pink fleecy things so nothing too glamourous so I thought...act normal...so I got the picture of the chest that I want him to make....showed him the new dimensions, asked him for a rough estimate which was acceptable, showed him where the chest was to sit so that he could be sure of what I wanted, told him not to put any surface finish on it that it would be hand-polished with beeswax and off he went...result and then out of sheer embarasment, I went and got ready for the day just in case anybody else turned up unexpectedly....So I shall see the standard of his work and then decide if I want him to do the other one or put that to my man in Dzebel who never seems to be at his place of work.

So far so good today....I decided that Kardjali wasn't on the cards....I emptied out the little woodburner and got rid of the ash and then relit it.  For the amount of wood that it burns the return is fantastic and even though it's 20 degrees, the kitchen doesn't get that much sun unlike the rest of the house so it ticks it over.  Had the balcony door open today and moved one of the chairs out and sat in the sun but then I thought it was a little lazy so sorted out some more wood from the old house, sawed up a few logs, chopped some sticks and then got on the sun lounger.  Just a hint of coolness to the breeze but otherwise super.  Now back to it...more wood to sort.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 9, 2011, 3:08pm; Reply: 16
Wednesday 9th February

This the third time I have posted this messag.....connection doesn't get dropped...just times out when you are up loading.....it's a bummer when that happens.

Sunbed and garden covered with ice cystals today, beautiful morning.  We're still maintaining about -4 overnight but the days are just stupendous for February.  Walked the garden when it had warmed up, found my first snowdrop, had a bonfire and got rid of my polythene rubbish and sat in my blue and white chair and just enjoyed the sun.  I had a conversation with the neighbour who has the allotment next to my house and I'm understanding more each day...as they say....leka por leka....little by little.

Looked in my icebox in the fridge and I believe I had the foundations for an igloo in there.  I have no longer and using the trusty tools namely a knife, a wooden kitchen implement and a ...hairdryer, the ice is now sitting in the garden and now I can sqeeze my lemons, put them into the icetrays and go back to my usual routine of lemon juice, honey, salt and hot water every morning to kick start my metabolism....guaranteed to get the system moving.

Supper is last night's spagbol converted to chilli con carne, garlic bread and a little of the red stuff to wash it down....can't be bad......now off to finish chores, like getting the wood in and starting the other woodburner off. I have had windows open all day to get some fresh air into the house.....beautiful....LN...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 10, 2011, 5:47pm; Reply: 17
Thursday 10th February

What a lazy day.....I had a late shower and was sitting in the sun doing nothing with wet hair and my avatar arrived .....with guest....when she saw the wet hair she said that she would come back later but I insisted that they came in.  It was her sister's friend who was on holiday from Turkey and yes, I am a talking point in the village as to what this English person has done to the house.

So the full conducted tour and she loved it.  And my avatar is proud to show off my house as if it is her own.  She is a true friend.  I was asked the inevitable question that passes all of their lips...how much did it cost and my reply is always the same....I don't know.....I do know but finances out here are different.  What seems good value to me is extortionate to them...it's the 000's on the end.

I read my book in the sun until I was so sleepy that I decided to read it in the comfort of the lounge and yes, you've already guessed it, I went to sleep and didn't wake up until 5.30 this evening.  Sorted the fires out, central heating buzzing round the radiators so went back to my book and came upstairs to do my daily update when there was a toot toot outside and.....my battery was back from the hospital (garage) and the man was here to replace it.....job done, started the Beast so all back to normal....joy of joy....I need the Beast to get my new piece of furniture tomorrow and my metal curtain poles.....

Anyway supper time.....just a few kind wishes to Mikey B's young lady who is about to deliver their first, a little girl who already has a name and I hope she 'fits' it or it's back to the drawing board for both of them....my thoughts are with them and guess what....it will be an Aquarian....as are my two, my grandson and so am I.  Brilliant star to be born under....and for the none believer (and you know who you are)....February's good too :)

LN....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 11, 2011, 3:18pm; Reply: 18
Friday 11th February

Well I suffered for going to sleep yesterday afternoon. I was reading 'The girl who played with fire' until 1.00 am and then woke up at 3.00 full of beans and read until 4.00.  It wasn't such a good book.  I'd tied it up by page 450 but I just had to carry on and confirm that I had got the ending right.  Had to put it down sleep called but I was awake and 7.30 and finished it.  Yes I was right, reasonable ending leaving it open for a continuation but unfortunately the young Swedish author is no longer with us.  Ah well I'll just make up an story I like.

Haven't been thoroughly motivated today.  I think you get days like that when you haven't got enough to do.  I have lots of things that I could be doing but nothing that is drawing me in at the moment.  I've got the wood ready for an armchair and I did go into Dzebel today and purchased enough foam to make a cushion for my rather uncomfortable wooden bench in the kitchen.  It's alright for a time and then it just gets....wooden if you know what I mean.  So project for tomorrow.....slice the foam, make the covers for the seat and the back rest and now I'll start to visualise the finished item (no pattern) and let my brain work it out.  It's got until tomorrow morning :-/

Wood's in, kitchen wood burner still going, ought to sort out the central heating one, I'm feeling chill.  Sun's still shining and casting that beautiful pink glow on the white houses on the opposite hill and it's misting over slightly so yes, probably in for another cold one.  It was -4 this morning, went up to +15 in the sun but there was a cold wind that went through you.  Off to work...on fires.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 12, 2011, 3:03pm; Reply: 19
Saturday 12th February

Firstly let me welcome into the world Katie Ava Bardsley born last night to Dawn and Mikey B.  A little Aquarian and one of a special kind.  Congratulations to the proud parents...she looks a little smasher.

Now what have I done today?  I have had an infinitely better day than yesterday when I just couldn't get focused.  Now that foam that I got yesterday has made a cushion for the bench in the kitchen and I have 'readjusted' the cover that came with the mattress and job is done.  There is enough foam left to make the headboard for my bed and also a backrest for the sofa downstairs. This was only achieved may I add with the use of a bread knife (it was a thick piece of foam) and in the absence of an unpicker (sewing machine terms) I had to use the vegetable knife.  Now in the middle of all this, the 'disco' magazine came and fortunately I was able to flag him down since he always looks this way when he is passing in case I'm just late and running to get there.  So returning with my treasure of two bottles of the local beer, well not quite bottles in that they are two litre plastics, I thought 'Nice sunny day, working outside, how about a beer'.  Suddenly occured to me, not such a bright idea as I was wielding a bread knife and a kitchen vegetable knife as the tools of my trade.  Maybe later and yes the tools are away, the glass is sitting on my desk as I write this but the bottle is downstairs so I'll just have to sip it.  The armchair is on the agenda for tomorrow.  I'm really fired up and I don't know why.

Another thing I have achieved.  I have given my little local lassie her English lesson and I made her read all of the book that I let her borrow back to me....no...it wasn't War and Peace....it was The dog with the Terrible Itch.  She arrived with her brother who hasn't started English lessons yet but she asked if I had any more books so I gave her Peter Rabbit and she is going to read it back to me next time.  She loved the pictures and she comes from a Turkish family so the chance of speaking English or Bulgarian for that matter is virtually nill.  I also let her brother borrow a book on Big Machine and he was 'WOW'.  Same time next week....it's my bit for the village.  If any of the children want any help, I'm more than willing.

So fire going, supper in the slow cooker (Hungarian Goolash tonight), all's well with the world.  Number one son's birthday tomorrow....I shan't say how old....it makes me feel like a stara gena (old woman)....OK he's .....  watch this space...or maybe he'll tell you in a post. ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 12, 2011, 3:20pm; Reply: 20
Saturday continued

Forgot to post pickies so here goes....nothing great...workspace, office desk and liquid refreshments....and northern views....

LN...the bottle is downstairs, I'm upstairs, worth the trip....and let's hope I don't ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 13, 2011, 3:51pm; Reply: 21
Sunday 13th February

Good morning and happy birthday son.....I did phone but no one home..... :-/

So this morning the sun woke me up....well not so much the sun but the reflection on the hall window so I just had to get up and have a look....very dramatic....red and black and so once awakened there is no going back to sleep.  I looked at the thermometer and hardly believed it.  It said -20 so I rechecked and yes, it is broken and the real temperature was about -2 but this morning it seemed to be damp with it.  Not so crisp as other mornings so it was fires all round.  I lit the big boiler since it was my Bulgarian lesson today which not so much became a lesson but Gouljan telling me all about her new job and showing me the pictures of the training that she had received, or rather the group had received.  So I just had to get a couple of the pictures....she's so proud and so she should be....difficult job but she'll manage it I'm sure

So she used the internet to retrieve her mail, I went outside and lit a bonfire to get rid of my rubbish, she left and the next minute there was a young girl at the door with a ....wait for it....a census form in her hand in Bulgarian.  I explained that I was English so off we toddled to her car and we had....an English translation and she left it with me saying that she would return to pick it up..  Well this was fine but when we came to some of the questions about which standard of education you had received and if your children were not living with you when did they leave Bulgaria and when are you expecting them to return....I lost the will to live and was just about to slash my wrists when she came back and together we completed the rest and where I hadn't got a clue, with her experience, we filled in the gaps.  All that it will probably mean is that I will have my yearly rates upped....grrrrr :-/  The final question was...who did you buy the house from?  How should I know!!  I know my documents are legal since I had my solicitor look over them and yes, they have the 'blue stamp' so she had to wade through the documentation to find out and yes, the documents and her paperwork confirmed the name of the person.....result, I am legal.  

Fun over for today........into a book and trying to work up the enthusiams to think about supper.....trouble is if I don't get it in the slow cooker, when it gets to this time, I really can't get to think about it.....let's get the cook book out and dream.....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 14, 2011, 4:56pm; Reply: 22
Monday 14th February

As for the rest of the day?  My intention was to go into Dzebel this morning and then on to Kardjali but at about half past twelve today I was still in my pyjama top since it was snuggly.  I must add that the rest of it was washed and prepared for the day but the brain was into looking for wooden furniture on the internet that I can dazzle my local carpenters with and the only thing that I came up with was the idea that I could make a Mexican hammock out of local materials so watch this space.  This is going to be short and sweet tonight.  I have potatoes cooking and am about to make a potato and onion omelette.  Again I was playing with the idea of going down to the restaurant and in for cheesy chips and chicken wings but to be honest, it is just too cold to be out and the fires are going and it's nice and warm so why would I want to get the car out and be bothered to drive six kilometres to sit in a smoky restaurant.  I have to go sometime this week.  It is my little 'adopted' granddaughter’s birthday the same day as mine so I have to deliver a present and a card although I haven't made it yet...where's that list for tomorrow?????

So what have I really done today?........I've emptied most of the wood out of the barn and stacked it ready for sawing / chopping, finished a fingerless mitten so at least one hand will be warm and started the next, cleaned out the little wood burner which is now going like blazes and had my music going full blast.  I'm getting a liking for Barryman but Lilly Allen is about to be deleted.  Rubbish words and I apologise in advance for anyone who likes her.  Not my style.  I've downloaded lots of furniture images and have the design for the armchair that I need for the kitchen.  It's just somewhere to 'plonk' if the rest of the house isn't warm enough and it can go outside in the summer.  I've also used some of the foam to 'pad' my computer chair on the landing since I was getting back ache.  I've had this 'funny ache' in my back and I suppose I should get someone to 'look' at it.  It's not a pain, more of an ache that just comes in from time to time which started last summer but it seems to have moved from the right side (looking at my back) and has now found its way to the left....how long for this world ;)  ah well....can always come back again.  Another thing I have done....posted some pictures on Flicker for the CSH Photographic society.  The theme this month is 'Gold' so I got a couple of my crocus pictures and they are added to the other beauties on the site.

Now potatoes are sure to be ready so let's go be creative.  LN.....I've just found a bottle of red that looks lonely so it's by the wood burner and breathing...OK how much air does it need.....I'll resuscitate it... ;)
Posted by: 8 (Guest), February 14, 2011, 7:21pm; Reply: 23
A Freudian slip?  Lost ten days!  Did you copy census form?
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 15, 2011, 9:17am; Reply: 24
Quoted from 8
A Freudian slip?  Lost ten days!  Did you copy census form?


Response to the above.....If you remember...someone was going to mend the number 1 key on my keyboard and didn't..... :-/  

So today we have snow but it feels warmer than it is.  It's -2 out there  and the wind is cold so I think I'm going to finish my fingerless gloves.  I might be needing them now that spring has gone and we're back to winter.  One down and one to go and the pictures will be posted later.  Let's get knitting.... ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 15, 2011, 8:02pm; Reply: 25
Tuesday 15th continued

Well it really is a quick update tonight.  It has remained cold all day...the fire has been in and has been out, in again and out but eventually got it with the pump really moving and the house is warm at last.  The little on in the kitchen just does its stuff without much imput....ah well, can't win them all.  Talking of woodbuters though, I have run the big one today on the wood that I salvaged from the little barn so free today....I'm a little concerned that I shall have to order another load unless I bravely get up onto the roof of the old house...there's lots of wood up there so I might have to ask one of the lads from the village to hold the ladder steady while I go up, up and hopefully not a way.....

It has now developed into freezing fog and the hillside is white over.  I'm tucked up for the night and tomorrow....I can go out in the cold with my two fingerless gloves....yes I have finished the second apart from having to sew in the ends so pictures will be posted tomorrow....LN....back to the warmth of downstairs...this landing can get a little chilly....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 16, 2011, 7:12am; Reply: 26
Wednesday 16th February

Wow what a difference in the weather.  We are white over again and still -5 this morning....and not a hint of snow last night.  

Well it's not Sunday but last night I got a small gammon joint out of the freezer and it was staring at me this morning as it sat on the worktop and yes, it just had to be done...bacon, egg and fried bread and it was delicious.  The rest of it is already in the slow cooker with a hint of chilli, onions and some Indian curry spice and I shall throw in a handful of rice with about one hour to go for supper.  It's by far the best way to cook it so long as you rinse it thoroughly first...not gloopy at all.

So what does today hold?   I am going into Kardjali to look at cheap pc's with USB 2.00 ports.  I have this thing full of films and my laptop is too slow for it so no can watch nothing.  I'm going to buy myself a birthday cake and take it round to my ladies in the village tomorrow and look for  a pressie for Seeka's (my restaurant lady) granddaughter.....same birthday as mine as I have mentioned before...she's four going on twenty four. ;)

Just a few pictures from this morning...the fingerless gloves are complete and feel very warm but will get road tested today and just a few that I thought you ought to see....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 17, 2011, 8:00am; Reply: 27
Thursday 17th February

So my birthday cards are on display, I have had a phone call from Princess Gemski, a text from my CJ and one from Gouljan and her nickname for me...Mrs Bricolage...from that French 'do it yourself hardware emporium'.  She just loves some of my creations.  The Bulgarian post apparently is hanging on to cards from the UK so my birthday could last a long time....Thank you Angela and Martin...your cards arrived two weeks ago much to the delight of the postman (someone who just happens to be coming my way).  You have to open it in front of them and explain what is is for and who it is from and in the case of both of those, they have been out here so are 'known'.

So I didn't get into Kardjali but I did make Dzebel...eventually.  I had to get to the post office and since it seems to close to allow them to eat a twenty course lunch, I decided that late afternoon was best.  Didn't have a cake that I liked the luck of and nothing for a little girl's present seemed to jump out at me so I am going to get to Kardjali, by hook or the proverbial crook today.  Paid my month's water bill but it had to be estimated since my 'clock' was buried by the workers and haven't seen hide nor hair of them so it remains buried.  Water for the month...£6.50 approx and on that note, shower, dressed...well I am dressed but undressed, shower and then get ready for the 'big' city....catch you later..
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 17, 2011, 8:09pm; Reply: 28
Thursday continued

I found a party....well it was for a four year old but it was just as good.  I was welcomed, I found a lovely stuffed donkey with big floppy ears for a present which sat well with the pile of Barbie dolls that she had acquired but I hope mine last a little longer and sits on her bed and gets big cuddles...That's what I really hope.  Grown up food for the grownups and children's food for the children with logs of suggary stuff for those inbetween.

I was invited to stay on after the thirty or so mothers had disappeared with their offsprings but since I was not drinking because the car was sitting outside, I declined but I was actually offered a bed for the night by the couple that own the restaurant and again I declined.  There's nothing like your own bed.  

So home and sorted fires out...it's a little bit on the chilly side tonight and tomorrow I am picking Gouljan up at 7.45.  I need to get into Djebel to get some money out of the cash machine which I forget to do before I left so up with the lark....and I suppose bed with the ...well whatever goes to bed at ten fifteen.  LN...off to my virtuous couch...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 18, 2011, 10:31am; Reply: 29
Friday 18th February

So I really didn't share with you the true excitement of yesterday which threw all my plans askew.  Here I was yesterday extolling the virtues of my little wood burner in the kitchen and it has only just occurred to me that I have my two cars, Beauty and the Beast and my little wood burner and the biggie which I also refer to as the Beast...this house gets more like a fairy story everyday.  Well as I was saying, after bulling it up and praising it to the high chimney (well it would be heavens) but that's what I thought, what's that noise and the brown pipes connecting the little one to the chimney were 'singing' or 'hissing' and there was liquid soot oozing out of the joints in between.  So I'm only half dressed at this point, fresh from my shower with a towel wrapped round my hair and dressed in my thick black tights and my always to be worn Bulgarian vest looking remarkably like a ballet dancer but without the tou tou.  I decided to go and see what the chimney is doing and it's belching smoke for all it's worth.  My neighbour is looking my way and I shout that I think I might have a 'little problem' and when I get back into the house it's full of smoke and I believe the problem has escalated to a 'bloody hell, I'm concerned' phase and my heart was going ten to the dozen.  At quickly as it started it must have burnt itself out, the oozing ceased, the smoke eased and my neighbour appears and says that everything is OK but I should clean the pipes tomorrow.

Five o'clock this morning I was up and this time my brain is going ten to the dozen. I lit the biggie and started the warm air circulating, looked at the little one and it was still smoldering so removed the ash bucket and took it outside and then work began.  I removed the pipes, took them outside and cleaned them and how long did it take....ten minutes and so it as now been added to the list of 'must do's' every month.  All back together, fire going and back to normal (well as normal as things ever get.)

Now silly me yesterday had ordered wood knowing that I didn't have much left and forgot to get to the cash point.  The thought of demolishing the other roof single handed had found itself on the back burner.  So last night I phoned Gouljan knowing that she normally catches the silly o'clock bus to get to Dzebel for this new job, to see if she wanted a lift and so this morning I picked her up at 7.45.  As I dropped her off she left a white bag in the car and explained that it was for me.....I have a present...a beautiful plain glass oval dish, a scarf and some special Turkish hair shampoo.  Who's the lucky girl then????

Wood came at 9.30, unloaded by 9.40, thrown into the old house....not stacked, cheaper than I thought it would be and I think he made a mistake but it's locked away now....tough. Only half past twelve and the rest of the day is mine ;)

Now for some pickies....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 19, 2011, 12:39pm; Reply: 30
Saturday 19th February

My cards from Princess and the frogs arrived yesterday afternoon and I'm so pleased.  It means a lot when you get things delivered.  Princess had stuck a load of little monkeys all over the envelope and yes, she takes after me and is mad as a bucket of frogs and CJ's was very appropriate.  There I was saying yesterday that I looked like a ballerina without the tou-tou and now I have a card to prove it....I am a birthday ballerina.  Love it and the envelope just had NAN on it and it found me!!  (Not really it was inside the envelope from Princess ;))

Well just returned from my mercy mission.  My Gouljan was stranded in Djebel after her 'work experience' in Ardino and called to say could I pick her up.  'Ten minutes' I said, mentally made a note of the things that I could do in Djebel, like buy a bottle of brandy because it is so cold today, get some credit on my PAYG mobile and refuel Beauty.  I got her safely gathered into the fold, well the car, and then set about my 'jobs' and I was appoached by a lady in the supermarket asking if I had seen Gouljan and that she was wanting to get home.  I explained that she was already in the car, but I didn't know the woman but she obviously connected me with Gouljan.  Back in the car, I then had twenty questions as to how old she was, did she have long hair, was it blonde when I tried to explain when I got back to the car so I threw in as to whether she was a 38DDD or small boobs and Gouljan sort of didn't know how to take it but eventually got the joke....at the end of the day we haven't a clue who she was.

It is cold, it's raining hard, I am, to use Gouljan's phrase, wrapped like a cabbage, layered with so many clothes but that's the way to keep warm.  If it hadn't have been for Gouljan I wouldn't have gone out despite toying with the idea of Kardjali today which again went on the back burner but I'm glad I got dragged out.

So yesterday there was a beautiful little calf standing with her mother by the fence and I got the idea that it was in training for raiding the Anglechanka's garden so I put paid to that.  It might look cute but it could be a 'devil' of the future.  The lunchtime snack was from yesterday but it just had to be included.....cheese in filo pastry....tasty..  and the flowers had to be pictured since I went out to view the estate just to see what was there.  I have never been here in winter before so I am amazed and delighted by what appears....

So just a few pickies for those that have a problem with the text....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 20, 2011, 2:14pm; Reply: 31
Sunday 20th February

Cold, sleet, and checked the thermometer and it was just on freezing...a few degrees colder and I reckon I would have been snowed in ....at least until tomorrow...snow ploughs here are quick off the mark, normally depositing the second shifting in my drive after I have more the first...  

I went out and had a bonfire this morning but my hands were frozen through so decided that I might as well fill up the two log baskets while I was out there.  I looked a bit like Nannook of the north and even put on a fleece hat...a bit overkill may be but at least I did keep warm...

My little girl from the village knocked on the door and came bounding in but she was absolutely full of cold so I exchanged her library book, gave her a simple dictionary so that she could teach her little brother a few words and sent her on her way.  I do not want a cold, I do not like colds and she was full of it so....OUT.  I did let her have another book though of Beatrix Potter and she has almost gone through most of my supply here....I must get back to the UK soon just to bring in another load....

So my fire has been in and out like a tom-cat on heat and I have at least got it to do its stuff.  Beauty is ticking away in the kitchen after the fright it gave my and the Beast (central heating) is the one giving me a spot of bother.  It's my own fault.  It needs attending to and I get stuck on this landing on my PC...realise that I'm feeling a little chill and then hasten downstairs and ...yep ...down to a few glowing embers that I immediately expect to burst into life and then...having a mind of its own...so it must be female...I have to coax it back to life.  I play around with it for a while sticking in bits of paper and twists (newspapers rolled and folded) and the eventually deciding that I should have taken it apart in the first place and saved a box of matches....hey...matches are cheap out here and I do have all the time in the world.....  

Tonight's supper is last nights because I cooked too much....the beer is begging to be opened (remember I'm two hours on from you and it is Sunday) and I have found a book that I'm not too sure about but I'll tell you after the next chapter.  Stalin is coming back from the UK so I am dutifully informed so one to look forward to.

LN.....no photographs worth taking today....you'll have to live with the script.....  
Posted by: Joanna, February 20, 2011, 7:05pm; Reply: 32
Finally joining in Elsa. So do you know the trick of splashing water onto a fire to send steam up the chimney to put out a chimney fire, and I mean splashing it on not soaking the whole thing? Had to use that trick to calm a fire beginning to get out of hand one day and learnt it from my hubby because he set the chimney on fire when he tried to helpfully light the fire for his Mum and was surprised by a fireman knocking on the door who promptly dealt with the fire  8). Our fire was out of control due to slinging a very old half a coconut shell on it - how was I to know that the shell still had a lot of oil in it  ::), I do now! :-/
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 21, 2011, 6:25am; Reply: 33
Monday 21st February

Thank you for that Joanna....what a useful thing to know and I'll remember to throw out all the old coconuts... :-/.

Believe me, it won't happen again....as I've said, it's not been put on the monthly 'To Do' list and it literally does only take about ten minutes.  It wasn't so much 'in the chimney' as 'in the pipes' from the woodburner to the wall entrance to the chimney ...three pipes, a radiator and a bend....taught me a lesson though. ;)

As for the weather today....-5, dull, not raining, but it's the sort of cold that goes straight through you summoning those winter drawers on.  Think it's time that I breakfasted, showered and dressed....need a few more clothes on to face the day.... ;)  Catch you later....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 21, 2011, 7:08pm; Reply: 34
Monday continued

What a mare of a day with fires...one day up the chimney and the next lingering in the fire box and zilch.  I think it's because the wind has changed direction and it does make a difference.  It must be something to do with the 'hat' that my builders put on it.

Today has been a non motivated day....I've done goodness how many sudokos, played with my DS, read part of a book that I just can't get into and would dearly love to be playing outside but it's too cold, too damp and just not nice out there.  I think our spring has been and gone.

Supper tonight was fish fingers of all things and I really don't know why I bothered.  The coatings are ready for the cats tomorrow and we'll see if they find them more appetising than I did.  Thanks Lidl. I'd complain but I don't think that anyone speaks English there and my Bulgarian isn't up to sounding off....just yet.... but I'm practicing.  Gouljan is just too sweet to teach me the words that I would find really useful and the lessons are on hold because she's feeling quite knacked after two weeks of the new job.  Unfortunately we live on a bus route but they are not as we know them...the bus is at 6.45 and she starts at 8.00, finishes at 4.30 but the bus is either 5.00 or 7.00 depending on the local factory and if they are working overtime or not.  Makes it a very long day for her and so eventually I think she will have to move to Djebel...it would make more sense.

Anyway.....I'm thinking of showering and getting into my jimjams, the thought of a brandy and hot water has entering my head and one will be finding its way into my hand any minute when I've boiled the kettle.  I can hear my zebra calling.....LN

Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 22, 2011, 9:08am; Reply: 35
Tuesday 22nd February

Firstly Happy Birthday to Martin, he is having lunch with Princess and baby frog today.... and secondly....we are white over again, four inches of the white stuff overnight and it is still coming down.  Now that fire that I was cursing last night was still in this morning after I put on a reasonable size log last night and four lumps of what they pass off as coal.  Two seconds and it was away and sending the hot round the radiators but now it is the turn of the little one to play up.  The ash can has to be completely removed and the fire you can sometimes salvage but today....no.  So I had this bright idea to run between the two with a shovel of stuff from the other and start it off that way....did it want to go?  Only one way....out.  So I went back and got another load and yes, I think we have lift off and about time too.  I have never been obsessed with fires before except when we lived in a very old house when the children were small before we put in the central heating.  There was an old Aga in the kitchen that did nothing but heat the kitchen, a solid fuel burner in the play room, open fires in the lounge and dining room and all I seemed to do all day, apart from feeding the children, was run between all of them and then back to the wood yard in my Riley 1.5 for more wood.   Memory lane.... ;)

Now let's go and attend to my two....

Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 22, 2011, 7:36pm; Reply: 36
Tuesday continued

Well the snow started to thaw but the temperature has dropped this eveing so it looks like we've got it for another day.  So I threw out the fishfinger coatings but left the kitchen paper round them so that they wouldn't disappear into the snow and a black and white cat ate the lot including the paper...it must have been hungry and I felt so sorry for the poor little thing that I lobbed out the skin from my spicey sausage and that went as well.  I have the feeling that it's sleeping in my old house...great stuf...keeps down the vermin.

So I went to get something out of the freezer this afternoon for supper and I realised that I would have nothing thawed out so hence the spicey sausage from the disco magazine.  2 x 2 ltrs of beer, two spicey sausage and a loaf of bread....eight leva..just under £4.00.  I bump up the order when he arrives...it's cheaper in town but he does such a good service that I think he deserves my custom.  Anyway, take two onions and chop, skin and slice the sausage, fry off in olive oil, add honey, chili flakes and tomato paste, add a little water and transfer into the slow cooker until hunger strikes.  Serve with rice, pasta and if you can't be arsed to wait for any of the above...chunky bread which was how it came tonight.............delicious.

Looks like I'm snowed in again tomorrow.  It has stopped now but it's forecast for the rest of the week.  A few pickies for the hard of hearing .....forgot to mention that my cooker as two calor gas rings and two electric....great for when there is a power cut.......not seen them in UK but just seems like a good idea to me....LN...my virtuous couch calls...I hope I sleep as well as I did last night....7.10 when my eyes saw the light of day or rather the light of the snow...LN...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 23, 2011, 11:13am; Reply: 37
Wednesday 23rd

Well the snow is melting but it's just on zero.  Very pretty though but more snow is promised for tomorrow so at some point, if my mobile shop doesn't have any onions, then I better make my way into Djebel.  It's a vegetable that I can't see to be without these days....they go into everything.  The onion sets are for sale in the supermarkets her but it seems a little early to me.  The ground is still like rock...I suppose they ordered them when we had that Indian summer that lasted all of a week and then winter returned with a vengeance.  I was down to my Bulgarian vest at one point working outside and trousers of course before I get closed down my the 'proper' police and now I back to being a cabbage with so many layers that I look like the proverbial Michelin (wo)man.

So what have I done today?  Very little.  I used to feel guilty about doing nothing but then I realised that I have no one to answer to except myself.  I have my mental list of things that I want to do, nothing that I really need to do, so what's the hurry.  Most things require that I work outside.  I need to make another chest and there's that armchair that is top of the list....but the wood needs to be planed and I have no intention of getting all that mess inside.  Yes I have a bedroom I could isolate but hey, it still gets trodden everywhere especially when there's a knock on the door...

So let me get back to doing nothing....unless I find 'something' to do first... ;)
Posted by: linda g, February 23, 2011, 3:39pm; Reply: 38
Hi Elsa, Love the diary. Photos are great. My Mum said to say hello, and asked.....What the bloody hell is she doing there?????? Of course I explained as much as I know.... and she just smiled and said " She always seemed to be the adventurous one, I said , "Must take after her cousin"....hehehe ;D ;D
Anyway keep warm, take care. Thinking of you in the snow. We are melting here, NZ have had a an earthquake in Christchurch..very sad.. and with fire and floods here, could be moving to Bulgaria soon.....Linda.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 23, 2011, 6:47pm; Reply: 39
Wednesday continued

Hey Linda, thanks for the comments and pleased you are enjoying the diary.....as you said....not sure who started travelling first....think it was your mum but I wasn't long on her heels....although....and I have the photograph somewhere to prove it ...there was something of an age gap when I wore that lovely bridesmaids dress when your mum and dad got hitched.

As for you moving here..........I better get the other upstairs bedrooms finished then...just tell me when you get on the plane... ;)  That should give me a couple of days...as for 'what the bloody hell is she doing there', I sometimes ask myself the same question and to date haven't really come up with any bright ideas apart from it just feels right.

So how did the rest of the day go?  Princess sent me a photo from home of my dad so I printed it off and it's already framed.  Strange thing is I have been thinking about him quite a lot lately so she must have got my signals....I found a new site for downloading free books to my laptop and that should sort me now that the 'library' is taking a short break in the UK.  There are a few children’s books that I want.  The children from the village need reading practice and they have gone through my little library so I need a few so they can read to me while they're here.  My bit for the village.  Supper tonight turned out great.  Belly pork fried off with onion (I had one left) and mushrooms.  I added some hot pepper sauce and soy sauce and then into the slow cooker for a few hours.  Added a handful of rice with about one hour to go and hey, sort of risotto.  That's it....laptop to bed...me to bed...soon be morning. LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 24, 2011, 2:34pm; Reply: 40
Thursday 24th February

And yet another cold one over night and it hasn't got above -5 all day and because it started to snow I knew that Djebel was on the agenda at some point this morning.

So last night I had a mail from Princess saying that she was quite impressed with the touch of Nigela that was adorning the pages.  I did remind her that at one stage I could have given the voluptuous Nigela a run for her money (size wise and I make no other comparisons), now that I have lost just over two stone and feel much better for it, she would win every time.  

I sorted two fires out, had breakfast so set up for the day and I'm not going to say yet what it was (special photo for Princess) but can I add that 'the pirates didn't get me' for those that understand children's games and those that don't, not a speck of egg touched the plate. I decided to write a shopping list so on it went the onions, leeks, potatoes, tomatoes, oranges and bread.  The list would grow with things that had never made it to the list but that's the beauty of a list. Washed up, thought I'd better get the logs in first and then to horse.

Did the shopping, no decent potatoes in one shop so had to go elsewhere and invested in some dried beans that I thought I could make sort of baked beans with and they are soaking as we speak.  I've tried the Heinz out here but I don't know what it is with imported stuff or that made under licence....it might have the same ingredients but they just don't taste the same. Then suddenly realised that my insurance for Beauty had expired so went to my motor shop, his wife who normally does the paperwork wasn't there but he said that he would take it to the apartment and I would have it in 15 minutes...so off for a coffee and sure enough...I am legal.  Fine or rather, no fines.

Went to the hardware shop and got screws, nails just incase the screws don't work or I lose interest in the aesthetic beauty of the project, drill bits and screw driver adapters for the drill....so the intention at this point is definitely to use screws. :o  That's for another day though.....it's four thirty here....I'm just going to sort my soaking beans out and look at the recipe again and prepare supper.  I've downloaded an ebook so I might get stuck into that....not quite a book at bedtime....you can fall asleep with a book, the laptop is pretty hard and the noise of the fan keeps you awake. ;)

....might be back later.... ;)   Now for the pickies....
Posted by: 8 (Guest), February 24, 2011, 9:10pm; Reply: 41
Not hung on the wall yet and it does look good
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 25, 2011, 8:26am; Reply: 42
Friday 25th February

Before any of you start getting concerned about Martin's message and not hung yet....he is referring to the picture in the kitchen that is behind the freesia.  It is not hung for the simple reason that my men were too busy insulating the outside of the house before they took their winter break which is a lot longer than usual standards.  Now I can knock a nail in as good as the rest...the reason it is not hung is because there is stone in them there walls and I want someone else to blame if it falls down.  Bekir is good at the 'it's as safe as houses' stuff and hey, it looks OK on the table.

This morning is cold, cold, cold as much as minus into double figures overnight.  This morning has settled out at about minus five but I haven't even made it out of my pyjamas yet.  I did get the wood in and do my usual chores like empty the ash can so I've not been entirely lazy, just cosy in my night attire.  Breakfast....you know I went on about baked beans yesterday, them not being the same out here and I also forgot to mention very expensive....well when it came to it, I wasn't hungry for some reason so I tipped the soaked beans into the slow cooker and left it on low setting overnight and what did I have for breakfast then???  Beans on toast but with spicey sausage and there is enough left over for lunch if I add a little more water to it and maybe with pasta.  Not sure if they are going to agree with me for the rest of the day....sometimes hard to digest but let's see how we go..... :-/

The food is out for anything that want to come to the feeding station.  It originally went out for the birds...but lately it's been my black and white cat and the blue tits and coal tits seem content with bobbing in and out of my wreck of a house and I've mentioned that if they find any builders lingering in there to let me know ;)

So let's see what the rest of the day brings....maybe I should get dressed in case of visitors....well you never know ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 25, 2011, 8:35am; Reply: 43
Friday continued

Forgot to put these on......as for the log.(basket), when I bought it in the UK I had vision of me wheeling it round the garden in a floppy hat as I dead headed my roses.  Instead it's been used to shift rocks from a to b and for the winter, a new task for it.  I wheel it out to the wood store, fill it and wheel it back and there it sits next to the wood burner.  Not pretty but very functional.  Come the summer, back to normal duties whatever they might be.... ;D
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 25, 2011, 8:36pm; Reply: 44
25th continued, continued

So I went out this morning to burn my rubbish...cold but just had to be done. I refuse to deposit my black plastic rubbish bags and empty plastic beer bottles on the local rubbish tip so out I went.  Mrs/Mr Black and White cat was sitting on the balcony of the bedroom of my wreck and miouing like mad.  I'm now assuming that she has taken up residence and that's OK for me apart from the fact that I believe robin is also in there and the blue tits keep bombing in and out.  

Since it was snowing I moved the feedng station under the balcony to the second bedroom,  So where did she go looking for it, where it used to be so I moved it back and she just moved away.  Obviously not too pleased at the contents.  The magpies loved it and it was fun to watch them,  They took a few steps, looked towards the wreck as if a cat was going to appear at any moment, took a few more steps, swooped and then flew off with the booty.  The robin has a different approach.  Straight in there and the blue tits ignore it but keep pecking under my windows as if there is heaven under there....I'm expecting the window to just cave in under the pressure and deposit itself on the garden. Bekir...come back....all is not forgiven....

So what is it with fires....one day they are good the next crap and I think it all depends which way the wind is blowing and today it was definately from the north and cold with it....  As I said I went out to light the bonfire which I successfully did but then came the blizzard so I went back inside the house.  One advantage of going outside, you realise just how warm the house is... ;)

LN...almost past my bedtime....I've been looking at a cruise today....one in the Carribean looks to be good value....let's see what price the come back with....special offers with the additives are not so special... :-/
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 26, 2011, 11:16am; Reply: 45
Saturday 26th February

Beautiful, beautiful morning....sun's briefly come out...more snow overnight and pretty as a picture so I've taken lots of them. Still minus six out there but I've done my tour of the garden and yes, I've found Mrs Cats tracks leading from the wreck to the feeding station, round the garden and then they seemed to disappear where the snow was missing from under my bedroom balcony....and there she was.  I went towards her and then she shot off like a cat on a hot....no.... really.... cold tin roof.

The sunbed is out of bounds again...and the swinging chair only acquired one visitor and was completely deaf to my cries of.....get off....it's mine.  I don't know what it was doing out....probably thought, well it's a nice day and was completely knocked over by the weather....it's captured on camera later.  Checked the hive...no bees about...in fact there never have been....Bekir tried to tempt a swarm with a honey comb but every time the scouts came round, the bea-eater birds though it was a take away so take them away they did.

So now the wind is getting up so I shan't get lulled into a false sense of....it's a nice day.  As I've said before, when the sun's out this place gets like a little hot house but as soon as it goes down...boy do you need the fires going so ...time to stoke the engines... ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 27, 2011, 8:01am; Reply: 46
Sunday 27th February

Bbbbrrrrrrrr......it is cold...and even colder in the night.  I think it settled out at -12, was up to -10 wnen I got up at 6.00 and I'm not sure if it was the cold that woke me.  I didn't 'feel' cold but just sensed it.  So straight into my padded trousers, salvaged both fires by helping them along with fire lighters made out of an old cereal box and made into concertina strips and soon had them roaring away...filled up the log basket and after two cups of coffee and two slices of buttered toast, settled into a book about the days leading up to and the Normandy DD landing.  I didn't realise how many American and Canadian troops were involved and the war is opening out for me.  As a 'just' post war baby,  as I've said before, we never got to know much about it.  At school we did the French Revolution for 'O' level exams (which I failed I'm ashamed to say).  I'm much more interested in the present, the past has gone and the future is in the hands of the gods and will be played out to us at the correct time.  Plan by all means, but the hand of fate is never far behind.....and now the sun has come up and the temperature is climbing steadily.  My footprints from yesterday and where the snow had melted have frozen over again and the ice is glistening.....and it's all well with the world.

So on the agenda for today.  I think I have a language lesson at 11.00 that's if Gouljan is up to it.  I hope she comes round, I need an update on her work.  I have been preparing a few simple English stories for her in Word, two pagers, that she can use for her English language students.  I'm getting together a little library and I'm using it for my village children.  I should really put some questions underneath the text so they can answer them to confirm comprehension....oh well....back to the drawing board. ;)  Homework....I still haven't done last weeks and I have one hour to go.....aaarrrhhhhh.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 27, 2011, 2:02pm; Reply: 47
Sunday continued

Lesson over...she was late but her mother has decided to have a 'two away day' with her brother in a village not far away but that has left the milking of the cow to Gouljan and she didn't arrive with a letter from her mother....excused from duties :-/

So the subject of the lesson was Baba Marta...grandmother March and I will set all this out for you tomorrow in time for the festival on March 1st.  Firstly I have to think about getting into Djebel at the crack of and purchasing white and red thread to be prepared for the event.  Alternatively I can get myself down to the local supermarket and buy them ready made 'off the peg' so to speak.

Supper is in the slow cooker.  Pork with mushrooms and onions in chilli sauce, tomatoes and honey and it's all mine.  There is enough pork left over to concoct something else with it tomorrow and I have loads of leaks left from my earlier purchase.  I stripped these off and cut them into four inch lengths, put them in a bowl in the fridge and they are ready as and when.  Got to sort out the biggie....it doesn't want to play for some obscure reason...not a clue why but short of dynamite,  not really got the answer....will settle for the wind in the wrong direction...seems likely...northerly and bloody cold.... :-/
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 27, 2011, 5:56pm; Reply: 48
Sunday continued, continued

Woke up in front of a roaring fire...well I did get up early this morning....supper was delicious...threw some rice in about 2 hours ago and supberb.....the seasoning was just he job.

LN...my beer is getting warm and in this house that is something...my 13.5 TOG quilt from the upstairs bedroom has been moved down into the lower bedroom so that I don't even wake up with the idea of being cold tomorrow morning.  I had one of those dreams last night that seems so real that you wake up and wonder if it was...let's hope for quiet dreams tonight and a late start tomorrow...LN....tout le monde....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, February 28, 2011, 2:42pm; Reply: 49
Monday 28th February

As for that quilt moving downstairs, what a mistake that was.  I was so hot in the night that it woke me up, I think my heart was going ten to the dozen trying to cool me down and the result was that at 4.30 this morning I was wide awake and ready for action.  I got my DS out a did some mental arithmetic (how sad am I) and then started to play Germs.....it's supposed to relax you and then at 5.30 I thought I would get my head down again....did that work?  Big fat 'No' so decided to get up. sort the fires out which was a job and a half this morning, but at minus ten I was pretty determined so by 6.30 the first lot of hot water hit the radiators.

So I managed to find white and red cotton and ribbon and have made my Martinitsas ready for tomorrow.  So what is it all about then.  On the 1st March, Bulgarians celebrate Baba Marta or Grandmother Marta.  Bands of red and white thread are given to family and friends to wish them great health, good luck, fertility, longevity and happiness.  The white symbolises the winter and purity and the red the sun and the coming of spring.  Legend has it that Baba Marta is a grumpy old woman who changes her moods very quickly thus accounting for the March weather.  To appease her local people wear the bands around their wrists or on their clothing as if to ask for mercy, to make the winter pass faster and bring about spring.  This band remains in place until the first stork or swallow is seen or a small fruit tree is seen in blossom for the first time and when the band is removed it's traditional to either tie it on the fruit tree or put it under a stone in the garden.  If there are ants under the stone it signifies that the year will be productive.

So I made four of these today for my neighbours and Gouljan...so I've already been productive...I've received a tiny crochet hat to wear on my clothes, too small for my head...and I've been told that these are being sold to fund some of the 'problem' families that are being discovered as part of her new job.  I think she is having her eyes opened to the domestic issues that some families have.  Today they are having a mini 'conference' with the local 'mayors' to highlight the work that they will be doing and to ask for support.  I thought a good idea would be to get some of the villagers to donate their craft items and have a stall on the market.  I would willing make notebook covers, pencil cases and the likes and I might even make a pair of my special fingerless gloves.... :-/  Well may be not....not sure anyone would pay for them ;)

So tomorrow I'm round the village with my red and white wrist bands....then I shall probably have to buy some in Djebel (since I am out of red ribbon) to hand out to friends.  While I'm out and about I might as well go into Kardjali since the snow is going and the roads are clear....I'm fresh out of butter and the local stuff is just not to my tastebuds and Lidls look to be favourite.  Enough for this time....you now know what March 1st is about so I'm sending you all imaginary red and white bands to lift your spirits, and wishing you all health, happiness and longevity and I expect you all to imagine that you are wearing them and I shall be checking tomorrow. ;)...LN
Posted by: MikeyB, February 28, 2011, 9:27pm; Reply: 50
Thank you for the lovely present for Katie Elsa! The card was a lovely touch too! xXx  :)

When are Sally and Bekir due back by the way?
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