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Elsa Peters living a new life in Bulgaria  /  My Diary by Elsa Peters  /  AUGUST 2011
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 1, 2011, 8:42am
Monday 1st August

I am a taxi again.....I went to see how my neighbour was this morning and asked her when she had to go again to have her feet dressed and she was due I asked at what time and she  Now me being still in my pyjamas decent enough as they are, asked for fifteen minutes to have a shower and get dressed and when I went out the the car she was waiting for me.

So last time I was praising the doctor's surgery but unbeknown to me we went to emergency last time.  This time we formed an orderly queue but when it was her turn, she went in and came out clutching a prescription for dressings so off I trotted to the chemist, returned and in she went again.  It took in total two hours from leaving the house to getting home and on the way, it was back to the chemist for the tablets that she has to take.  This should teach her that water puts out fires quicker than feet.  I do feel sorry for her though...the bandages stuck to the burns and she was in tears when she came out but they put the surgery on the third floor so you can imagine the agony when coming down again.  There are even steps without handrails so I had to offer up my arm.  I got some strange looks in the surgery....and she explained to two acquaintances that this was her English neighbour.  It reminds me of when I used to do home helping when the children were small....not much changes if compassion is in your heart :-/

Got a new garden hose from the market while I was waiting for her to get seen to but I have yet to work out how to attach the end pieces so it doesn't leak everywhere but which way.'s not the cost of water...everywhere except the garden gets sodden including me.

My Avatar arrived as I was pulling in the drive with goodies of yoghurt, eggs and sweetcorn and when I went to get my money from  my neighbour for her second prescription I came home with three beef tomatoes.  So what's for breakfast since I've missed out this morning....fried tomatoes on toast or poached eggs...decisions, decisions....I'm off to the kitchen.... ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 1, 2011, 6:43pm; Reply: 1
Monday continued

So I cooked three sweetcorn and had them with lashings of butter followed by some of the yoghurt with cherries.  There was a half bottle of wine lingering so had that with lunch, well it was about two in the afternoon, and I treated it like a Sunday instead of a Monday.  I played around with that blasted hose for a bit, started to read Chairman Mao and promptly fell asleep for a couple of hours.

Decided to go out and do a spot of gardening, forked over one of the beds and after my neighbours fiasco with the garden fire decided that my burning pit should have all of the grass removed from it for safety.  I was merrily digging away when my phone rang and I have just finished the call.  Action abandoned's dark.

As I say...tomorrow is another day and a blank canvas....LN..... and I've just heard that my English neighbour's daughter has given birth to a baby boy.  Mother and baby are doing fine so now she's got a pigeon pair (one of each) she can stop all that nonsense.... ;)  
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 2, 2011, 6:22am; Reply: 2
Tuesday 2nd August

A little thunder, a little rain but not enough to soak the garden...we want more....Not a very good night's sleep and I think it was down to the fact that I got a couple of hours in yesterday afternoon...note to self...leave that lingering half bottle until the evening.

I have yet more tomatoes and I have just realised that the last two that KD of S donated to a worthy cause are plum tomatoes....well I hope they are or they have gone a mighty funny shape.  Breakfast was tomatoes fried in olive oil with salt and black pepper and banged on a couple of slices of toast...very tasty.

So back today to digging around my bonfire thingy, clearing the weeds and laying rubble round it.  As I said my neighbour's garden bonfire has made me more aware of how quickly things get out of hand and hence the new garden hose.  So first job with that is to get some insulation tape and give it a try.....I think I was handed the  wrong connectors or shall we put it down to 'China rabote' we do with most things when we have issues with their road worthiness.  Another job for today is to dig up about 40 freasia corms that came to nothing to see if anything is worth salvaging.  I have one surfaced but I think the soil is just too hard for their delicate roots so a bulletin will be posted in due course.

Shower, dressed and gardening....nothing to go out for so far today....but things change as we all know... ;)
Posted by: KingDom, August 2, 2011, 3:04pm; Reply: 3
They could well be plum toms, as I have some of those.  They are good for cooking with but not that great in a salad.  No rain here either :(
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 2, 2011, 6:01pm; Reply: 4
Tuesday continued

Sorted out the freasias and I have added grit to the soil to see if that helps.  There was life starting in a couple of them so we'll see what sprouts.  I've also planted out my busy lizzies that I've rooted in water in my old outside sink and the geraniums dug up from the side garden are looking decidedly better now that they are in pots and getting watered regularly.  The oak tree goes into the hedge line's looking OK where it is but I think it needs to get stuck in and my honeysuckles that have started to root in water are now out in pots....and that was just this morning.  So made lunch of potato salad (mine), tuna (Lidl), tomatoes (mine) with onions (mine) and hard-boiled eggs (my Avatars) and rested for a couple of half bottle today but a glass of the local lager.

Started to thunder and we had some rain but not a lot and slept through it coming back to life at around 4.00.  Went out into the garden and continued attacking the bonfire pit and have just come in getting rid of the rubbish as I went.  Tomorrow should finish the job...just need to get the wheel barrow and cart several loads of rubble and rubbish to the bottom of the garden and bury it.....all go in this neck of the woods.

So not particularly hungry at the moment and it's 8.55 here so maybe I shall have a night without food...I did sort of pig out at lunch time and finished a whole honey dew melon for afters so I shan't exactly die of starvation which is more than can be said for Chairman Mao's followers in 1959 ish....the strange thing is that the populous didn't seem to blame him...they felt that it was the ones in between that caused the issues....hence the mausoleum in Tienanmen Square....

So pickies from goes....LN....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 3, 2011, 5:38pm; Reply: 5
Wednesday 3rd August

What a beautiful day...out in the garden at six this morning, moved a few barrow loads of 'builder's debris' and breakfast at eight...tomatoes on toast I have an obsession or just a glut of tomatoes?????  Yes...a glut of tomatoes.

Poodled around outside until it got too hot and settled in to emails and the likes and adding to my favourite website and then decided to watch a movie in the heat of the was one up for observation by film critics and goodness knows how I came to 'acquire' it but it was on 'My Book' which a friend copied from his downloads.  Very moving...I ended up with a tear in my eye and then saw that I needed to get out and finish my project in the garden.

Vegetable garden enlarged and I have admiration for couch just gets everywhere....but I got a whole lot out and burnt now that the area is safe.  Sorted out the odd bits of timber that are scattered and move several more barrow loads of debris and raked it over so that it looks OK from the house.

Now tonight's supper was chicken wings with honey, onions, garlic, mushrooms, red wine and tomatoes and the last time that I cooked this my Avatar asked where hers tonight I walked down the road and handed her three chicken wings in a bowl and said that if she didn't like it she could always give it to the dog 'Socks'.  I asked how my pyrotechnic friend was doing and apparently she was sent to the hospital in Kardjali who sent her home.  Now she has sons and daughter here and no one seems to care.  She has to go to the doctors on Friday in Djebel and I have already offered my services.  There was a funny Avatar said that it was Tuesday, I know that it is Wednesday, my other neighbour has to go to the doctors on the day after tomorrow and I said that will be Friday, she replied, that's Thursday.  No, today's Wednesday and the day after we got really confused so I said to ask her and if she needs anything....just let me know.... :-/

Bottle of wine had to be opened to go into the chicken now the glass is full and I'm ready to face Chairman Mao....I've watered my garden, watered me and so LN......I think I might just have to pay a visit to Kardjali tomorrow.....or go to Makaza swimming pool and take a day off if the weather looks fine....we'll see how it looks tomorrow....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 4, 2011, 5:41pm; Reply: 6
Thursday 4th August

Hot, sticky, humid and my skin has been leaking most of the day.  I was out early in the garden but by ten there was no way Hosee that you could still be out there.  It saps your energy and I have done several Sudoko puzzles, got a new record score on my DS machine for adding mathematical symbols to come up with the correct answer and played Freecell but the inactivity drives me to distraction. I think I'm better when I'm 'doing'. ;)

So went to see my hotfooted neighbour this morning and she is in a terrible state.  The one foot seems to be healing OK but the other one she can hardly put her weight on it so we're off to the doctors at eight in the morning.  The trouble is that she is knocking on a bit and things just take longer to heal.  She has neighbours popping in but there is no one to actually care for her.  She has family but they seem to be working during the day which is when she needs most support.  I'll just carry on being a taxi, at least that's something less for her to worry about.

So at four this afternoon I went out with the intention of attempting the fence at the bottom of the garden.  I took my trusty bag of nails, the saw and my hammer, inspected the project and turned round again and walked back up the garden.  I decided that with this rib on the mend there was no way that I could assemble several planks and uprights and manage it on my own.  I suppose there are enough men in the village without work and I could pay someone to do it...and it's not meanness on my part....I just like the sense of achievement when I've managed something like that............I'll give it a week and I should be up to it.  

Dug over the garden by the side hedge and taken up some tobacco plants that have struggled.  The problem is that it all needs double digging, manure adding and generally rubbish removing.  So out they came and I have potted up about six of them and put the rest in a bucket of water, I'll give them the 'once over' tomorrow and decide to sow or throw... :-/

Came in at seven Avatar has just returned the dish that I took her supper round in last night and she reported back that it was very sweet.  I don't think they do the honey stuff here but at least she enjoyed the next time I do double the quantity and she has more.  Living on her pension must be hard so if I can help out with some of the luxuries without being charitable, then I will.....

Pickies of my endeavours today.....and looking at those 'jam' trees....I should be stocking up with sugar tomorrow and get my rear end into gear....LN
Posted by: KingDom, August 4, 2011, 7:58pm; Reply: 7
When you say jam I see rakia!  Ilyas & me have 200kg's of jankeys ready to turn into Rakia, but he won't do it until after Ramadan.  I suppose that is sort of taking part.  I have new books if you are passing.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 5, 2011, 1:33pm; Reply: 8
Friday 5th August

So I have been a taxi and note to self....make sure that you have had your breakfast before you see a couple of burnt feet dressed by the doctor....not a pretty wonder she is in agony.  I was there at eight with my engine revving and the world and all her friends were in there too.  She went in to get some clothes from the bedroom, found lots of 'interesting cardigans' and handed me one...I tried to refuse but my Avatar said that it would be super in the winter....and so I have a new winter cardigan.  Anyway...I digress. She had to hold on to me to get her up the three flights to the doctor's surgery but thank goodness there was no one in front of us.  So my first trip was to the chemist to get the cream for her dressings and we had to purchase a bandage from the 'supplies' cupboard at 'ouch' leva.  Now I'm only just getting to grips with the Bulgarian and now I have to learn Turkish too...such a hard life at such a mature age.

Home James and the reception party was there to greet us.  One of the elderly ladies was with her grandson who had some mosquito bites on his arms and was itching away so again, Florence went home and came back with the appropriate cream and Avatar's knees were playing up so I had to do a bit of 'hot-hands' healing on them.  She said that I was the local doctor and didn't use the adjective 'witch', which has been said before.

Got home...tried to boot up my pc and didn't want to know.....phoned KD of S and so went round there with boxed pc box....he tried to reboot it and everything fine.  I have this terrabyte storage device and it was trying to boot from that...not a wasted journey, I came home with a bag of potatoes, several books and some oriental tree seeds that I have been instructed to store in the freezer for about a month to fool them that winter has come and gone and now they can germinate.  Things you have to do :-/

Chicken leg out of the freezer...I am now going to be creative....its four thirty here so I may see you later...just a few morning pickies as the sheep came over the hill at seven....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 6, 2011, 5:43pm; Reply: 9
Saturday 6th August

I have just lost my post.  I hit a key and off it went and now to start all over again so I'll make it short tonight.  

Sat and watched the sun come up this morning and I know that I've said it before but I know why the Egyptians worshipped the sun.  Unfortunately as it transcends the sky the hotter it gets and it's at times like this that the waves of inertia follow on and yes, I slept for a couple of hours this afternoon.

This morning I finished one of the new books from my Samodiva library.  It was called 'The good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ' and put a little twist into the life of Jesus...interesting perspective.  Later had a shower and washed my hair and headed for Djebel to stock up on a new brand of cheese that tastes like cheese that KD of S had found in the new supermarket, bread, gin, lemons, tonic water, shampoo and beer.  A varied choice but you can guess what the aperitif is going to be tonight.  Lunch was tuna mayo on fresh crusty bread.... delicious.

So Gouljan called round this evening with the nephew complaining that there is no peace for the wicked at home now that her sister and the lad have appeared from Turkey.  I have offered up my home to her tomorrow so that she can get on with her computer work from her day job and since she's fasting, there will be little work for me to do.  

So tonight after my huge lunch I don't really feel like cooking or eating so I'm off down to get a G and T, I might happen to find a film on my Notebook and chill for a bit.  The sheep are heading home over the hill.  In the morning they belt down creating a dust storm but at night they are meandering home.....LN.....the update on my pyrotechnic neighbour is that she is much better today...that's good news...LN...time for that drink.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 7, 2011, 4:33am; Reply: 10
Sunday 7th August

Flaming sheep...woke me up at 6.45 this morning with the patter of tiny hooves but when there are two hundred times four for each sheep that eight hundred tiny feet and they make one hell of a noise of dry ground ;).  

So watered my garden and there is a nip in the air.  The flaming hose pipe still leaks at the tap end despite my valiant efforts to stop the flow and still bends when I'm moving it around but I suppose twenty five metres of the stuff is a lot to expect to keep straight all the time.  Tomatoes harvested...all two of them.....but there are lots out there with only just a tinge of red so they can be left to come on and next year I intend putting in more so that I can juice them.  As I've said, this isn't about me preparing for the onslaught of winter but seeing how easy it is using a juicer and if KD of S can do it, so can I.  When I went round the other day he was bottling carrots and I must say, they did taste delicious.  You forget what a good carrot tastes like after the cultivated, picked and packed UK version although where it was grown, picked and packed you have to read the label to find out.  On his blog he has some very interesting little stories.  Now to turn off that hose that is cleaning the terrace beautifully and get some breakfast....
Posted by: KingDom, August 7, 2011, 5:51am; Reply: 11
Well IF I can do it, it must be easy.  Carrots next year then?  Watermelon? Rakia?
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 7, 2011, 7:08am; Reply: 12
Sunday continued

Just as as add on to that....he did offer me some onions but they weren't strung so I refused....his response?....I suppose you want me to string them for you to which I replied that he had last year.... ;)  Oh we have fun in these hills in the very south where many fear to venture....  ;)
Posted by: Old Holborn, August 7, 2011, 9:23am; Reply: 13
I wish KD of S DID have a blog, rather than what appears to be Internet version 1 (c. 1987) then we could comment on him in his underpants. THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 7, 2011, 5:41pm; Reply: 14
Quoted from Old Holborn
I wish KD of S DID have a blog, rather than what appears to be Internet version 1 (c. 1987) then we could comment on him in his underpants. THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!

As for the children...doesn't have any...doesn't want any....only associates with other people when there is alcohol involved and the edge is taken off the encounter....but don't you just love him!!  Steady can always comment on his photographs on his 'blog' and I think your description of it would be challenged  ;)

So what did I get up to today?  Gouljan arrived with her work and laptop and took over my top landing.  She's fasting at the moment and entertaining to be done...result...or so I though but KD of S phoned and asked if he could come round for a coffee with Illyias who he reckoned was being 'nosy' and wanted to see the house.  They arrived, I got the coffee out and I think he was taken with it.  Full guided tour, no entrance fee but coffee included.  The latest notion that is taking on a seriousness that up until this point has been a joke, is the indoor swimming pool in the wreck, changing room, shower room, kitchen, lazy area with open fire and Illyias' idea was to include a bedroom so that if you were driving after the enjoyment of the day you could get your head down for a while before taking to the wheel....right. :-/

My present from Gouljan...some baby pears that are supposed to be very sweet but when I started to core them they were already alcoholic so took out the best of the rest, decided that they would probably be better as jam so added red wine to them, ground ginger and boiled them up and now have two pots of 'stuff'.  Got me in the mood though so tomorrow I am definitely making wild plum jam, yellow and red and then my main crop of plums should be ready next week.  Because she gets up at three in the morning to get in her first meal of the day, by about four this afternoon she was flagging so I had made up the bed in the bottom bedroom and she slept for about an hour.  Meanwhile in the lounge I managed a couple of hours of semi conciousness.  It's strange having another person in the hear all of the movement.  

To horse....supper is in the slow cooker.....pork curry and the rice is just going on now....tomorrow is doctors with my hotfoot neighbour...I am taking Gouljan into Djebel at the same time and then home for my domestic chores.  Looks like another busy day... ;)  LN....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 8, 2011, 2:44pm; Reply: 15
Monday 8th August

Boots blacked this morning....up before the sheep, checked and watered my garden and ready for the doctor run. So arrived at the house and my Avatar informed me that the doctor came yesterday.  Now I don't know if he was called out, Avatar was hard at work in her garden, her son has ten days holiday and his wife and kiddiwinkles have gone to Marmaris for a holiday so he's left to keep digging the well looking for a liquid asset.  I didn't go in to see Hotfoot, I went and picked up Gouljan, took her into Djebel, did the market before any stalls were completely set up...bought myself a 'Bulgarian' juicer that I'm assured will last for years and I hadn't got the heart to tell her that I probably don't have 'years'.

Home for nine this morning, fresh bread from the supermarket, added some water to the remains of last night's supper in the slow cooker and that was in preparation for lunch with crusty bread.  As discussed yesterday, today's task if I wished to accept it was making wild cherry plum jam.....and yes I've made jam and did it make me wild.  It's taken five hours from laying my blanket down on the ground, hitting the tree with the rake, picking up said blanket and contents, washing said contents, removing stalks, slicing to enable the stones to rise to the surface when cooking, identifying a suitable recipe and converting pounds to kilos since I had collected three kilos of the beauties and after cursing and swearing I have two large pots of jam.  It tastes delicious but I ask you...five hours.  Every recipe that I read said that the stones will rise to the surface and most of these were dragged out screaming that they wanted to stay where it was warm.  I think every pot and utensil in the kitchen was used as brainwave after brainwave came over me to facilitate removing the beasties and I believe all are removed.  And guess what.....I have only done 1.5 kilograms to date...the rest are sitting in the saucepan and I'm trying to summon up the courage to start and still trying to identifying the best approach to stone removal....maybe tomorrow :-/

Emuley my third builder came round today while he was waiting for the bus into Djebel.  So I asked him where his car was and he said that he had no money for any benzine and no work so I pointed at the fence and said that he could have a go at that if he wanted to which he replied that it was too hot to work.....hence the bus.  I was tempted to take him in and get some more sugar for the jam 'fest' but I didn't feel that sorry for him.

So as you can see, most of my day has been taken up....going out to water the garden....but I'll leave it for a while before I start charging around...the martins are swooping low over the garden to get their evening meal.

LN....I might...just might...go for the jam...and below you have two pear small pear and ginger from yesterday and the two biggies from today...LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 9, 2011, 6:42pm; Reply: 16
Tuesday 9th August

Gardening at six thirty this morning and in by nine was just too hot for gardening and too hot for most other to make that jam and that took me until midday...what a performance.  I refuse to make any jam that that has a mini-stone in it again...just too much like hard work and so fiddly.  Anyway I have another two pots and it does taste good.

Lunch..... tuna, onions and mayo and ate it while I was watching a set of hour long movies of Hugh Laurie as an American doctor.  Brilliant and got lots of them thanks to Dom.

So back out gardening at four thirty and it was still hot but I was determined to remove the grass and weeds from the base of the steps and to the side.....and I've done it.  Tomorrow I shall put down gravel to make it look semi-respectable and I've decided to gravel the base of the wall to the terrace.  I can spray it with weed killer and it should keep it looking good.  Worked outside until eight and noticed the sun going down...rushed up to get the camera and take the picture from upstairs but realised that I would have the electricity cables in the way so went down again and over the road....the sun looked like it was on fire and the cloud looked like smoke.... went down to check with my Avatar if hotfoot needed to go to the doctors tomorrow to be informed that the doctor was at the house and dressing the feet as we speak.  'Bout time too.  a) three flights is too much for anybody with burnt feet and b) she's not a spring chicken for it to have happened to.

Sat in the garden and had a rough conversation with Avatar and her son and grandson.  He is very pleased, they have water in the well, beer in the glass and milk from the cow.  Home James...late with my update but needs as needs must today....I'm badly in need a shower...dirty feet....sweating most of the day must freshen up before I take to my virtuous couch.....LN...I have things to attend to..... ;)

Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 10, 2011, 9:30am; Reply: 17
Wednesday 10th August

Six am on the internal alarm seems to be working well.  The garden called but so did a book, 'A short history of tractors in Ukrainian'  which is proving to be very funny but eventually the coffee and the garden called louder.  Breakfast...yoghurt with a fresh peach and grapes and I sat out on the terrace and that's when I heard the garden yell at me.  So got my bonfire going to get rid of all the couch grass that I've dug up and finished digging out the base of the wall removing several barrow loads of 'builders rubble' that has obviously been left there for me to find and discovered a mini-polythene mine which kept the bonfire going beautifully.

An albino 'something' was on the wall and I must look it up.  Shaped like a grasshopper or could be a praying mantis...completely white and I have the photograph to prove it.... ::)   and I've just Googled it...white praying mantis confirmed....beautiful....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 11, 2011, 3:47am; Reply: 18
Thursday 11th August

So last night I was fancying cheese on toast so thought on with the oven grill and no light was forth coming.  Thunderstorm was circling and first though was the electricity was off so tested the electric rings, they worked so Houston, we have a problem.  Dug out the guarantee and fortunately it's for twenty four months so off to Kardjali this morning to try and explain the problem and 'get a man out' and that should be fun.  There is only one man in the who superstore that speaks a smattering of English so let's hope he's not on a day off. :-/

Mother of all storms last night.  The water level in one of the buckets is at about six inches and even drew the curtains since the lightening was really rattling around.  It had been threatening it most of the day and we'd had one or two spots of rain but at eight last night, it really did get going.  Now I tried to take photos but I seemed to be always pointing the camera in the wrong direction but I'm sure KD of S got some really good ones so maybe even might post a couple.

This mornings weather report dull, overcast, mist rising in the valley over the river, red sky in the morning so I hope the shepherd is watching out, wheelbarrow full of water and exceptionally green garden.
Posted by: linda g, August 11, 2011, 3:20pm; Reply: 19
Hi Elsa, love reading your diary. Photos are great. All ok here, bit of a worry last week with my Mom, she had an infection, but a good dose of antibiotics fixed her up, now back to her usual self of moaning and telling me all about her bowel movements for the week. heehe.
Been busy at work and saw my daughter Hayley and the family today for one of my Grandsons b/day, she cooked a lovely hot dinner as its bloody cold here at the mo. Hope you day is grand. Take care Linda.x
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 11, 2011, 3:59pm; Reply: 20
Thursday continued

Thanks Linda and give her my love and a big hug and the same goes to you too.

So I thought I'd just go out and survey the estate before I went to Kardjali to complain about the cooker and saw that the wind that is raging after last night's rain had brought down some of the plums so decided to start harvesting before the rest were down or the wasps had munched the lot of them.  They seemed to have ripened very quickly so one hour later I have two large containers of the things and remembered to get the sugar when I was in town.

Went into the electrical shop clutching my 24 month warranty only to be informed by a stroppy assistant that I should have phoned the number on the card that was attached to the receipt and that they could not help me.  Disgruntled I left the store, went into Billa and stocked up with coffee at 5.40 leva for 200grams and some spare ribs forgetting that I hadn't got an I'll have to do them on top of the stove.  Made my way to Lidl and got tuna, beer, a tool for scorching designs into wood (why? seemed like a good idea) and a light for the bathroom that was on offer.  On the way back through Djebel it occurred to me that  Gouljan would just be finishing up and then I had the brainwave that she could make the call to the engineer and she could explain everything.  She was surprised to see me but packed up her laptop, we headed home and she made the call to the number that the store had identified from the card.....wrong...'I'm the service engineer.  Why are you phoning me?' and Gouljan said that the store had told her to and his response was that there was a service desk so we should be phoning there.  And so she did and got a million (slight exaggeration there) questions and 'have you tried another plug?' with the response that there is power to the cooker it's just that the oven doesn't work and the hot plates do proving that there is power to the unit.  The outcome...if we're in the area we'll come she wished him 'good work' and if they are not out here by the weekend somebody will get 'good work'.  

I gave Gouljan a taste of my cherry plum jam and she thought that it was delicious.  So took her home and her mother was very insistent that I stayed for supper but I kept telling her that my shopping was in the boot and I needed to unpack it before my butter turned to a puddle and my beer got too warm. :-/  Mother thought the consistency of the jam was superb and I have a cookery demonstration over the weekend at her house.  Anyway...that beer went in the fridge and I'm sure that it is just about right now....LN....I feel a thirst coming on.  Jam can wait 'till tomorrow since I'm fresh out of jars. ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 12, 2011, 12:46pm; Reply: 21
Friday 12th August

Pretty slow morning.  Got up at the usual time, made my morning coffee, went out into the garden to drink it, put coffee down, picked up garden fork, and two hours later have a cup of cold coffee but now no builder's rubble bulge at the base of my lovely stone wall.  It has gone and in the process I also got rid of a little polythene mine which has now gone up in smoke along with the couch grass that had intermingled with the half house bricks.

I looked at the plums and now the smaller container (four pounds) has been converted into two large jars of plum jam and the remainder will be made into plum much jam can a girl get through and I use the work 'girl' tongue in cheek before any of my buddies add a suitable comment. :-/  Into Djebel tomorrow....I have to get smaller jars for packing the stuff into.  As I said before it makes you feel far more's a bit like using a bigger font in a get more get more pages.  Simple.

To engineer to fix my cooker so those spare ribs look like going into the freezer.  Right, things to to tidy up the kitchen after the jam making episode...still not got it down to one saucepan and one slotted spoon yet but I'm working on it.... ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 12, 2011, 6:59pm; Reply: 22
Friday continued

Beautiful full moon tonight in a dark velvet blue sky.  The crickets are chirping their little sock off and there's a distant dog barking.  It's the one that starts howling when the Jamir kicks off the morning call to prayers.  Come on pooch, time to go sleep so that we call all get some rest.  LN...six o'clock comes round pretty quickly.  Sleep tight ...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 13, 2011, 6:17pm; Reply: 23
Saturday 13th August

Seven thirty start..... concious in the night of only having my little quilt over me so tonight the one from downstairs comes upstairs.  I sleep with the door and window open but maybe it's not quite as warm as it should be for action.

Walked the garden, watered some of the plants especially the melons and squashes, did a bit of gardening, lit the bonfire and got rid of the rubbish and opened up the pc.  Working away and suddenly looked up and there are about thirty sheep at the bottom of the garden and more deciding to pour through a small hole in the fence.  Out with my 'cow' stick and started the round up process...some went one way ...some went the other but eventually one worked out where they had gotten in and so it was follow the leader...but with me hot on their heels, I think they went out quicker than they came in.  You can't blame them, there is very little grass on the hill side and my garden must appear like a banquet and each of them had to make sure of one last mouthful before they hit the highway. ;)

So my Avatar came round to thank me for the damson jam that I left with her son last night and I happened to mention that I was heading into Djebel to try to get some small jars for the jam/chutney and the order was placed for two packet of cigarettes.  One local and one that turned out to be 'contraband' and I am asking if the supermarkets stocked it.  I am dutifully informed of the fact that it is contraband and that if the shop stocked it its cigarette licence would be revoked and the police called. I asked for a similar brand, supplied and everything OK.  Now on to the subject of jars, I happened to go into my car shop and his wife was working that morning so I asked her where I might get some small jars....and lo and behold, on one of the shelves she had lots of baby food jars that to Goldilocks, were just right....the cost...nothing...the gift for them...a box of chocolates which was refused, and refused until she eventually caved in...result...  Went to see my restaurant lady, she's had new teeth fitted in Kardjali and it's changed her face that's one dentist I shall avoid.  

Came back, delivered ciggies, wash jars, inspected plums and decided that I shall have a go at spiced plum chutney tomorrow.  I'll have to see what spices I have in the cupboard but I did manage to get some raisins, cider vinegar but no brown sugar but I'll give it a whirl anyway tomorrow.  I mended the fence so that the little beauties can't get in any more so that should cheer them up when they do the return run.

The moon again is really big tonight, Avatar is working in her garden, the sheep are up on the hillside and all's well with my little world.  LN....had a really big ploughman's lunch so not up for much tonight...just see what I can have for a snack...LN...and I just heard some gunshots and have found out that the sheep farmer has shot a couple of his dogs that have just killed three of his sheep...Shan't be buying any meat in Djebel on Monday, it could be dog...LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 14, 2011, 4:16am; Reply: 24
Sunday 14th August

Sun's up in my part of the world at seven a.m....while most of you are sleeping in your little beds.  I can't wait to get the full story of the shepherd and his caretaker dogs and I did tell him that the red sky in the morning should have made him realise that something was going to happen.... :-/  I've said for a long time that his dogs are not safe.  Driving from my house to Gouljan's my car has been chased by four of the big beauties and I have seen two of the young ones from the latest litter definitely 'playing' with the sheep and I'm not sure of this interbreeding...from my balcony, I see 'all sorts' and none of them liquorice....

So firstly jam followed by chutney.  I have found a recipe for Tomato and chilli jam and since I have a glut...well not 'glut' about ten 'going over' I thought I would make a couple of small jars as an 'experiment'.  This is not natural for me. I normally prefer the hammer and nails but I'm still waiting for my rib so heal before I take up my 'hobby with quick results'.  I do need another chest in the bedroom so I might be tempted to give it a whirl next week end to see if normal duties can be restored.  Anyway kitchen calls...first breakfast and then chutneys.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 14, 2011, 5:36am; Reply: 25
Sunday continued

So I'm playing Freecell and avoiding the jam making at eight thirty and suddenly I see what looks like a mini-kangaroo crossing the garden so into the bedroom, out with the camera and hey presto...a hare and a big one.  If you look closely at the first pickie and you really have to look closely, you can catch him in the sunlight beneath the walnut tree at the bottom of the garden.  In the second you can see him escaping as he realised he had been spotted...I'll keep looking out for him and get the slow cooker ready... ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 14, 2011, 5:56pm; Reply: 26
Sunday night

Update on Saturday night..

Three dogs shot.... three sheep sad....givot (life)....I think not.  What makes them change?....
Posted by: Old Holborn, August 15, 2011, 7:24am; Reply: 27
The pack mentality. Simple as that. Once the pack deviates from the task in hand, it is impossible to put them back on the rails. In effect, he is nipping the problem in the bud. Gruesome, but if your "tools" are damaging your income, get new ones.

Any chance you could get the sheep farmer to visit certain areas of inner London soon?
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 15, 2011, 1:57pm; Reply: 28
Monday 15th August

Quoted from Old Holborn
The pack mentality. Simple as that. Once the pack deviates from the task in hand, it is impossible to put them back on the rails. In effect, he is nipping the problem in the bud. Gruesome, but if your "tools" are damaging your income, get new ones.

Any chance you could get the sheep farmer to visit certain areas of inner London soon?

I'm just checking easyJet now OH.....who do I charge it to?  The Met, the Mayor or 'call me Dave'?

Now do I feel an idiot.  My cooker that only comes with the instruction booklet in every language except English is now repaired.  The engineer came, took one look at it, turned the nob to 'Manual' and hey works.  Now I thought the timer was like an egg timer...set it for five minutes, it goes 'ping', you take the pan off the heat and ready to serve. has to be set to a little hand sign for the oven/grill to work at all.  Now whose silly idea was that.  Fortunately he was working in Djebel so charged me eight leva for coming out to Dushinkovo (just under four pounds) and didn't fill out my guarantee or anything so is not even making a claim for the this vaguely reminiscent of anything English?  So I gave him ten and said have a couple of beers which he can do for two leva.

KD of S has redesigned his website and it looks really good....not sure if he has gone public on it yet or whether I had a preview but this one allows you to comment on his articles. What fun this could be, OH mentioned the other day that there was nowhere to leave a comment and so, obliging chap that he is, he changed it.

I don't know whether you remember Angela, my lady 'what I lunch with' in the UK and my BG house guest who came out last year.  Her Labrador has been ill for some time and unfortunately they had to have her put down last week.  She has always had rescued dogs, they have been loved, given good lives and left huge holes when they have gone.  This one will not be an thoughts go out to her and her hubby.

So what else have I done today.....not a lot.  I've watched another episode of Hugh Laurie's 'House Doctor' and am just waiting for the heat to go down a bit and even though it's five o'clock, it's still pretty warm.  The slow cooker is warming up last night's curry that I made so that should be me sorted for tonight....early night I think...I just might head into Kardjali tomorrow.  I need some sticky labels for my jam pots.  

Right, the garden calls.....I'm off....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 16, 2011, 4:40pm; Reply: 29
Tuesday 16th August

Lovely sunrise but the camera didn't capture how red the sun was...need a new camera :-/

Not sure where this morning went...I was moving the heaps from under the walnut tree until I convinced myself that the guttering had to come down from on top of the excuse for a fence and the wood that I risked life and limb for and the jeep and a fine if we had gotten caught, had to be put top some use.  So I started.  Now two people putting a fence up will some how manage even if a few 'words' are expressed with some volume.  On your own...not so easy.  Anyway the upshot was that I did the easy bit first where the sort of 'posts' would support the cross timbers and some should be very cross the amount of nails that went in.  By noon I'd worked up a bit of a sweat so showered and headed into Djebel to get fresh bread, mayo, beer and a melon so you can guess what I had for lunch...yep...tuna mayo sandwiches.  Watched another of Dr House since it was too hot to work outside (32 in the shade) and headed out again at about fourish and I've just come in at seven thirty. looks much better...only phase one complete and will finish it in the morning probably finalising it with barbed wire to keep the pesky cows from attempting entry.

Forgot to mention.  Hotfoot's daughter came round last night and delivered some Halva and Turkish Delight from Turkey.  I don't know if it's a special time but I also got a packet of biscuits this morning from my other neighbour.  Note to's the children's sweety day soon...must check it out with Gouljan.

Beautiful know the sort when the light is just right at the end of the day.  Calm as you like...I have achieved something today but shall probably suffer for it tomorrow.  I got the odd twinge when I was swinging that hammer and lugging four meter long pine off cuts down the garden but hey, it certainly looks better.

Update from the was four of the older ones and three young ones and four sheep....and so.....LN...I'm going to sit out with a beer...not particularly hungry so it might be a hamburger later....see how I feel...LN.
Posted by: KingDom, August 16, 2011, 7:27pm; Reply: 30
'Sweetie Day' is 29/30 Aug, Annie is coming armed with 'BlackJacks' and 'Fruit Salad'.  Thanks for the plug :D!  My car now has one less wing mirror thanks to a neighbours horse scratching its arse against it. Think I might swap him for a lamb as he has lots!

Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 17, 2011, 4:25pm; Reply: 31
Wednesday 17th August

Thanks for the update on the 'Sweetie Day'.  Better get supplies in ready.  A sheep for a wing mirror....what's he going to do with it...attach it to the horse or are you going to swap your neighbour for a sheep?

Talking of sheep, there I was working away at seven this morning when I looked up and two of the blighters were skipping down the garden.  Don't know where they got in, I've been on sheep watch ever since and whenever they are on the adjoining hillside I'm on the balcony watching them.  So far no luck on the entry point but I have discovered that my fence that I put up yesterday is stock proof.  The buggers couldn't get out through my new fence and only managed it with difficulty in part of the old fence to the right of the garden.  That's tomorrow's task.  I've given the rib a rest for the day.  I did say that I would probably suffer and I did.

So what did I do.  I turned three kilos of plums into plum and ginger jam putting it in small pots instead of the large ones that I usually use.  Must say that the plums were easier than the wild cherry damsons in that there were less stones but they still like hanging in there for dear life.  Only going to attempt peach jam from now on...much bigger stones.

Really hot again today so the energy levels this afternoon have been pretty low and seven fifteen here and still sticky.  Sheep have yet again trotted over the hillside so I'll be on the lookout for them on the way forsythia has taken a pounding...there's a sheep that makes a  beeline for the wild cherry damson tree and eats the fallen fruit.  It's a wonder it's not signed up for sheep AA, that fruit must be fermenting by now. So that's why she never sounds like the others...she's persisted.

Shower time, food time, drinkie time...pc time and bedtime.....and time I got my rear end into gear......LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 18, 2011, 4:37am; Reply: 32
Thursday 18th August

Silly o'clock this morning I was wide awake.  Three of the clock I was playing on my DS and then went on to read the donated version of White Swan and I haven't yet got to where the hundred or so pages are missing where I have to use my imagination or my memory from when I read it last time.. :-/  Eventually got back off again about fivish but six thirty I am making coffee and decide to switch on the pc and get emails out of the way, six fifty I am chasing sheep out of my garden where the bad guys from yesterday remembered where they had exited so at this point I am a sheep farmer and shouting the miraculous words...chuch, chuck...and they all left.  Grerat stuff.  Walking back up the garden I noticed the two rogues from yesterday that had made their entrance somewhere up north and they couldn't get out, despite trying to wreck the fence.  So I herded them down to the bottom where they decided to try and wreck the new fence but a quart into a pint won't go so it 'persuaded' them that the entry hole should be the exit hole and off they went standing outside the boundary looking in.  I know this isn't personal....blighters are hungry and the two northern enders are alcoholics hence the fermenting janki fix...they really should seek help or submit themselves for a barbecue...

Seven ten....I have dragged the wood down to the bottom of the garden, came in to rescue that coffee before it got cold, they have headed over the hillside with not a man insight to oversee them and only one dog since the rest have suffered for their insanity at the end of a gun.  I reckon the farmer might suffer the same fate if I get more mornings like this.  Coffee demolished, wish me luck...this might take some time...I'm, off to the bottom of the garden armed with hammer, sickle and nails. ;)  
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 18, 2011, 4:57pm; Reply: 33
Thursday continued

I think my borders are secure, captain.  To the right, entry points annihilated, to the south new obstructions constructed, to the LRFt, holes plugged....well at least I hope so....I am waiting for the litmus test....they come over the hill in approximately one hour and I am at the ready with barbecue at full pelt and shot gun to hand...not really...more like hammer and nails at the ready with the odd plank of wood.  You may remember that I purchase 40 4metre planks to do the job...they are all gone....nails...I'm really not sure how many kilos of the things but it's not like they cost a kilo, approximately 2 leva, less than a pound.  So not pretty and so long as a magnet doesn't come over attached to a plane or the likes, it should withstand the onslaught of sheep and the odd herd of cows.  My allotment man from next door popped his head over to see what the banging was all about...he reckons I'm a 'maester' and I reckon that where needs must.....needs must.

Cooked up some hamburgers since the sheep look like they're not not much need for the cooker to go on tonight.  Reckon I might ask my sheep farmer to get me some more wood from the wood yard since my last efforts could have amounted to a hefty fine and I haven't got Bekir to hang on to the wood in the back of the Beast like last time.  He's got a let's see if he is neighbourly.

Off now....I need to have another shower to get rid of the ravages of the rose thorns and other things that have ripped my legs to buggery....LN...KD of S has a reel of barbed wire that will finish the job for me....I'm over there tomorrow unless he is heading my way.....I must check......LN
Posted by: KingDom, August 18, 2011, 5:24pm; Reply: 34
I was in Djebel today - a bloody horse decided to scratch its arse on my wing mirror - the horse won!  So I have 'bodged' it back together Bulgarian style with a screw and some 'gaffa' tape.  I am nearly a local!
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 18, 2011, 7:10pm; Reply: 35
Quoted from KingDom
I was in Djebel today - a bloody horse decided to scratch its arse on my wing mirror - the horse won!  So I have 'bodged' it back together Bulgarian style with a screw and some 'gaffa' tape.  I am nearly a local!

So what it is it with you, wing mirrors, horse's arses, sheep and locals...keep taking the tablets....I'll phone you in the morning and pop round for the barbed wire if that's me... :-/  unless your sweetcorn is ready for picking and I'll be round with the butter around lunchtime.... :)

The barbed wire is for my fence...not my wing mirrors....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 19, 2011, 4:30pm; Reply: 36
Friday 19th August

Early up and at 'um.  There was something in the bedroom that had the mosquito 'buzz' at about four thirty this morning.  I switched the light on but could not spot the bastard, so read for a while but noticed that it was a beautiful sky so managed to capture it.  Thought I'd have a few more minutes in the Land of Nod, settled down for a while but then again, that little drone that you know is homing in for the kill so got out the insect spray and decided that coffee and gardening would have to substitute.

I lit the  bonfire, raked the garden and deposited a few loads of builder's rubble to the bottom of the garden, thought about my second cup of coffee and then 'Pow', like no power, electricity off.  So how did I know this?  My UPS for the central heating started to bellow out its high pitched scream so that second cup of coffee just didn't happen.  

Phoned KD of S and asked if there was anything he wanted from Djebel, he said 'No'.  The sheep farmer complemented me on my fence and asked who had done it so I told him it was 'all my own work' and asked him if he would pick up another forty planks for me the next time he was in Rogoche which he agreed to do...I don't know when this will happen but since I'm now stock proof it can happen as and when.  I decided that a pedicure was the order of the day until my luncheon appointment.

Took the Beast over to KD of S.....armed with one pot of plum and ginger jam and one of spiced plum jutney/cham and my butter for the sweetcorn but when I got there, the barbecue was going and on it were beefburgers, his peppers, tomatoes, beetroot and from the fridge came out neighbour's eggs and his potato salad.  No sweetcorn....turned into 'maize' but did come back with the barbed wire which I shall apply tomorrow, one book which I have started already and a water melon.  Plum jam goes to Annie since he is not too keen on jam at the best of times...spiced plum jutney was a success and would have been good with hamburgers but since we had eaten them already, the cham lives to fight another day.

As for the Beast....first spin since I had the engine additive put in at the garage and yes it does seem to be running home about three ish, electricity still not provided but I suppose this is the longest it's  been off this summer.  It eventually came on at about five while I was 'resting my eyes' and I've remembered to reset the hot water boiler timer which has saved me about ten pounds a month in electricity by coming on during 'cheap rate' for a couple of hours each night.

Lovely little lizard seems to have taken up residence on my lounge terrace but boy, do they move quickly when you are trying a photo-shoot.  Beautiful calm evening...back to the book and time for a little drink I think since there is no cooking tonight.  
Posted by: KingDom, August 19, 2011, 9:53pm; Reply: 37
Was in pub tonight(shock) and man with the horse turned up - Free beer! Just got back thought I would make the most of it!
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 20, 2011, 5:30am; Reply: 38
Saturday 20th August

Quoted from KingDom
Was in pub tonight(shock) and man with the horse turned up - Free beer! Just got back thought I would make the most of it!

I think it would be more of a shock, my dear boy, if you weren't in the pub....only joking.  Thanks for lunch, as I've said before, it's good to have a conversation without having to try and translate it into something that someone understands, be it Bulgarian or Turkish.  

My internal alarm went off at six as per normal but no mosquito buzz last night and despite my afternoon siesta I had a really good night.  I've messed around on t'Internet this morning and now must get on with something constructive but firstly, breakfast....catch you later.  I get the feeling that Kardjali is calling....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 20, 2011, 5:47pm; Reply: 39
Saturday continued

Changed my mind on Kardjali, it was just too warm so sat out until I could sit no more, got my supper prepared and then went into Djebel to top up with nails for the barbed wire and the fence panels if they ever get here and some beer.  Filled with good intention until I went into the supermarket but the bottle of brandy and the coke sitting underneath it were just too much for my will power but considering I got three x 2 litres of beer, one bottle of brandy, one of coke, bread and a huge packet of sweets ready for sweetie byram it came to the grand total of twenty three leva which roughly translated is eleven pounds.  Bargain.

Read some more of my new book, Ghost by Robert Harris,  worked in the garden and have just come in at eight thirty.  Something nice about working late and a bonfire going to get rid of the polythene rubbish and weeds as you remove them.  The sheep have just gone off to bed, the sun's set and now I'm catching up with t'Internet, emails, another excerpt of House Doctor and then taking Robert Harris to bed in the nicest possible way.

LN....I'm knacked.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 21, 2011, 4:26pm; Reply: 40
Sunday 21st August

Silly o'clock and yet again....four am and I'm wide awake so got stuck into my book for an hour or so and then managed to get in about another hour before I got up, made coffee and watched the sheep and the sun come up from the lounge terrace.  I should have known at this point that it was going to be a scorcher.

Breakfast this morning was bacon, eggs, mushrooms and fried bread (well it is Sunday), sitting on my activity centre and then out into the garden.  I found that there were several self set broad beans so they are now neatly replanted in rows, they look healthy enough and we'll see whether they are fruiting in September.  I worked until twelve and then it was just too hot to continue.  A shower was the order of the day and then onto the pc. Daily Mail Sudoko puzzle, trawled around, looked at the curtain material that has been sitting on the second bedroom floor and thought that I could be creative but the inspiration left as soon as it had appeared.  Made my way into my bedroom and slept off the heat of the day.

Woke up at four thirty and finished the Robert Harris 'Ghost' and not really sure what to make of it.  It has a certain resemblance to an ex-prime minister and his wife but it's all in the land of fantasy.....I think.  Out into the garden again and moved about three loads of builder's rubble, burnt the rubbish from the front area and dug out the weeds by the main gate and at seven decided that I had had enough, had earned a beer so am now doing my update, thinking about supper which I think is going to be something out of the rest of the bacon joint that I carved up for my breakfast and enjoying the cool of the's been a lovely day.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 22, 2011, 6:11pm; Reply: 41
Monday 22nd August

Silly o'clock sleep pattern, got to the middle of White Swan with the pages missing but I managed to pick up the story so it's not so bad.  Body clock still got me up at six ish but I must admit it's a lovely hour of the day.  I hear the Podkova to Plovdiv train and one day I must do the journey and note to self...check out the times, Bulgarian trains are not known to be fast or regular.  Well perhaps I don't mean 'regular' the word I want is 'frequent' unlike the bus services here.  I also hear the six thirty bus taking the people to work in the factories in Djebel...the times my body clock is keeping I could go get a job in there's a thought. :-/

Breakfast was a ham and mushroom omelette that set me up for the day and I worked it off in the garden.  I'm still having to be creative with house was more or less abandoned for fifteen to twenty years and a lot can happen to a garden in that time.  The only thing to survive were the Iris and the grape vines but even the Iris didn't flower.  Shrubs, bushes all overgrown, suckers from the various wild trees are still covering the middle and bottom of the garden but I started from the house down.  Today I've managed to work down the left hand side of the garden and reach the bottom along the hedge line.  The trunk of the walnut tree is now exposed and you can actually walk underneath it.  It also exposes the fence that needs another foot added to it and when my planks arrive courtesy of the sheep farmer and his van that's one of the first jobs to get done....maybe he needs a reminder. ;)

Had my water man round with my water bill at lunchtime...14 leva 40 and when they deliver the bill, you pay the man and get the receipt.  A couple of older guys from Rogoche were in the garden talking to the waterman while I retrieved my purse from upstairs and one of the men said that he had a house for sale in Rogoche and did I know anyone who wanted to buy one.  I worked it out to be the new yellow house that I drive past when I go into Djebel and yes it's impressive if you like that sort of house, stands out but it's not in a pretty village but it is nearer to the main road.  It does have really good balcony balustrades and I found out that he had got them in Turkey not here so back to the drawing board....he's a doctor in Turkey apparently spending time here but wants to sell up and move back completely.  I'll get a photo but no idea of the asking price....  

Caught up on some of the sleep that I missed this afternoon (but it was 32 degrees today) and have completed another couple of hours tidying up and burning the dead stuff that I removed from the bottom of the garden and remnants of another polythene mine buried long ago.  Again don't feel like cooking but I did manage lunch before my siesta so I'm sure I won't fade away... ;)

New book on the go....this one is about strawberry pickers in Kent and is dedicated to the cockle pickers of Morecambe Bay.  Quite a funny read so far...nine o'clock here....time to think about a shower since I've got very dirty feet from working in the garden in Lidl's rubber gardening clogs...great for gardening, lousy in keeping your feet healthy so most of the other times, no shoes....shower calling....and so is that beer that will be poured after my shower...LN....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 23, 2011, 5:53pm; Reply: 42
Tuesday 23rd August

You'll be pleased to hear that there are more photos tonight and less that should make you happy...

Slept really well despite having a long siesta yesterday but six ten and I was up and at it.  Down for coffee, surveyed the garden with camera in hand and watched the sun come up.  It is one of the special times out's so calm and beautiful.  I love my house in that most rooms catch the morning sun, downstairs and upstairs, and I love the way that the windows reflect the morning.

Breakfast was my tomatoes fried on toast and then I was drawn to the cherry tree and the debris that surrounded it.  There were numerous suckers underneath and the remains of the wood chopping at the beginning of the season.  Also where the men had removed the old roof of it was just a to clear it this morning and finished it tonight.  I managed to get two barrow loads of old wood that I delivered to my Avatar...she deserves it...and she'll make use of it where I would only set fire to it on my bonfire.  I think I shall have to think of something for my other neighbour since she saw me deliver the wood... :-/  Hotfoot was outside without her bandages this evening so I went to have a word....well it was more than one but not a lot since she doesn't speak Bulgarian and my Turkish is really limited.  Her feet look much better...

So bonfire going.  I threw the vine and cherry pruning that I chopped off over the fence for the sheep...but the old hay I thought it best to burn. food for me...shower and bed....I've had a hard day but feel satisfied with my achievements...LN...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 24, 2011, 5:39pm; Reply: 43
Wednesday 24th August

I can come in...the man who sings out his evening song at the mosque had serenaded me (well not only me, it's the evening call to prayer) and I know that I can put my tools away, pour that drink and pray that I don't have too much.

Today has been all about my bonfire.  I've kept it going all day but the breeze has sent the smoke over the hillside so I've not been annoying too many of my neighbours.  So this morning I was trimming my tomatoes at about eight and my neighbour who takes his cow down to his field every day, visits it at lunchtime and walks it home each evening was coming back from his morning outing.  He asked what I was doing, I told him and since from where he was standing assumed that I had no tomatoes on my plants, insisted that I walk home with him.  I grabbed my bowl thinking that at least I wasn't going to come home loaded, but he filled the bowl with salad and beef tomatoes and then his wife insisted that I take a carrier and he just carried on.  Perhaps the word carrier in Bulgaria....I tell him enough but it just doesn't work, he just carries on.  

So anyway, I walked home and I must add at this point that I was still in my pyjamas not that they look like the 'normal' ones (you could wear them on the beach) and stopped off at Hotfoots who was in conversation with my Avatar.  Got home eventually, cooked one of his beef tomatoes and had it on toast...delicious but I must find something to do with the others before they go off.

Worked until it was too hot to do any more, no siesta today, played Freecell, online Sudoko, looked for a cruise to see if there was anything interesting and eventually went out at four and started again.  I now have a new garden by the outside toilet and I've come up with a brainwave to reinstall the outside loo but use a water container instead of a permanent supply.  In fact I could actually gather rainwater to fill it.  So tomorrow I am going to look for a stand up loo and a cistern to have the stuff ready for when the men arrive, it they ever do. :-/
I've started to move a another pile of builder's rubble and secured the other window in the wreck.  Underneath the sheet of metal, I found a tortoise...he wasn't moving much so I'll check him out in the morning to see if he is still there.  Dug up a few tree suckers and put a cherry tree in a bucket of water and it's destined for the bottom hedge.

Cheese on toast for lunch so I'm not that ravenous this's 8.30 here or thereabouts so where's that wine bottle...I feel I've achieved a lot today.  LN ;)
Posted by: Joanna, August 24, 2011, 6:49pm; Reply: 44
A cruise when you could visit so many forumites at a fraction of the cost  ;D
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 25, 2011, 4:03am; Reply: 45
Thursday 25th August

Quoted from Joanna
A cruise when you could visit so many forumites at a fraction of the cost  ;D

I know Joanna...heck of a choice but the one that I was looking at starts in Istanbul and visits the Holy Land. I want to stand at the Wailing Wall and have a good cry for where some of the human race are trying to drag the rest of us.  Upright citizens that pay taxes, uphold the laws of the land, seem to be on the decline.......and to be honest, the surrogate father, namely the welfare state, is going to have to keep forking out.  

Now talking of religion...that little man who called me in from the garden last night also called me from my bed this morning accompanied by a howling dog in the next village ensuring his master was doing what a good Muslim should at silly o'clock.  Added to that was the insistent bleep of my mobile to get it to an electricity supply and in my sleepy state I couldn't be bothered to go look for it.. :-/

It's seven so I'm off to walk the garden, check on my tortoise that I uncovered last night and splash the hose around ;)

Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 25, 2011, 6:00am; Reply: 46
Thursday continued

I'm back from my morning stroll.....tortoise had left his...and I know he is a he....because I spotted him on the soil pile and saw a rustle of grass just behind him and now there are two.....and what followed was an incredibly noisy session with him shunting the new one round the soil pile.  I think he's new to the game and not on target but you had to give him twelve out of ten for effort.  
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 25, 2011, 6:16pm; Reply: 47
Thursday continued,continued

Thank goodness the hodger decided enough was enough and yes it definitely was tonight.  I had scrabbled, hoed, pyrotechnied  the debris, and yes tonight, I felt I deserve that glass of red but instead put it in 'supper' which is just about to finish.  The remains of the gammon, with honey, tomato paste, onions, garlic and served with pasta and it's the pasta I'm waiting for.  Why is it some is quickly softened and others take forever?.... :-/

Yes my play area had been's one of those moments, like an epiphany,  when you look round and realise that there is bloody loads of it to do but one step at a time and it all seems to be happening.  I think I have a very active mole or loads of them...I haven't seen an earthworm all day and I've been digging.  They either don't exist in my garden or the moles are very active,

Just now, a lovely cool breeze has entered the bedroom, shot across the upper landing and it's still circulating.  Oh how I love Bulgaria....such contrasts but there again...I'm not Bulgarian.  News from the grapevine is that Semile's cows have wrecked a couple of gardens so he is not flavour of the month...the good new is that it's not mine but there again there is little of the vegetables to wreck, only flowers that I guard with a passion.  

Sorry supper is ready...LN...I'm in to the gud life....
Posted by: Joanna, August 25, 2011, 6:33pm; Reply: 48
Oh well Elsa, if the wailing wall doesn't work out there is the rural countryside of Latvia.  ;D, probably not a whole lot different to where you are, apart from greener and cooler now.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 26, 2011, 5:03pm; Reply: 49
Friday 26th August

Thanks for the offer Joanna.  I'll stay with the heat for the present time....

And Bank Holiday weekend in England.  I plumbed into the Radio 2 website this afternoon and listened to 'Sally Traffic' and I'm so pleased that I'm here.....Apparently the M25 was completely gridlocked and oh yes, I do remember the days of trying to fight my way home on a Friday night from Hatfield to Rottingdean.  Many an hour was wasted.

I learnt today that my grandson was at my ex's and he did a deep dive into a shallow pool....hospitalised overnight for a head injury and his father did the same last year I seem to recall.  He's fine now according to him and they're off to France for a holiday...let's hope the pool is deeper egh...Princess.... and don't forget...always moon and back again.  That's not secret code....there is a super children's book 'Guess how much I love you'.  If you haven't read it, read it.  It's about motherhood supremacy and one up 'woman ship'.  

There was a rumpus in the village mid-morning and Avatar's grandson was helping four cows on their way using a dog and several large stones.  I think they're the beauties that wrecked gardens yesterday and I think they've done damage today.  I didn't go to check....I'll wait for the mountain to come to Mohammed and yes, that is the grandson's name.

So what have I done today?  Three kilograms of tomatoes converted into cham or jutney.....small jars for my neighbours and one thumping great big one for me.  (I reckon it will be good for basting the chicken before it hits the barbecue.)  Contents....well obviously tomatoes, my red peppers, my garlic, ginger, chilli pepper and in error I added paprika.  Well it was red and I picked up the wrong jar.  It doesn't seem to be setting so I'll see what it's like in the morning and maybe I'll reboil with more sugar and the juice of a couple of lemons.  Let's give it the night before the final diagnosis.

I also made four portions of bolognese sauce and tonight I've demolished two portions and frozen I was hungry...just like the Hungry Caterpillar which is another good children's book.  Kitchen is all cleaned up...cham or jutney is a messy business at the best of times...even my dish from supper is washed and put in the slow lane.... ;)

Dr House calls this evening I think....a little bit of my strawberry pickers...and the remains of the red that I had to open to make the Bolognese's just not the same without it.  Heading for Kardjali tomorrow.  My shopping list includes ginger, red wine, long handled shears (if Lidl hasn't sold out), visiting my favourite dress agency to see if there is something at up to five leva that I just can't live without and material for the bathroom blind.  Blind leading, I might add, but I shall go armed with a portion of floor tile.  I now have reservations about the blue that I bought for the second bedroom....I think it has to be brown to go with the material that I have and the blue can wait for the last bedroom.  

Enough....I have a red that is about to breathe its last, other sites to visit and people to insult and then relax with my book.  It would be in a warm bath but the bath is still sitting in the third bedroom so maybe it's time to get the garden hose out.  LN.... ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 26, 2011, 5:25pm; Reply: 50
Friday night update

I've just found out that the story of Nut Brown hair is between a father and his son and I always though it was his it's all about paternal parenting...maybe we should have it put up on billboards everywhere in the UK to remind some folks what parenting is all about....
Posted by: Joanna, August 26, 2011, 6:54pm; Reply: 51
Sad your not going to take us up on the offer, another time perhaps :)

We're not the only ones who tune into Sally traffic then to remind us why we don't live in England. Neither was I the only one dealing with kilo after kilo of tomatoes then. Mine are currently drying, or in a passata or in the freezer as a tomato sauce. We still have quite a few jars of chutney from last year to last us till next year. May make some more with the inevitable green tomatoes though.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 27, 2011, 4:44am; Reply: 52
Saturday 27th August

The joys of living in rural communities Joanna...tomatoes, tomatoes, peppers and more peppers.....and at which point do you decide that enough is enough. ;)

Beautiful morning...caught the crescent moon dangling there in the sky just before sun sky in the morning?  Don't know about shepherd's warning but the vibes from the village are that they are more upset about his cows than his sheep.  So far, so good....but I really must get on and get the barbed wire on the fence as a's not doing much good sitting in the footwell of the Beast... :-/  

Seven thirty ish...shower, shampoo...lovely day for gardening since the weather is coming in from the north.  Oh...just remembered....Annie, KD of S's better half arrives any day soon which signifies Welsh weather descending on us just to make her feel at's wet down there in the valleys and usually on my hillside when she comes.  
Posted by: KingDom, August 27, 2011, 8:11am; Reply: 53
She is getting off the plane today hence the change in weather.  The boys in the pub were so desperate for rain they offered to have a whip round and book her an earlier flight!
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 27, 2011, 6:38pm; Reply: 54
Saturday evening update

Well I was right.  The balloon went up in the village about the marauding cows and the outcome is that the sheep farmer was actually putting up barbed wire along my Avatar's fence.  Apparently they went into her garden and so tomorrow, I have asked Avatar's grandson to give me a hand to put up my barbed wire.  Did a bit in the garden to get rid of my mound of earth uncovering jam pot lids and a small polythene mine, nail varnish bottles and the odd shoe.  Yes my one legged person looks to be a reality not a figment of my imagination. ;)

I went into Djebel to get the soft wire to attach the barbed wire to the uprights for the fence construction and carried on to Kardjali and found some super material in my shop....note to self...take the camera next time it's worth photographing.  Strange happening though...I'm waiting for my material to be measured out and suddenly I'm back in Gibraltar and hearing Spanish.  I block it out,,,but then I really listen and yes, there's a couple with children and it's obvious that he's Bulgarian, she is Spanish so I just have to join in the conversation explaining that here I am in Bulgaria listening to Spanish and my brain has suddenly switched.  So out of the conversation I have been given a telephone number, found out that they live in Madrid, invited to lunch and they have a house to sell and do I know anyone who wants to buy one.  According to the wife it's a very large property with swimming pool up in the mountains......might just phone tomorrow and go to see what it's like.

Did Lidl and nothing much to be had in there but I did buy some smoked salmon and so tonight's supper was smoked salmon sandwiches,  Got more tuna and what I though to be cream cheese that was to go with the smoked salmon turned out to be liquid plastic in a plastic container....and it didn't even go down with bread-sticks...I think it's 'out' tomorrow.  Stopped off at the other supermarket in Djebel on the way back and found little packets of spices that I hadn't notice before so every pot of my spice stand (twelve jars) has something in it... nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves were the new additions.

Unpacked my shopping, lit a bonfire that seemed to be taking off so got the hose out and put it out since the wind had picked up....nine-thirty now and time I put my pc to bed, got out my book and slowed down my little brain (not that it get's into too much of a gallop these days). tomorrow...I have a fence to fortify.... :-/
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 28, 2011, 3:42pm; Reply: 55
Sunday 28th August

So my day of rest....inbuilt alarm went off at exactly six this morning and since I had drawn the curtains last night hoping to sleep in....wrong...back to the drawing board Nigel.

Opened the curtains and checked out the morning sky.  Today is the start of two weeks of Annie and it looked true to form that she had brought the Welsh weather with her but instead we have had, at times almost gale force winds, but so far so good, no rain.  Made my coffee, did the estate and then had a list of jobs so I decided to give them the 'in-box' treatment.  You know the one where you have to prioritise so that you complete everything or at least identify the ones that you can afford to leave without any repercussions.  Well to be honest, most of them I can leave until the next day but I've started so I'll finish.

Stripped the bed, got out the hoover, did the floor over, bedclothes to washing machine, pegged out and then picked up a garden fork.  Now this wasn't in the inbox even but extended my new garden by the outside loo, dug up some Iris from by the wall of the wreck, found the only lily that I only knew it was then when it flowered and replanted everything even some of the wild saplings that I found yesterday.  So now it really went haywire.  Avatar's grandson asked me if I was going into Djebel.  He was out of cigarettes again, I wasn't but said I would take him since he's the one that is going to help me with the barbed wire.  It was going to get done today but he said that he had been to a disco last night in Kardjali and I think it would have been a mistake to hold him to his promise.  So instead it's being done tomorrow, I purchased another 200 meters of the stuff so we should be fine.  The cows did come around today but Semile was shepherding, or rather cowhandling them back towards his farm...I believe the message has got through that it's not 'game on'.

Back to the garden, rescued some of the bedclothes that were trying to make their way to Greece, like over the hills and far away, made the bed up, moved the hoover for another day, dug up some big tree roots and now at 6.30 I'm in for the night.  It's still light so I could be out there but I'm knacked.  Forgot to mention the price of the spices that I got yesterday.......about twelve pence a packet....I pushed the boat out and got four of each.... ;)

So how did I do on the 'in box' exercise?  I wouldn't have employed me on the strength of it but there again, in my previous life, I only wrote the training programmes....I was never contracted to stick to them... ;)
Posted by: Martin Uk, August 28, 2011, 6:09pm; Reply: 56
I take it the last picture is washed matches?  What are the spices?
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 29, 2011, 5:41pm; Reply: 57
Monday 29th August

Quoted from Martin Uk
I take it the last picture is washed matches?  What are the spices?

They are washed matches indeed and the spices are cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves...which you can actually read on the packet otherwise I wouldn't have a clue what I was buying... ;)

So today my internal alarm clock was late...six fifteen but I was eating my breakfast when Mohammed, my Avatar's grandson reported for work....the he's not a fence....we were working on the fence.  Four rows of barbed wire over the wooden fence at the bottom of the garden and he worked until lunchtime and then I thought that was if for the day.

Today has been a day of pancakes is sweetie byram and the ladies have been delivering pancakes...I acquired eight and the children came for their bonbons...and it is no wonder that they all seem to have tooth problems.  I reckon that the tooth fairy is busy for their early years but not much to do later on.... :-/

So off Mohammed went and and it was almost as if Semile had sent the cows round purposefully to test out their reaction...I was quietly singing 'Walk on By' and reading my book at about 1.30...and you've guessed it, six bloody cows in the out with my cow stick and chased the beauties out through the little gap that they had come in through at the start/end of the barbed wire, secured the area with what I thought were big branches and bugger, the bastards were back.  Hammer, nails, decent wood from the store, barbed wire and let them try it now...

Any way Mohammed came back and now I have the left had side of the fence with four rows of barbed wire, mostly hidden by my wooden fence and I found the end of the polythene seam that runs through my garden and it's now burning merrily in my garden.   So much rubbish, cleaned some of it but the energy levels failed and I had to get rid of some before I bring any more from the hillside into the garden...Enough  for today, I'll sort the rest tomorrow and I might even get some pickies of Mohammed's work...

LN...I have to think of something for supper, times marching on and it will soon be bedtime...see you tomorrow and my first job should I choose to accept it is to finish removing the debris from over the fence.. :-/
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 30, 2011, 5:48pm; Reply: 58
Tuesday 30th August

My internal alarm clock was only five minutes late this morning so it was coffee, viewing the estate could wait and back to bed with a book until half seven.  I think I did a little too much yesterday and that challenge of clearing the field of the rubbish that we found was too daunting and I convinced myself that it could wait for another day.  It's still there...I've just checked and the environmental police have not issued a summons but I could have said that it was down to my religious symbiosis.  No one else was working today since it is a Muslim holiday. ;)  I did do one thing though, started the bonfire at eight this morning and got rid of a couple of barrow loads of rubbish from yesterday but it got a bit smelly so I let it go out realising that it was blowing towards the village not away from it.  Not such a good neighbour :-/

Decided not go into Kardjali in case my material shop was closed and I'll make the journey in the morning.  The more I look at the ten metres that I bought the more I like it and think it would make super curtains or blinds for the landings for the winter and at the price....brilliant.  The width will do the 'drop' so easy to make and very economical.

What else did I do today?....not a lot...too hot for anything.  Washed my hair to get 'yesterday' out of it, sat out reading until my eyes told me that I would be better off reading lying down and yes I was.  I opened them about a couple of hours later and I'm just about to take to my bed and hope that I don't regret taking that nap.

One thing to report....survived a 'cow' attack.  This one obviously wasn't in awe of the gleaming white stuff that was put round the boundary yesterday or perhaps she was hungry.  There is absolutely nothing on the hillside to eat and most of the trees that they could reach have been eaten and are not putting on any growth.  One of the farmers in KD of S village has had to resort to feeding his animals and everyone's praying for rain.  I did suggest that there was another whip round for Annie, send her back on a return ticket to see if she can bring the rain back from Wales for the farmers.  She might manage it next time.  She did try, we had clouds when she arrived but obviously she didn't try hard enough... ;)

LN...I'm off...only one more day of this month.......soon be having to think about getting my winter woods and daffodil bulbs....  :-/
Posted by: Elsa Peters, August 31, 2011, 3:31pm; Reply: 59
Wednesday 31st August

Let's go out with a bang!!  Lots of picture of Kardjali and the places that I frequent.

Had my home made jam for breakfast and it is rather good....phoned KD of S to see if they had any wishes or wants from Kardjali that I could get for them but the answer was in the negative.  Avatar's grandson is out of cigarettes yet again so offered to get some and note to self...deliver...gave him the change for 10 leva and he said he would pop it round...on the calendar.

So off I went....firstly to my dress shop and picked up a brown linen jacket for five leva and asked first if I could take the photograph but I respected her decision that she didn't want to be in it.  Next on to my material shop to get the other thirteen meters and she agreed to the photo-shoot and didn't mind been captured for posterity.  Just look are spoilt for choice in there and it is so busy....When I told her that it was for my internet I think she was quite surprised so one day I'll take the laptop and show her.  Then went to M-Tel to pay my bills and typical...they only had the one showing on their system so only paid one....and then to my stationery shop where it is more or less by drawing a picture and acting it out that I managed to get my sticky labels for the printer.  Now these are clever...then don't come pre-perforated so you can have them any size or shape you just have to cut them out.  I asked the price and was told 25 stotinki a sheet 20 sheets --5 leva so I asked how much the box of a hundred was and it came out to much less so I took if I'm really clever I can sell some to KD of S and turn a profit and he knows that that won't happen because he reads this so they'll be a gift for his business enterprise.....went round the market and got some peaches and a honeydew melon and tomorrow I am making peach jam now that I have the labels to mark up the jars....I better be on to that quickly before I forget what's what... :-/

Back to Billa and found that they were promoting whole cooked chicken so that was late lunch sorted, into Lidl, a couple of bottles of vermouth found their way into the trolley and four kilos of sugar for the jam, back to a Djebel for fresh bread and those ciggies and home by two thirty.  Lunch was half of the chicken with a chunk of bread followed by a couple of really juicy peaches and now I feel stuffed.

Weather has turned dull and humid so I might make it out into the garden and do some 'stuff' or just play around with labels.....let's see how I feel when I've finished the post....  
Posted by: Martin Uk, August 31, 2011, 9:03pm; Reply: 60
In picture 3901 is the man on stilts or have you been very clever with your shot?
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 1, 2011, 4:22am; Reply: 61
Quoted from Martin Uk
In picture 3901 is the man on stilts or have you been very clever with your shot?

Very clever, unwittingly, with my shot.   ;)
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