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Elsa Peters living a new life in Bulgaria  /  My Diary by Elsa Peters  /  DECEMBER 2011
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 1, 2011, 9:50am
Thursday 1st December

Well there probably could be white rabbits out there but I doubt if I would spot them.  As you can see it's white all over.  Little bit treacherous getting the men this morning...there was frost all over the roads and as I've said before, the only time that it gets gritted at all is when there is snow so it was slowly, slowly this morning.

Today I have four workers.  The son of the magazine and cafe in the village that my men come from has a son who is a little bit slow.  He measures the road, has been known to stop cars and pretend he is a policeman asking for documents and this morning he is getting in my car with the men.  Now I'm not to sure about this.  What is be going to do for the day?  So they give him the axe and he is slowly working through the stuff that we couldn't get into the house first time round.  He's enjoying himself....not working at a great pace but Bekir said that he will pay him for his labour.  We have introduced him to the village as my local policeman responsible for the security of the site and I believe that one visit will suffice to let the area know that the house is security protected.  There's lots of laughter around today.  Sally is filling the buckets with cement, Emaula is heaving them up to the roof and Bekir is dumping it down the shuttering.  My Avatar thought it was very funny and couldn't stop laughing when she brought round my homemade yogurt this morning. And what am I doing...stacking the logs by the back door just in case the snow does decide to fall although it's wall to wall sunshine this morning and twelve degrees....OK...back to stacking...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 1, 2011, 6:26pm; Reply: 1
Thursday continued

Off for my English student who wasn't very interested in the lesson so I just had to be assertive...write it down now!!

Back to the homestead, not much wood chopped but I was asked for my car documents by my new security advisor and he gave me a fine for not providing he forgot that today he works for me so he can't fine me..OK..fine...but no fine.. :-/

Got round to providing the coffee and we sat around for a break...Bekir finds comfort wherever and today it was in the wheelbarrow doubling up as a sofa...the rest just made do with the ordinary.  That is the last of the columns in now...tomorrow I think it is the roof and now the fun begins.  

Must just tell you about those kidneys. Now that poor little calf had not touched a drop of the vino tinto until tonight when it's kidneys got sauteed in butter with onions and a touch of what it had never sampled before.  Now I know the original plan was to add them to the veal and make some sort of pie but that seemed too much like hard word so I put the rice on to come to the boil, transferred it to the wood burner and moved the said frying pan with the kidneys to join it while I sampled some of the red.  I have just had a delicious meal and now...update... and then back to the fire and more of that vino tinto.  For afters I have walnut Turkish delight and that comes by courtesy of the local supermarket...not original but very tasty.

So just a few pics of my security advisor, and the tea's been a lovely day with laughter and when I paid him for today, his little face lit up.  I've realised what I like about this place...I have time to look, listen and absorb....I watch everything and enjoy.

LN...back to the wine lake....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 2, 2011, 5:35pm; Reply: 2
Friday 2nd December

So lovely morning again and as I've said before, the mornings from my desk are delightful.  Fairy tale coming to life when the sun comes up especially on these frozen mornings.

Picked my men up and again my third man got into the car... apparently he had had such a lovely day yesterday, or his mum had where she hadn't had to worry about him, that he was sent off with enough food this morning to feed the five thousand.  I laughed when he got in the car...I have security on site for the second day running. ;)

The men have been sorting out the wood ready to start on the roof on Monday, my third Muscateer has been chopping wood for five minutes then taking a twenty five minute break and we were taking bets as to how long he would be at it.  He is just so lovely.  So this morning Bekir informed me that our newcomer wanted to go to our local jamir (mosque) and we waited for one of the Friday 'usuals' and Bekir explained that my security adviser was a visitor and could he accompany him to the mosque it being about a mile walk.  He assured the traveler that my new worker knew all of the responses and off they set on foot.  We were actually given a rendering just before he set off...a good Muslim boy.  The passerby promised to bring him home safely.

Off they went and about two hours later he returned and I came out with the coffee and his little face lit up.  He had come back with money from the mosque and also a box of Turkish Delight as a gift.  Everything is so joyful here...he's not all there but he's taken into the community, welcomed into the local worshiping house, given money and a gift although he is not of this village.  Semile then took him off in the car to see his cows and later that evening said that he wanted to employ him....Bekir joked that he had to stay here the night but I rescued the situation by batting Bekir round the head and sending Semile home with a flea in his year...don't mess with my workers.

I had visitors this lunchtime from two English ladies that have a house here.  They were suitable impressed with my abode and so they should's beautiful and I did offer to help them with the design of theirs when they come to work on it.

Drove the men home and when we arrived at the bar, Bekir handed me surreptitiousness a note for me to pay my third worker.  I'd meant to ask him about it but had forgotten and I thanked my security adviser for keeping my property safe today, chopping my wood and for checking that the documents of my visitors were in order.  I intimated to Bekir that I would pay him back on Monday to which both Sally and Bekir both said that it was a .  

So men home.  Bekir's meat went into a spaghetti bolognaise tonight and it was delicious.  I'm now about to sit down with my knitting...I have the weekend in front of me and I think a visit to Kardjali is on the card...LN...another beautiful wise and spiritually....good to see that they take care of their own out here.  Simpsons on my car waiting for tonight's frost....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 3, 2011, 6:11pm; Reply: 3
Saturday 3rd December

So the fact that I can sleep in doesn't mean a thing to my body.  I was a wake at five thirty played on my DS until six fifteen, decided to put the light out and try again but five minutes later decided that coffee was on the cards and let's get into the day.

Decided not to light the fire this morning since it was smoking for all it was worth last night and no real flames so out with the pipes this morning and it's the monthly spring clean/winter clean/ whatever.  I just know that there is soot in them there pipes and it has to go.  On with the work trousers over my PJs and my big fleece sweatshirt and my fleece hat since it was only about seven o'clock and the sun just coming up.  As I've said before...I should number them...I always seem to have a problem getting them back.  Anyway...down, sorted, gave the wood burner a really good internal, emptied the ash can, pipes all back, glass cleaned and fire lit...start to finish approximately thirty minutes and thirty minutes well spent.  The fire today has gone like a dream, glass remains clean as a whistle and house really toasty.

So what else have I done....very little. Cleaned up where some of the soot had fallen from the pipes, then had a really long shower and washed my hair, dried it and decided that that was about it.  Sat in the lounge in the sun and did my knitting.

Supper tonight was the remains of yesterday's bolognaise sauce with honeyed baked beans added, into an individual casserole dish, potatoes and carrots boiled, carrots added to the casserole dish, potatoes mashed with butter and dolloped on top and stuffed under the grill to brown.  Meanwhile I sauteed red cabbage and served it separately.  Now I'm stuffed.

Music today from my ipod has been varied but slow....Bernstein this morning, Cleo Laine this afternoon and a really sad Sinatra this evening....might have to have a drink to cheer me up not that I've ever needed an excuse before....

LN...settling in for the night....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 4, 2011, 7:11pm; Reply: 4
Sunday 4th December

It's Sunday for goodness sake...why a four thirty start to the day. I had had enough sleep but it was so cold outside so throwing a log on the fire seemed the obvious choice but despite my chimney cleaning of yesterday the wind was just in the wrong direction and I huffed and I puffed and got it going to perfection just as the sun was coming up.  My little fire in the kitchen was a bugger to start but eventually got it going and it has been a dream all day.

So what as has today held...nothing really.  It's Sunday but despite that my water bill man came round and demanded payment for November....four leva thirty two stotinki....about two pounds for water for the month.  Might just have to take take out a mortgage to settle the bill... :-/  Had some fun on my other forum this afternoon and rattled a few cages.  

Got some wood in, moved the rest of the debris from the wood delivery so that it didn't get thrown everywhere since that wind is blowing a gale.  My stork might have to come in tonight....I was aware of the wind rattling the wind chimes last night and that could have been what woke me so early.  

Supper was the remains of yesterday's slow cooker mixture with potatoes and carrots added to it.  Pudding was my Avatar's home made yogurt with her bottled strawberries.  Suitably stuffed and ready to batten down the hatches...the wind is blowing a gale out there but I have enough wood in so I'm prepared.  LN...I'm back to my fire.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 5, 2011, 4:55pm; Reply: 5
Monday 5th December

Silly o'clock this morning yet again so I've taken a quilt off the bed...maybe it's because I'm too warm with my two by twelve Tog feather quilts plus my Bulgarian vest and the PJ's.  I got so cold last year that I'm still programmed to take all precautions and possibly I'm in danger of overheating this year.  The last measure to be taken will to remove the Bulgarian vest.... ;) ;)

So took pictures of the sun after it arrived and I almost missed it.  My curtains were closed upstairs and down and I was too busy playing CPU1 at bowling and darts to worry about the sun coming up.  Game on.... :-/ Unfortunately my screen is scratched and so some of the bowling balls end up in the gutter, through no fault of my own may I for the darts.....managing to beat him / her hands down.  Out to fetch the men and realised that the sun was just climbing so got one good one, and the rest were taken on our return.  Not so cold today and Bekir refers to it as a 'Gypsy wind'.  I didn't get the reason why but poor Sally has had a day of it and he hates days when it's like this.  Tomorrow we've threatened to put some house bricks in his pockets if it's still blowing a gale so that he doesn't end up in Djebel.  All said and done he only weights the equivalent of a bag of cement.

So at lunch time today we were working out the height of the roof and how big the upstairs room can be.  We've got the main timbers and central points identified and the rest of the finishing will be on the hoof so to speak.  It's a big roof and so we're trying to source about a thousand old roof tiles to match the other ones are available but they look very 'red' and aren't strong.  We have feelers out.  My Avatar came round today with a tray of pancakes for all of us and we sat round with coffee discussing the roof and the world in general.  The outcome...some of the timbers are in place and it's a day of woodwork tomorrow.  We should see something going upwards but with the house bricks in his pockets, at least it won't be Sally.

Got the rakia out for the men tonight...Sally had KingDom of Samodiva's home brew and Bekir had the not so strong one.  Well it is payday after all said and done and home they went with little grins on their little faces with Bekir clutching a calf's head that he'd purchased from Semile's brother.

Back home, not too hungry after the pancakes and a little drink with may be cheese on toast later will suffice.  LN...I've got a bowling and darts match to go to.... ;) ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 6, 2011, 9:09am; Reply: 6
Tueday 6th December

Now I don't usually post until nighttime but I reckoned this morning's sky worth the effort.  I nearly missed it but just happened to go up to my desk and went out on to my bedroom terrace to capture the first two and the last one on my way out go collect the men.  

Got a text from Gouljan asking if I could pick her up from the bus-stop and drop her on the bus route to Djebel and there was a traffic holdup on my way down to get her.  The milk collection wagon and the cow food delivery wagon having a chin wag with my little neighbour so eventually one moved down the road a little so that I could get through...all good natured and I suppose there's not that much traffic, one bus at six thirty and then just passing stuff...

So not having to prepare anything for my lesson's all ready printed up.  Oh and Gouljan has asked me if I could take on two other pupils.  Their mother is an English teacher and they live in Kardjali but their grandparents live in this village so it would be good at weekends. The mother also wants to improve her English so from acorns do great oaks grow...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 6, 2011, 6:52pm; Reply: 7
Tuesday continued

In to Djebel for my lesson today and took a shopping list for all the different sized nails for the men to put the roof on the wreck.  There's a bit of a rush on now....the weather was dull today and still warm with the wind coming up from Greece but I am assured that it is getting colder from now on.  They have about two weeks to do it in as I see it and at that point I might still be going home over the Christmas period.  I'm holding out making the decision because the weather is holding out.  Checked out the flights and they are still available and the price is still very competitive...I'll give it a week and we'll see.

Supper tonight was curried chicken wings but I seem to be suffering for my art.  Everything was cooked OK but it seems to be sitting heavy.  It's at times like this that you need a pint of lager to wash it all down but I'm fresh out so I'll have to see if there is anything fizzy hanging around that I didn't spot first time around.  Will post photos of the roof was getting dark when I got back from Djebel and it will be better in daylight. to tend my fire, wash up and generally get a  goodnight's sleep in hopefully.  
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 7, 2011, 8:03am; Reply: 8
Wednesday 7th December

Lovely sky this morning but I think I'll give that a miss.  I seem to have started every day off with pictures of the morning weather.

Off to fetch the men and was just making them coffee when I realised that they had both disappeared and there was some very loud music going on down in the village square.  I saw that the gate was open, went to the road and the men were walking towards the festivities and Bekir gestured me to follow so off I galloped to try to catch them up.  There was lots of the hollering noises and me not being versed in these things local thought that it might be a funeral but it was explained that it was the other sheep farmer's wife's brother's birthday...still following? and he was out in the square clutching his beer and dancing to a drummer, a clarinet and a saxophone belting out for all they were worth.  And the time....nine twenty in the morning.  We walked back with my Avatar and the band carried on to the next village down playing for all they were worth since it was the sheep farmer's two year old's birthday and so not to be out done by his uncle, they'd played for him too.

Men now back on the roof and the chainsaw is going...I'm just about to make a winter hat for my frog.....and then let's see what the day brings....catch you later...and apologies for the quality of the pickies, I only had my old Ericsson phone with me not my camera....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 7, 2011, 4:40pm; Reply: 9
Wednesday continued

I've got two batteries on the Beast and one of the buggers decide to die a natural and the other was only half alive.  Now I've put this into the garage once to be told that it was the way that I started it and that's why I was having problems but this time I got home relay without even asking for it.  The higher voltage batteries just wouldn't fit into the cradle and were mega bucks so the garage came to me with a selection of batteries, fitted them, tested them, sorted out a few other things while he was here, and the cost...nothing extra at all.  OK so he's the father of the boy that I give lessons too but I think he appreciates that I ask how much his time has cost and he tells me nothing, that I am a friend....and he gave me a refund on the other ones that I had purchased in error and a discount.  Fitted and let's see if the b**stard Beast starts tomorrow morning first time.  Meanwhile Beauty chugs along without a care in the world...that's women for you. ;)

The rain came today....not much but just enough to make the boys' life unpleasant so I kept the fire in their den going so that their clothes will be able to dry overnight.  I did have to dose Sally up with rakia before he left...he's so thin that I think he literally freezes to the bone because there's not much covering them.  As I said before....wet through...the equivalent of a bag of cement.

So we were all up on the roof and the roof is now a problem to Sally.  In most cases here if you intend using the roof space then you use bricks to raise the second storey by about seventy centimeters.  Now I've give you the scenario.  I have a three bedroom detached with full panorama views over the mountains to the south, north, east and west.  The second house is smaller in height but is bigger in floor area but no way do I want this to go sky high to detract from what I have originally created.  Now the plan was that we would have more or less a viewing platform on a mezzanine floor on the wreck.....not big, stairs coming up at the highest point, roof eaves making it fun to move around in and Sally is throwing a bit of a tantrum because he thinks that if we had gone higher we would have a decent size room.  I tried to explain....I only want a room that we can have a couple of easy chairs in so that we can see the views since this house is not so open as the other but has a beautiful fireplace in the sitting room.  Could he understand it?  Could he buggery so we carry on as we are doing.  The upstairs lounge will be approximately three and a half meters by two and a half and that's enough for me and the guests will just have to make do and I think they would.    So tonight I dropped them off at the restaurant and Bekir is trying to get his head round it despite the fact that I've said there's no need and since the weather was rubbish there are no pickies but the ten day weather forecast confirms that today's rain was a blip and there is supposed to be no more for another week.

The hat is not made...there has been too much going up and down ladders with coffee for the troops and trying to convince Sally that it will be alright on the night.  Supper is the remains of the chicken wings but without the curry sauce but with added honey and tomatoes.  I'm smells delicious and I'll let you know what Bekir and Sally's computer brains have come up with horse...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 8, 2011, 7:24pm; Reply: 10
Thursday 8th December

Fristy frosty overnight and I forgot to put my Simpson's windscreen protector on, no I'll rephrase that already.  I saw on the internet that it was going to be minus two overnight and I couldn't be a**sed to go out there thinking it didn't apply to us.  Well yes it did and it took me ages to get the screen clear enough to see through to drive.

Three men again today...those roof timbers are pretty heavy and now I'm off with boots blacked to the bright lights of Kardjali playing taxi.  First to Djebel to get the document for my neighbour's injection, second straight into town and yet again become a talking point in the hospital being told that the doctor is single and now everyone wants to practice their English, then to find a chemist to get more tablets, pension day so we had to go to the bank back in Djebel so that she could pay her electric and then shopping,  I was worn out just writing this so you can imagine how I felt doing it and the cold has got the better of me.  I've dosed myself up with aspirin, hot fresh fruit juices with freshly squeezed lemon and I'm hoping that it goes as quickly as it came.  Decided that I felt too ill to take a lesson this afternoon so cried off.  Sat and read my book and generally just made coffee for the men since it was pretty bleak up on the roof and so much so that I threw up my body warmer and a hat to Emaula, he looked frozen.

Men home, more aspirin to follow since this cold has doubled back to the sneezy stage again and I just hate colds.  Quick update tonight...I'm off to bed with a book, not a good one but one that got left here and appears to have been written about a hundred years ago...but it's something to read.  LN...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 9, 2011, 7:20pm; Reply: 11
Friday 9th December

Remembered the windscreen cover so I could make a quick getaway this morning.  The road was icy in patches, mainly where the road crosses rivers but apart from that, a much better journey.  This morning we made a trip to Djebel before going to the house...we were out of benzine and oil for the chainsaw and so, let the work commence.  More roof timbers going up and at this stage it looks strange but I suppose it's seeing it for so long without a roof at all and this time it's not square as it was before.

Slept this afternoon in the lounge on the sofa.  This cold is certainly getting the better of me.  Had a visit from my Avatar and she actually sat down in my lounge where she normally won't come in.  She went and then there was another knock on the door and my hospital lady had come round with some sweetmeats and another scarf as a thank you for taking her yesterday.  This is somewhat more fancy and is traditional Turkish and being Friday I was dressed up for the occasion.  When the headscarf was in place in true Turkish style, she insisted that I show the men and a photoshoot was decided upon and not by me.  Sally thought I had to authenticate it by bending over and having a stick in my hand while the closeup was at Bekir's suggestion.  I don't think you would see them wearing camouflage trousers though to complete the outfit.  :-/ :-/

Friday, men home, Bekir has homework to do, like ten cubic of wood to cut up for him and his family and not sure what Sally is up to.  I'm just about to dose myself up with aspirin again and take to my I said...I hate bl**dy colds...LN and windscreen shield is in place....I've read that we are into minus figures again overnight....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 9, 2011, 7:28pm; Reply: 12
Friday 9th December
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 10, 2011, 3:18pm; Reply: 13
Saturday 10th December

Bit of a down day men...this cold is getting to be a bugger since it's moved to my chest and I'm starting to hurt when I cough...OK...I hear you all shout...don't cough then.

Fire was still going this morning and I think it's better now that I am burning 'good wood' and not old roof timbers.  I have a few of them left but with ten cubic of acacia sitting in my store room the old stuff can wait.  Old wood produces more soot and now that I've cleaned out the pipes, the new wood burns like a dream.  The little one in the kitchen is purely for decoration now until the really minus temperatures hit and that is supposed to be minus ten on the 23rd December and lingers like that for a few days according to the new long range weather forecast I've found.....

What have I done my wood in and little else apart from get myself hot drinks of lemon and honey and dose myself with aspirin yet again.  Had a sleep this afternoon in the sun and did venture on top of the roof of the wreck to check out how much of the view I will see from the new room up there and how big it will be.  I think the men see a room as 'square' where I see the roof room as a many angled wooded den with comfy low interesting room.....big cushions and perhaps my big birdcage from Kerkennah if I can get it over here from the UK.

Down to sort out the fire, get something to eat and heading for an early night....I'm trying to sleep it out of my system so I'm probably going to be up at silly o'clock but at least the book appears to be getting a little more interesting...and I think I've found another 'library' so if I feel up to it tomorrow...I might just pay it a visit...LN

Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 11, 2011, 8:39am; Reply: 14
Sunday 11the December

My premonition was right...silly o'clock namely one thirty and read until four fifteen then went back off again.  I did get up and stick another log on the fire when I woke and was still going this morning.  Eventually surfaced at seven thirty which for me is unheard of.  Suffering from back ache this morning and I'm putting it down to spending too long sleeping or kidney I'll wait to see if it passes during the day and keep checking my urine.  I've spent too long watching Doctor House but can't wait for the next series delivered to my door when KingDom graces these shores again.  He gone to London, following the sound of Bow Bells, to make his fortune or was it Wales following the bleating of the sheep.... :-/

Knocked two little jobs off my list this morning one of them was cleaning underneath the free standing unit tiles in the kitchen.  I think there was a sub existence there but now removed and soaked in lemon and that makes two of us.  My morning beverage has returned to lemon, honey and salt with hot water but I did add a spoonful of my wild damson jam.  Coffee is not going to pass my lips until Christmas and alcohol intake has been reduced. The decision was taken when I realised that that five litre flagon wasn't lasting as long as it should and even though it is only 10% proof....I decided to think again. So the kidneys should be sorted and the heart stilled to a gentle beat.  It might even cure my insomnia.... ;)

Beautiful morning...sun's up and despite the fact that we have high greyish cloud it's about twelve degrees and very pleasant to be doing things outside...shower, dressed and let's find something to take my mind off dialysis ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 12, 2011, 5:39pm; Reply: 15
Monday 12th December

Well I seem to have slept most of the weekend and I feel much better for it.  I did wake at 4.00 this morning, read for about an hour and was alarmed that my heroine in the book that I am reading died suddenly of pneumonia and so I was coaxed into getting antibiotics for what now appears is a likely chest infection.  I went back to sleep, woke with a start at seven thirty so pulled on my trousers over my pyjamas, quick wash and teeth, with the intention of getting dressed when we got back.  I'm ashamed to say that this didn't happen so it won't take long to get undressed tonight ready for bed ;).  

Picked up the men and straight down to the local builders merchants and got treated to tea instead of coffee since I am giving it a rest.  Goodness knows what was in that tea bag but there is a first and last time... :-/  Ordered the rest of the materials for the roof, joked that I needed five years credit.  Got back and my Avatar was round with a couple of axes that she needed some metal affixed so that the axe wasn't ruined and she said that it would only take a couple of minutes of Bekir's time.  I reminded her that it was my time and that the cost for the job was five leva so she chopped five logs for me and we called it quits.  I then decided to cook fried egg sandwiches for breakfast to complement some fantastic rolls that I'd got from the shop near to the builders merchants so it was breakfast all round with coffee.  Feed 'em up so they don't flag...My next trip was into Djebel to get some money out for the delivery and I decided that antibiotics were on the cards and I got some for Bekir as well.  I can't afford for him to be ill...there is a roof that needs finishing.  Two courses of antibiotics eleven leva... approximately five that's one tablet every eight hours for four days....and checking on the's a cure all so even if I didn't know that I had it, I should be fully cured.

The lorry turned up eventually four o'clock this afternoon so it was all hands to the pumps and Avatar's son joined in the fun and so did Semile.  Now Avatar's son tried to bring a little time and methodology into the unloading process but Sally was having none of it and it was quite fun to watch.  The driver and his mate usually sit in the cab and take no part in the unloading process whatsoever and one normally appears in a leather jacket...this time we got the other one but I'm not sure where his head was when he was loading up.  We are short of one item by five and the wood we refused as not being fit for purpose.  It's amazing, it's party time in my yard at every opportunity and the camaraderie is really good.  

Men home, dry night tonight....not hungry since I had some of those rolls with tuna mayo for a late lunch...did bu two kilos of oranges with the intention of making marmalade today but it was just so busy... Wednesday's work. to check other sites..
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 13, 2011, 7:01pm; Reply: 16
Tuesday 13th December

Now I know that you think that I have an obsession with the dawn (not yours Mikey B) and the sunsets but I've never had such fantastic views from any house that I've lived in before.  I love the sunrise and the sunset and what goes on in the middle...well that's fun most of the time.

Got my text this morning could I pick Gouljan up from the bus stop at seven thirty five this morning and I obliged and with her was her mother.  So I anticipated that her mother was going into Djebel with her but wrong. ....she stayed in the car and I appeared to have dropped her off in the middle of her request might I add.  Her own village that she was born in doesn't have a tarmac road going to it so she had to leg it the last half mile or so.  For my trouble this morning...two more headscarves...who's a lucky bunny then?

Picked up the men and today's mission was to get those huge timbers that I thought were mine to play with but no...up on to the second floor.  They are roof supports over the hall where there is no concrete ceiling.  I'll have to put you a plan up so that you know where I mean but I have got two lengths of just over one meter which are mine all mine and I think I have the base for the bed for the second upstairs bedroom.  Only a few of the timbers left to fit and the lorry should arrive tomorrow with the stuff that they hadn't got or forgot to put on last time.  This time let's hope Bekir will accept the wood and it's up to the quality that he requires....that's my man...give 'em hell. ;)

So into Djebel today and posted my few essential Christmas cards so if they don't get there...down to Bulgarian mail.    Had a good session with my student today and we learnt how the Polar Bear amazingly adapts to its environment.  There was a crossword at the end of the exercise and we had ten minutes to spare and the end and he couldn't wait to show me extra work that he'd done from the previous session.  We went through it together and I used a red pen for the corrections but complemented him on the few errors he had.  He'd made the same mistake a few times so when I pointed this out to him, he realised that there were few he has to write it out again.  Think I'm getting him to do some writing practice...they still use script here because remember they are using the Latin alphabet not Cyrillic.

Men home and fully paid up....Sally seemed a little down tonight but maybe it was because I didn't get the rakia out for a snifter before they left but we've had Emaula today and it doesn't set him a good example.  I could do with a drink but antibiotics dictate that no alcohol passes my lips...wonder if I can fix up a tube or something  :-/:-/

Supper was a spicy sausage omelet and I'm just about to squeeze a couple of oranges to help it down...commiserations to Danny and Fiona you know who you are...come back soon...we miss to find another book now that I've managed to struggle to the end of the Hugh Walpole one.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 14, 2011, 6:34pm; Reply: 17
Wednesday 14th December

No sunrise to shout about this morning or even take a picture of...we had fog that lingered until approximately ten thirty.  Men out of the coffee bar early this morning so we were back for about eight fifteen and they were straight to it.  Emaula rolled up at about eight forty five...I think he has jobs to do at home first and so I had to double back to make him a coffee.  I had a present this morning from Bekir...I was told yesterday by my student's mum that to stave off winter colds you're supposed to mix bee clay with spirit from the chemist and take a few drops daily in water, juice or tea....She showed me her 'lump' of the stuff and I mentioned it to Bekir yesterday and lo and behold...I have my own 'lump' unless he's having me on.  I shall do my stuff with it tomorrow.  I've been far too busy today nipping into Djebel to get more nails and wood preservative that I applied to the barge boarding when I got back ..  I was quietly working away with the wood slung over two wooden horses when Bekir seemed to be getting a little irate with Emaula and the decibels were increasing along with the pitch so to humour the situation....I went inside and made the Bulgarian equivalent of an 'L' plate that you see on learner drivers and stuck it on Emaula's back.  I think Bekir got the point....he's only a lad.  I managed to get ten lengths of wood sorted and have another ten to do tomorrow morning before I go off to see my student.

Had a visit this morning from friends that have a house nearby and they brought me some passion flower cuttings that I've put in the water nursery to develop better roots,  I've also got a money plant and an invitation to Sunday lunch and this is the library I mentioned so I shall go armed with books and hopefully come home with some new ones.

Supper tonight was veal that had been in the slow cooker all day with onions, tomatoes, orange juice and red wine and I bunged it all in a little casserole dish, slapped on mashed potatoes, browned it under the grill and served it with fried / steamed red cabbage.  Am I stuffed?  I was sitting in front of the fire and gently nodding so I decided to get upstairs and do my update.  Hopefully I can stay awake until bedtime.  It's easy to do...go to sleep early but then I'm up at silly o'clock and reading.  :-/

LN...few pictures to post and a nice little surprise today....I went to post a letter and the lady behind the counter said,,,Elza...pismo....meaning I had a letter...and it was nice that she called me by name...It's taken two years approximately to get to this stage but it feels good. ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 15, 2011, 4:46am; Reply: 18
Thursday 15th December

Well as I suspected it was a four o'clock start but I did go back and eventually got into action at five.  My father always used to get up at that time, light the fire and I seem to be carrying on the tradition apart from the fact that he dug coal for forty years and believe me, I go out to get it from the shed but that's about it.  Now my fire, slow to get the hot water pumping round the house, I think the wind must be in the wrong direction and we do seem to get it from all sides.

This morning...started off with my lemon and orange juice with a dash of salt and honey added and topped up with hot water.  Really does sort out your insides first thing and if you are dieting, kicks the metabolic process into action so I am told.  Works for me.  One load of washing completed at cheap night rate electricity, washing up from last night all put away and the cups ready for my first coffee dash of the morning when I pick up my beauties.  No sign of the sun yet but those stars are really twinkling so we could be in for another good day.

My task for today...should I choose to undertake it or pay someone else the equivalent of a couple of pounds for doing it is to finish off the barge boarding so they can get it up later today but firstly they have to do the end roof supports which is easier that the things they were doing lesson for this afternoon is already prepared...jobsaguddun...catch you later...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 15, 2011, 5:55pm; Reply: 19
Thursday continued

Went into Djebel as arranged and gave my lesson to my student and sat around with his mother talking until it was time to go to the restaurant to meet my new prospective student's mother along with Gouljan who had set up the meeting.  This lady teaches English and if I can help her with her comprehension for free I'll do it.  Learning English in Bulgaria is all about grammar.  I've told her that I'm not a teacher but we've arranged for her to come to the house on Saturday at about four-ish and we'll have a look to see what we can work out.  She has two boy of nine and twelve so they might have different needs but that's no problem since grandma's house is in walking distance so one for the first hour and one for the second until we get them working together.  She can sit in the sessions and then coach them at home...I don't have a problem with that.

Got a phone call from Bekir and I just didn't understand what he was saying so I handed the phone to Gouljan who came up with the translation.  Picked up the supplies for Bekir, unloaded the car, put away the barge boarding that I had lacquered this morning and it was too late for coffee and when I offered them a drink I was told that it was a no since Bekir is on antibiotics.  Now Sally isn't and he was remarkably quiet on the way home and seemed a little miffed.  May be he could have made his own mind up about the drink :-/

So tomorrow I am taking Semile's mother in law with me when I pick up the men.  Now sure where I have to drop her off but if there's a problem, she can stay in the car while I upload Bekir and Sally and we'll drop her off on the way home.....I might have to lock the door so that she can't get out...we'll see how the morning goes and I am now off to paint Beauty yellow and get myself a taxi sign...

LN...must think of something to's been so busy I have nothing prepared...eggs and chips I think....mmmm... ;)  LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 16, 2011, 8:25pm; Reply: 20
Friday 16th December

Short and sweet tonight.  I have just woken up with my supper on my knee...virtually.....must get my sleeping pattern sorted out.  I cooked a beef curry and the beef was as tough as old boots and I think that it was the effort of chewing it that made me nod off.

Woken up this morning by the rain and wind and thought that is was a poor day to send two men on to a roof or three if he turned up.  We ordered more ballast from the man and then I made my decision that I needed a Christmas tree so off Bekir and I went off to the woods armed with a shovel, a pick and a saw, in the rain may I add, to see what we could find.  Hardly anything.  The intention was to get one with roots and keep it going year after year but the only one that we could find was not perfect by any means.  I made the decision to saw it off and that it would do.  As I said it was pouring down and this could have influenced the decision..... the outcome....I have my tree erected, dressed and glowing with my Christmas lights, frog has got a pine frond hat and my daughter's present which arrived this afternoon is sitting under my tree.  I am going to deny all knowledge of how the tree got there if the local forest police must have been the Christmas fairy... ;) ;)

So what else have I done?  I have tidied the roof of the wreck and collected three bags of offcuts for the fire which are now stored in my wood store.  Emaula and myself swept it off and I have a very clean building site but by the time we had finished it was too late to take pickies.  We sat around at the end of the day though, Bekir and Emaula with a bottle of beer and Sally with his red wine from my new Merlot stash and said goodbye to another week with the Christmas tree lights flashing and reminding us all that a New Year is round the corner. The men associate the tree with New Year...after all they are Muslim so the twenty fifth means nothing to them but I explained that it was my 'festival' so there will be presents under the tree for all of them that's if I get my ar*e into gear and buy them tomorrow when I head off for the highlights of Kardjali.

Enough tonight...I'll post pickies of the cleaned up roof tomorrow and it's definitely looking like a roof now that Sally has done his stuff today and Bekir has put in all the iron work to make sure that it doesn't end up on my Avatar's roof when the wind blows hard from Greece.  And over this weekend I really must design the roof terrace.  There is currently a hole or a three meter run where it will be and I need to make a decision as to how high the brick wall will be and the roof line.  I would like it to look similar to the big house but must get it down in PowerPoint so that we're all sure where we're going. I said pictures will be posted tomorrow.....I'm off to tend my fire, pour me a drink now that the antibiotics are finished and then get to bed.....I have a busy day tomorrow with shopping and my two new students and their mother.... ;)

Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 17, 2011, 6:22pm; Reply: 21
Saturday 17th December

Had a pretty late start this morning and didn't wake up until eight ten which for me is unheard of.  Fire still going but I did stick some coal on it last night and looked out towards the bottom of the garden and yes, you've probably guessed it...a bloody cow munching away.  So in my PJ's grabbed my cow stick and headed out to round it up when I saw that it had a couple of mates with it....and no sign of an entry point.  Got behind them and they went between the wreck and the barn and seemed to know where they were going...but did they.  The gate was shut so the leader turned round going back where it had come.  Now I park my car in front of the main gate so into the house, got the keys, moved the car leaving the gateway clear, back into the garden with the gate now open and headed the bast**rds out.  Did another reckie of the garden and still no entry point spotted and it was only when I was making my way to Djebel to get some antibiotics for my neighbour that I noticed that they seem to have demolished part of my front wall.  It looks like they needed crampons to get in and obviously didn't relish the fact that they would have to leave the same way. :-/  Avatar came round with some lovely warm banichkas (sort of fried filo thing) stuffed with tomato sauce and cheese and a dish of yogurt.   Absolutely delicious and only remembered to take a picture just before I popped in the last two mouthful.

Weather today really gusty winds so it's as well that Bekir did the metal work on the roof yesterday.  Cleaned the house today ready for the holiday and had my new students round this afternoon with mother.  Unfortunately they live in Kardjali so I won't be seeing them all the time.  We've arranged that if I am going in, I will phone and likewise when they are staying with Grandma in the village they will phone.  I introduced her to Superteacherworkbook website, showed her the material that I use and recommended that she did the same.  I did a lesson with them and we read a story and the eldest managed to translate it for his mother into Bulgarian.  Nice boys and they both read very well but it's the comprehension that is missing but with a few hand signals and the occasional dip into the dictionary, they both found the story amusing.  Shaggy dog and the terrible itch...and a roaming flea.

So it was at this point that I went into the antibiotics, some more lights for the tree and shiny balls, popped into the restaurant and had a few quick words with my restaurant lady and then back home.  Fire stoked up tonight...not in the mood for food yet and that curry from last night I don't think I've got the strength to eat it...the meat is so tough.  Might just fish it out and use the sauce with some other meat.

Update complete, kitchen calls, glass needs a refill, fire needs a log and I need to get my camera from downstairs to post a picture....or two so took a few more while I was at it....and please note the present under the tree from my darling Princess....LN...I've things to do...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 18, 2011, 6:38pm; Reply: 22
Sunday 18th December

So was woken up this morning by horrendous high winds and rain.  Last night we had a thunderstorm so it was as well that we had battened down the hatches and tied the roof on.  Looked out of my winter downstairs bedroom window and noticed that the leeks that I had heeled in had been bloody uprooted by the cows and I hadn't noticed before.  Out I went, salvaged what I could so I was making leek and potato soup at about nine this morning.  I delivered the antibiotics and my lovely lady was swathed in headscarves and all I could see were the eyes.  In my humorous way I plonked my new hat on top of everything and at this my Avatar was laughing so as the hat was removed I put it on my Avatar's head on top of her headscarf telling her how warm it was.  Went back home, finished off and blended the soup, washed Avatar's dishes from yesterday and delivered half of the piping hot soup for her in my T-Mobile thermal beaker.  

Sorted out some books, got two jars of my jam and headed out for my Sunday roast and what a pleasant day I have had.  One of their neighbours apparently was waiting for me at the end of the road in the cafe thinking that I was turning up in the Beast but instead I took Beauty and he arrived at the house to complain that I hadn't made it.  'I was looking for a jeep' he says....and I explained that the little car takes a little benzine while the jeep takes a lot of diesel.  After looking at the road surface though...think I should have taken the biggie....I am spoilt living on a tarmac road.  Roast beef, caramalised potatoes, onions and carrots, normal carrots, green stuff (that I gave a miss), mashed potatoes and really tasty gravy.  Tiramisu to follow and I was hoping that I didn't get breathalyzed on the way back, after all, I did forego the wine.

Home at seven thirty to find three bloody cows in my garden and I still don't know the entry point.  Got them out but tomorrow morning I'm going to be on guard from six and watch the frontiers.  I't a bit like the immigrant's waiting at that French port for a passing lorry to take them to the land of plenty and welfare heaven except that there is lots of food in my garden but a bloody great stick awaits at their peril.  Out they went and tomorrow I get the barbed wire out and it's along my front fence....the only side that doesn't have it so just you wait...

No food tonight...I'm stuffed and guess what...I have an invitation for Christmas lunch which is well received...snow willing, I will be there with my boots blacked and came back with three books so I'm all set in my lead up to the festive season..

LN...I have the Boadicea trilogy waiting so here goes for part one....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 18, 2011, 10:28pm; Reply: 23
Sunday continued

Why am I undated with cows this time of night.   The bastards have decided that my garden is good for food and trespassed every border.  Now I am getting angry.  I have moved the beast to stop the access but it doesn't...I have now put the wheelbarrow across the access point.  Let's see what tomorrow brings..bastards....barbed wire tomorrow....I shouldn't be chasing cows at twelve thirty at night'.......
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 19, 2011, 10:00am; Reply: 24
Tuesday 19th December

That was an angry post but yes, I was far intruders.

Well I wasted an hour of my life this morning.  Bekir didn't phone so I set off despite there being a light covering of snow which I though would just see itself off as quickly as it had arrived since it wasn't cold.  Heading out to the main road it was getting a little worse and as I hit the high altitude spot of the journey the road wasn't looking very good at all and I was doubting why I was going to pick them up.  The road to their village was pretty bad so I waited for them to appear from the warm cafe, they got in the car and it was obvious that Sally was not looking forward to the day.  I had visions that if it carried on even at the rate it was falling it was going to be a pig of a journey at night.  So out they got and you could see the relief on Sally's face since he's not one for rain, damp or wind.  Bekir is going to phone tomorrow if he thinks it's good enough.

So home I came, was working away upstairs checking up on a couple of websites and my hotfoot neighbour came round to ask me if I was going into Djebel to the Monday market.  I didn't really understand what she wanted so we went to see my Avatar, the translator and intermediary.  As it happens, she wanted to go to the market to buy a gas hob.  Hers is old apparently but I'd done enough miles this morning and I offered to get her one tomorrow from the shop when I went to Djebel for my student.  I told her it was about fifty leva but she thought that this was expensive and that the market would be cheaper.  She'll have to wait for the Friday market.  I did feel bad though since she gave me a pair of hand knitted woollen socks and wouldn't accept any money for them.  

It's sleeting now so it was a good call this morning...tomorrow promises white cloud but dry so all back to normal. Got Annie Lennox belting out, fire going and a book on the go.....bliss...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 19, 2011, 4:45pm; Reply: 25
Monday continued

Now my hot foot neighbour made me feel even worse.  She came round and delivered hot rice stuffed cabbage and stuffed vine leaves which she insisted I 'yash, yash' (eat, eat) there and then.  I transferred them to my bowl and off she trotted.  Now I detest cabbage at the best of times apart from when it is fried/braised in butter and oil mainly because boiled cabbage always reminds me of the smell of the school canteen.  So I took a spoon and a fork, picked the rice out of the parcels and ate it but left the greenery at the side of the dish.  The rice was tasty but they do seem to use a lot of fat in the cooking.  Upside....I don't have to cook tonight.

So.....back to my book which I am slowly getting into.  The last set of books I read such as Alexander the Great and Caesar were easy reading but there's a lot of descriptive text so far in this one with a slow story line.  

Bring on the gore...LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 20, 2011, 4:52pm; Reply: 26
Tuesday 20th December

Oh what a pig of a day weather wise...I seem to forget that it is December though but the poor men today ended up like little drowned rats and so much so that I have taken in washing tonight...washed it and it's drying in my unfinished upstairs bathroom as we speak.

Not much happened today.  I phoned them this morning to see if they could work since it was pretty damp here and they said they were game for a laugh.  The work today consisted of continuing on the brickwork on the under eaves and thank goodness Bekir got stuck in and it's more or less complete.  Next stage is getting the wood nailed on the roof, then hardboard (I never understand why)...bitumen and then the tiles but I have this feeling that the tiles can wait until the New Year and that might even stretch into February according to the weather.

Had my student today and we had quite a giggle.  We were doing a word search about Christmas and I started singing one of the Christmas songs, he rushed to get his music book and the words were in English so we had a little sing song.  There was also the Bulgarian version but I gave that a miss...I told him about Santa Claus and how we hang up stockings on the twenty fifth leaving out a glass of sherry and mince pies for Santa and  carrots for the reindeer.  I also mentioned hanging up stockings and he put the actions to holding his nose for the old socks and Santa weaving about after all that hooch.  He did say 'you know that Santa isn't real' and I replied that he was and we had a 'yes he is', 'no he isn't' little session.  The lesson might not be on for Thursday if the weather does what it has threatened...heavy snow Wednesday night and Thursday and light snow on Friday...just have to wait and see.  He's actually Muslim so their time for sharing gifts is New Year.  

As I's work gear washed and drying....I'm thinking about going down and concocting something in the kitchen, there is glass of red at my elbow, the book is livening up a bit so it's the sofa for me with my feet up this evening.

LN.....I'm hoping for fine weather tomorrow...we need to get some protection on the roof so that it doesn't resemble a swimming pool....enjoy your evening....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 21, 2011, 3:30pm; Reply: 27
Wednesday 21st December

Silly o'clock again this morning....just couldn't manage to get back off again so knocked off a few chapters of my book and had finished emails by six a.m.  Waited for the dawn to come up and there was a feint glimmer of that big bright object that appears when it seems to feel like it these day and after yesterday, it was a welcome surprise.

Men had changed restaurants this morning...well they were fifty yards away at the new one and I asked why.  The response was that it was a GERB restaurant as opposed to the other political party that most people here support.  I asked Sally what he was doing in it and he said that he had started off in the former one and had only popped into Bekir's to dig him out when I arrived.

Handed them their freshly laundered work clothes this morning and they were warm as they came straight off the bathroom radiator.  By eleven this morning they had finished most of the brickwork apart from where we have to work out where the sun terrace is going.  I suggested they ordered more bricks and they should be arriving on today's wagon....that's if it turns up.  The rest of the day has been hammering the timbers on to cover the rafters and they are chugging along nicely with it.  Good call to have a roof terrace / upstairs lounge.  No way could I have blocked out those views but I'll leave you to make your minds up about it.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 21, 2011, 5:38pm; Reply: 28
Wednesday continued

Sorry....didn't get round to posting the pictures, there was a bloody cow in the garden that smashed through a wooden barrier and a wheelbarrow...they are persistent.  So left you to chase it out and everything was OK but then I focused on helping remove the shuttering from the new ceiling in the lounge of the wreck so that they could use it on the roof since the lorry with the rest of the supplies didn't arrive.  I might even deduct 10% of the cost for not delivering on time....result....I then went back to reinforcing the boundaries to stop that bastard cow yet again and moved one of the scaffolding supports in to place and thought that 'job was a guddun' so to speak.

So back to the PC and everything was on reduced in size and again noticed the same bloody cow back in the garden but by this time the light was failing.  One of my neighbours had come to speak to Bekir and left the gate open so with my torch and cow stick I went into the garden, chased it as I thought but it hadn't come out the other end.  Up the passage way I went between the wreck and my barn and it was only settling down for the night in the first barn.  Got my torch on it, made a noise, by this time the men were changed and Bekir was wondering what all the fuss was about and Sally said that it had 'left the premises' which I knew it hadn't.  Long and short of it...I eventually got it out, Bekir chased it up the road and I had a great idea to put it in it's owner's garden (Semile) but Bekir wouldn't let me.

Men home, me home, wall reinforced, gate shut, fire glowing, supper cooking, cow chased up the road and a glass of the red stuff by my side.  Let's hope that the weather as provided by the BBC weather for Kardjali is wrong...I don't want snow tonight or tomorrow....LN....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 22, 2011, 9:34am; Reply: 29
Thursday 22nd December

Slept in until six thirty this morning and thought I would check the weather by popping my head round the curtain.  The BBC weather man was right....I have a whiteout and it's still coming down.  Currently we have about six inches but drifting in places but all is safely gathered in...plenty to eat and drink so it can do its worse.  

As you've guessed no men....and I'm just hoping that that's not it for this year, not that there's much left of it.  The snow seems to go as quickly as it comes so we'll have to wait and see.

Updating early today since we've just had two mini-powercuts in that they didn't last long.  Trouble is with central heating that you need the electricity to run the UPS  to run the pump and the UPS will last for a couple of hours and then it's empty out the heater.  So my next job is to get the backup going in the kitchen so if push comes to shove, I've got one room that will be heated.

Just a few pickies of this morning...can't see much exciting happening I could be in for a very restful day without the cow brings a JCB down.  So I might be (wo) manning the barricades and playing the sound track to Les Mis at the same time...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 22, 2011, 7:28pm; Reply: 30
Thursday update

I was right...nothing much has happened today but I have read more of my book, got the second wood burner going since the electricity has been on/off for some of the day but not for long.  I cancelled my lesson with my student. I might not have got back into the village if I had actually got out and that could have created a bigger problem.

It's still's very pretty and there is some super snow art around that might just need to be photographed in the morning...

LN...back to my book and hopefully a good night's sleep..... there is nothing to wake up early for tomorrow...and having checked the five day weather report, we are in for minus double figures at night for the next few days, I've got the feeling that the men won't be back before next year.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 23, 2011, 3:54pm; Reply: 31
Friday 23rd December

Out fairly early and got the logs in and wood trimmings from the roof to go into the little wood burner.  Some of the other logs are just too big and don't really burn regularly so I thought that I would get it gathered in....the temperature is going to drop tonight to minus ten so I read so winter really draws on.

Dull this morning but the sun came out this afternoon....very slow day but had a surprise visitor from Gouljan this afternoon with a Christmas present, her mother's homemade bread and some clay for a face pack....odd selection.  I was making soup when she arrived so I stuck it on the wood burner and had it when she had left.

We sat around and talked students and what we are respectively doing over the holiday.  She's finished work now until the sixth January and I'm going to her house on Monday.  One of their relatives sent some curtains up from Turkey and they need shortening so my sewing machine is out visiting on Monday. Gouljan loved my tree and to date hasn't stolen one from the forest.  Destined for tomorrow I think and my promised one with roots has not been delivered from the Forestry Commission so one is likely to get strung up if one doesn't deliver.

Went out and took some photos this afternoon and sent out my email Christmas card since sending them out from here via snail mail is expensive and cards here aren't what they are in the UK.   The cars are buried in the snow and I saw one of my neighbours and she appeared to be clearing the snow from underneath her son's car but on her knees doing it....I can see me doing that.... :-/  

Dark now....I have had BBC Radio 2 on most of the day and as for Hammersmith flyover...what is happening there?  Chris Tarrant is burbling away at the moment along with Giles Brandreth getting in the odd word and he's advertising his latest London performance.

LN.....finished my onion, potato and spicy sausage soup accompanied by Gouljan's mother's bread roll.  Stuffed and there is enough for to post the pickies....I'm back to my book.

Posted by: createdbyme4you, December 24, 2011, 7:14am; Reply: 32
Happy Christmas Elsa and a wonderful new year,
keep warm, stay safe ,and we raise a glass of the red stuff to your good heath   ;)
Jackie & Danny
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 24, 2011, 5:29pm; Reply: 33
Saturday 24th December

Thanks Jackie and Danny for your good wishes...not sure if you are here or there but wherever you are I cherish the thought of a glass raised any day of the year.  Let's hope next year sees you out here permanently..... ;)

Seven thirty start this morning and both fires just going and both salvaged.  Checked the thermometer and only down to minus two so didn't rush with the logging...decided it could wait until poached eggs on toast were prepared and eaten.  Set about getting enough wood in for the next few days, cleared some of the debris from the wood store, snow from the terrace and from the steps leading to the wreck.  I had visions of coming out of there with a basket of logs and going base over apex if it turned slippery underfoot.

My attention then focused on clearing the snow from Beauty and opening up my route to the road.  The snow plough does its stuff as you can see from yesterday's pickies but it does tend to leave a two foot wall that stops you getting to the road. much so that I decided to go into Djebel and get the pressies for my neighbours that I hadn't managed to get before the snow hit so tonight's task is to parcel them up and have them ready for the morning.  I was surprised to see Bekir in Djebel standing forlorn by a car and he had been into Kardjali with his friend who had been working in Belgium.  I was introduced as his 'patron' and me not being totally sure of this embellishment introduced myself his friend who he happens to work for.

Drove back and realised that there was no way I could turn round to be able to reverse into the drive so had to drive down to more or less Gouljan's village to find a side road.  Car back off the report as you can see threatens more of the white stuff on Monday and Tuesday...about to start wrapping now I'm off.....

Can I just send Christmas wishes to you all and may your New Year bring you what is good for you and not necessarily what you think you need....;)
Posted by: MikeyB, December 24, 2011, 6:11pm; Reply: 34
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year Elsa!

I doubt we'll have a white Christmas, so throw a snowball for me! xXx
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 24, 2011, 6:56pm; Reply: 35
Quoted from MikeyB
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year Elsa!

I doubt we'll have a white Christmas, so throw a snowball for me! xXx

Thanks Mikey B...and lots of love to you all.

I've just gone out and done it....the guy wasn't too happy about it but's Christmas....for me anyway.... ;) ;)

Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 25, 2011, 8:56am; Reply: 36
Sunday 25th December

Firstly Merry Christmas...Went out at seven thirty this morning to empty the ash can and forgot to look at the thermometer but it was rather chilly.  Tried to see it with the binoculars from the inside of the house...doh...and eventually had to go out there and take the picture of it....minus twelve....eeks

I've put on my Santa outfit and delivered presents to my ladies and they were overwhelmed.  Picked up two chocolates on the way and the offer of a stuffed pancake.  Ate the chocolates, declined the pancake....eating a proper roast later so don't want to take the edge off my hunger.  Phoned up and got a weather report for the village I'm going to and it looks like I have to leave my car and ....walk the last two hundred yards, so snow boots at the ready and ski trousers and shovel already in the car should my Beauty decide to take to the verges and not stay on the straight and narrow.  If only life was that simple.

Enjoy whatever the day brings be it beans on toast or the usual Christmas fare.  I'll update you later unless I get lost on the way back...or like Oates...this could take some time... ;)
Posted by: 50 (Guest), December 25, 2011, 1:42pm; Reply: 37
A very Merry Christmas to you Elsa.  I hope you have an enjoyable day.  Make sure you get home okay tonight.  Can't have you wandering the countryside in the snow. ;)
No snow here, so I won't be building a snowman today.
Posted by: linda g, December 25, 2011, 1:54pm; Reply: 38
Hi Elsa,
Hope your Xmas day has been good. Ours is nearly over, What can I say, 32, sunny, arvo breeze and prawns on the barbie, along with cold turkey ham and salads....mince pies, pavlova and fruit salad etc. Kids played in pool most of the day and us bigguns sat around nibbling and drinking. The joy of the Aussie Xmas. My Mum overwhelmed with small gifts and she had her hot Xmas dinner in the Air-Con. But like your photo's, its not really Xmas unless there is snow. LOL. It looks beautiful there, and spoke to my daughter in Austria last night and it was the same there, she sent me 2 photos on my phone and it looks cold but beautiful. Have a warm wonderful night and take care. Merry Xmas. Linda, Rachel and All.xx

PS; Did u receive a yellow envalope yet?
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 25, 2011, 6:03pm; Reply: 39
Quoted from 50
A very Merry Christmas to you Elsa.  I hope you have an enjoyable day.  Make sure you get home okay tonight.  Can't have you wandering the countryside in the snow. ;)
No snow here, so I won't be building a snowman today.

Just to let you know Danuta that I am safe and sound and back in one piece.  The road where it goes through the forest had impacted snow on it this morning so I knew that I had to take care on the way back.  Bulgarian drivers think that the white line down the middle of the road has to be kept central to the all times :-/

Came back with sausage rolls and Christmas cake that I refused at the time.  It seemed to be bountifully laced with brandy and I didn't want to be held up as an example of Brits abroad by the Bulgarian Police.  

Sausage rolls gone, cake three quarters gone, bottle open as it was an alcohol free lunch for me...settling in for the evening with the rest of the bottle and a good book....

As for the yellow envelope Linda, I did thank you for it in an earlier post but I suppose leading up to the holiday you may have missed it.  Many thanks and lots of love to all of you.

That bottle is getting warm my the fire and it's log throwing time....LN....and guess who forgot her camera this snap the festive table....agh well...another year...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 26, 2011, 5:53am; Reply: 40
Monday 26th December

Minus twelve again and feels like it outside....inside, both fires were just about going and I take bets with myself as to how long it will be before the first of the hot water races round the radiators.  And this morning....I started to count down from twenty when I thought it should be up to temperature and then got spoke to it rather sharply and started down from ten and when I got to three, the pump burst into action.  You really have to be firm with these foreign boilers. ;)

Forgot to mention yesterday that I came home with a beautiful hand made crochet blanket that now adorns my recently moved inside activity centre (wooden sofa).  Curled up on it in front of the big wood burner and wrapped myself in it.  Also acquired some 'special' soap that has 'Relax' and 'Inspire' written on the boxes but not sure which to do first.  I think I'll meditate and look for a solution or perhaps I'll just go back to my activity centre and get stuck into my book.

Snowy and grey this morning....BBC predict more snow for today and tomorrow so let's see what the day brings.  I'm supposed to be going down to Gouljan's house later in the morning to shorten the curtains lugging my sewing machine with me...might just go down there with a box of pins and do the shortening here.  Got more of a table here to work on.  
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 26, 2011, 4:05pm; Reply: 41
Monday continued

Dug out more of my road access so that I didn't have to drive into the village to turn round again to go to Gouljan's house.  You can only just pass on the road at the best of times but the tractor / snow plough has left two food high banks along the road with no passing / turning places so now I can get into the space outside of the house from both directions.

Went to Gouljan's with the intention of measuring the curtains and bringing them back to do but when I saw the fabric, no way was I going to risk it on my machine.  It is very flimsy material that will probably move every which way and that so I suggested that we take them in to the curtain shop in Djebel or the one in Kardjali and get them done professionally.  Now Gouljan's mother insists on feeding you up every time you go and fusses over you.  Cake and coffee at 11.00 and then veal and chickpea soup with her home made bread.  To follow there were pancakes with yogurt and pear syrup.  She also opened a jar of wild damson fruit juice that she had made.  I still feel stuffed and the chicken wings that I got out of the freezer this morning will have to go into the fridge until tomorrow.  Sorry space left.

I got an email from Princess with a photo of the remains of a slice of toast asking me to guess what she had had for breakfast.  Our favourite for Boxing morning was turkey dripping on toast and she had it and I didn't.... :'(.  It's almost worth going out and buying a turkey for.... :-/

Fires going, wood in, home toasty, stuffed so no need to cook anything.   Fancied a beer this evening, wine would lie heavy since the chickpeas haven't moved very far down the digestive tract so I'm helping them on their way.  LN....I'm down for a shower, pj's on and back to that book....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 27, 2011, 10:30am; Reply: 42
Tuesday 27th December

Looked like being a grey day again but as I sat and did my emails at early o'clock I noticed the sun between the mountains and the clouds and I knew we were in for a good one since there wasn't another cloud in the sky.

Sorted the fires, cooked poached eggs and settled down with a coffee infront of the fire and back to my book.  Thought then that I should burst into action and get rid of the rubbish firstly digging out the bonfire site but then continued and cleared the steps to the garden and another bit of the terrace.  It was such a lovely morning so moved to the swinging chair under the cherry and when the mood changed I went in, got my book and sat out on the lounge terrace in the only outside chair that is still weathering the elements.  Book is finished, the traitor has returned to his sister and she now has to find the courage to forgive him.  Now on to the third but I'm going to savour this one.  Not sure when the library is open again...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 27, 2011, 3:18pm; Reply: 43
Tuesday continued

Didn't want to do my lesson with my student today..I don't know why but the gods know and I am a  bystander.  I phoned his mum and asked if he had said that I had decreed a holiday and he obviously hadn' made the decision and felt better about lesson....supper, keeping the home fires burning, radio two and life in general.

What a beautiful's that grey glow of evening....I unleashed the Beast from the snow today and it only clung on to the bits I couldn't reach.  Tomorrow I will get the engine going and clear the rest of it... Five fifteen and a lovely evening..fits in well with my book of Bodecia...LN...back to my's a very calm cool evening here and I have no will to change it....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 28, 2011, 4:40pm; Reply: 44
Wednesday 28th December

Off to the big city (that's Kardjali not Sofia) and I hoped that the freezing fog lifted before I set off and it just about did.  When I got out to the car though the windows were frozen inside and outside and it took me a while to get it so that I could see out enough to head down to the next village to pick up Gouljan from the bus-stop.  When I got there her father was with her and it transpired that they were going to see the water board after receiving 'a very, very large bill'.

The story goes like BG you have a water meter and in some cases these get buried and you get an estimate.  Some houses have two if one of the properties was once a house and is now a barn and the procedure is to go to the water board and tell them to 'stop the clock'. Now for eight years no one had read this meter but about a month ago, someone decided to dig it up saying that it was about time it was read and so they did....why it took eight years ...who can say.... but they were then presented with a bill for over seven hundred leva.  They explained that it had  been buried, that it hadn't been used but as the man from the water board said......well it's gone somewhere and you should have told us eight years ago.  The local man could do nothing so today's trip was to see the 'big cheese' and we have a result.  They have a thirty percent reduction and installments arranged.  Father thinks it should have been fifty percent...I think they have been very lucky but I would still ask the question as to why it took them eight years to get round to reading it and no bills sent during that time.

So on to my next favourite dress agency had nothing worth buying today so then on to my curtain material shop and I now have ten meters of cotton sheeting, two meter twenty wide for five leva a meter....can't be bad.  Tomorrow's job...curtains for the second bedroom now that I've bought the lining....and I might even get round to making a blind for the upstairs bathroom. Next on to the Leva shop and got six more wine glasses and six brandy goblets for one leva each and a super large stone glazed pot for six leva.  I think that the man thought it was Christmas when he took twenty two leva off me and I reminded him that it had just gone... ;) Went to Lidl and Billa and both were pretty hectic.  The New Year is what it's about here and the race was on.

Back home...the big fire was hanging on but the little one was out and was a bugger to relight....both going now though and as I suspected, the temperature is dropping pretty rapidly.  Going downstairs to the fire ...back to my book and I do happen to have a box of Belgium chocolates which just happened to slip into my shopping this to munch...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 29, 2011, 9:43am; Reply: 45
Thursday 29th December

Cold one overnight again but thanks to the zebra quilt cover...didn't feel a thing until my foot touched the not the roof...the floor times so quickly on with the pink fluffy slippers.  Both fires still going so topped them up and headed up to log on and have a look.  Got the pc booted and looked up and the first glimmer of morning was showing and I watch the sky change and colour red but the sun only briefly showed itself but now, what a lovely day.

I suddenly remembered the beans that I had soaked and slow cooked yesterday and had this urge for beans on toast.  Sauteed an onion, added some of the beans, tomato paste, little salt, honey and let then simmer while I did a couple of slices of toast which I buttered.  Banged the beans on the toast....delicious and at least I know what has gone into them.  Finished breakfast and again sauteed another onion but this time with some veal, the rest of the beans plus the other stuff but this time with water and it's now in the slow cooker for supper.  

Washed up, tidied the kitchen and settled down with my book. Still in my pj's as we speak and I have this great longing for a I have one, it's sitting in the third bedroom waiting to be installed in the upstairs bathroom and I'm thinking what a waste....but needs as needs must...if we hadn't worked on the other house, this winter would have finished at least I have a bath to look forward to...eventually. :-/

Now I'm feeling slovenly...going for a shower in the absence of anything better....didn't do the student this afternoon and wanted a full day on them....I might just happen to pass the chocolate box on my way to the bathroom...not looking too healthy...might just last the day.... and that's the chocolates not me...;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 29, 2011, 4:54pm; Reply: 46
Thursday continued

Gave my student his lesson and went round to visit my restaurant lady.  I have an invitation for New Year's Eve and unsure whether to accept of not.  If I do...I'll go back to my Djebel hotel which is round the corner and ever hopeful that they don't put me in room 301 on the third the time that I managed to climb the stairs dawn would probably be breaking....I'll give it some thought.

Sunset here was just marvellous.  It's the wintry light that catches the mountains.  Sky is very clear tonight and not a cloud in sight so I think we're in for a really cold one.  Never mind.  Everything in that should be in namely wood and coal and me....and now time for supper.  That veal has been in the slow cooker all day with the beans and 'things' so don't have to do much to achieve the evening top up.  Red wine replenished and a bottle of brandy purchased just to check out the new brandy glasses.  One at least has to be broken in but not 'broken' in if you know what I mean.

LN....just a few pickies of this evening....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 30, 2011, 3:15pm; Reply: 47
Friday 30th December

Well, a lazy day today apart from the usual chores.  Finished the third book of Boadicea last night stopping up until after midnight and managing to leave two of the chocolates for today...I did say I thought they wouldn't see in the New Year....and they haven't but I can recommend them...delicious.  Got out the axe and chopped some of the bigger wood to fit into the little wood burner in the kitchen.  The problem is that the big stuff goes in at an angle and doesn't managed to catch easily.  You need some of the smaller stuff round it to make sure that it really gets going but I don't want it roaring away though...I've got the central heating doing that.  

Stripped the bed down today....washed the quilt cover and under-sheet...the zebra is now prepared for the New Year.  Because the quilt and bottom sheets are made from fleece blankets they drys in quick-sticks so the bed is already made up.  

Dug out one of my films this afternoon that I hadn't seen before, Head in the Clouds and enjoyed it.  Supper was the remains of last nights that had been reheated in the slow cooker with some chili added to it to give it a 'lift'.  I now feel stuffed and what's left will go into the freezer.  

I think my plans to hit the restaurant tomorrow night have been scuppered looking at the weather report but I'll wait to make a final call.  If I go, the hotel will only cost me fifteen leva so won't break the bank but the forecast is heavy snow during the day and light snow at night with the temperature dropping. Looking at the sky, the clouds already seem to be gathering and if that's the case I shall be staying by the fire, getting out a little of the hard stuff and toasting it in watching everyone else's firework.  It's a New Year thing here....

Have I missed the hype?  No....and I can honestly say that.  Kardjali on Wednesday reminded me of the UK. Full shopping trolleys, lots of beer going in and topping up as if there was a siege going on...perhaps there is and no one has told me :-/  I'll wait for the tank down the high street.... ;) but listening to BBC 2 Radio, I'm surprised that anyone in the UK get's duty, washing up and let's see if there is another book lingering somewhere.... :-/

Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 31, 2011, 9:33am; Reply: 48
Saturday 31st December

So I said last night that the clouds were gathering and the BBC weather was right again....How can they manage it here in Bulgaria yet in the there is no chance of a hurricane...I remember the words well from Michael Fish as I sat up in bed at three in the morning wondering whether my house in England would survive it.  It did and still does.

White over...still coming down and it looks like I am spending New Year's Eve on my least I don't have to share the bottle. ;)   I shall sit and reflect on the outgoing year and watch the clock turn over to begin the new one.  What could I have done differently?  Probably lots but I feel that I am in the right place at the right time and doing the right thing and that can't be bad.  I have a peaceful list of 'Things to do' is written and gets added to and subtracted from but there's no urgency or pressure.....I'm my own boss, worker, critic and I'm less harsh on myself these days than I used to be.  

May I wish you all that you hope for yourselves for the New Year.....but if you get what you deserve and not necessarily what you want...accept it and learn the lessons well otherwise they will come round again and again.....and I'll remember that advice when I need to. ;)  

I'd also like to say...thank you all for your support for didn't go unnoticed.... ;) ;)
Posted by: westwitch, December 31, 2011, 9:12pm; Reply: 49
Chestitia Nova Godina,  Elsa!

Loved reading your blogs. Long may they continue.

All good wishes for 2012 and here's hoping your ugly duckling 'wreck' turns into a beautiful swan.

P.S.  Very envious of all that beautiful snow and would love to exchange it for our dismal Cornish rain at the moment!
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 31, 2011, 10:08pm; Reply: 50
Saturday continued

Happy New Year everyone...I've had a food parcel from Gouljan's mum and my own firework to let off.  Their four year old grand daughter wanted to see the Anglechanka's Christmas tree that she remembered from last year...

I'm sitting here watching the fireworks on the hillside.... magical...

New Year....another canvas to paint on.....LN... ;) ;)
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