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Elsa Peters living a new life in Bulgaria  /  My Diary by Elsa Peters  /  JANUARY 2012
Posted by: Elsa Peters, December 31, 2011, 10:10pm
Sunday 1st January

Well it is here....LN...I'm off to bed... ;)

Morning....if there are white rabbits out there...you'd hardly spot them.....there's still snow on the ground, car needs digging out and you know those mornings when there's a glimmer of hope left in last night's ashes and you nurse it carefully when all the time your common sense tells you to take it apart and start again.  Bit like a love affair that's passed it's sell by date.  Eventually it got there and it took about an hour to get that hot water bubbling through the system.  It might not be me...the wind's changed round and is coming from Siberia and I don't think it's going to get above freezing today.

To horse....first wood chopping, I've run out of the small stuff after this mornings fiasco and I haven't even started on lighting the little one until I have more supplies.  Then the car needs out, well one of them at least...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 1, 2012, 3:51pm; Reply: 1
Sunday continued

Cars dug out, well one and a half...the Beast can wait.  Drive and terraces clear and I still didn't manage to get the small stuff chopped but the fires going and tomorrow is another day.

So what did I get up to?  I went up the ladder in the wreck to salvage my sweeping brush to clear the terrace and then it struck me how much snow there was up there....arggghhhh.  I reckoned it would probably have caused a flood in the down rooms so yes...my task for today should I choose to accept it was to clear a lot of the snow from the wreck. Armed with a shoved, up the ladder I went and decided to take a picture before I started.  Well you know what it's like...you look at it and think you could have always done better ...well you don't but that little voice inside you does...and now I have the proof.  It's not totally clear....I need to go back up there tomorrow to finish it off but at least that white stuff that is now outside won't be melting inside.

Turned into a very sunny day today with an OK sunset.  I took it first from the garden near to the outside toilet but then caught it from the kitchen terrace about half an hour later....that's the beauty of being out here...you just have to catch the moment.

Supper tonight is spag. bol. left over from last night and out of wine so finishing off the beer and then it might be a Brandy nightcap....those new brandy glasses are super but I think the contents evaporate from them...well just my opinion....

Monday tomorrow...it's supposed to be foggy but not sure if I'll get a phone call from the men....it's not going to be a bad day when it lifts.  I'll wait and see....LN....it's been a good day and where's that bath when you need it...I've shifted loads of the white stuff today.... :-/ :-/.... ;)
Posted by: linda g, January 1, 2012, 7:28pm; Reply: 2
I know I am a bit late. But Happy New Years Elsa. Hope it will be good for us both. Love the pics of the snow, but what can I say we are swealtering here, now its gone muggy and cant sleep and in the shower to cool off. Worked over the weekend, but a friend came over to keep me company when I got home from work, and we watched junk on Tv and had some nibbles and talked till midnight, then I rang my daughter here, then Zowie in Austria and my friend got a hold of her kids in various places......its was a quiet night. Take care. Linda.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 2, 2012, 6:44am; Reply: 3
Quoted from linda g
I know I am a bit late. But Happy New Years Elsa.
Take care. Linda.


Never too late Linda...it's still 2012... ;)  I picked up your Happy New Year from Facebook...and pleased you enjoyed a restful entrance...mine would have been pretty quiet had it not have been for the late visitors arriving with the food parcel of home made bread, filo stuffed white cheese and baklava.  Forgot to mention that that was my teddy which she named Anisey and it's too close to Anisette that I'm sure I'll remember it.

So today since the bear was such a great success for the little one I'm off to Djebel to try and get her one.  It's cold out there...minus six when I last looked but warmed up a little when the sun popped its little head up but the fog has just managed to annihilate it and the hillside has vanished.  The rest of the roof beckons but I'll leave it for when it gets a little warmer and my brain told me that I should get the big wood burner pipes out and give them the first clean of the new year but that was just after I got the logs burning brightly and the hot water round the radiators in all of twenty minutes this morning....result....

Shower and breakfast, Djebel and teddy, roof and snow....pipes if it really warms up....now that's a sort of plan...well close enough to one....


Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 2, 2012, 4:58pm; Reply: 4
Monday continued

Got to Djebel and the shop that I wanted was closed...how dare it...so no photo frame for my pictures of the family but what was on my list?  Not a lot...beer, wine (essentials) and intended to go to the local butchers where only men normally enter to get some mince for the freezer.  How fortunate....Jaylan, brother of my sheep farmer was emerging from the male preserve so I approached him and explained that I wanted two kilos or mince beef...and he said that the butchers wasn't the place but that he would get some from home.  Semile arrived this afternoon...wishing me a Happy New Year and delivered about a kilo and wouldn't accept any payment.  He also delivered a 'dried sausage' that he had made himself and said that it would be delicious with a little red wine. I'll pick my moment for that then....

Other excitement today...I had one of my neighbours frantically knocking on the door wanting my foot pump.  It's all to do with 'children' and she was most grateful that my foot pump worked and hers didn't.  Looked up the road and there were about three cars littering the road.  Maybe she thought that New Year was over and it was time they left. ;)

Phoned the 'library' tonight and told her that the lady who defended Britain against the invaders, no, not Margaret Thatcher...but Bodecia,  was no more.  The books were finished so could she look in the library and bring a selection.  Wednesday has been agreed.

Supper tonight was leek and potato soup with chunks of gammon left over from this mornings breakfast joint ...delicious ...and served with crusty bread and a large glass of the red stuff.  

LN....the temperature has dropped tonight and looks like being a corker.....loads of stars....Don McLean would have a field day out here with his Starry, Starry Nights....tomorrow...student.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 3, 2012, 3:40pm; Reply: 5
Tuesday 3rd January

Up with the lark at sixish and had this mad dream that Tom Jones had been found dead on a park bench...that's my last night on red wine...well for this week anyway.  Really vivid it was and so much so that I looked it up on the news as soon as I became compus mentis....found no blaring news items so realised then that I must have dreamt it.  

Got the kitchen wood burner going so that there was some heat in the house being minus six outside and as promised to myself yesterday...large wood burner pipes dismantled by seven, cleaned by seven fifteen, wood burner thoroughly cleaned and everything reassembled and ready to go by eight.  Little one was belting out so by the time that the sun came up, there was no need to light the biggie.  My windows just trap anything that the sun chooses to throw out and I welcome it.  Saves on logs.  Sat out on my swinging chair this morning for about half an hour in the sun...it was really lovely and the snow was sparkling.

My cmet (local mayor) delivered a letter from my telephone provider today and I am now a member of the 'Business Club'.  Don't know what that gives me apart from two cards to keep in my wallet.  No more fun stuff left over from Christmas lingering in the post office...I am now back to bills and more bills but the beauty is that they are within reach not like in the UK.

Into Djebel this afternoon for my student and we covered 'Hurricanes' which seems rather appropriate now that the UK seems to be undergoing one.  I've been listening to BBC Radio 2 and dear old Bobby with the weather has some rotten stuff to report.  Now back home....biggie lit and pumping hot water round the system.  It has been a beautiful day and tonight is very calm but again the temperature is dropping so throw another log on the fire.  Got guests tomorrow for lunch so that minced been from the sheep farmer is going to come in handy.  Not sure what it will get turned into but it will be loosely based on something with pasta....might even be a lasagne (for which I am well known for in the UK) with lashings of garlic bread.

LN.....the remains of my soup from yesterday is ready so I'm off to eat.   Now what did I say about red wine...I fortunately forgot... ;)
Posted by: Joanna, January 3, 2012, 6:47pm; Reply: 6
Hi Elsa,
Happy New Year from me, only just catching up on your news. So you didn't make it to the UK for Christmas, would have been fun to meet up  :), another time perhaps.
You have lots of snow compared to us, we have had a bit that comes and goes and is rather slushy, not good. Hopefully we will have enough of the good stuff to be able to ski but not enough to worry some of our friends out on their farms.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 4, 2012, 4:14pm; Reply: 7
Quoted from Joanna
Hi Elsa,
Happy New Year from me, only just catching up on your news. So you didn't make it to the UK for Christmas, would have been fun to meet up  :), another time perhaps.
You have lots of snow compared to us, we have had a bit that comes and goes and is rather slushy, not good. Hopefully we will have enough of the good stuff to be able to ski but not enough to worry some of our friends out on their farms.


And a Happy New Year to you too Joanna.....hope you enjoyed the Christmas holidays with your family.  As for me.....kept the home fires burning...England will be later on in the year for me...I have a whole raft of birthdays at the end of January and February and as you say...there will be other times....and as for the snow...this year it's just as it should be...cold nights and beautiful days but there is more of the white stuff supposed to be heading our way in the next couple of days.

So what have I been up to today?   I dug out the rest of the logs that didn't get split from under the snow and brought them under the front door terrace.  I stuck a huge one on the fire last night with three lumps of coal and it was still going this morning and lasted until one this afternoon.  Hence my idea is to dry the others out and if it threatens to be loads of minuses on the thermometer, to do the same as I did last night.....it only really has to tick over during the day if the weather stays as it is.  The library arrived at about twelve...we sampled a small beer and had spaghetti bolognaise and garlic bread for lunch.....lovely day.  Avatar came round with my next door neighbour when we were sitting down to lunch so I dragged them in against their wishes, not wanting to impose, and showed them the crochet blanket that my librarian had given me for Christmas.  They were both suitably impressed.

The library also needs to get connected to the internet so I was showing them my service provider stuff and demonstrating how easy it is to use....I think they'll be heading off in the next few days to get sorted.  I suppose it gets to be a bit of a lifeline.  I have such good friends on this and my other favourite site that there is no way that you feel isolated.

Quick update tonight...the connection has been very poor all day and I want to get this posted before I lose it...LN.....kitchen all tidied away, four books delivered, beer poured so it's good night from me.... ;)
Posted by: 50 (Guest), January 4, 2012, 4:44pm; Reply: 8
Thanks Elsa.  Just love it, so atmospheric!!     :)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 4, 2012, 5:00pm; Reply: 9
Quoted from 50
Thanks Elsa.  Just love it, so atmospheric!!     :)


Thought you might not have seen it for a while....keep warm in your new finger-less gloves...maybe you could do with some fingered ones since your 'electrics' are on low power.

As I've said before...I have time to stop and observe here and the camera is always at the ready just for that special moment....now back to the serious stuff....my glass is empty...the beer has evapourated.... :-/ :-/
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 5, 2012, 5:17pm; Reply: 10
Thursday 5th January

What a silly morning.  Woke up at four thirty, stoked up the fire since it was still going, read a couple of chapters of my new book and then decided that there was more sleep to be had and bedded down until eight ten....success.

Loaded the fire again, cooked breakfast of poached eggs and then settled down to my book.  Nothing much happening so it was a pleasurable interlude.  Took down the Christmas decorations since it is Twelfth Night and burnt the Christmas tree to free the spirits.  Popped the lights that didn't work last year back into the electric socket. there was a hiss, a bang and they were then designated to fry on the bonfire along with the tree...

Checked out my internet and the websites that I visit.  Realised that there was probably loads of water on the roof of the wreck now that the snow was melting so got up there and started shoveling snow and ice but I think it was a losing battle.  I was almost tempted to drill some holes into the roof/ceiling of the upstairs/ downstairs but I think that might come tomorrow...I had my lesson to sort out and deliver in Djebel to my student.  On the way in, there was a phone call from Gouljan to ask if I could do the taxi run after I had finished my lesson and so to horse, she is now home after receiving the news that the funding for her education project has now been removed and she is now funded by Bulgaria and having to work for one third of less than she was on before.  I'm sure there is an outlet for a school here where we can dictate our own market value.

So back home...it was robbing Peter to pay Paul with both fires and by the time that one was going the other was out and vice-versa.   Eventually I have both going and pumping out the heat.  Supper tonight was the remains of yesterday's lunch and very well received it was.  

Wind appears to have changed round from the west and there are clouds in the sky whizzing round the moon.  I'm thinking of getting up on the roof of the wreck and surrounding it with polythene tomorrow since there is enough snow melt up there already....it has predicted snow for the weekend.

Tonight...back to my book...it's a bit of a slow story in a simple repetitive style that I might come to appreciate...so now onward and upwards and before I forget...it is Danuta's birthday today ...so happy birthday and may there be many more of them.  I hear Scotland has suffered madly in the gales...may you soon be back to normal...

LM....I've got a book to get back to, two fires to service and an empty glass....and since I've just had a break in provider connection and it has come back that I have no connection to the internet...I'm going to post quickly...LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 6, 2012, 4:27pm; Reply: 11
Friday 6th January

Just finished my update and the electricity flickered and lost it all....

Silly o'clock this morning and settled into a book realiasing that there wasn't much chance of sleep.  The rain had awoken me and that ladies and gentlemen is the story of today.  It hasn't stopped.  The fields and hillsides are flooded as is my garden...thunder has been batting around all day and the latest crash was only a few seconds ago so I'm not staying around.  I'll post pictures tomorrow of the floods, the ark that will be started tomorrow (I've just downloaded the plans to Noah's design), the cows will not be the first to go in, I shall.

Supper was a roast chicken with roast carrots, hasselback potatoes, roasted onions and red cabbage and it was to die for and if it keeps on raining, it probably will be to die for.

LN...my wine has evapourated from my glass again.  I'm posting before there is another crash or the electricity decides to waver.  It's supposed to be snowing tomorrow....well anything is better than this damp dreary stuff...LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 7, 2012, 9:00am; Reply: 12
Saturday 7th January

Morning...can't show you the floods from yesterday...they are no more...well they're there but they're under the snow.  So that rain that was lashing down last night at some point turned to the white stuff and covered everything up again.  It's melting though and leaving slush everywhere and fog is gathering but this morning I was up on the roof of the wreck and I've got a couple of sheets of polythene and decided that I would cover the roof timbers so that if it does snow again it will give an element of protection.  I also found a sheet of black plastic underfloor damp proof stuff that I have nailed over half of the hallway to save it becoming completely waterlogged...after all it's only January and goodness knows when the men will be back.  It's not cold today but I cleared the slush off the terraces so that if the temperature does drop tonight as it's supposed to, I shan't get a skid pan outside the door.

Finished one of the four books that arrived on Wednesday and now on to the next. Enough chicken from yesterday to stick in the slow cooker and since it's only eleven o'clock....must find something constructive to do....let's see what I can get up to....
Posted by: MOS, January 7, 2012, 5:09pm; Reply: 13
Hi Elsa
Happy New Year
i think you better put some ski's on that ark it will most likely have to be multyfunctional if your weather doesent improve ,
Hope you are keeping well, we are snugled round the log burner waiting for the potatoes to roast on the top ,then its nosh time whilst we watch Hocus pocus on the telly .
just finished my book and i have one about bee keeping to start next but that will wait till tomorow
ni nits sugar .geoff and H xx
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 7, 2012, 9:04pm; Reply: 14
Saturday continued

Beautiful clear windy night but all I can hear is the whoosh of polythene.  I fear that all that hard work was in vain and tomorrow I shall find it over the hills and far away....or rather ...not find it.  

So what did I do with the remains of the chicken?  Fried up the remaining veg, added the chicken, put in the gravy, added more water and rice, brought it to the boil and stuck it on the wood burner until the rice was ready.  Result...very tasty.

My house is toasty, I'm now heading for the wooden hills apart from the fact that I sleep downstairs in the winter...so now I'm going down the wooden hills from the PC and as my mother used to say, off to Bedfordshire and dear MOS you will understand that one more than most.  Taking MOS suggestion, I'm going to modify Noah's design and make it multifunctional. LN... I have plans to dream up....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 8, 2012, 6:27pm; Reply: 15
Sunday 8th January

Early start and got the fires going so that the house was warm...It is damp today..the polythene held overnight so there is no need for me to scale the heights and knock in a few nails.  Well there probably is but it's not happening.

I lost my thermometer...looked around for it and couldn't see it anywhere and remembered that it was on my winter front door support that hadn't been erected by the men...promised but not carried through.  So this measure of degrees was hidden below this huge edifice and so I decided to retrieve it.  Now you know the point... should I be raising it upright or not...and your brains says no but when it is half way up...as the saying goes it is neither up nor down so with a little more effort...so it is up and the result is...I have been on painkillers all afternoon and suffering for my bravado.

Gouljan arrived this afternoon with biscuits...I provided the tea...but now I am on the red wine soothing my pain.  Supper was an easy meal tonight of chippies with bread and butter, mayonnaise and tomato ketchup with a hint of vinegar and salt.    Not quite like the roast of a couple of days ago but it was just as well received.

LN....the fire calls...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 9, 2012, 6:52pm; Reply: 16
Monday 9th January

Got to bed last night at about eleven and slept through until six forty which for me was a little miracle....

There was another thin covering of snow and it seems to have settled into the routine of disappearing during the day and a gentle dropping of the white stuff overnight that melts during the day.  Got the first fire going from last night's embers and the second from the new fire...it's this robbing Peter to pay Paul stuff as a walk between the two with a glowing coal between.  But today I seem to have got the measure of both.

Decided to go up on the roof and knock a few more nails in to secure the polythene and stupidly forgot to put some gloves on.  Now it didn't seem cold when I was skitting around filling log baskets and coal scuttles but up there with the damp keen wind was another matter.  Why is it that when you have a hammer and nails that they aren't necessarily in the same place at the same time.  When there is a sheet of polythene held in your teeth or you are trying to secure a plank across the outside of roof timbers and your hands are frozen...'t ain't much fun.  Came back in and fortunately the wind seems to have dropped but I'm going to leave the roof to its own devices from now on....

Forgot to mention by visiting bird.  He sits in the tree in the afternoons and generally looks around....I reckon it's some sort of shrike...got a funny beak and a black mask around it's eyes....I need to get out there with the camera right under the tree....my camera was on full stretch today....

Carried on with the third book in the series and this one seems to be better than the second.  Bit more of a story with this one but there are some steamy scenes it it that I didn't expect.....I did come across an 'Angel' bookmark and it's the 'Angel of Solitude' and the quote is that 'Strength and Courage is found Within'.  I wished I'd have found a bit more of it when I was balancing on a shaky ladder in the roof of the wreck.   :-/

Supper tonight was leek and potato soup with cheese on toast dippers.  Quick, easy and filling and some left for tomorrow.  Going back to my book now....moons up, clouds gently rolling by and polythene stationary...so far so good.

LN......time I put my PC to bed but I'll remember to post the pickies tonight.....
Posted by: 50 (Guest), January 9, 2012, 9:31pm; Reply: 17
Elsa that first photo of 'yesterday morning'  is quite stunning.  How lucky you were there with the camera.  Yesterday afternoon after a gloomy day, across Scotland was seen a purple coloured sky which was very beautiful and of course very unusual.  Sod's law, I was in a meeting at the time with no view of the sky, but I did see a beautiful photo of it.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 10, 2012, 7:35am; Reply: 18
Quoted from 50
Elsa that first photo of 'yesterday morning'  is quite stunning.  How lucky you were there with the camera.  Yesterday afternoon after a gloomy day, across Scotland was seen a purple coloured sky which was very beautiful and of course very unusual.  Sod's law, I was in a meeting at the time with no view of the sky, but I did see a beautiful photo of it.


Sorry Danuta...I would ask the question if you'd been on the hooch again...after all we are talking about Scotland here....and was that the meeting where you remain 'anonymous'.... ;)...get back to your packing woman.

First eye opening this morning...five ten...second one that drew me to action was seven twenty and it was the flicker of the fire from the hallway that caused me to climb from the warmth of my zebra nest and head towards the glimmer.....either the fire was still going or I'd had a problem with the electrics... :-/  All was contained...one log doing it's stuff so I gave it a mate and ...a fire without much cajoling and effort.  Attended to the little one in the kitchen and that was still going, the minus seven overnight had not encroached at all and coming back from emptying the ash can I noticed the full moon going down.  Rushed inside to get my camera, got outside again, realised that the battery was as dead as the proverbial dodo, went back to get a new battery and lo and behold, the bugger had slipped into the morning mist.  As for that sun coming up...,I know it's there but that too is hiding it's little face and struggling to break free.  It will be good later, the house will fill up with its warmth and I can then forget about fires until about four this afternoon when I get back from my English student. Go on sun, you know you want to.....catch you later....


Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 10, 2012, 6:47pm; Reply: 19
Tuesday continued

Started preparing for my lesson and now found out that the site I use for my material has decided that you have to join and there is an annual subscription.  I noticed that some of the articles had Free printed on them so I shall just have to look out for the freebies.  They blame the cost of having to use more resources now that they have become popular...how come some of the sites offset it with advertisers?  I no know....

So today's lesson was about pseudoscorpions in the bathroom but it was a sweet release from the fifteen page hurricane article.  One of the questions was to interview someone who had been in a hurricane and so I got him to ask me questions about how I felt during the 1987 one that sailed over my house in Brighton.  His little eyes lit up when I answered some of the questions and I think he felt WOW...

Did a little bit of shopping....bought a snow scraper only to be told that there wasn't any snow but I questioned the price in Turkish and my little man that never smiles raised the corners of his mouth as I paid up.  Topped up on a few essentials, the wine store is replenished, I was out of onions and a few bits for the freezer means that I am replete for the next few days.

Had the remains of last night's soup but gave it a topping of fried mushrooms and garlic croutons and it went down rather well with a glass of the red stuff.  Fires going beautifully, temperature is into minus already this evening and threatens to be much lower.  Back to my book and just a few pickies to post.

LN...busy day with nothing to do tomorrow....so far...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 11, 2012, 7:07pm; Reply: 20
Wednesday 11th January


So that nothing to do turned into nothing to do until the roof called and there was plenty to do.  I was up on the roof of the wreck devising ways of attaching  timbers so that the polythene remained intact.   Such is the life of a single female in Bulgaria.

After much deliberation and knocking in of nails I decided enough was enough and went back to my book and fire and left the rest to the elements.

Lunch/supper was prepared this morning and it was left to the urge to eat and that occurred at about four this afternoon.  Chicken wings with curry powder, onions, chilli, ginger, tomato and rice added at the end of cooking and it was delicious.  The rest of the day has been taken up with reading and more reading and has been a gentle blur.  What a day.

Nine o'clock my time, seven yours....back to my book,,,and about to sort out fires.  LN...

  
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 12, 2012, 7:51pm; Reply: 21
Thursday 12th January

Bit of a sleepless night last night...saw the clock at two and again at five but then managed to get back off until six thirty.  Fire was one of those that I tried to nurse back to health and failed miserably so back to the drawing board Cecil, took it apart and got it roaring.  It was sooooo cold last night but once that sun came up we have had a beautiful sunny day but when it went down at about four thirty...you could feel that it was going to be another cold one.

Didn't do much this morning again.  That's the trouble when I get a good book I go for it.  Put some haricot beans in to soak last night so got those into the slow cooker and they simmered away this afternoon while I was struggling with a text called 'Why matter matters' about solids, liquids and gasses.  I think I was more glazed over than my student but we live and learn.  Remembered to buy some matches while I was in Djebel since I've laundered about three boxes recently.  I have boxes in trouser pockets, pj's and if there's a pocket, there's bound to be a box of those little red ended devils somewhere.

So back from Djebel, wood in, coal in, fires out, fires in and got the central heating belting it out and the little one ticking over nicely.  I mixed the beans with the rest of the chicken curry sock that was left in the pot from last night, added some more tomato paste, honey and chilli, sliced a local spicy sausage and added it, brought it up to temperature on the cooker and then simmered it on the wood burner.  Result....curried sausage and baked beans and there's enough for tomorrow as well.

Enough for tonight....A little drop of beer tonight to move the beans along....LN.....I'm back to my book with only eighty pages to go and I'll give you all the details tomorrow.  
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 13, 2012, 5:20pm; Reply: 22
Friday 13th January

So I realised it was Friday the 13th and then read Jonathan Caner's predictions that in Spain they think that Tuesday 13 is unlucky so I got on with my life.  

Boy was it cold last night......it was white over but as for my thermometer, the fact that it got crushed under the outside door shield that never did get put up for the winter (thanks Sally) means that the thermometer part of it has moved and now the scale means sod all....all I know was that it was cold....but pretty.

Moon was still up and reflecting on the stair well windows and the sun was trying desperately to show iit's little face and they both said good morning to each other.  And then the moon went to bed while the sun was doing its stuff and has done all day.  I roamed the garden and picked up all my burnable rubbish that the dogs and wind had scattered and some that I had accumulated from the rubbish tip along the road.  I must train the locals better...why don't they burn it like I do.  Had a little bonfire with the remains of the Christmas tree which seems reluctant to go and generally walked the garden looking for signs of snowdrops and crocus but we've had the snow but no drops...well not any so far.  I'll just have to concentrate on my freasias that are budding beautifully indoors and should be out in a few days.  My azalea is still in bloom and so are the bizzie lizzies so I'm not without anything to brighten my life.

Got stuck into my book this afternoon lying on my sofa in the lounge until the need to rest my eyelids came over me and woke up at three o'clock realising that fire duty was imminent.  All sorted...Had this weird idea that my phone was about to go and two seconds later there was a text from Gouljan that she was available to go into town tomorrow so we are off for the highlights.  I think it calls for a lunch in a new restaurant....I'll leave it to her judgement.

What do I need from the shops...curry powder from Lidl.  They also had a binding machine on offer so I might indulge even though I've got two of the beauties in England that might find their way to a car-boot eventually. Supper that was last nights is now on the big wood burner with added spicy sausage...it's a good job that I view food as fuel sometimes and not a gastronomic delight.....a little beer...the last of the two litres of red wine remains in the bottle untouched....I am showing restraint.....LN.....my books's good and I do promise to share it with you....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 14, 2012, 4:36pm; Reply: 23
Saturday 14th January

Well woke up to a covering of that white stuff again and it was grey and cold with it.  One of the other sites that I visit were complaining about the weather in England and one said that her central heating was broken and didn't come on at all.....mine, two shuffles with the poker, on with the log and hot water round the system in quicksticks this morning and it really needed it.  Got the little one going in the kitchen with an ember from the biggie so all systems go by eight o'clock.  Not bad saying it was seven before I came to this morning.

Cooked myself poached eggs on toast, washed up from last night and this morning and toyed with the idea of a shower and thought that it probably wasn't a good idea since it was pretty chill outside.  Picked up Gouljan at ten thirty as promised and off to the big smoke.  First call my nearly new shop and after much searching around found the bargain of the day for five leva.....a ski cagoule in very bright colours that will be just right so that I don't get lost in the snow....on to the curtain shop for another pillow case to match the ones that I bought for the sofa, on to the leva shop where I got a pillow for the pillowcase, some picture frames, a replacement makeup mirror and three pairs of wool socks and lots lots more.  Moved the car to the market square, fruit from the veg market, into a dinky doo shop that I'd never been in before and spent a little fortune....saw a canvas that will be just the thing for somewhere (and it's only on the radiator to take the picture), a chunky necklace and earrings to match and a new bracelet for me and the lady asked if they were presents and I replied....yes...all for me.  Stopped off for lunch and while Gouljan managed to eat a hamburger with salad...I managed to devour a half chicken, salad and chips...cost nine leva.

Next stop Lidl and who should be in there but Bekir, Sally, his son and their friend from the post-office.  The story goes that there is no hardboard in the suppliers so they can't work at the minute but if the weather gets better Bekir will telephone.  I did mention that the house was now covered in polythene and he looked surprised and asked who had done it....me...and Sally's comment was that with this wind it would be over the hills and far away but so far, so good.  Back home five thirty.  Tomorrow I'm going to Gouljan's since she has a few films in English that I'm going to download and I shall probably be having lunch since her mother will not take no for an answer.

Fires stoked, enough wood for a siege, not hungry but have a box of Belgian chocolates that jumped at me as a walked by the fixture and a bottle of pseudo-Baileys that did the same...such is life.  Back to my book....looks like being an early night ...it's been a good day.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 15, 2012, 4:37pm; Reply: 24
Sunday 15th January

What a stupid night's sleep or lack of it.  Went to bed at eleven feeling very sleepy, settled down and at one thirty, wide awake.  Out came the book, on went the logs and read until five thirty, went back to bed again and woke up at seven thirty,  Not particularly tired during the day or even this evening but maybe it was the block of chocolate or the quarter bottle of pseudo Baileys that made me hyper....I'll stick to a little beer tonight and avoid the box of Belgian chocolates lingering in the hall.

Managed to frame a couple of the photos of the little girl that came to see me with her parents on New Years Eve and had arranged to take my terabyte external drive down to Gouljan's so that she could copy over a few English films.  The four year old was there with her parents and one pickie was in a very sweet photoframe and the other one was in a plastic 'oak' lookalike.  She chose the pretty one and left the other for granny.  Loved it to bits.  Mother was helping Granny cook lunch and Gouljan kept me entertained until lunch arrived and in true local fashion, the table clock was put on the floor, the round table only twenty five centimeters put on top of it, forks and spoons are placed and out comes the food.  We all sat round on the floor, you lift the table cloth over your knees or legs whichever is nearer the table and you dive in to the platters of food.  Yoghurt, green salad, veal with rice, stuffed vine leaves and another tomato and onion salad finished off with baklava.  

Now the little girl eats nothing apparently and will never sit with the others.  I asked her if she was joining us and she replied that she was full.  Now when my children said that I looked in their ears, told them that I could see some space for a little more, this was translated for her and she decided to join us at the table.  Gouljan said she couldn't believe it...it was the first time apparently that she had ever sat down with the rest and eaten.  At the end I looked in her ear again and said that this time I believed her ...children egh....just needs a little effort and imagination.

Downloaded the films, father tried to persuade me to stay for supper but never one to outstay my welcome I replied that I wanted to get back to get the home fires burning since it was threatening a big minus on the scale tonight.  How low I shall never know....the bloody glass in the thermometer insists on moving up and down like the proverbial yo-yo so it could be minus anything tonight....and I'd never know....note to self...get a new one. :-/

So fires going, don't have to cook tonight, book getting vaguely more interesting and I've just learnt that there is a fifth in the series.  The library is becoming mobile and heading in after the librarian has finished her work in Kardjali... so I'm thinking that lunch might be on the cards....I'm signing off...no pictures today only those framed and delivered...LN....that beer will not do any good (or harm) left in the bottle.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 16, 2012, 6:33am; Reply: 25
Monday 16th January

Beautiful morning...slept like a log and no....didn't find myself in the fireplace.  Seven twenty when I saw the glimmer of dawn from my zebra nest and went to the window to investigate.  The sky was just beginning to get red and you know what I mean when I say that it looked cold out there.  There was only a slight covering of frost but everything was so still.

So last night....sat it out until nine thirty deciding if I was hungry or not and made up my mind to get up off my backside, head for the kitchen and get creative.  As it turned out, not that creative but leaving Gouljan's home last night, her mother gave me a couple of eggs from her chicken apologising that she could not give me more but the hens had only just started laying.  Two potatoes, two eggs, chip pan, frying pan, two slices of bread and butter, gas hob and within ten minutes....chips and fried eggs.  Sat on my sofa in front of the biggie wood burner and scoffed the lot....maybe that's why I slept so well....my body tired itself out digesting that amount of food at that time of night.  I did worry about it for all of two seconds but believe me the thought didn't stay.

Wood in, fires going from last night....few clouds creeping over that morning sky and they're now covering that sun.  It did predict white cloud on the BBC weather site for Kardjali...looks like it's on the ball...breakfast calls....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 16, 2012, 7:23pm; Reply: 26
Monday continued

Well that sun was in and out like nobody's business today but on the whole, temperature stayed pretty raw all day.  Decided that I would welcome my librarian today with leek and potato soup, accompanied by hot crusty bread and local white cheese since I was not the possessor of a chunk of Stilton which I would normally serve with it.  So this was my task for this morning.

So twelve o'clock came which was supposed to be the estimated time of arrival but I know what these visits to hospitals can be like so the soup went on to the wood burner to tick over.  By three I was beginning to get a tad hungry so decided to serve up mine and the phone went and the reason for the delay.  She had seen the doctor, had to have a scan which was arranged for that day and the results will be there for her tomorrow.  Try that in the UK and it's supposed to be backwards here.  Didn't know what time they would finish so I'm going to the 'library' on Wednesday to change my books.

Just spotted the sunset before I decided to catch up on the sleep that I missed on Saturday night.  Stretched out on the sofa in front of the wood burner, closed my eyes and the next thing I know is that it's eight thirty and time to throw another log on.  Forced into opening up the chocolates but the wine still remains in the corner and lives to see another day...

LN....about to look at the films from Gouljan to see if there is anything worth looking at tonight......One is called the King's Speech.....I'll send back a report....
Posted by: KingDom, January 17, 2012, 9:50am; Reply: 27
Nice to see my cactus being well cared for.  Booked our flight for 24 March.  See you soon

Dom
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 17, 2012, 4:19pm; Reply: 28
Tuesday 17th January

Quoted from KingDom
Nice to see my cactus being well cared for.  Booked our flight for 24 March.  See you soon

Dom


As are the rest my sweet...lemon trees, orange tree, pot of cacti, fuscias...oh shite...better go and have a look in bedroom two...just a little water needed and I'm sure they'll be fine...  :o :o

Silly night again.  Resting my eyes yesterday afternoon meant that I was able to watch 'The King's Speech', play several games of Freecell, numerous Sudoko, games on the DS and eventually got to bed at two thirty but did sleep in this morning until seven ten.  Fires still going (bonus), temperature outside minus eleven since I checked the temp in the jeep and reset the glass tube, and boy was it cold when I took out the ash cans.  Even the birds weren't flying very far.

No books to read but had a very gentle morning on the pc and downloaded a few English texts for my student for the next few sessions.  Found a new site and they look better with more exercises.  Had a shower and washed my hair and decided to wear a .....denim skirt ....with thick tights....and black socks with pink hears on them but they were getting hidden by boots until I went to my students apartment and the courtesy is that you always take shoes/boots off and he remarked that he thought they were pretty cool.

Went shopping with his mum  after the lesson to get her curtain material from the local shop, called in and got some bread, a bottle of brandy, some beer, chicken wings and spicy sausage from the local supermarket and spent fifteen leva in the process...like seven pounds.  Got stopped by a local lady as I was getting into my car...she has two boys and would like me to give them lessons and I'm meeting with her one day next week to make the arrangements.  I've said that Tuesday/Thursday or both days would be fine since I am in Djebel for my student and it could follow on....jobsaguddun.

Got home and on the way recognised Gouljan's mum walking the five kilometer home so stopped and picked her up and was she pleased.  Dropped her off, got the big wood burner going since there was no joy with it before I left...it just didn't want to so now everything is belting away.  Temperature was minus two at five o'clock so we're in for a corker....just about to get my soup on...the brandy was opened and a dollup was added to a black coffee to warm me up when I got in but now I want sustenance....

LN....'The King's Speech' I can recommend...let's see what others I have acquired...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 17, 2012, 5:13pm; Reply: 29
Tuesday continued

The soup has been embellished with fried spicy sausage and mushrooms...two portions are now in the freezer but goodness knows why I just didn't put them outside...bbbrrrrr and the wine is now open.....LN....I hope to sleep well tonight.... ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 18, 2012, 6:01pm; Reply: 30
Wednesday 18th January

Sorry...late...I was at the library exchanging my books and didn't realise what the time was....

Had a very lazy morning watching a video...Catch me if you can....and went over to the library at about one this afternoon.  Lunch was chicken chasseur..delicious and the chicken was really tasty.  This morning I got a chicken wing curry going so I'm guessing that it is going to be for tomorrow now that I have eaten...poached eggs for breakfast, chicken chasseur for lunch means that there's not much space left.  

Poor librarian.  Her sister has had problems with her health and she has spent days in Kardjali hospital but 30 leva to see a specialist and a MIR scan for 150 leva and the results in one day...eat your heart out NHS.  If you make people pay in England maybe they turn up for appointments and appreciate what is happening... So the result is that she has to have an operation..there are two trapped nerves  in her spine and it was identified in two days...how long would that take in the UK?

Got home at six and no fires to greet me...got them going in quick-sticks so to say and now the house is warm.  The chicken curry I decided needed to be reheated so that it will keep until tomorrow but in the process decided that it was a long time since lunch and added some rice to some of it and it's now simmering over a big wood burner and will be eaten as soon as I've finished this update.

There are no pictures today...I remember I took some but I have lost my camera between upstairs and the bedroom and I can't be arsed to look for it...it will appear in due course and I will publish the results.  I think there was a lovely one of the moon this morning but no way did I see the man hanging down his fishing rod as in the Dreamworld initial screens.  Try as I might...I haven't seen him yet.

Supper as you've guessed is curry.  Came home with several books but the four that I've read so far from the library promised a fifth and instead tempted me with the sixth...The fifth in the series will arrive on Friday that's if the librarian can find it.  I did suggest under the bed as a starting point...let's just wait and see but six can remain on the shelf until I hear yea or nea...

LN...my supper is bound to be ready and I know my glass needs a refill...LN...I'm down to the kitchen.... ;)
Posted by: linda g, January 18, 2012, 7:46pm; Reply: 31
Hi Elsa, Got the xmas card and thank you. My Mum sends her regards and said" hope shes fairing well over there in the cold". I told her you have 2 fires going. And she laughed. Anyway hope you are ok. Thanks again the card was a nice surprise. Take care. Linda & Rachel. ;D
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 19, 2012, 4:02pm; Reply: 32
Thursday 19th January

Quoted from linda g
Hi Elsa, Got the xmas card and thank you. My Mum sends her regards and said" hope shes fairing well over there in the cold". I told her you have 2 fires going. And she laughed. Anyway hope you are ok. Thanks again the card was a nice surprise. Take care. Linda & Rachel. ;D


Thanks Linda...you can tell your mum that I wasn't 'fairing' at all this morning.  Fire was going well when I got up, house was warm, stuck a small log on, but I disappeared to the landing to play on the pc and the blasted thing went out almost.  Spent a little time trying to save it but then realised that I was going to see my student anyway so what was the point.  Received another Christmas card today from the UK and for any others that want to send anything....or replies to my begging letters...do put the postcode on it ...remember, the alphabet is different here...we're Cyrillic...a letter can go anyplace.

Along with my Christmas card came two bills from my internet people and one from the electricity board and personally delivered by my local mayor and me still in my PJ's......not so bad but blue with Rudolph the red nose reindeer all over them.  Then there is the courtesy of shaking hands.  First time I've done the formal greeting in PJ's... ;)  Wind was really whipping round as we stood on the doorstep...didn't want to invite him in...what would the neighbours think, he's single, forty three and I have to look after his reputation..... ;)

So the lesson today was about Mercury the Planet but I don't think he wanted to play today...note to self...let's get some longer texts to read....he's improving.  Went to the supermarket and bought a couple of kilos of oranges and sugar and I intend making marmalade tomorrow.  Never made it before so it's a first.  Lit both fires and they are now crackling away.  Supper is the remains of last night's curry and rice...I know...I said that I wasn't that hungry having eaten at lunchtime yesterday but couldn't resist it.  Lovely sunset tonight and went out in the biting wind to take a few pickies.  LN....it's time to get that curry on....
Posted by: Joanna, January 19, 2012, 6:44pm; Reply: 33
Which site have you discovered for English exercises?

Cold here but not so intense at night but colder during the day I think. Snowed a lot though 8)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 20, 2012, 5:24pm; Reply: 34
Friday 20th January

Quoted from Joanna
Which site have you discovered for English exercises?

Cold here but not so intense at night but colder during the day I think. Snowed a lot though 8)


Found a wonderful free site Joanna (www.superteacherworksheet), well it was until last week and now they have put a charge on it.  The texts are graded and there are exercises at the end of some of them.  The other one I found is Pearsons but that is an annual fee and not really looked into it yet.  I've started to write my own up now and add the exercises on the end...after all, I did write training documentation and induction manuals so I think I'm up to it....only thing is...I thought I'd retired... :-/

So the weather today has been grey and a little snow and sleet this morning.  Got both fires belting since my librarian was coming to lunch.  Knocked up a spaghetti chilli bolognaise, mixed the spiral pasta in with it and fresh yogurt and honey for afters.  Just as we had finished the meal and sitting talking about nothing in particular, my avatar and my next door neighbour came to visit.  I think they like to see other English and I showed her my pot of lunch and she commented that it smelled rather good so I got a couple of plastic dishes out and I've never seen them run so fast.  There were big no, no,s (well there would have been if they spoke any English) so I followed them out the door and said that I'd found a new way to get them off the premises quickly.  Got my own back though, when my visitor had left I filled up the container and toddled off to her house and handed it to her.  She accepted it gracefully and I'll have the container back tomorrow.  They are so sweet.

Have an invitation to lunch on Sunday but I have the feeling that I shan't be making it.  Weather report for tomorrow is heavy snow and high winds so I'll see how the polythene roof on the wreck stands up to it.  Think I might go into Kardjali in the morning if it doesn't snow...there are a few things that I want....

Temperature dropping tonight but since I revved up the fires today everything in the garden is rosy....well, not quite in the garden, that's frozen hard over and the ice on the ponds hasn't even budged for the last two weeks or so. Lovely sunset again but that red was very windswept and it's coming from the West.  

LN.....I now have the fifth book in the series from my librarian and also the sixth to follow on.  I'm going to be busy.... ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 21, 2012, 1:38pm; Reply: 35
Saturday 21st January

Well I know we've all done it...gone to sleep in front of the television and woken up to some silly programme, maybe Countdown, and then decided to go to bed.  First time for everything here.  Woke up on my sofa in front of the big wood burner at five fifteen this morning and wondered whether it was worth going to bed or not but sensibility took over and I did.  Fortunately I'd got undressed and ready for bed at ten fifteen, and woke up to find my book resting neatly on my chest, my glasses still in place and the fire still going.  I didn't bother to check the thermometer, it had been forecast as minus seven so just got into the zebra nest, settled in and off I went waking up this morning at eight fifteen.  So all in all I had done my eight hours in two 'shifts' instead of one.

Text message at eight forty five this morning from Gouljan asking me if I was going anywhere....I wondered if she was bored so I ask her 'why' and then a second message asking if I could pick her up from the bus-stop.  Now I'm confused and decided to phone her to try and work out the logic and it transpires that she had to work today and had plonked herself in the bus stop looking for anyone going by.  I'm in my PJ's not all that awake and apologised saying that I hadn't planed to go anywhere and put the phone down.  Five minutes later I ring her again and offer to take her to the main road where she has more chance of a passing traveler but it was too late...she had phoned a taxi.  And then I felt guilty for all of about five minutes....if she had asked me the night before it would have been arranged....arrrgggghhhh. :-/

Raining this morning so the predicted snow overnight hadn't materialised but decided to get dressed, get the wood in and more coal just in case the temperature dropped and sure enough it did.  Got the little wood burner in the kitchen going and a few belts of hot water round the radiators from the biggie and it makes all the difference.  And then it started and everything white over in quicksticks. Snow has stopped now and the clouds are lifting, that twelve miles per hour wind didn't dislodge my polythene from the roof of the wreck and has held out quite a bit of snow.   Sun is glimmering now on the hills towards Greece but the temperature is set to plummet again tonight so it should still be white over until tomorrow.  Yesterday's lunch has become today's lunch and there is enough to freeze a portion.  Noticed some spicy sausages in the fridge and I've lots of eggs so I think it's an omelette tonight...something quick.  Back to my book and my fire....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 21, 2012, 4:03pm; Reply: 36
Saturday continued

Found a pot of pear and ginger jam yesterday that had gone to sugar so decided to Google it to see if I could save it....boiled it up slowly and added the juice of a lemon....stuck it in a jar and I'll see what happens to it now....not sure.  I've just found another one that seems to have gone the same way but before I go through the hassle...I'll test this one first...give it a week or so.

My Avatar returned the pot today that I gave her with my spaghetti stuff in last night and it was full of....natural yogurt that she makes herself and it's delicious.  She said that last nights was delicious and though I say it myself...not bad but exchange is no robbery ....yogurt and jam tonight but not the new one.

Sun now gone but it was dramatic while it was lingering....giving the eastern mountains a rosy glow.  Just managed to catch it, temperature has really dropped now and it's supposed to be minus seven tonight so no sleeps for me on the sofa.  At the first sign of tiredness, me and my book head for the nest.  

LN....I've got fires and me to feed, then a little brandy and hot water for me tonight....that should suffice.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 22, 2012, 4:26pm; Reply: 37
Sunday 22nd January

Slept in until 7.20 this morning and was surprised at how dark it was.  It was cold overnight and the snow is still where it was last night and despite eventual sun today, nothing's moved.  Opened the curtain this morning and was surprised at the sun rise.  The clouds were scudding along the Greek side and they were climbing making it look like someone had a flaming great fire over the other side.  The wind then picked them up and flung them over this side.  Lots of mist hung in the river valley and when the sun eventually broke through...my was it bright.

Usual morning routine, fires salvaged, wood in, breakfast of poached eggs and decided to wash up the jam reworking and last nights supper things before I decided to sit down and read my book.  I almost did it the other way round....book then wash up but my conscience got the better of me.  Up on to the PC to check emails, three star Daily Mail online sudoku in record time this morning and my average time appears to be going down.  I didn't get it in my top five scores but it was a three star.

Decided that the roads were too bad to go to the library for lunch and tried to phone them three times but couldn't get through.  Caught the tail end of the phone ringing when I came in from getting some small wood but tried ringing back and again, same message and I wasn't connected....note to self...try again after finishing off my update.  I had warned that if the weather closed in, I would stay home.

Lunch was yesterday and the day before's pasta thingy only this time I decided to add some tomato soup and in the oven crisp up some stale bread covered with oil.  Gently does it on the teeth but delicious.  I should have added a little garlic to it but only thought about it later.  Everything cosy and toasty...just battened down my hatches for the night....well brought my key in from outside and closed my hall curtain.  

LN.....I'm back to my book and a little more of that brandy tonight won't go amiss.....I slept really well last night.
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 23, 2012, 10:30am; Reply: 38
Monday 23rd January

Beautiful morning....freezing night....sun up and melting some of the snow from the garden and the roof....I can hear it going down my drainpipes.  Unlike the normal Bulgarian downpipes that shoot out onto the pavements.......one of mine goes down the well, another goes off down the lane and the third one is squirreled away down the garden and comes out next to my vegetable patch.  How about that for planning....builders didn't understand it but someone sent a message down from above that I listened to.

So beautiful shower this morning...the water was piping hot.  Hair washed, pedicure, new painted toenails that will now get hidden under two pairs of socks and will only show themselves when the next shower comes along.  A wash, lick and a promise happens some days... :-/

Did a bit of searching today for a friend I had in Gibraltar xxx years ago.  Tried 123 people and ended up having to enter a ZIP code so realised that there must be a Gibraltar in USA, went on to Facebook but no success.  Did get frustrated with the search engines though.  Thought I'd found a way and then came the punchline....sign up for our premium rate service..........doh...I should have known.   I suppose I'll end up putting an add in the local newspaper....I'm just a little curious as to where life took him.....perhaps I'll never know.  

Now to get on...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 23, 2012, 6:03pm; Reply: 39
Monday continued

And get on I did.  I normally find that there is never enough shorter lengths of kindling or stuff to perk up the little wood burner in the kitchen so today's task was to get out my man-sized chopper and get some cut up.  I did get diverted somewhat....I decided to go up on the roof of the wreck and remove the snow from the polythene and where it had melted and frozen, there were great lumps of ice that I tipped out and skidded down to the ground.  How old am I?  Now that would be telling but I had fun.

Back to chopping, clearing the other logs that had been left by the front gate and added them to the pile on the terrace, tidied up some of the other wood that had been left around and generally occupied myself.  Started the Beast and went up to the village to give it a run, brought it back and put it in the yard instead of leaving it outside and then my Avatar's dog came to visit.  I'm not sure if it's to visit or pee over everything in sight or on site and then he head down to my garden burning pit to see if there was anything he could scavenge.  He's that sort of dog.  I can only assume that he had to do it as a puppy and they never seem to get out of the habit and he hasn't.  Well there was nothing there for him so he stood in the road and looked longingly to where his girlfriend lives and scampered off up the road.  Five minutes later he was back with what appeared to be a bone in his mouth and I can only assume that he got it from the rubbish dump.  As he walked back home, he left it on the perimeter of the property, the ground was too frozen to dig a hole for it but he knew that he couldn't take it back home.  Clever little b*gger.  

Caught a glimpse of myself shadowed on the side of the house with the tree next to me as the sun was fading so decided to snap it....then in we go, stoke up the biggie, light the reluctant small one (bastard), fry off an onion and a local spicy sausage, add tomato paste, honey, curry and chili powder, a little water and stir.  In a separate pan boil some pasta...twenty minutes later...serve and twenty five minutes later...all gone.  Washing up completed, kitchen pristine, back to book when update complete.  It's been a lovely day.  LN
Posted by: theroo, January 23, 2012, 7:01pm; Reply: 40
Hello :)

I have just spent 3 days reading through all your back posts (recommended to you by OldHolborn); you have had an amazing journey and I can't tell you how jealous I am that you are there living your dream (and mine!).  So thank you very much for this blog, and for the inspiration and energy that you have given me  8)

In a month myself and my girlfriend are making our first trip to Bulgaria, after months and months of talking about it and discussing it. We hope to make the plunge and buy somewhere in the Rhodope region at some point this year or early next year. Very very exciting times!

Anyway, I just wanted to greet you and thank you :)

Peace

Andrew
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 24, 2012, 9:32am; Reply: 41
Tuesday 24th January

Well thank you Andrew.....what an accolade and I'm pleased you enjoy it.....but can I ask one thing?  Please don't tell too many people about the South of Bulgaria....we want to keep it our little secret... ;)

Cold this morning...woke up at six to visit the 'wee' room and saw that there was a glimmer from the biggie so threw a log on and went back to the nest to carry on reading.  I did look out and everything was as black as black.  Not even any twinkling lights on the houses in the next valley.  Decided to keep the curtains closed and at eightish realised that that sun was putting in a brief appearance but looking at the sky, that was probably all that I would be seeing of it.  It's grey, cold and my shrike is up there keeping watch on the territory.  

'The assault was to take place just after morning coffee.  The soldiers were lined up waiting for the moment they were called into action.  The targets had been heat blasted but  seemed smaller than usual but no adjustments were made for size.  The artillery had been brought in to remove the lids but all attempts by the soldiers to penetrate the interior were to no avail.....the bloody boiled egg yolks were hard as you like.....' or don't like. Yep, those five minute eggs should have been four and a half minutes ....what a rotten start to the day. ;)

Trying to get a suitable text for my student this afternoon....why do they all want my money to download stuff....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 24, 2012, 5:52pm; Reply: 42
Tuesday continued

Just before I went out to my student today I looked at the roof and was amazed at a kitten traversing the upper echelons...no crampons, no ice pics, and appearing to have forgotten how the hell it got up there.  The rules of nature I left her to it.  Latterly what could have been the mother/father appeared in the garden and shot me daggers as it eyed up my tobacco bed.

Suddenly there was a huge bang that make my entrance door vibrate and I wondered what the hell it was.  I looked over to the mountains and realised that they must have been detonating the rocks to put in the new road to Greece and this was confirmed when I saw the yellow haze....look closely it's there.  Hope they don't get much nearer with the blasting...I have lots of windows up here on my hilltop....

So went in today for my student and afterwards went to the post office to buy my road tax for my two vehicles for the year....one hundred and thirty four leva....approximately seventy pounds for the two for the year...now that's what it should be in the UK and if everybody bought it, it probably would be....

Back home...fires livened up and supper tonight was one leek, four potatoes into the remains of last night's curry with a little water added.  I went back to my book and realised I could smell something 'singeing' in the kitchen but managed to salvage it and it was just at the point of giving up the ghost...delicious.

Now back to my book with a glass of the red wine to hand....eight o'clock here and two more hours or reading and then I hit the sack for hopefully a good night's kip.  Not much planed for tomorrow...I'll see what the day brings...LN...I have a glass to fill....
Posted by: theroo, January 25, 2012, 3:22pm; Reply: 43
Haha we are both with you on that one. We are hoping to find a nice quiet village with no other English in it where we can fit in and join the local culture; the last thing we want is to be surrounded by "ex pats" who don't seem to understand what the "ex" means.

We've started learning the language in preparation (it is very useful having a Bulgarian working with me here) ... :)

Dovejdane :)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 25, 2012, 5:16pm; Reply: 44
Wednesday 25th January

Six forty, rescued fire although the temperature had gone up overnight, it was one of those damp, murky mornings with fog hanging over the hillsides and then it started to rain but only a little.  I read my book this morning thinking that I hadn't much to do and since any time that I waste is mine....all mine...so I can do what I like.  

Went up on the computer and did the emails and stuff that needs to be checked out and then settled in to a few games of Freecell and that's one that I never seem to tire of.  I have a mathematical brain and enjoy the challenge and once working in Denmark I spent approximately two days working on one that seemed impossible to do.  I seemed to go straight up the same rabbit hole if you get my drift.

One thirty brought a different perspective on the day.  My fourth musketeer from down the village, the one with the donkey, let herself in and I bounded down the stairs.  I gave her her Christmas present since she was in Turkey for the festivities and she asked me if I was doing anything and I replied not much.  She went into a monologue of which I sort of got the drift but she kept mentioning Gabrovo.  Now the only Gabrovo I know is heading north, is rather a large city and last year I did the May festival there.  No, no, no she said...the village of Gabrovo and that mean nothing so I got my maps out and we identified that it was near 'Blackeyes' on the way to Haskovo...it was suddenly getting nearer and manageable.  

She wanted to go there and it was all to do with her daughter and granddaughter that were there and I wasn't sure whether they were coming back with us or not.  Apparently she lives in Turkey but was visiting her father-in-law in Gaborvo....so ten minutes later we are in the Beast and setting off.  Yes we found the house, they immediately settled into Turkish, the wood-burner was giving out as if there was four feet of snow and there were mumbling about having to see the cmet about some document or other before we could leave.  So when the luggage appeared...I was so glad that we were in the Beast...Beauty would not have even managed to get it all in.  Had to stop off in Djebel for some food for them so they could eat tonight and dropped them off and there was a chorus of 'How much?'  Now I'm not a taxi and I haven't a clue so I said that we could do it later....but since her husband is the one with the chain saw that did some of my ten cubits of wood, I think the deal should be that he can work for a day for me when I get the next load....I really haven't got a clue.

Home...fire brought to life, chicken is waiting for attention in the kitchen so it's a goodnight from me....I have to get on ;) ;)...LN
Posted by: Joanna, January 25, 2012, 7:39pm; Reply: 45
Goodwill goes quite far I always feel, we are reaping many a benefit now. Not that you need to know that of course, you seem well enough practised in the good will gesture department  8)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 26, 2012, 7:36am; Reply: 46
Thursday 26th January

Quoted from Joanna
Goodwill goes quite far I always feel, we are reaping many a benefit now. Not that you need to know that of course, you seem well enough practised in the good will gesture department  8)


Like me Joanna, you probably realise that in the villages where there is so much unemployment...time is easier to come by than money.  The gifts I get are of their labour. Yogurt, veg in the summer, bottled stuff in the winter, meat from their own animals that get killed for high days and holidays.  They give where they can....I just help where I can...with trips to hospitals etc.  

So again we are covered with the 'white stuff'.  I've cleared the kitchen terrace this morning but it has already got another ten centimeters on it...reckon I'll leave it alone.  Two fires going and wood already in but feel like being creative today so I'm getting the brain cells going to see what I can come up with and it will probably be sewing or knitting.  Update on my freasias...coming along nicely as you can see and the second bucketful should take over when the first one fades....

Firstly a coffee, breakfast and then see how the mood takes me....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 26, 2012, 9:24am; Reply: 47
Thursday continued

I've just had the deputation and I noticed that they didn't bring Securicor with them to pay for the journey yesterday.  They came in, sat down on the sofa and I explained that I didn't want cash and that it would be better for me to have a day's work out of her husband/father with his chain saw.  So she was trying to arrange it and I said that there was no need.  I had enough wood but that we could save it for a later date.  She obviously felt indebted to me and I had to be quite insistent that it could wait...so it will.  Secondly they asked me if I could take a picture of all of them so I sat them down in the lounge, got it up on the screen and printed off a couple of copies of each and sent them via email already to the father who remains in Turkey keeping the home fires burning.  Me thinks I might be taking a trip to Bursa later this year.... three generation in one photo..

Just been out and cleared a path to the wood store, the Beast and the road.  I'm hoping that bloody snow plough remembers to lift its bucket when it gets near to my house...please don't block it again....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 26, 2012, 5:22pm; Reply: 48
Thursday continued

Well that snow plough did it again and now I can't get out not that I really want to.  I scraped the snow off the terrace and yet again and make it to the road but the temperature is now dropping rapidly and we are promised minus seven tonight, minus eight tomorrow and minus eleven on Saturday...so I have been given fair warning.

I made my winter tincture this evening while I was waiting for the pasta to cook...take some 'bee clay' and I know no more than they only that when I mentioned it Bekir came up with the goodies.  Grate and add to some 'spiritus' again obtained from the abteka (chemist), shake well and take a little of the tincture each day.  One for each year for children....but I don't suppose it applies for adults.  Just a spoonful seems adequate.  I'm local now. ;) ;)

Supper tonight was sacrificial meat from the freezer made into a spaghetti bolognaise with pasta and there's enough for tomorrow night so 'let it snow, let it snow, let it snow'.....Curtains drawn, fires belting out, still on that book that I shall tell you all about when I come to the end of the sixth in the series, LN....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 27, 2012, 7:01am; Reply: 49
Friday 27th January

Big HAPPY BIRTHDAY wish to CJ enjoying his birthday today....well probably not yet, it's early...the card's in the post...pressie is in an email and have a wonderful day.

Cold overnight, like minus ten but the sun's now popped its little head up but for how long is anybody's guess.  Forecast is white cloud so while it's shining I'm heading out to undo the work of yesterday's snow plough and clear my access again....and to get some logs in.  A woodpecker has just tried to beat seven bells out of my special tree.  I think I saw it's beak bending...that'll teach him....catch you later...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 27, 2012, 5:35pm; Reply: 50
Friday continued

Phoned my CJ on his thirteenth birthday and Princess had to wake him. Didn't get much sense out of him...he's a lad and he's thirteen...and....some... ;)

Poached egg on toast...they are no more.  I heard the mobile shop toot its horn but not sure if it was going to the next village or had been.  I stood in the bedroom watching to see if I could see it on the road but got fed up, which is one way of saying that I couldn't be a*sed looking for it any longer so got my wet weather gear on, snow scraper at the ready, boots, hat and set forth to deliver mayhem to the terraces and the Beast.  The intention was to get it in the drive but the snowplough had delivered more than it has taken away so got a lot of the snow off it, started it but left it where it was.  I cleared the run to the wood store again, the terraces and the upstairs of the wreck and had a lovely time dislodging the snow and ice from the polythene although I say it myself, it has stopped a lot of snow falling inside...great job...and that must be said with an American accent.

Looked at the clock when I came in the first time and it was only eleven thirty but bearing in mind that my internal body clock started me at five fifteen this morning and goodness knows why, I seemed to have crammed an awful lot into this morning.  Read some of my book, went out again and attempted to find Beauty but gave it up as a bad job....I know she's there I can see the bump but tomorrow is another day.  That sun has shown itself most of the day.  I had a bonfire and got rid of my rubbish and then had half an hour sitting in my swinging chair under the cherry try and just enjoyed the view and the sun.  Not much of a breeze but it was chilled and when I looked at my thermometer, not that I trust it with the glass scale seeming able to move itself at will, it was showing minus four but this in fact was confirmed when I sat in the Beast and checked its temperature gauge that confirmed it was in fact minus four without they were working in collusion.  

Cheese triangles on toast for lunch (I know how to live) and the remains of last nights spaghetti and pasta was my evening meal.  Got my knitting out and decided that there is not enough wool to finish the sweater that I started so back to the drawing board Cecil or to the shop for some more wool.  Found a huge log for the fire tonight and stuck coal underneath it.  It's going to be as cold as it was last night, well into the minus and the crescent moon is up already.

Back to my book...I'll be glad when I've finished it...there has got to be a story there somewhere and the only reason I'm still at it is that I'll know the ending.  As I said it's the last in a series of six and I think I could have got one good book out of it without all the repetition.

So....LN....the wine lake is no more.....a little of the beer tonight and an early night for me....going back down to the warmth of the fire....my desk area gets a little chilly once I close that curtain....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 28, 2012, 4:09pm; Reply: 51
Saturday 28th January

Slept in this morning...well....six fifty and that's good for me.  The nest was difficult to get out of because it was so warm, I just knew that it was going to be cold out and I wasn't far wrong.  Minus seven this morning and I've now put that thermometer so it's facing into the hall window but away from the house...it would be interesting to see how many minuses it clocks up or clocks down.  

Salvaged one fire...the little one, like the proverbial dodo but decided it could wait. Toast and coffee and then more coffee and more coffee and decided that inactivity wasn't good for me.  Have you ever had one of those days where you start one job and then go on to the next and then the next but you realise that the first one is incomplete.  I've had one of those days but pleased to say they are all done.

Swept and washed the complete downstairs and the stairs, watered the plants in the spare room, chopped some more of the small stuff, got some more of the big logs under the kitchen balcony, fed the birds on some muesli that had been hanging around since summer, went to my book and read a few pages and then started again.  Put a load of washing in and decided that it was time to find Beauty and dig her out if she was ever to be used again.  Finished digging the Beast out and despite the cold it was thawing slightly but towards three where it was melting, icicles were forming.  

Prepared supper and tonight it was a bit of a mixture.  Found some mince in the freezer, chopped up and onion, fried it off, added the mince, tomato paste, curry and chili powder, water, carrots and potatoes.  Let it stew for half an hour or so and then moved it onto the biggie to finish off while I got myself a beer.  Used up the rest of the bread and sprinkled it with olive oil and stuck that in the oven and have just finished.  Didn't name it since there wasn't time but I might come up with something by the time that the rest is heated up for tomorrow.  

On to the last twenty pages of my book.  It's supposed to be really cold tonight but I read that we are in for a blast from Siberia towards the end of next week with minus twenty threes and fours....   Closed up for the night, all is safely gathered in and I'm heading down towards my fire.  LN....I have a beer getting warm...
Posted by: linda g, January 28, 2012, 6:03pm; Reply: 52
Hi Elsa. I can see by the pics that your having some cold snowy weather...............well we have been swealtering here...40's all this week. I wish it was winter now. Too much heat takes the wind out of ya sails. No relief till friday...Yuk  8)

all ok here. Mum send her hellos and asked how ya marmalade is going????
Take care. Linda.x
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 29, 2012, 7:56am; Reply: 53
Sunday 29th January

How is it Linda that we always want what we haven't got...human nature I suppose but I'm looking forward to the spring to start my gardening.  The more I'm out here, I seem to live with the seasons.  Winter is all about staying warm and doing those jobs that you don't do in the summer because it's too good to be inside and vice-versa....just have to get in the mood to tackle them like the marmalade that is unmade-marmalade at the minute while those little beauties remain in their jackets in the kitchen but looking very pretty next to the watermelon that was a gift from KingDom last autumn.  I'm waiting for him and his beloved to come out in March and we'll try it for desert.  Hugs to you all and don't do too much to exhaust yourself.

So it went down low on the scale last night but this morning there is a dusting of snow.  Caught a glimmer of that sun but the clouds scudding along soon covered it again.  Managed to catch the mobile shop this morning so I have fresh bread, cooking oil since I was getting a little low, spicy sausages, eggs and beer and not all for breakfast may I add.  That was the remains of yesterday's beans, with honey, tomato paste, dash of salt and vinegar and a hint of onion served up on toast....eat your heart out Mr Heinz....no 'colourings' or 'flavourings' in mine.  

Going to get the cars sorted this morning....I'm going to attempt to do what I wanted to do yesterday and get the Beast in the drive and Beauty parked outside the gate for a quick getaway should I need to.  Making a move before that snow plough makes his.... ;)
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 29, 2012, 10:37am; Reply: 54
Sunday continued

Quick update.....my Avatar sent her son and her grandson on holiday from Turkey when she saw me digging out the cars to give me a hand.  No they didn't start applauding at my efforts, they were both carrying spades so I knew they meant business.

Plan A was to start the Beast move it into the road, open gate and reverse it into the drive (that's the Beast not the gate).  So the Bastard Beast as it sometimes gets called was reluctant to start, moved to plan B and dug another access point to the road but decided to give the Beast one last chance to redeem itself and it started so back to plan A.  We have now dug out half the road and most of the grass verge. Slid a bit reversing it in but now we are as it should be.  Beauty ready for action if the road clears a little tomorrow and the Beast back in its cage.

Had a visit from Gouljan's mum this afternoon.  She returned a Tesco hessian bag that I had lent Gouljan to take her goodies from the car to her house the last time we went shopping.  She also delivered three of her home made rolls.  I remembered that I had one of her plastic dishes left over from New Years eve and I sent her off with a jar of curry spice and a sachet of dried ginger explaining that you can use the curry sparingly in chicken or other meats and the ginger can be added to cakes.  I hope she gets it the right way round.  Supper was the remains of yesterday's curry thingy with crunchy hot bread...with a little of the local beer that I have not tried before....not bad but not like the usual but it was all the mobile wagon had this morning.

Temperature down to minus ten already....that's outside not inside....I'm just about to get my head down after another non-taxing day.  .LN....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 30, 2012, 7:13am; Reply: 55
Monday 30th January

Brrggghhh...is it cold this morning....it was minus ten at sevenish this morning so goodness knows what it went down to in the night....I was too snuggled up to bother much.  Beautiful sunrise this morning....it looked as if the mountain was on fire.  Not much heat in it though but I still marvel at the sight of it coming up....almost primeval...it's a sight that the ancestors raved about or Ra (ed) about.  The snow looks very shiny and glistening in the sunlight.

Poached eggs and two cups of coffee later I feel replenished.  The beans have been 'freezered'.  There was a little too much wind about yesterday so didn't risk any more.  The big wood burner isn't drawing as well as it should I fear so tomorrow at the 'crack of' the pipes are coming down and getting cleaned.  With the threat of several minus predicted, it makes sense and it really does only take about an hour from start to finish.  I can keep the little one going all night so that there is warmth in the place until I can get to light the biggie.  

Unsure what to do today....I would like to go into Kardjali...shower, shampoo and then I'll make the decision...
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 30, 2012, 8:18pm; Reply: 56
Monday update

Well showered, shampooed and did...nothing.  Settled in to reading another book in the hall in the sun.  That's the beauty of my house...it might be cold outside but if there is any sun at all, the internal temperature rockets.  

The temperature hasn't quite got up to zero all day and it's rapidly falling tonight.  It was minus five at about six and it feels even lower now.  As for supper tonight...very messy.....I fried off an onion and a local spicy sausage, sliced one of Gouljan's mothers rolls in half and added that to the frying pan and peeled and chipped some potatoes. The messy part came when I stuck the onions and the sausage with lots of tomato sauce in the roll.  It seemed to slide every which way but I had the sense to put in in a bowl instead of on a plate so at least nothing that fell out, fell off.  Chips were to die for....but I don't do them too often so it will probably take a little while.  

Got the beer out and a couple of glasses later decided to do my emails and enjoy jokes that get sent to me.  I'm still laughing at one of them but it's not one that I could put on here...the automatic 'clean up/ decency' program would have a field day and it wouldn't read the same...

Down to stoke up the fire.....I'm getting cold sitting here typing.....LN....it's been a restful day....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 31, 2012, 7:42am; Reply: 57
Tuesday 31st January

Woke up at five thirty this morning and went to the little girl's room and decided to go back to bed.  Checked the outside thermometer and it was minus ten so back to the best place.  Thought about reading and decided that there was probably a little more sleep to be had but it wasn't restful.  I dreamt that I was taking the big wood burner pipes apart and cleaning them and for some reason I was buying huge bags of flour from the local shop.  Strange and it stayed with me when I woke up and didn't make any sense of it, the flour that is but I was obviously visualising the first task of the day...the wood burner.  

I can now report that job is complete, pipes down, cleaned, wood burner thorough de-sooting, back together and fire lit by eight forty five.  Not really necessary though, we have mountain to mountain sunshine again so free central heating for me.  Temperature outside...minus nine....inside eighteen and climbing. Bring it on...that's better.  Feel a bit like a cabbage today though.  Work outside I put on extra sweaters and my flak jacket and here it's known as being like a cabbage...so many layers.

Now to find the next job to do and it won't entail using any the flour... :-/
Posted by: Elsa Peters, January 31, 2012, 6:35pm; Reply: 58
Tuesday continued

Had my student today and did a topic on whirlwinds in America....not too impressed but he still has homework.

Went into Kardjali with the intention of getting my laminator.  I went into Billa first to pick up some gammon joints, but spotted whole chickens ready cooked on promotion so one of those had to go into my trolley.  Gammon for the freezer and  then straight to Lidl as time was marching on.  Got my laminator and the two sizes of sleeves to go with it, bottle of their gin and a martini so that I could have a decent drink when I got home, lots of other goodies but picked up a pair of jeans that I thought were a bargain until I realised that the reduction label applied to the article in the next bin that had sold out....so a quick refund was in order.

Home and it was cold...at this point it is now minus twelve...so unpacked quickly...fire first on the list of priorities, hall first so that central heating kicks in and secondly kitchen so that it adds to the background heat.  Thirdly...gin and mixed martini with tonic so that if the fires don't do it for me, the mixed martini will.... ;)

Chicken warming in the oven, chunky bread at the ready...drink to hand....everything in the garden according to plan.

Had it confirmed today that the temperature in Djebel was minus eighteen at eight o'clock which confirms that my outside thermometer needs a little regulation either with a second thermometer to keep it company or a hammer.

OK so back to my fires now....it is cold on this landing...I might even have to move my office downstairs if it keeps up like this  LN...I have the rest of the soup bones in the slow cooker so soup tomorrow....

I'm going to post this quickly..I have lost internet connection and be buggered if I am going to get this down again....
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