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Elsa Peters living a new life in Bulgaria  /  My Diary by Elsa Peters  /  APRIL 2017
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 1, 2017, 5:27pm
Saturday 1st April

Silly four o'clock start so I put the light on...well I tried...it made me jump when it went 'pop' so I was changing light bulbs.  I do keep a stash in....and they are the old screw in type so easy to do and buy....not like in the UK.  So I played for a while on the Kindle and got my head down at six for another hour and I was up watching the sun come up over the hillside and it's been a beautiful day.

Breakfast of toast with boiled ham and another cup of coffee.  I walked the garden, left the washing up and it's still waiting for my attention and went out into the garden determined to get on with the creative process...and I did.  I've started on the other side where we have the outside tap, cleared the stones from round it and it didn't stop there.  I needed the rubble from under the heap that's at the bottom of the garden to dump at the base of the wall.  I've managed five wheelbarrow loads of old roof tiles and they're already dumped, raked some of the smaller stuff against the stone wall and there must be another ten loads still left to do.  I've shifted some stuff and I feel knacked.  Between barrow loads I got the strimmer out and used up two battery loads and I'm amazed how much wild chives I have.  I've never noticed it before ...maybe it's come from the birds.

My pyrotechnic farmer has been out again and set three fires going.  I still haven't managed to speak to him to ask why but I'm guessing he's getting rid of brambles.  The stork came over very low and where was the camera...in the house and by the time I'd got it, it had moved off and I caught sight of him waddling towards the bee hives int he next village.

I came in at six thirty and got the fire going...it just makes it more like home.  Tools away until tomorrow...that's if I've got any energy left and don't ache too much.  Supper is about to be served....Chicken wings with roasted veggies and there's an apple baking stuffed with sultanas.  Time I headed to the kitchen...LN...Going to stuff my face....LN

Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 1, 2017, 5:46pm; Reply: 1
Photos,,,you can't post them on the first posting of the month
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 2, 2017, 4:09pm; Reply: 2
Sunday 2nd April

Seven twenty start this morning but I was up late watching the Voice on Filmon.  I predicted who would go...bad choice of song for me anyway and I think she's looked better.  I must say that Sir Tom still has it music wise...as for personality when he's making comments on the artist...I'll reserve judgement....in fact it's wrong to judge...I'll just hold an opinion.... ;)

Down to the bread van and the poor driver is suffering from a cold so I didn't longer long.  Came back and made to ham sandwiches with the fresh crusty bread, went up to the computer on the landing, finished my breakfast and there was Haciber at the door with some hot frothy pancakes that she expected me to eat straight away...so I did.  The upside is that I haven't felt hungry all day...stuffed to the gills you might say.  I put the bench out on to my bedroom balcony, sat in the sun for about an hour and got my top half pinked up a little...the legs are always slow to go.

I'd decided that there was no digging today...I'd done enough yesterday but I really couldn't help myself but it wasn't in the same place.  I put a load of washing in and while it was cooking I got out the strimmer and did a battery full on the longer bits.  The lawnmower has to come out soon...it's getting too long for the strimmer.   I planted the hyacinths that I'd bought cheaply from Kaufland because they'd gone over and armed with my spade and another Bulgarian tool I headed for the bottom of the garden.  I decided that I'd start dismantling the stone pile and sort it in to ones for edging flower beds, tiles and concrete that can get buried and the stone I don't want will get lobbed on to the hillside from whence it probably came.  I then realised that once the wood heap has been removed there would be a fairly big dip against the wall so back to the drawing board Cecil...I might need some of that stuff that I'd started to lob.  Came in for a coffee and a biscuit and went out with a different purpose....the one outside chair, the front gates and the shady table and benches have been painted with the old engine oil to give them protection and colour.  It should dry off in a couple of days and there's more to do tomorrow.  Oh ....the joys of self sufficiency and independence...it never fails to amaze.  Wood in and more kindling and I can hear that fire popping .  Lovely evening....I've just put the boiler on so that I can have a bath before the final of the Voice tonight....I think it's a nine start my time so it should all fit nicely.  I'm just about to fry off a spicy sausage with onions...a girl's got to keep her strength up....LN...I've had a good and productive day...LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 2, 2017, 4:13pm; Reply: 3
And more pickies
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 3, 2017, 4:14pm; Reply: 4
Monday 3rd April

Six thirty start and the sky was just showing the lovely blue and pink predawn sky.  I went back to bed with my coffee and the Kindle and waited for the sun to come up before I started my day....we did it together.  Washed and dressed and headed down to the bread van to be told by Haciber that he didn't come today.  It's market day in Djebel so maybe Mondays are now off the agenda...this might take some pre-planning...and she gave me a Swedish ginger cake that her son had brought me over yesterday.  She hides stuff under her cardigan so that the other neighbours don't see it...they all do it....so everybody is going around with something up their jumpers...so I put it under mine so that no one knew that I'd got it.  So what did I have for breakfast?  A slice of ginger cake with my second coffee.  I actually want eggs from the van...I'd saved some of last night's spicy sausage and onion and I was going to make an omelette....another idea down the drain.

So I forced myself into action today and it started off with the in box exercise.  I knew that I really needed to move the pile of wood that's sat there for almost two years.  The men dumped it there when they were rushing off to another job and never revisited it when we came to do the wall at the end of last year.  I was also dreading demolishing it as I wasn't sure what was lingering but all I found was one very large slug....and that's gone off to find somewhere else to rest it's weary body.  I move the burning barrel to the bottom of the garden...it seemed to make more sense than carrying wood and got it established on three breeze blocks.  It's sorted into wood that can be used for garden surrounds or trugs, starter fire wood and the rest has been burnt.  There's that horrible smell of old mildewed wood and so it had to go.

Tools down and away by six thirty....I've had a splendid day today and I can see results but tomorrow I've decided to have a day off and I'm meeting the Librarian at nine and we're off to Benkovski market.  It's time I bought the petunias ready for the pots.  The terraces are looking a little bare.  I'm going to have to hut for supper....I've done no forward planning on that front but beans on toast are sounding very inviting.  LN...I'm off the the kitchen now the seed has been sown...LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 4, 2017, 3:49pm; Reply: 5
Tuesday 4th April

I ws late starting this morning and was surprised that it had rained overnight and the terraces were wet.  There was a hint of pink in the sky though as if it might brighten up and I was hoping so since I was heading to the market in Benkovski.  I didn't bother with breakfast and got a wiggle on....I was stopping off at Mrs D of S's...Mr D is back for the summer and I wanted to drop off a quilt cover that I'd picked up in Kardjali and a set of stacking cups for the little one.  Into the Beast and I made it for eight twenty, refused coffee since I was walking the market and made it for the Librarian's motel at the allotted nine and she hadn't arrived.  She screamed up about five minutes later and I became a taxi for two of her neighbours.

We managed to park quite near the market and generally had a meander.  The flower lady didn't have any petunias which was my main reason for going....and said that they would be ready in a couple of weeks.  I mentioned the fete day at Nikolovo which is where I normally buy them and found out that it's this weekend...so we might be having another trip out...weather dependent.  We called in at out  favourite dinky doo shop and they were selling petunias so I bought eight plants in white and various purples and a couple of fir trees and also a couple of big bowls that were exceptional value at two lev fifty each.  Dumped the goodies in the car and walked back to the local supermarket to see what they have that is different and then to for early brunch at the chicken wrap place.  Back to the motel and sat outside for water and orange juice mixture but that wind was cold so we didn't stay for long.  I was home for one thirty, unpacked the goodies, watered the plants and put them in the little house for protection and lay on the sofa playing games until my eyelids went southwards.  Lit the fire when I woke up and now it's Filmon time while supper cooks.  I've had a relaxing day and it was much needed after the efforts of yesterday.  It's one thing achieving but it's another when you do too much.  Nothing on the agenda for tomorrow...I might put the new firs in at the bottom of the garden that's if the weather hold...the threatened thunder hasn't materialised yet.  LN...Supper smells good...LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 5, 2017, 5:08pm; Reply: 6
Wednesday 5th April

Silly four start, played on the Kindle for an hour or so and then went back off until seven twenty....result.  It was a bit of a dull start but the thunder and rain that was threatened just hasn't materialised.  About two this afternoon I was hoping that it would so that rain would stop play but no such luck.

Breakfast of fried egg sandwich...I didn't feel very adventurous.  I managed to clear the kitchen of the two days of debris and waited for the weather to warm up a little before I went out armed with my fork and spade and headed to the bottom of the garden.  Initially I was going to dig a hole near the stone wall to plant one of the conifers.  No go....it was stone chippings all the way so I picked another spot to play in.  So down under the walnut and planted the rest of the cheap bulbs that I bought from Lidl, tobacco and zinnia seeds.  I came in for an hour or so and then assembled the seed packets that I'd bought over the last couple of weeks and thought they'd do better in soil than sitting in the packets.  I raked over the soil that was already sitting in some of the square pots from last year and planted up busy lizzie, more zinnia and some sort of vine that has very large flowers but apparently the younger ones don't smell very good so I'll wait until they get bigger and choose the spot well for planting them.  The next challenge was to dig over one of the sections of the veg patch and I've planted up cosmos, oriental poppies and snapdragons.  I also found some oleander seeds and they're in another of the square pots.  Finally the spade came out again and I've dug about a third of the way along the wall, replanting a spiraea and one of the new pot plants has gone in. What a busy girl...

So lit the fire at five thirty and it's ticking along nicely...supper is done and dusted.  I boiled some potatoes, fried off a couple of onions with a Bulgarian sort of corned beef, added the potatoes to the mixture and several slices of beetroot.  Success on a plate.  I now have another sink of dishes and pans to sort but they'll be done tonight.  I do like coming down to a clean kitchen.  No pickies...I've been too busy to be floating around with a camera.  LN...I'm now back to Eggheads...LN

Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 6, 2017, 4:10pm; Reply: 7
Thursday 6th April

Six start this morning and beat the sun again.  I took a coffee back to bed, opened the curtains and noticed that there was lots of cloud hanging in the valley so I was up and out with the camera on to the balcony to capture the moment.  The sun eventually made it through but there was no redness in the sky...the cloud got thicker and it had to fight its way through and suddenly...it was there.

I was washed and dressed by seven and out to the garden with my second coffee but I didn't linger long...it was cold out there and there wasn't much heat in the sun.  Then I heard it....there's a cuckoo back but not my hickuping one yet.....I'll wait for it's special call.  Two loads of washing done and hung out and then I grabbed the hoe and cleared the rest of the weeds from the middle section of the wall.  Now into the swing of things I set about clearing the steps garden of chickweed that had started to take over.  It's where I grow the zinnias and tobacco and there are a few self sets that are now planted where I want them not where they fell.   I also moved one of the low growing firs that's never done well where it was and that's now sitting in one of the smaller beds underneath the wall, edged the bed with wood so that I can strim it easily and generally tidied it up.  I came in for breakfast and used the last of the spicy sausages and fried them and an egg and had a huge bun out of the olive bread that I'd bought on Tuesday.

Out again and painted the old engine oil on the remaining chair and table outside furniture and that was quickly moved into the garage as the weather deteriorated.  I went in for a coffee and five minutes break that there was an almighty clap of thunder so it was quickly outside again, washing in, tools away, more wood in and fire lit.  With the rain and driving wind the temperature had dropped dramatically or perhaps my summer thermostat is taking over.  Washing away...cheese and onion roll for lunch, half an hour with my eyes closed now that the temperature indoors had improved.  

Currently I'm being saturated with the David Attenborough on BB2...The Grand National has upset my normal viewing but now the sun is out again and I could be out there taking advantage of it....well I could be... ;)  but I won't be.  Leisurely bath tonight....I might be heading into Kardjali tomorrow for a mooch....LN...The garden can wait...LN

Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 7, 2017, 4:27pm; Reply: 8
Friday 7th April

Another stupid night...awake from two until four of the clock and I still haven't a clue why.  I'd dreamt pretty deeply when I woke thinking it was around seven, turned on the light and thought the batteries had run down in the clock but checked with the watch....it was correct.  It was cold last night but the fire had been going so the house was OK but no rhyme or reason to it.  I did manage to get through until seven but thee was no sun to see.

It wasn't quite raining this morning but it was cold, I was surrounded by the clouds in the valleys on all sides.  I was the centre of my own little universe,  I went out to check the temperature but I really wasn't out there long and it's quite true...if you feel cold in the house, go outside and when you come back in again you realise that it's not cold at all.  

I've had a very lazy day.  I found some books that I'd brought over with me and forgotten about.  I have a really good design book and maybe it's time to start thinking about the little house and what I want to do with it.  Time was heading for ten thirty and breakfast was calling me.  I found the remains of the cooked sausages and the cold potatoes so they went in the frying pan and I made an omelette which has kept me going all day.  I struggled without a fire but lying on the sofa reading with Sting belting out in the background made me realise that the fire was necessary and it's been going ever since.  The rain came around one and it's been falling ever since.  It's been good in that it's forced me to lay down the tools and have a day doing very little...the trouble is...I have trouble slowing down my brain.  

So the wind's dropped, the clouds are pretty solid now and it looks like it's set in for the night.  I'm watching France playing Britain in the Davies Cup...and not an easy match to watch...our guy doesn't seem to manage the clay very well.  I didn't manage Kardjali today...I didn't fancy running between shops and getting wet.....LN...Maybe tomorrow....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 8, 2017, 3:30pm; Reply: 9
Saturday 8th March

I vaguely remembered going out and photographing the moon last night as there was a really peculiar halo around it.  I saw it first from the stairs and thought it was a refraction from the windows so out I went and captured it.  I've not seen anything like it before....I thought it really strange.

Six this morning and you couldn't see the mountains because of the fog and it was a really cold start.  I made coffee and went back to bed...it was the warmest place.  Washed and dressed in quicksticks into a double later of sweaters and thought a hot breakfast would do the trick.  I was expecting the sun to break through later so I was delaying the fire lighting but by eleven I could wait no longer.  The fog eventually lifted but the temperature didn't go up much at all.

I spent the morning reading and doing a few Sudoku....I played on the internet and found some curtain eyelets and the equipment for inserting them into curtain tops to save applying curtain header tape....Not a bad price and I shall get them ordered tomorrow and use the local delivery service from the UK.  You sign up and the company issue you a reference number that gets added to any internet order you place, it is received in the UK and then comes out ot Bulgaria and matches up with a local delivery company either to your local depot or to your door.  

Did a little bit of work outside.  I cleared the rest of the wood from the little house bathroom.  It's been in there for the last four years and I swept the area lifting clouds of dust and put it in a bucket.  Only four rooms to clear now.  Looked at the lawn and decided that the strimmer would have to do...far too wet for the lawn mower and it's looking surprisingly green.

Chicken legs in the oven for supper, the Davis Cup is on and it looks like this is where we go out.  The boiler is on for a leisurely soak tonigh...the Voice has finished so it looks like early to bed for me.  I'm settling into a re-read of Outlander and it's surprising how much I've forgotten.  LN...Legs and fire to attend to...LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 8, 2017, 5:43pm; Reply: 10
8th evening update

We've just had an amazing storm go through.  I heard a bang and the bench on my bedroom terrace had skitted across the terrace and was upside down against the far end of the balcony.  That was lucky with so much glass around.  Gale force winds battered the garden, the bottle brush has been upended and I get a little worried about my fir tree when there is so much gusting wind.  

It was a strange sky.  You could see the front over the Greek mountains but the sun was lighting up the hillsides and catching the forsythia and other plants in the garden.  It was really spectacular and the sunset was not so dramatic but the sun stood out against the black of the clouds....And now for the pickies....
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 9, 2017, 6:00pm; Reply: 11
Sunday 9th April

The morning sky got me out of bed and grabbing the camera....stunning.  Washed, dressed and out for the bread van by eight thirty when I heard him toot outside Remsier's house and they were all there in force...including a couple of men.  I bought a crusty loaf and a cheesy bread for breakfast to save me the hassle and I noticed that there were one or two new faces over from Turkey for holidays.  We chatted for a while and I got an invite to Zelinger's house for frothy pancakes  so I filled the time to lift off playing around with the bottle brush. lifting it back on to the terrace after the wind had removed it and took cuttings from the branches that had been damaged.  On the stroke of twelve I was down to Zelinger's house and I sat with the other ladies from the village and we had the pancakes with pine syrup, plum jam, yogurt and yogurt drink followed by black tea.  At one thirty, I made my excuses and came home, lay on the sofa and promptly nodded off waking up at three and I was cold so lit the fire.  Silly really...I'd opened my downstairs bedroom window to let some air through and forgotten to close it...dohhh.

So back out to the garden at four.  I'd had a bonfire earlier in the day and some of the kitchen waste hadn't burnt away so I set fire to some of the old wood that I've got down there to reduce everything to ash.  It saves the dogs and cats tipping it everywhere and I was surprised to find that it was just before eight when I came in.  I did some more work on the levelling of the stone heap...I'm feeling that I should be changing my name to a number....24601...The fire had managed to hang on so I topped it up and it's crackling away...Dramatic sky to start and not a bad end to the day as well.  Cold chicken and crusty bread for supper...stuffed with floury things today.  LN...Kardjali tomorrow...I fancy a mooch....LN

Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 10, 2017, 5:23pm; Reply: 12
Monday 10th April

Slept the sleep of the just....and woke up before the sun did and managed to take a couple of shots before the 'Change battery' cicked into play.  Changed the battery and by that time the sun was well and truly up.  Washed dressed, walked the garden and decided that despite the weather...Kardjali was on.  I did enough yesterday and I really did need to get my car yearly tax paid.

So firstly to the electrical shop to see if they had any bulbs for the fly zapper and they are now on order.  I also picked up several meters of lighting cable and the end bits to make some new table lamps.  I drove to the other end of town and parked by my bank, walked to the cheapy shop and got a white cotton quilt cover that will do for the outside sunbed, a spring jumper, a bag that I only want the wooden handles from and a linen little top for the princely sum of one leva eighty....Seventy pence more or less to you and me...what a bargain.  It was now or never for the car tax so I headed over and joined the queue which was about a foot deep.  Unfortunately you can't find the end of any of the three lines that were allocated to house and car tax so you have to stand behind one, move forward as they do and watch out for side winters....and I managed to head off one very succinctly...After half an hour my time was up and I was amazed that the annual tax has shot up by thirty percent....too much but what you loose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts so they say.  Over to the watch repair man and managed to get a new battery in the picture frame cloth that's sat on my desk for ages, paid my home phone bill, bought a pair of leather trousers that will make a super bag.  Finally on my way back to the Beast I went into another cheapy shop and picked up a brand new pair of steel toed work boots for five leva with a price ticket of eighteen euro on the inside.  Just right for gardening and digging.

Kaufland for more plants, Lidl for Easter eggs as gifts for my ladies, back to the garage shop and decided that since the glass is missing from one of the spot lamps on the Beast...these could be replaced with tractor lights....and they have been. My student was down at the garage earning his keep but riding round on a Simpson.  He took me for a ride round the block and asked me if I wanted to go solo but since his grandfather has donated it to a good cause, I really didn't want to risk it.  Replacing the lights on the Beast was a bit of a bugger but it's all done and dusted now.

Home by six thirty more or less, shopping unpacked and supper was ham on French stick and that will do for tonight.  I've had a very relaxed and enjoyable day...LN...Gardening tomorrow...LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 11, 2017, 4:37pm; Reply: 13
Tuesday 11th April

Lovely moon last night and I think I saw most of it.  At two thirty this morning  I was wide awake so spent time reading and playing games.  It must have been five before I got my head down again.  Out before dawn and watched the sun come up...mist in the valleys again...just a magic view.

Washed and dressed and out to the garden and I'd forgot that I bought bread yesterday in Lidl and I didn't have to go down to the van.  The pot that I bought yesterday came into my line of sight,  It had originally been painted black but some of of it had come off and it looked like it had had a hard life already butit had only cost me a few leva and I suddenly remembered that I'd got some blackboard paint that would do the job.  I managed to open the can although it had been in the shed for about seven years, I got as reasonable size brush out and a small piece of wood to stir it with and to apply paint between the white lettering.  It came up well, dried pretty quickly and I potted up three of the flowers that I'd bought yesterday and it's looking good.  Second job was to make a post box so that my neighbours have somewhere to dump the letters so some cleaned up second hand wood cleaned up and cut to size, a few nails and it's now painted and hanging out to dry.  Played around with some of the new shrubs and planted more bottle brush seeds...really getting in to this seed lark.  Really pleased...one of my horn of plenty seeds has germinated...fingers crossed for the rest.

Lazy afternoon though...the sun was strong so I moved one of the patio chairs on to the terrace, got a pair of shorts on and took off my t-shirt, covered myself with sun oil and took the Kindle outside and didn't come in until four.  Got some wood in, lit the fire , tidied up and locked up outside and carried on reading inside.  When the sun worked it's way round, the temperature dropped so the boiler is on so that I don't leave an oil slick in bed tonight.  It's going to be a real hard day in the garden tomorrow...I do want to clear the stone from the bottom tomorrow....I'll have an early night and I hope that I have a better night.  As a side line...my Simpson photo on FB yesterday caused quite a stir with my friends....I don't post many pictures of me and it was well received.  LN...Stone moving tomorrow...24601....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 11, 2017, 4:50pm; Reply: 14
And a few more
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 12, 2017, 6:01pm; Reply: 15
Wednesday 12th April

I had my bath last night and the Kindle survived.  So relaxed when I got ready for bed and slept like a log...straight through until seven twenty and the sun was already showing it's face to the world.

Washed, dressed in quicksticks and cooked the sausages for breakfast that I didn't managed to cook last night for supper.  It had to have a fried egg with it and I sat at the table in the stairwell in the sun enjoying the moment.  I took my second cup of coffee outside and worked out what I was going to get up to today.  I know that I'd said that I was moving stones but I really wasn't in the mood and with a list as long as my arm to choose from....it was a dilemma.  So the plants got watered first and I decided that I had to get the lawn mower going since the grass was well on it's way to requiring either cutting or a donkey.  Into the workshop, wheeled it out onto the workshop terrace and that's when the back wheel dropped off.  Good start egh.....  So I moved it on to the garden in front of the terrace, got a reasonably clean plastic box and tipped the machine on its side and aimed the petrol filler cap towards the plastic box so that I could remove the petrol and try to remove the bold that held the wheel on.  At first I thought that it had just come undone but on inspection, the bolt had sheered off so now I had a bigger problem.  I didn't have any WD40 but managed to find the correct spanner and removed the bracket that held on the  wheel so it was off to the garage to see what they could do.  I stopped off at the shop to get some equivalent to WD40 for future use and with a little pulling and tugging they managed to removed the sheered off bolt....and luckily, my student's mothers father is able to manufacture new bolts....lucky me....contacting the local outlet for the lawn mower is difficult at its best...nigh on impossible.  I've asked that he makes me two...one in reserve.

Back home and strimmed the far side of the garden and used up two batteries worth.  I moved on to the under wall garden and got rid of the weeds which turned out to be a bigger job that I though. I've got about five meters to go but fortunately or unfortunately it was slow because I was rescuing the new seedlings and replanting them where I wanted them.  I packed up my tools and decided that I would give the strimmer one more workout before the light faded so three batteries worth today and half the garden done.  I eventually came in at eight and I'm absolutely knacked.  No supper for me...I've just had a banana and that will do me until tomorrow.  Enough for now....I'll be checking out that list tomorrow to see what I fancy going....LN...I don't think the stone's anywhere near the top....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 13, 2017, 5:13pm; Reply: 16
Thursday 13th April

Six thirty start, out on the upstairs balcony to catch the morning and back to bed with a coffee.  Such a hard life.  Got the strimmer out and did between the house and front wall and it was going well until I lost the cutter so I packed it in for a while and at eight thirty it was down to the bread van for a sliced and a cheesy bread for breakfast.  I made another coffee and sat on the terrace in the sun eating the aforementioned cheesy bread and enjoyed the morning and the warmth in the sun.

So I spent an hour potting up the ornamental seeds that Mrs D of S had given me and I was surprised to see my Painter at the gate.  He's been busy but he came bearing gifts namely leeks and beetroot from his garden....it means that I have another job on my list.  We walked the garden, we viewed the half fallen toilet and he leaned against it and I advised him not to...I gave it a little shove from the other side and it wobbled....but it's going to be a controlled demolition....when the time is right.  He'd been working cutting the shrub that they put in the fences to stop the cows and he'd broken his cutters so I offered mine. We're off to Kardjali on Monday...he wants to look at the cheapy shop for some summer clothes and my hands will be firmly in my pocket....I have enough...  As he was leaving he commented on the gate to the cut through to his village and he offered to mend it for me but I refused his offer.  It did make me feel guilty...I'd looked at it and done nothing but he spurred me into action and now it's done.

I came in at about two and had an hour on the PC but then grabbed the moment and took the strimmer for a walk round the garden, finished the first battery off and went for the second.  Carried on with the potting and renewed the soil in the geraniums,
took pity on an ailing cactus and now I have several repotted cacti and some spikes in my thumbs that I keep fetching out with my teeth.  I only offered to have it for one winter...ah well.

Supper went in at five, chicken with roasted vegetables and was out and eaten by seven with lashings of mayo.  So the batteries are undergoing replenishment and should both be ready for the morning...lawn first and then we'll see what comes...LN...My memory list is ...exhaustive...LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 14, 2017, 5:18pm; Reply: 17
Friday 14th April

Silly night last night...I fell asleep watch Filmon trying to stay awake for the Galapagos programme and off to bed and not an ounce of sleep in me so I was reading until two thirty this morning.  Fortunately I went through to eight fifteen so the day had begun without me and it's taken me until now to catch up or so it seems.  I didn't bother with breakfast and grabbed a banana which saw me through until I found a packet of chocolate coated peanuts and since it's Good Friday...considered that it was my start on the Easter egg trail.

Got a load of washing in and out on the line, and set about digging up a couple of shrubs that hadn't made it and found another polythene mine where it wasn't expected.  I attempted to make the hole bigger, I swamped it with water to loosen up the stone but nothing would budge so back went the soil, the stone stayed out and the polythene got burnt.  So it was looking for another task and I loaded up the strimmer and used a battery's worth and then put it on to charge with the other one....two for later.  

I came in at twelve. checked emails and looked at the cruises on offer and one caught my eye.  It's booked, paid for and my flight to the UK is booked too.  Good Friday egh....  While I was doing some more admin I noticed that an April shower had begun to drop it's load so I was outside in a flash and it's now drying in the bathroom and the fire's lit to take the edge off the cold front.  Cosy as you like.  Supper was the cold chicken leg from yesterday with a chunk of bread....I wasn't in the mood to go for a Masterchef this evening.  Tomorrow I have to make cards for my ladies....I've bought a selection of little Easter eggs to mix and match for them.  Not many teeth between them so the chocolate coated peanuts are mine all mine....yes....Lovely evening glow over the garden.  There was a rainbow but not a very bright one and not really much of a sunset...just a peculiar colour to the sky...LN...Fire and relax....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 15, 2017, 5:06pm; Reply: 18
Saturday 15th April

Six twenty start this morning, caught the sun coming up, sat outside in my PJ's with a coffee and enjoyed the solitude.  At that I went back inside with the Kindle and went back to bed for an hour or so.  Washed, dressed, anticipated getting the strimmer out but that failed to materialise.  Instead I made my Easter cards, got the Beast out by ten and headed for Djebel to buy the goodies for the rest of my Easter gifts.  Into the first supermarket and got wine, chocolates, Easter eggs and ladybirds, into the gift bags with the cards and over to my student's family.  The girls had recently come back from a coach tour of Venice, Zagreb, Budapest and Salzburg and having been waited of for a few days were now doing the housework since both parents have jobs.  I think they liked the fact that I'd arrived...it was down tools.  I handed over the gifts and they were over the moon and I bet most of the chocolate has gone already even though I said that it had to be kept for Easter....The mother came in from work and I was forced to stay for lunch...they are such kind people and treat me like an extension of the family.  After lunch mother, father and the eldest daughter headed off for Kardjali for a spot of shopping, I sat with the younger one for a while and then headed off to my other students parents shop bearing my next set of gifts.  The younger boy who will be my student next year was there...he's very shy so I tease him so that he gets used to me and speak to him in English translating to Bulgarian as I go.  He's doing well.

Over to the curtain shop and bought some material to mix and match the chocolates that I've got for my ladies...there are red, yellow and green and some more ladybirds and they can have some of each.  I picked up a chicken from the supermarket and have invited the Librarian over for lunch since it's Easter...and have a leisurely day chewing over the fat.  

So not achieved anything in the garden today except to pot up my five horn of plenty that have germinated.  The soil they had grown in was looking gross so they're now in a bigger pot of soil mixed with potting compost and we'll see how they do.  I was surprised to see that they're highly poisonous...good to know...wash hands thoroughly after handling and keep the knowledge in reserve....Supper of chicken wings and mayo and I'll be clucking if I'm not careful...but it is Easter.  Eight of the clock my time...I've just watched another 'Who do you think you are'...I find them fascinating.  LN....Time to relax....a very pleasant day....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 16, 2017, 4:47pm; Reply: 19
Sunday 16th April

And a Happy Easter to you all.....Six twenty start and the morning went like clockwork and I did my last spot of cleaning just as the Librarian pulled up in her jeep.

I was out watching the sunrise and taking the photos and what a gorgeous start it was to the morning.  Birds singing their little hearts out and not a lot of life besides.  Up it came and cast a lovely rosy glow on the little house, I went grabbed another coffee and walked the garden and thought through the action plan.  Washed, dressed, bread van, toast for breakfast and straight to strimming the rest of the lawn that hadn't been attacked so far.  Two batteries down and I should finish it either later tonight or tomorrow morning,,,a job well done.

I finished writing out the Easter cards.  Yesterday I bought a gauze type table covering from the material shop so I got one of my larger plates and cut out four circles and put an assortment of chocolates into each piece of material.  I'd unpicked the lace edging and I used that to close the bags of sweets, set off down the village and I'd delivered them all by ten much to the surprise of my neighbours.  Sat out in the sun and peeled the veg for lunch.  I'd decided that I was roasting all of them in one pan...no messing for me with loads of pans for different items.  Carrots, leeks, onions, potatoes and beetroot in the roasting pan and the chicken went in at the same time.  The Librarian arrived bearing gifts and I've now more to put in the garden and a big thank you to her.  We walked the garden together and discussed the plants that we'd picked up in Haskovo and how they were doing but at this point the weather had changed and the rain started falling so we retreated in side to the fire that I'd lit earlier.

Lunch worked well....I served mayo with the chicken not gravy and it was well received.As for the afternoon, we sat round with a box of chocolates...rude not to...and generally enjoyed the afternoon and we were both surprised when we realised it was five fifteen.  Off she went and I have strict instructions to buy her two pair of the workboots the same as the ones I'd got myself the other day from Kardjali...one for her and one for her neighbour for mucking out her cows.  Off she went, the washing up is still waiting and I'll get round to it later.  I've just managed to catch the end of the snooker match....my Ronnie Sullivan is through to the second round.  

So Kardjali tomorrow with my painter and I'm hoping that the shops are open.  He wants a few things so it's mainly for him...LN...I might manage to get that strimming down tonight....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 17, 2017, 3:23pm; Reply: 20
Monday 17th April

The camera didn't come out today until I got home.....It was raining when I woke up, raining as I walked round Kardjali and still hissing it down while I was lying on the sofa reading my book....and it's still throwing it down... :-/

I didn't bother with breakfast, had my coffee and got ready for my day in Kardjali.  I got the Beast out in to the drive and stopped off at Haciber's house to see if there was anything she wanted for the big city and there was only washing powder on her list...again.  The last time I bought it for her it was on promotion so a good deal....so I told her to wait and see.  If it wasn't I wouldn't get it.  I was down to the bus stop in my painter's village but I noticed his wife standing by the gate of their house so I stopped and she got in.  I carried on down to the bus stop and he was waiting there and off I set with both of them.  Their daughter in law live in Kardjali and it worked out that she was going to visit the grandchildren while he and I managed a few things in town.  The had to guide me to the apartment since I've never been there before but it was just out of central Kardjali.  Out she got bearing gifts, we parked in my usual spot and the man wasn't there demanding money but there were very few cars around.  We headed down to the cheapy shop but they hadn't got what he was looking for but he settled for a cotton shirt for twenty eight stotinki....around twelve pence to you and me.  I bought a top for the baby, a dark pink pashmena, an Angry Birds t-shirt and another work sweatshirt...total bill....one pound.  We walked back to the car and offloaded the clothes heading down to the gardening machine shop so that he could complain about the new strimmer machine that doesn't do things as well as it should....and he has to take it in so that the man can understand the issues with it...common sense really.  Over to the shop where I bought my gardening/builder's boots but they didn't have any more so I couldn't get them for the Librarian.  I did get some more bulbs for the garden and three red pottery basin...small, medium and large for six lev.....bargain.  Kaufland and a few more plants for the garden, Lild for a few more things and then back to pick his wife up from near the apartment and then home. Driving through Djebel my student's mother was outside the shop and flagging me down.  I turned the Beast and her father ahd made the new bolt for my lawnmower so I know what I'm doing tomorrow....only assembling it....it's going to be too wet to put it to use.

Supper is going to be the cold chicken with the cold roasted vegetables....they will fill the gap.  Nothing scheduled for tomorrow except to so the lawnmower....apparently this weather is in until Friday...and today's only Monday....Got the fire going eventually today...the wind must have been in the wrong direction and the chimney cold so before it dies a natural...I'm off to stoke up.  LN...A gentle day....LN

Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 18, 2017, 7:42pm; Reply: 21
Tuesday 18th April

I've had a none day.  Normal early start but didn't put my nose out until I decided to walk the garden to see how the seeds and shrubs were doing.  I wasn't out there long though...it was too cold for me and time to put the vest back on again.  'Cast nere a clout' as they say and I had but it's back on tonight.

It was pickings for breakfast of the fluffy pancakes that I'd had delivered, generally tidied around a little just to make it feel like home and fluff up the cushions and then it was down on the sofa with the Kindle....it was a day for being in not out.  The clouds eventually lifted but there was very little heat in the sun and lots of chill in the wind so the fire was lit and I kept it going all day.  The internal thermometer did register twenty four but I really couldn't believe it....it probably was but when there's very little activity....it doesn't register in the brain.

At two this afternoon I took the rest of the chicken off the bone and put it back in the fridge, the roasted veg were put in a large saucepan, topped up with water and I have soup for tomorrow.  I didn't need anything for tonight...I was off to my students for supper.  Boots blacked and ready to leave by five forty and remembered that they were short of serviettes so I grabbed one of my standby packs and they'd also mentioned that they wanted to see photos of me when I was a child so I grabbed the shoe box of the ones that I'd brought over the last time I came to bore them with.  The sort of covered me from a toddler, through teens, my life in Gibraltar police, children, previous houses and later ones of me at various functions with my parents.  It gave them a flavour of my life to day and they know the rest of my time out here.  

So home for ten twenty and car back in the drive.  I've arranged to take the little one to Kardjali on Saturday for a bit of a day out as she needs to go to a shop that I know and she doesn't. My fire is not going but it's not that cold as it could be.  Tomorrow I have to bring all my outside plants inside...the temperature is going to drop again and in one of the villages close to where we are, there was snow this morning.  Some of the seedlings still need protection so they will go into the little house until the cold spell has finished.  And so to bed said sleepy head.  LN...In to the nest....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 19, 2017, 3:19pm; Reply: 22
Wednesday 19th April

So don't ask me where the day has gone...I haven't a clue.  Six thirty start and the sunrise was at six forty and I managed to catch it.  We did't see much of it for the rest of the day...the rain started at eleven but by that time I'd managed to strim the two batteries full and play around with a few weeds in the garden that no longer are in residence,,,lobbed over the wall.

I didn't have breakfast before I set off and came in at twelve delving into the cold chicken and dipping it in the mayo.  The rest of it is about to be made into a curry for this evening...when I manage to get round to it.  The sensitive plants are all in the little house including the lemon tree.  I checked out the weather forecast for the end of the week and it's supposed to be well into the minus figures and I didn't want to lose anything.  

So today has been spent sorting out the travel insurance for my holiday.  The company I used to use is now being underwritten by another company and Bulgaria as a starting point is not listed in the drop down menus.  I phoned them and the explanation meant I was back to the drawing board.  I'd tried Bulgarian companies but they seem to want to stop at sixty years of age which is no good at all.....one Ameican website wanted a thousand pounds offering my relatives millions if I was not to make it back and the last one I tried didn't give me the option to cover the cruise option so it was on to the telephone to sort it.  I spoke to a very pleasant lady who quoted me eighty pounds more that the price on the web so after querying it...she checked it out and was offering me a supersonic version of the same thing.  Eventually we came to the same conclusion, done, dusted and on to the cruise line website and my details have already been entered.  I'm ready to go....and I can relax now that the insurance is sorted,

Pleasant enough night now....it's drying up but the wind still carried a chill.  I lit the fire about half an hour ago and it's crackling well and now as I said...kitchen duties...I'll let you know if there's steam coming out my ears...LN...Curry calls...LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 20, 2017, 4:38pm; Reply: 23
Thursday 20th April

Late start but I did spend a couple of hours in the dead of night reading...and I'm not sure why.  Never mind...I've had a very energetic day today which will culminate in a long luxurious bath so I should have a good night tonight...fingers crossed.

Not a good morning weatherwise. it was pouring down and there were several claps of thunder and lightening which lit up the house.  It didn't go on for long but I did unplug the internet connection.  I didn't fancy everything getting fried and I settled down with the Kindle and carried on reading Outlander.

By ten thirty it has started to clear up a little so I put an extra sweater on since the wind was cold, topped it off with a leather coat to keep out the wind and decided to try out my new work boots....success all the way.  I used up the two batteries of the strimmer and I've managed to get down to the bottom of the garden and it's all been done once...so it should be time to start the whole process again with all this rain.  Joy oh joy.... ;)  The bottom flower bed as you know is where the builders 'hid' the builder's rubble and I've been digging it out so the shrub roots gain purchase....and some fell on stony ground....and I tackled a new patch that hadn't been done before.  Back breaking but I now have space to get those extra shrubs in.  I want ground cover to cut down on the weeds...I live on the edge of a field...what can you expect.  By the time I was flagging the rain started and I came in, lit the fire, got the book out and had an hour to me.  Unfortunately the sun came out  again so I went out determined to finish off the bed...and I did.  I do love creative gardening and while I was having five minutes on the wall, I noticed that there are several seedlings starting so they will get transplanted when they get a bit bigger.  I think they're marigolds from last year....there was also tobacco and zinnia so I could have the full set.

I came in at seven and was surprised it was so late.  Playtime in the garden tomorrow...I want to cut back the forsythia now that it's flowered and I'll take some more cuttings.  I want to know the season by what's in flower...it was that way for me in the UK.  So what's next....the Philadelphus...both the wild and the formal, Spiraea and the Deutzia.  Now off to the kitchen to see what's available...last night's curry turned out very well but not a clue about tonight yet...thinking cap goes on... ;)  LN...I won't starve...LN



Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 21, 2017, 4:06pm; Reply: 24
Friday 21st April

Six thirty start, got washing underway, managed to catch the sunrise, grabbed a coffee and went back to bed with the Kindle.  My bath last night ensured a good night's sleep.  There was a ground frost last night and it was white over this morning.  I sat out and listened to the cuckoo who was in the walnut tree but came in ...I was cold.  The mist was hanging but as the sun came up, it was a complete white out...I couldn't even see the bottom of the garden.

I made it down to the bread van and apparently we have a Mevlit in out little mosque tomorrow...I've booked a day shopping with my student so I shan't be going.  I came back with a large crusty and breakfast was two slices with lashings of butter.  Not nutritionally great but very tasty.  I sat around reading for a while...it was really cold out there and got on with a few household.  I stripped the bed and got the nest in the washing machine and all pegged out and drying by the time the sun had broken through.  I strimmed one batteries' worth and then had the urge to put the lawn mower together now that I had the new bolt.  I wheeled it round to the workshop terrace, I had to take the other wheel off to make sure that I was putting it together properly, topped up the oil, cleaned the filter, filled it up with petrol and it fired up first time.  Since it was going I did the little house lawn and part of the main lawn even though it was really to damp to do it.  I eventually gave up the ghost...there wasn't enough air going through it....the grass long and it was wet.  So away it went for another day...but at least it goes.

I came in at two and settled down with the book again and suddenly realised that the weather was closing in and that the washing had to come in before it really started to rain.  There were only a few spots but the nest ended up over the stair rail and the rest went into the bathroom so I lit the fire to make sure that everything was aired.  

Checked with Filmon and watch part of the O'Sullivan match and it's now on 9-6 to Ronnie....Chicken wings with roasted veg in the oven for supper tonight....the bed is already made up....the duvet is fluffed up and I'm looking forward to getting in.  I'm hoping that the snooker session doesn't go on until silly o'clock.  LN...must attend to supper...LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 22, 2017, 3:43pm; Reply: 25
Saturday 22nd April

Well it was a six thirty start and I caught the sun...for at least five minutes and it's been hidden most of the day since then.  My plans to go to Kardjali shopping with my student were scuppered last night...she had other fish to fry so to speak so I was heading for a lazy morning with perhaps a visit to my mosque later.  I got washed and dressed, sorted out the washing up for the last couple of days, tidied the kitchen in general, put the washing away and settled down to read my book.  It was cold out and not a day to be out there gardening.  I hadn't bothered with the fire, the house had maintained its heat from yesterday but at eleven there was a knock on the door and Haciber was out there.  She mentioned the mosque and said that they needed ten lev towards the cost of providing for the guest which I willing coughed up and I a
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 22, 2017, 3:43pm; Reply: 26
Saturday 22nd April

Well it was a six thirty start and I caught the sun...for at least five minutes and it's been hidden most of the day since then.  My plans to go to Kardjali shopping with my student were scuppered last night...she had other fish to fry so to speak so I was heading for a lazy morning with perhaps a visit to my mosque later.  I got washed and dressed, sorted out the washing up for the last couple of days, tidied the kitchen in general, put the washing away and settled down to read my book.  It was cold out and not a day to be out there gardening.  I hadn't bothered with the fire, the house had maintained its heat from yesterday but at eleven there was a knock on the door and Haciber was out there.  She mentioned the mosque and said that they needed ten lev towards the cost of providing for the guest which I willing coughed up and I a
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 22, 2017, 4:08pm; Reply: 27
Saturday 22nd April

Well it was a six thirty start and I caught the sun...for at least five minutes and it's been hidden most of the day since then.  My plans to go to Kardjali shopping with my student were scuppered last night...she had other fish to fry so to speak so I was heading for a lazy morning with perhaps a visit to my mosque later.  I got washed and dressed, sorted out the washing up for the last couple of days, tidied the kitchen in general, put the washing away and settled down to read my book.  It was cold out and not a day to be out there gardening.  I realised that I needed internal warmth so opened a can of beans and toasted a couple of slices of bread and it definitely filled the gap.

I hadn't bothered with the fire, the house had maintained its heat from yesterday but at eleven there was a knock on the door and Haciber was out there.  She mentioned the mosque and said that they needed ten lev towards the cost of providing for the guest which I willing coughed up and I assumed that it was all happening today.  I got changed and found the ladies sitting on the bench and I'd got the day wrong...it's tomorrow.  I sat down with them, noticed that all the rugs and blankets from the floor of the mosque were hanging on the fence and then we all set to shaking them and getting them back inside.  

I'd not been inside the mosque before with the curtain open...as women we all sit on the other side.  One think I want to clear up...I haven't changed my religion, I respect theirs as they respect mine and I look on my time as time of closing down and having an hour with my spirituality....and of course there is the rice and meat afterwards with my villages and the other local villagers.  I'm the only non-Muslim in my locality and I'm accepted for what I am....and that's fine for me.  So we had a fun time replacing the mats and blankets and it had to be done in order.  We sit on a concrete floor so there was extra padding round the outsides and I made sure that mine was extra-extra padded...I know my place.  

As for the rest of the afternoon...again I couldn't envisage throwing the lawn mower around...it was a grim old day so I put Filmon on for a while and noted that my mate Ronnie had made it through to the next round but at this point I felt extreme tiredness come over me so it was off with the computer, I lit the fire and settled down with my book but wasn't reading for long but felt much better when I woke.

So seven my time...the rest of the afternoon was spent on the second book in the series...Dragonfly in Amber and it's interesting to read it again.  I normally find it second time through that I remember most but I suppose it's been five or so years from my first run through.  I was going to make chilli con carne for tonight but sitting in the mosque tomorrow ...not sure it's the thing to be making.  Maybe just a cheese sandwich tonigh...the beans are still lingering and I'll cook tomorrow.  LN....Mmmm...cheese and onion...LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 23, 2017, 4:24pm; Reply: 28
Sunday 23rd April

Seven thirty start since I stayed up late to watch the Young Dancer of the Year final.  I hadn't watched the rest of the heats and reckoned it was a shame that I'd missed it along the way.  I didn't pick the winner...I was taken with two of the others but the girl did good.  She was the only girl to make it to the final and she won....

So at seven thirty this morning it was grey all over and cold.  It did lighten a little, there was a hint of sun so I got a load of washing underway, bonfire lit, breakfast of toast, dressed. fried off the mince that I'd got out yesterday and made it into bolognaise sauce and got ready for my morning at the mosque.  I trundled the logs in before I went...I wanted nothing to do when I got back apart from getting the washing in and I ambled down to the bench for about ten thirty.  

The usual crowd had gathered, the rice had been finished at this point and was clothed in it's blanket jacket ready for the post service bean feast.  There was activity from the men...the hodja had his laptop with his but there was no electricity to the mosque....someone had not connected the cable apparently but eventually a connection  was made and things started to run smoothly.  There was a brief kerfuffle....one of the three has sung something out of turn, a little altercation and then we were back on track and one the laptop was fired,it all ran smoothly.  There were a few new faces for me and they look at me quite strangely.  I'm in my jeans and a couple of sweaters because I knew it would be cold inside and also sporting a body warmer where as they are all in their normal layers and my headscarf is worn out of respect.  Theirs is a permanent addition to everyday living.  I recognise a lot of the service now and could sing along and do the actions but I like to feel that I'm without religion here.  It's a place for me to feel secure in allowing myself to relax completely and make my own peace with the power that is.  

One hour later and lunch is served...five minutes of eating and then there is the final prayer and then people finish the plateful and head outside.  In fact there were more outside than in today...the mosque was cold and for some of the old bones, they were better off absorbing what heat there was from the sun.  I have the feeling that some of them will not be here long.

I got back to the house around two, washing in and on the clothes airer, fire lit and I settled down with my book on the sofa.  The fire has gone like a dream all afternoon, the pump has been going most of the time and the hypnotic effect meant that I slept really solidly for an hour or so and of course I was very relaxed from this morning.    

Nothing on my agenda for tomorrow....the lawn mowing was put on the back burner and it looks like staying there.  That dull sky has begun to drop its load and according to my locals, there was snow in Ankara yesterday and Istanbul which isn't a million miles away is due to get it today.  So much for april showers,  Nothing on the agenda for tomorrow....I'll see what takes my fancy with that blank canvas ahead.  LN...What do with that sauce for supper....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, April 23, 2017, 5:25pm; Reply: 29
And again
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