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Elsa Peters living a new life in Bulgaria    General Boards    My Diary by Elsa Peters  ›  SEPTEMBER 2023
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Elsa Peters
September 1, 2023, 5:53pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 1st September

So now we are beginning to head into autumn and this year has been a funny year so far.  I don't usually go to the UK in the summer and this time it was longer than I think I've ever spent there in the last few years.  The garden has suffered more than it usually does, not so many summer flowers in the garden, the pots are OK since my neighbour watered them for me but unfortunately I put some into buckets without drain holes and the tiny roses have died through too much water.  Can't win them all I suppose.  My biggest autumn job in preparation for winter has been done...four tons of wood delivered and stacked so bring on the snow....not really...I think there might be a few days in Greece or the swimming pool to be had to top up the tan until next year.

As for the day of gardening I promised myself...it really didn't happen.  It was just too hot to be out there pushing a mower around and my other excuse is that I don't want to take away the food for the tortoises....it's pretty scarce as it is.  I've kept the water troughs filled and put down melon skins and there are dandelions pushing through now that the nights are cooler so they won't starve.  One job that I did do today was to look through the half-full containers of hair conditioner and shampoo that the family have brought over and generally tidied the upstairs bathroom.  I put the washing away put the swim stuff back in the 'beach rucksack' that I leave in the Nipper so that I'm ready to go swimming if the mood takes me.  

Last night I got some mince meat from the freezer that I'd been given by one of the ladies and cooked for the first time since I've been home.  I fried it off with onions, added a small can of tomato purée, a teaspoon of marmite and a can of chilli beans.  I prepared pasta and served it, it was very tasty but I find that they don't take out the stringy bits from the meat and it can be very chewy.....and it was.  So now it's going back into the freezer, there's probably another two portions of it to be had at a later date. .....for the days that I don't fancy putting in a lot of effort over supper.  News on the holiday with my ex-student is not going well, I did find a tour flying from Istanbul going down to Cappadocia for four nights and five days.  It would mean taking a coach down to Istanbul but at least my student speaks the language so we should be able to manage it OK.....so I'll speak to her over the weekend and try to book something.  LN.....Bath and bed.....tonight I'm feeling weary.....LN

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Elsa Peters
September 2, 2023, 5:55pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 2nd September

Six start then back off again and it was seven for the second awakening.  I made coffee and sat out on the balcony, it was a very calm morning with lots of tiny birds around but only one bee-eater gracing me with its presence.  It did a few sweeps. landing back on the wires and then off to find its mates.  I didn't make breakfast immediately, I somehow meandered through the next couple of hours continuing my trend of tidying things up, had a lovely conversation with my daughter regarding a parking fine we'd managed to get at Tesco car-park when I was in England and felt so sorry for her that I went on to my bank to transfer the money.  While I was waiting to get connected, there was the usually messages advising me how long the queue was and that they were trying to connect me.  The last message was asking me to be kind to the operative and I curled up at this and so much so that when he came on the line the first thing I said was that I'd been instructed to be kind and I would be.  At this he almost exploded and as I explained I was only following instruction which caused him to laugh out loud.  We went through the formalities, I passed the interrogation and told him what I wanted which he concluded pretty rapidly.  I then asked him about another account that I have and he told me how much was in there and advised me that this was paying a reasonable interest where the account that I used for every day paid nothing.  I made a decision last week that since Bulgaria pays no interest at all on any account to use money from here and forget about England except for holidays and birthdays so ended up transferring from one account to the other that pays the interest...rude not to.  I asked him at the end of the interaction if I had treated him kindly to which he replied it was the most fun he'd had all week and that he was likely to break out in giggles for the rest of the day.  My work was done....I'd made someone smile.  My daughter said that she hadn't told me about the fine so that I would pay it so the money is put to oneside and the next meal out is on her...and it's Nandos again....we so enjoyed the last time.

As for the rest of the day, I made more coffee and had toasted cheese sandwiches for breakfast with brown sauce on them and then moved to the top landing and sorting out very old paperwork with the aid of a shredder.  I really don't like throwing things away, my filing goes back to when I first came out here and I have manuals and receipts for machinery that the workmen have destroyed and more manuals for replacements.  I did find somethings that I really need to do something about including trying to get back the money that I paid for Transponder TV that is now obsolete and when I tried to find the website, my internet security said that the site wasn't safe and wouldn't connect me.  I do miss watching English television and really must do something about finding another method before the winter sets in, it's a bit of a lifeline.  I've sorted out the filing system, first pass and the second will be done the next time I'm avoiding working in twenty eight degrees on the end of a grass mower.

At five thirty the electricity went off and my first thought was to get the chili beans and pasta on to warm through on the gas ring before the light went.  Eating by candle light is one thing, cooking by it is another.  In twenty minutes it was loaded into a bowl, I took the pepsi bottle with me and sat at the table in the stairwell where there was maximum light and set the ipod into action with Cleo Laine blasting out.  I didn't the pasta so went into the kitchen to start to clear up and the power was restored.  I washed up, tidied the kitchen and went back to Cleo until I moved to the lounge and watched one episode of Orange and Black, switched that off and watered the pots and the garden.  The plants need to soak it up tonight just in case it's another hot one tomorrow.  

My peace was disturbed by a very large bird with a decent wing span doing a crash landing in the mulberry tree.  It didn't stop long and took off with a woosh towards the hillside to the north and I guess that it might have been an owl.  Not much else that big is out and about unless a stork has lost its bearings.  Hoses turned off, house locked up for the night, doors locked or on tilt and turn and I hear the bath calling me.  Tomorrow I'm having a concerted effort to find this holiday for my student and myself....only two weeks to go.  LN......Another reason to not mow the grass tomorrow and looking at the clouds tonight, we could even have rain...fingers crossed.....LN
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Elsa Peters
September 3, 2023, 6:39pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 3rd September

Last night was a challenge.  I'd found a small tablet that I'd used around four years ago, abandoned it for one reason or another mainly because it didn't boot up and had been put to one side.  I started playing around with it last night, Googled how to do a hard reset on it and Goggled everything else about it and low and behold after much fiddling, it booted up.  This brought its own problems.  I remembered the shape that I had to make with the dots to get in to it but all the other passwords were out of date and after my trip to England I'd put the information somewhere ...now where was it again.  Eventually at midnight, it was done, I could use it and it's going to be a replacement for the Acer that for some reason looses it's battery life in a flash.  Maybe it's time that I thought about a replacement for them all, the Acer was a gift that never did give, the Kindle has been in service for years and everything has moved on...except me.

Eventually I got to bed around one this morning and slept well until six thirty.  I made coffee, a bit of a cloudy start to the day and we'd had no rain overnight so I sat out on the balcony watching the garden for signs of life.  There wasn't much happening out there, a few bonfires on the go and I had stuff to burn but instead I chose the easy option of computer games for an hour or so with more coffee for company.  I spotted one of the tortoise out for a morning stroll, went down the garden and it was Blue that I hadn't seen for a while and on the opposite side of the garden was Green God so we had a photo opportunity.  Eventually at eight I had a shower and washed my hair, I'd made my mind up to go see my student to discuss the pending holiday that had somehow gone from two of us to three of us and it had changed the ethos.  The last time I went as a threesome was to Cappadocia in Turkey, the room was so small that I'd gone to reception to see if they had a single room available and they had at extra cost and I'd moved.  I didn't want to be in the same boat again and the third person had been sprung upon me.  It had played on my mind so today I contacted my student and arranged to go to her house to see her.  All sorted, I'm not going and leaving them to it, a lovely visit to the family who were making lutenitsa which is a mixture of tomatoes, peppers, carrots, a little garlic that is made into a paste and sealed in jars as a winter condiment.  They were also making soup that is stored in bottles from boiled meat.  They both work all week and at weekends store the process the produce from their gardens to last them for winter.  It's what my grandparents did once that pig from the garden was killed and laden fruit trees were made into jam.  

At twelve I set off for home stopping at the supermarket for a few items, at two thirty I pt chicken wings with diced onion and potatoes in the oven, lay on the sofa and promptly nodded off until four thirty.  By this time everything was 'well cooked', I salvaged what I could that was an early supper.  Mrs cat will have the rest of it for breakfast tomorrow with the remains of the pasta and chili that was last night's supper.  She'll be a happy cat and then move on to the next house.  After a two hour sleep I'm feeling rested, the stress levels are down and tomorrow that grass might even get cut without the sun is a shining to welcome the day and it might very well be a pool day, very much dependent on the weather.  LN.....Bedtime said Doogle...a few games and then hopefully off to the land of Nod......and a morning bonfire.......LN

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Elsa Peters
September 4, 2023, 6:33pm Report to Moderator

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Monday 4th September

Very early start this morning, up before the sun, made my coffee and sat on the balcony with camera in hand.  I love watching the sun come up, the way that the sun hits the clouds and colours them before you can actually see it and then it's up and every thing goes back to normal.  We didn't see much of it today....those clouds were with us for most of the day and at one point it looked and felt very much as if it might rain but there were a few drops and that was it.

I didn't bother with breakfast, washed and dressed and then I took the rubbish down to the bottom of the garden for a burn-up, there wasn't much wind so I thought it was fairly safe.  I did connect the long garden hose and soak underneath the burning container, everything is so dry and I don't want any accidents.  I got it going fairly well and then really slowed it down.  The shrub that was growing on the little house terrace was looking very sick, a lot of it had died so I attacked it.  It was some sort of jasmine but it's never flowered and was left here by a visitor several years ago.  When the terrace was completed I asked for a square to be left by the front wall, planted the jasmine, looked after it, kept looking for flowers but zilch. I started out by cutting out the deadwood and eventually I was taking away complete branches and unfortunately I think it's got that white fungus growth.  One branch is still producing leaves so I've left it with a bottle overing the lower branch that's left but I've a feeling that it will all have to be dug out and replaced with something that does flower.  The dead went into the burning barrel and then I set about splitting two baby yuccas from the parent, one got put into the hole left by removing a casualty of the drought, a weigela and the other is in the grave garden near the rose bush.  It didn't stop there, the rose bush has had a hard cut and the grass has been removed from the bed exposing the stone surround.  Don't you just love couch grass but the soil is so dry that with a swift lift of the garden fork, the roots are easy to pull out.  I've also cleaned up the under terrace gardens and again the grass had wreaked havoc but now they're looking good.  It's been a busy old day, I managed to knock up over seventeen thousand steps on the Fitbit and am feeling quite pleased with myself.  Supper was cheese and biscuits with beetroot and silverskin onions, I was too tired to cook and am just about to go soak in a Badedas bath.  The aches and pains from too much bending and stretching need to be eased out.  LN.....I picked a good day .....we're supposed to be having rain for the next few days and cheering up at the weekend.....not so good for late holiday makers......LN

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Elsa Peters
September 5, 2023, 2:58pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 5th September

So after my day of activity yesterday today turned into a day of inertia.  I really couldn't get going, the mind was willing but the flesh was weak.  I woke up to even a duller day than yesterday, at least yesterday showed promise but today delivered nothing....no sun, no rain and a persistent wind blowing from the north.  I put off watering the flowers thinking that nature would do it for me but having just checked on the pots, I think I've just discovered a job that must be done.  I did intent getting my kindling wood sorted out...I've got so many old short planks of wood from the concreting all those years ago.  I used the reciprocating saw yesterday when I was taking down that shrub from the little house terrace but really need to fit a new blade.  I used to keep them in a plastic box labelled up but other hands have been in the workshop over the last few years so I'll have to have a rummage.

I made a cheese omelette for breakfast to use some of the eggs up and found some pork chops in the freezer and cooked those for supper with a homemade barbecue sauce serving them with jackets with butter and mayo.  I was a little greedy on the chops, one would have been enough and the second one is in the fridge and will make a sandwich tomorrow.  As for the rest of the day, a load of washing is drying in the guest bedroom, the hoover came out to run over the landing carpet where I'd been shredding and that involved emptying it out before I could use it.  Just like life....one thing leads to another.....always another job on the horizon when one is finished.

After an evening walk round the garden, no sign of any of the tortoises, I guess they think that winter is coming early and are digging out holes for themselves.  I've purposely not mown down the bottom of the garden, there seems to be more patches of weedy growth where the rest of the grass looks like a dust bowl in places.  I've noticed that I've got lots of suckers from the shrubs and two sumak 'were suckers', now small trees that need to be removed and potted.  There are lots of seeds on the tobacco plants and they do do better starting off early season and I really need to take cuttings from the geraniums, the salmon pink ones are really spectacular.  As I said, there are always seeds to collect and cuttings to take to keep a girl busy.  LN.....There's a yogurt that I've just heard calling 'eat me' from the kitchen...it will finish supper off properly.....LN

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Elsa Peters
September 6, 2023, 3:50pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 6th September

Early to bed and much too early to rise.  Cloudy sky and that threatened rain still hasn't materialised, dull all day but that didn't stop the tortoises, two out of the three that I spotted had other things on their minds...but that was much later.  I made coffee, went back to bed with the KIndle and played games, spotted the sheep coming over the hillside trying desperately to find food of which there's very little.  I moved down for breakfast and the temptation to put the television on at eight was just too much to ignore and I binge watched Orange is the new Black until eleven, put it on pause while I made more coffee, washed up and made toast with butter and switched off when I came to the end of the series that was currently playing.  Inertia sets in when there still should be sun and if it's supposed to rain...it should appear.

At twelve I went out and walked the garden, the Fitbit thought it was having a day off.  I went to look for the tortoises and almost fell over CS who was walking away from the low wall, I heard a noise and looked again and Rosy was having a bit of a stand off situation with Green God.  He was obviously in the mood, she wasn't, he tried to mount and she moved and two seconds later CS had joined the party and was trying to see off Green God.  At this point I left them to it and went back to weeding the pots, took the secateurs and cut back the tobacco saving the seed pods for next year.  I cut back the straggly bougainvillea saving some of the branches that I've trimmed down to size and left them soaking in water before I pot them up. Next job was to replace the blade in the reciprocating saw, I found the blades but had forgotten how to do it so tried the internet but I think this versions is by now obsolete.  Eventually I worked it out and found the correct instrument to release the old blade, inserted new and I was cooking on gas.  I'd forgotten that I'd switched off all power to the little house before I left for the UK but after I'd checked everything else, it could only be that that was the problem. I tested it out on a branch that had come down from the Linden tree and that's now ready for winter.  

I did a final watering of the old vegetable bed, tidied everything away, moved the Nipper nearer the house instead of under the tree,  The wind had got up and some of those branches are long and not very thick.  Next step is to contact Bekir for two favours, a clean of my chimney for the winter and to pollard the yard trees, the mulberry, the acacia, the walnut and the wild and normal cherry.  That should keep him and his son busy for a day.  If they manage that I've got other little jobs to keep them out of mischief.  Time to cook supper,,,I took a steak from the freezer last night and am about to flash fry it with onions and serve it with a fried egg.  LN.....I've salivating already...better get on with it......LN

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Elsa Peters
September 7, 2023, 4:32pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday 7th September

Six thirty start and welcome to another dull morning. As I was going up to bed last night I heard what I thought was rain, confirmed it by putting on the outside spot light and it was chucking it down.  It was very short lived though and didn't really do much for the grass but at least it was something.  I made my coffee downstairs since the upstairs jar is empty and I'm still waiting for a promotion to appear in Kaufland. Gold Blend coffee is an extortionate price here compared with the UK and I haven't a clue why.  It's on sale everywhere and the going rate is around nine pounds for a two hundred gram jar.....and it's about six in the UK.  Unfortunately I can't really find anything to replace it though I might have to try.  

So an update  on the steak.....I cooked it on the griddle with the onions, slapped it on two slices of bread with an egg on the top and had to resort to a serrated knife to cut it into strips.  It was one of the worst ones that I've had for a long time, I ended chewing it and putting it back on the plate and the best part was the egg and the onions on the bread.   It didn't go to waste though, Mrs Cat soon got her teeth round it and it was gone in quicksticks.  She won't be getting that anytime soon.  I went out into the yard and noticed that CS was walking towards me, he deviated and headed for the summer growth at the base of the Linden tree, made his way through it and appeared back in the yard.  I found my gloves and air-lifted him to safety to a very green patch on the grass but he scooted off for the low wall.  I filled up the water containers but I've not seen one in there yet but they're there if they want it.  I eventually settled for toast for breakfast with apricot jam, washed up and went back to my task for today....lopping off some of the low lying branches from the Linden, sweeping up the leaves and depositing them over the road for the cows to find....and they did.  On about my fourth visit fly-tipping over the road, I noticed the cows wending their way home and was on the last journey when I noticed one of the cows munching happily on the verge opposite when she noticed me approaching and made a bee-line for me and my gate so I dropped the branches and left her to it.  The two calves that she had with her stayed where they were eating some of the earlier deposits but eventually they were happy to join her at the gate.  Topped up they headed home and I went out and picked up the branches and dropped them in the field opposite.  

I did have a brief break for a cheese and onion sandwich and that's going to be enough for me for tonight.  More of the same tomorrow it's like getting ready for winter early.  Normally my wood would be organised but that's done already.  I'm ahead of myself.  LN.....Seven thirty, time for switching off computer and television on, tools locked away....I'm in for the night......LN

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Elsa Peters
September 8, 2023, 6:31pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 8th September

Funny night, woke up at three and thought it was morning started but eventually managed to get off again until six thirty.  Morning didn't take long to appear, bit of a cloudy sky but the sun managed to break through if only briefly and then it was intermittent for the rest of the day.  I made coffee and much later I made beans on toast for breakfast and that saw me through until around three when I settled for a chocolate cake.  I was out tonight meeting the girls of my friend who died just after Christmas, our friendship had lasted several years after he found me out in Bulgaria through a mutual friend.  The girls had come out to scatter some of his ashes in Fanari on the Aegean Sea and where he loved to be.  It was time for the girls to say goodbye to their father, gone too soon through the dreaded 'C'.

The rest of my morning was spent tidying up the gardening stuff in the little house.  I've collected seeds and some even in packets for years but it was time to go through them and dispose of some.  The dispersal won't happen until the spring though, there may be some that will still germinate...I'll have a dolly mixture bed and see what comes up.  I've also put aside things for burning, the flower pots and saucers to go under them need sorting and I might even move a metal shelving unit from the house to the little house to start putting things in order.  Paint cans also need throwing and tools returning to boxed sets and jars of nails stacking tidily. This to be achieved before the winter sets in ready for next year.  I also spent time looking at the little house.....I need to think seriously as to where the stairs are going, I've got a ladder there at the moment and not that it's important now, but it really does need finishing.

I watered the pots, the chance of rain today was zilch and then it was time for me to start to think about getting moving.  I started to run a bath and then realised that I needed to wash my hair so had a shower instead.  I didn't have to be there until five and as every I arrived spot on time, this was one thing my friend complimented me on and I didn't want to let him down  this time.   I'd met two of his daughters before but not the eldest, other local friends were there and we sat in the garden.  One of the twins had prepared a fantastic buffet spread, all home made and baclava and walnut cake for finishers.  I stuck to my water and at eight thirty took my leave and headed home.....the girls were all tired out from the time spent in Greece saying goodbyes.  Parked up, must get a new intruder light and get it fitted to replace the one that's given up the ghost.  I think it's the sensor that's gone.  LN.....It's been a funny old day, brought back lots of memories of a very good friend, sadly missed.....LN

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Elsa Peters
September 9, 2023, 3:42pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 9th September

Had a reasonable night, the sunshine really cheered me up and it looked as if it was in for the day.  There was a small herd of cows, looked young ones on the other side of the wall near the wild plum tree and I was pleased that I had a wall between me and them.  It's obviously that they didn't make it home last night by the piles of poo in the vicinity and someone didn't bother looking for them.  I picked up the camera and made my way outside and as I approached the wall they appeared startled when I took the first photo, I moved further along the wall to take the next photo and this is when I started a stampede.  They ran for about one hundred meters, stopped, turned round and allowed me to take the next one.  I didn't linger long and hopefully they found their way home or at least, someone noticed they'd gone missing.

As I was walking back to the house I spotted a brown hump next to the watering can at the bottom of the garden so checked out which tortoise it was.  It was Blue munching happily on a very green patch of grass but as for the others, no sight or sound.  I made beans on toast and more coffee and sat in the stairwell at the table, checked my messages and the phone in general and there was nothing untoward.  I'd noticed when I was down the garden that the Red Hot Pokers weren't looking so hot....they'd dried out in the sun and I'd missed watering them so I dug them up and separated the clump out into three root balls.  I planted two of them up in the old veg garden watering them in well and the third one is under the lounge terrace between the lavender and the corner away from the steps.  Tools away....that sun was warm.  I then attempted to send an electronic voucher to a birthday girl, totally got it wrong and sent it to myself so had to photograph it and email it to her mother...she can sort it out.

I decided not to go into Kardjali today, Gold Blend coffee was not on promotion so I drove into Djebel, parked up, had a few words with my current student caretaking the fishing shop for his mother who was working in the car shop next door.  She invited me behind the counter and I managed to get down onto a small three legged stool wondering how I would manage to get up again....but I did.  The shop was slow and steady, we chatted between the customers and had a catch up, we talked about English lessons now that he's moving schools it was going to be more difficult to fit it in.  We decided that we should see how the new school goes and how a lesson could be fitted in between school and football, she's keen that we continue with them since in the first year the school drops English and concentrates on German.  I think future lessons will be more conversational, less reading and writing.  I stayed at the shop until around three thirty, have been invited to take as much chicken poo from the garage as I need to put on the garden over the winter.  Currently they don't do anything with it so maybe they will start putting it on their own garden.  

I drove to the supermarket and topped up with a few frozen meat item, I succumbed to a large jar of Gold Blend, bought carrots, bread, biscuits, juice and Coca-Cola and still only managed to spend forty four leva, the equivalent of about twenty pounds.  When I go into Lidl or Kaufland I always spend more so have decided to buy what I need not what I think I might like.  Time to water the garden especially the new transplants, can't have them falling at the first hurdle.  Supper tonight is pork skewers with a barbecue sauce and a few chippies in the air fryer.  LN......I feel so much better after a day of sun even though the wind was pretty brisk......LN

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Elsa Peters
September 10, 2023, 4:25pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 10th September

Early start and it was out on to the balcony with a coffee, feet up and watch the morning break and the birds visiting the garden.  The Pied Flycatcher on the washing line is very funny to watch.  It quickly lifts off and pick ants or whatever from the lonesome pine always returning to the same spot of the line.  There must be good pickings, it normally stays there for a good five minutes and at various times during the day always using the same procedure....quick up, pick off and back.  Next to visit was the woodpecker who has a more laboured approach.  It settles and listens for activity, pokes around a little and this morning moved on fairly quickly.....I think the flycatcher had beaten it to the food.  I must have been out on the balcony for about an hour, everything was so peaceful, no one shouting, no cars revving about, all quiet in my neck of the woods.

I went down and made more coffee, boiled a couple of eggs for breakfast and had them with toast, cleared the kitchen and then worked out what I was doing for the rest of the day.  Some of the shrubs needed watering, I was going to attack the honeysuckle crowding in on the terrace but I'd unplugged the hedge trimmer and strimmer battery so that was going to be saved for another day.  I had a bonfire and took the tin snippers down with me to create a lid for the current burning container from the bottom of the old one, it didn't need putting on though, not much wind and not much rubbish.  I moved the terrace furniture and collected up the leaves that had gathered underneath it making the place look a lot tidier, dug round the hydrangea and removed the weeds, cut the rose back on the little house terrace, removed a rogue tree that was growing at the back of the little house terrace, brought water into play to remove the root and got splashback on my jeans and generally filled the day with garden maintenance.  I've saved some of the rosemary and skimmia branches to take cuttings but that's a job for tomorrow.  I did have one mishap though, I accidently brushed up against Spike and small spines went through my t-shirt into my arm and I spent around fifteen minutes taking them out with tweezers.  It's not even my plant....I've been looking after it for the last eight years for a friend, I don't like it but won't harm it even though it's a vicious thing.

Tools away at six thirty, tuna and mayo with carrots, beetroot and potatoes for supper and that's my next job when this is posted.  Twelve and a half thousand steps on the Fitbit, I've had a good day and can see the fruits of my labour.  LN.....It's good when things go well....LN

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My Diary by Elsa Peters (only location)

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