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Elsa Peters
December 1, 2023, 8:19pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 1st December

White rabbits, first of the month, pinch and a punch....just some of the sayings.  My daughter called it Sprout Day and she sported her sprout patterned socks and demanded to know where mine were so I went on the hunt for them, found them and they're ready to be packed to be worn on Christmas day.  I hate the things, was forced to eat them, would always serve myself one as I encouraged the children to eat them and now they like them and insist that I have one which I do try to hide under the turkey bones.  Enough of state secrets, let me tell you about today.

I opened the curtains to a brilliant red sky and had to grab the camera and take a few shots.  Even the small watering hole for the animals was coloured red making it look like a lava pond.  As morning moved on the sky turned yellow, I never did see the sun come up, a cloud base formed and hid it from view.  I went back to bed with a glass of tea to let the house warm up from the sun, played games and eventually hit the ground at eight thirty.  I had a second tea, made toast and had apricot jam yet again and decided to write my list of things that I had still to buy for presents for the village and friends in Djebel and at eleven drove into Djebel to see if the cashpoint was working and get money.   I stopped off at the car shop to see what the arrangements were for this evenings Birthday Bash with my student, went to the dinky doo shop and then on to the supermarket.  I have one more trip into Kardjali to do and then my Christmas shopping will be complete and that might happen tomorrow and is weather dependent.

I wash Netflix this afternoon, promptly fell asleep and woke at four, washed, changed and was in the Nipper at five thirty arriving at the shop at six, as arranged.  I handed over the present for the birthday boy and he liked it very much, we walked to the restaurant, the food was poor, my chicken was sent back for further cooking but the company was pleasant.  The first son, my first student who is now twenty four and his brother, my current student who is now fourteen.  I have history with the family and am pleased to be welcomed into their home.  We went back to the apartment for the birthday cake and clever big boy worked out that we could still make the correct age on the cake with candles by using roman numerals...bright boy.  I said fond farewells and had a straightforward drive through the forest, there were no cars or animals about, parked up and was surprised how warm the house is, nineteen degrees and no fire going all day.  Just after ten my time, I'm eating my second portion of cake that I was sent home with, with my fingers but I must go down to the kitchen and get a fork...it's very sticky.  LN.....I'm so lucky to be adopted by this family and my other family in Djebel.....I'm a lucky bunny.....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 2, 2023, 4:42pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 2nd December

Looks like winter has gone again but we've had strong March winds all day.  I had a very sleepless night...awake at two thirty-five and I thought I'd given that habit up.  I made use of it though, I put a load of washing in the machine at cheap rate, washed Netflix while it was finishing and put it on the clothes airer and it's probably ready to put away.  I also washed up the contents of the sink so I also had a clean kitchen to come down to when I eventually got out of bed after the second shift.  Morning was not memorable at all, not like yesterday's showcase and it's been not bad apart from the wind, seventeen degrees outside and twenty in without a fire.

Toast and marmite for breakfast and then I prepared the leeks to put into the slow cooker, thawed out a chicken leg in the microwave, added water to the slow cooker and followed the recipe that my student's mother had given me.  It went in at eleven and was ready for five and my only mistake was not cutting the leeks up thinly enough, they were a little tough but the chicken was fine.  I made a béchamel sauce using some of the stock from the slow cooker and it turned out like a thick soup and there's enough left for tomorrow.  

Santa's grotto went into action this afternoon, I think I've only got specialist presents to find and I can do that one day next week.  I also printed off gift tags and a few Christmas cards that I've updated from ones that I designed for a previous year.  All that I need to do is handwrite the 'To' and 'From' but they all know who it's from....nobody else gives gifts at this time of year, oniy me.  I found some Christmas lights this morning when I was searching for gift bags so they've gone up in the conservatory and the clay animals have all been washed and are pristine and now adorning the kitchen outside window sill inside the conservatory.  

No photographs today, I've just been too busy with Christmas wrapping and preparation.  LN.....Six thirty my time, supper done and dusted and here's hoping for abetter night's sleep....LN
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Elsa Peters
December 3, 2023, 6:04pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 3rd December

Another two thirty start but after a bathroom break I managed to get off to sleep again until five thirty and then I decided that I might as well be up and active.  I'm not quite sure how I filled the time between then and eight but I was busy doing something.  For some reason I started cleaning the upstairs bathroom wall tiles, I'd bought a new gadget and it seems to work very well on bathroom tiles but gave up after the wall with the upstairs towel rail on...enough was enough.  Not much of a sunrise, mountain to mountain clouds which did manage to disappear around nine thirty when I went down to light a bonfire, it was a very warm muggy morning, bit of a wind blowing but not as bad as it has been.  The cat got fed and so did the birds and everything was devoured pretty quickly.

Breakfast for me was toast with marmite again and I've been snacking on roasted peanuts, I've not exerted much energy so not had to fill up to keep the levels topped up,  Not much activity out of me today at all, I dressed to head into Kardjali but had second thoughts about it and might go in tomorrow.  Again no photos, nothing much was happening outside or inside for that matter.....the water heater is on and I shall be soaking myself in a hot back before bedtime to see if I can manage to sleep through tonight.....it's getting to be too much of a habit,  LN.....No supper required, another log on the fire that's been going for most of the day and the boiler is now up to temperature so I'm signing off......LN
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Elsa Peters
December 4, 2023, 7:48pm Report to Moderator

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Monday 4th December

Another cold start and very dark at six this morning when I opened the curtains to look at my world.  The sky was a black as pitch and the only brightness came from the street lights peppering the hillsides.  I made tea, still no coffee on the horizon for me for the time being, the house was still warm since the fire had been going most of the night and eventually burnt out.  It was only two degrees outside, I'd heard the rain in the night, it had stopped now but when it started again, only a few degrees colder and it would have been snow.  I washed and dressed for town, finished the usual morning jobs, didn't bother with breakfast and was in the Nipper just before ten.  I did stop at the car shop purely because there was a parking place outside which is quite unusual on Monday Market day.  I didn't stop long but as I was leaving I noticed petrol on the ground leaching towards the centre of the road so I made my way down to the garage and had the car checked out.....it was somebody else thank goodness.

I carried on the old way down to the Makaza road or rather 'Death's Highway' as we usually refer to it.There wasn't so much traffic this morning, maye the Romanians are ski-ing instead of sunbathing.  First stop was the new shopping centre and I spent around an hour looking for things to buy for unusual presents and I think I did OK.  I did two of the other shops in the centre, unfortunately the shops are filled to the brim, it's difficult to find anything specific, more a matter of 'seek and though shalt find' eventually if you look hard enough.  I managed to pay my telephone bill, the man started with the sales patter about upping my connection etc. so I told him that I was parked illegally and hadn't got time for any sales talk.  He got the message, took my money quickly and efficiently and I was on my way.  A quick trip into Kaufland and then back to Djebel for my student's lesson.  

He was up in the apartment and had lit the fire which was OK until he had used me as goal keeper while he practiced his trick shots and was now opening doors and windows because he was hot.  I stopped the game saying that I wasn't and reminding him that we had to get to the end of the book before I left for England next week.We could always squeeze in another lesson but I'd prefer not to and by five....we're on target, we'd worked the plot out from the pictures int he book but he'll still have to read it to me.  I left for home at six, stopped at the supermarket for fresh bread, shopping all unpacked, lit the fire, made sandwiches for supper with hot chocolate and an éclair.....I know how to live.  

Nothing on the agenda for tomorrow so far but you know how things can change.  LN.......Now time to get back to the fire and the warmth.......LN



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Elsa Peters
December 5, 2023, 5:51pm Report to Moderator

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Tuesday 5th December

So I woke up at two stretched out on the sofa in front of the TV and fortunately I'd got in my PJ's earlier and went off to bed.  I did mean that I'd slept through yet another episode of Queen of the South but at seven when I woke up, I rescued the fire from last night, emptied the ash can and got it going again.  Tea, caught up on the Netflix that I'd missed last night and finished off the series and it was still only eight thirty.  My life is now mine again.  

I remembered I'd bought bacon yesterday so made a couple of bacon sandwiches, more tea and then set about sorting the presents that I'd bought yesterday, bringing in the boxes and sorting the presents into family recipients.  It's easier with the presents for the ladies, they all have the same but when it comes to individual presents, not everything that I selected for one person is ending up where it was intended.  One or  two changes have been made.  The temperature rose from two degrees over night and ended up around four this afternoon so it was a good job that the fire was going and still is.  I did have one problem with a present that I'd bought, it's a pottery Christmas tree and I thought it was to be used with t-lights but on closer inspection it needed a battery.  No I'd have thought that the battery would have been supplied but when I managed to get into the thing...no battery so I searched and managed to find one that fitted.  I put it back together again, it's working OK but I suppose I shall have to get a few more batteries and should wrap one if I decided to give the other one that I bought to someone else.  Alternatively I could keep them both for me...it is Christmas after all.

The presents for my family are all wrapped and in one box, I only have to wrap a few presents for the other daughter, her husband and the baby with the same letters in her name as mine, so almost my namesake.  ASEL is the little one's name.  Just the outer wrapping to do and I've also colour co-ordinated the wrapping paper to the person and stuck bits on the Christmas card so that they'll know who the presents belong to.  At one I decided that I would probably not have enough wrapping paper so went into the shop that I always used to use and bought more of the one that I like and four more others.  I also invested in a new Sellotape dispenser, I was getting really frustrated with my old one and the rest of the afternoon went swimmingly.  I was back home for two and one more day and everything will be under the tree, or under the decorated teasels and the Christmas lights that are in place all year.  Time to put up my decorations even though I won't be here to enjoy them.  

At five I called it a day, gathered everything up from the table and little sofa and it all went into the lounge on the big sofas.  I want everything done tomorrow and then all I have to think about is what needs to be done before I head out next week...I don't want a rush to the finishing post, I have a bus to catch one week from tomorrow.  I don't need supper, I've just made two ham sandwiches using up the ham that I bought yesterday and am just about to get settled in front of the fire with a hot chocolate.  Seven forty five my time, time to relax and renew for tomorrow but no sleeping in front of the television tonight.  LN.....Let's hope I can get a good night in my bed for a change....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 6, 2023, 4:24pm Report to Moderator

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Wednesday 6th December

Well I did it again.  I woke up at one on the sofa, pulled myself together and staggered upstairs, undressed and got into bed and by that time the sleep had gone out of me.  I lay there for about thirty minutes, realised it was no use so started to play games until the eyelids started drooping, off with the light and it was seven when I awoke the next time, turned over and it was half eight this time.  Unfortunately the Fitbit only caught the latter stages, it was on charge but over all, I probably didn't get a bad sleep score in.

Washed. dressed, set the fire but didn't light it, it was dull and foggy outside, five degrees but dry and no wind.  I made bacon sandwiches for breakfast, put the remains of the tuna from the other day out for the cat but it really didn't show a lot of interest and had target practice with a few eggs that are old.  I pick a stone over the wall and try to hit it with them....I got one direct hit and four others.  I'd cracked one of the eggs to have it with the bacon this morning and hadn't like the look of it, it was sticking to the inside of the shell so they have to go...and they did.  The cat probably found them more interesting than the tuna mayo but nothing seems to go to waste here.  I cleared the kitchen and went into the little house to find the wild bird food from last year, tried to fill up the hanging bird feeder but the seeds were too small and fell onto the workbench.  I swept them up into a dish and put them on the bird table and lo and behold, the cat took up residence on the wall near to the bird table....obviously decided that fresh meat is best. I had a bonfire, carried on to the little house and gave the terrace pots a good water and hopefully one more soaking before I go to the UK and they should survive.  One or two of them hadn't got water catchers under them and now they do and while I was at it I renewed the mouse bait that I put in dishes around the place and there are no walnuts this year to tempt them into midnight feasting.  As for the woodstore, there's nothing in there either except for wood.  Both of the log carriers got filled and wheeled into the porch, I wasn't going to have a very energetic afternoon so the fire was going to be lit.  I'd found the suitcase that I am going to take to the UK, it was full of Christmas decoration over the years and so I thought I'd get festive and put a few lights up and hang some tinsel.  I didn't make much of an effort but ...'snowy white show and jingle bells'.....it's on its way.  

The fire was lit and it certainly makes the house a little more cheery.  I made a drinking chocolate and opened a packet of biscuits and I shan't be wanting any supper tonight.  I found something on Netflix, lay on the sofa and stayed away much to my surprise, bodes well for tonight.  Just after six my time, tomorrow is definitely a wrapping day....I put it off today but did put most of my 'stuff' that I want to take to England ready to put in the suitcase including a new t-shirt/top for Christmas day with the motto 'Express your ELF' which I found in the bargain rail at the grand price of five-fifty leva.  It's made out of green velour and I shall have to make sure that my daughter does it spirit it away.

Now time to close down the computer, settle down for the evening and put another log on the fire and definitely bed at eleven and not on the sofa.  I might pop into Djebel tomorrow, I need button batteries for the snowmen and one larger one for the other pottery Christmas tree and then back to it.  LN.......I've had a good day despite a restless night......LN



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Elsa Peters
December 7, 2023, 5:59pm Report to Moderator

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Thursday 7th December

At last, I slept through until six thirty, half asleep and awake until seven thirty and felt refreshed.  Unfortunately I opened the curtains to a dank, dark, miserable morning, it was raining very lightly but it was really cold and down to four degrees.  I think snow cold is OK, rain cold when the bones ache especially as you get older is not OK.  I made tea and took it back to bed, played a few games of Sudoku and felt ready to face the task of the day....finishing off the present wrapping.

I lit the fire and filled the log basket from the log carrier out in the porch and it didn't take long to get it up to a reasonable temperature inside.  I found warm clothes to put on and even put a pair of padded trousers over my tights, it's the first morning that I've felt cold this winter.  Bacon sandwiches for breakfast sent the hunger bugs packing followed by more tea and I'm wondering why I went out and invested on six jars of coffee when it was on sale in Kaufland.  It doesn't go off though so it should be alright for a year or so.  So my main presents were packed and I was doing well until I couldn't find a bottle of vodka that I'd bought the other day.  I was also wondering it I'd wrapped it and mistakenly put it in one of the parcels thinking it was a bottle of wine and you know how it is, the more you think about it the more you realise that you have to unwrap any present that has a bottle in it of similar shape just to check.....and that's how my afternoon went.  After unwrapping what I thought was finished with I still hadn't found the bottle so I checked the Nipper to see if it was in the boot, I even doubted that I'd bought it so tried to find the receipt.  Couldn't find the receipt but then it came to me, when I'd unpacked my shopping in the kitchen I'd put it on the window sill in the kitchen so that it didn't get knocked over and broken....doh....just a little under pressure with Christmas and packing for the UK.  

I decided that a trip to Djebel was on the cards and I left at four, I wanted to buy bigger gift bags to hold the pressies for the ladies, one large box of chocolates to finish off the last big present and one more that I'd completely forgotten about.  I stopped off at the car shop and we laughed about the bottle of vodka.  She shared a box of chocolates with me and I found out that I'd missed her birthday a couple of days earlier....it's in the diary for next year already.  Gift bags bought, pressie bought, chocolates bought and I was home just before five, livened the fire up and at last the water is pumping round the radiators.  I think it's going to be another cold night and snow was mentioned on the radio as I drove home but I'm not sure where it's going to fall.

So tomorrows task is to wrap the presents that I unwrapped and by the end of the day everything will be stacked and ready for delivery on Monday.  I'm also going to take a first fun at my packing , clothes are accumulating on the chest in my bedroom and it shouldn't take me long to get them in the hand and overhead sized bags, I want this weekend free.  LN......No pickies, cat had jumped down from the bird table as I got the camera poised.  She was sent packing.....LN
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Elsa Peters
December 8, 2023, 5:22pm Report to Moderator

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Friday 8th December

Early to bed and early to rise.....five thirty start, coffee, no tea bags upstairs and played games until seven.  I must have nodded off again briefly, it was eight when I woke up and started my day for real.  It was dull and miserable again, the temperature was two degrees outside, seventeen in so I thought it best if I light the fire and it was soon climbing inside but going down outside.  The rain turned to sleet, the sleet turned to snow and around twelve it was coming down pretty fast but not settling, far too wet underneath.  I made beans on toast for breakfast to set me up for the day and thawed some beefburgers in the microwave, fried them off briefly with an onion and put that in the slow cooker with the rest of the beans, some tomato purée, a little water and chili flakes and that became supper at five this evening.

The presents are all done, wrapped and ready to be delivered, only got the ladies' bags to fill and that won't take long.  I had a lovely conversation with my son regarding plans over Christmas and it looks like something has already been arranged with my daughter so I'll fit in where needs be.  It was at this point that I saw that the snow flakes were getting really big, it was beginning to settle so I went out to fll the log carrier so that I've enough for tomorrow.  I also found the wild bird food and put out a dish on top of the log that the starlings used this year for nesting in.  I think that since the cat has been up  on the bird stand, there must be a smell of cats so the birds are not using it any longer.  Later this afternoon I noticed that there were about six or seven tits filling up and it is sheltered by the roof timbers.  

At last I've decided which suitcase to take to the UK so started to fill it, closed it up and weighted it and was surprised when it only registered seven and a half kilograms....have to find a couple of house bricks to get full value from Easyjet.  I've also got another bag to fill so won't be over on this trip and I shan't be bringing much back with me, I was panicking about the weight but have settled my thoughts now.  I posted a photo on facebook when the flakes got really big, it's eased off now but of course the temperature is dropping so if there's a frost overnight, we might have it for a few days.  I just hope the snowplough drops it further away from my gate and onto the grass, it took me ages to move it to get out of the drive last time.

Supper over and was delicious, washing finished and drying in the bathroom, fire made up and radiators toasty.  LN.....Winter has finally made an appearance.....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 9, 2023, 4:24pm Report to Moderator

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Saturday 9th December

Another sleepless night in Dushinkovo....couldn't get off, got off and then woke at five thirty and thought it best to start my day.  It was very cosy in bed, minus two outside and about seventeen in the house so I lit the fire to give a glow to the place.  I needn't have worried, the sun came out eventually and did what it does best, free central heating and the house was up to twenty four so the fire was allowed to tick over.  Toast and jam for breakfast, there wasn't any bacon yet and I didn't think my body could cope with more beans so that sufficed for today until early afternoon when the kitchen called.

I had a good morning, I cleared the terraces of snow and the ice that was underneath it and was helped out by the sun warming everything up.  I also cleared a path from the woodstore to the house so that I didn't clog up the wheels of the log carriers and bring snow into the porch.  The bastard snow plough driver still hasn't twigged that if he pushes the load a little further along the road outside the gate, it would mean that my exit route to the road was clear.  He didn't have much to clear from the road but sure made a good drop of dropping it where he didn't need to.  I carried on and cleared to the road and where the gate had to swing, I didn't really need to bother, the sun has done it all now and only a few patches left.  The Choisya and Oleander were weighed down with the snow so I released the branches, two loads of wood into the porch and one ready to bring in tomorrow in another of the log carriers.  Tools away,  I went in and made a drink, went upstairs and finished my clothes packing and all that's left is chargers, tablets, computer and all that will go in the underseat bag.  I've just worked out that I have three whole days left to pack and repack, deliver presents and then on wednesday, it's all systems go.

I made a couple of phone calls to the UK to old friends and spent time reminiscing about old times with one of them.  I've also followed her parentage back on my ancestry site and she was amazed at what I'd found out.  I'll put it on paper and send it to her from the UK, she's not up with technology so that seems to be my only way to do it.  Made a couple of tuna mayo sandwiches, made a 'fruit tea' but as to what fruit, haven't got a clue, it was red coloured, prepared in error but it didn't taste too bad. I settled on the sofa and it wasn't long before  my eyelids when downwards and it was half four when I woke up.  I've rescued the fire from the embers and it's going well.  The temperature outside has dropped to zero already so we could be in for a chilly night.  Curtains are drawn to retain heat and the boiler is on, I'm going to linger in the bath this evening, I haven't found anything on Netflix that I want to watch so might even go back to one or two old favourites....there's comfort in watching what is familiar...too much violence, drugs and sex in some of the new stuff.  LN.......On that note, bath calls, good to see the blue and coal tits making use of the amenities.....LN



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Elsa Peters
December 10, 2023, 5:32pm Report to Moderator

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Sunday 10th December

So last night  had the bath that I'd said I was going to have, searched round for shampoo to wash my hair while I was in there and realised that I was all downstairs in the wet room.  I put my hand in one of the basket that sits on top of the shelf and found some Aussie Formula, goodness know how old it is but it did the job. It might have been one that my daughter left when she was over last time or even the time before.  Needs as needs must.  I combed my hair through while it was still wet, made two pigtails and went downstairs and on to the sofa to watch more of my series before I took to my virginal pit.  I slept well and woke up at eight which for me is very good, caught sight of myself in the mirror and thought I was Pippi Longstocking reincarnated.....it's not a look I shall be sporting outside the house anytime soon.

Toast for breakfast, cat had the rest of the hamburger and chilli beans and the washing up is still waiting to be done,,,,I've been out all day.  I set off to visit Bekir and Sali and wasn't quite sure what I'd find on the road.  No more snow had fallen but when I drove through the forest there was snow on our road even though the snowplough had removed most of it but on the side road going across to the Makaza highway it was pretty grim.  Now the men's village is up what we call a 'cheren put' or rough road and as I made the turning after the duel carriage way there was a police car blocking the road and setting up a speed camera.  I stopped before the camera and asked them to move indicating that I wanted the road that their car was blocking and grumpily one got back in the car and reversed it so that I could pass.  Lord help the next one that they stopped but it was a cold morning.  The rough road was very rough, icy, slippery, wet with potholes but the Nipper managed it and when I reached the semi-main road I turned right for Sali's house.  I'm always nervous when I leave the car and approach houses, they all have dogs so I normally shout the name of the occupier and they come out and all's good.  This worked for Sali and Mrs Sali, I handed over the loot, was invited in and Mrs. Sali spent the next ten minutes looking round for present to give to me.  I got a headscarf, a pair of sock and some knitted slippers, a cup of coffee, sat with them for about thirty minutes and then left to go to Bekir's house.  I had to reverse for about two hundred yards, there was no place to turn but I managed it, back to the road and parked up in the square and asked the way to the house.  I'd never been there before, directions were sketchy so I took the same approach, called his name and a neighbour walking down the street went and whistled him for me and so in the house I went.  I refused coffee, we chatted for a while and  I thought I was in for more socks but she came back with a jar of Bekir's honey from his bees...one hundred percent pure and delicious, I've had it before.  So back on to the rough road, the police car had left, my gas ran out at this point so I switched over to petrol, went into Momchilgrad and filled up with both and then on to the school that my friends are renovating with more presents.  Again we had the problem with dogs and a phone on silent is not a lot of use when you're trying to get into a property but fortunately I hear the daughter's voice so struck up a conversation with her and mother came out.  Stayed there for about an hour and came away with a lovely picture provided by the little one.  Drove back, quick stop at the supermarket and now have no intention of leaving to go anywhere else apart from deliver presents locally.  

I had a visitor about twenty minutes after I'd arrived home, it was the lady whose mother lives in the village and wants bit from all my plants.  She came to tell me that she'd lost her job and would be available to clear my little house of the old wood that I don't want anymore.  I said that I hadn't time before I left, that I would be back in January and she could work something out for then....problem solved.  I've had a good day, on target until something upsets the applecart so to speak....spoke to an old friend on a video call which I hate and phoned my daughter to tell her not to bother picking me up from the airport.  Parking is expensive and the train is very frequent to Brighton.  LN...My chicken wings must be cooked by now...the kitchen and the fire in the lounge calls.......LN  
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My Diary by Elsa Peters (only location)

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