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Elsa Peters living a new life in Bulgaria  /  My Diary by Elsa Peters  /  SEPTEMBER 2023
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 1, 2023, 5:53pm
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



Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 2, 2023, 5:55pm; Reply: 1
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
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 3, 2023, 6:39pm; Reply: 2
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
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 4, 2023, 6:33pm; Reply: 3
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
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 5, 2023, 2:58pm; Reply: 4
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
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 6, 2023, 3:50pm; Reply: 5
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
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 7, 2023, 4:32pm; Reply: 6
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
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 8, 2023, 6:31pm; Reply: 7
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
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 9, 2023, 3:42pm; Reply: 8
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
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 10, 2023, 4:25pm; Reply: 9
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
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 11, 2023, 6:50pm; Reply: 10
Monday 11th September

Silly night last night.  I had too much supper and woke up at two thirty this morning, just couldn't sleep.  I played silly games for a while, didn't solve any of the three outstanding Angry Birds or achieve really good times on the Sudoku so at four I decided to have another run at bedtime...and it worked until six thirty....and it's been full on all day.  I made fried tomatoes on toast for breakfast but that was much later, I had a bonfire, watered the pots and came in and finished watching Orange is the New Black....and I'm pleased I've come to the end of it.  It was almost obsessional but went on too long.  The last episode was good and brought it all together.

Out to the workshop and found the paint brush and the old engine oil and I'd decided to cover the wood 'sculptures' scattered around the garden and somehow have lasted several years.  Also there are three or four tree trunks that serve as perching stools that also needed a coat.  I did intent taking photos but by the time that I'd finished the rest of the day's work, it was just too late.  There's a donkey down the bottom by the burning area, a reclining 'something' at the bottom near the medlar fruit tree and my infamous reclining 'frog' with the hat,  There are two perching logs at the bottom of the garden and one under the old fruit tree in the grave garden.  They've all been 'done', the frog needs a new hat but that's a job for another day.  

I came in for a drink and ended up opening a can of pineapple chunks reserving the juice for tonight's supper of pork skewers in sweet and sour sauce.  Fortified I concentrated on the wall with railings in the grave garden.  It had all become overgrown, the shrubs had been pulled forward when the railings were painted and had been left to their own devices.  The quince had mingled with the rose and Spirea and instead of it being standalone was now just a jungle.  Unfortunately when I started to uncover  the trunk nearest the ground, a lot of it had rotted and I was able to heave out chunks of the root ball.  What's left is still pretty green and should do better now that I've attacked it.  The rose is now back on the railings on top of the wall, the honeysuckle is back where it should be and the other trees have been thinned out.  It's just a shame that there isn't any grass left but now that it's opened up again, it should bring it back to life.  The cows have had some good pickings, the rotten wood was heaved over the wall and I swept up the dead leaves intending to rekindle the bonfire but instead emptied my log carrier over the wall and the sheep soon found it.

I came in at six, cooked supper and it looked and tasted superb.  Three skewers and spicy potato wedges and that should do me through until breakfast.  Half nine my time, I've gone back to watching 'The Last Kingdom'....which I really enjoy and wondering when the last episode is being released that covers from book eight onwards.  Opticians tomorrow but not until four thirty so might have a leisurely day, potter in the garden but nothing dramatic, a little gentle strimming to take me through until two.  Shower, head to Kardjali and have my eyes tested and it will be new lenses in the old frames...I like the last ones that I bought when my old ones couldn't be repaired.  LN....Another good gardening day...feeling pleased with myself.......photos to follow.....much too busy to stop for a photoshoot......LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 12, 2023, 7:00pm; Reply: 11
Tuesday 12th September

Well that I could forget my optician's appointment, I'd got reminders going off left, right and centre.  I was awake at five thirty this morning, watched the morning come awake from my bed and the reflection of the sunrise from the table in the stairwell.  It's been an odd day, my morning was paved with good intention but not a lot of it got done.  I meandered through the morning, made a superb cheese omelette for breakfast to use up the last of the eggs which would get replaced later after my visit to the optician, cleared the kitchen, cleaned the worktops and the top of the cooker and walked the garden, finding Rosy where I didn't expect to find her.  She was up in the grave garden, shell to the sun warming up.  It obviously deserved a photoshoot and then I went to review my work from yesterday and I'm pretty pleased.  I just need to tie a few more of the new shoots to the railings and thin out the honeysuckle...rampant stuff that it is.  The same can be said of the terrace, but today wasn't the day for it.  Watering the little yellow flowered jasmine yesterday resulted in some of the flowers coming out and it looks much healthier.  Same goes for the other shrubs, they're having such a hard time of it.....we need rain.

I felt a little jaded after my exploits yesterday so settled on the sofa and got my head down for an hour or so.  Time for a shower and washed my hair, dressed for Kardjali and set off after three. I managed to park up using the app for the payment, the last time I'd tried this I couldn't get my phone to work but this time it went through OK.  The nice thing about this is that if you change your car-park, the app follows you and it is concurrent....so no more money is taken.  I was early for my optician appointment and was shown to the waiting room and at four twenty I was in and at four forty five I was out.  My eyes are the same, no deterioration so no new glasses, a little deterioration of the retina but to be expected at my age but he complemented.  I tried to explain that it was genetic and that I had very little to do with it but no drinking and no smoking must help.

On to Kaufland for a few items, over to Lidl and was surprised to see my garage family and my student doing their shopping.  We arrived at the checkout at approximately the same time and my student's mum suggested that we stopped at the next garage on the way home for a coffee which we did.  I carried on to Djebel for one final stop for bread and juice, they didn't have the pork skewers that I'd stopped off for.  Shopping away, don't feel in the mood for food so settled for a chocolate mousse, quick update and then bed.  LN.....Those promised photos will materialise tomorrow.....too late now...sorry.....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 13, 2023, 6:03pm; Reply: 12
Wednesday 13th September

So another sleepless night, I woke up at two thirty, played silly games and eventually got off around six and was awake fully at seven ready to face the day.  It was another beautiful morning with not a cloud in the sky and so it was definitely going to be a pool day and probably the last one of the year.  I made the arrangements, settled for boiled eggs for breakfast and was in the Nipper at ten thirty and heading for my friend's house.  We sat drinking coffee, settled for a restaurant with pool that we both knew and made out way towards Zlatograd.  Unfortunately the pool was closed for the season, holidays are over, school starts soon so no customers.  We back tracked to the motel that we had just passed and again we were given the same response so headed to another small town around eight kilometres away.

This time we struck lucky, it was a hotel that my friend knew well so we were welcomed in, we ordered lunch straightaway, and headed for the pool area.  The pump wasn't going and I was given the instruction by my friend not to drink the water so I ordered coke instead.  We settled down in an area in the shade, stripped off to swimsuits and started to descend the steps and boy was it cold.  I suppose we've had some coldish nights lately and we are heading for autumn and it took me to quite a while to get in the water.  Once in I swam for quite a while, my body adjusted quickly to the pool temperature and in the end it was quite enjoyable and worked out that swimming on the surface wasn't so bad.  The session was interrupted by the delivery of food so back to the easy chairs. cheesy chips, shopska salad and kufte.....more coke....and there was nothing left for the cats.  We ate all of it.

I tried more swimming but by now it was getting late after we'd put the world to rights and I didn't want to drive home in a wet swimsuit.  At four thirty we made out way back to the Nipper and drove back to my friend's house and again more coffee.  I shall be bouncing off the walls tonight.  This could possibly be the last swim session, I was surprised that this one was still open but it's too far for me to drive to on the off chance that it's open.  Home by eight thirty and I sent photos over to her, for some reason her phone wouldn't take them and I've had that problem before.  Fortunately I'd taken my Sony big one.  LN.....I should hopefully sleep well tonight......fingers crossed......LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 14, 2023, 4:19pm; Reply: 13
Thursday 14th September

I decided late last night at around ten that I'd have a bath just in case there was anything lingering from the swim water.  I started off running the hot tap, needed to add some cold and added too much, I'd switched the boiler on for top ups and I emerged from the bath around midnight after having about twenty minutes in the land of nod while I was in there.  I've always done it, suppose I always will, everyone tells me it's 'dangerous' but with no alcohol running through my system I think I'd recognise the danger points.  I dried off and went to bed, a few games of sudoku to relax me completely and away I went.

It was six when I woke, I felt really refreshed, made my coffee and headed for the balcony and despite it was fresh out there, it was still very pleasant.  There were quite a few bee-eaters sitting on the electric wires near the bottom of the garden, they were waiting for the insects to arrive and not much was happening around six thirty when it warmed up a little.  I made more coffee, collected the washing to get it in the machine and remembered that I had bacon so made a bacon and egg sandwich around eight.  Cleared away but didn't wash up and it's still waiting now but since there's only me to complain, I'll do it when I'm ready.  Emptied the machine and put the clothes on the airer in the guest room....it's become a habit, saves little flies getting in the washing when it's hung outside to dry.  I went out to water the cuttings that are waiting in water and noticed that the water exit pipe from the outside sink had broken up in the heat and needed replacing.  They only cost about two leva fifty so don't break the bank and since I needed more potting compost for the new cuttings I cleaned myself up and drove into Djebel.  Approaching the town there were three police cars parked up and they were stopping everyone.  I was third in the line about ten meters from the one in front and was approached by a young policeman who addressed me in English so I answered in Bulgaria, so he asked me for my driving licence.  He checked the insurance sticker on the windscreen and the MOT certificate and that was it....I was away before the ones before me and told to have a good day in English so I thanked them, gave them a big smile and off I went.  I managed to park up near the car shop, she was very busy so I had a few minutes with her, went to the hardware and bought the water outlet that I wanted and some small nails, I noticed I'd only got big ones left.  Next stop the flower shop and Dari was really busy, some special day tomorrow and everyone want's flowers so I picked up my potting compost, paid her and left.....no time for chats.

By now the police had gone and moved off to pastures new, it was now lunchtime so I had tuna mayo sandwiches, followed by a chocolate mousse and some biscuits in front of the TV, settled down and promptly nodded off for an hour or so and there's nothing wrong with that.  Went out and replaced the drain pipe to the outside sink, removed the lower leaves from the eight rosemary cuttings intending to plant them later and prepared the skimmia cuttings but instead went into the little house, put the nails away and and tidied the workbench.  Final action was to water the pots, it's been another hot day and a few of the shrubs and the red hot pokers and yucca that I split up earlier in the week.

Everything away and locked up, nothing pressing for tomorrow so I'll probably meander through another day.  I suppose I could get the reciprocating saw into action and get my starter wood sorted.  LN......I'll sleep on the suggestion and see how I feel in the morning.......LN    
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 15, 2023, 5:07pm; Reply: 14
Friday 15th September

Seven start and we had a particularly warm night after the cooler ones that we've been getting.  I was almost down to the sheet instead of the quilt and I realised that I'd closed the window instead of leaving it on tilt and turn.  So open up the door and the window to get some air through and then take my coffee on to the balcony.  There were a few cloud in the sky, promised to be a reasonable day so had a bonfire and grabbed the tools, I'd got my sights set on the bonfire garden, it needed new surrounds, grass removing and the trees at the back thinning out.  As I worked outside it became very muggy, it was thirty degrees according to my house and outside thermometer.  It had clouded over and at three I checked Accuweather and it forecast rain at around four.  

I finished repairing the garden edging, painted it with old engine oil, and used the lawn rake to clear most of the rake and the fork to remove some of the roots.  I tried to dig it over but it's all so dry that I wasn't really getting down into the soil and will probably have more success now that it's rained.  It came on suddenly even though I was expecting it....I'd put most of the tools on the seat under the wild cherry and only needed to lift them into the log carrier to bring them back up to the little house.  As I put them in and tried to wheel it up the garden it was twisting from side to side, totally unbalanced and I was clutching the garden spade under my other arm.  Eventually I found the balance point and all was safely gathered in hence this late summer storm began.  I didn't find a place to plant the wisteria that I grew from seed last year, it's spent the summer in a pot but really needs to find it's place to be settled.  We didn't have too much rain, we could have done with much more but I think it's just started again and we've just had a flash of lightning.  Not too happy being on the computer when there are storms about so I'm, going to put the pickies on and put the computer to bed.  A long bath for me scheduled for tonight....and why not....no food required I've just finished off the cream cheese with bread sticks and that should see me through until morning.  LN......Better put the boiler on for top-ups.......LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 16, 2023, 4:58pm; Reply: 15
Saturday 16th September

Lovely late bath last night and in bed by eleven and slept through until six thirty this morning...result.  It was a very damp start, yesterday's rain had brought about thick fog and I couldn't see anything of the view but it didn't take long to lift.  There wasn't much sun about and at one point I thought we were in for more rain but the clouds were blown away but now it's clouded over again.

Bacon, egg and fried bread for breakfast but that didn't happen until around ten this morning.  I'm not sure where the morning went but I know where the breakfast went and very quickly at that.  The intention was good this morning, I did chop enough sticks to last for about a month, not enough to see me through winter but that would have taken too much effort but at least I made a start.  I also managed to plant the wisteria in the fire pit garden, I'd brought it back up when the storm started yesterday so today I took the bottom from the pot that it's been growning in, dug a big hole for it and made sure that the soil was soft for it to root into and surrounded it with decent soil.  It#s going to have more chance of succeeding down there than anywhere.  The leaves are still waiting to be thrown over the wall for the animals so I packed up axes and spades and locked everything away.  By two I'd had enough of the outside life.

I spend the rest of the afternoon watching the last episodes of 'The Last Kingdom', I'm sure there could be another series but I understand there's not one on the way.  I'd just settled down with the little computer on the table in the stairwell and the phone rang.  It was the lady from the flower shop in Djebel, she was just approaching my house and asked if she could call.  She's not been here before, was on her way to see if she could find some elderberries to make into a syrup but by the time that they got to where they were going, it would probably be too late to find them.

Almost eight my time and really must think about something for supper.....it will probably somethng quick and easy.....my creative juices aren't flowing tonight.  LN......I'll let you know tomorrow what I came up with.......LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 17, 2023, 7:08pm; Reply: 16
Sunday 17th September

Another five thirty start and it was pitch black outside.  I made coffee and played games and eventually the morning came to life and so did I.  I had good plans but hadn't committed them to paper, the day was going to evolve.  I somehow found myself opening up the white magnetic board that I'd bought from Lidl on my last visit. I took it out of its box and thought that the extras had somehow got mislaid and weren't included.  I pushed my hand down inside the box  and it had been secured to the inside of the packaging and I was now in possession of screws for fixing it to the wall, magnets, a dry marker pen and a rubber,,,the complete set.  I've managed to prop it up at the side of my desk behind the printers for the time being,I want to use it for my ancestry chart to see how to space it out before I start entering it into a computer package.  It's just not possible to print it from FMP and after going through the screen, I'm not liking the changes the company has made.  It might even make me cancel my subscription.

Breakfast called around ten so I fried bacon and an egg and that kept me going until this evening.  I went out to the garden around twelve, gathered my gardening stuff and headed down to the bottom of the garden to clear the leaves that I'd collected up the other day before the wind and rain came.  I found Blue, CS and Green God taking the sun and spotted Little Purple by the water dish.  I went in to find the camera and more nail varnish since most of it had rubbed off but by the time I got back to the water dish, Little Purple had legged it.  I went back to my leaf collecting using the garden rake and made modifications to the scarifier with a screwdriver and nut holder.  As I raked the prongs expanded to the full width so I had to tighten the lever so that they would hold their position....success and much less frustrating.  Leaves all over the wall for the cows, the rusty old fire bin is now reformatted as a lid for the new bin and the old rusty stuff is awaiting delivery to the container when I get round to it.  I came inside and nodded off for an hour or so while I was watching Netflix and then back out to it.  I removed some suckers from the lilac bush on against the low wall and part of a wild damson to expose the yucca that was growing behind them and it looks so much more open.I've got one more to go but that's behind a wild rose and I wasn't in the mood to fight nature so I've left it for another day.  I moved over to the high wall and cleared the bed by the old toilet block and this is now looking OK.  It was very dry so I water the spirea and the rest of the shrubs and tomorrow I'm out with the old engine oil again, the surround wants painting.

I came in at eight, I'd got just over nine thousand steps on the Fitbit and was determined to get up to ten thousand and I've achieved it.....marvellous what you knock up when you stop counting.  Tuna mayo sandwiches for supper, not got anything planned for tomorrow except more of the same and maybe some more seed collecting.  LN.....Time I put the computer to bed and relaxed.......soon be time for bed......LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 18, 2023, 4:21pm; Reply: 17
Monday 18th September

Slept all the way through Brigette Jones Diary....saw the first ten minutes and the last five...I must watch it again sometime.  Went to bed, straight to sleep until five thirty, turned over and woke at seven and I've been catching up ever since. I missed the sun coming up, too busy with Sudoku but managed to do one of the difficult ones beating my original record, so felt quite proud of myself.  At nine I thought it was about time that I went downstairs to make my second cup of coffee and at ten I was finishing off the rest of the bacon with an egg in a sandwich.  I did get in a bit of a mess, the yolk was cooked but runny and in a sandwich not easy to control.

I somehow found myself on the main computer and started looking at ancestry again.  I'm determined to get one written out for the family so that they can trace the 'Thomas' line all the way through and understand why my father was so disappointed that he produced two girls thus finishing out line.  I don't think I've been such a failure and if he had only said, I know my two would have had 'Thomas' as a second name for their boys.  Water under the bridge so they say.  I was playing around with the chart until twelve, revved myself up for going outside but the sun was out, the wind was howling so instead I settled in to Netflix, still in my pj's and watch 'Dear Child'.  I thought that I would stop at three episodes but no way, it was so good that I watched it until the end, went out at four and cut back the wild rose covering the second yucca by the low wall, cleared the suckers from round the base of a couple of trees, collected seeds for next year, raked over the garden under the wall and threw them to the waiting cows and packed up at six.  I was drawn back my family chart and think I might have found the Canadian link but coming from my grandmother's family not my grandfather's side.  I need to investigate it further and I even have an address in Vancouver....the property still exists.  

Nothing on the agenda for tomorrow so far, I might take myself into Momchilgrad and try out the market, not been there for some time.  There is a shop there for reupholstering furniture and I might very well take the dimension and have the little sofa recovered for the winter.  I've got lots of fabric, I did it the last time but they're more professional that I am....it's worth a quote.  LN.....Time to see if there is anything I fancy for supper......LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 19, 2023, 2:31pm; Reply: 18
Tuesday 19th September

Good night's sleep, a very lazy morning and I sat out on the balcony for about an hour counting the sparrows and the fly catchers and did little else.  There were a few clouds that took the heat out of the sun but nothing that drove me indoor again.  I made my second cup of coffee, took it outside and walked the garden but unfortunately didn't take my camera with me.  There was an eagle trying to gain height rapidly with a clock of birds challenging its every move and mobbing it.  It tried to change direction but they were in hot pursuit and I probably wouldn't have caught the moment even with a video....it was over in quicksticks and by the time I'd appeared with the camera, nothing was to be seen of the event.  There must have been about forty of the other birds, not sure if they were starlings working together or bee-eaters but they certainly put the wind beneath its wings....and it was off.

I found a huge dandelion in the under big house terrace so I dug it up and went round the garden looking for a  tortoise and only came up with Blue sleeping in the fire-pit bed.  I place it in front of him, he stuck his head out, opened one eye and promptly went off again.  I checked later and it had gone, and so had he.  I connected the long hose and watered one of the late flowering shrubs in the grave garden.  It has red buds ready to spring forth so gave it a good twenty minutes to make sure that it got down to the roots.  The red hot pokers look like they've taken and there's another clump of them that need splitting up but today wasn't the day.  I came in and made toasted cheese sandwiches for breakfast and then set about investigating an SSL certificate for this site, I was aware that it came up as unsecure and now you will see that it's got a padlock attached.  It took ages to do it.  Apparently the bank didn't receive the request for payment with the right protocols so my bank refused.  I contacted them and they told me the problem so back to the company and the poor girl didn't know what to do so I was on hold for quite some time and eventually we figured it out.  It was now heading for three thirty, three hours to sort it but at least I've managed it.  Five my time so thought I would do an early update.....it's a beautiful evening, light cloud, very little wind and the grand plans of going into Momchilgrad didn't materialise but there again....I've got time,  The furniture shop is open most days not just market day.

I've sent our a request for Bekir to see if he is available for a couple of days work.  Mid way through September and before the leaves start falling from the trees, best the branches are removed and the trees pollarded, the branches can go over the wall for the cows instead of me having to collect leaves and then toss them over the wall. The chimney also needs cleaning and a new 'lid' adding, the last one that he made has seen better days.  Let's see if he responds to the request....otherwise I need another helper from the village.  Supper time....I came up with hamburgers and potato wedges with mayo last night but today I have the red blotches back.....it could be the mayo or the coating on the wedges...who's to say.  LN.....Grass tomorrow...those weeds are getting vicious......LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 20, 2023, 4:50pm; Reply: 19
Wednesday 20th September

Seven start, slept well and woke to a beautiful sunrise....everything is so quiet, I get different birds scavenging the garden and was fortunate enough to capture some of them.  I've not done an awful lot today, the road to hell is paved with good intention but I got a little more than the basics done.  The grass, what there is of it remains unmowed, bulbs still need to be planted and cuttings put into compost but I've checked the cuttings and they are establishing roots already, nature is doing it on its own.

Lots of coffee and only toast and jam for breakfast,I did manage to phone Bekir to see when he's available for my myriad of little and not so little jobs and he's supposed to be phoning me back tomorrow with dates....and fingers crossed he will.  I spent some of the morning putting up a shelf in the bathroom using the existing shelf side supports with plastic clips to support the shelf itself.  The cistern was never flush with the tiled wall because of the connecting hoses and I've been meaning to do this for ten years and eventually I got round to it.  I measured the length of the wood that I needed, went up into the second story of the little house and low and behold, a piece the right length, the right depth, found the support brackets and screws straight off and job done and dusted in half an hour.  If only everything was that simple but of course, it took me ten years to get round to it.

I played around with ancestry this afternoon, it was too hot to be out there, checked on the tortoises to get my step count up and found one of them half buried in the fire pit garden and probably preparing for winter by digging its hole in the ground.  I came in for my statutory afternoon nap, woke up at five, watered the garden shrubs and pots and now thinking about supper.  I did managed to catch the sun going down tonight and noticed that there was a rainbow only covering the cloud, no rain in sight and nothing either side of the cloud,,,most strange.  Again, nothing on the agenda for tomorrow although the goodie box is virtually empty so I might just have to pay a visit to Djebel for top-ups.  LN......I've had a good day......LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 21, 2023, 5:05pm; Reply: 20
Thursday 21st September

Another gentle day, again I was out on the balcony watching the emerging sun.  I made coffee, didn't put too much effort into the morning, eventually made a cheese omelette and that saw me through until four this afternoon.  I spotted a tortoise down the bottom of the garden so went down to see which one it was and it was Blue, CS showed himself much later as did Green God but it took until late this afternoon before I spotted Rosy emerging from the under the horizontal juniper bush.  I've noticed that the shrub that I cut back from the little house terrace is on its way to the bonfire.  It had a severe attack of honey fungus so I need to dig out the remainder and get rid of, probably putting bleach on the little square bed that was cut out in the concrete to take a shrub.  I'll check up what Monty would do!!

While on the terrace I noticed a little red robin on its back and I reckon it probably flew into the glass window.  I tried to pick it up with the shovel but it took to the wing and this has happened before, they sort of get dazed, come out of it but then fly away and off to safety.  Unfortunately this flew under the bench so I tracked it down, it had turned over on to its back and I'm guessing it had done something to its leg, the wings looked OK but the poor thing just couldn't stand up.  Eventually it took flight again and landed near the low wall and then I left it to its own devices.  I could no nothing for it.  It did spur me on though, the grass was peppered with weeds so I got the mower out and set about the little house grass.  It was very hot out there, very dry, lots of dirt being thrown up and eventually it ran out of fuel so I took a break.  Two litres of water for me and some for the mower and I set about finishing the first grass and moved on to the big house grass.  All done except for under the big house terrace and the grave garden, but I did that only two weeks ago so that can wait until I again get inspiration to achieve.

Machine away at four, stripped off in front of the washing machine and straight into the shower, hair done, ears thoroughly prodded and poked, that dust gets everywhere.  I scooped my hair up into a knot and didn't bother to dry it, put on a lightweight pair of trousers and a loose shirt and settled down to watch Netflix.  I've got nothing current on the go and was flashing around trying to find something I'm not seen before and came upon 'The Forest', watched one then switched it off and made cheese and biscuits with silverskin onions and that will do me until tomorrow.  The cruise is on hold at the moment, the prices have gone up not come down so I'm investigating an A-Z tour of Tunisia with a flight from Plovdiv that has a good price quoted and also listed is a similar package for Djerba. I'll give them a call in the morning.

Eight my time and no sleep today so might have a good night tonight.  It's very muggy tonight, the windows and doors are open but very little wind so that sheet might be coming out again.  LN......I've managed my ten thousand steps today....I do love my Fitbit....it provides me with a daily challenge......LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 22, 2023, 4:56pm; Reply: 21
Saturday 22nd September

Horrible night last night.  I went to bed at eleven thirty, woke up at two with not an ounce of sleep in me, played games and Sudoku until five and eventually got off again and woke up at seven.  The sun was just about to climb the sky, a few clouds about so more coffee and then down for breakfast.  I did a little tidying like putting the washing away from yesterday, toyed with the idea of stripping my bed and getting the bedding in the washing machine but changed my mind....it will keep for another day.

More coffee when I was downstairs, used the rest of the can of beans and popped them in the microwave, made toast and that was breakfast, done and dusted, washing up done, kitchen tidied and then the day was all mine.  Firstly a bonfire remembering to run the hose down the garden just in case...everywhere is so dry that it's a good precaution to take.  I didn't find any of the tortoise this morning, by now it had clouded over completely and they were probably lingering in hidey holes waiting for the sun to come out again.  I eventually got my act together around one and headed into Djebel, I'd thrown the rest of the bread away so needed more, I took chicken wings out of the freezer to thaw for tonight and they're now in the oven with diced potatoes and onion....and that's supper.  

First visit was to the garage shop, I hadn't seen the family for a week or so and wanted to catch up on how my student was getting on in his new school.  He is doing well, trying to bring it in line with his football training and that's going to be the rub.  The good news is that he wants to carry on with his English lessons so that's been arranged as per usual for a Tuesday afternoon.  The school specialises in languages and in the first year they concentrate on German....he has approximately fifteen hours of German per week, one lesson of English and one of Bulgarian.  I suppose he could teach me German.  I didn't realise but he was working in the fishing shop next door and only found out when his mother received a phone call saying that my student could go and get his hair cut.  We both thought that it didn't need it and when he came back I asked him which one she'd cut.  It's all the fashion now..very short back and sides.

I stopped off at the supermarket to get a few things before I went home, the clever own has marked out parking bays parallel to the road but in true Bulgarian fashion, nobody seems to be taking any notice of them.  I couldn't, the guy next to me had parked at a forty five degree angle, which makes more sense when reversing out so I followed on with the same logic.  Bought goodies for the goodie box, eggs and bread for the freezer and I'm all topped up again.  Supper is ready, a gardening day tomorrow cutting back the lavender and strimming round the flower beds.  LN......Fingers crossed for a better night....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 23, 2023, 4:02pm; Reply: 22
Sunday 23rd September

Five start and the stars were brilliant this morning, the air was so clear.  I opened the balcony door, iI had been another muggy night and then lay dozing until six thirty when I made my coffee and settled in for a few games of Sudoku.  I didn't achieve any record times but I'll keep trying.  I started to circulate around eight, made more coffee and remembered that I had chicken bones with crispy bits on for Mrs Cat and had put aside potato and onion that I hadn't managed last night and that was made into an omelette for breakfast.  Washed up from last night and put the kitchen back in order, walked the garden and saw CS and Blue in the bonfire garden but no sightings of the others until this evening.  I watered the pots and the indoor plants, the spider plant was looking very 'grey' so a litre of water has put it back to green and it's looking much happier.  I noticed that the orchid has three spiky bits growing from the base and I must look at my garden encyclopedia for a few clues...they aren't my specialist subject.

I dressed for outside and even put socks on so that my feet didn't get black as the ace of spades but instead took to the sofa around twelve and carried on watching what I'd started last night.  The heat of the sun had picked up and I had no reason to be out in it, the gardening could wait until later when it had cooled down a little.  I did have an afternoon nap and had to recap one of the episodes, munched through a small packet of biscuits and even had crisps so no supper for me tonight.   At four it had finished and armed with my hedge trimmer I set about cropping the lavender and all four bushes are harvested and are dry already so will just need hanging up.  I think the ladies are all having lavender bags in their Christmas stockings but that's a job for when the nights get longer.  I also trimmed some of the wild plum trees and headed down to the bottom of the garden to remove the old stalks from the helibours so that the new growth can come through.  The wild roses were trimmed and the trimmings tossed over the wall, I found Little Purple who is now repainted and renamed since I couldn't find the purple nail varnish.  It's now Little Turquoise and I moved it to the horizontal juniper bed for safety while I was out and about with hedge trimmers.  Further along the back wall I spotted Green God and on closer inspection I notice he was bothering Rosy again.  I'm not sure he's ever managed it but he does keep trying.  The hedge trimmer ran out of juice and walking back up the garden I noticed a giant caterpillar on one of the big weeds so I took a picture of it.   I put the tools away and the hedge trimmer back on charge, fired up the internet but as yet haven managed to identify the caterpillar.  Seven my time, not really hungry so I shan't be cooking tonight.  LN      Back on the 'identifying caterpillar' trail...I'll let you know......LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 24, 2023, 3:57pm; Reply: 23
Sunday 24th September

I was awake this morning at six, there was a brightness to the sky but the sun didn't rise until after seven. I 'm following the rising point at the moment and am amazed how far it travels.  It gets me thinking about the whole universe and reminded m that I found a book that I'd written my address in and I could have only been seven or eight.  My name, street name, town, county, country, the world and the universe. The stars used to frighten me, I always felt that there was something else out there and the Milky Way seemed endless....and it probably is.  I can't imagine anything without a boundary...everything needs a boundary so that you can realise how vast it is.  It was just one of those mornings .....when you wonder what the master plan is or was!!  It's wonderful what goes through your head sitting watching the world come to life from a balcony in Bulgaria.

Coffee, more coffee and toast with marmite and from my desk on the landing I noticed one of the tortoise out and it normally results in a walk down the garden to see which one is out and about.  This morning it was Rosy and I noticed that the nail varnish was getting dull so I reckon she's digging her hidey hole somewhere in the garden. Two seconds later and there was a screechy noise coming from by the wall and poor Blue was doing his damndest to have his wicked way with a tortoise that I hadn't seen before.  I pondered this for a while and I can only think that my neighbour with the garden next door had popped it over my gate when she found it in her garden.  I feel sure that it couldn't have got in under the wall, the footings were too deep.  Only one thing to do....it's now been named 'Red' after the character in 'Orange is the new Black' and has been painted with red nail varnish.  I haven't seen my neighbour to ask her but will when I see her.  The thing is, it's much bigger than any of the others and really, Blue didn't stand a snowball in hells chance.  While the nail varnish was out they've all been freshened up, easier to see which ones emerge first after the winter.

I did a bit of a clean through this morning but again it was too hot to be working outside.  I settled on the sofa at twelve thirtyish and started searching Netflix for something interesting and less taxing that some of the rubbish on there and the film 'Scent of Woman' popped up.  It's one of my favourite films, almost brings me to tears in one or two places and if you haven't seen the 'tango' scene, worth watching.  That finished around four-ish and no afternoon snooze today so off with the TV and I ended up watering some of the shrubs that are looking jaded.  The tamarix is almost non-existent, the new wisteria looks OK but has been topped up, the both buddleia given a good soaking and so have the forsythia and the newly planted yuccas.  I know they say that yuccas need nothing doing to them but it won't hurt to give them a helping hand getting established.  I've just had a telephone call from Bekir and he's coming round tomorrow with his son so it's time that I started making a list so that I don't miss anything......I could possibly help him but if trees have to be pollarded, his son is stronger than I am.  

Seven my time, I have hamburgers out thawing ready for tonight and found a bag of chippies in the freezer so some of those will go in the air-fryer.  My monday is sorted already, early tortoise watch to see if Red makes another appearance with maybe Blue slipping and sliding and if Green gets the scent or CS....it could be carnage.  LN.....Better set the alarm......LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 25, 2023, 4:04pm; Reply: 24
Monday 25th September

Update on the caterpillar photo.....I did a reverse image search on Google and low and behold it came up with 'Spurge Hawk Moth...I've never heard of it before but every day is a school day so they say.  I'll have to look out for the moths when they're active.

Six thirty start this morning and I remembered that I had the men coming and hopefully armed with the chainsaw.  I'd written my list of things that I want doing, two and a half trees down today and the gate specked out for repair.  They soon settled in again, his son has not worked here before except when he was fifteen with no interest at all of working with his father but now he sees the sense in it.  Bekir was up the Linden taking down branches, I remembered that my lady with the cows wanted the leaves so Bekir made his way to her house near the square and up she came with string and lots of energy.  She bundled it up, attached it to her back and walked around one hundred and fifty meters home and then came back for the next.  As they were cutting, we were clearing, they broke for lunch and she was by this time feeling a little tired as was I.  The wood had found itself in various parts of the yard so while they had lunch under the mulberry on the grass I cleared the wood that had been put outside the gate and stashed it inside by the wall.  I added to the pile the others by the side of the house so that at least I can get the car in and out should I need to.  The set to again, she didn't come back until late this afternoon after they had gone, took one look at the pile and loaded up one for her back and off she went.  They carried on after lunch, the second tree was down and before doing the final clear he cleared all the gutter for me,suggested that we wash the tiles but I said that rain was imminent, why pay for water.  

Now onto the mulberry and this was going to be easier, everything was going over the wall for the cows and sheep, they insisted on salvaging some of the bigger trunks and that will be chainsawed to size, the rest by the wall is down to me and my reciprocating saw at my own leisure.  Off they went, it's been a good day and that's two and a half things off the list.....only six and a half left.  We've still got the walnut to go....that just needs a health check and trim....he knows these things, I don't.  I now have my view emerging of the hillside and tomorrow it will be complete.  It's going to take me a while to get used to the pollarded trees in the yard but it was a necessity....if we have heavy snow it would have brought them down.  Men are back tomorrow, I'm in need of a hot back to soothe away the aches and pains that bending and stretching brings on and maybe a little Deep Heat down the one side.  Rosy was the only one out and about today and my lady from the next garden didn't put Red in with the rest.....goodness knows where she came from.  LN......Kitchen and I'm on the hunt for food......the boiler is on for the bath.......LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 26, 2023, 5:41pm; Reply: 25
Tuesday 26th September

Six thirty start after a very long Badedas bath last night.  No aches and pains this morning so I must have done something right.  I made coffee did n't bother with breakfast and was opening up the house and workshop when the car pulled up, the men were here.  The yard was still in a mess, I was waiting for my lady from down the village to collect the leaves and she didn't turn up until late.  I carried on with the reciprocating saw and the pile of logs by the front wall, it didn't look like the pile was going down but the heap behind me said that it was.  The workers were finishing off the mulberry, tidied up the walnut and haircut the acacia and I'd happened to mention that my shredder had never really worked since I'd had it and the son being an engineer was keen to get it going.  Screwdrivers and the likes came out, it was completely apart and now Bekir had joined in the fun and I left them to it.  My next input was required when I was asked if I had a soldering iron so we searched the two likely drawers and no go.  The son had found that a joint had come loose and somehow another method to restore contact was devised,it was put back together again and it worked, the only problem was that it wasn't chipping, it was squeezing the juice out of the branches.  All screws removed and it was decided that the cutting blades had been inserted backward hence it was mulching not cutting so blades reversed, everything put back and it worked.  Meanwhile my lady had arrived, she managed to take three loads and two of acacia and then I set to clearing the rest of the leaves from the yard and putting them over the road into the field for the cows.

It's been a full on day....Bekir started to work on the roof repairs, birds had dislodged the tiles and put nests under the eaves.  They were removed, tomorrow we have cement repairs to really pee them off, the wood had rotted where the water had got in so the wood's being replaced tomorrow but wee needed special nails.  Off we went to Djebel, nails purchased, bag of cement purchased and I ought a new outsidel ight, the sensor has stopped working and it remains turned off at the moment.  When we got back the son had taken possession of the reciprocating saw and I think he was surprised at how good it is.  They swear by chainsaws here but this comes a close second and is less unpredictable.  Off they went at five, they appear to be working winter hours,for me there was lots of daylight left but perhaps they were tired.  I carried on tidying up the heap that is still to be cut putting the very light stuff to one side, the working wood chipper will do that tomorrow.  

I've cancelled my lesson with my student for tomorrow...it's best to be here when the men are working.  I know where to find most things except for my camera that I was using this morning.  There are only photos from late in the day....I'll post the others when I manage to find it but it's too dark to be traipsing around the little house in the dark with low lighting.  Supper was chicken goujons done in the air fryer...not exactly gourmet but adequate.  LN......Another night and I might even made this a bathnight as well.....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 27, 2023, 5:56pm; Reply: 26
Wednesday 27th September

Woke up at seven after a good night and the first thing that came to my brain was my lost camera.  Well nothing is actually lost, mislaid is one word for it so I had another search and this time took in the little house and workshop but nothing.  I suddenly remembered that I'd shown the photo of the big caterpillar to Bekir and the response was that there were lots of them in his village...and I'd never seen one before!!  After that 'aide to memoire' I asked him if he remembered anything and I asked him and his son to look out for it around the place...just in case.  They got on with there work and I got on with preparing the woodstore to take the newly acquired timber from my trees, I'd gone upstairs to make sure that everything was where it should be before the roof repairs were underway and suddenly there was a cry from Bekir for me to go downstairs.  The camera had been found, it was on the windscreen of the Nipper between the washer blades and that's oneplace I didn't even think about....but I will next time.  I can only think that we were intent on going into Djebel to get some very small nails, I thought we had some so I must have put the camera on the bonnet while I went to check, went back for my purse and forgot all about it.  Thank goodness they've resurfaced the road, otherwise I would have lost it.  

The rest of the day went smoothly, the roof repairs were done, the new sensor light that I'd bought yesterday was half fitted and they were just coming back from lunch....I'll rephrase that, the son was and he asked me where his father was.  I guessed, didn't tell him but he'd probably gone upstairs in the little house and gone to sleep and I was right.  His son didn't seem to happy about it, they'd had a long lunch, well one of them had.  The lamp was eventually set into selection mode, but I had to us Google translate from English to Bulgarian so that the son could sort it out and while we were doing that Bekir had got it working OK.  So next job was the gates, they've been up a long time and age has taken its toll and three repairs have to be undertaken.  I remembered where I had timber of the right dimensions and one new rail that I had and they made a start but no way could they get it finished before they left.  They secured the gates so that the cows wouldn't get in and that also meant I couldn't get out.  I'd thought about going out for a pizza in Djebel but that idea was put on the back burner.  I finished off the last of my logs after the men had left, stacked them, swept the yard and dumped the leaves and dust over in the field opposite.  I never feel guilty, the cows appear and no traces are left.  Settled for tuna, onions, potatoes, beetroot and mayo for supper, it's what my student calls a 'mishmash'.  More logs to do tomorrow, there are walnut, mulberry and acacia yet to go and fortunately I got the men to throw most of the small stuff over the wall and not a leaf was in sight, the cows and sheep have demolished the lot and only small branches remain which don't look out of place on the hillside.  The men will be finishing off the gate and the only jobs remaining are to clean the chimney ready for winter and check the water levels in the expansion tank and clean the plastic tube so properly see the levels.  

I've had a good day....clocked up over twenty thousand steps today and am on for a record week.  Hopefully I can manage to beat my Princess.  LN.....The men will be doing the donkey work of getting the wood up to the yard from the garden where they left it.....not it's bathtime.......LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 28, 2023, 6:32pm; Reply: 27
Thursday 28th September

So I had my late bath last night and slept through until seven thirty and had thirty minutes or so to jump to before the man turned up.  No lingering this morning over coffee, I washed and dressed quickly and had already opened up the little house and workshop by the time they'd arrived. The gate was their priority, mine was having a bonfire and getting rid of old wood and household rubbish, potting up more cuttings and planting my freesia bulbs ready for the spring.  Next job was to sort out the wood that I'd cut yesterday, try and get it in an organised fashion in the woodstore which I did.  Out came the chipper and I set to clearing the pile of thin twigs, might as well made them into a mulch for the garden hopefully to suppress the weeds,  I was reminded that I had four more heaps that needed sorting, sawing and chopping at various points in the garden but I reckoned it was down to the men to get it up to the little house terrace.  I felt that the son was reluctant to do it but eventually he had to, we were busy with chimney cleaning and I was on standby with the bucket, kitchen soup scoop since that fits much better into the soot outlet hole in the bathroom than anything else I've got.  Bekir said that there was lots of stuff in the chimney but I didn't see much of it my end.  He asked if I'd had it done last year which I did and insisted that they'd made a bad job of it but there were no problems that I could see my end.

So chimney sorted,  I realised that I#d not got enough money in hand to pay the men so a visit to Djebel was on the cards.  I left at three thirty and hopefully the men could find things to do and I was back for four twenty and suddenly remembered that there was one more job to do.  The central heating has an expansion water tank over my main boiler and the pipe that shows the water in the expansion tank get quite dirty so needed cleaning out.  It's a job that I'm used to doing with Bekir and we got on with it without any issues except that he forgot to have a bucket on standby for when it removed the one end of the pipe fortunately I could put my hand on a container that we could use.  All sorted, the list is complete, I paid the men, off they went and I went to see what I was left with on the workshop terrace.  They'd chopped about four logs with the machine and that was about it, the heap is not in any real order so my first job is to get in into big, medium and small and work my way through it.

It was still light so I found the old engine oil and gave the gate a coat so that it will soak in and hopefully dry overnight.  The rust remover came out along with a metal scourer to take the rust off the stainless house numbers on the gate but more is required to get them up to standard.  It's not been such a fun day, I cleared most of the thin stuff this afternoon with the brush wood chopper and felt a little let down and maybe it's time to find other workers to cultivate.  It's not the same as the Bekir and Sally combination. One more push over the next couple of days and then I'm ready to think seriously about booking a holiday, it's been a stressful few days.   LN.....Now where can I go...checking out a cruise or there's an interesting holiday going out to Egypt.....and why not.....LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 29, 2023, 4:48pm; Reply: 28
Friday 29th September

Really good night last night but fell asleep with Netflix, staggered up to bed, straight to sleep but woke up at five this morning.  I tried to get back to sleep again but there was nothing doing so I managed to meander through until seven when I sat on the balcony and watch the morning come to life.  It was so beautiful out there, the clouds seemed to change colour as the sun got more vibrant, it looked as if we were in for a bit of a cloudy day but no, it turned out fine.  It was a little nippy out there so I didn't stay too long in my jim jams and went back to bed and played a few more games of Sudoku.  No men this morning, the day was mine and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it.

I was originally heading into Kardjali to get more blades for the reciprocating saw before I tackled the heap that the men had left for me.  Instead I dressed for the garden and boiled a couple of eggs for breakfast to have with toast to fortify myself for the task ahead.  I went out to check on the gate and it's going to take a few days to dry off completely and I should really make a sign to let people know that it's still wet. there's quite a brisk wind and lots of sun so hopefully it shouldn't take too long.  I set up the electrics on to the wood store terrace, changed the blade in the machine but it's not the same as I used before so I really do need to get the strong ones.  Instead I cleared the smaller branches  and cut them into starter wood with the long handled cutters, found more boxes out and I'm really running out of space.  It's the difference between English and Bulgarian mentality....they do not throw anything away that can be useful whereas I got them to throw the last of the branches over the wall for the cows and sheep.  It seemed more important to me to feed the poor things that search all day for anything to eat even raiding the rubbish containers.  How much starter wood do you want?  I put a big log on and night and keep the home fires burning.  I cleared up the old wood from the gate and the demolished table and benches that suffered as the tree branches came down and had a bonfire.  I put the bottom from the old burning bucket on top of the new burner to make sure that no sparks flew, everything is still so dry.  I watered the garden shrubs that matter, watered the pots on the terrace and in truth I was delaying starting the heap and eventually gave up and replayed the episode of the series that I'm watching on Netflix....I appeared to have slept through it last night...I was tired.  Another couple of episodes down, Haciber came round with a bun and some chocolate stuff in a bottle that I immediately poured away.  I opened the gate for her and told her to go wash her hands, there was a slight tinge of black there....oh dear.

Went back to the bonfire and burned another load of old wood, cleared up the area, came back to the wood store and put the electric machinery that I'd put out mid morning...it can wait for another day...I really didn't feel up to it and I wasn't happy with the other blade so definitely Kardjali tomorrow.  Another reason for going is that the goody box is empty and so is the fridge...four days of the men and I seem to have neglected everything else.  Heading up to eight my time and to ten thousand steps on the Fitbit today, I should get there if I have an omelette for supper so my daughter tells me.  LN.......Bath and bed....I need another few days of gentle exercise...the last few days were intense......LN
Posted by: Elsa Peters, September 30, 2023, 6:48pm; Reply: 29
Saturday 30th September

Well today has been an unexpected and perfect day.  I woke up at seven, sat on the balcony and watched the sun come up and then meandered through until around nine, made toast with jam, washed up from yesterday and had the day before me.  I toyed with the idea of going in to town, didn't bother washing my hair and having a shower and dressed for the garden.  I was still undecided what to do and suddenly I was getting ready for Kardjali, I'd written a list and decided to fulfill it.  I remembered that I'd promised my student's mum some wax that I had by me, she makes creams from it, and then carried on to Kaufland.

I parked up, the coffee wasn't on special offer so I left that for another visit, I found a couple of very big stainless pots on offer that I'm going to use for house plants, bought a few other items and then moved to the town centre to sort out my mobile phone bill that I'd tried to do over the phone.  The assistant was no use at all, the telephone message that I got from them advised me to go to the shop so I tried to pay and she responded that the bank would take payment tomorrow so there wasn't a problem.  I left the shop no wiser and I'll trust that between the bank and the phone company they can sort it.  I doubled back to one of the cheapy clothes shops that I haven't been in for ages and found a couple of men's long sleeve shirts, both cotton, an evening top and two leather belts which totalled just over six leva....cheap at half the price.  From there I drove to Lidl, did a normal shop mainly for the fridge and freezer, stopped for gas and arrived home at around three thirty.  Five minutes later the phone rang and I was invited out for the evening, my student had been playing football in Burgas and would be arriving back in Kardjali around six.  I had a quick shower and washed my hair, drove to Djebel for five, we arrived before the boys returned so went for a walk to one of the local parks, I have photos but not managed to get them off my phone and I'm too tired to really try.  The coach arrived at six and we all went to a local Turkish patisserie and lingered over Turkish tea and cakes and then carried on to the Shell garage and to a fast food place with a really good menu for eating in or take away.  The selection was good, the food was excellent, I didn't managed to eat all of mine so have that to look forward to in a short while, back to Djebel and I arrived home around nine.

I'd left the porch light on but my outside intruder light came on and did what it was supposed to do...came on, stayed on for a while and then automatically turned itself off.  It's now been tried and tested.  I feel so relaxed that it won't be long before my little head hits the pillow, the last few days have been full on.  LN......Good company with good people can make you feel that way.......LN
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