Monday, October 8th


Well, Mr Fitness shot off to work in his Volvo at around 07:20 as usual. He’s a surgeon and Mrs Fitness, a lawyer, was seen heading out for her jog around the park a half hour later. Currently trying to determine whether she is still gainfully employed or has semi retired. The Fitness’ are nice people and visually close enough to us to require the occasional wave or shout as they are our end of building D while we are their end of building C. They have the ground floor, an occasional daughter and a ginger cat called Cyril. Cyril used to be best mates with our cat, Nelson, when we lived in the Isolation Ward and Nelson could wander outside easily.  When we moved here it was harder for Nelson to get outside without jumping down from our terrace, which he did once only. As Nelson slowly became more homebound he resorted to shouting at Cyril from the terrace. Sadly, Nelson died on September 24th so Cyril is left to play with the mice on his own until we get our fifth cat.

Oleg, the potentially Belorussian refugee gardener has been out for hours now sweeping up the leaves. Bit of a thankless task in Autumn with the number of trees we have here.

The Kurwa Gang, named for their excessive use of that word, are our only other close neighbours and were unusually quit this weekend. They live above the Fitness’. It is hard to describe the Kurwa Gang in anything other than vague terms because someone over there is fairly secretive. They have employed an assortment of second hand and not matching curtains at the windows and plenty of trees screening their terrace. It is also a strange mix of people inhabiting the apartment from a shifting collection of youngsters to old ladies . We think they rent the place and that the main rentee is the mid 20’s guy who drives the white Honda Civic Mugen. That’s a $60,000 vehicle so we’re thinking either rich parents or this guy writes and sells apps or something equally modern and lucrative. He seems to be here almost all the time but is visited by friends for the weekend when they do what most 20 somethings do, drink, smoke, play weird music and say “kurwa” a lot. Wonder if their weekend music and hash gigs are on hold till the warmer weather returns?

There has been some dog walking although no sign of Kaczka and her rat recently. Kaczka is a very large lady (with a very small dog) whose hips may have been welded in a fixed position such that she doesn’t so much walk as waddle, leaning from one side to the other with a twist that gets things going in a generally forward direction. She comes from somewhere up by the gate, waddles down to us or a little further and then goes back. Uphill.

On the nature front, the Nuthatches have been extremely busy on the old apple tree recently and the Acers are putting on a spectacular display of orange and red for us all.

Quick update before I get myself to work. Gigolo, a professional photo journalist, has just left in his disguised jeep. There is usually a lady friend leaving at around the same time in her car but not today. He’s slacking.


It’s half ten at night now and getting nippy on this balcony of ours, which makes it surprising that Mr & Mrs Fitness have not got the log fire going. We sit out here for a smoke. No smoking allowed indoors, which is okay most of the year but tough from now until March. Especially tough in Jan and Feb.  We could give it up of course….

Rapster, a genuine singing celebrity, is watching his giant TV again. Come to think of it, I don’t think it is ever off. It must take up half the wall. They live Lakeside penthouse, the same block as Hemingway and we’re one level down from them but I can easily make out what’s on the screen even though I’ve only got the top half visible and 53 year old eyes. Mrs Rapster, a more traditional singer, has been busy calming the dogs who went into a barking fit not long ago. Two neurotic Collies that she loves to death but have been getting unwanted attention from the neighbours. Shortly after they moved in a couple of months back they would go out at night and leave the dogs on their own whereupon they would howl the house down at 30 minute intervals until they came home again, usually early morning. After a few, I’m told politely delivered, complaints they have stopped this practice but the dogs are highly strung and don’t need much of an excuse to let us know. Probably because they are stuck in a penthouse with a couple of YouTube stars rather than chasing sheep across a misty field with a farmer shouting things like “Aeeeee yup!” at them.


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