Saturday, 9th February

After something of a thaw midweek the snow has returned and temperatures hover between plus and minus 2C. This was the heavy, wet snow, big flakes that stick to everything so Strangely Park is almost at its prettiest for winter. What it needed to be perfect was an overnight freeze just after the snow fell but instead it warmed up so some of the picturesque quality was lost rather than enhanced. It was a large fall though, enough to warrant the services of Oleg and his toy-town snow blower at unsociable hours to prevent us getting snowed in.

General Patton is down there now with his grandson having fun in the snow. Mind you, I think ‘having fun’ is as strange a concept to General Patton is it was to Robert De Niro’s character (Jack Byrnes) in “Meet The Fockers”. There is little laughter involved here, it’s more character forming play where the 5yr old has to pretend he’s stuck behind enemy lines while Gen. Patton bombards him with grenades pretending to be snowballs. The General seems to be taking it pretty seriously while the 5yr old just keeps saying “Oh, granddad, you’re a rascal!”. Sweet.

As the last couple of weeks have been winter holiday time it has been quiet around here but the weather was perfect last week to organize the ‘thermal imaging’ our expert recommended to help identify the source of our damp problem. The thermal lady and expert both arrived on time and ready to do the job, which was a nice surprise. Thermal lady had a box full of special camera tricks which I found out later had been paid for by the EU. It seems a few years back funds were made available for starting up small businesses and this lady had taken advantage of it to move from a job with a government ‘san-epid’ department (sort of health and safety teams who do things like inspecting restaurants). She did a great job and the report makes for interesting reading. Although all it is doing is measuring differences in temperature it is surprising how much quality information it can give you when you have a problem like ours. Definitely a step in the right direction and it seems to be clear evidence that the cause of the problem does lie with the construction of Penthouse and Slightly Dangerous’s bedroom above. So, even more reasons not to talk to us I suppose.

The report will also help next time I bump into Mr Misery too. The water in our wall has now soaked down to his level and is causing problems with his “Casa Fiesta” style of underpants coloured brushed paintwork in the room adjacent to his much prized orangery. Being somewhat myopic the best he can do is ask what we are doing about it. I’ve already shown him our problem from which the obvious conclusion is that it is not us but those above us who he should be whining at, perhaps the report will help him get his head around it. Starbuck also has water leaks causing problems with her construction works and Florence Nightingale lives directly below Starbuck so I think it’s fair to say that pressure is building for someone to take this, now building wide problem, very seriously, at last.

The Hemingways were spotted a few times out and about in their red utility vehicle getting groceries mostly. Chief of the Kurwa Gang has also been shooting around in his Mugen but no signs of any of the rest of the gang. Party season is definitely over. There was some excitement over at Rapster’s place a couple of days back when what appeared to be an exceedingly drunk, or by other means ‘out of it’, friend of theirs was staggering so violently on the terrace, at around 11 in the morning, that we were worried he was going to fall off. I’ll admit, the thought of having a Christie-esque post title like “Death At Strangely Park” was attractive but he was still in control of overall direction enough that the wild lurching did not provide me with such an opportunity.

Having some time off we took the opportunity to take a long walk around Mochina East. In the interests of digestible chunks, I shall put an account of that in the next post.

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