So I am writing this post in "my" room in their house, after an afternoon of playing Racing Demon with her and her grandsons.
Cue digression: If you don't know Racing Demon I can recommend it as the ultimate family card game for any number of players. I first learned it 60 years ago at boarding school and my joy was great when I arrived in Hamburg in 1959 to live with said friend and her family and found that they too played "Dämon". After some negotiating over House Rules, we have played happily together ever since, introducing our children, and now our grandchildren to it. Sadly speed and quick reactions are of the essence and ageing fingers and reduced eyesight are not conducive to winning. And playing with children means that no swearing has to become one of the House Rules....
Just before I left Bavorov I said goodbye to my museum room and took some final photos before butterfly and I head back in the New Year to start work on the actual houses. In my last post I promised to report on the work done by the carpenter and the remaining bit of painting that then had to be done.
I spent last Sunday afternoon in the museum, together with the carpenter and his small daughter. Whilst he laboured on the ex-BBC cabinets, turning them from horizontal filing cabinets into vertical display counters, she and I tackled the jigsaw I had had the foresight to grab from my bookshelves as we headed to the museum.
The painter came back at 6.45am on Monday, clearly hovering outside my house until I turned some lights on, before he knocked on the door to collect the key. By Tuesday at 9.30am all the painting was done and I had paid off the (now sadly beardless) painter. On Wednesday I went in to check things out before finally locking up and came to the very first real hitch in what had so far been an amazingly smooth process.
Everything was beautifully painted, with a wonderfully smooth finish, but to my dismay the four newly painted "counters" were a slightly, but noticeably, lighter colour than all the rest of the green units. I didn't want to believe it at first, because the neon overhead lights can make the colours deceptively different depending on where things are standing in the room, but after heaving several things around so that they were close together and thus caught the same light, my first impression was sadly confirmed. It really wouldn't matter too much if it weren't for the fact that the drawer units are going to stand directly on top of the counters and the colour difference will be very obvious.
I spoke to the painter on the phone who thought that the newly painted counters might still darken a bit but the charming paint shop man was immediately anxious because the last tin of paint had been mixed with a new delivery from Dulux and he admitted that it did sometimes happen that the "chargers" of paint colour could vary......bah!!!
We have left it that after three weeks (so that everything is really dry) he will go and have a look, together with my friend Maria who has been left in proud possession of the keys, and assess the situation. If he feels Dulux is at fault he will try to get hold of the old colour and the cabinets will have to be repainted. Maybe I am being ultra-fussy - looking at the photos doesn't in fact give an entirely accurate picture so blog readers will not really be able to tell. I am in two minds about just letting it go or not.
On the same Wednesday I also finally signed the contract with the Town Hall. The financial officer went very carefully through each bit of it to make sure I understood it all perfectly. I am exceedingly satisfied with it - especially the extraordinarily reasonable rent I am paying, which includes all services.
And now I can turn my thoughts to the house move that is imminent in England. I am told by my daughter that despite the fact that much was despatched to Bavorov in the trusty Transit, the house there is as full as ever. (Logic tells me that this simply cannot be true - but honesty compels me to admit that it is still very, very full). So there is a lot of hard work ahead.
However just at the moment I am still sitting peacefully in my airlock, enjoying the company of close friends and undertaking some gentle excursions. Yesterday I went with a friend who shares a love of the Chalet School books of Elinor M.Brent-Dyer to a medieval market in the enchanting fairy tale town of Stadt Blankenberg. I spent quite a lot of the day bemoaning the fact the neither of us had brought our cameras - especially when we came across a house shaped much like House No.5 of the Essex Haul. I got very excited and took photos with my elderly mobile but they are of limited use since I have never managed to download anything from it to a computer. Helpfully, I have now found a photo on the internet - shame about the school sign.....
And in the true spirit of the approaching Advent season I will finish this post with some photos from a stunning collection of Christmas Creches which we visited today. All the stalls and houses have been made by one man to house the amazing collection of figures and animals he and his wife have collected in over half a century.
He has made many hundreds of stables and farmhouses since he retired in 1992 - he is now in his eighties - and has never repeated a design. The collection is open to the public from the end of October each year - someone set up a website for them but then disappeared, bearing the password, and so it cannot be updated. The address is correct though and the exhibition is well worth a visit.