Yesterday, with well warranted trepidation I went along to sit my Finnish exam at the university. Only one other student turned up which immediately helped reduce the potential failure rate from 100% to 50%. I was hopeless on the aural but I made a good stab at the other parts of the paper. In retrospect, I am especially glad that I went because Eeva, our teacher, announced that she was retiring. The University’s modern languages faculty is undergoing radical change and Eeva decided to accept voluntary redundancy whilst she could. We shall all really miss her, both in terms of her superb pedagogical abilities and her delightful personality. She has boundless patience and always uses an eclectic and intriguing mix of material in her classes to stimulate the interest of her students.
I also bid a fond farewell to the Couple today. Once the removal men had collected their furniture we went along to the local pub for lunch and to await the all-important telephone call confirming that the sequence of sales had all been successfully completed. Cristo was invited along too but said he had to go into town. The Couple declared that Cristo’s real reason for not wishing to darken the doors of that particular hostelry again was due to a former dangerous liaison with one of the bar-maids. Despite being heavily pregnant and in the process of moving, Mrs Couple went off after lunch to give a dance class nearby.
As I was fetching water from the standpipe for the garden, the new owner arrived. I smiled but waited a while before going downstairs and introducing myself. The new owner asked me if I would mind going into the cupboard under the external stairs and reading her meters for her as it is quite awkward to clamber in to. I was happy to oblige. Back in the house, as they did not even have so much as kettle with them as yet, I offered to bring down some freshly brewed coffee and peppermint tea. Like me the new owner is a keen gardener but an elbow injury means she cannot do heavy work. Again like me she was appalled at the sheer ugliness of the two bunkers installed by the OF and wants to replace them. She also commented on how pretty the mature flowering cherry tree looks. The OF is prone to grumble that its canopy sheds leaves on his patio below. If he thought he could get away with it, I am sure he would surreptitiously chop it down. I have never forgiven him for wantonly chopping down an ancient walnut tree in the garden a few years back. Had I been a freeholder at the time I would never have countenanced the felling of that tree. Sadly the OF appears to have no sense of aesthetics as the wilful destruction of the walnut tree and the building of the dreary bunkers in the garden starkly demonstrate. I once had to counsel him against removing the intact and extant glass from a pair of 1861 oak internal doors and replacing it with modern glass. Now I appear to have gained a staunch ally in the new arrival, who seems as enthusiastic as I am about wanting to restore the garden to something of its original 19th century former glory.