Despite the frustration of moving somewhere new and not quite getting the hang of things, not having everything I need, and not feeling like going out shopping in the cold and dark after work, I'm enjoying my new flat. Living somewhere new means getting used to another set of arrangements, the same but still not same as where you lived before.
Having to spend two evenings in waiting for the internet man to not come, I have had to find other ways to amuse myself than the internet. Each time I come in, I don't unlock the door and turn off the signalisation quickly enough (within 10 secs), so I get a "welcome home" call immediately I get in from the security firm. I think I have managed it once so far.
There are only 4 keys I need: "turn this one 4 times and this one 2 and you can use this one if you only go out for the rubbish". I was completely fooled trying to get in the front door of the block. Press 35 and call, said the landlady. I thought this was to contact the security men on the door of the block, but it seems it was for the entryphone. But I wasn't in my flat to let myself in. Eventually it dawned on me that this was what the 4th key was for. It's quite hard holding the little LED light on my key ring and getting right key in the right lock in the right sequence. Finally I got in and then had a call from one of my colleagues who is having similar problems but has a bad key. Eventually after enlisting the help of neighbours she managed it. Not the best way to come home after a long day.
Somehow although the flat is warm, the hot water isn't. At 7.30 am this is a real pain. I ventured out this evening onto the balcony, putting my coat and boots on, to inspect the boiler and turning everything to max, but still not much better, though it does improve during the evening. Eventually I worked this out as well. The water flow controls the water temperature, so you have to run off the cold water first, then turn the flow down till it heats up, then turn it down again to a reasonable temperature. It's the same problem in Britain if you have one of those new-fangled condensing boilers without hot water storage. Either you fill the bath with cold water quickly or you throttle the water flow down so it has a chance to get heated. That means it takes so long to run a bath that the water has gone cold. Foreigners are so clever not even bothering with baths.
This weekend I went out to the hypermarket call Good Wil (l) near the fortress which is the American Embassy. It's a big shed* just expanded to twice the capacity without getting filled up yet. It had most things, except fresh chicken, but I got everything I needed (bottles of wine, glasses and bottle opener).
I have what is called a 2 and a half room flat: a living room, a bedroom and a half room which actually is rather big, giving room for a sort of bunk bed and a study desk on the other wall. It's really big enough to count as a proper bedroom, but is divided off by a sliding glass door so when that is open it makes a rather big living room. When I get the internet fixed it will be perfect.
Searching the TV channels to see what the TV package has, I found Mezzo. Since Beate is not here to organise me to go to concerts, I am enjoying myself staying in. Last night I watched Carmen for the first time, which I really enjoyed. The TV has really good sound. This evening I am watching and listening to early music - it's mostly English dance tunes played by a small group with a large number of old instruments which they are playing to an open air audience somewhere with a great deal of enjoyment showing on their faces. And since it is all dance music, it's great to see them hopping about too, as I hop round the floor to the music. It seems to be an ancient music festival in Brittany, with some people dressed in costume, though I'm not clear where the morris dancers fit in. For some reason it seems to be a festival of English music even with some college choir from Oxford. They even managed to find some Brits to speak passable French and be interviewed.
I haven't listened much to live music on TV before, but I'm really enjoying spending cold winter evenings this way. The only problem is getting the timing right, since we are so far ahead: 3 hours from France.
The adverts are strange. I think I saw one where people stood on each other's shoulders eventually to form what looked like a rather tall viaduct in a valley, but I missed what it was an advert for.
For bedtime reading I have Tove Jansson's Fair Play, but more on that when I have finished.
* For Lithuanian readers it is Acropolis size but not nearly so well stocked. The only competition is lots of supermarkets smaller than Minimas called Populi. Otherwise there are minimarkets on every corner just like Pristina. Incidentally today I saw a van going round saying "Lithuanian bakery". Seems a curious thing to export.