Today was spent negotiating - or rather trying to negotiate - with various owners about bits of land we wanted. The day started with ten minutes in the bank that I thought was going to take an hour, followed by what I thought would be ten minutes of LAG business that ended up being 90 minutes.
By the time all that was out of the way, we were late for a meeting with the Topographer who does satellite drawings of our land. In this case, there was a dispute over about 800 sq. mtrs which can only be resolved by the land court in Sibiu. There is no real problem, we just have to get everything certified twice and then the court grants us our land - that we have already paid for. It is, of course, a hang over from the Communist days when the extent of any given piece of land was irrelevant. Now that each bit of land is owned by someone, it matters where the boundaries are and how big the bit of land is.
As far as I was concerned it meant I had about an hour to walk over some of our land and see what had been done ( and what hadn't). I suppose I could be upset about various things, but the sun was shining, the swallows were whirling around, the baby storks were peeking out of their nests, the butterflies were burgeoning, and the orchard we own was in full blossom. The scent was almost overpowering, and the noise of the bees was deafening. Incidentally, Romania doesn't seem to have any problem with bees dying. In fact, the price of honey this year is predicted to fall as they have an oversupply. Just might be to do with the fact that there are none of the particularly long-lived insecticides anywhere in Transylvania - in fact there aren't at all. People here look at you as if you have two heads when you talk of " organic" produce. Because there is nothing artificial in use, its all what we would describe as organic. As far as they are concerned its just food.
Having succesfully confirmed our land ownership, we started the round of speaking with various old ladies. They, of course, are convinced we are multi-millionaires who will pay them anything. It usually takes us three or four meetings to persuade them otherwise, but two in particular today have been ultra stubborn. We left both without agreement, but with them in no doubt our offers were final, would not be increased, and in fact, in view of the economic situation, might be reduced and/or withdrawn. As Alin said " We will see"
By the time we finished it was after 6pm (having started as all good Romanians do at 07:30 am) and as we were driving wearily home, one of Alin's mobiles rang. It drowned out the tolling Church bells.
It was the Mayor.
Why weren't we at his house? Frankly, we hadn't been invited.
Nothing would do but that we should turn round and come for a drink - which consisted of polishing off the two bottles of Neuburger ( you will be glad to hear the Mayor approves of them) a bottle of his own excellent rose wine and three quarters of a litre of his special Nemsa grape white wine.
Tina his wife produced her excellent bean and ham Ciorba, a thick tasty soup, along with my favourite sausages and the Mosna potatoes.
Now you may say this was all a bit much, but of course there was an ulterior motive.
With a great crash the gate opened and in came the Mayor's son ( also Alin) and his truly gorgeous wife Irena. You may recall I was a guest of honour at the wedding on 14th February.
With a flourish they produced the video of the wedding ( on 4 DVDs and cut down from about 15 hours to a mere 4) and the album, which had so many photos in it I could hardly lift it.
And I had to watch the video.
Luckily, Alin and Irena were in a hurry so I only had about 90 minutes of viewing. Other people's wedding films usually leave me cold, but, as I told you in February, there were lots of people there I knew - and here I was watching them all misbehaving and in some cases seriously drunk.
The Mayor myself and Tina had been the ones drinking the wine, so we found the whole thing utterly hilarious, whilst my Alin ( driving, not allowed to drink) and Alin 2 and Irena ( who hardly touch a drop between them) wondered why we thought it was all so funny.
When it came to the part where the bride is stolen and ransommed, all three of us were in such hysterics at my and the kidnapper's performances that we had to stop the DVD until we three calmed down. Tears were streaming down our cheeks and every few moments more giggles and guffaws escaped us. Eventually we got the DVD moving again, but by that time the sober members decided we were not taking it seriously enough and turned it off.
A couple of glasses later it was time to go.
As we walked out, the Mayor gripped by shoulder.
" Mr. King, when you are coming you take all my cares away. Saturday we will have a barbeque in the fields. The Government accountants are coming and we need to make a good impression. You will be there."
Looks like a party on Saturday then....