Yesterday was really busy with all sorts of things, not least an attempt to get something to mitigate the cold I have. The Romanian equivalent of Night Nurse seemed to keep it largely at bay ( although this morning it has deteriorated into a dribbly mess. Lovely)
Much to my astonishment, the maps that needed copying were in the back of the car, so we set off very early to get them copied about 40 kms away. They are very big maps and there is only one place in the whole of Mures county that can copy maps of this size. We got a couple of extras for Vassily as his were a bit falling apart.
With the maps, we were able to plot various purchases of recent times, and see exactly where we needed to fill in and who we needed to approach. The maps were RON15 each, about GBP3, and great value as far as I am concerened. The copier, being a genuinely nice chap, also gave us several of those tubes you can post things in to keep our maps in good condition.
Most of the rest of the day was spent discussing strategies with lawyers about a situation where a family fell out about 60 years ago, and where 3 of the remaining 5 members want to sell to us. People talk of Philadelphia lawyers being wily and obtuse, but I'm quite sure Romanian lawyers run them seriously close. And of course the cost of the land is a fraction of the cost of the legal wheeling and dealing.
So this morning it was with some trepidation that we went to another lawyers office with the Topographer. He is the man who draws up the exact location, sizes and areas of every piece of land. The reason for this particular meeting was the inability of one of our next door neighbours to stop planting his corn on our land. Last year we simply told him it was OK, please don't do it again, but this year I feared we would need to make an example of him pour encourager les autres.
Romanian topographers are very accomplished people, and this particular one is one of only 5 that is allowed to present evidence in the regional land court. Although the system is that the land records have a final,all embracing record in Bucharest, what the regional courts say goes. Logically, the local topographers will have lots of local knowledge, in some cases going back several hundred years, and the regional courts take that as important.
So I was quite pleased to discover that, not only was the farmer planting on our land, but actually, because the original title had been messed up when the land was reinstated after 1990, we had an extra half acre.
Which he had also planted on.
The Topographer had produced a ten page report, complete with plans and maps, and even I, in my Scottish miserableness, could see he had not only done a superb job, he had actually done it - if not cheaply - at least at a reasonably good price.
So armed with a court order and the report, we contacted Erne the policeman, and he led us through the village with his siren blaring.
Within about half a second the whole village was looking out of windows or round corners, as we drew up outside a house.
" Mr. King I am very happy to be going into this house", said Erne. " He stole two chickens, a cock and some cheeses the other day, but we had no reason to go into his house. Now I have reason"
Erne hammered on the door and shouted, and the door was opened.
" It's a fair cop" said the miscreant ( or the equivalent in Romanian) "I only took the chickens and cock because I needed to cross-breed with mine. You can have them back now."
"And the cheese?"
" I just ran out and I needed some - but I've got some fresh now. Here"
Well that was one crime sorted. Alin nudged Erne.
" Ha yes and what about the corn?"
"Well, Mr. King was so good to us last year when we plant by mistake, I plant for him this year."
It took me two goes to understand the translation.
" He planted on our land to let us have his corn?"
"Not quite," said Alin" But I tink he is making a gift to you."
And so it proved.