Familiar strangenesses are multiplying. Went immediately to view a flat that my Russian colleagues have found me (via many, many email exchanges of interiors/locations/prices). Prices seem to have shot up, although it may be of course that I demand to live relatively central. Anyway, this place is old and furnished traditionally, but in a fantastic location just minutes walk from work. The landlady and her husband live immediately upstairs, so initial discussions also involve soup. The plumbing is ancient and basic but the floors are wooden, the windows big, the rooms of a good size and the view green, so I like it. It is also very cold – being as we are in that transitional period with chillier, more autumnal weather but before the powers-that-be decide to turn on the heating. (Also they have left the windows open, which I later realize is to blow away the slight but all- pervading elderly smell.)
So the landlady show me the traditional trick of lighting the cooker, and putting bricks on the flames. And I can’t work out if this is weird or not.