A suit of armour

I had not spoken to my neighbour. I said “Hello” when we left our flats at the same time, and he barely responded; and then I walked to the bus stop, and they stopped six yards back, and stared at their phones. I went upstairs on the bus, and went to open all the windows; they went upstairs too, and went to the front. Having intended to go to the front anyway, I sat down opposite them and said,

-You know, you moved in a year ago, and I would be far more comfortable if we spoke to each other.

He explained that the last place they lived was a rough area, and they keep themselves to themselves. They chatted, and I listened in, interjecting occasionally. She likes the pretty houses. What do you think of those?

-They look sort of- Tudor? She is unsure of the reference.
-Yes, that’s the intention, the white and the wood.

-Cats are at landlord’s discretion, she quoted, but you cannot have a dog. I would not want a dog, because I would not want to clean up after it, and you have to clean up after it.

-Well, you use a plastic bag, you are not actually touching the stuff, I said. It was the wrong thing to say. She started talking about organising the right photographer, and the right “make-under”. This is not a conversation I could take part in. “It is important to look around,” she says. “The reviews are no good because they are only going to publish the glowing ones.”

She sounds a bit obsessive- yet she is upstairs on the bus, looking out the front window. It is a deeply unsophisticated pleasure, usually for children, and I can’t get enough of it. And on a hot, sunny day? I sense a kindred spirit. She complained about him swearing- “Language,” she said, half rebuking, half wheedling, and I said “Peeved” is a good substitute for “pissed off”. She said “See you.”

I was sitting in the yard and met Andrew/ Andy as he returned from work. He is at the outdoor centre, as were the other tenants in that flat. I had not known it was an avowedly Christian organisation: he is with a “new frontier” church in Zhuzhkov- he is hesitant, as if he does not expect me even to have heard of his denomination. He is going now to prepare a Bible study on Job. I like Job, I tell him.

I must have a change from Cranach, but here is Venus and Cupid the honey thief. Google translate has mixed success with the Latin: if you know better, please share.

dum puer alveolo furatur mella cupido
furanti digitum sedula punxit apis.
Sic etiam nobis brevis et moritura voluptas.
Quam petimus tristi mixta dolore nocet

When a child steals a bowl of honey Cupid
Furano finger careful punxit APIs.
So too short for us and die of pleasure.
He is seeking a melancholy mixed feelings hurt

However, a search found this. And this.

3 thoughts on “A suit of armour

  1. At least you can follow the conversations. It is one thing I miss here and that is really understanding the lingo.And wish I had had google translate for my school Latin lessons! They kept all us girls on the battlefields and not the love poetry! Still it does help with Spanish. That’s an amazing visual to go with the words.


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