I'm always grateful that this old village house is cool during the hottest summer months, but I dread winter. We get so much rain which seeps through the walls, no matter what we do to protect them, and it's cold and damp.
I would like to actually hibernate for a few months...snuggled up in bed with my electric blanket...which is where you will find me whenever I have a spare moment. It's simply the cheapest way of keeping warm.
We have aircon in our sitting room, which hasn't worked for a couple of years. Not that I mind because I don't like it anyway. We bought a secondhand UFO (heater on a stand) which we have in the sitting room now, and use in the morning between 5 and 6am to thaw and dry out after we've fed the dogs.
Mr A looks like a tramp in winter. He doesn't shave. I think he believes the beard will keep him warm. I'm not much better. I spend day and night in fleece pyjamas. A look which fits in quite well with what other women in the village wear. It's difficult to get washing dry, and fleece dries much faster than anything else, as well as being warm and comfortable.
I normally like to shower every day but have to own up to going two or three days without a shower during winter because the bathroom is cold. Mr A is the same, and I guess it doesn't matter if we both smell at the same time. We're not as bad as most village folk who, judging by the pungent aroma on the dolmus, probably go through the entire winter without a shower.
In any case we have had an excuse for the past week. Our electric shower stopped producing hot water. Mr A took it apart and then bought a replacement part to fix it. It then managed to emit luke warm water rather than cold.
Two days ago he brought a friend home (supposedly an electrician, but I have my doubts) who firstly took the aircon apart. He couldn't fix it. Put it back together, leaving several parts lying about.
He then dismantled the shower. fiddled about, and said it needed another part. He put it back together again and it didn't work at all...not even luke warm water. In fact...nothing.
Mr A remembered my mentioning that my washing machine was making a noise on the spin cycle and was just about to let his friend look at it...but I managed to stop him just in time. Knowing the man doesn't speak English, and keeping a smile on my face, I told Mr A that anything else electrical in this house would be touched by his friend over my dead body.
So yesterday I washed my hair and my body in water boiled with the kettle, put on clothes rather than more fleece pyjamas and we set off to buy a new shower, which Mr A will attempt to fit today...fingers crossed.
On our way out of the village we went along a different road leading through the back roads to the main road, and discovered a female dog with two pups. We decided to return by the same route and check on them. They weren't in the same place, but were quite near a house. We had a new sack of dog food in the back of the car, so put some food down for the mum.
This poor dog has badly deformed front legs. This is something I have seen quite a lot in street dogs here. It can be a genetic defect, but more often than not it is due to malnutrition and lack of vitamins and minerals. If pups are rescued early enough it can be rectified, but this dog is a few years old.
There are operations that can be performed on dogs which involved breaking and resetting/pinning the bones, followed by weeks of recovery and then physiotherapy. This is very unlikely to be an option for a street dog here.
This procedure is often done with dogs who are part of a family for cosmetic reasons. My honest opinion is that if the dog is in no pain because of the deformity and has no problems walking, then best left alone. Incidentally my dog Monty has deformed front legs...a bit like Queen Anne legs with his little feet pointing outwards. It doesn't bother him, and I love him all the more for not being "perfect", I have never been one to strive for perfection when it comes to looks anyway.
So we fed the Mum dog, and had a word with the woman living in the house. It turned out that Mr A knows her husband. We left her the sack of food and she has agreed to feed the dog. She had already been feeding scraps, and pointed to a makeshift shelter that her husband had provided for the dog and her pups.
The mum dog is fiercely protective of her pups so we cannot get near her at the moment. The woman in the house steers clear and just throws scraps out of the window. We will try to gain her confidence over the coming weeks and then give her and the pups worm tablets and flea treatments. It would be good to eventually get the mum spayed too.
I am of course worried about dogs being in this village, but this one is on the outskirts and far enough out of the village to be safe at the moment......we hope.