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April 2009

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1st April 2009

For various reasons I was late up. Not that late, you understand - there was still bread in the shop - but later than I intended. For that reason I did not get as much gardening done as I would have hoped, before I turned my attention to the wood panels. The seasons are definitely changing, if you sit still for a while you can actually see the garden growing!

I took some pictures of the wood panels:
Hand Carved Wooden Panels Here is the whole collection of wooden panels. As you can see, they are in a pretty grim state. At this stage I could not even be sure what timber they were.
Here is a closer view of just one of the small panels. Hand Carved Wooden Panel
Hand Carved Wooden Panel Detail To emphasise the point, here is a really close up view of some of the detail. In context, the scale down the left hand side is millimetres. A tiny six pointed star, some four millimetres diameter. For the technically minded, this shot was taken with the camera on manual setting at f22 and with an exposure of 30secs. Anybody know how I manage to get that macro? I don't have any extension tubes!

With the restoration of the panels in mind I did one of the quick turn around trips into town for some supplies.

Later, it transpired that I was rather pleased I did. In the pub the fa szakember told me that he wanted all the panels back by next Monday, as the timber for the doors is arriving! Blimey! It's how it seems to be, here. Either nothing happens for weeks, or maybe months, but when it does happen it all happens in a hurry.

2nd April 2009

I spent all day on the wooden panels. I know! I should have been gardening! As you saw from the pictures, the panels were painted with the ghastly ubiquitous brown paint that they use, and liberally grime encrusted. Now, I had never done any such restoration work before, and I'll admit that I approached it with some trepidation. After all, the panels are obviously held in high estime, being kézimunka, and they were not my property. I had already had a go at one of the flat bits around the edge, so I knew that the brown stuff just scraped off. That didn't answer what I was to do about the actual carving bit. To clean that with a scraper on all the panels would have taken about a year. I had until Monday. The dust that came off when I scrapered the bit I tried was actually very unpleasant, so I decided it had to be an outside job. Fortunately, a lovely spring day.

I had already decided, in my mind, that I would try the caustic soda and wallpaper paste trick - those were the supplies I bought yesterday. Had a hell of a job in the decorator's shop - couldn't find the caustic soda stuff. "Nátriumhidroxid?". Shown various things - "Nem", "Nem", "Nem", until I finally spotted the little blue plastic container with the big white childproof lid that I was looking for. They didn't even realise that it was seventy percent caustic soda until I showed them the label. Anyway. I scraped off all the outside bits of the brown stuff on one of the panels, then made up my concoction. I found a spare toothbrush (courtesy of RBH) and I set to work on a very, very small area of the panel. In seconds the toothbrush was scrubbing up brown. I shot in the house and scrubbed off the area under the cold tap. Took the panel out, and put it in the sun to dry before I went further, and had a beer. Once the panel was dry, and I was suitably wetted, I checked it out. No damage to the wood, or the detail of the carving. No warping of the panel due to it being wetted. Triumph or tragedy? Triumph! It did occur to me, though, that what I should be doing was cleaning off the carving details first, and then scraping the flat bits. So, with increasing confidence and abandon, I worked my way through all the panels. Once done, they were washed off with vinegar to neutralise the caustic soda, dried, and given a good swill over with white spirit and dried again. In odd areas on a couple of the panels I had to resort to the careful use of a craft knife to clean up some details.

It was gone five in the afternoon before I was finished. Ate, filled the wood baskets, put the panels in the carrier bag, and, dusty and unchanged, cycled to the pub. To my pleasure, the fa szakember was already in there. I patiently awaited to catch his eye. I waited a while, but when I finally did, I pulled one of the large panels from the bag and presented it to him. You've heard the phrase "stands back in amazement" - well he literally did! "Super, super munka". "munka" is "work" (noun). "Super" is Hungarian for "Super". I was quietly satisfied. The panels got shown around a fair bit. I got accused of being an artist. Mind you, they didn't say just what sort of artist that would be! ;)

3rd April 2009

The new order of the day has most certainly begun. Getting up very early - well, for me anyway - and the aim is to do the grafting in the garden before ten or eleven in the morning. Major priority is to get some stuff in the ground. So today. By nine o'clock I had managed to dig about a metre and a half of ground. Compare and contrast with this time last year! After the digging came the planting. Two rows of onion sets (I still have not had any success with seed!) and a row of carrots in between. Seymour recommends such a scheme, as the onion fly does not like carrots, and the carrot fly does not like onions. We'll see. I was quite startled about half way down the second row of onions when a little frog jumped out of the earth about two inches from when I was placing an onion set. The first I have seen this year! I glanced over to the neighbours (the one with the chickens) and, to my amazement, they (her daughter was helping) appeared to be doing exactly the same as me.

Eleven o'clock - second beer time - and plenty hot enough in the garden, so back to the yard. After the beer it was back to the suspended exterior house repairs. Paintwork in particular. Helper had more or less dropped it out that he was too busy elsewhere to help much, and he knew that I could do it, so get on with it. I will. By now I am not worried about the earth walls of the house. I will get back to that once I have done the priority garden stuff. I want four rows of peas, and two rows of each of two types of local beans, plus three rows of spuds before I let up on the gardening stuff.

I started the second phase of one of the other woodworking projects:
Look Out! Dog I didn't know just how addictive wood carving is. I spent way too much time on it! I deliberately didn't use flash so that the side lighting from the door lets you see how the relief of the letters begins to stand out. That is what is so addictive about it. Looks a bit like a pie crust at the moment.

4th April 2009

The Beeb on food prices in the UK.

Saturday. Bonfire day. So I managed to get rid of about half the accumulated burning-type crap that has built up. Still forgot to get pictures. Ah well, several more to come this year without a doubt. After that it was a bit of work on the area by the camping lawn. Quite strenuous, as it involves sawing a couple of feet off the old roof timbers that jut out over the area. I have shortened that roof by two tiles-worth so as to make the whole area workable. It's the same area that featured in one of the very early pictures on the blog - 24th March last year.

After that I did a bit on the unnamed project, and then started clearing up the yard in preparation for being able to get the toy mower on there. A side effect of having the dog on a running wire is that any loose stuff on the yard gets dragged across and accumulates by the running wire. There is also a fair amount of loose, small firewood stuff to be raked up from where the firewood was tipped.

Speaking of toy mowers and camping lawns. It got its first cut of the year as the last job of the day. Took seven minutes - two minutes longer than usual, it being the first cut of the year. And that was the day, keeping it short in an attempt to get caught up.

5th April 2009

In all my trawls for doom and gloom I never came across this website. Read this report and be very afraid!. I cannot vouch for the credentials of the writer - there is virtually nothing about him on the Internet.

Sunday, so very short today. Housework, as usual. Then out to lunch at helper's. A very warm day. Helper shot off to see the football - I didn't bother. I even managed to go straight home and not call in the pub. About the only productive thing I did all day was a bit of work on a knitting project.

Thinking about it, the knitting fits in well with the aims of the project anyway. WTSHTF you simply will not be able to go to your local Primark and pick up a cheap Chinese import. With relocalisation and the renewal of small communities, any sort of craft skills will be increasingly valued.

6th April 2009

In the shop by half past six. I don't know why, but I always get an especially warm welcome from the shop lady when I get in there early. Seems genuinely pleased to see me at that time. I don't think that I have ever commented on the standing of the shop as a place for the exchange of gossip. Many times the queue is kept waiting whilst the shop lady and (invariably) one of the older ladies from the village have quite protracted conversations about whatever. Refreshingly, to me anyway, nobody seems to mind being kept waiting. All part and parcel of village life, I suppose.

With the threat of another very hot day, I forewent lighting the stove to cook coffee. I settled instead for a big slice of bread and jam (still plenty of home made jam to go at!) and a drink of plain ordinary tap water. By seven I was out on the garden. The plan remains to keep at the digging until I have in the ground all that I want at this stage, then go into maintenance mode - scything down and weeding the borders, etc. The weather lived up to its promise and by about eleven it was too hot (for me at any rate) to do the hard grafting.

I did a bit more work on the area where the old greenhouse was. That is where what I might call the tender stuff will go - the stuff that does not get planted out until there is no chance of a frost. Do you know, I don't know when that is around here. I'll have to ask helper.

I withdrew to the shade of the front of the house and started where I left off with the cleaning up of the front windows preparatory to painting. One of the jobs was to properly secure the metal cover over the roller shutter on one of the windows. It had been bent out of its position ever since the replacement strap was fitted. It didn't take long. Couple of holes drilled, and screws used instead of nails. After that, once again, the bloody roller shutter refused to operate properly! I flew mad and lashed a load of graphited cycle oil about. A few times up and down, and the shutter was working better than it ever had, either before or after the new strap was fitted.

I was just in the process of finishing off the tidying up of the yard when the two local plod involved with the bike theft appeared. They wanted to finalise the case, as the bike is now safely back with me. I have to say that their suggested solution, which I won't go into here, struck me a bizarre, but they reassured me that no problems for me would come of it.

And that was about it for the day, apart from the obligatory trip to the pub.

7th April 2009

James Howard Kunstler on the situation in America. It was reading The Long Emergency that got me started on the road to this project.

Nothing to report. Just more of the same. A lot of work all day.

8th April 2009

Didn't get into the garden at all. I spent all morning catching up on the clothes washing. After that I kind of hit a brick wall for a while, and got precisely nothing done for about four hours. Not good.

I finally kicked into action and decided to get on with the window painting. I also decided to have another go at replacing the glass in the No. 4 window - the one with which I had a catastrophy. I had noticed in the winter that you could actually feel a cold draught coming through the cracks. I had already located some glass in a devotional-type picture left behind by the previous owners. Devotional or not, it suffered somewhat in the removal of the glass from the picture frame. Shame, but then it didn't mean anything to me. I had had a couple of previous goes at cutting Hungarian glass, with mixed success. I think the failures were probably my fault, as I didn't clean the glass before I cut it. This one I scrubbed clean, hosed down, and allowed to dry in the sun. It cut perfectly. I managed to get two of the wood fillets out of the frame, but the other two came out in pieces. Then I tried to get the glass out. When I put them back, I bedded them all in decorator's acrylic filler. Hmmmm! The phrase "shit to a blanket" comes to mind when I tried to get the cracked glass out of the frame. It came out alright in the end though. In about a thousand pieces. I stood it over the hole in the pantry floor and used the small knocking stick on it, then tapped out all the remaining bits from the sides. Everything goes in that hole in the floor - house dust, broken glass, debris from digging up the yard, leftover cement. I cleaned up the filler off the frame and made up some fresh fillets. I had the foresight to try the new glass into the frame. Good job I did. Of the four possible ways of putting the glass in, it would only go in one way, the measurement had been that tight.

After that I finished getting the windows into primer. Of the bottom windows two were primed to the outside but not the inside, and one was not primed at all. By the time I had got that finished and cleaned the paint off of me, it was time to take the tender little plants indoors and go to the pub. I have a nice selection of the tender plants coming along. Tomatoes, sweet peppers, two varieties of chilli peppers, etc. Need more tomato plants yet though. Can't have too many! Apart from eating them fresh there are numerous ways of storing them for later use, and a sauce made with some sort of tomato base is always one of my favourites.

I have not the slightest idea why, but it developed into a "session" in the pub. We didn't get chucked out until ten o'clock!

9th April 2009

Up early again, and out in the garden. More heavy digging. I have to say though, that it is not as heavy going as it was last year. If you remember, in spite of it being ploughed and harrowed, it was taking me an hour to dig one row. I can only think that the ploughed in stuff has now rotted down. Still loads of weeds, and I'm only doing rough digging, but I can get through five rows an hour. Maybe also my fitness, although I consider myself to be out of shape at the moment.

About ten o'clock, on my way home from the shop, I saw swallows. "One swallow doesn't make a spring". Well, it is most definitely spring here!

Back home, I started on another garden job that I let slip last year, unaware of the growth rate in the garden once it kicks in. The strawberry patch. I don't intend to let it slip this year. I chose a patch which is more or less where the strawberries were last year, until they were overrun by the grasses, and started hacking it back. I must have thousands of strawberry plants anyway - they spread like a weed, and survive being overrun. They just don't do berries when they are. I got about a third of the way through hacking it back when I was driven off by the heat.

Back in the yard, and working in the shade, I set about one of my most hateful but necessary jobs. Wire-wooling the caustic soda solution off the front window frames. I managed one out of two. After that I went to undercoating the windows. I had just started, when Pickle set off at a gallop towards the front fence. Unfortunately, I had the extension lead also running from the house to the outhouse. When she set off she went to the limit of her running wire (yes, she still gets chained up whilst I am working), that caught the extension lead, and that flipped the can of undercoat on its side. Fortunately, it was only about a fifth full. I suppose I lost about a third of that. Such is life! I now have a nice one foot wide white spot on the yard. I went back to the painting, and when I put one window down I noticed this big blue beetle, the likes of which I have never seen before, trying to climb a bit of the abandoned plastic from the wrapping of the firewood. I went and grabbed the camera, but by the time I got back it had gone away. Afterwards, I thought to myself "Why didn't you grab a jar to put it in?" only to realise that it would have taken just as long to get a jar as it did the camera. I Googled it, and as far as I can tell it is one of these. Not that that helps identify what species it actually is!

I know not why, but the pub degenerated into another "session"!!

10th April 2009

Tom Whipple. Note the comment beneath about Tom's increasing pessimism. For what it's worth, I also agree!

Up before the sun again, and into the garden. An hour and a half of rough digging, with the intention of putting some bean seeds in, only to realise (when I took the first beer break) that they don't need to go in until May. Ah well, I'll put the next lot of spuds in there. The beans can go in afterwards. I have another thing as seed that I bought on a whim. Ground nuts. They sell them as seed here, so presumably they grow. I grew them once in the UK. In plant pots on the window sill. Got nuts off them too!

In the shop early and out on the garden early again. Slogging away at the heavy digging, but I'm getting to the stage of being able to leave it alone for a few days whilst I have a go at the rest of the estate with the scythe. I spent half my allotted time digging the main patch of garden, and then turned my attention back to stripping the overgrowth off what is to be the strawberry patch. I have a new best gardening friend:
This is the broad bladed mattock that I never thought to use before. I first used it when digging the trench for the new mains water pipe. Wonderful - you can use it like a big hoe, and it will cut back a square metre of overgrowth without too much effort in a very few minutes. Broad Mattock

My allotted time over I did a bit at the front windows, removing the caustic solution from the other frame. That done, I gave both frames a good spray down with strong vinegar to neutralise the remaining caustic. The fight against the dandelions has begun again, and I took the scythe to the small area by the outhouse, being the worst affected. Looking around the village, I am not alone with the problem. Then it was lunchtime. After lunch I was whacked physically and mentally, and on a bit of a downer. So I thought that I would cheer me up and you up by getting a rundown of the prospects for fruit this year:
Peach Blossom Peach blossom (in the yard).
Another variety of peach blossom (also in the yard). Peach Blossom
Morello Cherry Blossom Morello cherry blossom (in the garden).
The new strawberry patch. The New Strawberry Patch
Cherry Blossom Shoe polish :)
Not sure what this one is. I can't remember it having fruit on it last year. Unknown Blossom
Pear Blossom Pear blossom.

And, blow me down, I don't seem to have a picture of the apple blossom. No idea how I managed that! I thought you might like to know the progress of the three new little apple trees that got planted last year in the bloody great holes I dug. Here they are:
Little Apple Tree Little Apple Tree Little Apple Tree
No. 1. No. 2. No. 3.
All in bud, and apparently none the worse for their transplanting and the harsh Hungarian winter.

The computer died again as I was doing the previous blog update. Oh dear! Not good.

I went back into the garden in what you would call the early evening here - five o'clock-ish - and had a go at the area behind the garage. I cleared a load of bits and pieces of wood - they went in the kitchen firewood store, and returned to digging out the remains of, if you remember, what looks like a FIAT automobile from this patch. A couple of stubborn pieces remained. The one I did manage to get out turned out to be a goodish section of floor pan - with the handbrake lever still attached. That left one section still buried, but I had had enough for the day. It is firmly embedded, and will have to be dug out. Looking forward to that, then!

As usual to the pub. Not long after I got there Pickle's breeders arrived, accompanied by a chap that I might have seen once before, who I think is a relative, and a young boy obviously the son of the chap. I suppose he is nine or ten years old - a very serious but strikingly good looking lad. Initially he sat with his back to me, at the next table. Then he turned around and knelt on the chair and watched me in his serious, intense way as I filled and lit the pipe. (It is pretty unusual here) I smiled at him watching me and he smiled back which lit up his whole face. Very soon helper was doing card tricks for him, and they ended up playing a local version of snap (not snapszli), with the Hungarian cards. I don't know why, but it only occured to me then that it was Good Friday. I might have expected it to be more of a religious day here, being mainly Roman Catholic, but it was much a normal day.

11th April 2009

In my wisdom, I know not why, I decided to attack the area by the camping lawn where I grow the tomatoes and stuff. Ideal - south facing and so on. Last year I managed about a third of it. When the neighbours gave me plants I would have to dash out there and dig enough area and stick them in. This year I decided to be a Boy Scout - "Be Prepared". Over a number of days I have laboriously sawed off the excess three feet of roof that makes that much of it a desert anyway. Today I sawed off the last bit, and set to to dig right to the back of the outhouse. I wish I hadn't. I started right by the wall, the nettles peeling back easily as I went along. About half way across I hit a snag. The spade wouldn't go in. Hitting something very solid. I went back a foot and tried again. Just the same. So I went back another foot. Ah, OK, we have digging territory. I advanced back towards the wall and my digging started turning out a whole mares nest of broken bricks, broken glass, buried plastic bags of meszhidrat. Oh, No! An hour later I was about three quarters of the way across and had about half a barrow load of miscellaneous debris dug out. Time for a beer!

I went back to it after the beer and started again. More and more of the same shit turned up. I kept plodding on at it, and at some point the lady next door stuck her head over the fence. We had a conversation, and she just shook her head, either in disbelief as to what I was doing or disbelief in what I was turning up out of the ground. Not sure which. With only two feet to go I was bushed, so I knocked it on the head.

Lunch, a bit of wood work, and off to the pub in the evening - to keep it short in an attempt to catch up with the blog.

12th April 2009

Easter Sunday or not I went back to the gardening. Did four rows of digging, and then attacked the strawberry patch again. About half an hour in, the head fell off the narrow, heavy mattock again. So I too knocked it on the head. I can't remember commenting last year, but when I got back to the yard it was church time, and it seemed that most of the village was dressed in Sunday Best and headed for the Templom. Not me. I sat on the step and had a beer! Then I mended the mattock.

After that I made eighteen little tiny wooden nails. Pain in the ar**. Tapered from one millimetre to about one and a half millimetres, and about three, three and a half millimetres long. For the unnamed project. I glued and fitted them - all well, except for one. Then it was time for lunch at helper's.

Another delicious meal, and I got easter Eggs:
Easter Eggs Real eggs, somewhat battered by the time I got home. Hand coloured, of course.

13th April 2009

Easter Monday. Once again a fair proportion of the village turned out and went to church. I more or less had a day off. I did manage a small amount on the unnamed project. Then it was time to go out to lunch again. After lunch we played a couple of (maybe) traditional Hungarian Easter games. The first was to stand about six feet back from a conveniently placed Easter egg (real egg - hard boiled and coloured) and hurl a coin at it. If you hit the egg with the coin but it didn't stick in you got to take half a step forwards. If you stuck the coin into the egg you got the egg. The other game was to try and hit an egg placed on top of a stick, probably about fifteen metres away, using stones and a catapult. I hadn't used a catapult since I was a teenager! I hit my thumb a couple of times, hit the stick several times and came within a few millimetres left right and above, but I didn't manage to hit the egg. Home made catapult, of course, using strips of bicycle inner tube for the elastic. Who, apart from me and my brother of course, remembers what we used to call elephant elastic (or rubber - not sure). A quarter of an inch square, and as far as I know the only use for it was to be incorporated into a catapult.

I lingered quite long. It was a lovely day, weather wise, and their house is on the hill with a very pleasant outlook. In the distance, on a hill, they pointed out a church. It's in Austria!

De rigeur, I called in the pub for one on the way home. As I left, the landlady handed me a carrier bag which turned out to contain a plastic container full of little cakes. Which was nice!

14th April 2009

Up early again and out on the garden, in accordance with the new regime. I dug my four rows of main garden and was just having a smoke break when I saw a car pull up at the gate. Sure enough, the person got out the car, came in the yard and gave me a shout up the garden. I walked down and met them in the yard. The purpose of the visit was to ask about a chainsaw. A certain individual a few days previous had come to the fence and had obviously been talking about a chainsaw. Now, I thought that they were offering to saw up the kitchen firewood, having seen me at it with the bowsaw, but apparently not. I had turned them down flat anyway as it jibes with what I am at least attempting to do here. To recapitulate, I am attempting to obtain knowledge, and skills. I know that just keeping the place under control is a struggle for one person, but I want to go as far as possible in doing everything by hand and that includes cutting firewood. I digress! It turns out that the person was not offering to cut the firewood, but was in fact attempting to sell me a chainsaw. The answer would still have been the same, even if I had understood correctly. My visitor of this morning was enquiring as to whether I had actually seen the chainsaw. I hadn't. We talked briefly about some stuff to do with what was going on with the house and outbuildings. Then came bombshell No. 1. Apparently I am to have an English neighbour. Not an immediate neighbour, but somewhere by the Faluhaz. That will be interesting! Well, new English neighbour, if you happen to know of this blog do feel free to e-mail me if you want filling in on anything. My e-mail address is sjw (at) stevew (dot) net. Bombshell No. 2 was being informed by my visitor that they knew about the blog. Bound to happen, of course, but it is the first time that anyone has come straight out and said that they know about it. Not that I mind. I enjoy being here, in spite of, or perhaps because of, the trials and tribulations of running the property. I have commented before about how lucky I have been to drop on a community (emphasis mine) like this. If I did have reason to speak ill of anyone (which I don't), it would not get put on the blog anyway. Anyone who understands the blog will easily identify the dramatis personæ in any case.

I returned to knocking the strawberry patch out. Once again, about one and a half hours of that and I was shattered. It really is that heavy going. Digging is easy and relaxing in comparison.

When I returned to the yard, it struck me that, it being the Tuesday after Easter Monday, the village seemed particularly alive. Then it came to me. Of course, the children are off school and were cycling, running, walking and rollerblading all over the place!

I had to pop into town for some serious cash, and took the opportunity of stocking up on the evil weed. No, not that one - tobacco/dohany!

I did a bit more preparation for painting the front window frames once I got home, and that was the day. Apart from the pub, naturally.

15th April 2009

George Monbiot on peak oil in yesterday's Guardian. Hmmmm, yes, well, that's why I'm here! And This about North Sea production quoted from The Financial Times. Oh dear.

Four hours! I spent four sweaty, gut-busting, heart breaking hours on the strawberry patch. I started with trying to get the big tree root out of the middle. Ha! Not a chance. I will either have to jury rig an 'A' frame (done properly you can get a huge mechanical advantage), or find a source of sodium chlorate and do it the Seymour way. Easy. Bore a few holes in the top of the tree stump. Fill with sodium chlorate and seal with wax. Leave for six months, during which time the sodium chlorate will permeate down through the root system. Then set on fire. Sodium chlorate is such a powerful oxidising agent that the stump and roots will burn underground. Problem solved. Apart from the stump I was digging up nettle roots about one inch in diameter. They don't get that big in a year. This is long term and deep rooted. The only thing that I have found about nettles is that they are easily knocked back. The area around the big walnut tree - the one by the camping lawn - was riddled with them. They got scythed and strimmered a few times last year, being just outside the yard, and this year there are none.

Did some more window prep, and that was it. Boring day - nothing to report. Enjoy the doom and gloom.

16th April 2009

Early again - in the shop by six thirty. This is getting to be a habit! I met helper in there. He was buying a bottle of beer - with the top removed, obviously. He came back to mine for a chat and drink the beer. Way too early for me! We were chatting away and a pick-up with a hood at the back (you know what I mean) appeared outside the shop. A number of people appeared, pulling, or pushing various modes of transport. All had cardboard boxes. One elderly lady went by with a cardboard box in a whellbarrow. WFT? Helper explained, and from that distance I could just make out that his explanation was correct. The truck was selling live young chickens. Not the sort you eat - the sort that you have to lay eggs. The assemblage picked and chose which ones they wanted and they were grabbed and unceremoniously stuffed into the various cardboard boxes, then the purchasers wheeled them away on their respective modes of transport. Within fifteen minutes the guy was gone, and the village obviously has a new crop of egg laying free range chickens. I can't say that I was not tempted, but I just am not geared up for livestock quite just yet!

Didn't light the stove, so breakfast was water and a slice of the fresh bread from the shop with my own jam. Just as delicious and nutritional as coffee and toast anyway.

Back to hacking out the strawberry patch. I really do know what they mean by "breaking ground". As I hack the weeds out, the soil level is falling by about four inches all over the patch. That's how much rootage of weeds I am taking out all over the patch. The good news (not!) is that apart from the area ploughed and the areas I have already dug over once the entire two thousand-odd square metres of the garden is like it. Never mind. I got well cheered up today by the sight of two rows of peas (the local variety) showing their heads above the soil. Goes to show - don't import seeds. The peas I brought from the UK - particularly "Early Onwards" were a disaster last year. If I recall, I published a picture of the only lot of peas that made it as far as the house - the rest I ate raw as I picked them, and there were not that many. I went through the whole rigmarole of pre-germinating them, too. I just stuck the local ones in the ground and there they are - growing like good 'uns.

Back at the house I managed to get the front windows into primer. Still a lot to do. They need to be done with filler to cover insect damage, two coats of undercoat and a good gentle rub down (don't we all?) before glossing them.

Whilst I was doing that, the procession of girls on rollerblades continued up and down the street. Quite refreshing to see children allowed out to play up and down the street. Like when I was a youngster. I don't suppose that my parents ever heard the term paedophile. Pervert, maybe, but we didn't have any of those living on our street.

Painting finished, I sat in my usual favourite place - on the door step - for a pipe of tobacco. Pickle went ballistic nearby, and I watched as she hunted down a bumble bee. Poor thing had no chance. A bit like a Lancaster bomber during the war. Slow, unwieldy and unmaneouverable. It's not the first time I have seen her do it, but I didn't comment before. She has a technique that she must have learned herself. She grabs it out of the air in her mouth, and immediately spits it out, before it has a chance to sting. Of course, once grabbed in a dog's mouth and spat out it is naturally covered in doggy saliva, which renders the poor bumble bee incapable of flight. She will dab it with a paw a couple of times - not enough to squish it, you understand. Then she draws her lips back, baring her front teeth, and will nip and nip at the unfortunate insect, spitting it out and inspecting it for life between each nip, until it is quite dead. Then she eats it. A delicacy, I believe - fourth post down.

17th April 2009

Tom Whipple. He really does write so well about the forthcoming storm. Because storm it will be.

On the garden by seven, and off again by eight. Rained off! So I did a spring clean of the kitchen. You know, it's only when you run a wood burning kitchen stove that you get to appreciate the real significance of spring cleaning. By their nature, wood burning stoves emit a certain amount of soot into the close environment. It builds up insidiously whilst the stove is lit for many hours in the winter. On tiles, on the walls, on cobwebs (particularly on cobwebs) - everywhere. And it is only when you tackle a particular spot that you realise how bad it got:
You can see what I mean by looking at the tiles bottom left. Unfortunately the rest of the kitchen is basically lime-washed. Certainly not wipeable emulsions, so it just gets greyer by the day. When they are black enough, the cobwebs get removed :) Soot On The Tiles
Speaking of the kitchen, and the dog, and the big room and the yard, I mentioned way back in December diatomaceous earth. I failed in my search to get any here, so I had some sent over from the UK. Wonderful stuff, and absolutely natural. They just dig it out of the ground. No chemicals, no oil depencancy other than delivery, but then it could be dug and processed by men and delivered by horse and cart. You know, when I were a little lad the milk was still delivered by horse and cart, the rag-and-bone man used a horse and cart, and in the local city Shipstone's brewery used to make all deliveries within the city boundaries using Shire horses and a traditional dray. I was told that it was in old man Shipstone's will that that should be so whilst ever the company remained within the family. Long gone, of course, taken over by one of the big conglomerates many years ago. I'm also sad to see that the Courage brewery no longer run their Shire horse centre near Maidenhead.

I am gradually removing all the sawn off bits of tree/pulled out of the ground posts to the yard, to be processed as kitchen firewood. The posts can go staight into the kitchen firewood store, but the sawn off stuff needs to dry out for about a year before I think about using it. I had amassed a collection, so set about sawing and chopping the stuff that needs to be stored and dried. Not hard work - mainly kindling - but time consuming. It clouded over whilst I was doing that, and I heard the first thunderstorm of the year rumbling way not far off, but we didn't get any.

Taking you back to 11th April, I finally finished digging out the rubbish from the garden area at the back of the outhouses by the camping lawn. I thought to take a picture of it:
Outhouse Garden Just left of centre is a red plant pot by the wall. All the stuff I dug out is heaped up by there. Plus all the whole bricks bottom right of the picture.

And apart from the pub, that was it for the day.

18th April 2009

Once again up and about and out onto the garden early. I determined to finish the clearing of the surface weeds from the new strawberry patch. And I did. All that remains now is to dig it, which should be quite easy going, and transplant strawberry plants into it. I have no lack of those! I transplanted strawberries once before, many years ago. I had a huge crop of really big strawberries off them. Anyway, about two and a half hours of wielding the narrow, heavy mattock was enough. I noticed that the old lady next door was planting her potatoes. She went up and down the garden a couple of times using what I can only describe as a spade shaped hoe - as the Ace of Spades. She just gently hacked out a series of holes. She disappeared and came back with a bucket and sprinkled a handful of something into each hole. Disappeared again and came back with another bucket, from which she took her seed potatoes and simply tossed them into the holes. Then she just gently raked it flat. All done within about an hour, and utterly effortless. Hmmm, learn by observation! The sun was well up and it was hot and sweaty work! So I retired to the house for a beer and something rather gentler to work on.

I finished the unnamed project except for one minor five minute job. It's going to be a right so-and-so to pack.

I had a good tidy up of the yard, and mowed it wherever I could get the toy mower on. Whilst I was doing that a thought came to mind. I had dug a load of, mostly, perfectly good floor tiles - quite expensive ones I would think, out of the camping lawn garden. The thought was that they would do perfectly well for finishing off the hole in the pantry floor once it is filled up. So I took the barrow and rescued them from the garden. I laid them face down on the yard and hosed them off, then turned them over and hosed off the faces:
The picture was taken whilst they were still damp so you can see the colouring. It faded to greyness as they dried, but once in place a coat of floor sealer will bring them up again. They are the same type of tile that you find in shop floors here - very hard wearing. I have no idea whereabouts in the house they must have come from. Unless they were salvaged from somewhere else, and just dumped. Too good to waste anyhow. Salvaged Floor Tiles

After that I went back to the front window frames and made good all the gaps and insect damage with acrylic filler. I suppose that once Peak Oil kicks in and acrylic becomes unaffordable it would be back to putty. Linseed oil and whiting.

That was it for the day, so washed, changed, ate and off to the pub. Where I watched the Chelsea vs. Arsenal FA Cup semi final!

19th April 2009

A fascinating collection of pertinent links to stuff about small scale farming.

I know that I am way behind with the blog, so I will try and keep it as brief as I can in an attempt to catch up! Dug another section of where the tender plants are going to go in. There is no great rush with that so long as I get through it by the first week in May. After that the plants can go in - last frost and all that. I'm steadily digging in the partly rotted down heap of pear tree leaves into that patch. At least it will put a bit of humus into the soil.

I bought a set of hand carving tools off Ebay. They had been hanging around for a day or two, and I finally got round to having a look at them. Crap! Utter crap! There wasn't a decent edge on a single one. Ah well, I suppose that's what you get for £6-50 for ten tools. It took about an hours work with angle grinder, oil stone and (in place of a slip stone, which I don't have) a piece of fine wet and dry wrapped around something suitably curved, but I did manage to get a decent edge on all the ones I tackled. They will do for my job.

Helper had set me a kind-of challenge. He popped round with a bucket full of paintbrushes in need of some serious TLC. The deal is that I get to keep half of what I manage to get working as paint brushes again. The Hungarian for fifty-fifty is "fifty-fifty". I started off with the local equivalent of Daz and almost boiling water. We'll see what happens.

In a fit of pique I decided to replace the cracked window in the kitchen door. What did I say about clean glass? I used the remainder of the glass that I cleaned for last time. It still managed to run off the cut! Fortunately only by about a millimetre, and only about one inch from the corner. The other cut proved more problematic. I had to remove about twelve millimetres. By the time I had finished it looked like a rat had chewed it. I even had to take a whetstone to the edge, but at least it went in the hole and I managed to fit it without further damage.

Ate, changed and went to the pub, to be informed that tomorrow was definitely the day when my new doors would arrive. Ah, bugger! Stuff to do when I got home, then. The hallway curtains came down - that was just a two minute job. Then I set about removing the glass from the two windows over the door. Took a little while but was successful. You never know when the need will arise for a couple of panes of patterned glass.

And so to bed.

20th April 2009

New door day, which pretty well buggered up anything else for the day. Helper turned up at about half past seven and set about removing the old doors and frame. With the appliance of a little science, like sawing the separate top window frame and removing it piecemeal we soon had it out, and the actual door frame came out in one piece, which was my intention as I intend to put the old doors on the summer kitchen. The one remaining door there now continues to rot and deteriorate. About half past eight the fa szakember called round to see how we were getting on. Satisfied with progress he returned shortly with car, trailer and doors, plus a multitude of tools. He set about the job with thoroughness. Occasionally he had to use an electric chisel to remove various bits of old cement that were impeding a perfect fit for the frame. Eventually satisfied, he wedged the frame in place. He was very particular that the levels, both horizontal and vertical, were correct. To my surprise, that part of the house is obviously quite level itself, there being little difference between gap at top and bottom on both sides of the frame. That was followed in short order by the window above.

With the frame in place, albeit only wedged, the doors were dropped onto their hinges. I mentioned the Hungarian hinges back in April last year. Minor adjustments were made, and various ancillary bits of wood screwed in place. He also used the nice brass handles from the old doors - you have seen a picture of them on the blog. I nearly dropped through the floor when he told me how much it would have cost to obtain new ones of a similar quality. Ten thousand Forints a pair! About thirty quid. A serious amount of money here! What followed next was a bit of a surprise. There was absolutely no attempt made to secure the frame to the house. Instead he chocked the frame in the centre of the uprights and simply went all round it with high expansion foam. That was it! Ah well, if they start to wobble about in the breeze in a couple of years time I'll just get half a dozen Fischer fixings and bang them into the house. We had a celebratory Pálinka, and that was that.

All was complete by just after lunch time, but I was still tied to the yard as the chock had to stay in place for three or four hours whilst the foam cured. I contented myself with a few bits and pieces on various projects. Pictures:
New Doors I have to say that it is an ostentatious display of wealth, which is quite amusing, as I don't have any. Note the windows above the door. The Hungarians just love that sort of thing!
Here are "my" hand carved wooden panels (some of them) in their places in the door. I have to say, as shouldn't, I think I made quite a good job of them! Restored Carvings

Pub time, I hit a snag. Loverly doors - no key. The fa szakember had gone off with it. Oh well, leave Pickle on the long chain outside and just get on with it. The key was sorted whilst I was in the pub. So that was OK.

21st April 2009

Out early and working in the garden when helper turned up. He had come to do a bit of making good to the installation of the door and another job. Totally buggered up my plans for the morning. I mooched about the yard doing nothing particular. He trimmed off the excess high expansion foam from the inside of the door frame, then dug a hole for the drop down bolt on the new gates. The remains of the old central heating provided a suitable tube for the bolt, and it got hammered into the ground and adjusted this way and that until it was right. A big mix of cement was dollopped in, and that was that job done. Helper made another small mix, of different constituents and trowelled it into the gaps between the hall tiles and the new door frame and off he went to one of his many other jobs.

Hmmmm - the finish on the cement was not to my liking, so out came the new pointing trowel. It is to my liking now! After that I got back to the garden and had a whack around most of the vines with the scythe. At least I can get around them with the scythe a grass hook now, in the absence of fallen posts, wire trailing across the ground and so on. Everything is growing like mad, but at least this year I know what to expect, and can keep on top of it by tackling it in rotation. I ended the stint in the garden by digging out the final (visible) remains of the old car half buried behind the pig stye. I say visible - for all I know all the mechanicals could be buried just a bit deeper. I don't intend to find out! I'll import a little soil to level it out and grass it over. In the same area I finished removing derelict bits of timber construction, dead raspberry canes, weeds and a miscellany of other junk. Fortunately we are just coming up to the time when the local company removes for free all the unwanted stuff too big for dustbins.

After that it was a serious dose of housework as I had visitors from the UK arriving tomorrow. Pub as usual in the evening.

22nd April 2009

An important interview with Colin Campbell. I can appreciate his comment about "if the sun doesn't shine I don't wash"!

My housework blitz continued, as my visitors arrived today. I retired defeated, having completed everything except cleaning the windows. Oh well, I don't think they had been cleaned for four or five years when I moved in here. When you can't see out, it is time to clean them :)

My visitors this time were my littlest daughter and a friend. Via the wonders of SMS they kept me updated that their progress was as expected so they would arrive in Körmend on the 17:38 train. I met helper in the pub to catch the half past three bus, which was the ltest one that would get us into town to meet the train. Had a beer and caught the bus. We were in Körmend by quarter to four. Oh dear. What to do for almost two hours. Well first we went to the cellar pub. Pictures - no captions:
  Cellar Pub
Cellar Pub  
  Cellar Pub
Cellar Pub  
I did get permission to take the pictures!

And then we went to another pub, and another pub as I wanted to go to the Spar shop. My shop took about two minutes. I caught up with helper before he got to that particular pub. He was admiring a couple of chopper bikes on the car park, one of which was having to be jump-started off the other. There was an older lady there looking in admiration at the bikes, holding to her shoulder what I would think was her grandchild. Unfortunately, when the bike that was being jump-started started the child exploded from the noise. I jest, of course! He was totally unphased by the whole experience. What I found surprising was the admiration of the older lady for the bikes. We finally got to the pub by the market place and had a beer. It wasn't market day of course, but the pub was busy nonetheless. Then it was time to go and meet the train.

On the way, just opposite the station, we quickly called into a new pub - no we did not have another drink - to find out whether we could get a meal there. So long as we were in there by six. We went to the station to meet the train and, of course, British Rail were running the service. It was late! We did get back to the pub in time for the meal though, and very good and cheap it was too.

Helper had arranged a lift for us back to the village, so we were not reliant on some random Budapesti taxi driver happening along! We had to leg it back to the other end of town to get the lift, though. We got dropped off at the village pub, where my daughter was treated with great cordiality, and we had another couple of beers. More than enough for the day!

23rd April 2009

I was up slightly earlier than the visitors, suprisingly in view of the amount of alcohol comsumed yesterday. I waited for them to rise as they had expressed a wish to go to the shop with me. We raided the shop, mob handed, and once again both present villagers and the shop lady were most cordial towards them. The villagers here do take a genuine delight when I get visitors to the village.

It rained. Which rather put the mockers on any serious gardening I had planned! Instead, we dragged some cut down stuff off the garden and chopped and sawed it into the respective outhouses for seasoned wood and green wood.

I made one of my gargantuan veggie stews for the evening meal (them both being vegetarians), and then we did the pub.

24th April 2009

A much better day, weather-wise, so we set about the garden with gusto. Daughter was set to on the strawberry patch and I set her friend to do a little gentle tree pruning. We fetched to big ladder from the outhouse and I pointed out all the dead stuff in the old, not very good condition apple tree. He set to work with the bowsaw and there were periodical creaks and crashes as a mass of dead wood was sawn away from the tree. Well, it will either kill it or cure it. I sowed another couple of rows of peas then set about the start of chopping out and leveling off a pathway that will, when complete, be a newly sown grass path from the top of the yard to the top of the garden about four feet wide. All part of the plan for this year. At least I will be able to get from one end of the property to the other without fear of a broken ankle!

We knocked off just after twelve, having arranged to meet helper in the pub at half past and then go to his for a meal. Hmmmm! No helper in the pub. We drifted on up to his place anyway, only to find that we were not expected! Cock up! Nevertheless we were welcomed, and helper's mother rustled up something pasta based at very short notice. After a respectful interval, and with the insistence that we returned the next day, we took our leave returning home for another couple of hours garden work.

A sandwich at the end of the working day, then off to the pub. Daughter's friend revoked a little earlier than me and daughter, having had a pretty tough day and plenty of sun, and returned to the house. Daughter and I followed a little later. Friend was sat by the kitchen stove, which he had lit, and asked if we had left Pickle on the chain when we went out. I was sure that we had, but he said that when he got back she was sat on the doorstep - minus chain!

25th April 2009

I forgot to say yesterday about the Posta lady. She pulled up outside the house and did the first two notes of Reveille. I was in the yard anyway. I could see by the way that she had her clipboard ready that it was something I would have to sign for. I don't like signing for stuff. It gives me an existence in officialdom, which is not what I am about. Anyway, I signed and the Posta lady gave me fifteen thousand Forints. I queried it. "Miert?" (Why, or what for?) The posta lady pointed out on the little slip that I received that it came from E-On, the electricity company that is trying to take over the whole of Europe. I still didn't really understand why they were paying me fifteen thousand Forints, but I let it ride. Better in my pocket than theirs.

Back to today, it was garden fire day. So I lit one - right next to the strawberry patch. The visitors were instructed in the use and sharpening of a scythe, and left to get on with it. A bit more organised than last time, it worked out that the stuff that got scythed down went straight onto a new compost heap in a place of my choosing. As they worked thay occasionally got enveloped in the clouds of smoke from the bonfire. So did I. By lunchtime we had collectively got quite a lot done, but it was time to go out for our (this time confirmed) lunch invitation.

The lunch was delicious. Very plain fare and suitable for vegetarians, but delicious nonetheless. If it wasn't for the fact that I actually like meat I could happily live on stuff like that. So simple - hard boiled eggs (done properly), mashed potatoes and a really quite delicious sauce. Enquiries revealed that the basis of the sauce was tejföl (soured cream), hagymas (onions) and sóska. This was unknown to me, obviously green as the sauce had an underlying green tinge. My kissszótar was no help - it was not in there. Amazingly, my daughter's little Hungarian phrase book came up trumps - it has a separate little mini-dictionary for foodstuffs. Sóska turns out to be sorrell. I can't think that I have ever knowingly had sorrell as a main ingredient to a dish. Probably in mixed herbs or something like that, but not as a main ingredient. I confess that I did not even know what sorrell looks like growing. I do now - thanks Google images. It turns out that a patch of big plants on my garden that had been scythed and strimmered to oblivion were in fact sorrell. Ooops! The lady next door with the chickens grows a load of it. I think the chickens eat it too.

We lingered quite long, but eventually returned to the house and resumed activities. Guests continued hacking at the garden, whilst I had a mini-project for my daughter - a stitch holder for her knitting. Apparently metal knitting accessories are banned on aircraft. Her knitting needles were wood, which was no problem, and the stitch holder had to be wood too. A bit of work with the jigsaw, shoulder plane and the drill inprovising as a lathe and I soon had something knocked up:
Here it is in use. Walnut firewood, of course. It is about three and a half millimetres in diameter, and the little knobs on the end have tapered holes in them and just hold on to the needle part by friction. Walnut Stitch Holder

After that it was time for a bite to eat, change and off to the pub on the last evening of their visit.

26th April 2009

We had a lie-in of sorts. We did not need to be up until seven. That gave us plenty of time to catch the eight thirty bus into town. I went on the bus with them. We had a steady coffee in the holet where I first stayed, then a steady stroll down to the station where I saw them off.

With plenty of time left to get the bus back to the village I had an even more leisurly stroll back into town. I did a minor bit of shopping in the Spar shop, but having a good wander round checking out stocks and prices. As I think I said before, it is really a rather nice shop. After that, still with time to kill, I had a couple of steady beers at the little pub on the market place. It looks as if it is a regular Sunday lunchtime meeting place. A man and a woman turned up on pushbikes, closely followed by one guy in a car. Then another car turned up with three people in it. They all sat together, and were doing card tricks, and entertaining a dog that was part of the party. Then in penny numbers they all drifted off again.

Shorty afterwards, I wandered off and caught the bus back to the village. I went straight home - unusually - just to make sure that Pickle had not escaped and caused havoc in the village. After that, to be honest, I did very little, and apart from the evening trip to the pub, that was about it.

27th April 2009

As usual, quite early I went out to get on with the digging on the main garden. The plan remains the same - to get everything that I want to get in into the ground, then concentrate on scything down and the 'improvement' plans that I have for this year. I hit a really bad patch of garden. My guess is something to do with the removal of tree roots and subsequent ploughing last year. It was like trying to dig concrete. Very dry, and hitting subsoil only about five inches down. Having managed only about two metres of a single row in about fifteen minutes it was definitely a case of "Bugger this!" so I turned my attention to the patch behind the outhouse. Much easier going.

I took the opportunity of having a boiler full of hot water to do a huge wash. It had been piling up and piling up. After that, to be honest, I was on a bit of a downer. Lack of progress in the garden, the sheer effort of hand washing that lot, and the absence of my guests got to me, and very little got done for two or three hours.

In the middle of that the Posta lady turned up with a parcel I had been expecting from the UK. That cheered me up a bit. Contents of parcel:
Jennings Pattern Auger Bits Bought off Ebay for £5-50. I knew they had bitstock shanks - that's the tapered square bit that goes in the brace, but I hadn't realised that they were Jennings Pattern. Superb. In need of a little TLC - some of the spurs need sharpening, but very, very good at the price. I had been looking for ages and the only place I could find them new was from the States. They come in at thirty-odd dollars each bit!

I did finally kick back in, about halfway through the afternoon. Got out the toy mower and mowed the yard, the bit at the front of the house and the camping lawn. After that for an hour I set about sawing up the lumps of apple tree until I had a good wheelbarrow full, and took it back to the yard. It is so old and dry and dead that it can go straight into the kitchen firewood store.

28th April 2009

In a more productive frame of mind than yesterday I was out early and had another bash - quite literally - at the patch of ground I gave up on digging yesterday. It takes me back to the early days of one row of digging taking an hour. Fortunately I found that it was just a localised patch for about ten or twelve feet at the begining of a few rows. I was actually loosening up subsoil. Not good. I think it had to do with the removal of the tree stumps and the ploughing. I had managed my allotted four rows and was on the way back to the yard when I heard the characteristic sound of the village handyman's strimmer close by. It plays an augmented fourth in use, (or a tritone, diminished fifth, sharp eleventh or flat fifth as you will), the engine giving one note and the chords trimming the foliage another. Sure enough, he passed along my bit of verge, the dog going ballistic as usual. As I was in the yard I grabbed the rake and went out to start clearing up. So did the old lady next door and so did a couple of neigbours over the road. As the handyman passed down the village more people appeared to clear up, and the ones who had finished disappeared. It was a bit like a slow motion wave passing down the village. I cleared up and the old lady did too. She carted hers off in a basket - I used the wheelbarrow. I have to say that in spite of having a wider frontage than I do, she accomplished the task in about the same length of time it took me. Still puts me to shame! In a short space of time the whole village (mostly) was spick and span along the roadside.

I decided that today was the day for packing up the unnamed project preparatory to it getting posted out to the UK. I knew it was going to be a ball-ache of a job, and it was. Four hours! I had to make little boxes for some individual components, secure the whole lot then package in an outer cardboard box, well protected by polystyrene chippings. The outer boxes had to be cobbled together too, as they were made from a single long box cut in two. Job done apart from addressing, weighing and labeling I prepared to go back to some outside work.

And it rained. A thunderstorm. It lingered quite nearby for a while, but it was not one of those torrential downpour thunderstorms that we can get here. Just a nice steady rain. That's regarded here as "Good" weather!

29th April 2009

An article from the Permaculture Institute of Australia (an unlikely source for this site) that contains a number of very good points about the direction we, as a species, need to be taking.

Back into the routine. Still need to get a bit more main garden dug, but I have a reasonable amount done to get stuff in. Similarly, I need to finish the garden by the outhouse. I have to say that in spite of the neglect, and hard going, I have a lot more done than this time last year. Quite a bit still needs to be got back under control, though.

The Posta lady was surprised by the two packages for the UK. Not that I had them, but the lack of weight considering their size. They came in at about five hundred and sixty grammes, most of which was packaging. Expensive though! Anything bigger than a letter to send to the UK is not cheap.

In a continuing attempt to play catch-up, nothing out the ordinary to report for the rest of the day - just getting on with stuff.

30th April 2009

Much the same, apart from a quick trip to my favourite shop in Nádasd. Dog food! Whilst there I did invest in a packet of seeds and a "kapa" (hungarian-style hoe) and shaft. Bit on the expensive side - a fiver! Once home I assembled it, which involved a fair amount of planing, rubbing down the shaft which was very rough and sawing for/cutting/fitting the wedges. I took it for a test drive. Wonderful tool! I have an English style one which I bought before. It really is quite useless here. With the new one you can work quite delicately within about an inch of little plants. You can also really whack stuff if you have to. It has the same type of shaft as is fitted to the heavy mattock.

Late in the day, sadly this from the BBC on the Roma problem in Hungary. I can only say that my local information indicates that the Beeb are wrong in refering to them as Gypsies, as I have mentioned on the blog before. It's a bit like the difference in the UK between Romany gypsies and didicoys - didicoy = "one who lives as a gypsy but isn't".


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