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November 2009

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1st November 2009

I had a huge lie-in. I never saw the light of day until eleven in the morning. The dog must have a bladder the size of a football. She never bothered me. When I did get up I just carried on as usual. Coffee/toast at about half past eleven! I went on the Internet with my second cup of coffee and the slice of toast with the jam on, also as usual, at about a quarter to twelve. Pumpkin jam. Did I mention pumpkin jam? Grep says not. My next door neighbour had given me this huge oblate spheroid fruit, which was very kind. It didn't look like a pumpkin - the skin was a sort of greeny-grey colour. I had had it for a couple of days (or so!) pondering what the hell to do with it. Truth be told, I am not a huge lover of pumpkin-type stuff as a vegetable. Sans freezer, etc it was difficult to think about turning it into soup or something along those lines.

I had had a brainwave and shared it with my neighbour John, who got half of it. Having once cut it in half, which was a fairly major operation in itself even with my big kitchen knife, I just had to get on and deal with it. Inevitably it ended up as jam. Lots of jam. Really lots of jam. From the half that I kept I got over two kilogrammes of fruit - that's with the skin removed and the inner pith and seeds. Interesting! It made a fine jam. Quite a bright orange colour and with a very delicate taste. I quite like it actually. I digress.

Established with my coffee and toast with pumpkin jam in front of the computer I decided to see if the funds that I had transferred from the UK had arrived in my new bank account. I already had bitten the bullet and activated the Internet banking side of my new account once all the cards and PINs had arrived. I knew that the funds had left my UK account a few days previously. Yes!! I now had funds in the new account. Somewhat of a relief, as I know that within a few days the land tax bill will arrive, and that is the biggie for the year.

Very belatedly, not long before the wan afternoon light started to fade, I got my arse into gear and went and raked the fallen leaves from the big walnut tree off the camping lawn. It took a while, and I ended up with a two foot layer of leaves about ten feet diameter all around the walnut tree, thinking that the leaf mulch would be good. I found out later that I had done it wrong, and sooner rather than later I will have to rake them back away from the tree trunk. The leaf mulch is a good idea. Piling them up so closely around the tree isn't. It encourages softening of the bark, moulds and insect attacks. So away they will have to come.

Later, washed and changed, I went to the pub. They closed early - again. I cycled home through a dense freezing fog. First of November and it was almost as if a switch had been thrown. Only a couple of days ago I was doing stuff in the garden in tee shirt and jeans. Now it is winter! I had jacket potatoes when I got home. I was in bed by half past nine.

2nd November 2009

I was up quite early after the early bed last night. What's the saying? "Early to rise, and early to bed makes a man healthy and wealthy and dead!" In the hallway was a strange smell. A sort of chemically smell. I ignored it and grabbed the shopping bag and went to the shop. On my return, having been out in the fresh air it was even more noticable. I sniffed around the hallway, unable to locate the source of it. Ah well, into the kitchen for the morning ritual. The smell was stronger. I lit the stove then went to put the coffee on. The coffe pot resides on the enamelled fold down lid of the old cooker. It was warm. The fold down lid was even warmer. And I finally located the source of the chemically smell when I discovered that, however, one of the rings on the old stove had managed to switch itself on. The bread bin was, well, a lot more than warm! Fortunately the electric ring underneath had not managed to turn itself onto maximum heat, only minimum. Nevertheless, trash one bread bin, half a loaf and a plastic chopping board (sorry H!). I had to use the oven glove just to get them as far as the doorstep. That cooker has to go. It simply has to go. The fold down enamelled lid is so useful as a surface to put stuff on, in the absence of other units, but the bloody thing is quite frankly dangerous. Much as I like jacket potatoes!

Back to the shop I went, fortunately in time to get a half a loaf. Not to be denied my toast and coffee!

It was a grey, damp and cold day so I concentrated on the now overdue leatherwork for the morning. After lunch I had to go into town. For one thing I had run myself short of English herb, and for another I needed to see if my new VISA card that came with my new account would work. I had the card and a PIN for it, but the attached paperwork (in Hungarian) had a whole stitherum about how to activate it. In town I headed for the bank. I asked the nice man with the gun for a bit of help and showed him my bit of paper. He suggested I stick the card in and see what happened. I did. Well, one step in the right direction - it came up with a tri-lingual menu. Magyarul - English - Deutsch. I hit magyarul just for the hell of it. No - I didn't really! It accepted the PIN supplied and the next menu gave the choice to change the PIN, which I did. I got the card back after that, so stuck it in again, put the new PIN in and it accepted that. Time for some cash. "This card is not authorised to carry out that type of transaction". Bugger - try again. Ditto! Back to the man with the gun and explained "Nem jó". He had another look at my paperwork, hit a button on the visitors-type machine and told me to sit there (indicating) and they would sort it out. So I did. Fortunately it is not a bit like my previous bank where there could always be ten or fifteen people waiting to sort out queries. There was one person being seen, and one couple waiting. After about five minutes the couple advanced to being seen. With that, another lady reappeared (there had been only the one enquiry desk open) obviously having returned from lunch. Within a minute my number appeared and she asked me how she could help. In fluent magyarul. I showed her the paperwork and the bank card and explained. She checked my ID - which is always good - and, satisfied she went to work with her computer terminal. At one point she even turned the terminal towards me. It showed recent transactions. In green. On a black background. Oh joy, oh bliss! (Those who know my computer background and preferences will understand this) She carried on tapping away for some little time, and eventually handed me back my card assuring me that it was now activated and all was well. I went back to the cash machine, put the card in, put my new PIN in. And it promptly rejected it. Bugger. I stuck it back in and put the original, issued PIN in and all was fine. One of the menu items was "Quick Cash" so I chose that. One of the annoyances (apart from the cost) of my previous bank was that, for instance, if you asked for fifty thousand forints you got two twenty and one ten thousand forint notes. Twenty thousand forint notes (about sixty six quid, as I write) are most certainly not welcome everywhere. The village pub landlord will look askance at a ten thousand forint note. Back to the plot! The Quick Cash option was in unround figures, such as nine thousand forints, or nineteen thousand forints. I chose the latter. The result is that you get a reasonable selection of bank notes. More notes, yes, but also more easily negotiable. Another small adventure.

I did my few other bits in town and caught the bus back to the village. In idleness, as usual, I had cycled up to the pub to catch the bus from the bus stop just a few metres away and locked it up there. You can guess what is coming! Somehow I ended up on a session and it was gone seven before I left, but at least that was it for the evening. In the meantime it had come on to rain. A heavy, cold, persistent rain. I pedalled hard home. To find that Pickly dog had obviously been chasing cats around the yard or something, and was well and truely entangled amongst the little trees by the well. She lay in the freezing cold rain on about four feet of spare chain. When I got there, in excitement, she went the wrong way round the trees and ended up on about two feet of chain. Got to do something about that! A little fence around that lot so that she can only get round one way, and back out the same way. I wish I could trust her not to go next door. But I can't. Unfortunately.

3rd November 2009

It was bitterly cold and raining when I went to the shop. Cold enough to put on another layer before I ventured over there. After that it was business as usual. Whilst I was doing my daily routine of trawling for gloom and doom over my second coffee and second slice of toast (the one with the jam on) I happened to glance out of the window. It was snowing. Not heavily, and the ground was far too wet and warm for it to stick, but it was definitely snowing. It turned back to sleet a bit later. Nice day!

As you can imagine, not a day for doing very much out of doors. I bashed on with the leatherwork, anxious now to get it finished and out of the way. It remained cold and miserable outside.

I seem to have acquired another helper. Not in the same league as the one that I continually refer to as helper, who is actually more of a drinking buddy but will always drop everything if I am really stuck, but there is this chap that I have met a few times now in the pub. We have exchanged a few drinks and he is actually quite a pleasant character. Quite slowly and softly spoken, rather dark for a Hungarian but not as dark as a Roma and a relative newcomer on the scene although obviously well known. He spoke to me about a bit of work. After my experiences with the other village character I was a bit dubious. I told him to speak to me again on Thursday when I would know whether I had some work for him. A bit devious, I know, but I wanted to check him out first with helper. At least helper will call a spade a spade and come straight out and say not to give a particular person any work under any circumstances.

Leatherwork continued after lunch, as did the bitterly cold rain. Later in the afternoon I did a big stock up of the firewood baskets for the house, and the tile stove got lit at five o'clock - the earliest yet by far. I cooked a pizza.

It was still raining and cold when I came out of the pub later.

4th November 2009

Lots of little kitchen jobs in the morning. Washing up, washing, doing the leg, and I got round to filtering off and bottling the walnut liqueur and the Morello cherry brandy that had been patiently waiting in their jars. Neither of the lids would come off and I had to ease them both all around with a teaspoon inserted between the lid and the glass. They came off easily enough after that. The walnut liqueur made the original half litre of spirit plus about half a fluid ounce. So I drank that. The cherry brandy on the other hand made about two thirds of a litre. The osmotic action from dumping them into forty percent spirit had obviously extracted a fair amount of juice from them. I had a little bit more than half a fluid ounce of that. I have to declare it a success. Sweet and sour. The added sugar provided the sweetness, but the sharpness of Morello cherries is unmistakable. Might just have to do that one again next year. You never know, as my little tree grows I might even manage a litre.

I was a much better morning than yesterday and I thought about getting out onto the garden to do some winter digging. Blow me down if it did not start raining again at lunch time. Still very cold too.

Later, in the pub, I spoke to helper about the new guy and whether I should give him a bit of work. No problem, but don't let him drink too much was the answer. I'll let you draw your own conclusions on that one.

5th November 2009

The leatherwork got finished with a marathon morning and early afternoon stint:
Leather Quiver It is loosely based on one I saw on the Internet. The bottom is double thickness and the top was moulded by making a right sized ellipse. I did cheat. I glued the fold at the top of the work before I stitched it. It is folded over twice. Getting it to be sort of bag shaped at the bottom was a bit of a challenge too, but it came out fine.

I delivered it, on the pretext of going for eggs. Well, not a pretext. I did need eggs. The result was free eggs, free paprika and the promise of beer in the pub. I had, of course, refused payment in money. The first instalment of the free beer (and Hubertus) appeared later in the day :)

6th November 2009

It should have been yesterday. I had a mental note of the Fifth of November - a date hard for an English person to forget. It didn't happen yesterday because of the leatherwork. So today the press came out to play and I pressed off the wine. That was it! The only other thing to add was that I did collect a testing jar full and check the gravity on it. If anything it was just a tiny fraction below 1.000. When I opened the fermenter and stuck my head in, there was the unmistakable twang of carbon dioxide in the nostrils, but I think that was just the remaining CO2 blanket as there was no sign of fermentation.

As an aside, I mentioned wine flies a few days ago. Someone (thanks A) was kind enough to send me a link to a web page full of handy hints about how to avoid wine flies. Unfortunately the one thing the page didn't take into account is if you have actively fermenting wine on the premises! They seem to have all gone anyway now.

The wine is in one of the new carboys, and has been sulphited to the recommended level, so I really don't expect any repeats of last years dramas. They use the potassium salt here, not the sodium salt I was used to in the UK. Same meat, different gravy of course. I note from the archive that last year the wine was on the pulp for two months whilst I made the press. It is supposed to be on the pulp for three weeks! No wonder I had problems.

7th November 2009

Very short today, on account of, well, not much happened and/or I can't remember. The first thing of note was at three in the afternoon. My new-found helper turned up and fixed my roof, with only a couple of minor catastrophies along the way. There were a couple of places where it was obvious that the tiles were not correctly overlapped. The overlap on the roof tiles is minimal anyway so they only need to be about half an inch out and they will let the rain in. I was amazed to see that he did it all from inside the loft. He slid or removed enough tiles to be able to reach out and fix the problem. Then he replaced the tiles he had removed. He had to come down and go outside several times to check that they were correctly positioned. The minor catastrophies were that he managed to break what I suspect was a rather expensive glass roof tile - there are a few here and there, just enough to have a little daylight into the loft to at least see where you are. And one of the tiles escaped his grasp and slid into the guttering. I have a couple of stacks of spare roof tiles already now, so the loss was not a calamity. He did some on the outhouse as well. By the time I have finished I will have a lot more. Several outhouses to come down yet! I have plans for some of the tiles, but they are apparently a saleable commodity anyway.

We went to the pub once he had finished where I bought him a drink and paid him. A thousand forints for two hours work. Just over three quid. Not only that, but once he had finished the beer I had bought him he went to the bar with his thousand forints and promptly bought me one back.

There was a load of stuff on the telly about the fall of the Berlin Wall. Did I mention that it was Hungary that started it. This from the BBC explains it all.

8th November 2009

A thoroughly miserable day. Cold, and raining on and off all day. I contented myself indoors. Washing up, washing out the pressing cloths - none too soon - washing clothes and cooking. I still have apples, pears and chestnuts to sort out. And once again I had to sort out the knitting. It is proving troublesome. It's a long while since I did anything the like.

Much later my neighbour John turned up in the pub. I had been beginning to get worried, not having seen him either on Friday or Saturday when he does normally turn up. It transpired that he had been ill. I said that if he had not turned up tonight I could have gone round to see if he was OK, and we made a mutual agreement that if necessity required we would e-mail one another in the event of semi-urgent problems arising.

9th November 2009

Hospital day. I managed not to miss the bus, which was good as it was another cold damp day with the promise of rain. I certainly didn't fancy cycling it. I trolled around town for some considerable time before I went to the hospital. I started with a coffee in the Halászcsarda, and then another in the Presszó on Bástya utca and then had a leisurely stroll around the market. Nothing took my eye, so I bought nothing. Eventually I gently strolled to the hospital which is only one block down (west) from the market. The lady on reception was the "job's-worth" that had turned me away when I was late. At least she knew who I was and where I was going and about ten seconds after I handed over my EC Health Card I was on the way upstairs to börgyógyászat. In spite of my hanging around town it still took an age to get seen. When I did get seen I had an unpleasant surprise. The börgyógyás wanted to admit me to hospital. She was apparently not convinced that the leg was healing as quickly as she would have liked. She saw my face drop. Some discussions followed, the upshot of which was that she would let me try a compression bandage but wanted to see me again in just a fortnight. OK, well I would just have to run (or limp) with that, then. The hospital dispensary had no compression bandages - come back tomorrow. They charged me for them nonetheless, so now I had to return tomorrow to collect them. A pair. One in the wash and one on the leg.

Deeply unhappy I made my way back to the marketplace where I sat and pondered over a beer. Bugger! Out of pure spite I went to the Spar shop for some retail therapy. I did a thing I rarely do these days. I bought a lump of chicken. Some other stuff too, of course. Then, still pissed off, wandered my way back into town.

I caught the half past two bus, which was packed with people. I had to stand as far as Nádasd, which did not improve my mood one bit. I called in the pub for a beer, and to reclaim the bicycle which the landlady had been good enough as to let me put around the back, out of sight. I cycled home with both the back pack and Churchill's "Black Dog" upon my shoulders.

Once home, with the kitchen stove lit, fatalism reasserted itself into my psyche. Ah well, what will be will be. I unpacked the shopping and determined on a destination for some of the chicken I had bought. In the shop I really had not realised what a great big piece of chicken it was. One of my other purchases in town was what would pass for a pie dish. Some sort of chicken pie was called for.

Steve's Chicken Pie Recipe

   Some fresh chicken. Enough for the size of pie you are wanting to make, obviously.
   Freshly ground black pepper
   Cream (twenty or thirty percent butterfat)
   A small onion
   Clove of garlic
   Peas - fresh, frozen or tinned. About a third of the amount by volume of the chicken that you have
   Olive oil for frying
   Flour or cornflour
   Short crust pastry
Dice the chicken into suitable sized pieces. Finely chop the onion and the garlic. Put a pan on a fairly high heat and dollop some olive oil in there. When it is smoking hot dash the chicken into it and turn rapidly until all the chicken is nicely seared on all sides. Lower the heat and add the onion, garlic, salt and black pepper. Cook until the onion and garlic are nicely softened. Add sufficient cream to cover - yes, I know, extravagent isn't it. Add the peas. Use a little flour or cornflour to thicken to a pie filling consistency. Simmer until the chicken is cooked. Set aside to cool slightly.

In the meantime, knock up enough shortcrust pastry for the pie base and lid. Bake the base blind for five or six minutes using baking blind beads or your preferred method. Whack the filling in and fit the lid, then put back in the oven on the basis of "When it's brown it's done, when it's black it's buggered"

Serve and enjoy. I did.

I seem to have found the secret of successful short crust pastry here. I tried the normal half fat to flour proportions and it turned out more like some sort of bread gone wrong than pastry. I upped the fat a bit from half to five eighths and that works really well with the local fat and flour.

Later, in the pub. there was a whole load more coverage of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

10th November 2009

The Guardian with a "whistleblower" report from inside the IEA. Interesting reading! Since then it has caused an absolute furore with multiple links to the report appearing in searches and numerous other articles either supportive of or attempting to debunk the Guardian report.

The leg was not good today. I was supposed to pick up compression bandages in town, but on account of my new help turning up I revoked on that one. I settled down and did some knitting.

New helper turned up as expected and set to in the kitchen woodstore. I have to say that I have never seen anyone use a bowsaw the way he did. He put the bit you are supposed to hold on the floor, wedged the rest of the bow between his legs and sawed by moving the wood up and down the saw blade. Most odd to behold. He made it seem effective. I turned my attention to the axe that you may remember the village blacksmith repaired. I had bought a handle for it in the Gazdabolt shop in town and the only one they had that was not too small was a full sized lumberjack axe type handle. The local fa szakember had taken it away and fitted the new handle to the axe head. It is not a big axe head. Heavy, yes and very effective, but ridiculously out of balance with a full size lumberjack handle on it! I set to and with saw, chisels and planes trimmed it back to a sensible size in all dimensions. I shortened it by about nine inches, took about half an inch off the major axis all along the length and about an eighth of an inch off either side. All the curves had to be reshaped of course and I ended up with a huge pile of shavings. Good - wood shavings are certainly the best thing I have found for getting the house fires burning. I gave it a test drive and it is now nicely balanced. Still heavy enough to split two inch hardwood with a single blow.

When it got dark we went to the pub. Same as before - I paid him and he promptly went and bought both me and him a drink out of it. He didn't linger long in the pub. I'm afraid I did. There was no sign of helper so I sat with fa szakember and his card playing buddy. About half way through the evening fa szakember dropped a bit of a bombshell. Apparently I am sat on an archaelogical site. Under the top of my land and the next door cottage at the top is a Turkish cemetery dating back to the eighteen fifties. He wants to get a friend of his on there with a metal detector. I'll have to have a look up of what the law is on that, but otherwise I don't have a problem with it. Just so long as I get a cut if they find anything valuable, of course.

Right at the end of the evening (the telly had long gone off) helper turned up with another local character. We (helper and I) call him "How do you do Láci". Every time he comes in the pub, or if he is already there the first thing he does is to shake my hand and say "How do you do?", then in Hungarian "Light the pipe". The salutation is it, the entire limits of his English. Anyway, they came in at very last knockings and, how shall I say, they were already quite obviously in their cups. They were absolutely hilarious. You had to be there. Funny as f***!

11th November 2009

I made it to the dispensary at the hospital today and picked up the (already paid for) compression bandages. A little shopping, one beer and back to the village. Another beer in the village and then home for the evening. I still had a fairly huge lump of the chicken to deal with. The pie had done me for two days! So I knocked up a sort of a cross between chicken soup and one of my veggie stews. It turned out alright too. It was also helped by the fact that I have some Knorr (what passes for) chicken stock cubes here. That was it!

12th November 2009

Today was the first day for me to try out the new compression bandage on the leg. It is supposed to go on after the leg has had the dressing changed. The bandage is funny old stuff. One hundred percent cotton, with just enough stretch to allow it to mould around feet and ankles. Five metres of it. Goes around the leg a few times. I hit a snag straight away with it. The whole idea is that it stops the leg from swelling. My leg has always swelled during the course of the day ever since my accident. I did my normal routine - shop, kitchen stove, breakfast, trawl for doom and gloom, wash the pots and dress the leg. It was obvious that by that time the leg swelling had already started. Mmmmm. I went ahead anyway and bound the leg up with the bandage. Obviously some change of routine was called for, as it would be best to put the bandage on very first thing in the morning before I got up as that is when there is no swelling to the leg as it always subsides overnight whilst I am horizontal. I would have to have a think about it during the course of the day. I certainly didn't want the hassle of putting the bandage on twice during the day.

It had been a misty start but the sun soon burned through and it turned into a very, very pleasant day. Time to start my winter digging campaign. Looking back on last year's blog I noticed that I left it way too late and by the time I thought about it we were into frosts and frozen ground. Determined not to let that happen this year.

On my travels I happened to notice that some of the apples, which were still awaiting my attention, were getting a bit - shall we say - iffy. Before I went out on the garden I sorted them all out and the no good ones went in the barrow. Up into the garden and the apples got scattered around where I was going to dig. As I dug they naturally got walked upon and squished, then I just dug them in. Natural mulch! It was a really delightful day and progress was swift. The time passed by quickly and I was soon down to working in a tee-shirt as I enjoyed the exercise. Digging that sort of soil is actually a pleasure - not like the donkey work of breaking fresh ground. I managed to get done half of the area where the beans, disastrous tomatoes and paprika had been and then knocked off for lunch. Of course the area where the potatoes were needs no further digging.

After lunch I went back and had another bash. By the time I called it a day on the garden I reckon that about two thirds of the main bit of garden was turned over. It had been a glorious day, but the sun starts to go down quickly by the middle of the afternoon and the chill descends quite quickly. Never mind - if I can just get a few more such days in before the weather really closes in then that will be a big bonus. The aims for November remain the same. Get the winter digging done and get the doors on the outhouse workshop.

Helper No. 2 came along at about three, and once again quite happily sawed firewood for a couple of hours until the light went, when we retired to the pub.

Somewhere during the course of the day it came to me what my change of routine would have to be. I only have to dress the leg once a day, so why not make it last thing at night, then the compression bandage could go on the leg first thing in the morning. I put it into action when I got home. Pain in the whatsit! Took about twenty minutes carefully unwinding the compression bandage and doing all the necessary to the leg. I'll see how it goes.

13th November 2009

I spent most of the day on the outhouse doors. The original frame had to be demolished. Otherwise it would have been saw a minimum of three inches off the bottoms of the doors. I was left with just the two uprights one of which was rotten to a height of about two feet. I had to chop out both the tops and replace them with new tenons to fit in with mortices in the big wooden lintel over the doorway. Then I had to find, or make, bits to replace the really rotten wood on the one of them. All had to be glued and screwed together and I sacrificed some of my precious supply of urea/formaldehide resin glue for the job. And that was my day!

14th November 2009

A letter to The Guardian from Colin Campbell in response to the IEA Whistleblowers article.

With the glue nicely set on the new/old outhouse doors it was time to go to the next step, which was chopping out the mortices. Horrid, hateful job. For one thing it was working overhead so there was negative assistance from gravity when whacking the chisel. And for another, the accumulated dust and whatnot drifted down over me at every stroke. I got one done and called it Saturday.

It was another delightful day, so I went back on the digging campaign. I started in but soon realised that there was an obstruction to progress. Carrots. My single row of carrots was still in the ground. I went and wheeled the barrow from the yard, and found my sharp outdoor knife to lop the tops off. I confess that I had never grown carrots before. Not a great lover of carrots actually - tolerate is nearer my description of my feelings towards them. Yes, I know. They are full of goodness and vitamins and they help you see in the dark. (Urban myth propagated in World War Two to fox the Germans as to the capabilities of RADAR) Having never grown them I didn't realise what a tedious job it was pulling them. There were many more than I bargained for. The other thing that surprised me was the variations in size and shape. My (occasional) foray into carrots has been in the fruit and veg section of the supermarket where you get a nice bag of evenly sized washed carrots. Mine were anything but. Some of them had two legs, some three and the occasional one had four or five. Some were too small even to be of use as baby carrots. Others were a huge single root. I managed to get about two thirds of the way down the row when the light started to fade and I knocked it on the head for the day.

I went to the pub for a quick one. Bugger - England vs. Brazil came on the telly. It turned into a session!

15th November 2009

Sunday, and well overdue the house had a good going through. It took me until half past one, so a very late lunch.

After lunch, it being another very nice day, it was back onto the garden. I finished pulling the carrots. That left the main garden empty apart from a single row of late broad beans that have just managed to poke their heads out of the soil here and there. If this lot doesn't work I might just have to give them a miss, in spite of how much I like them and their content of L-dopa. With the garden more or less empty I decided that this particular patch needed some invigorating with compost. Hmmmm - bit of a disaster. Those huge compost heaps from last year had contacted and shrunk to nothing resembling compost. Whatever! I forked it out, raked it across the ground and dug it in. It's all humus anyway. I think I really need to piss on the compost heaps more. Anyway, I had another good bash of digging in the midst of which the next door lady from No. 68 came to the fence, looked, shook her head and went away again. Dunno. Maybe I'm doing it wrong.

As the cool of the end of the afternoon set in I wheeled my barrow with its contents of carrots back to the yard:
Carrots - all shapes, all sizes. Carrots

I parked them in the potting shed overnight to be dealt with tomorrow. Looking at the haul, I had serious doubts whether they would all go in the tray I had set aside for them.

16th November 2009

The new routine is now well in place. I do the leg in the evening and dress it. Then Internet, blog (if I feel like it) and bed. In the morning I fit my surgical appliances - one to the knee and one to the lower leg (the compression bandage) and then I go about my routine. Life in the village does tend to be routine, as I suppose that it is in many places. At least it isn't absolutely ruled by the clock here. Half an hour or an hour here or there is insignificant, and if it doesn't get done today well maybe it will get done tomorrow or maybe the day after that. It reminds me of an old (long departed) work colleague's description of life in the deep south west of Ireland.

I started in on a bit of the new outhouse doors stuff. I found myself sawing a piece of what was obviously (botanically) softwood. It was as bad as sawing oak. I am not really au-fait but it had to be larch, which (correct me if I am wrong) is the hardest of the softwoods, except maybe yew. Did you know that balsa wood is botanically a hardwood? Then it was lunch.

After lunch it was back to the garden and the digging. By the way, such activity is at its peak here in the village right now. I am certainly not alone in getting the winter digging done. During a smoke break I noticed the old lady next door patiently using a broad mattock to scoop up soil from molehills into a bucket and then walk back with the bucket towards her yard. Curiosity aroused, I lingered for a few moments. I watched, and in a moment or two the penny dropped. Yesterday she had had various firewood moved out and back into her outdoor store of large wood. As I watched her it became clear that she was using the mole hill soil to fill in the tracks on her grass that the vehicle had left. Distant echoes of a returning future?

Must take more pictures!

I made sure to leave enough time at the end of the afternoon to deal with the carrots. I'm in a bit of a cleft stick regarding the carrots. Some sources say store them in dry sand. I had a small supply of that for the purpose anyway. And other sources say store them in damp sand. Well, as it turned out I was correct about the amount of carrots and the amount of storage. I managed to get half of them into my tray in the cellar and covered in dry sand. Oh well, the rest would have to take their chance and get put in a tray with damp sand and not in the cellar. Obviously I will let you know in the fullness of time which was the better choice.

Wash, change, eat, pub, home, leg, bed!

17th November 2009

I had just finished breakfast when helper appeared. Without further ado he set about what I had hoped to achieve myself - the fitting of the old house doors to the outhouse. Armed with spirit level borrowed for the purpose he soon had the first upright wedged in place. Well, all it needed was a few millimetres off the bottom. I had done the rest. He chopped out the other mortice, which I had already marked out and pre-drilled, and in short order the other upright was wedged into place. He dropped the doors on their hinges, in one case on only two out of three as the bottom hinge on the post needs fitting to the made good new bits of upright. A little work with plane and shoulder plane saw them go nicely into the hole. Widthwise they were fine. I had made sure that my marking out of where the new mortices were to be chopped was millimetre accurate to the width of the frame that the uprights came from. In between I sat indoors and got on with the knitting project. Time is pressing on that one as it is for a Christmas present.

Helper wanted some wood for a new sill. I cast around and eventually we found, between us, what he said was a suitable piece. It looked to me like a lot of work with saw and plane, but helper took charge, did the measurements and disappeared with the piece of wood. He returned shortly, sans wood. Fa szakember was not at home apparently. Helper had left the measurements, and that was as much as he could get done, so off he went.

I shot off to Násasd in the realisation that I was going to run out of dressings a couple of days before my next appointment. I took an empty package with me and called in the Gyógyszertár. He looked at the packet. Nope, none of those. I asked if he had anything similar. Nope, nothing similar. How strange, a dispensary without sterile dressings. I ordered up a couple of packs and he told me they would be there the next day. I knew that helper No. 2 would be at my place the next day so I told him that it would be the day after when I picked them up. This is the guy that had quite good English. I think he is always pleased to see me - gives him a chance for a little practise. After that I called in Bödő and got half a kilogramme of nails. Wow - big shop! I had time, so I popped in the little pub over the road for one. Only the second of the day would you believe.

I caught the bus back into the village with time to spare. At the stop was a couple of official looking people, one man and one woman. My bus came and they allowed me to get on first. It turned out that they were ticket inspectors. The first time I had seen any on all my trips by bus. They were - errrr - efficient. The lady counted heads and did some random paperwork and the bloke checked the tickets. He even checked mine, which he had seen me request from the driver and pay for. You may remember me mentioning a particular young lady on 5th October. Well, she got a right bollocking. Being a schoolgirl she had a bus pass. All the other schoolchildren had them neatly tucked away in purses, billfolds, etc. She had to rummage around in the offending back pack for ages. When she did find it, it looked like it had been used for some form of personal hygene connected with the nether regions and then put through the washing machine a couple of times! The inspector blokey was not best pleased with her. Well, it was to say the least barely legible. I wondered how they would get back to Körmend, as they rode all the way to Halogy. The bus company had a car waiting for them at one of the bus stops. I went straight home, did the firewood, lit the big stove, ate and you can guess what happened after that!

18th November 2009

I was just having my coffee and my second slice of toast - the one with the jam on it (it's pear and cinnamon at the moment) - when Pickly dog went ballistic. Oh well, I was deeply engrossed in my coffee, toast with pear and cinnamon jam and my daily trawl for doom and gloom. She would just have to go ballistic. After a moment or two the ballistic subsided to a ferocious barking and then to the sort of barking that means "I'm a Hungarian barking dog and I like to bark". After a few minutes the barking was raised again to the ballistic stage, and I heard a familiar voice say "Pickly dog Nem! Shat ap!". It was helper reappeared and was mimicking me saying "Shut up!". Do I really talk that posh? He said something about fa szakember and fa, and about the same time we noticed the lump of wood parked just inside the gate. That explained Pickle's No. 1 ballistics, then.

The lump of wood was sawn down, planed off and with slots either side for the uprights. Not quite how I would have done it, but - whatever!! Between us we fitted, wedged, bashed in the missing hinge, and - hey presto - one of my objectives for the month was fulfilled. New doors on the outhouse. They didn't shut though. Needed about three centimetres sawing off the bottoms. They didn't shut after that, either, as they need new bolts on the door without the catch and new pieces top and bottom for the door to butt up to and for the bolts to go into.

Helper disappeared, I had lunch and afterwards went and did some more digging. It was not good going. That very last bit of what was ploughed last year. It hadn't been dug since then. I stuck at it as long as I could, then knocked it on the head. As I wandered back to the yard a couple of huge combined harvesters trundled along the road. They must still be harvesting something. You know, if you look at the exports for Hungary foodstuffs are very low on the list. No! We keep it for ourselves :p

We are getting deeper into November and as I look back on last year I was using huge amounts of wood in the tile stove to stay warm. Not so this year. If the sun shines, the earth walls retain the heat. This year there is no polystyrene between me and the walls, and the difference is remarkable.

19th November 2009

I felt slightly unwell. I think it is one of those wretched head colds that just gives you a runny nose but makes your head feel like a bucket. I didn't get overly much done as a consequence. In the afternoon I returned to the Gyógyszertár in Násasd and picked up the dressings which were safely put to one side for me. The chemist as usual tried out his bit of English on me, but today it was limited to "Thank you. Good afternoon". I popped in to Bödő too, and bought a pair of very expensive bolts for the new/old outhouse doors. Two hundred and fifty forints each!!

I did manage to get a bit of digging done just for an hour before the light faded. The old lady at No. 72 was out in her garden doing the same. She had certainly only started it today and I looked with astonishment how much she had got done in the course of the day. About the size of a tennis court. Of course, her plot is well cultivated and weed free. I hope mine will be too before too long. The only bit on the entire plot that was properly dug and weeded was the camping lawn. The rest just got dug over and stuff planted and I did my best with the hoe to keep the weeds back, somewhat unsuccessfully at times. At least the bits that have had stuff grown on them for two years now is diggable, and I am at the stage of pulling out and hurtling onto the uncultivated bits any of the nasty, creeping, perennial weeds that pervade the entire plot.

Still feeling unwell, I even revoked on going to the pub and was in bed before ten, but not before a quick trawl. Late in the day Tom Whipple. Never too late for a bit of doom and gloom!

20th November 2009

Another really nice day, so once again lots of work in the garden. Did I mention my targets for November? Can't remember. Anyway, to reiterate for my own benefit my aims were to have the outhouse doors fitted. That is done - thanks helper, apart from making good the gaps around the door frames. There is a two inch gap down either side and about a one and a half inch gap round the back. They are just going to get bunged up with whatever I have to hand - lime mortar, cement, the stuff they used on the big room walls, whatever. The other aim was the winter digging campaign. It being a lovely day, that's what I did for two solid stints.

I neglected to say that I also bought in Bödő a Hungarian style spade and handle. I gave it a bit of a road test. It is a Spade shaped spade. That is to say as in the Ace of Spades, but obviously with the pointy bit on the bottom, not at the top. I was now into territory undug but ploughed last year. The ploughing actually did me no favours. A lot of the topsoil got dragged either to one side or clung to the plough to be deposited at the top of the bit that was ploughed. It also just broke up and buried the perennial weeds only to have them come back with renewed vigour. It was tough going, but I have to say that the pointy Hungarian spade made easier work of it than the English style one.

Helper No. 2 turned up and I set him on the digging where I had got to. I had strimmered it absolutely down to the soil, put a line across where I wanted to get to and dug a single spit down each side to the corners. He went at it like a good 'un. So now I not only had the outhouse doors in place but also had all the existing garden dug and more besides. If the weather holds I will also maybe get a whole load more land opened up.

I think about what have already this year. It's not enough. I would not starve if all supplies to the village suddenly stopped, but it would be a very boring diet. Not enough peas, not enough beans, brassicas a disaster. Certainly nowhere near enough tomatoes, in spite of the hours spent cooking and jarring the ones that I did have, plus some bought in. Potatoes and onions, OK I think. Walnuts - plenty. Apples and chestnuts still to deal with.

Once the light faded we headed for the pub, where as usual I bought helper No. 2 a beer and paid him a thousand forints for his couple of hours work. To put it in context that is - at today's rate - one pound sixty five an hour. And that is the going rate.

As it happened, later that evening in the pub there was quite a lively discussion amongst the locals about pay. I believe the saying is "If we are in Europe then why do we get paid like a third world country?" The discussion was along those lines. Nevertheless, it occurs to me that I do not see any great eflux of people from the village. As far as I know nobody in the village goes hungry, and certainly as far as the older (forty plus) generation is concerned they may moan but they get by with what they grow, what they trade that they have grown and the odd luxury that they buy from the shop. Like bread!

The house was quite cool when I got home. I hastened to get a good fire going in the tile stove, fed myself with luxuries and settled down to a trawl of doom and gloom. At some point I decided that the bicycle should go way and, for whatever reason, decided to put it in the potting shed rather than the outhouse. The bulb in the yard light is blown again so I used the wind-up torch to guide me. As I parked the bike and turned to return to the house a glint of liquid where I did not expect to see liquid caught my eye. The small manhole wherein the two pipes that deal with all the effluent from the house meet - the one pipe carrying the effluent (and I do mean all the effluent) from the house and the other pipe running to the septic tank - was almost full to the top with liquid. Oh-oh!! Problema!

21st November 2009

It was cold and damp all day. For the first time this year I felt cold. The tile stove was lit early and the kitchen stove went on for a good while as I cooked myself a risotto. I stoked the tile stove up before I went to the pub and then went to the pub.

Both my helpers... No, bugger this - everybody in the village who is likely to be following this blog knows exactly who they are and anybody else is unlikely to identify them - so it's time I named names! Helper No. 1, who is also my chief drinking buddy is István - same as me. Only he prefers to be known as Hobo, as in hobo. Helper No. 2 is Joszef (sp??). And seeing as how there are about thirty five Istváns in the village and sixty seven Joszefs that doesn't give you a lot to go on. Where was I? Both Hobo and Joszi were in the pub and I related my drain problem to them. They had a discussion and decided that Joszi would be round tomorrow at seven in the morning to have a look. Yeah, right.

The house was lovely and warm when I got home!

22nd November 2009

I was in the land of Zzzzzzs when I was abruptly awoken just after seven by Pickle going ballistic. Oh, bollox! Joszi was here to have a look at the drain problem. I had all my surgical appliances to fit before I could face the world and began to don them as fast as I could go, in the meantime shouting as loud as I could "Ten minutes - give me ten minutes!". It was no good. This Hungarian double glazing is just too good a sound insulator. Joszi never heard, and by the time I was equipped he was nowhere to be seen. Bugger!

Well, I was up - at twenty past seven on a Sunday morning. It was a thoroughly damp, cold and unpleasant day, so I set about breakfast and settled into a serious knitting session.

The local football team had a match starting at one. In a moment of weakness I had said that I would go on up and take some photos. After an early lunch I went to the pub at about half past twelve. Hobo and Joszi were in there. Well, for one reason and another we never got to the match. We had a bit of a session. After a couple of hours, having been sure to miss the match - I pleaded bad light - I headed on home. Only to be followed by the helpers about a quarter of an hour later come to sort out the drains.

They lifted the cover of the manhole to reveal a thoroughly unpleasant sight. I did say that all the effluent from the house goes through there. It had grown a skin. Hobo poked at it and it sort of chuckled at him and sealed itself up again. Not to be deterred, they set about with various scooping implements, rubber gloves, the wheelbarrow and a suitable hole in the garden that I had dug for another purpose entirely and drained the contents of the manhole. With a bit of investigation - somewhat below the level of Sherlock Holmes - they declared that it was blocked between the manhole and the septic tank. They had a go at unblocking it, but without suitable tools that was a no-no. We called a halt as the light faded, went back to the pub and finished off our session in some style. No doubt redolent of our recent escapade.

23rd November 2009

Hospital day, in some trepidation as you can imagine. Routine as before, a good wander round town and a little business before going to the hospital. As before I started with a coffee in the Halászcsarda. Then I decided to bite the bullet and close my account at the OTP Bank. I was not looking forward to it, but I need not have worried. The girl had a little English, there were no questions asked, I did a little paperwork of which I got a copy and they kept the other. She cut up the magnetic strips of both my cards, paid me the balance of the account in cash and that was that. Another coffee and a wander round the market where I bought a pair of trainers and then onto the hospital.

After the usual wait I was seen. The börgyógyás was delighted with my progress. She assured me that I would not have to be admitted to hospital. I left with my usual fistful of prescriptions, more dressings, more tablets, more ointment. I now don't have to return until 17th December which is good. I did my usual raid on the little pub by the market and the Spar supermarket, then wandered back into town where I made another couple of calls. I had enough time before the bus to pop in to the cellar pub. No surprise there then! I bumped into Hobo's mum and younger brother in there with a couple more of their friends from the village. We all ended up getting the half past two bus back to Halogy. It was, as usual, packed. Standing room only all the way to Nádasd.

Back in the village I called in the pub. No surprise there either :) Joszi was in there. Oh Dear! That developed into a mini-session. I did get away eventually and got back home, lit the stoves, and ate. Then back to the pub for the last of the evening.

24th November 2009

With enough bread to see me through the day, and suffering the effects of an early start yesterday and a rude awakening early on Sunday I made the deliberate choice to switch off the alarm and have a bit of a lie-in. Well - nine o'clock, anyway. I did eventually get to the shop for a few bits and pieces to discover that the shop lady's stand in was on duty. She had said a few days ago that she wouldn't be in the shop but at the time I could not be clear if she was leaving the shop for good, or what. Hobo enlightened me. They have a relief management system and the normal lady would be on holiday for however long. It seems that they take their holiday all in one great lump - probably about a month worth. Anyway the relief chap turned out to be a bloke who I took to be about my age. Very pleasant and affable.

After breakfast some domestics and a bit of knitting, then as the day improved out into the garden to dig. With the original plot all now dug over I turned my attention to the bit on the other side where the strawberry bed is (was!!) and where I grew the flax. By the way, the flax is still stacked by one of the outhouses - simply have not had the time yet to deal with it, amongst other things. That little plot had turned into a disaster. It was never properly weeded and the couch grass and other deep rooted stuff was running riot on it again. I set to and started digging and weeding. Every little bit came out. But it's slow - oh so slow. The digging is not hard. The soil there is like digging butter. Getting the weeds out was what took the time. As usual I had a chat to the neighbour lady at No. 68. As usual something came over the fence. This time it was a little savoy cabbage and a handful of peas (seed) coated with some purple stuff. They were apparently for sowing now (November) and in February. She just raked over a patch of garden, broadcast them and raked them in. I still prefer mine in rows. A job for tomorrow though.

I was expecting Joszi but for the first time ever he let me down and didn't show. It turned out later that he had stayed on at (one of) his other places of work and done extra. He promised to come tomorrow.

Arrangements had been made that both me and John would meet Hobo in the pub about six and then go and buy some pálinka. Körte pálinka - the best sort - made in the village. We all met up and took the short walk to where we were to get the pálinka. In true Hungarian fashion it was a "try before you buy" job, so we all had a goodly shot of pálinka, and then a shot of another sort which we were not buying. That was just to be social. Ah well, there was the beginnings of tomorrows hangover sorted out, then.

Back to the pub with pálinka safely stowed, and back to the business of this evening's session. Of course, we stayed until kicking out time. You know, I don't think I have ever mentioned the accounting system in the pub. There isn't one. He has a drawer and a till. Ninety nine percent of the time the only botton that gets pressed on the till is the No Sale button for him to retrieve notes to change a high denomination note. The rest of the time the cash goes in the drawer, in no semblance of order and when he needs change he just has a general rummage around in the drawer until he has the right combination of notes and coins to hand back.

25th November 2009

Another really very pleasant day, so I managed to get two stints done on the digging and weeding. Still very slow progress. Joszi, true to his word, appeared whilst I was part way through the afternoon session. I set him on first to dig me out some raspberry canes. I expected it to take him a while but he was back within minutes with about half a dozen in the barrow. After that I set him on to dig out a biggish tree root that was where I wanted to extend the garden into. I went and grabbed a goodly handful of cuttings off the vines. I cut enough for some for John and a few for me. The instructions I found on the web for propagating vines were simplicity itself. Take the cuttings and keep three buds on them. Stick them in the ground with two buds below soil level and one bud showing. That's it. I trundled on round to John's with the cuttings and the raspberry canes and he stashed them away for attention tomorrow. The light was starting to fade by this time anyway. I returned to the house and from the yard I could hear the thumps as Joszi worked on the treestump with spade, heavy kapa and axe. He still had not got it out when the light went. I had taken the opportunity to stock up the log baskets before the light went. After that, as usual round to the pub where I bought Joszi a drink and paid him. As usual he bought me a beer back with what I had paid him.

26th November 2009

I was awoken abruptly by a thunderous explosion of sound at about two in the morning! It was the dog - barking at her most ferocious only inches from my ear. In the interludes when she stopped barking to have a listen herself I could just about make out voices out on the street. Not raised voices but a couple of people talking. I thought about investigating but didn't. I still have no idea who it could have been, wandering abroad at that hour. At least Pickle did her job. They obviously moved off, whoever they were and Pickle eventually settled down again. It took me a while to get back to sleep. I had been absolutely fast on, in the deepest of slumbers.

When day broke I dragged myself up, ill refreshed. Still, it turned out to be another very pleasant day. Yet another good gardening day, and every one at this time of year is a bonus. I sowed a half a row of the peas that the neighbour had given me. I'll do the other half in February. I also stuck in my vine cuttings. A case of stick them in, and if I manage to get a few more vines that will be a bonus. I did another stint of digging. Again, slow going though not particularly hard work.

During a break from the gardening I had a go at the knitting. Another disaster. Pull it down and start it again. The only saving blessing was that I was only about three rows into the pattern. Still had to redo twelve rows of ribbing though. Pain! Let's see - twelve times thirty one is three hundred and seventy two, plus three times thirty two is just the four hundred and sixty eight stitches, then.

Still without sanitation in the house (since the twenty second!) and with not a lot happening I decided on a little self help. There was always a little drip-drip of water from the outfall into the septic tank, so it was not absolutely and completely blocked up solid. With my various hoses and bits and pieces I rigged up as best I could a jet wash to feed into the pipe from both ends and see if I could get it unbunged. I had a go from the house end, until I had filled the manhole to capacity with water. Then I went to the septic tank end. Disaster struck when Pickle - on her chain - caught sight of a cat in the garden. She hurtled up the yard taking the housepipe with her and - bang - another plastic tap connector disintegrated. I tried to rig it up with the old metal one, but minus a jubilee clip simply could not get enough pressure on to do any useful work before the hose forced itself off the connector again. I gave it up as a bad job for the day and put the lids back.

A ride up the village for eggs, a play with their puppies and a welcome glass of their rather good wine. A beer in the pub, then back to the house to do the firewood baskets, eat, change and return to the pub changed but still unshowered and starting to feel decidedly grubby. Never mind - I'm certainly not the only unwashed one that goes in there!

27th November 2009

Pouring down when I got up. Bad enough that I had to use the brolly to go to the shop. I did a bit of woodwork, a bit of knitting, a bit of housework and that was about the extent of my day. By lunchtime it had changed into a really beautiful afternoon but it was way too wet to even contemplate going on the garden. Managed to get a little bit of washing on the line, though.

28th November 2009

I had a bit of a sweep through, but in deference to the fact that the drains are still blocked I revoked on mopping. After that I had a go at making good the gap around the the new door frame (new??) on the outhouse. Using some of my ever more evaporating seven tonne pile of sand and some cement that was well past its use by date I made up a big mixing. It proved to be horrible, horrible work. I had chosen to do the left hand door frame first. The gap was not big enough to get my little pointing trowel in to any sense, and I found that I was working wrong handed. I dolloped cement in for ages and seemed to be getting nowhere. I was getting nowhere, for behind the door, as fast as I was dolloping in cement it was falling on the floor inside the outhouse. There was quite a pile. I scooped it all out again and jury-rigged a bit of shuttering on the inside. It was better after that, but not that much better as I was still working wrong handed. I might have been better working correct handed from inside the outhouse, but I don't think so as the gap there was even smaller. I persevered, and got about half way through the mixing before taking a break.

Ah well, the Hungarian cement is not like Portland cement. It would be fine for half an hour or so and then I could knock it up again and carry on. By the way, for the benefit of American readers, knocking up cement does not mean making it pregnant. In English (why do the Americans call their language English? They haven't spoken English for about two hundred years - it really winds me up when I see on computer software installation "American English". No it's not! It's bloody AMERICAN!) - where was I? - ah yes, in English knocking up cement means to add a little more water to it and turn it over a few times with a spade, or trowel, until it resumes a workable consistency. So I did. I ran out of mix somewhere between the top and middle door hinges, and by then I really had had enough. I trowelled it off inside and out, washed the tools and the mixing board down, and apart from going to the pub I really don't have a clue what I did after that.

29th November 2009

It was not an especially good day, and with pressure mounting on the knitting project I concentrated on that. I was only part way up the right front and I still had the sleeves, other bits and the embroidery to do. And I still wanted to get it in the post in time for Christmas. There was some minor woof-woofing from outside and Hobo appeared in the doorway. Fine guard dog she is, but then again she has known Hobo longer than she has known me.

He presented me with a jar of pickled horseradish, which is basically a weed here, and a bloody great carrier bag of sausage stuff. Now, I vaguely recalled saying yes to the sausage stuff, but I really don't recall saying that I wanted two point two kilogrammes of it! It came from the same source as the pálinka. Lajos! (Pronounced Loy - as in Lloyds Bank - awe ( but short) as in Awe - sh as in shut up, keep quiet - Loy-awe-sh, but all short syllables). Thought you might like to know that. By the way, he is the fa szakember to whom I have referred many times. A man with many strings to his bow.

Well, it was Sunday lunchtime, my mate Hobo was there, and what better excuse did I need to go for a Sunday lunchtime pint. Well, half litre anyway. I had a couple and went home. I decided on one of the sausage things. I had seven of them, and I would guess that one would equate to four British good sized bangers. On went the kitchen stove, well stoked up. Spuds peeled and chopped up medium small, all brushed with olive oil and into the oven it went. I had some beans soaked so they went on the top of the stove as well. They said forty five minutes. It took about an hour, with occasional turning of the baking tray to ensure that all the spuds were just sufficiently browned. Delicious. Excellent.

I wandered on back to the pub about half past six and met up with Hobo again. The telly went off just after seven and he and I were the last outof there by about half past. I found out later that John had wandered up there at about a quarter to eight to find it locked, barred and bolted and in darkness. Ah, life in a Hungarian village!

30th November 2009

In the cold light of day and with the remnants of Sunday's hangover, after breakfast and the usual stuff I did a bit of knitting. I have to say that it was probably the most difficult four or five rows (that is about what I achieved in an hour, over thirty two stitches) that I have ever done. Pictures will follow, but once again not until the recipient has it in their possession. You'll understand why when I publish.

After that the wellies went on and two more good sessions of digging followed. As before, I am clearing all the nasty deep, or shallow, roots of the stuff that will just come back and take over again if I leave them. In what? Three sessions I have managed about a metre and a half. Ah well, hopefully I can get a few more sessions in before the weather finally closes in for the winter.

I am slowing down. I am definitely slowing down into the cruising, resting mode of the village for the winter. The only other thing that I really want get done is to seal up the summer kitchen doors and find and install a little stove in there so that I can use the workbench for a few hours in some degree of comfort.

And that's November. Must take more photos!


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