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December 2010

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1st December 2010

On account of now being so far behind I will try and keep the entries a bit on the short side where I can. At least I am now into December!

We had more snow overnight. Not as much as last time but enough that I had to sweep my way to the road again. Then, as before, shop and feed the goats. At least today the only one bleating was Betty, but that is situation normal. I reckoned I had got the evening feed about right. After breakfast I set about an emergency woodworking project - a snow scraper. It turned out a bit substantial, being made of twenty five millimetre oak, but it worked with a bit of effort and was a lot easier than using a sweeping brush which is what I had been doing until now. With this amount of snow and cold weather this early in the year I dread to think what the rest of the winter holds.

I was enjoying a second coffee in the warm kitchen (it was warm too - it soon gets up to twenty once the stove is lit) when the dogs went ballistic. It happened that they were in the house and when I went to investigate they escaped and I found Tibi fending them off with his wheelbarrow as he advanced up the yard. Bless him, he had brought round a barrow load of pumpkin pieces and whole ones for the goats. He tipped it in the garage where I was already storing some stuff for them. And the dogs promptly stole half a pumpkin! I thanked him profusely and he fended the dogs off with the barrow again as he made his way back to the gate.

I made pizza for lunch and ate half of it, and apart from getting to the pub in the evening I really have no idea about the rest of the day it was so exciting.

2nd December 2010

There was no more snow overnight bvut it was forecast and I arose to dark grey, leaden skies. Shop, fed the goats, breakfast. Then, with stove hot and still going I decided on making some biscuits. Disaster! I followed the recipe exactly, piling the mixture onto oiled greaseproof paper in little separate heaps. Into the oven it went, and when I took them out they were an it. The mixture had spread into a solid single layer with absolutely no delineation as to where the original little heaps had been. Worse still it had stuck to the oiled greaseproof like you-know-what to a blanket. Write-off - dog food!

I had the rest of the pizza for lunch. I confess it went in the microwave.

After lunch I had a concerted effort at clearing up the goat house. I rescued the wheelbarrow from the snow and in the freezing cold refitted the extension. Into the loft above the potting shed and forked down a load of the old hay. That went into the barrow. The barrow was wheeled round to outside the goat house and parked. I took in the first installment of their evening rations and cunningly managed to trap all three behind one of the sty doors, which will conveniently block the passageway. They sometimes trap themselves in there. Rudy is the culprit in that one. He manages to slide the bolt over with his horns and then pushes the door until it will go no further. At which point, of course, he has no way of opening it again. Anyway, I cleared up all the old maize stalks then spread a new layer of bedding all through, put the rest of their food in and released them. That was them sorted for the night.

Hobo turned up and filled up all the firewood baskets. We walked to the pub for a beer. It started snowing. We had another beer. It snowed more heavily. I decided that discretion was the better part of valour and went home, telling Hobo that I would not be back.

I had an unpleasant surprise when I got home. I booted up the ADSL modem, then the computer. Whilst it was booting I lit the tile stove. When I turned back to the computer I found a black screen with white writing that said grub >. I rebooted it, with the same result. Oh well, dig out the CDs and repair Linux. It would not boot from a bootable CD. I tried the Windows CD and it would not boot from that either. All it came up with was grub >. I tried all the options there that I thought might fix it. Nothing helped. The realisation dawned that it was an ex-laptop. Dead, deceased, turned up its toes...

Thoroughly miffed (to put it mildly) I redonned the outdoor gear and walked back to the pub. It was still snowing. Hobo was absent. I had a couple and when I left it had stopped snowing. It was quite bright with the street lighting reflecting off the whiteness of the newly fallen snow. All the way along there were people out clearing snow. I can honestly say that I had never seen so many people out and about at that time of evening all the time I have lived here. My way home was punctuated with reciprocated calls of "Jó északát"s and "Szervus"s.

Of course, once home I tried the laptop again. Same! I read for a while and went to bed.

3rd December 2010

We had yet more snow overnight. I reckon the total fall so far has been a couple of feet. It has compressed, of course, but we still have just over a foot of snow now. I wound my way around the well-trodden path to the goathouse and fed them. I worry considerably about the goats even as I write but they seem to be thriving. It is as if they know what is coming and their bodies are programmed to turn more of what they eat into fat. Rudy managed to put me on my knees. It was not agressive, it was just part of the feeding frenzy when I first distribute the food. He was just doing what buck goats do - being a Male Chauvinist Pig and dashing hither and thither to get the best bits. I happened to be in the way, so I got butted at the back of the knees and down I went. He just went on past me. Aggressive is when he charges directly from the front and tries to hook with his horns. He has managed to put some fine (as in impressive) grazes up the front of my shins. He tends to be rather predictable. He will rear up on his hind feet and charge as soon as his front feet touch the floor, head down. I now have two counters to that. Either catch him by the horns and wrestle him to the ground and pin him until he bleats, or whack him smartly about the snout with a convenient maize stalk as he starts his charge. The first is definitely physical, as he will inevitably come back for more. Maybe four, five or six times before he admits defeat. Quite exhausting, even though I can always best him. Grab the horns, back him into a corner and throw him on his back. The second seems to be more effective. Once I get one good smack on the snout in he will rear up to charge again, but as soon as he sees me start to wield the maze stalk he will back off. Sounds cruel doesn't it? Well, maybe, but it is the law of wild (semi-wild) animals. He has to know that I am always the herd leader. If I let him best me he will make my life a misery.

After breakfast I lit the stove in the workshop by ther simple expedient of digging out a little shovelful of fire from the kitchen stove, carrying it across the yard, hurtling it into the workshop stove and stuffing a load of easily combustible stuff on top. I left it for a while to warm up. It didn't that much. There was a reason for that. The doors would not close. There was a reason for that also. Both the cheap and nasty bolts at top and bottom of the (what I might call) inner door were, basically, buggered. I put my hand up to the top one. The bottom one was downh to Hobo, as I found it like it on my return from Budapest. Whatever. I resolved to make new ones out of walnut.

I did that on and off. The off being when I had to retire to the house for a warm. I got about halfway through when it was time to feed the goats again and have lunch.

I did a bit more and it was soon time to give the goats their night time feed. You know, I have not the slightest idea what their domestic arrangements are. I have no chance of finding out either without going and living with them, which is an option. The dogs would have to behave of course. No, as predated animals goats sleep very lightly. The only way that I would be able to find out what goes on at night would be to install some low level light stuff and rig up some remote webcams. I guess I'll have to keep guessing.

I wandered over to the fáluház and bullied my way onto a computer, simply to put up my emergency notice about being számítógép nélküll. Thanks to those who sent SMS messages in response and those that offered other assistance - you know who you are, and all was much appreciated. I had a bit of a double take in the fáluház. I edited my file then FTPd it back to the blog. As you do, I wanted to check it so I opened up the blog in Firefox. To my astonishment, on the computer in the fáluház, the whole blog was in Hungarian. Ah! Well. No wonder so many people in the village know about it. I had to take it on trust that what I had just published in English would, in fact, be visible in English to my English speaking readers. I popped over the road fromthe fáluház and appraised John that I was now without computer. I wandered to the pub after that. I had one and went home. I was home by seven. It was still snowing and the weather forecast was for minus ten overnight.

4th December 2010

It was a clear day with no more snow. I cleared the lot from last night and went to the shop. Then the goats. There was the normal feeding frenzy when I went in with the first basket of goodies. Maize cobs and walnut leaves. As usual I had to scatter them about otherwise Rudy would get the lot. I'm still miffed about the walnut leaves. They will just about last into January. If I could have got the lot in dry they would certainly have lasted until March. Instead they lie in a damp decomposing heap on the camping lawn.

Domestics followed. It was towards lunchtime by the time I got that out of the way. I thought about lighting the stove in the workshop but discarded the idea in view of what was to follow.

At noon it was two hundred and seventy three degrees Kelvin. I fed the birds again. You know, last year when I made the bird table and started feeding them it took into January until I had a regular following of feathered friends. I have not fed them right throughout spring, summer and autumn but started again a few days ago when the weather closed in. The nuthatches were there within a couple of minutes of me putting the first lot out. The tits took a little longer - a couple of days. At the time of writing I have not seen any of the rarer species yet.

The reason for not lighting the workshop stove was that I was out on a photo shoot in the afternoon. The event was a "do" for the retired people of the village. I enquired as to whether this was an annual event, and it was. In view of what followed I was a bit surprised that I did not know of it. Had I known of its existence I could maybe have demanded to attend as a "retired person" as of right.

It started at three in the afternoon. The mayor said a few words. The event then started with a dozen or so young people of the village giving what I can only guess was some sort of tribute. They spoke, in twos, threes, fours or all of them. It must have taken a lot of rehearsing. It was well received by the old people of the village. Ooops, sorry, you can't call us old people. We are "retired persons".

After that a turn came on stage. A trio, singing and playing instruments which I have signally failed to identify. Multi-stringed, in groups of four I think, and fretted. They were laid flat on the table, fingered with the left hand and played with a plectrum.

They played for a while and then a feast was laid on for the old people. In case I forget to mention my next door neighbour from No. 72 was there, and I swear she had a smile on her face from the moment I clapped eyes on her until she left, which was very late for her - about nine in the evening.

I took a load of photos and then took a leave of absence. I had to go home and feed the goats! On my return I was ordered to sit at table and a gert plate of pörkölt appeared in front of me.

As the evening wore on it became obvious that it was degenerating - no, wrong word - metamorphosing into a village free-for-all. I left, replete with food and alcohol at around eleven. I returned to a cold house and two starving hungry dogs. It took a while to get tile stove going, feed the dogs and attend to tile stove sufficient that it would still be warm in the morning. Hobo had appeared at the fáluház at some stage during the evening. He told me later he was there until the early hours.

Snow pictures:
The old pear tree. Snow
Snow Looking up the garden. Goat shed in view far right.
The sun shining through the big walnut tree. Snow
Snow Wood pile in the yard. All this is from the stuff that has had to be chopped down this year. For the technically interested, snow is notoriously difficult to photograph. I used Program mode with centre spot metering for exposure.
The ruins of the kennel. Which remains the only mini-project that I have actually abandoned. Destined for firewood. I just liked the surreal shapes and curves. Snow

5th December 2010

It was another clear day but very, very cold. Every time that it gets colder my first thoughts in the morning are as to how the goats had fared. Thus it was this morning. I unlocked and let the dogs out. I glanced towards the goat house. Pickle has chewed a face sized hole in the door from the goat house into the yard. I will have to do something about it before it becomes a head sized hole. There was a face there this morning. Suzy, contentedly chewing on something. Pickle saw it too, and set out to stalk her. She advanced towards the door, half a step at a time, pausing and pointing between steps. Once within about four feet she launched. The intended victim watched the whole proceeding and at the moment of launch withdrew a whole four inches. Pickle crashed into the door, then yapped and whined at her inability to reach her prey. Suzy munched unconcernedly. The fracas set off Betty - "Meah, meah" - Oh well, two out of three was OK, and I had no concern for Rudy.

I lit the stove to get some warmth in the kitchen and then went and fed the goats. On my return to the yard I was greeted with the sight of the ash bucket, which had still contained the results of my chimney cleaning, upended and scattered about the yard by the dogs' cavorting. Blast, another unwanted job. I should have disposed of it. I scooped up as much as I could and did dispose of it. Dry soot on frozen snow, with a little breeze makes very interesting patterns. I should have got the camera but I was cold and somewhat miffed with the dogs, so I didn't. I finally made it back inside to find the kitchen fire on its last legs. I made it up again and had breakfast.

I fell into a mood of contemplating my navel and I got nothing done. Churchill's Black Dog again. Something to do with the incessant cold and plodding through snow which showed no sign of shifting. The one shaft of light is the animals. I think I already said about how I worry about the goats but they still seem to be thriving. Rudy continues to be a pain from time to time but I can still best him. The dogs are both a delight and a pain, at alternating intervals.

The only break in my reverie came when I poked my head out the door in response to the dogs going particularly ballistic. The village mayor was there. He handed over the gate a black bin liner which took him two hands to hoist, and me two hands to retrieve. Dog food - leftovers from yesterday's feast. Well, the dogs wouldn't be hungry for a day or two.

I went to feed the goats. I had noticed a fairly substantial lump of conifer just a few metres from the goat house. It had obviously come off the huge conifer in the old lady's garden. I knew not whether it had fallen off in the snow or whether it had been thrown over the fence. I took the secateurs with me and snipped a load of greenery off it. When I took it in the goat house they fell upon it.

In an effort to keep it short the rest of the day was one in the pub, Hobo said he would do the firewood but it was dark when he arrived and I had already done it - and fed the goats again, and pub in the evening. I nearly went A-over-T on the way out. At closing time the mats on the steps had been put in a pile by the bottom step. Each one with a layer of freezing snow and ice between. Mmmm - bit of impromptu snow boarding! Speaking of which, there was an article on telly about how disabled people (i.e. in wheelchairs) fare in Hungary. From my own observations I would say very badly. They are years behind the UK in that respect. I must say that the remodeling of the square in Körmend has been a big step forward. All the shops along the south side used to be up either three or four steps. Now they are all on the level. The changing of the levels on the square has been done very subtly. It took me a while of observation to work out how it had been done.

6th December 2010

Short and sharp. It was a fine morning and thawing. Shopped, did the goats and had breakfast.

I lit the stove in the outhouse once again by digging out some of the kitchen fire and carrying it across the yard. I finished off making the walnut door bolts apart from assembling them.

Did the goats again, then finished off the leftover pörkölt (mine - not the dogs) that came from the fáluház.

The bolts went inside, were waxed where they needed to be waxed, glued up and put on top of the tile stove to help the glue to set. I waxed the hallway curtain rail too. It needed it!

I went to the pub late afternoon. Hobo and John were there so again we did a late afternoon session instead of the evening. Back home I did the goats, went to the shop and settled in for the evening. I did manage to bottle up the last of the cider for the year. Six litres. Never mind - all free booze.

7th December 2010

It was a mild morning but the weather was undecided. After the usual start I fitted my home made door bolts on the outhouse. The weather improved and the thaw accelerated.

By lunchtime the snow had gone from the garden. I let the goats out for a while, untethered, to see how they would fare. They did not go far, being content to be released from confinement and being able to nibble a bit of greenery here and there. I used the time they were outdoors to clear a load of part eaten maize stalks from the goat house. They did not even touch the big stack of maize stalks around the walnut tree. Pretty fed up with maize stalks by now, I reckon.

Before I started on the next woodworking project I checked out the little stove as I had noticed that there were bits of firebrick lying all over inside. I figured out where most of them had come from and lodged them loosely back in position. Blast - I had little fire cement and no waterglass. It would have to take its chance.

Hobo had been talking about more maize stalks. We had agreed to go and chop them down today. It never happened.

I fed the goats, changed and wandered down to the fáluház with the camera. I downloaded the photos I had taken on Saturday straight to their computer, then, having no way to back them up at home I burnt them to CD. One for them and one for me. At least now there were three copies.

Back home I needed spuds, so into the cellar with the torch. I shone the torch down into the cellar preparatory to descending, only to see my trays of precious spuds semi-submerged in water, like the last moments of the Titanic. It was murky and cold water - just like the Titanic. Back into the house and changed back into wellies. Back into the outhouse and I descended gingerly into the depths. The water came to about two inches from the tops of the wellies. I could feel the pressure of it forcing the wellies against my legs. I retrieved some spuds and got the heck out of there.

I cooked, ate and went to the pub where I related to latest catastrophe to Hobo. He would have a look tomorrow, he said.

8th December 2010

Another short and sweet. Shop, goats, breakfast. I managed a bit more on the current woodworking project. All the lying snow in the village was gone. Only where it had been shovelled and shovelled did it remain.

I made a hanging thing for the birds from suet and oatmeal.

Hobo and helpers turned up with a hand cart of goat food. Some was wet. It got put in the yard. Some was dry. It went in the garage. The dogs promptly attacked the wet stuff outside. What is it about maize stalks. The dogs cannot possibly digest them but they are irresistable to be dragged around the yard.

Hobo and I set about emptying the flood from the cellar. He hauled it out of the cellar, bucket by bucket. I trudged to the front fence with the buckets and hurtled the water into the village drainage ditch. We did a rule-of-thumb calculation later and reckoned that at the least we had moved one and a half cubic metres of water. One and a half tonnes! And I had trudged every single kilogramme to the fence, hoisted it to shoulder height and hurled it.

The light was fading, so I fed the goats and Hobo got firewood in. We retired to the pub for a beer. Jozsi was there. The Jozsi of the rough digging and the pollarding of the walnut tree. He was in funds, I know not why. I bought one round - he bought three.

We called a halt. I went home and grabbed something to eat. Then I returned.

John was there when I got back. It turned into a bit of a session.

9th December 2010

It was raining when I got up, hard enough to need the brolly to go to the shop. I was not up early anyway and when I did get up I ached all over from yesterday's exertions with buckets of water.

I fed the goats, had breakfast and fed the birds. After that I went back to the woodwork. I stuck at that most of the day. From time to time I had a break and did a bit of knitting.

Towards the end of the afternoon Hobo turned up and insisted on finishing off draining the cellar. Fortunately there were only about twenty half full buckets left to come out. After that he got the firewood in and I fed the goats. Then we went to the pub for one. It was only one and then I went home, lit the stoves, cooked, ate and went back to the pub for another couple. Whilst I was in the pub the first time Erzsi, the fáluház lady, tracked me down. She had a big sheaf of photocopying in her hand and peeled something off the top for me. It turned out to be a knitting pattern. I was quite touched - she just took the trouble out of the goodness of her heart. I had a glance through it after she left. It was in Hungarian - no surprise there. The surprising thing was that I understood it! Universal language, apparently, knitting patterns. I had a bollocking from Lajos. I had been supposed to go round to his and hadn't. I told him about the cellar catastrophe.

The toxic pill thing is still making the news here. Someone that I am in touch with mentioned that it has fallen off the radar back in the UK. One of the latest developments is that the government has proposed that a land swap is put in place for those whose land is too heavily contaminated to be used for food crops. They will do a straight swap for nearby areas of government owned lands, and the suggestion is that the contaminated ground be used for fuel crops until it is rehabilitated. Mmmm, yeah, right. Firewood contaminated with heavy metals and arsenic! Glad I'm a good few kilometres away.

10th December 2010

I was up quite early. It was snowing quite heavily and there was already a goodly layer everywhere, including on the road. Blast! Would that affect my plans for the morning? I breakfasted first, then fed the goats. Hobo turned up, purely as an escuse of getting a lift to Nádasd. Eventually, a bit later than arranged, our lift turned up. I could understand why he was late. He did not just have goats to feed but pigs, a cow, ducks and chickens as well.

We dropped Hobo off in Nádasd where, I think, he just went to the pub and awaited our return. Whatever! We continued into Körmend to where a computer had been located for me. It got dumped in the back seat of the car and we returned to the village, picking up Hobo outside the pub on the way. Once home the computer got carted inside and that was that. It was not a day for outside work anyway.

With a suitable rearrangement of electrical chordage I managed to get it plugged in. I switched it on, and to my relief it started up. Yep, all the BIOS crap and then something like "No system found - insert system disk and restart". Oh well, system disks I had aplenty anyway, so I found a Windose one, stuck it in the CD drive and away we went. Ah! The tedium of a fresh install of Windose XP! In between I fed the goats and fed me. Eventually I had a working computer and a connection to the Internet. Time to do the Windose updates. Mmmm - 47 hours 15 minutes remaining. Time to go to the pub then!

I exaggerate - slightly. But I did have time to go to the pub. I just had the one and on my return the downloads were almost complete. I installed them, rebooted (again), went back to the Windose Update site and it found a load more. Updates on updates! In between I installed a free antivirus package that I had used in Windose for a long time. It broke Windose! I still had an Internet connection but no web sites would download. Oh, pain.

I eventually traced the problem down to the antivirus package. Fortunately it had an easy option to disable it for ten minutes, so I did, just to see what would happen. Internet was immediately fixed. I used the ten minutes to research what the problem was with the antivirus package. It was easily fixed.

Enough of computers for the day. I fed the goats, fed me and went to the pub.

11th December 2010

Not to bore you, apart from the goats I spent all day installing software. Or not, as the case may be. I had downloaded Linux latest vesion via a torrent. It refused to install. I even went back to my old, known good disks from a previous version too. They refused to install as well. A bit of research on the Internet indicated that the probable cause was faulty memory. I found some freebie memory checking software and left it checking the memory whilst I went to the pub in the evening. By the time I got home it had completed ten passes of the memory. No faults found. Oh well, back to the drawing board on that, then.

12th December 2010

More putting back together of computer system, with which I will not bore you.

A regular correspondent dropped a hint about my cellar flood, and on re-reading I realise that I never actually divulged the cause. It was simply that the ability of the ground to absorb all the water from the rapid thaw of the accumulated snow was completely overtaken. We suffered much less than other areas in Hungary, and for the nth time this year areas of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county once again suffered severe flooding, reported on the telly. Once again I thanked the fates that brought me here as opposed to taking me there when I was looking for property. It had been one of my prospective areas to investigate. Property there is very cheap. I know why now!

I terms of work on the estate, so to speak, I started on the job of clearing out old maize stalks from the goat house. There remained upon them much perfectly good goat food. This is caused by the particular growth habit of maize. Each leaf grows right around the stalk, and only branches away from the stalk when it has grown as far as the next leaf node. The goats are simply not equipped to get these stem surrounding leaves off, and they are perfectly good goat fodder. I set about stripping them off by hand. I soon had a big basketfull which went back into the goat house for them. Another pretty tedious (and cold) job, but rather that than running out of winter goat food in February.

I'll mention keyboards here. Everybody that regularly uses a computer must have noticed the key immediately to the right of the space bar that says "Alt Gr". I suspect that many have no idea what it does. It actually stands for "alternative graphics", or somesuch. The only time I had ever used it on a UK keyboard was the rare occasion when I needed a € (Euro) sign. If you hold down the "Alt Gr" key and press the number 4 key you get a €. This computer came with a Hungarian keyboard, so when I installed Windows I told it that it was a Hungarian keyboard. When typing normal text the only difference between it and UK keyboard are that the 'y' and the 'z' are transposed. The . , ? and : are where you expect them to be. After that it all goes completely haywire. The punctuations are all over the place, and there is provision for all the accented vowels, including the strange Őő and Űű double accented vowels found only in Hungarian as far as I know. I had thought that typing ' was bad on a UK keyboard. Hmmm - it now involves pressing the "Alt Gr" key for the & the # and the ; Serious pain.

Pub in the evening, of course.

13th December 2010

It was a bitterly cold morning, so after shop and goats I settled in to finish off my Windows installation. I needed some of my old favourite programs, some of which I have used ten years or more. I brought with me a box of CDs - just the CDs, no jewel cases. Over the course of time whilst I have been here they had become well and truely shuffled, music CDs in with backups, program CDs amongst that. You get the picture. I profitably sat and sorted out and categorised them, with paper separators as to which was what. In the course of that I discovered that some driver CDs which I expected to be there were not. I had another rummage and found them. The reason they were not with the others was that they were all in their original paper envelopes and so had been packed separately. In the course of my rummage I also found yet another set of Linux install CDs. I know not why, now, but they were in jewel cases.

I thought to myself nothing to lose, so I stuck the first CD in the drive and rebooted the machine. It came up with the same error message that my two previous attempts had yielded - "Kernel panic ..." blah, blah. I was about to give up on it when I noticed it growing a line of dots ......................... . It finished growing dots, and to my surprise and pleasure launched anaconda, the Linux installer. I typed linux text and off I went into the familiar (to me) routine of installing Linux using a text only interface. I kept fingers crossed and held my lump of wood. Not that I am superstitious, you understand! All went swimmingly. At the appropriate intervals it asked for the appropriate CD. Finally all was done. It took a while, but no longer than Windows. I rebooted. I checked that the appropriate choices of booting into Windose or Linux both worked. They did. In the early days before I really knew my way around it I had been known to trash Windows whilst installing Linux but all was fine. I did some admin-type stuff to start to get the system as I wanted it and then copied back my last backup into my area. I think the only thing that was not as it should be was the blog, but that was no problem. I simply downloaded the latest version back from where you see it, and all was well.

During all this, at the appropriate intervals I got fed and the goats got fed. It was already dark when a little window opened that said along the lines of two hundred and odd updates available. Just like update Tuesday in Windose, but not. This software checks for updates every day. Whatever, it was near enough time for the pub and I knew that the updates would be a long time downloading, so I set them off and went to the pub.

On my return they were complete. The only thing left to do was to install my e-mail client. I had installed the Windows version a couple of days previously. Didn't much like it. I installed the Linux version, and blow me down it was the same as the Windows version which I didn't much like. It got worse. Half way through downloading me e-mails, without a by-your-leave or kiss-my-a**e, it decided to update itself. It trashed all my settings. I spent until gone two in the morning trying to sort it out before giving up.

14th December 2010

More of the same. I trashed out Thunderbird, reinstalled it and waited for it to update itself before attempting to put my account details in and get back my e-mails. It was still not right, but at least I now had my account working and all my archive and address book restored. Think I might be looking for another Linux e-mail client which is a shame as I have successfully used Thunderbird for many years.

15th December 2010

It was a nice bright day but seriously cold. Well in the minuses. I still had much to do on the computer but at least had both Windows and Linux up, running and mainly functional. It would have to wait.

I had a spell at clearing out the old maize stalks from the goat house and stripping the remaining edible leaves off them. In a spell of retrieving the stalks from the goat house the goats staged a mass breakout. All three went for a wander in the garden. They did not go far, and I in my wisdom thought to get their chains, hook them up and haul them back to shelter. Mmmmm. Suzy had no collar on at all. Where the hell was that? Rudy had his collar on but it was minus the D-ring into which to clip the chain. I reckoned on having zero chance of finding it.

The only goat with collar on and relatively intact was Betty. I hooked her up and led her back inside. To my amazement the other two just followed. Well, that saved making a drama out of a crisis, then. I spotted Suzy's collar and retrieved it. I didn't put it back on Suzy. I had another plan in mind, of which more later.

And in a vain attempt to get caught up, that was the highlights of the day. Apart from going to the pub, of course.

I must mention, whilst I think about it [Ctrl]+[S]. The [Ctrl]+[S] keys save your work. I had been using a laptop long enough to forget the rigours of [Ctrl]+[S]. OK, the battery life on the laptop was only about four minutes, but if the power went down that was plenty to save work and shut the thing down. Mmmm - I was now working on a proper computer. Without UPS. I got caught just the once. The fickle Hungarian electricity supply went flick-flick and the computer rebooted itself. A paragraph of work lost! Oh well, retrain myself to press [Ctrl]+[S] after every sentence, and at the end of every line.

16th December 2010

Another very cold morning. I suppose it is only to be expected as it is, after all, the Hungarian winter. Apart from the unexpected and unusually large snowfall earlier it was turning out to be a pretty average winter here. Maybe a bit colder than average, but not that much. The telly continues to show disruption to travel here and there as northern Europe really suffers.

I did the goats, then had breakfast. After that I once again did a load of (necessary) housework. I was just giving the goats their lunchtime feed when Hobo appeared. "Gyere, gyere". (Come along, come along). Goatfood! More maize stalks, much different to the first lot. Much smaller but with more leaves on the stalks. Oh yes, the goats would like them. Lunchless, along I went. It was quite a pleasant sunny afternoon. The ground was frozen, so it was not wet underfoot. It was not a huge plot of maize and the guy whose land it is helped. In a couple of hours we had it all cut, bundled and stooked. As I write, it is still there. The guy took us inside when we had finished and gave me and Hobo a beer apiece. It later transpired that I had actually done him a service. He would have had to pay a local to come with his tractor and machine to mince up the maize stalks.

It was time for early evening tasks once we took out leave. Hobo came back to the house and got the wood in. I did the goats. I am by now having to take fresh water in for them at every feed. In a very few hours the last lot is frozen solid. They don't drink much anyway, but they are drinking it. A couple of inches in the bucket is enough, but when I fetch it out it will have gone down to an inch.

I had escapes by both goats and dogs during the course of the day. Fortunately not simultaneously. In neither instance did any of them go far. At least I did not have to go and retrieve Blackie from Telek utca this time.

With darkness falling Hobo and I went to the pub for one. It was only the one as I was still lunchless and was determined to light the fires, cook and eat before I even thought about an evening drink in the pub.

When I did return later there was a definite air of winding down for Christmas about the place. I got called into company elsewhere than my normal table and had a long chat with another István and his wife. I also got bough a small Hubertus by the village mayor, which was nice. The weather forecast was fairly horrid - minus fourteen overnight! I wondered how the goats would fare. I do so worry about them.

17th December 2010

I don't know how minus it was in the morning but it was bitingly cold, and to add to that there was a blustery north easter so the wind chill made it feel like minus a lot more. The shop was locked. Not locked, barred and bolted - just locked. It is not an infrequent state of affairs that the shop lady locks up for a few minutes either to see in a delivery or to pop home for whatever reason. Normally people just congregate and wait. Not this morning! I went straight home.

Behatted and double gloved I went to feed the goats and see how they had fared. For the first time Rudy was shivering. Very strange, for the girls weren't, and he has a much bigger body mass than them and a much longer, shaggier coat. I fed them, and Rudy got generally obnoxious and stroppy so I left them to it.

Back in the house I lit the stove. The kitchen thermometer said eight Celcius. I soon had it up to eighteen! Fortunately I still had bread so I was able to leave the shop until later.

It was mind-numbingly, strength-sappingly cold and all I did all day was to keep the kitchen warm and potter about, achieving nothing substantial. At lunchtime I fed the goats and on my return to the yard there was no sign of Pickle. There was a new tell-tale hole in the fence, though. Fortunately there was no sign of chickens next door either, and when I called Pickle she appeared and came straight back to the hole in the fence. She had to be coaxed back through (as in scruff of the neck and yelps). On the chain again. I had hoped that she had put that behind her. I found some oak boards to block off the hole, but with the ground frozen hard it was not a substantial repair. Pickle's escape tactics were, and are a thorn in my side. I know what the solution is - or at least the preferred solution. Put weld mesh all round the yard, concreted into the ground but I simply do not have that sort of spare cash at the moment.

The rest of the day was normal, and I cooked a pizza.

18th December 2010

Another cold day, and we had a load more snow. It was dry and light snow, but we had a fair covering of it - maybe five inches. As usual nothing happened. The buses kept running and the delivery vans, such as there are on a Saturday, got where they were going and delivered. I learned to drive in snow in my little old Morris Minor, in deserted car parks and the like. Get up a bit of speed and then "Now, what happens if we do this?". Hand brake turns! Great fun. Unfortunately I think that the modern generation has neither the opportunity nor, maybe, the inclination to teach themselves thus. It seems that there is a dichotomy, not just in the UK but here also, between drivers in rural areas who just have to get on with it and drivers in conurbations where three inches of snow stops everything.

I shopped, fed the goats, lit the stove and breakfasted. Whilst I had no working computer I took the opportunity to reread James Howard Kunstler's "The Long Emergency". He is, of course an arch-doomer. Now with a working computer I had taken to reading a section over my breakfast toast and coffee. I have found that you can't really do much by way of creative manual stuff whilst eating toast and jam. It was some time since I had read it. Certainly back in the UK, and I suspect at least a year before I came here. I checked the date of publication. Published in the UK in 2005. What caused me to check the date was one of the early chapters in which he descibes with prophetic accuracy the outcome of the great financial Ponzi scheme of derivatives, sub-prime loans and the like. I had taken not much notice of it when I had previously read it, but it really hit me this time. Published in 2005, I guess that it had to be written in 2004 but he describes it so clearly. Only time will tell whether his Peak Oil prophecies are as accurate. I discovered that he and I have a commonality - apart from both being Peak Oil doomers. He and I both own a Leatherman multifunction tool.

Late in the morning Lajos (fa szakember) turned up. Did I want a cubic metre of good firewood. Did I? Oh, yes please. He promised to bring it round in the afternoon.

It dawned upon me that not only did I have to clear the path of snow but I also now needed to clear a passageway big enough for car and trailer right from the round to the wood house. How to work off a good lunch! Took me about an hour.

Later in the afternon I had done the goats and got the firewood in and darkness was beginning to encroach. Still no Lajos. I decided to have a walk up the village to find out whether he had abandoned it for the day, on account of the snow. As I walked down my path an ambulance passed by with blues going. I plodded up the village and as I got by the little curve in the road somewhere approaching the pub I saw the ambulance parked, blues still going. It turned out later that there had been a sudden death in the village. The man that lived at a particularly fine house in the village had had a heart attack and died.

By that, I saw Lajos pull out of his driveway with trailer laden high with wood. He saw me and stopped and had me get in the car. He had his good mate with him. We drove back to my place. I got rid of the dogs, opened the gates and Lajos drove in. Now, I have to say that I really did not expect that. I expected him, seeing just a single cleared path to the wood house, to reverse in. Not a bit of it. He drove in and plunged through the foot-plus depth of snow where I had cleared it, and with much slithering and wheel spinning eventually got the trailer reversed somewhere near the wood house.

The three of us ended up hurtling the wood into the potting shed, which was nearest and most convenient. I don't think that I have ever mentioned it before, but there is in there an old Hungarian bicycle, unworthy of restoration I suspect, that came with the place. The firewood got hurtled, and piled up around the bike. In jest I called out "Mind the bike!".

It did not take long for the three of us to clear the trailer. There was a lot of wood, but all substantial lumps about forty centimetres long. Lajos had to get car and trailer back out onto the road, and that involved him driving back out through the foot-plus stuff again. I will say - he is not scared. At one point he had the car going nearly sideways and I thought that he would side swipe the well. He didn't!

I closed the gates and he waited in his car. I dived in again and in time honoured fashion we went to the pub where I settled up with him and bought him and his mate a beer.

I was there rather long. I know not why, but a food parcel came my way. You note how short I am keeping it in my attempt to catch up?

19th December 2010

We had another sprinkling of snow overnight. Nothing to speak of, but it was another cold, cold morning. Definitely another day not for outside work.

I lit the stove in the workshop, got it going very nicely, and then managed not to actually do any work in there. I can't remember mentioning how I get that stove lit now. I found another little shovel. What I would call a coal scuttle type shovel. I already had one. It lives outside by the corner of the potting shed and acts as my sooper-dooper-pooper-scooper, if you know what I mean. The one I found is about the same size but a bit flatter. It is ideal for shovelling out a bit of actually burning wood from the kitchen stove, so that is what I do. Out of the kitchen stove, across the yard and into the workshop stove. Chuck a few wood shavings on the top and I have a merry blaze in seconds.

The reason that I got no work done in the outhouse was that I decided in my wisdom that it was high time that the wine was racked off, whilst the kitchen was still warm. I knew there was a problem immediately I started. I could smell it. Unmistakable. Hydrogen sulphide! I stopped and went on the Internerd to research it. I have made country wines for many years, but I am a mere beginner at proper viticulture. I found two web sites, both obviously knowedgable, and both with the same explanation of cause and the same method of treatment.

The cause is, apparently, natural breakdown products of the yeast. One of the sites even listed the yeast varieties most prone to it, which was actually of little help as I just do the same as everyone else here. Let the wild yeast do its stuff. The solution - the same from both sites - surprised me somewhat. Add oxygen. Considering that you add sulphites to wine as an antioxidant you can understand my surprise. The method of adding oxygen suggested was just as surprising, and very simple. Give the racked off wine a damned good thrashing! I did it by racking the wine off into my third smallest fermenter in stages and pouring it vigorously back and forth into the next largest fermenter several times. Mmmmm. Add antioxidant then add oxygen. Well, at the time of writing it seems to have done the trick.

It took me the rest of the day, with breaks for goats, lunch and goats. Eventually I had the whole twenty five litres from the full carboy racked, oxygenated and into plastic wine bottles.

Hobo was absent from the pub in the evening. I had a couple of quiet beers (followed by several noisy ones!) then went home. I jest about the noisy ones. As far as I know the auditory output from beer is below the threshold of human hearing, apart from the random noises made when pouring it out. Tends to be the consumers that get noisier.

For whatever reason, which quite escapes me now, I discovered that since I let Linux do its big update I no longer had sound. I knew that because when I first installed it the only output device I had was my good Sennheiser headphones. I had plugged them into the green socket on the sound card, as you do, to discover that they did not work. Mmmmm. I had investigated and found more outputs on the sound card than I knew what to do with. The last (only?) sound card that I bought was many years ago and it had a pink socket for a microphone and a green socket for speakers or headphones. My now-dead laptop was the same. This soundcard had pink, which worked fine with the microphone, green - which did not work with the headphones - and various shades of brown. I had tried them at random with the headphones and found one that worked. It didn't work tonight!

20th December 2010

It was a nice day. Milder than it had been for quite a few days. As soon as I opened the door and let the dogs out I knew there was some sort of goat problem. Normally it is just Betty that will go "meah, meah" when she hears the dogs out and about. This morning it was all three giving it some. I investigated, to find that Rudy had done his door closing bit again. Diagram - excuse the text, Dia problem as yet undiagnosed:
All the goats have access to the sty nearest the yard. The other sty door is bolted shut. The doot to the sty they have access to (red in the diagram) has a bolt on it (blue in the diagram). It is not closed, hence they have access to the sty. Unfortunately Rudy tends to btt the door this way and that, and from time to time he will also manage to slide the bolt across. If he does that, which he can only do from the side away from the yard, the door will stop at the post (green in the diagram) with goat(s) the side of the door away from the yard. Otherwise the door will go a hundred and eighty degrees. Thus it was this morning. All three goats were trapped in the little bit of corridor between the other sty and the garage. I put food in first and then released them before I even went to the shop. Poor Rudy was shivering again even though it was not that cold. I had no way of knowing how long they had been trapped thus of course. Needs a bit of attention, like a lot else.

Nothing else worthy of note happened.

21st December 2010

It was a misty murky morning, and cloudy was the weather and then I spied an old man a' clothed all in leather. (Quote?) Not many old men here wealthy enough to be a'clothed all in leather!

Anyway it was just a bit warmer and got better as the day went on. As I type I can only say that this kezboard, ooops keyboard, needs to go on the fire. It is shite! Crap! There are more sticky keys on it than there are on the grand piano currently in the main ballroom of the Titanic. I could list them, but won't.

To cut a short story short I went to Körmend and when I got back to the village organised a chicken for Christmas. A dead one.

22nd December 2010

No idea, other than that it was one of those days when everything turned to rat-sh*t. Rudy was agressive and bolshie. I put him on his back several times and he still came back for more.

I did two hours of woodwork and managed to turn a piece of wood some fifty millimetres by seventy five millimetre by thirty into firewood in a couple of seconds. Not the best day ever!

23rd December 2010

It was a glorious day and amazingly warm for this time of year. It was warm enough, dry enough and green enough that the goats went out. All day! Pure bonus. I checked on them often until I noticed that all three were sitting and chewing quite contentedly. Now, I might not be much of a hand as a goatherder yet but I do know that when the goats sit down and munch they are happy goats.

I made the most of it and gave the goat house a good clearout of maize stalks and stood outside in the warm unhine (bloody 'S' key) sunshine and stripped four basketsful of maize leaves recovered from the stalks.

Hobo turned up and did the firewood. We had a wander down the village, collected John and went and collected chicken from the producer about half way between my place and his. Food miles? About a tenth of a kilometre, I reckon. What took me by surprise was that they had an electronic weighing scale far, far better than the scales in the village shop.

Hobo came back to mine, and together we finished off the goat house and got the goats in.

I went to the pub in the evening. Nothing unusual there. Hobo was there. Nothing unusual there either. What was unusual was that at kicking out time, after me and Hobo had said our goodnights, there were a number of the younger element of the pub goers foregathered outside. I had set off to cycle home when they called me back. I had a bottle of beer pressed into my hand (bonus) and then I got quizzed upon why life was so much better here in Halogy than where I used to live in the UK. I answered as best I was able.

24th December 2010

For a second day running it was mild enough and green enough for the goats to go out all day. I had a good sweep through the house and except for doing the firewood and the goats later that was it for the day.

I went for a beer about lunchtime in the knowledge that somewhen early to mid afternoon they would be closing for the evening. Hobo was there. There was a problem with a transformer for some Christmas tree lights. Hobo was like a dog with a bone over it. He simply would not accept my explanation that it was, basically, buggered and to throw it in the bin. Very reluctant are the Hungarians to give up on anything like that. The land of make-do and mend. Time came to leave, so we left and went our separate ways. I got home and did the aforementioned tasks and that was that.

I have to say that Christmas Eve is probably my most unfavourite evening of the year. To paraphrase (badly) "Twas the night before Christmas and all through the village not a creature was stirring, not even a goat!" I had a couple of beers at home in the evening and went to bed.

25th December 2010

Christmas Day, and I woke up feeling unwell. I have no idea. It was certainly not alcohol related. It was this shivery cold thing that just seems to be going round and round the village.

I had to force myself to cook a Christmas lunch. I can't say I enjoyed cooking it and, although I cleaned up the plate, I can't really say I enjoyed eating it that much either. The cooking of it proved to be a pain in the whatsit. I never mentioned, but the electric cooker is now purely a work surface. You may remember me mentioning it turning itself on for no good reason. Well, it turned itself on one too many times and would not turn off. It got itself disconnected. Permanently. Which is a shame as it puts jacket potatoes off the menu for the summer months. Nonetheless, the bloody thing had already filled the kitchen with smoke and to have it set the kitchen on fire was a risk I simply could not afford to take.

Where was I? Oh yes, cooking and eating Christmas lunch. I am of the school of thought to like my poultry cooked long and slow. It proved to require assiduous attention to the fire. Every ten or fifteen minutes more wood had to be fed onto it. Not too much, not too little. There proved to be a Goldilocks range of how much fire to have burning. As I said, pain in the whatsit.

My satisfaction as I sat and struggled my way through it was in contemplating what had come from where. Chestnut stuffing - chestnuts and onion both from the garden. Chicken - already mentioned. Leak - dug yesterday from the garden. Peas - bought from the shop, sadly... I have to say that the chestnut stuffing was something else. If I had known how utterly delicious it was to turn out I think that I would have been well contented with just a big pan of chestnut stuffing for Christmas lunch. Forgot to mention spuds - from the garden, of course.

For the rest it was largely business as usual. I had signally failed to impress upon the goats that it was Christmas day. Rudy steadfastly refused to have ribbons in his beard and bells on his horns. Suzy just sneered and trotted away. Betty went "Meah, meah" not even remotely in tune with or attuned to the rhythm of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Oh well.

It was business as usual in the pub too, but to the extent that it felt more like a Sunday than a Saturday. By half past seven Láci was dropping go home you bums hints, and the usual suspects (all five of us) took the hint and departed.

26th December 2010

I was somewhat better today, fortunately. Once again I managed to spend a fair slice of the morning in the kitchen.

I went for a beer after lunch. It came over the bar gratis - ah - névnáp! It was young Láci that served me - the landlord's son. There were only two other customers in there, both of whom I knew. One was Halogyi ember, the other was the guy that drives the van through the village on a Wednesday - "kutyatap, kutyatap". I had never seen him in the pub before to my knowledge. Him and the Halogy man left together, so I concluded, wrongly or rightly, that they were probably relations. Another beer appeared for me. Oh, bugger. This one was from the landlord. You can see where this is going? Wrong!

I downed it and wandered home to do something that I had promised myself since autumn. I made a loaf of (at least partially) chestnut bread. It was very different. I had about four ounces Avoirdupois of chestnut flour. I made it up to a pound with the ordinary flour that I use when I bake bread. I never made pink dough before. At least not to eat!

It was heavy and maybe I should have put a bit more water in. It absolutely refused to rise above half the height of one of my normal wheat flour loaves in the same tin. I waited and waited. It did not rise any further. Ah, whatever - bake it. I baked it. It baked to a glorious golden brown colour and turned it out of the tin in a solid, heavy lump. I put it on my cooling rack. It had to be done. Just as soon as it was cool enough to slice and eat I sliced a lump off the end.

Very heavy. Somewhere of the texture of a heavy malt loaf or something like. The taste was extraordinary. I cannot begin to describe it. I simply don't have the words. Well, I might have, later, if someone reminds me!

I went to the pub in the evening. John turned up. On account of it being our névnáp we drank a lot of beer!

27th December 2010

Mmmmm! Maybe a bit too much beer yesterday. I managed the goats (with a struggle) and the firewood!

28th December 2010

Shop, goats, breakfast.

I did a load more wine. The wine from the other carboy. It was not afflicted with the hydrogen sulphide thing but showed incipient signs of flowers of wine. I racked it straight into bottles and added more sulphite. It took a while. What an exciting day!

The telly news showed more serious flooding here in Hungary.

29th December 2010

Once again when I went to feed the goats first thing I found Suzy with no collar on. I found the collar fortunately and it went into my jacket pocket, not back on Suzy.

After breakfast I investigated the collar. Once again it had been undone when I retrieved it from the goat house. I identified multiple design flaws with the collar. Mmmm - a leatherwork job on all three, as all three were the same and one of the design flaws was the cause of Rudy's D-loop going missing. More later.

I did the washing up and the washing and it was lunch time. Over lunch I determined to see if I could get half decent graphics drivers working in Linux. I couldn't. Worse than that, my attempt to get said drivers working resulted in Linux throwing a huff and promptly forgetting both my password and the password for root which is a god-like account on Linux and UNIX systems that allows you to do (almost) anything. I threw a huff of my own and went back to the kitchen to do one final remaining task with the wine.

I had just set the task in motion, which was to filter off the lees in an attempt to get one final bottle from the fermentation, when Hobo appeared. Once again it was come along, come along - goat food. He had tracked down another patch of maize stalks. It was not far away. Just down the lane from the fáluház. I drew the short straw again. He, double gloved, chopped the stalks down. I had to bundle them and cart them to the fence. Now, have you ever tried to tie stuff up in the freezing cold wearing two pairs of gloves? An inner pair of cotton gloves and an outer pair of gardening gloves. I could just about manage with the cotton gloves on, but the maize stalks were by now frost coated and the cotton gloves just picked up ice particles and got colder and wetter until I could no longer feel my fingers. Fortunately help arrived and I at least no longer had to cart the bundles to the fence. The sun was by now setting and I still had to feed the goats. Half the patch remained uncut. I walked on home. Hobo and the other chap loaded up the hand cart we had nearby and wheeled it on behind me. With dogs secure in the house it was unloaded into the big garage and a couple of bundles went straight into the goat shed. The chap other than Hobo commented what a nice warm place it was for the goats. Mmmmm - maybe. I don't think I would like to sleep in there!

We retired to the pub. For one reason and another I was there a while. I did manage to solve a riddle during the course of the evening. I have mentioned on the the blog the word(s) magyartarka, and one of my regular readers/correspondents asked "Ki, or perhaps mi, a magyartarka?" (Who, or perhaps what is a magyartarka?) Well, it turns out to be a brown and white bovine. No other colours will do. If it is brown, black and white it is not magyartarka. Pink, blue, grey, purple cattle need not apply. Nope. Just brown and white. Not having seen any I have to ask myself whether they could, in fact, be Herefords? More investigation needed. Ah, the joy, the bliss for either me or John if they did turn out to be Herefords - depending on whether you regard Herefordshire as being in England or Wales.

I went home to a cold house and stoked up the tile stove accordingly. I tried to repair Linux and failed. It was not the first time this password thing had happened to me but the previous time was many, many years ago and I had simply forgotten what the solution was.

30th December 2010

It was another bitterly cold morning. I had not long finished breakfast when John turned up, beating the dogs off as he got towards the house. Forgotten by me, we had an arrangement with Hobo to meet up at ten and go and do the rest of the maize patch. His first comment when he came into the kitchen was how warm it was. Somewhere about twenty I reckon it would be, me having just cooked toast and coffee. I think the subsequent comment was that there was nowhere in his house that warm. And I think the next subsequent comment was that he had to get himself one of those - indicating the wood stove. Well, yes. The heating in the house works well enough. The tile stove is still hot enough in the morning that once I get my feet on the floor and get a tee shirt on (just a tee shirt, you understand) I am warm enough. The downside is that by then if it is minus eleven outside the kitchen is about seven Celcius when I go in there. I have yet to find a way of having the kitchen stove automagically light itself about a half hour before I get up. Mind you, the winter gas supply problem is rearing its ugly head around Hungary again, as I write.

John, thorougly warmed, took himself back home. I went back to contemplating my navel. By that Hobo turned up with the hand cart. It was back to the unutterable agony of clearing the maize patch in this weather. I gave John a knock and he joined us. So did magyartarka and regi Janos. With my hands turning blue, and incipient frostbite on the ends of my fingers we got it finished. I cycled home and secured the dogs and the rest of the assemblage carted the maize stalks into the garage.

We went to the pub after that.

Today was also firewood day. Bless. Hobo had only been promising me lots of firewood since January. Well, today was the day. He saw a tractor and trailer go by. I did not see it. He shot off like a scalded cat, pausing only the put a beer mat over his beer. As you do! I did likewise. I got the bike from the side door of the pub and walked it down to the roadway. There was no sign of Hobo nor of tractor and trailer. Ah, whatsits! I cycled home at my best pace. No Hobo there, nor tractor and trailer.

I went indoors to the residual warmth of the house. Out of sheer ennui I turned the computer on, booted into the wretched Windose and did a search for the solution to my Linux problem. Most suggested what I had already tried. Eventually I found it, and it rang a bell immediately. With that the wood arrived. The dogs went ballistic but I made sure they stayed in the house. It was a fair amount of wood. Acacia. The trailer load got reversed into the yard and tipped. I paid the driver and off he went. One glance at the wood pissed me off. It was the best part of an acacia tree, which is wonderful firewood. But not when it is freshly cut! Oh well, suitably dealt with it will make wonderful firewood for next winter.

Hobo and I made our way back to the pub to retrieve and continue our beers. John was still there, as were magyartarka (whose name is Láci, by the way) and regi Janos (old John, but is in fact younger than me). They had, apparently, upped the tempo a bit in my and Hobo's absence. I bought another round and then it was time to go home and feed the goats. Not before I drank the beer, of course.

That was me for the evening. I finished fixing Linux, rebooted and had the same problem again. One of those days.

31st December 2010

New Year's Eve. Business as usual. But not quite. I fed the goats, fed the goats and fed the goats. In between I found time to bake some goodies for the evening.

Suitably pomaded and changed I wandered down to the fáluház. It was different again. This was my third Szilveszter at the fáluház. The first time I went with trepidation. The second with a nodding acquaintance of those present. This year I was truely amongst friends. I got home at about half past three! Not too much the worse for wear - I have been a lot worse.

And fed the poor dogs, who were ravenous! So endeth 2010.


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