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August 2011

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1st August 2011

With not much out of the ordinary going on I thought that the start of this month would be a good time to talk about money. Now, I normally don't much like talking about money but I thought it might be interesting to make a comparison of sorts between my own situation and what has started to unfold elsewhere over the first days of this month. I am without doubt entering a period of austerity. It seems strange that my own situation should mirror what is happening across the globe with so many of the world's great nations now facing similar constraints (US/Eurozone/UK...). I have to say that right from when I first came here I knew that this was a probability rather than a possibility. It has come just a little sooner than I expected thanks to the weakness of the pound against the forint for the past several months.

I have already written about living on savings. Well, they are now almost gone. I do not want to paint too black a picture here, and to put it in context I have quite frankly been living the life of Riley here for the last three and something years. To put it further into context I still have an income (and some small amount of savings) and my calculations show that I will still be living slightly above the level at which much of the population here live - that of the national minimum wage in Hungary.

To contrast my situation with those countries facing austerity, I have for some while lived by one of the credos of those who think about Peak Oil - "Get out of debt and stay out of debt". The governments now facing austerity have for years been living beyond their means. I may well be wrong but it seems to me that they seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place by having the choices of either printing their way out of trouble thereby just putting off the day of reckoning, or having to be faced with draconian financial measures which inflame their populaces (austerity riots in Greece, anyone?).

John seems to be of the opinion that the whole fiscal system is due for a breakdown any time soon. I come increasingly towards that opinion myself. That begs the question of what I would do if my source(s) of income, which are all in the UK, suddenly stopped. the answer to that is that I don't know. What I do know is that if that happened it would undoubtedly happen to many millions of others and my thoughts on that are that I am in an immeasurably superior position to those who would be afflicted by such things as the collapse of just in time delivery systems and cash points which petulantly refuse to deliver cash.

To take that further, it would undoubtedly mean the loss of all services to the house but then would they be still working anyway? The biggest loss to me would be Internet connection - it is my lifeline to family and friends. Apart from that, loss of electricity supply? A mild inconvenience. Go to bed when it gets dark and get up when it gets light. Ditto mains water. Get the well sorted out and use that. There are people who live in this village right now that live thus. No mains water, outside earth closet, earth floors and only well water. Indeed, there is this property for sale right here in the village right now that answers this very description. If you look at it, the only check-box that is checked is "Well". The people that live thus are happy, healthy and poor. Just their way of life.

There you go. Just a bit of doomer introspection to start the month off. Normal service resumed tomorrow!

2nd August 2011

After a normal start I had a different sort of job to do. Tibi (rightly) had been having a small go at the state of the stuff growing in the fence in the area of my wilderness patch and up towards Telek utca. It precipitated action that I had intended to take anyway. My intention was always to harvest and dry it as a winter goat food supplement. On the whole the goats like equally well such things as walnut leaves, oak leaves, elderberry bushes and various weed-type shrubs whether they are fresh or whether they are wilted and dried.

I set about it with saw and secateurs. Tibi caught me at it - with approval. He lent me a pair of secateurs that looked like bolt croppers. I expected them to be meaty and meaningful. They weren't. They were actually not much better at the cutting than my ordinary single handed ones. If you tried to use them in a meaty and meaningful way the handles started flexing in a quite alarming manner.

I went at that all morning. After lunch I went back to it. Hobo appeared. He set about wheelbarrowing the stuff that I had already stacked in the wheelbarrow down to outside the goat house. I continued my way up the fence. Hobo returned and trimmed stuff off what I had hacked down and wheeled another barrow load down. I got into the evil bit. A dog rose bush had managed to form an archway between fence and wilderness patch about four feet off the ground. I had to tackle it from both sides, north and south. It was not nice work.

Several times the damned stuff grabbed my tee shirt, and a few times me. Eventually it was all removed and the bits hurtled into the wilderness patch. Another barrow load of goat greenery (brownery?) appeared and that was that bit of fence done. There is a lot more to come!

By that time it was time for the goats to go in. I grabbed a bite to eat and went to the pub. John surprised us by appearing at about nine o'clock.

3rd August 2011

Cheese making day. Not a good curd and I was not on best form. It took a long while and apart from looking after livestock as necessary not a lot got done.

4th August 2011

It pissed down. Most of the day. The goats remained in their house and I had to feed them greenery. That left me short of greenery so I had to don leather biker jacket and goat hat and go armed with scythe to seek some more.

With it still pissing down I did some housework, although you would not know it if you arrived as I write.

I had to go to Körmend. Mainly because I had discovered a bunch of Euros that I had withdrawn on my way home from the UK that I needed to get paid into my account. It was the usual hobble around. I did the bank bit, which took a while. Signatures in triplicate and all the rest of the Hungarian paperwork. I will say this though, my Hungarian bank is somewhat quite quicker at getting money into my account than my UK bank account is. All a nonsense of course - they, the greedy b*std *ankers (insert consonant of choice), will always hang on to your money before they let you have it for as long as they can.

With *anking business done I limped to the Presszo bar. Yet once again I left it a bit on the tight side to get the half past two bus back to the village and do the rest of what I wanted to do. There was no way that I was going to get to the Spar shop, so I dived in the big Coop shop in town. I had a puzzlement. Margarine. Believe it or not I need another milking doe goat, apart from Suzy and Betty before I can be self sufficient in stuff that you spread on bread. So I buy margarine. The puzzlement was that the blue version of the local Rama margarine was over five hundred forints. They had none of the yellow variety. They had the multivitamin one which was just over four hundred forints but they also had Rama Gold (== Flora equivalent) for just 399 forints. Guess which I bought?

By the skin of my tooth I caught the half past two bus back to the village. The bike was chained up outside the pub, so as you do I went in to pay the parking fee.

To be greeted by John and Hobo. Ooops. More than a mini-session followed. Eventually I wobbled the bike on home, and with goats still confined stuffed more greenery into them and milked Suzy.

For once in a very long time I was absent from the pub in the evening.

5th August 2011

Usual start, then gardening. It was time to harvest the onions. I have to say that the crop was a huge disappointment. Lots of gaps and lots of onions only fit for pickling, only I don't like pickled onions. I know why, but not for the blog.

Once again the weeds were taking over, so a heavy session of weeding followed. Two patches that I want to get dug over that had nothing in at the minute were so bad that I took the strimmer to them. All the mashed up stuff will just get dug in as mulch.

Hobo had spoken about a thing that needed doing in the pigeon loft. It would involve using the angle grinder and getting just a small bit of weldmesh. Ah! That presented a problem. The last time I had used the extension cable it had parted company at the end into which you plug in the appliances. I had seen it coming. The cable sheath had parted company where it met the moulded on socket exposing the bare wires. There had been a small pop when I was using it with the angle grinder and it no longer worked. I had bought a single socket to replace it the last time I went to Körmend.

I set about it with a bang. Literally. I snipped the moulded on socket off, fortunately with my insulated side cutters. Bang. Dick-head! Bloody idiot! It does actually help to disconnect the thing from the mains before doing any work on it. At least I found out that the earth trip switch works, as a little later I discovered that there was no electrickery anywhere in the house. A quick look in the meter box and relevant resetting of circuit soon fixed that.

After that it was evening routine.

6th August 2011

A nice morning and a somewhat unusual start. I milked Suzy quite early and then cycled to the pub with a cardboard box. I actually managed to beat Hobo to our pre-arranged meeting. I was a good boy - I just had a coffee. Well, that was until Hobo arrived. As soon as he had had his breakfast of a coffee and a small rum a couple of beers appeared on the table. Oh well.

We downed the beers and cycled on up the village. Today was the day that I was taking delivery of my pigeon family, hence the cardboard box. Imre, the old boy from whom I was buying, met us at his gate. He opened up his pigeon house and he and I entered. He is a tall, rangey guy (taller than me) and he walks with a walking stick long enough that when he sits down he can tuck it under his armpit for support. Walking stick or no he darted about in his pigeon house and in just a few seconds I had a squab and hen and cock birds in my cardboard box. Hobo got the pair of eggs that they were sitting.

We cycled back down the hill directly to my place. We did not pass Go, we did not collect two hundred pounds and we did not stop for a beer at the pub. My job was to take the live pigeons into the pigeon house and release them which I did. Strangely, they were reluctant to leave the cardboard box. I lifted the squab out and put him on the floor and after a moment or two mum and dad followed. Hobo organised some hay, made a little nest in the box on the wall and put the two eggs in it, still warm.

Hobo wanted to organise a little more perching area on the wall nearby their nesting box. To the delight of black dog the angle grinder came out to play for a few minutes. He was a damned nuisance for those few minutes. Hobo went back in the pigeon loft, whacked the bits of iron into the wall. I went to see if I could assist, and the inevitable happened. Blackie was in there like a shot. He made a grab for the squab but it scuttled where he could not get at it. Then he had a go for the adult birds and managed to nip the hen bird on the left leg. With much flapping and fluttering the hen bird escaped and fortunately ended up in the bottom of an empty water butt where Blackie could not reach it. He was swiftly collared and evicted with suitable admonishments. Hobo rescued the pigeon from the water butt. At first it was hopping about on one leg, but it soon recovered enough to start dotting the grabbed leg down. By the end of the day it was walking normally, so, thankfully, no lasting harm done. We left the birds to settle in and the eggs were placed in a little nest Hobo improvised from hay.

I went back to the gardening. I checked on the pigeons from time to time. They were all OK, but neither of the adults was sitting the eggs.

In the afternoon I decided that the roadside verge needed a haircut so out came the strimmer. I did the usual and did as far as both neighbours' gateways.

It was hot work. I was ready for a beer by the time I had finished that, so went for one. After that it was time for normal early evening routine.

7th August 2011

The pigeons were not sitting the eggs. I did a load more work in the garden, and in the afternoon I started on cleaning out the goat house. Interesting day, Hmmmm?

I have a load of pictures to post but right now I am too tired.

8th August 2011

I had a sad discovery when I went out to milk just after six. As usual I had a look in the pigeon house as I passed by. The squab that came with the pair was quite clearly dead on the floor of the outhouse. I had no idea as to the cause. It could have been the stress of relocation. It could equally have been that Imre actually gave me the wrong squab and my pair would not look after it. Whatever, it was no more. I removed it and at the same time removed the pair of eggs that came with the pigeons but which they were quite clearly not going to sit. Ah well, hopefully start from scratch with Mr. and Mrs. Pigeon once they have settled to their new home.

I started on digging an area of garden where I wanted to get more stuff in. It was tough going. The soil was plenty wet enough after recent rain and I was back to patiently hand weeding once again. Very time consuming. I stuck at that for a couple of hours with a break to get the goat water. It was creeping on to lunch time so I knocked that on the head for the day. I decided I needed cash but did not have the sign out. I managed to catch posta over the road, so got my cash.

I have no idea what I did the rest of the day so here are some of the long awaited pictures:
New Milking Stool The Mark-II milking stool with nice solid oak seat to replace the pearwood one that broke.
The repaired sickle with its new walnut handle. Sickle with New Handle
Tomato Stakes Tomato stakes sawn from a spare piece of oak. Believe it or not the saw is a Stanley. Still crap though, as it is one of the hard point ones. Use until blunt and throw away.
My crop of maize cunningly hiding in the long grass. Maize
Newborn Kid Here is the new kid, not more than two or three hours old.
and with his mum. Newborn Kid and Mother
First Suckling and his first suckling. Ah!!

9th August 2011

It was cheese making day. That kept me in the kitchen until well into the afternoon. Once again it was interspersed with other domestics. One late on one was to start preparing more pears that once again had come over the fence from No. 72. Jam, of course, but I peeled, cored and sliced them and put them in the slow cooker with a half pint of water and a little citric acid.

I was down to the last two pears when I clumsily managed to stick the Leatherman blade that I was using as a paring knife into the back of my left middle finger just behind the nail. There was blood. That put an end to the pear preparations. I washed the finger under the cold tap, washed the pear juice off the other hand and applied pressure to the cut for a few moments. I cast about for something to use as a makeshift bandage. It happened that I had had to make yet another cheesecloth during the cheesemaking to replace yet another stolen by Blackie. I really must remember to keep them out of his way. I scold him when he does it, but not too severely. It is just a part of his character - he cannot help it. He is still, and I suspect always will be, a thief. Certainly anything remotely connected with human food is fair game. Were was I? Ah yes. The cheesecloths are roughly circular, which leaves roughly triangular offcuts. They were still lying about. I released the pressure on the cut. There was just a little trickle of blood. I bandaged it up (also clumsily - quite difficult to bandage a hand with just the other hand) and that was that.

You know, it is astonishing how often the backs of your fingers come into contact with things when you are just doing run of the mill stuff. I know how many times I caught that cut - quite a few. It hurt every time I did.

I still had the evening ritual to do, whatever, and had to get some greenery for the goats. Then it was time to get the goats in and milk. I was just milking when there was a doggy commotion and the sound of voices from the yard. At one stage the voices got raised and I heard Pickle shouted at. I interrupted milking and went to investigate. It was Tibi and Marika with a barrow load of stuff for the goats. Apparently Pickle had pulled her chain stunt with Tibi and nearly had him off his feet. Tibi wheeled the barrow into the garden and tipped it by the goat house. Pumpkins, corn cobs and other goaty delicacies - enough for several days. I thanked them and off they went. I watched them out the yard, and Tibi managed to avoid Pickle chain so all was well.

I finished milking, went back to the house and washed up the milking kit, washed me, changed and went to the pub. There was a huge thunderstorm whilst I was there. Rain lashing down and the lightning strikes within a kilometer but none really close. Láci turned the telly off. It was still raining at kicking out time, but not too heavily and I managed to dodge most of the spots on the way home.

10th August 2011

Nothing out of the ordinary today, so not much to say. Normal start then I finished off digging and weeding the patch I had started. Once again, after the rain last night it was heavy going. By lunch time I had had enough of that.

After lunch I went for eggs, with a pit stop on the way home, naturally.

Once I got home I did some strimming. I can't for the life of me think where - probably the camping lawn and up by the fence just as far as the garden. After that it was evening routine.

11th August 2011

I was up and about quite early as I had an appointment with the vet this morning. I wanted to be sure to be in or around house/yard during the timescale agreed. Milking got done and I shopped and broke my fast well before the window of opportunity agreed.

Somewhere in the middle I did the kitchen stuff, relying on Pickle to notify me of any unusual parked vehicles/ambulatory people. Every time she barked I poked my nose out. No vet. I can normally rely on Pickle particularly and Blackie sometimes. Pickle only yesterday as I write went ballistic when some random car and caravan pulled up outside Tibi's house. It was random, the driver was just checking something. Blackie will go ballistic if Sándor over the road parks anything other than his own tractor outside his house, which he does from time to time. Pickle will go ballistic if certain bicycles are parked outside No. 72.

I checked every single occurance of doggy ballisticness. No vet! The window of opportunity came and went. Still no vet. The goats remained constrained within the goat house as the visit was goat related.

In vain hopes that I had totally misunderstood his rendering of the times I stayed in the yard and yet again set about rebuilding and refencing the sand heap. Dog digging work - again. It was hot and I perspired freely. Lots of breaks and lots of liquid - mainly water. The time went on and it became increasingly obvious that something had gone awry in communication between me and vet.

Very belatedly the goats went out close by. I finished off the remaking of the sand heap. It took me until after one. I was knackered. I reckoned that I had shovelled top side of two cubic metres of wet sharp sand back. At least. I had a sandwich and went to the pub for a beer.

I was back home and in no mood to do anything further physical other than absolutely necessary that day when Hobo appeared. Equally knackered. He parked up his bike outside the gate and dragged in a huge bunch of green maize stalks. After a few minutes recuperation he dragged them from the yard to just outside the goat house. From later experience I can say that I did not realise how much green maize stalks weighed. It turned out that he had chopped them, tied them in a bunch with his belt, perched them precariously on his bike and walked them two kilometres to my place. No wonder he was knackered. I took him for a beer. Whilst we were at the pub I contacted vet by mobile phone. He told me that he was ouside my house at nine o'clock. Mmmmm - Pickle and Blackie alarm system seriously let me down. We rearranged for coming Monday.

Back home I contemplated my navel for a while and then it was time to go into evening routine. Fortunately I had goat greenery in the barrow, so that was one thing less that I had to do. Goats came in, Suzy was milked and, apart from the evening pub visit, that was me finished for the day.

12th August 2011

I milked as usual, shopped, breakfasted etc., then it was time to put the goats out. As normal the girls and kid went first, leaving Rudy whinging in his half of the goat house. Also as normal I made a leisurely trip up the garden with Suzy, Betty and kid allowing them to stop and munch here and there where they would. Eventually I had them staked out and equally leisurely made my way back for Rudy. Only to find a Rudy kecske where no Rudy kecske should have been. He was outside the goat house, chain-less, happily munching from the wheelbarrow.

I went into the goat house to get his chain, and a bucket of water for protection. I glanced down the corridor. The door between boys' and girls' sections of the goat house was totalled. Literally hanging in two halves each being held up by a single hinge. Bugger! The destructive powers of Rudy have to be encountered to be believed. Whatever! Secure on chain I had him make his equally leisurely way to where I wanted him and all four were finally out.

I had stuff to do in the kitchen. That took up the morning. After lunch I cycled up to Bödő for threaded rod, nuts and washers, and cycled home at best speed. What Rudy did not either know, understand or realise the significance of was that of sty doors, which is what formed the barrier between boys and girls, I had a spare. The broken one came off, and with the other door from goat house to garden securely bolted garden side I worked from the yard to reinforce the other sty door, which I retrieved from hiding, in a similar manner to that which I had used on the door between goat house and yard.

It took a while. With suitable pieces of oak, brace and bits, angle grinder (to the delight of Blackie) and the threaded rod, nuts and washers it was eventually done. It was by then time to get the goats in anyway. Once Rudy was in the goat house and suitably ushered into his half I closed the replacement door and slid home the bolt. Poor chap seemed quite nonplussed almost as if to say "WTF? I broke that door down this morning!". He did give it a couple of exploratory whacks and then gave up.Touch wood, he has left it alone since. I think that he is actually canny enough to know when he is beat.

I carried on and milked and it was the normal end to the day after that.

13th August 2011

It was not a normal day. Well, the first half was, so I won't bore you with it. It was the afternoon that was different. Arrangements had been made. Hobo's Austrian friend and his wife and two children were in the district and had been invited to lunch. I was invited too. We were all to meet in the pub at noon. Where else?

I got there just a little late. Hobo was already there. We had a leisurely beer. We took quite long about it but there was no sign of Helmut and his crew. We were at the point of finishing when Helmut arrived looking absolutely shattered. It turned out that two truck loads of firewood, each of four cubic metres, had appeared that morning With the help of a couple of neighbours they had managed to get it all under cover. No wonder he looked shattered.

He insisted on having a drink. And who can blame him. He bought Hobo and me a beer each as well. Somewhat later than intended we all ended up at Hobo's, but in my experience that is par for the course. There were others there so it was quite a gathering. Hobo's mum fed us in shifts and then we sat out in the yard where the children played and the adults did nothing in particular. It was hot enough for me to seek shade.

It was a very pleasant social afternoon, but a while later it was time for me to go and do my kecskepasztor-al duties so I left to sort out goat food and goats. I had just loaded the barrow up with greenery right up by Telek utca when Hobo, Helmut and company arrived, come to see the goats. The children were delighted with the goats, especially the kid of course. I don't think I have mentioned what a friendly little chap he is. Much more so than the last one. He likes nothing better than to sit in my lap whilst I am trying to milk Suzy. I ask you - a lap goat!

Eventually they left. Hobo stayed, wheeled the barrow to the goat house and helped get the goats in. After that normality kicked in after a very pleasant and sociable afternoon. Not that the evening was not sociable and pleasant too, but it was quite different from my normal afternoons.

14th August 2011

It turned out to be another somewhat out of the ordinary day. It started off, like yesterday, in a normal fashion. Get up, milk, light the stove, cook breakfast...

A fair amount of the morning was thus. Goats out, goat water, pigeon water... It all changed towards noon, as I was off out again for the afternoon. I had been invited out to Helmut and Silvia's place, as had been John and Hobo. That was when it started to get lost in translation - my fault. Having fed the pigeons a bit earlier I bowed to the occasion and decided that it might be best to shower and change. Before I did that John appeared at the gate to know what the plan was. I told him that I was going to have a quick shower and change and I would call for him as I cycled past his house. Apropos of that, Hobo had been quietly determined that we would get a lift. Herman had been equally (slightly more) determined that we would not. We had to cycle it. This argument had raged for some days. Herman won!

I was even further into my plan to shower and change, still with house door wide open, when I heard the voice of Hobo advancing up the yard. I had got as far as unbuckling my jeans. If Hobo had turned up about a minute later he would either have had a shock, or a laugh, as the case maybe. This was where it all fell apart in translation. I told Hobo to go to John's house and set off cycling to Csákánydoroszló with John and I would be fifteen minutes behind.

The message did not get through. En route from my house to John's it got corrupted to the fact that Hobo would cycle to Csákánydoroszló, and me and John should follow him and meet up in some random pub, of which neither me or John had any idea of whereabouts, when we followed on.

Totally unaware of this, and thinking that John would be having a leisurely cycle behind Hobo, I completed my ablutions and then set off on the bike. John saw me cycle past his house, unaware that I expected him to be some kilometers ahead, and set off after me. I cycled on, stopping once to rake a picture of the long unforgiving straight between Halogy and Csákánydoroszló, totally unaware that John was manfully striving to catch me up.

I had vague directions - Fő utca (Main Street), then look for a yellow house just past the Faluhaz with Helmut's camper van parked outside. I found it with only a short hiatus by virtue of the fact that it had a windscreen sticker inside that said "Helmut + Silvia". I had arrived.

Shortly afterwards I had a SMS from John indicating that he had attempted to find Hobo and failed, and where was I? I started to send a reply, but by that John found us. There was still no sign of Hobo.

We were introduced to the assembled company including Franz Scheinegger who was the intermediary in both my property purchase in Hungary and also the house that Helmut had bought and outside which we now sat. It was good to meet him again.

We were fed beer and there was much chat sitting in the sunshine. Eventually we were fed gulyás (goulash - pronounced in Hungarian goo-yash) made by Helmut and very good indeed. Hobo must have smelt it from whichever pub he had been in as he finally put in an appearance. More beer and more chat followed and we were soon sitting in the shade of the house as the earth turned. The time came for me to leave and return to my day job of kecskepasztor. Not without the gift from Helmut and Silvia of a gert jar of the gulyás.

I cycled home at best speed, putting in considerably more effort than on the way there. I perspired freely in the slight following wind. Back in Halogy I cycled straight past my house and went to the pub for some liquid to replace what I had lost. I did not take long about it.

Back home there were no dramas or crises. All was as it should be. I always do worry when I am away from the village for more than an hour or so. I went into evening mode and finished off back at the pub where there was no sign of John or Hobo. I had a couple and went home early. Mmmm - out to lunch two days on the trot. I will have to be careful - I might develop a social life!

15th August 2011

It was the day of the re-made appointment with the vet, so once again I was confined to the yard and the goats were in house. Again time ticked by to the stage when I began to wonder if I had cocked it up again, but no - at about half past ten vet duely appeared. Dogs were confined to house and the vet came up the yard and we went into the garden. I went in and got his patient. The kid. The vet was there to castrate him. Reason for not doing it myself when I have a tool for the job? Easy. It had come to my notice that he does not charge for castrations. If it was not going to cost me anything why not have a professional do it rather than the chance of me ballsing it up, so to speak.

Vet cast about for a place and chose the edge of the camping lawn. He showed me how to hold the kid and off he went. I did not watch as the scalpel went in but it made the kid shout. I reckon it would probably have made me shout too. One went on the grass, then the other. Vet gave a liberal spray of some stuff on the area and that was that. All over in about a minute. I released the kid and he ran back to the goat house, still shouting. I let him back in to mum. Vet left, but as he was going to get in his car I did check on the payment thing. He just shrugged it off, got in his car and went.

Somewhat belatedly the goats went out. The wether (as he now was) had stopped shouting. I set to work with strimmer. No idea where.

After lunch I decided that some heavy duty weeding was in order. What it revealed was not good. Tomato blight everywhere. It was not the tomato bottom rot that I had last year. It was definitely blight. Some plants were quite obviously write-offs, other had tomatoes on that, although unripe, still showed promise. The write-offs came out of the ground and were cast aside to dry and be burned next time I have a garden fire. My readings since on the Internerd indicate that the probable culprit was the cold, wet spell about the time I went to the UK and the warmer, but still damp conditions that followed. Bordeaux Mixture, that's what I needed, but apparently you need some sort of a licence to buy the copper sulphate. Never mind, I know someone that has one.

I retired from the garden somewhat dispirited. Errr, no I wasn't - I was thoroughly pissed off! They say that every silver lining has a cloud. Well, the tomatoes were the cloud. The silver lining was that I had enough weeds in the barrow to feed the goats for a couple of evenings.

I retired to the house and ate, got the goats in and milked and went to the pub. Jozsi turned up quite late and quite unexpectedly bought me another beer. I was a bit later home than intended.

16th August 2011

Normal start, and then when the goats went out I worked a flanker on Suzy. It was time for her to have her toe nails cut. I had tried to do it the day that I did Betty out on the garden. Not a chance. Suzy is just so much stronger. She can pull equally as strongly as Rudy. There is not the same inclination to agressive behaviour, of course, but if she decides that she wants to be somewhere she just goes. I left her on the staging post just outside the goat house, took the others out and then went back and took Suzy back into the goat house where I put her on the milking table to do her feet. Much easier, all done in about ten minutes and off she went to join the others.

It was cheese making day. Today it was a total disaster. I simply did not get any sort of a curd that I could work with. In disgust at the end of the morning I went for a beer. John was there. A mini-session followed. Speaking of cheeses, when I got home I got an astonishment. I made myself a sandwich from a new cheese. Well, that is to say a cheese that was some weeks old but from which I had eaten none. This particular cheese had caused me some problems. It had been inclined to crack when finally removed from the cheese press and I had had to handle it with care. It had developed more cracks in storage and I had had to re-lard it. When I cut into it to make the sandwich it was shot through with blue veins. I made the sandwich with it anyway. At the first bite it hit me. Unmistakable. I had managed by pure chance to make a Stilton. I ate it with relish. That is to say, with delectation - I did not add some sort of Gentleman's savoury to it.

I struggled with the non-curd on and off the rest of the day. To cut a long story short, in the end I binned it. Disaster - something like three and a half litres of milk wasted. However, to jump ahead a little this cloud did have a silver lining of a quite unexpected nature. During my travels around the Internet in search of a solution to the failure of the curdling of the milk I discovered that you can make cheese from milk that has curdled naturally by souring. The sites that talked thus also said that it was important to use natural milk - not milk that had been pasteurised. Well, in the ambient temperatures here even the pasteurised milk sours not that much longer than if I leave it unpasteurised. I resolved to experiment.

Some gardening and sowing of cabbage seeds directly in the ground in the afternoon, and some sowing of seeds indoors.

It was a normal end to the day, except that Hobo was absent without leave.

17th August 2011

Up early and milked. Off to the shop, then back home and light the stove and breakfast. It is my joint first best time of the day. Out in the cool with the milking kit, and grab a handful of munchies for Suzy. She knows what she has to do. I put the munchies in the tray and Suzy hops on the milking table into the trap. I do wonder if I actually need the trap, but I think definitely yes when it comes to doing goat toe nails. I don't think I need to say what is my other joint first best time of the day.

Breakfast over I went to get the goats out and on the way provide the pigeons with their drinking water for the day. When I went in the pigeon house Mrs. Pigeon was still in the nesting box. Their water container (ex-margarine tub - 500g) was just below the nesting box. When I went to retrieve it Mrs. Pigeon, who is a bit nervous, flapped off from the nesting box to reveal a brand new freshly laid pigeon egg. I was delighted! I did the water and got out of there with the least amount of disruption possible.

The goats went out and I did some digging. I looked in the pigeon house on my way back from the garden to be greeted with the sight of Mrs. Pigeon once again sitting.

I had had some conversations with Imre, the one that I have mentioned a couple of times as having a stutter. He no longer stutters when he speaks to me. I still have difficulty understanding him. He had spoken about more hay. I had a quick bike ride to where I expected hay to be. There was none. Lost in translation again!

It was hot. Nonethless the goat house needed cleaning out. I did that and forked out a load of the old hay in the loft which went into the sties as fresh bedding. It is not hard work, but it is inevitably hot, dusty and dirty work.

It was time to get the goats in. All went in with no problem except Rudy. In a senior moment I went to get him without protection of water bucket. I said he was canny. He recognised that I had no water bucket and had me on my arse in no time flat. I have to say that he is somewhat dim. Having pitched me on my arse I expected to be gored/trampled. No, he was quite content that he had put me on my arse and resumed whatever it was that he was doing. I got the water bucket. He got a wetting, and in seconds he was where he should have been.

No Hobo in the pub. I had no idea where he was.

18th August 2011

I spent all day feeling slightly under the weather. I had no idea of the cause - certainly not alcohol related, as yesterday was just a normal day in that respect. It was a bit like a head cold, but not. No snuffles or sneezes. It lasted all day. Tomorrow it was gone.

Nevertheless, the normal morning routine went in train. Milk, shop, breakfast, water for the pigeons without disturbing Mrs. Pigeon who was busily sitting and take the goats out.

Goat water went out - it was another hot day. Then I set about strimming the yard. I managed about a third of it and retired indoors. I needed to shower and change to go to Körmend anyway. I was preparing to do that when there was a minor dog ballistic and the sound of a motor mower somewhat nearer to hand than usual. It turned out to be Tibi who not only mowed his bit of verge but mine as well. Well, the bits you can put a motor mower on anyway. Not content with that he strimmered the ditch as far as my gate as well. I suppose it is a case of what goes around comes around, as I do the same as far as his gate if I think the verge needs a haircut.

I completed my ablutions and set out for Körmend. Via the pub, of course, where I locked the bike up. I caught the bus in good time and chatted to the wife of one of the pub regulars at the stop.

The bus was still having to take the long way round to get into Körmend - via the Tescos roundabout. I made a mental note to allow an extra five minutes to get back to the departure stop. I had few calls to make but the first was the bank. Once again I was locked out of my Internet banking. Whatever. It was the same lady that had dealt with it last time. We went through the same routine. She assured me that I would have a new PIN code by the end of the day. We exchanged a wry smile and did the pleasantries and that was that.

A beer in the Presszo bar was called for, and done. A quick call in Zenit, which is still the most miserable shop in Körmend. Another quick call in Gazdabolt, which is still one of the most pleasant places to do business, and head back towards the bus stop. I called in the big Coop again for margarine. Another surprise. They had the blue Rama Harmonia on sale at just a hundred and ninety nine forints for a half kilo. I grabbed a couple, and a couple of other items that I can never be sure to be in stock in the village store. Off to the bus stop.

No problem for once. there in plenty of time. Off I went back to the village. There was a minor hiatus in Daraboshegy. The driver had just dropped someone off and was about to set off when some people that I recognised dashed across the road for the bus. Of course, this being Hungary the driver waited the few seconds for them.

Going off on one, that reminds me of an experience with a dubious lady bus driver of dubious sexual orientation that used to work for Bournemouth Yellow Buses. I got on her bus - the last bus as it happens - some metres from my local having had a few. I told her the stop, paid the fare, got the ticket and sat down. In plenty of time I rang the bell for her to stop at my stop. She quite blatantly drove some thirty metres past the stop before stopping and setting me down. Thirty metres the wrong side of the stop for me. Had I been sober I would have insisted upon her reversing and setting me down at the stop. I was not sober. I let it go. I had the last laugh. She got the sack from Bournemouth Yellow Buses by managing to take the last bus service in the opposite direction - Bournemouth to Christchurch - and arrive in Christchurch some seventeen minutes early. No doubt leaving lots of travellers relying on the last bus service stranded. Bitch. It delighted me when I found out that she had been sacked.

Where was I? Ah yes, Daraboshegy. The people that I knew got on the bus. One adult and two children. Plus a dog. I had never seen a dog on the bus before. I did not know, and still do not whether it is actually allowed. The driver allowed it anyway. I saw a couple of sheep on a bus in Tunisia! I wonder what would happen if I decided to take Rudy to Körmend on a market day? That might be fun!

Anyway, people plus dog did not get off the bus where I expected them to get off. They got off near the pub, as did I. We fell into conversation about the dog which was only a half grown puppy. It turned out to be a Border Collie! Well, I was somewhat surprised - a) that the Austrian-German for Border Collie was Border Collie and b) that the Hungarian for Border Collie was Border Collie. They were destined for the pub, same as me, but they were on a different mission - ice cream for the boys.

I had no sooner got a beer and sat down when Helmut appeared. He got himself a fröccs and joined me. The people with dog had chosen their ice creams and paid and were about to leave. I introduced them to Helmut. They had quite a good chat, all being Austrians. The dog sat just inside the doorway, very well behaved. Láci even provided a bowl of water so the dog could have a drink. Eventually they left.

Helmut and I had quite a long chat - long enough for a mini-session. Eventually we also left. Helmut to prepare to return to Austria and me to return to my kecskepasztor duties.

Back home I changed back out of town clothes into work clothes and rapidly (ha!) scythed down a sufficiency of greenery for the goats overnight. Goats went in, Suzy milked and a normal evening after that. Except no PIN code from the bank. Mmmm!

19th August 2011

There was a second pigeon egg this morning. Good-oh! Time will tell if Mr. Pigeon has done his stuff.

It was another sweltering day. There had been warnings about the heat on the telly, and the news showed scenes of free water being handed out at railway stations and other public places in the cities. The forecast was for thirty four or thirty five Celsius. In the midst of that I got some leaks into the ground, more in hope than in anger.

After lunch I went to the pub for a beer. Miklos was there and kept going on about rabbit. At the time I had no idea why. Back home I started on preparing to have a garden bonfire. It involved moving some stuff that was supposed to have been stacked and dried for winter goat food, but had now been well and truely munched and stamped on to the extent that most of it was useless owing to it having been stacked in the wrong place. Underneath was a load of various bits of non-firewood which had accumulated outside the goat house. I sorted all out, dumped it in the barrow and wheeled it up to the vicinity of where I make my garden bonfires.

I tipped it out of the barrow and movement caught my eye. The goats were milling about, very agitated. I looked at the sky, and immediately saw why. A line of ever darkening, swirling clouds had formed, some way off but getting ever closer. Distant thunder rolled. The wind started to swirl around the garden causing large trees to toss their branches. Oh-oh! No time to lose. Goats in. I just pulled their stakes and let them go. They did not take any encouraging to get back to the goat house. Once I got there I had to sort out a mayhem of goats and chains, encourage Rudy that he should be in his half of the goat house and discourage the girls from wanting to be in there with him. It grew so dark that I had difficulty finding ends of chains and sorting out which was attached to which goat in the increasing gloom of the goat house. I managed just in time, locked them in and went at best speed (slow) back to the yard.

I had just got to the gate into the yard when two things happened simultaneously. It started to rain. Big fat lucious drops that kicked up spurts of dust as they hit. And Miklos came into the yard from the street, fending off dogs and holding a carrier bag high above his head out of their way. By the time I made my way to the house door under the porchway it had turned into a torrential deluge. As far as I was concerned it did not matter. A good drenching with rain would help to offset the fact that my tee shirt had been already sodden with perspiration.

Miki had other problems. Both the dogs wanted to get under the shelter of the porch, and both were equally interested in the contents of the carrier bag that he still held above his head as he beat off the dogs. I assisted, unlocked the house, beat off the dogs from ingress and he and I went inside. The carrier bag proved to contain some joints of rabbit. No wonder that the dogs had shown an interest. He extracted them and slapped them down on my none-too-clean chopping board.

I fed him with a fröccs and had one myself. It was all I had. It was hammering down outside. Neither of us was going anywhere some a few minutes. Pickly dog huddled on the doorstep. Black dog wandered about the yard, unconcerned.

I washed hands, chucked a couple of litres of water in the slow cooker, washed rabbit and chucked that in as well, washed hands again and dried them, chucked a sufficiency of salt into the slow cooker, put the lid on and switched it on the Low setting. That was the rabbit dealt with.

I entertained Miki with some pictures of me in a couple of motorcycle magazines. He was delighted. The rain subsided sufficiently for Miki to beat a retreat back to the pub. I was happy enough to stay indoors and have a bite to eat until it was time to go and milk, by which time the storm had passed and it was quite a pleasant evening.

Pub later, of course.

20th August 2011

It was a bank holiday again today. Which once again was tough for the bankers, it being a Saturday. István a Király! So (one of) our (me and Hobo) name days.

To cut it short, milked, breakfasted, finished off making some jam over breakfast, watered the pigeons, put the goats out and went to the pub. There was much ceremonial on the telly. It grieves me to admit, but I have to say thay do it as well as we Brits do.

Back home, with all the rain yesterday I took the opportunity of hurtling a few handfuls of pigeon food about in an area where nothing grows that the goats will eat, and scything down the stuff that the goats will not eat on top of the cast about pigeon food in the vain hope that maybe something will grow that the goats will eat.

As I finished there was a doggie commotion from the yard. I went and looked. Tibi advanced up the yard with another wheelbarrow load of stuff for the goats. To my horror he had left the small gate from yard to street wide open. I expected Blackie to make a run for Szombathely. Not a bit of it. He stayed right there in the yard.

I saw one of the pink frogs again today - the ones that live in the garden and can hop about a metre and a half at a go. It quite pleased me.

I had a go at the shrubbery up by Telek utca that Tibi likes to have a small moan about. I did not last long. It was seriously too hot again.

Eating, goats, milking, pub.

21st August 2011

Sunday. Housework. Boring. Boring and sweaty - over thirty Celsius again. Apart from a chance meeting with Hobo and John in the pub, replacing Pickle's carabiner that connects to her collar, and cooking rabbit stew there was nothing worth writing about so here are some more long overdue pictures:
Well, we had the Mark II milking stool. Here is the Mark II cheese press. It is as rough and crude as you like. It will save me doing any more damage to Lajos' precious creation... Mark Two Cheese Press
Austrian Station A random Austrian station photographed on my delayed and prolonged return journey from the UK. In regard to that I am still being fobbed off by British Airports Authority. I can let it rest for now. I believe that I could put a case to the Small Claims Court within the next six years. Or maybe not. Whatever!
A view of the damage that Rudy did to the sty door... Sty Door Damage
Sty Door Damage ...and another.
A picture of the soul destroying straight between Halogy and Csákánydoroszló. The Road to Csákánydoroszló
Peach Tree Damaged By Goats This is what the goats have done to a peach tree.
And this is what yesterday's storm did to the Jonathon apple tree. I know not why but as soon as I saw it the words "and where for me the apple tree do lean down low in Linden Lea" sprang to mind. Well, I don't mind the apple tree leaning down low. But not that low!

It brought to mind another quote from the same folk song that I learnt as a boy:
Let other folk make money faster
In the air of dark roomed towns.
I do not dread a peevish master
Though no man may heed my frowns
For I be free to go abroad
Or take again my homeward road
To where, for me, the apple tree
Do lean down low, in Linden Lea.
which quite reminded me and brought back into perspective what I am doing here.
Apple Tree Storm Damage

22nd August 2011

Short today. It started off as normal. I milked, shopped and breakfasted. When I went to put the goats out it was not as normal. I opened the gate from goat house to garden and was greeted by Rudy. Not in a stroppy or agressive way, but he was in with the girls where he had no right to be. I let him out and promptly popped back in the goat house closing the door behind me to keep the girls in. I grabbed a goat chain and went back out to put it on Rudy. He had not gone far and was raiding what was left in the barrow. I clipped on his chain and coaxed him to the post permanently outside the goat house. In the meantime Suzy had managed to push open the unbolted goat house door and Suzy, Betty and the kid were loose as well. Back in the goat house for the other two chains and I rounded up Suzy first - she had not gone far - and temporarily put her on the post with Rudy. By this time Betty had found her way to the grape vine by the camping lawn and was raiding it with kid assisting. Fortunately they tend to only eat leaves. Quite strange. They will happily eat unripe or partially ripe raw elderberries with no ill effect and with would be quite toxic to humans on account of the cyanogenic glycosides content, I am told, and yet the goats quite turn their noses up at unripe grapes.

Anyway, goat situation came under control with no tantrums from Rudy and no further escapades from the others, so I finally had them where I wanted them for the day. Later on, when I investigated, it was quite obvious that Rudy's escape into the girl's quarters had been engineered by one of the girls. I suspect Suzy. For one thing there is absolutely nothing on the Rudy side of the separating reinforced door that would allow him to get it open. And for another thing the door was opened towards the Rudy side of the goat house. QED - one of the girls had figured out how to work the bolt and had pushed the door open to allow him to escape.

After that it was cheese making day. It was a lot more successful than last time! I had a load of milk that I had simply allowed to curdle naturally. The curd floated on the top, the whey beneath. I simply syphoned off the whey and the curd went into the cheese making saucepan. A bit of warmth consolidated the curd and I was able to drain away, slowly, the remaining whey until I had a solid enough curd to salt and press.

The rest of the day was same old, same old with which I will not bore you.

23rd August 2011

It was another day when the telly had warned about the heat. Not much got done outside apart from sorting out livestock.

With the temperature bumping around thirty four or thirty five I decided that it would be a good idea to make the rest of the rabbit into a rabbit pie in the morning, before the sun started to shine on the kitchen side of the house. Yeah right! By the time I actually had my pie cooked it was fourty Celsius in the kitchen. A hundred and four in old money. When I made the pastry, for the first time ever I did not have to add any liquid to it. It was just ordinary shortcrust pastry and it did turn out to be very short.

With pie finally baked I made a sandwich and for some while in the afternoon did some blog updating. I had always intended to eat the pie cold, but when I came to eat it at the end of the afternoon it was still decidedly warm.

I went to the shop after that. I decided to join the ever-growing band of p*ss-heads outside with a cold beer to drink right then. It has become a sort of regular feature of life since then. The numbers vary. I have seen fourteen of us out there - all sorts of ages, all with a beer. My next door neighbour Marika came along on evening and said in so many words "What's this then, a little pub?". Well, yes.

I went home, got the goats in, milked and went to the pub.

24th August 2011

No idea, except that it was seriously hot again. But

A very thoughtful piece from Sharon Astyk. She talks of America, of course, but I wonder to what extent it applies to pretty much the whole western world.

25th August 2011

There was yet another day of seriously hot weather in prospect. Once again there had been warnings on the telly. I milked as the sun had just peeked over the horizon. It was pleasantly cool work. Not so the rest of the day. Even the Hungarians were complaining about it.

Over breakfast the sweat began to drip as the heat from the stove drove the kitchen temperature over the thirty mark. Oh well, another wet tee shirt day! Towards the end of breakfast, over the second cup of coffee and a pipe of tobacco I noticed a problem. A small movement caught my eye. Ants! The little so and sos had found one of my cheeses and had actually started to burrow into it. I already had an answer for that. Diatomaceous earth. They do not like it one bit. A few quick puffs around the kitchen, and around the cheeses and in about an hour the ants had completely vanished. The other side benefit of diatomacious earth is that it is absolutely safe near, or even on, food. Indeed, it is actually recommended as an animal feed stuff additive, so I had no fears on that score if the cheeses had a dusting. I am after all an animal.

I forgot to mention it at the time but I took out household insurance. With the Post Office would you believe. The post lady arrived one day with another lady in the van. Hobo came along to assist. Twenty thousand forints. At today's exchange rate just over sixty three quid. Covers me for all the usual crap - fire, flood, lightning, structural collapse... It also covers me for if the dogs go on the rampage, which is a bonus. Sadly, not ditto goats :) Strangely to me the premium is based on the square meterage of the living accommodation of the house.

For the first time, today I started to wean the kid. At about three in the afternoon he went on his own little chain on a post away from Betty. He did not know what to make of it at first. I just let him stand and get used to it then gently led him to where I wanted him. It presented me with two problems. One logistical and one practical. The logistical problem was how to get the kid back to the goat house keeping him away from Betty and then organising the milking of two goats. Answer: Suzy and the kid came in first. Suzy stayed outside the goat house on the permanent post there. The kid was hooked on a hinge pin on shortened chain such that he could not reach the milking table. Then back up the garden to get Betty and Rudy - back to two trips up the garden. Rudy I just let run. He normally got as far as the pear tree in the garden and stopped to forage for windfalls. I would lead Betty back to the goat house and normally Rudy would suddenly note the absence of his harem and come galloping down to the goat house. There has since been a little collateral damage in the main garden.

The practical problem was that Betty did not have a clue. I had to manhandle her onto the milking table then manhandle her into the trap. The first couple of times of milking were a nightmare just getting hands on teats. As I write she is getting much better and will get on the table with just a little encouragement. Once I start milking now she is quite good. Not as good as Suzy but much better than the first few times. Once Betty is milked I release her and the kid and get Suzy in to milk. Rudy is by that stage tucked up in his half of the goat house.

Their supper this evening had come over the fence from No. 72. I went to the pub.

26th August 2011

The heat wave continued. By ten in the morning it was thirty Celsius. I did some work with the strimmer - no idea where. I did not stick it for very long and by then it was another wet tee shirt day.

I noticed that the carabiner that attached to Pickle's collar had just about had it. The carabiners that come on the goat/dog chains are, basically, rubbish. You may remember me saying long ago about Pickle straightening one out. The separate ones are better, but not much. Eventually (where eventually ≤ about nine months) the pin that secures the bit on the spring by means of which you clip on or release the carabiner wears, and the nicely machined way in which the two pieces of the carabiner engage no longer nicely engage. I certainly would not use them for climbing. Oh well, a bit more unscheduled expense.

27th August 2011

It was time I sorted out a load of accumulating firewood from the garden. A stack of it had been moved some while previously to underneath the big walnut tree just above the camping lawn by Jozsi. With all the usual morning stuff done I made a start on sawing it into suitable sized lumps and hurtling it over the garden gate onto the ever-growing stack on the yard. It was another seriously hot day, but I took the Lajos-type sawing horse and worked in the shade of the walnut tree until I had had enough.

I put in quite a long stint. By half past eleven I had had enough. I went for a beer. In the pub I fell into conversation with another Jozsi who I have mentioned before. Very pleasant chap. He bought Frank's house (the long gone but not forgotten Hungarian Scotsman) and moved here from Körmend. We got to talking about Linux and he indicated that he would like to see my operating system. By the way, the Hungarian for "operating system" appears to be"operating system". We had another beer and when we finished he said he had some stuff to do at home and he would be along in about half an hour. Well, that at least gave me time to dust the kezboard and the screen.

He came along, brushed off the dogs and I booted into Linux. We spent over an hour wandering around my system. We discussed erudite matters such as hard disk partitioning, FAT32 vs NTFS, how to get both Windose and Linux to see those partitions, defragmentation. And much else. Ah, Windose and defragmentation. Micro$oft in the early days said that NTFS did not need need defragmenting, and that it was not possible. Yeah, right! Some random software house wrote some software that did precisely that and it was free to download over the Internet. I cannot be sure, so do not quote me on it, but I think that Micro$oft bought them out and the defragmenting system that is on this box now at least appears to be identical to the one that I downloaded from the Internet many many years ago. I have never felt the need to have to defragment a Linux drive on account of fragmentation, so, Windose users, if your Windose box is crawling to a halt - defragment the hard disk. One of the things that Jozsi commented on was how fast Linux was compared to Windose. I have written about that before.

I went for eggs, had a beer on the way home and got in some greenery for the goats once back home.

The skies darkened, the wind picked up and the goats started running about. Another one of the late afternoon thunderstorms was on the way. I took the goats in as a precaution. I need not have bothered. Although it was a big storm we only just caught the edge of it. There was enough rain to lay the dust and that was about all. I reckon they had a good wetting just the other side of the Raba river though.

It was soon time to have a bite, milk and go to the pub. John and Hobo were already there when I arrived. Hobo bit the dust early. John and I had another beer.

This from the BBC about the toxic sludge disaster in Hungary last October.

28th August 2011

Last evening's thunderstorm was probably precipitated by the passage of a cold front which was forecast. Today was much cooler and the heatwave broken. Good. I still had the normal routine to start but at least today I was not wringing with sweat by the time I had got the goats out.

Once that was done I cycled out to meet Hobo. He had indicated that he could do with some help this morning. You can guess where I met him. Once we got to his place I sat about for some considerable time before being called upon to actually do anything. When I did do something it was just to carry a pair of loudspeakers and some random electronicals from his room to one of their outbuildings.

I took a break from my onerous duties and cycled home to check on goats and dogs and to give the pigeons an early lunch. After that I cycled back to Hobo's where it was time for human lunch. Hobo's mother had been preparing something pumpkin based when I first got there. During the course of the morning she had been frying it into flat cakes or rissoles some three or four inches across. The main course was a chicken leg type stew, done in a typical Hungarian way. The pumpkin things were offered around afterwards. Now, I am not a great lover of pumpkin but these were absolutely delicious. I must get the recipe. Yet another example of Hungarian culinary creativity with the most mundane of ingredients.

Hobo dragged me out at the earliest excuse. You can guess where we went! Hobo paid for the beers to thank me for my "assistance". Eventually I took myself off home where I still had to get in greenery for the goats and some kitchen firewood.

After that it was into normal evening mode. I have been meaning to write for ages about what happens when I return from the pub. I let the dogs in, and close the roller shutters. The dogs immediately descend upon me for a fuss. I let that go on for a while and then tell them that it is food time. When I do that, the black dog starts bounding all around the house. That is the only word for it - bounding. I tell him "Stop bounding!". He doesn't of course. I thought about the equivalent means of locomotion for a horse. As far as I know the horse has four methods of locomotion - walk, trot, canter and gallop. The only equivalent behaviour to the bounding of Blackie is a horse bucking, but then that is not locomotion.

29th August 2011

Over breakfast there was a doggie commotion from the yard. I went to investigate. Tibi told me that last night Blackie was out on the street and he had had to put him back in the yard. Tibi reckoned that he had gone over the low point at the centre of the big gates. Well, I have to say that I doubt it. The low point at the centre of the gates is within half an inch the same height as the fence and he cannot get within a mile of going over the fence. He is just too stocky and too heavily built to get that far off the ground. I know. I have seen him jumping at the fence and he can just about get his shoulders level with the top of it. I think that a more likely reason for him being out was either a) because I had not closed the gate properly, which in itself is unlikely as I always double check that it is properly closed, or b) some person unknown had been to the house, got as far as opening the yard gate and Blackie doing his escape artist trick.

To keep Tibi happy out came the angle grinder and a couple of bits of weldmesh cut to size and were wired in place one to each gate. They are now nearly the same height as the highest points of the gates. Yet another unscheduled call on my time. I was miffed, so after I took the goat water out I did some blog updating.

After lunch I did some more sawing up of the wood in the garden and hurtling it onto the heap in the yard. After that I got the goat greenery in early.

In the pub in the evening I was on small red fröccs. Sign of the austerity.

30th August 2011

It was cheese making day. It took up a fair part of the day. I forgot to tell you that the day of the ants Blackie managed to steal the whole of the cheese that had been afflicted with the ants and half a cheese that had come out of the press only that day and was still being lightly pressed under a weighted oak board to remove cheesecloth marks. I have no idea how he got at that one. I accept the fact that Blackie is a lovely, affectionate, faithful, incorrigible, recidivist thief. My problem not his.

During the afternoon I had once again to turn my attention to security. Rudy had found a weakness in the repairs that Hobo did on the morning of my departure for the UK. The repair had held, but being done in the Hungarian way with nails and string was now on the move. I had noticed Rudy butting at it and when I checked I found that the nails on one side were starting to work loose. I tried hammering it back to no avail. Time to try English technology. Suitably stout piece of oak was found, and auger bits, threaded rod and nuts, spanners and angle grinder came out to play. It took a while. Two things interfered with it being straightforward. One was that the door where Rudy had detected a weakness was now an inch or more out of alignment with the other in the vertical plane. No amount of heavy handed inducement with hammer would persuade it to go back. I had to start winching it back by tightening the nuts on the threaded rod. It went about half way. I needed to get the other piece of threaded rod through the other door to persuade it any more.

That was when I hit the second snag. I had to bore the second hole from inside the goathouse to outside. I ran out of bit. It went in right up to the brace and still had not penetrated to the outside. I returned outside to find out why. My efforts with brace and bit had only succeeded in loosening the already loose nails even more and the board was flexing and the bit not biting. The nail heads in the offending part of the board were protruding. I hammered them home and belted a couple more in for good measure. Back in the goat house I finally managed to bore a hole all the way through. The second bit of threaded rod went through, and from outside I was finally able to completely tighten both.

The doors were finally aligned again. I tested them from inside with a few hefty shoulder changes. Now, I am tempting fate here but I reckon that Rudy will have to take the entire steel frame out to get out of that. Reminds me of the Barrel of Bricks speech by Gerrard Hoffnung at the Oxford Union. Without the pain!

I got the goat food in after that. Then went to the pub for a fröccs. Hobo was there. John was there too. A couple of beers came my way. Hobo told me that he knew where there was more good goat hay. I hoped it was - good goat hay. Rough as you like, full of weeds and at which a horse would turn its nose up.

We all three left the pub. By the time that John got as far as the shop I was sat outside with a beer in company with the other p*ss-heads. Miki was there. Three very fit (bloke thing) young ladies went past on the road on rollerblades in echelon occupying most of the road. Miki set off at a jog after them. One of the younger members of the little pub outside the shop called after him along the lines of "Come back Miki - you have no chance". Correct in every aspect I think.

You know, the little pub outside the shop is a recent phenomenon. I while ago I would probably have done the same thing at more or less the same time sitting on my house doorstep. Far better to sit there, for the same price, and listen to the crack going down. My input is minimal. My enjoyment enormous, and it does help my understanding of the Hungarians and the Hungarian language just sitting and listening.

I stayed home and did some blog updates afterwards.

31st August 2011

No idea! No notes, no recollection. And so passes August.


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