The cottage in Halogy Banner image. The Hungary project Halogy Arms RSS Feed
[Valid RSS]

March 2012

Date 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12|13|14|15|16|17|18|19|20|21|22|23|24|25|26|27|28|29|30|31

1st March 2012

I was not up early, but early enough to catch the remains of the fire in the tile stove to light the kitchen stove. Then off to the shop. I very nearly got caught out, but at the last moment spotted the scrappy bit of paper taped to the till to inform customers that she would not be open in the evening. She is apt to do that. I did a quick turnaround and went back round adding the bits that I knew I would have bought in the evening to my shop.

Business as usual after that, with nothing special to report. I might say that February had turned out to be a rather expensive month. A couple of extra bills, one anticipated the other not, pigeon food, various bits from Bödő and so on. None of it was huge amounts of money but over the month it had all added up.

I will also mention what a very odd winter it was weather-wise. I in no way expected to be out and about in the garden doing estate maintainence jobs all through December and January, and it was beginning to look like the couple or three weeks in February when we had the icy blast from Siberia was all the winter we were going to get. Naturally, the time spent on the maintenance jobs was time that could not be spent elsewhere, and the winter handicrafts side of things had remained virtually untouched. In the cold snap it had been unthinkable to contemplate spending time in the workshop.

Hobo turned up to check out some paperwork from T-Home for me. It was top side of a dozen pages and I understood enough to know that it was about changes to my Internet package. I was not about to spend hours on Google translate to get to the bottom of it. Hobo went through it, advised me that it was all automatic and I need do nothing, but to expect more correspondence in about a month. We had a couple if little pálinkas on the strength of that (his!).

Back to business as usual after that - goats/pigeons/firewood/etc. Then to the pub for a kis fröccs and my daily dose of Rex.

In spite of saying that I would not be out in the evening I ended up in there. To my amazement Miki bought me a beer. He must have been well in funds. Also in spite of saying that he would not be out, somewhat belatedly Hobo turned up. Hmmm - the willpower of jellyfish the both of us!

2nd March 2012

Friday, and doctor's day at the faluház. I did goats and pigeons early and trolled on down there. Of course, the law of sod applied and the doctor was twenty minutes late arriving. I was not ill. I just wanted him to countersign a couple of photocopy documents and stamp them. They were to accompany my pension claim. For one of the first times since I had been here I hit a brick wall. Because there was no suitable endorsement and (official) place to put his signature and stamp he would not sign them.

I went home to consider my options. I had chosen doctor because a) he knew me b) he came to the village and c) he was on the list of people whose signature would be accepted - doctor/notary/clergyman/dah-dee-dah.

OK - Plan B. Also on the list was bank official. Well, he knew me too but it would mean a trip to Körmend. So be it, but I did take the precaution of popping in the shop to make sure that my bank manager was at the bank that day. I mentioned the relationship before, long ago - my bank manager is the son of the shop lady. She told me he would be at work and she kindly said that she would ring him and let him know that I was going.

Early goats and pigeons, a quick change and time for a quick fröccs in the pub before catching the bus. I went straight to the bank. The armed guard on reception - yes, all the banks have a man with a gun - had obviously been primed as he went to fetch the manager immediately once I asked to speak to him. Great! Then I hit the same brick wall that I had with the doctor. There was much confering between him and a colleague, the documents went away for more confering and the eventual result was the same. He would not sign. I managed to get from him after much delay a certificate in English certifying that I was a customer at the bank. It was obvious that that was all I was going to get so I accepted it, duly stamped and signed. I retired, defeated, to the Presszo bar for a beer and a ponder.

My pondering brought me to the thought that the only way that I could think to get those two documents countersigned would be to make an appointment with the English speaking solicitor in Szombathely that had dealt with the house purchase and pay to get there, no doubt pay him, and pay to get back to the village. Not going to happen. Plan Z! I borrowed a pen from the bar, wrote a quick explanation that I could not get the documents countersigned in Hungary, sealed the whole jolly lot up and headed for the post office to get it in the post. It left me just enough time to get the bus back to Halogy. The only compensation for effectively a whole day taken out was that I was back in time to watch Rex!

John came back with the thought later that it could be something to do with the Hungarian legal system and possible exposure to liability. Well, the UK pension people would just have to pick the bones out of it.

3rd March 2012

I was not late to the shop, but the person in front of me bought the last half loaf of bread in the place. I had enough bread at home to last me the day and probably enough for tomorrow breakfast anyway, so I had not ordered my normal weekend vekni. Oh well, a bag of flour and a little package of fresh yeast went in the shopping. I knew what I would be doing either today later on or tomorrow morning. There were a few in the queue behind me, more shopping and more arriving as I left. I bet the majority of them wanted bread. Lots of unhappy campers, then. No idea what that was all about, but I did know that it being Saturday there would not be another delivery of bread to the shop.

Apart from all the usual I have not the slightest idea what else happened so here are three long overdue photos to keep you happy:
Maize This was when I was processing the maize that Láci kindly sent down from the pub. The sack by the table contains the cleaned (?) maize. To the left the sack of cobs to be dealt with - I think there were originally five or six sacks of cobs. The sack in the foreground contains the stripped husks. All good for the kitchen fire.
I took this when the stripping off of the cobs was complete. The sack was beyond my capabilities to lift. I had had to slide it across the tiles to where you see it. I put it by the bicycle for scale. A fair amount of maize had already gone into the goats. Maize
Chopped Kugli This stack of wood was the result of chopping just one pear tree kugli. You can see from the scale of the big axe that they are not small pieces of wood and that there are a fair few of them. You can also see if you look closely that Pickle was determined to get entwined in the procedings.

4th March 2012

I had not slept at all well and woke up feeling drained and jaded. There was still the usual to be done so I got on and did it. As mentioned yesterday one of my jobs was to bake bread. Whilst the dough was proving I had a general and necessary reorganising of digital photos. What were on the blog, what still in the camera, who did I need to copy, which directory should they end up in? It took a while.

I had put the morning down to hangover, but as the day drew on I did not get better, I got worse, in spite of intravenous pálinka and hot mustard poltices. No pub, early bed. The bread I had baked was nice though.

5th March 2012

A day late I did the housework that I should have done yesterday. At least as much as it was going to get done. All swept through. Hobo turned up. He was looking for enough work for a packet of cigarettes. Oh yes, it is that bad. I set him on to take the collapsing roof off the lean-to outhouse outside the pigeon house. I assisted when required by stacking roof tiles. Towards the end of the job he encountered two relatively sound roof timbers, rotten only where they sat in top of the wall that divides that little outhouse from the garden. When he finally released the first one, from his precarious perch he had to let it drop against that wall. I saw the wall rock. All that is holding it up is the weight of the bricks sitting on the rotten lime mortar. I could easily kick it over.

In the interim of helping Hobo I decided to sort out rats. They were undoubtedly about. Pickle had had the one but nothing since. There were rat holes in the floors of three outhouses. I decided to see if I could drown the buggers. I sorted out the garden hose. Short, but off topic, the Tecso hose that I bought when I first arrived has utterly disintegrated. I know now why I see neighbours and other villagers hauling heavy, good quality rubberised hose about. Also off topic is that hose is sold in Imperial measurement - either half inch or three quarter inch. Anyway, back on topic, I set about the outhouse nearest to where Hobo was working. With hose and trowel all the earth dug out by rats was returned down the holes (multiple) with copious quantities of water. As I write, the rats have not returned to that particular outhouse.

Hobo had finished his work and so had I for the moment. We went to the pub for a beer. Back home I had lunch and then a frenzy of things that I wanted to get done. All the various firewood and then into the garden to rake up two good tarpaulin loads of dry chestnut leaves to go into the goathouse as fresh bedding. Back up the garden with the strimmer, still configured as a brush cutter, and thrashed the area from where the chestnut leaves had come to a pulp. The brush cutting attachment had a bit of a workout and managed to level to the ground some shrubby stumps about two inches in diameter.

Pub in the evening where I paid Hobo the price of his pack of cigarettes and that left me with enough for a couple of kis fröccs.

6th March 2012

It was good weather again, but with a biting, blustery north-easter blowing as if to say that winter was not quite finished with us yet. The ground was still frozen a few centimetres down. The frozen rainwater butt was still on its side and I managed to heave a huge plug of ice from it. As I write, it only finally melted a couple of days ago.

The shop shut early and remained so for the rest of the day. I had thirty forints in my pocket, so I hung out the sign for Posta. I half expected that it would be either the regular lady in the relief van with no cash machine or one of the relief drivers that would ignore my sign hung out. I have to confess that that does not often happen now. The regular lady turned up and I had cash once again.

Washing and firewood - boring!

Back to the computer in the afternoon to do more work connected with pensions. It took me a while to sort out to whom I should be writing, and another while to compose the letters. I wrote long ago about the "Vesuvius" principle. If it is important enough to bubble up to the top of the pile, deal with it. Thus it was today. I would much rather that Vesuvius had said to deal with this in the garden or that in the yard, but the pensions stuff arose to the top.

Pub in the evening, limited to kis fröccs. And likely to be so for a while. You might ask why go to the pub then? Well, a given is that once home from the pub, as I am right now, there will be time either trolling round the Internet or updating the blog. I like a couple of bottles of beer whilst I spend the couple of hours doing that. It is also a given that if I stay in for the evening, from the time I have finished goats and pigeons for the day to when I go to bed the two bottles of beer become four. Two beers at shop price at the moment is two hundred and eighty forints. Three small fröccs is two hundred and forty forints. QED, I save money by going to the pub.

On the way home the atmospherics were such that I cycled through a delightful melange of the aroma of wood smoke from many tile stoves.

7th March 2012

Minus six with a blustery wind blowing. Lovely! I spent the morning on innumerable little necessary jobs. Unbusy the kitchen, saw another two inches of acacia post, slice up some leaves, more tidying and cleaning here and there although you would not know it if you arrived now.

I was in and around the yard pretty well all morning. I never heard or saw sign of the dog food van. Pickly dog hears his jingle from the first time he plays it several hundred metres away and sets up a particular bark that alerts me to the fact that he is approaching. It never happened today. Whether he did not come, or was in a different van I will continue to never know. Oh well, need the Purina van tomorrow.

Lunch, a bit more sawing, get the firewood in and off to the pub to watch Rex. I got a freebie from the landlady. Fröccs, that is!!

I went home, did the goats and pigeons and then went to the shop. I had a shock when I bought pipe tobacco. The price had been hiked by ninety forints from five hundred and eighty to six hundred and seventy. I found out later that it was across the board - cigarettes, hand rolling, pipe, the lot. There was much moaning in the village.

Pub, home and onto the Internet to investigate a thought that had occured. Pigeon shit! Ooops, sorry - pigeon guano. Wonderful stuff. Better by half a percent than hen shit. Ooops, sorry - chicken droppings. Well, the limited amount of pigeon shit - sorry, guano - will fill a particular horticultural need this season.

8th March 2012

Good weather again but still below zero first off. All the usual stuff first off and then I set about sorting out garden hose. The twenty five metres that I bought from Tesco when I first arrived here was an ex-hosepipe. Utterly disintegrated into pieces anywhere from six feet to six inches long. Firewood. Well, maybe a bit of thermal depolymerisation a little bit at a time. The second hose - fifty metres that Lajos had acquired for me somewhere had fared better. I wonder for how long.

I had a reason for sorting out the hose. I needed to sort out rat holes in the various outhouses. It took a while to untangle the hose. It had all been dragged from the garden at the onset of winter and deposited in the potting shed. I had been a bit remiss, as I had a perfectly good wind up hose reel device. Unfortunately that was when the Tesco hose decided to part company and I lost patience with it. The hose was stiff with cold and from here and there there were crunching noises from within as I sorted it out. I finally had it untangled and laid it on the yard in the sun to thaw out. Mistake! Next thing it was all over the yard tangled up on Pickle's chain. I sorted hose and chain out, untangled hose again and laid it by the house wall as best I could.

I still hate having to chain Pickle. It is scant consolation that Tibi has to similarly chain one of his dogs. I look forward to the day - this year, hopefully - when there will be a new, steel, second fence across the yard between house and outhouse and a similar fence and gate into the garden, and all other similar escape routes for dogs blocked. I don't worry about black dog getting out. That is just a nuisance. He does not molest chickens or goats or people - he just goes walkabout aborigine style. Pickle on the other hand would happily kill goats, chickens or cats if she could get hold of them.

I got the hosepipe working eventually. It was at first like a little ice machine. Lots of little half inch diameter inch long ice cubes. Like a little ice machine. With hosepipe working and armed with trowel I shovelled/hosed all the earth pushed out of rat holes back down the rat holes with a few trowelsful of slaked lime for good measure in the root cellar outhouse. As I write there has been no recurrence of rat holes. Hope I drowned the buggers!

I did some Internet research on environmentally friendly was of getting rid of rats and came up with an intriguing method that I could adapt using walnuts. It involved plaster of Paris. Grind up walnuts to a walnut butter consistency, add an equal amount of plaster of Paris and make into a workable dough with cooking oil. Make into marble sized balls and leave where the rats will get them. Rat digestive system digests the walnut and cooking oil. The plaster of Paris reacts with the water in their gut releasing lots of heat and then sets into stuff that they are unable to defaecate. A multiple death from dehydration and constipation. It would avoid the problems with toxic baits around the place. I bet that the rats would not think that it was environmentally friendly, but better that than exposing dogs/cats/goats/pigeons to highly toxic baits. There was a snag. I asked Hobo where to get plaster of Paris. Nowhere other than the hospital, he said.

I wanted to do a garden fire but ran out of time on that. I continued with the odd ten minutes here and there of sawing the acacia post in half. Lajos saw me at it and later made a wry comment. Whatever. It continues to serve to remind me what I am about here, and to comment to you that using a fossil fuelled device to do the same is the equivalent of having two hundred slaves.

I went for eggs and my afternoon dose of Rex. I confess to feeling guilty about it. In a way I will not be sorry when they change the schedules and I no longer take an hour out at the end of the afternoon. There was a switch of series today - quite a different cast.

Pub in the evening. Hobo was off on one. Not at me. World in general I suspect.

9th March 2012

Not much idea - the aide-memoire notes do not help much. Apart from I did some reorganising and copying of photos, and I had a huge food parcel of stale bread from the pub. Joli said it was for the dogs. I told her that the dogs could have the crusts but the goats would have the white bit in the middle.

10th March 2012

The little pub outside the shop was in full swing when I went over there. It is, every day that the weather is fine, morning and evening. I have never been tempted to join them at that time of day. I just made the usual start.

A trail of consequences came into play. With spring fast approaching, if not here, I wanted the wheelbarrow in the garden for shifting compost. It had been in the yard since I used it to transport pear wood into the wood house. There was another job to be done with it and I decided that I wanted it done before the barrow returned to gardening duty. Clean out the area just outside the pigeon house where Hobo had demolished the little outhouse. Broken tiles, brick ends, the remains of lime rendering fallen off the walls, fragments of rotten wood and general detritus abounded. Very much like the goat house yard. Brick ends, broken tiles and odd lumps of cement joined the debris in the other fallen down outhouse over the yard. It will be a while before any of that gets moved. A very low priority. The crumbled mortar and other earthy stuff went into a bomb hole that the dogs had dug, and then around the pear tree stump. I had decided that the only way to deal with that was to landscape it in and let nature take its course. Ten barrow loads came out before I knocked it on the head for the day. Guess what I found? Just as in the goat house yard I found a half decent concrete floor underneath it all.

After lunch, pigeons and goats it was time for a garden fire. There was no way that I dared light a fire in my normal spot. The grass around was sere and dry. That was how Hobo had set the garden on fire. It went on the main garden and I had a merry blaze of scrappy stuff raked up from around the goat house, spent maize stalks and the wood unsuitable for firewood that I had dragged out from around the chestnut tree. I had no sooner lit mine than the old lady at No. 72 came out and followed suit. Mind you, mine was bigger and better than hers. I spent a while raking it over to make sure that everything that would burn had burnt. By the time I left it there was the merest whisp of grey smoke rising. After all the heat and smoke I deserved a beer so I went for one.

Back home I returned to the site of the fire and distributed the ash all over that part of the main garden. Rain was forecast and I did not want the ash all remaining in one spot. All that lovely potash spread evenly about.

Pub in the evening, and a couple more beers: a) I had earned it and b) it was Saturday.

11th March 2012

Sunday. Housework, and then back to finish off outside the pigeon house. I went for an early fröccs after that. Another bag of stale bread came my way from the landlady. Good-oh - more extras for dogs and goats.

I confess to a leisurely day after that. At the tail end of the afternoon I was on my way out for another fröccs when Marika stopped me. They had visitors who I had not met before - a husband and wife and a young lady of about thirteen or fourteen. The young lady spoke to me in excellent English. They detained me only long enough to ask how long I would be gone and to go back to them when I returned.

I had my couple of fröccs in the pub and headed back. I parked the bike in the yard and returned next door. As soon as I arrived I had a large pálinka thrust upon me. It turned out that they were doing what happens in the aftermath of a pig killing. They had not had a pig killing but had quite a few kilogrammes of various bits of pig that had to be dealt with. I chatted again to the young lady whilst downing the pálinka at a leisurely rate, but not so leisurely as to cause offence. Another large one followed immediately. I was invited in when they withdrew from the yard to make hurka inside.

A well used sausage filling machine appeared and was eventually correctly assembled. In the meantime the young lady in between chatting to me was testing sausage skins by the simple expedient of pinching one end and blowing them up, balloon-like, from the other. Now, these were what I would call real sausage skins. She did it without a qualm. In the meantime Marika and the mother of the young lady were preparing the filling in the traditional way of mixing it in a gert bowl using only their hands. There was animated discussion as to whether it needed more salt or more pepper or a bit more of this or a bit more of that. The young lady was called in to assist with the mixing and tasting. She did not bat an eyelid at being up to the elbows in the raw ingredients of hurka, nor having a lick at her fingers to express her opinion of the mixing and seasoning. How many British young ladies of this day and age do you reckon would even contemplate that? It takes me back to the comment I made a while ago about the disconnect, particulary with the rise of supermarkets, between what you eat, what is actually in it and the actual process involved in that. I wonder how many private pig killings a year there are in the UK? Would it still be even legal? But I know that when I was a young boy my grandfather raised and killed a pig every year, and that was in a town.

Before I left I had pressed upon me a (large) strawberry pálinka. Now that was rather different. I did not leave empty handed either. Several of the freshly made hurka and a tray of cakes. I did my pastoral duties in an alcoholic haze and retired to house for the evening.

12th March 2012

Apart from the usual I was involved in trivial but time consuming work in and around the house. Washing up, washing, starting to prepare something to eat... One of the jobs was to empty the ash from the tile stove. Another half a firebrick had parted company overnight. I found where it had come from. It would be a bstd nightmare from hell job to cement back in or bodge up. Nothing I could do about it until the tile stove remains unlit anyway.

The pressure to do inside and outside gardening work was growing daily and there was much to do. John stopped by with a couple of pages of printing he kindly did for me - pensions stuff. In the post tomorrow, then.

Rex in the afternoon. Several sessions of sawing acacia log during the day. I neglect to mention it. I manage about six inches a day.

When I got home and after doing goats and pigeons the kitchen light petulantly refused to work. It would remain refusing to work. I was not about to buy a new tube to put in a crap fitting that gave a crap light everywhere anyway. I have a plan for that. A nice long fitting with sliding bulb holders - five or six - and the new-type LED bulbs in each fitting. For as long as the electricity stays on anyway.

Pub in the evening. John showed up and so did Jozsi briefly. Jozsi was in funds - he bought me and John a beer.

13th March 2012

It started off as an ordinary enough day. A lovely spring morning it was too. Shop, stove breakfast, beat the dogs... Out to water the pigeons and feed the goats. When I got round to the goat house to give the goats their maize stalks Rudy was banging away at the steel window frame as usual but Suzy was not in her usual position with her head out of the goat house the other side of the window frame. Oh-oh! I gave Rudy his stalks then hastened into the other half of the goat house. Not only was Suzy alive and well but also she had presented me with lovely little twin does, still wobbly on their feet and still wet. I could only have missed the births by minutes, but then again I was not present at the conception either. I just stood and watched for a while. To my delight I saw both kids going to look for food from Suzy. I had not been expecting kids until next month. How did you manage that, Rudy? I left them to it in the goat house and just stood outside in the sunshine for several minutes, utterly content.

Whatever I had been going to do it went by the board. After looking in again at Suzy and kids I went for a beer. It became two when the landlord's son plonked the second before me.

Back home and back to the agenda of the day, somewhat delayed. Dogs remained locked in and I set about the interior of the pigeon house, which was in almost as bad condition as the little yard outside. Various crap came out and was disposed of. Then it was lunch time.

After that it was shovel and wheelbarrow from inside the pigeon house - hence the dogs continuing to be confined. I had another delight when I fed the pigeons. Mrs. Pigeon No. 1 left the nest to reveal two tiny little freshly hatched chicks. Ah, what a day! I managed to touch base with both neighbours and told them about the goat kids. Happiness all round. I checked on Suzy and the twins again and then went for a well-earned dose of Rex in the pub.

Home and the usual. Check that the pigeons had water and lock them in. Feed the goats, once again ensuring that Suzy and offspring were fine. All was good.

Pub in the evening.

Mr Brooks wrote in his Daily Telegraph column on Monday about how much he was looking forward to going to the Cheltenham horse racing festival, which began on Tuesday. "The happiest moment of my year is about three hours before the first race at Cheltenham on Tuesday" he said. Riding on the back of his once powerful, now twice arrested wife Rebekah no doubt.

And "Once you have an economic interest in the use of a resource like water then you can talk about wasteful use." Now, how totally bollox is that? None of us can survive without water, neither me, nor the dogs, nor the goats, nor the pigeons nor you. There should be NO economic interest. I wonder what would happen if some minority person, or group permanently disabled this idiot's water supply to his residence. I think he would soon be singing a different song. Been there - tee shirt. Stuffed shirt idiot. And John Seymour has it absolutely right. I am guessing that about ninety nine percent of households in the UK flush the loo with perfectly good drinking water. Seymour describes it, basically, as a nonsense - and nonsense it is. Grey water or rainwater would both be perfectly good for flushing away the remains of yesterday's food. Millions of cubic metres a day going to waste - literally!

14th March 2012

Sorting out the yard. All day!

15th March 2012

Well, it was a very mixed day. It did not start at all well. I went to feed the goats to find only one living twin. The other had succumbed - I know not why - during the night. As you can imagine, it cast a shadow on the start of the day. No. It cast a shadow on the whole day. In accordance with a goat web site that I frequent I acted on their advice. "Remove dead kids from the goat house immediately." I did what I had to do and disposed of her little body. It did not make me happy but I suppose that the only saving factor was that she had been too young for me to really get any sort of meaningful attachment.

I had chosen names for the twins commensurate with their status as twins. I abandoned them. Jumping ahead a little I settled on a name for the surviving twin. I mentioned it to Hobo. To my astonishment and without me uttering a word he came up with the same name that I had. The remaining twin is Vicky, or as Hobo would say Viktoria.

It was a bank holiday today. National Day (Nemzeti Nap) - celebration of Petőfi Sándor, I think. I did my village photographer thing.

Before that, for the first time this year it was uncold enough for me to have a proper, naked, all-over swill down in the bathroom. Oh, how the muck rolled off. I don't much care.

16th March 2012

It was another mild and clear spring day. Very nice, but we really could do with a full day of rain. After the usual I started on digging over the pigeon house garden. I had managed to spread a goodly layer of part rotted ex-goathouse stuff on it before winter but had run out of time to get it dug in. In a couple of hours I had about two thirds of it done before knocking it on the head to do some other stuff. For the first time this year it was down to tee shirt and sweating.

I did some yard clearing up and breaking up of the old pear tree small stuff. I had the sign out for Posta but nobody showed up. I wondered if they got an extra day off because of the bank holiday, and I also wondered if it would be one of those odd weeks when they showed up on a Saturday, so I left the sign out. I had lunch.

When I went to feed goats and pigeons it was clear that Suzy had a problem. She is normally a very silent animal but she was bleating quite a bit. I thought maybe that she was bleating for the lost kid, but I checked her out and found her udder very distended. Of course. She would just have been getting into production to feed two kids and now there was only one feeding. I put her on the table and milked her out a little both sides. It was evident that she must have been in some discomfort as she took a little persuading to stand and let me milk her. It did the trick and she immediately went back to being her normal silent self. As I write there has been no recurrence.

I did a bit more digging in the afternoon, but not too much. The old lady next door had been in her garden when I first went out to do the goats. She was still in the garden when I returned to the yard. She was there again when I did the lunchtime feed and she was still there when I went off to watch Rex. It continues to astonish me.

The wether was out of the goat house (again - not for the first time) when I went to do the evening feed. I had never managed to catch him actually in the act of escaping so I had no idea how/where he was getting out.

17th March 2012

The sign for Posta remained out in vain. Mmmmm! After my Saturday shop it left me with a tad under three thousand forints to last the weekend and do the Monday morning shop. I set aside a thousand for that, which left me with a tad under two thousand for the weekend entertainment. Oh well, kis fröccs it would be then.

My dealings with rat holes in the cellar outhouse had unearthed (literally) a wooden garden rake, handle-less and missing one tooth, that I knew that I had but had never dealt with since the previous wooden rake dissolved into the sunset. Today was the day for dealing with it. I set off into garden armed with saw. I cast about here and there but could not find anything suitable until I checked out the wilderness patch. There, on an uncoppiced little birch tree was just the job - an almost straight branch with an almost equal angled fork in it. Out it came and back to the yard.

With bark peeled it did indeed prove to be just the job. It proved to have just the right amount of spring for the two ends of the fork to enter the two holes in the rake, and just the right amount of natural taper that with a bit of judicious mallet work it was wedged hard in the rake with about an inch protruding though each side. I similarly peeled the bark from the other end - the end you hold - and shoulder-planed off the bits where twigs or incipient twigs would be. I had to make a new tooth for it. It proved that the old one was easily enough removed by driving it out with a bit of ex-weld mesh. Another cast around, this time in the wood stacked up in the yard, provided me with a suitable candidate tooth. That worked as well, and with just a little scraper-type work new tooth was installed too. Pictures will follow when I post them.

I went out to the garden and finished off the digging of the pigeon house garden. Time to road test the rake. Now, these rakes are not designed for raking stuff up. They have very long handles - two metres or more - which means that they work at a very small angle to the ground. My observations of the neighbours indicated that such a rake is designed just for raking over freshly dug soil and reducing it to a fine tilth. My newly refurbished rake did exactly that, in spite of a somewhat wibbly-wobbly handle, but I expect that it will stiffen somewhat as it seasons. I also expect that it will shrink a bit and the head will become loose. For that very reason I put no fixings in it so that if/when it does I will just be able to use the knocking stick and wedge it up again.

After lunch/pigeons/goats I shifted my attention to the main garden to finish off yet another bit that did not get the winter digging. The old lady had quite an essemblage of family today. They shouted to me where I was digging. I wandered over. I had a pretty good idea what they wanted and I was right. They wanted to see baby goat. I fetched Vicky from the goat house and passed her over to them. I suspect that there, there were great-great-grandchildren of the old lady. There was much cooing over and stroking of Vicky. There was also much Meah-Meah from Suzy in the goat house. After a suitable period Vicky was returned to Suzy and all became peaceful again. I went back and finished my digging. After that, pub for a fröccs.

Hobo tracked me down. Blah-blah - something about wheelbarrow. And tools. I eventually got the gist that he wanted tyre levers - a puncture in John's wheelbarrow tyre. I have no tyre levers. The only tyres I remove and replace are bicycle ones, done in time honoured fashion with the handle of a spoon and a fork. I offered to lend John my barrow for the duration of the task that John and Hobo were doing. Hobo had his stubborn head on and would have none of it. He was determined to get that tyre mended. It turned out that the inner tube was beyond redemption - needed mending with a new one. Whatever! Hobo borrowed (hired - they don't do anything for nothing here in Hungary) a barrow from John's neighbour. Now why could he not have borrowed F.o.C mine?

I did the usual then went to the pub. Hobo still had his stubborn head on. I was the target this time . "Why did I not train Rudy?" In the end I lost patience and raised my voice to the extent that heads turned in the pub."Because you can't train a semi-wild buck animal!!! He will always want to be the boss!" He shut up after that and changed the subject.

18th March 2012

I found out this morning how the wether gets out of the goat house. Between the steel window frame in the ex-garage where Rudy lives and the woodwork which sits on top of the wall at the end of the little goat yard is a gap. I saw him leave via that gap this morning. He is still that bit smaller than Suzy that he can get through and Suzy can't. As I mentioned, she pokes her head round every feed time to see what I am at. I had a think about it, and as late in the winter confinement as it is I decided on a change of tactic. I put the wether in with Rudy. Suzy was bullying him unmercifully, especially now she had the remaining kid. As I write - otherwise I know I will forget - it works out well. Rudy does not bully him except to get him out the way where food is involved. I get round that the usual way, by putting the food in multiple places. When Rudy is feeding one place the wether can be feeding another.

When I went to give the pigeons their water I found that Mrs. Pigeon No. 2 had abandoned sitting her eggs. They were long overdue for hatching and it was obvious that Mr. Pigeon No. 2 had simply not done the business. I removed them and disposed of them. If it happens again Mr. Pigeon No. 2 will be destined for the pot. I am fairly certain that I have spare cock birds anyway so Mrs. Pigeon No.2 will just have to find a new mate. I have to say that that hen bird is very protective of her eggs. If I get too close she growls at me. I did not know that pigeons could growl, but that is the best way I can describe it. If I get closer still she will get as close as she can to attacking me without leaving the eggs. She will flap a wing at me and attempt to peck me.

The two squabs from Mrs. Pigeon No 1. were just starting to fledge. Tiny little pin feathers starting to appear, too soon to figure out their colouration.

Nothing much after that. Sunday. Housework. And later on more work on vine posts.

19th March 2012

Short today. More digging in the main garden. I had yet to tackle my bête noir of the moment - the area that Jozsi had rough dug at the tail-end of last year and where I want the spuds to go this year. I was beginning to formulate a cunning plan for that. More later.

More work on vine posts and some work on the crossmembers. I had every intention that they would start to go in the ground tomorrow. For a reason.

We had a shower of rain. Enough to wet the surface but given the lack of precipitation in the winter not nearly enough.

I went to the shop in the evening opening and quite unexpectedly a young man of the village bought me a beer, so I joined the little pub outside the shop. Very pleasant it was too, with only a short while of pigeon and goat work still to be done.

I did that, ate and went to the pub. Hobo was off on one. For once it was not me, or the dogs, or the goats. I remain in total ignorance of what he was going off on one.

I am not doing much doom and gloom at the moment but this is worth a watch. A good take from an economist.

20th March 2012

Four years! Four years to the day since I moved into the house. Where the heck did those four years go? Well: at least I have an ever expanding garden, the goats are keeping the rest of the meadow under control, the house internally improves slowly, the house externally still needs much work, the yard is a disaster zone (thanks dogs and ex-pear tree), the plumbing still scares me as does the electricity supply, the outhouses are falling down faster than I can deal with them, I have learned to deal with livestock including teaching myself how to milk a goat. I am far from satisfied. I need to up the work rate but I don't know how!

I started by putting the first of the vine posts into the ground. Tibi, bless him, had thought to help by boring the post holes some months ago in a single session. Mmmmm. Those months had allowed the post holes to collapse internally to about a foot deep. Redo from start.

Another post went in and a crossmember. I had intended to stop at that, but another two posts and crossmembers went in also. Well, that was about seven metres worth of vines that could come off the floor with space to put one or two new vines in.

That was it for the day. I ached. I was knackered. Photos will follow.

21st March 2012

I was not up late and I arrived in the shop in the midst of the morning rush hour. I waited my turn, which was a while coming round. The person in front of me bought the half a loaf that I had had my eye on. There was no more on the shelf. When it was my turn I immediately asked "Nincs kenyer?" (No bread?). The reply was immediate. "Nincs!" (None). My face dropped. The shop lady unearthed from somewhere a vekni and did at least admit that it was old bread. Well, I had no bread in the house and my breakfast toast I had to have. Old bread or not, she charged me full price for it. There were many in the queue behind me who I knew would want bread. They were destined to be disappointed. Reminds me of a made up proverb - "Blessed is he that expecteth nothing, for he shall not be disappointed"

It was not until I got the bread home that I realised just how old it was. Today was Wednesday. The expiry date on the bread was Monday. That meant that it had been baked last Saturday. Whatever! It toasted alright and later made me a somewhat stale sandwich for lunch. The rest went into dogs and goats. The dogs had the crusts and the goats had the white bits.

I was just finishing breakfast when there was a doggie commotion. They happen all the time but this one was of the sort that did not die down. I poked my head out to find a DHL van parked outside. What? I had not ordered anything that involved a parcel delivery service. I wandered out. He had but an A5 envelope for me, to be signed for, with a Royal Mail postage sticker. He made me produce ID before he would let me sign. I signed and he gave me the envelope. He started on something unintelligible to me and I just shrugged. He thought better of it and off he went.

Inside I examined envelope. Newcastle upon Tyne. Oh-oh. Pensions people. In light of my escapade with the signatures thing I opened it in some trepidation. I should not have worried. Contained therein was my birth certificate (original) and the two copy documents (unsigned) returned to me. No covering letter. Nothing. Whatever! At least I knew that the pensions people had received my claim.

The weather was warm and clear again and after goats and pigeons it was straight onto the garden. More digging and weeding, then a spreading of ex-goat compost on the next bit to be tackled.

Lunch, and then back to it. I had a totally unexpected delight of nature when I fed the pigeons. I had just checked on the squabs when Mr. Pigeon No. 1 flew right by my face and started to feed one of the squabs right there within half a metre of my face. I know that I should not have been surprised, but I was that it was Mr. Pigeon doing the feeding. I wonder how many of my readers have had the priviledge of seeing a baby bird fed thus at such close quarters - live, not on TV.

I put one vine post and crossmember in after that. One a day would do. More goat compost and I made a start on digging it in.

Home in the evening and a bit of blog updating.

22nd March 2012

I was up by six. For no good reason. I was just wide awake and got up. Normal after that and onto the garden to dig. I did two and a half hours with a smoke break in the middle. I would have done three but there was a doggie commotion from the yard.

I glanced down to see someone outside my gate. It was my next door but two neighbour, who I now know to be János, with a wheelbarrow load of maize stalks for me. A wheelbarrow like my old wooden one rescued from the pigeon house but made of steel. He was all in favour of having me open the big gates and he would wheel it up the yard. I indicated dogs and told him that that would be a catastophe. We stacked them against the big gates. I confined black dog and stacked them inside the big gates. Blackie was released and I carted them two bunches at a time and chucked them over the garden gate in a heap.

It was warm and dusty work. I went over to the shop for a hundred forint beer with the remnants of the morning session of the little pub outside the shop. I think that it starts at about seven in the morning. Some of them have already been to the pub at that time. It was just turned eleven when I went over there. The one became two when a young man of the village quite unexpectedly bought me another. I have known him for a long time. In the very early days of me being here he was one of the first to approach me when I used to sit in the pub and write up my diary. We conversed, haltingly, in those days with the aid of my two little dictionaries.

I went home to saw another crossmember, then it was lunchtime. After lunch another vine post went in together with the crossmember just sawed. A bit of digging and then back to the house to sort out a knitting catastrophe. Two shoulder seams grafted. One with a full three hundred and sixty degree twist in it. Undone it had to be. It took a while.

Pub in the evening. Hobo bit the dust early and they shut up shop not long afterwards.

23rd March 2012

It was a normal enough morning: goats, pigeons, digging. I finished the current patch and went to join the little pub outside the shop. Hobo caught me there. Could I help with shifting John's firewood? Sure. About half an hour. I got caught up with doing various bits at home and by the time I had done them it was lunch time so I had lunch.

Then goats and pigeons, and that precipitated me getting another little job done at home - cannot remember what - and it was half past two by the time I got round to John's. A Hungarian half hour then! I was just in time to help load the last two barrow loads of firewood and carry one bucket of small stuff. Perfect timing.

I wandered back home and lit the stove preparatory to cooking. Well, that is to say attempted to light the stove preparatory to cooking. It would not light. Instead it filled the house with smoke, setting off the smoke alarm several times in so doing. I knew that it was not a problem with the stove pipes. It had not been that long since I cleaned them all out. I went in the pantry and removed the inspection hatch at the bottom of the chimney. Oh-oh! No daylight. I attempted to get the drain rods up there, but without a chimney brush I managed about one and a half rods. That is how rough the brickwork inside the chimney is. By then the smoke was puthering out of the inspection hatch as well. I was beaten off several times by the smoke.

It happened that Hobo called by. He saw the smoke coming out of the house door and asked what the problem was. I told him. By that he had the ladder out and was up on the roof. Cunning way they have of doing it. Just slide the tiles in alternate rows upwards underneath the row above - none are nailed down - and use the exposed stringers as a ladder. There was no problem at the top end of the chimney, he reported. He came back down part way, sliding the tiles back into their proper position as he went. Next thing there was a damn great hole in the roof where he had removed tiles and he disappeared into the attic. A moment later he reappeared and called down to me for a couple of drain rods which I passed up to him. he disappeared inside the attic again. I went back into the pantry. There was some rattling about from above and a minor fall of soot from inside the chimney. Smoke immediately stopped puthering out of the inspection hatch and I could just make out daylight coming down the chimney where there had been none before.

Hobo reassembled the roof and came back down to the yard. By then there was a merry blaze in the kitchen stove. Hobo did not linger. We exchanged pleasantries, I dropping him enough for a pack of cigarettes and off to the pub he went. I had intended to do a proper cook but in the hoo-haa the muse had left me. I think I made a fried egg sandwich.

Pub in the evening. The Austrian contingent turned up en-masse. They had a birthday to celebrate, but it did not go well. There was some problem which I signally failed to grasp, and it all ended in tears. I will not go further except to relate what turned into an amusing incident. There was somewhat of a ruckus outside my house some time after the pub had shut. One of the party had had one or four too many fröccs and was being extremely voluble outside my gate, setting the dogs off big time. I investigated, was still unable to figure out the problem (nothing to do with me) and retired to house with dogs. The ruckus subsided. The amusing bit was that the following morning Marika tackled me about what had been going on. To my amusement she blamed it on a young man of the village who is inclined to do the same when in his cups. I corrected her with a grin on my face.

24th March 2012

I lit the stove for breakfast. It lit but there was still a fair amount of smoke that came into the kitchen. Further investigation needed! I eventually got the stove hot enough for toast and coffee. It took a while. Pigeons and goats after that then back to the house to investigate stove.

For the first time in four years and four days I ventured into the house loft. I had to have a general clearout of accumulated crap before I could even get up the steps. After that the surprises started. The first surprise was just a pain in the whatsit. The loft door, hinged on the right opened with no problem. Just so far. Then one corner hit a roof timber and it would open no further. The reason? It was about fifty percent bigger than it needed to be. It would go no further than about sixty degrees to the vertical, then you had to hold it there with one arm whilst wriggling yourself into the loft.

Second surprise was that the loft door was basically inch and a half by half inch framing and a sheet of hardboard - nothing else. What a cold trap. I knew from seeing Hobo lift the tiles that there was no insulation immediately below. When it was minus fifteen outside it would be minus fifteen in the loft and if I recall my physics correctly hot air rises and cold air sinks. That loft door must provide a torrent of seriously cold air down into the pantry. and thence because of ill-fitting pantry door into the hallway. Onto my list for attention it went.

Once I scrambled my way into the loft there were another few of surprises. Firstly the loft had a cement floor. I had not expected that. Secondly I was amazed by how light it was. It took a moment for the penny to drop that the cause was not a problem with the roof but rather that the ill-fitting Hungarian roof tiles let a little light in at every join. The third, and more worrying surprise was that the internal walls of the house did not extend up to the roof timbers with just a walkway through from above one room to above the next room. No wonder the roofs fall down! They use massive roof timbers but the physics is all wrong. I will return to it no doubt.

I set about my mission of further unblocking the chimney. By now I had let the stove go out. In the loft the two chimney stacks stood in stark solitude. Once again, it is no wonder that they have a propensity for falling down. With no internal support they stand about three and a half metres above any walls, and where they protrude from the roof gives nil support.

I proceded with my mission. I found that both chimneys had inspection hatches at about waist level the same as the inspection hatches at the bottom. I removed the cover from the kitchen chimney one. Well, there was clear daylight from above. I espied within arms reach a half an industrial brick. You know, the sort with holes through it. Rope - I needed rope. I had five metres bought on a whim and I knew exactly where.

Back out of the loft through the door that would not open, get the rope and back into the loft ditto. The half a brick was tied onto the rope with a bowline knot and I lowered it down the chimney, rattling it about against the chimney walls as much as I could until it would go no further. I had no idea whether that was bottom or whether that was blockage. I pounded it up and down a bit. The rope suddenly became slack. My bowline knot had become a not bowline knot. If that half industrial brick was not in the bottom of the chimney I was in deep trouble.

Back down from the loft via the door that would not open. To my relief the half industrial brick was inside the inspection hatch at the bottom. I retrieved it. I resorted to primitive technology after that. Garden/conifer branch. Back up into the the attic with the half a brick. I tied it onto the rope again and lowered it down the chimney. Then I tied the conifer branch on the other end and stuffed it blunt end first down the chimney. I climbed down from the attic again and pulled the branch down the chimney. There was more fall of soot. I climbed back once more, just to replace the inspection hatch covers in the loft. As belt and braces I also removed the stove pipes and cleaned them out once again. There was a surprising amount of soot in them. I suspected that the incipient chimney blockage had caused a build-up there too.

The morning was slipping away and I still had much to do as I had a social arrangement for the afternoon. I rapidly chopped firewood. Then I cycled up to Toni for eggs. I managed to find time for a well deserved kis fröccs on the way home. At home I fed goats and pigeons quite early, had a bite to eat myself and then Hobo turned up at the gate. We - Hobo, John and me - were supposed to turn up at Helmut's place between two and three in the afternoon for a barbeque. I had already told Hobo (several times) that he would need to SMS Helmut when he wanted picking up from Halogy. The message simply did not get through. Hobo said that he would either be in the pub (surprise) or at home (even bigger surprise) and off he went.

I had said from the begining of the invitation that I would cycle over there, with in mind to be able to get home under my own leg power to do my pastoral duties. I abluted as best I could and set off. I had a brisk following wind and made good progress. That worried me. The prospect of the return ride was daunting.

After yesterday evening the household was a bit subdued, but returned to normalcy within about an hour of my arrival. I was asked where Hobo and John were. I told my hosts they were ready to come and could be picked up any time. This in spite of me repeatedly telling Hobo that he needed to SMS Helmut who would arrange gratis taxi service. John and Hobo did eventually get picked up and arrived. In the meantime Helmut cooked. And cooked and cooked. It was not in any way like an English barbeque. None of the "Burgers are ready, come and get them" or "Who wants a burnt sausage?".

I had been getting a bit fidgety about time as the sun descended, but eventually we ate. At table. Very good it was too, I have to say. I managed to collar Helmut and asked what he did with the chicken bones. He asked why. Dog food! With the sun rapidly descending towards the horizon I left with a doggy bag for the dogs and a doggy bag for me. With the onset of evening the wind had dropped and I was able to make good time back to Halogy.

I fed the goats and watered and locked in the pigeons in semi-darkness. It had been an interesting day! I went to the pub.

I totally forgot to mention that before setting off to Helmut's I had had a ride up to vas Lajos's place with a Pickly dog chain that needed a new ring on the end. The last one had run up and down the running wire that it was like paper. I had made the ring, I just needed Lajos to weld it shut. I was sat in solitary splendour in the pub when he came in, walked over and plonked it own in front of me. A couple of beers went his way.

The telly news reminded everyone to put their clocks forward by an hour and Láci the landlord did exactly that. We all went home early. Láci had reminded me to set the time on my mobile phones.

25th March 2012

Well, the clocks had gone on. I was not up early. Sunday - housework.

Somewhat overdue, at the lunchtime goat feeding all the goats went out. Except Rudy. Time to trim his toe nails. I had not been looking forward to it, but apart from the toughness of his nails and the skin on his feet all went without a problem. He went back to his quarters, again with no problem. The others remained outside for a while. They were not happy. Not enough greenery yet. They went back in.

I gardened. A couple of buckets of well water went into the water butt and then I managed to get a couple of rows of onion sets into the ground.

The indoor gardening was turning into a catastrophe. Once again I had managed to get loads of stuff germinated and then about a week later it fell over and died. There is something far wrong with this compost that they sell in the yellow bags here. More later, but the best success I have had was with Tesco Value compost the first year that I was here. John tells me the same with his experiences.

I had Debrecen sausages for my main meal of the day. Mmmmm. All right, but I don't think I will bother again.

Pub, not early and not for long.

26th March 2012

Mrs. Pigeon No. 2 had presented me with another egg this morning. If it proved to be as infertile as the last pair of eggs Mr. Pigeon No. 2 is going in the pot!

Half a row of onion sets and half a row of garlic went in the garden. On my way there I took another couple of buckets of well water. The well still needs a hole digging in the gravel in the bottom. I might have mentioned that Hobo flat out refuses to go down there. Well, he can stand at the top then and I will go down and get my feet wet once I beg, borrow, steal or buy a suitable ladder.

I went pruning vines after lunch. I had made the unfortunate discovery that the vines had to be pruned before I could tie them up, otherwise last years growth just got in the way. Another back-achey exercise then. Well, my physioterrorist would tell me that all the bending and stretching was good for my knee.

More work on the vine posts and I stayed home in the evening.

27th March 2012

Normal start, and a lover morning. Two rows of peas went in. Then, more in hope than in anger, I put in half a row of vine prunings. Two years on the trot I have put them in and managed the princely sum of one vine that took. Then I trod on it. Last seen it was still growing leaves. It is somewhere in a patch that I have left fallow but until (if!) it comes into leaf I have not a hope of finding it. I rung the changes a bit this year. Previous years I put them in before the winter. I also was trying a different way of encouraging them to root by bruising one or both of the buds that go underground on just some of the cuttings to see if that made a difference.

I chopped out another vine post and sawed the cross-member. By that it was lunch time. After lunch the vine post went in, and then I did some general tidying up around the garden in preparation for an eventual garden fire.

I grabbed my memory stick to take some photos (National Day) down to the faluház, got as far as the gate, convinced myself that it was Monday, turned on my heels and went back in the house as the faluház would be shut. By the time I realised my mistake the faluház was shut. Senior moment.

With Easter approaching there was an article on the telly news about ham, which appears to be a particular Easter favourite here. Tons of condemned ham had found its way into Hungary. Some of it had even found its way onto supermarket shelves. Of course the whole lot had to be withdrawn. If memory serves, it happens every year.

28th March 2012

I did a bit more of the tidying up in the garden and then set about the task of the day. There are two good, prolific vines halfway up the garden on the easter side. I wanted the posts and cross-members in today. I had three posts but had to chop out the fourth. Then I had to saw the cross members. That took me until lunch time.

After lunch I lobbed all over the garden gate including John's post hole boring tool. I loaded all onto the wooden barrow and wheeled it up the garden. It was heavy going. That was quite a load. I gave up in the rough about ten metres away from my destination. It would do.

I used the first post hole that Tibi had made as a base. Once again it had filled itself up to within a foot if the top. No matter. The first post went in. My technology is thus: put the first post in and roughly wedge in the cross-member, use the plumb line to obtain a north/south line for the next post then measure from the fence for the east/west cross reference for the centre of the next post, start boring the hole and at least make a cursory check that it is near enough vertical and near enough in line with previous posts if two or more are already in the ground.

The four posts and three cross-members went in, in spite of what I previously said. I was knackered. Pub. Beer.

Back home I knocked up something to eat and did the evening livestock stuff. Back to the pub for a couple and that was that.

29th March 2012

I groaned out of bed. I ached, oh how I ached. I inwardly berated myself - "Get on with it you whinging old bugger!". I am going into a little philosophising now. Only today on the Internet I read a report about a rerun (again) of the report to the Club of Rome that was originally published in the 1970s entitled "Limits to Growth" The report that I read (sorry, no link) came up with the same conclusions. By about 2040 or maybe 2050 humankind will be, to put it bluntly now, f**ked. A die off of maybe six billion people. Through the drudgery and delight of my life here I constantly have to remind myself that that is why I am here, and my honest opinion is that a place like this offers the best opportunities for survival - barring climate change turning it into a desert. I suspect that the maybe five percent of the sheeple that will survive will fall into a fiefdom of that one percent of one percent that now has the money and the power. At least under long established Hungarian law my children will inherit this.

More tidying up of the garden and the final preparation to have a garden fire. In order to be on the safe side on account of the dryness of the conditions I decided that the hose should go into the garden. Pickle decided otherwise and thwarted my at every untwist and unloop of the gardened hose by getting tangled up in it and dragging it elsewhere on the yard. In frustration the dogs were locked in. After that it was but about five minutes to have the hose where I wanted it. Dogs were released.

I mentioned previously about having a cunning plan for the garden fire. Well, there were actually two garden fires each about half a metre wide and the width of the main garden. They were arranged where I wanted my two rows of early spuds, and the plan (hope) was that the heat from the fires would penetrate the soil and kill off the couch grass as well as providing some wood ash to neutralise the acidity of the soil.

After lunch and the usual goat/pigeon arrangments I gave the surrounding area a good soaking then lit my two rows of fire. The wether was nearby again having once more escaped from the goat house. He kept a respectful distance from the scene of my activities. I had a load more spent maize stalks to go on the fire and that went on as the fire spead along the rows. As you can appreciate it was hot, smoky and thirsty work. You know what is coming!

Hobo was there and so was John. At the appointed time we all left. We also all ended up at the little pub outside the shop. Well, it was a pleasant evening. That broke up and we parted company, except that Hobo followed me home to check out the dampness of the outside of the bathroom wall where the tap in the yard is. The pipework is probably leaking, which does not bode well. I had checked the water meter a number of times, but if the little wheel was moving it was so slowly as the be imperceptible to the eye. Hobo knocked off the rendering surrounding the tap, which proved to be cement and removed a couple of small bricks also round the tap. He declared it damp, was unable to diagnose further and roughly stuffed the bricks back in the wall. Then off he went.

I was home in the evening doing one of my triannual computery jobs for the UK.

30th March 2012

I went to give the pigeons their water after breakfast and my heart sank. There was only one squab. Oh bugger - not again! The skewbald one (in British English according to Wiki) was in the nestbox. The grey one was not. A cursory glance round failed to locate it. I got on and dealt with the water. After that I did a bit more detailed search. Ah! - great gladness. There it was hiding behind one of the upturned barrels. I gathered it up and returned it to the company of its sibling in the nest box. It is a very vulnerable time when the squabs are party fledged. They are active enough to flutter down from the nest box but cannot get back. I am very particular about my dusk inspection when I expect the birds to have roosted to make sure that squabs are in their nest box.

I had a good conversation on Skype with a daughter after that and then went back to work chopping out the next vine post. The Czech chisel continues to do stirling service. It rarely needs sharpening in spite of how tough the acacia posts are. I don't much like the handle though. It is bear seven bells out of Lajos' hand turned oak mal. Or rather the mal is beating seven bells out of itself hitting the Czech chisel. The grip and the impact area on my one and only precious Irwin Marples chisel is far superior although the quality of the blades are about the same.

Back to the computer and a load more work on the thing for the UK. I have a new Windose annoyance. Every single time I boot into Windose the first thing that happens is that a window pops up asking if I want to compact the mailboxes in Outlaw Express. Now, on my current installation I have never ever even opened Outlaw Express. In fact I have removed it via Windose Add/Remove software option. That bloody annoying little window still pops up. Grrrr!!

Tomorrow was the great free removal of rubbish day. Somehow I managed to miss it last year. The first - clearly unoffical - van had arrived outside my gate at about eleven in the morning. A very rough character asked if I had any rubbish to put out. "Nothing - F*** off" - but without the f*** off bit, though I thought it. It occured to me that I did have stuff to put out. At somewhat gone five in the evening I put out one dead HP laptop (minus hard disk - I am not that stupid) one dead Canon printer and two dead scanners. One of them was HP as well. I lurked and watched in amusement. Sure enough, within five minutes they were gone, taken by the pikey skavengers.

I did goats and pigeons, ate and went to the pub.

31st March 2012

The weather forecast had said rain. None arrived. Oh how much we need some. I chopped out another vine post. After that washing, rinsing and hanging out to dry. Quite trying with only hot water from the stove, and apart from underwear and work clothes it continues to mount up. The people over the road were having a pig killing.

I had lunch and had done the pigeons and was doing the goats when came a doggy commotion that did not die down. I stopped feeding goats and investigated. Tibi was in the yard, little gate wide open, and him terrorising the dogs who fled at every bellow from Tibi and immediately resumed their barking at even more frenzied pitch. I returned to yard to ascertain what it was all about. It was about maize stalks and his little tractor. Off he went. I resumed feeding goats, finished and awaited events, lurking in the yard.

I was rewarded shortly by the sound of Tibi's little tractor leaving his yard. He pulled up outside my gate."Come on!" Marika clambered in the trailer and I had the guest of honour seat on the front of the trailer. We went at top speed, which is slower that that at which John walks, to the same place from where I had maize stalks last year - down the little lane by the bus station. It was a very different experience to last year when Hobo chopped, John and I tied and Janos the scythe and magyartarka carted and stacked on a hand cart in freezing cold and wet and muddy conditions. The stalks were already chopped and bundled. About thirty bunches. How on earth was Tibi going to get thirty bunches on his tiny little trailer? But get them on he did. By the end he needed a little ladder to get down from the top.

We set off back, me still in the seat of honour but with head bowed down under the overarching load of maize stalks above. Marika hopped on the towing hitch and clasped around Tibi for support. I had suggested that Tibi drive them down his garden and throw them over the fence, as before. Tibi would have none of it. He drove straight up Petőfi utca to outside my place. I secured black dog in house - not without a growling snarling match. Pickle was on chain, so that was not a problem. Wrong. We opened the big gates and Tibi drove his little tractor and trailer in. Next thing Pickle was tangled up on chain around the towing hitch. Tibi and I sorted it and Pickle went on a short chain around a dead peach tree.

With dogs secured, one within and one without, I opened tha garden gate as wide as it would go. Once again Tibi proved to be the only person in Halogy that I know that can reverse a trailer. Tibi unloaded, Marika and I stacked. Marika started pressing stuff in my hand. Beans! Either odd beans or pods. I had not noticed it the last time that we had maize stalks from there but they had obviously been conducting some variation on Three Sisters Cultivation. I had a jeans pocket full of beans - literally - by the time we finished. There were seven different varieties of beans.

As usual I asked Tibi how much I owed him. "Forget it. It was just a little time and a little amount of petrol. You are a good neighbour!" What can I say?

Both Tibi and Marika saw little Vicky in the goathouse with Suzy. Tibi also saw my technology with vine posts to which he metaphorically raised his hat.

I went for a beer. You know, I have never mentioned Láci's magnificent erection! Outside in the pub yard there used to be a couple of plastic gazebos where we used to foregather when works were going on in the pub. They have been removed and last back end were replaced by a rather splendid massively timbered lean to, some five or six metres by twelve, with tongue and grooved timbered, felted and tiled roof, fully guttered. In afterthought its erection was clearly in anticipation of the smoking ban. It has recently improved further. It now has a brand new concrete kerbed, herringbone pattern brick floor, beautifully laid. That is one thing that I will say for Láci - his prices might not be the cheapest for a village pub but he is not scared to pay out for upkeep. I digress. I went out for a smoke under Láci's magnificent erection and on a whim - there was nobody else much about - I got out my mobile, went to calculator and recalculated my finances. I was pleasantly surprised by the result. I did the calculation again when I got home. Same result. It turned out that I was about eight hundred forints a day better off than I thought I was. Some two pounds thirty. It does not sound much but it is the difference between kis fröccs and being able to have a beer.

Pub in the evening and Hobo bit the dust early.


March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012


Photo Galleries