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July 2012

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Another hot one. Goats went out with shade. I did a little washing of clothes and hung them out, which I do not really like doing on a Sunday but it was necessary. By lunchtime the outside thermometer still in the shade was showing a touch over thirty seven Celsius, that is knocking on a hundred in old money. I did absolutely nothing else all day apart from goats and pigeons.

I checked the Hungarian Meteorological Office web site. There were red warnings for the entirity of Hungary except for Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county in the very furthest eastern part of the country.

I did manage a bit of blogging, and pub in the evening as usual.

2nd July 2012


In case you were wondering what the countdown is all about, well today is it. Sixty fifth birthday and I officially become a British (what they used to call) OAP. So that is it. Today I retire, and this short entry is the last that you will get of the blog.
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I jest, of course. I can imagine the howls of protest from around the world if I did stop blogging. Lots will change, but my life here and the blog will just continue. What will change in a big way is my ability to get house, outbuildings and garden intrastructure sorted out. I confess I have slowed down of late. The rib injury and then the seriously hot spell have undoubtedly cramped my style, and I am not getting any younger.

I had a sort of plan for the day but it was shelved more or less as soon as I arose. Getting clothes on broke me out in a sweat, and by the time I got back from the shop I was dripping sweat. The goats went out very nearby and once again with shade.

I did nothing except hide from the heat. I put the sign out for Posta as I needed cash. towards the end of the morning she turned up. In the spare van which has no cash nachine. Damn and blast. Reorganise the day. I discarded the idea of a cycle ride to Nádasd. Not a chance in this heat. Körmend it would have to be.

Goats and pigeons dealt with early I went up to the pub, locked the bike up outside and removed a brake block. Then I sweated my way to the bus stop. The bus came and I got on. I told the driver that I was sixty five today and asked if I needed to pay. No. A bonus then. I just sat down. Into Körmend and I set about my tasks. First call was the Spar shop. Liver and coffee beans. Next I limped my way to the bike shop. I fished out the brake block and told him I needed two pairs. It had got to the stage that the bike would not stop worth a light. From there I headed back towards the town centre. Half way back I found a bench and sat for a few moments for a smoke and a sweat.

I set off again. I was seriously not enjoying it. With all the concrete and asphalt it was seriously hotter than the village. Next stop was the Presszo bar for a beer, the first of the day. I needed it! I lingered over the beer until I had stopped sweating. Then onwards. I stepped outside and it was like stepping into an oven. I went to the bank, which is mere metres from the Presszo bar. I was already sweating by the time I arrived there. I drew cash, and then obtained a ticket to speak to one of the assistants on another matter. I was called immediately and my query was answered in seconds. That was that.

Time to head back gently for the half past three bus. Time enough to sit outside the Korona bar under a shade and wait for the bus. I cut it a bit fine. Deciding that it was time to go for the bus I went for a pee first. As I emerged I could see what was clearly the Halogy bus just leaving the bus stop. Bollox. He got stopped at the lights just mere metres away. I grabbed my stuff and went at best limp. Fortunately for me a) the bus was still stopped at the lights and b) it was the trilingual driver that does the request stops. He saw me, opened the door and I scrambled on board. He was going to punch me out a ticket but I stopped him. I explained that I was sixty five today. He congratulated me, shook my hand and indicated to go and sit down.

At the very next stop, by Tesco, there was a rustle amogst the passengers as we slowed to the stop. Kontroll! Ticket inspectors! I busied myself getting out ID to prove that I was sixty five. The lady sitting opposite would have none of it, knowing that I had no ticket but probably not knowing why. She was absolutely insistent that I had her ticket so I took it. She had a bit of a rummage in her bag and magicked up another ticket. Both passed muster with Kontroll. They got off at the next stop by the truck stop about a kilometre out of Körmend, no doubt to strike terror into the occupants of the next passing bus. They work in pairs you know. Spotless white shirts and black trousers. They are obviously chosen with care for their ability to intimidate. It is the same on the Metro and the trams in Budapest. It is in complete constrast to the ticket inspectors on MAV (Hungarian equivalent of British Rail) who I have always found to be most courtious, and only one of them. Well, an interesting day.

Rid of Kontroll the driver reverted to form, dropping off people here and there by their gates. He dropped me off at the Halogy pub, shaking my hand once again and wishing me a happy birthday in English.

There were the normal end of the afternoon regulars in the pub. Most of them at some time or other over the last four and a bit years had helped me out in one way or another, big or small. I bought the drinks. Other similar regulars came in and I bought theirs as well. Láci knew why and explained as necessary.

Home, and back to normality with a bump. Pigeons, goats, milking. Ah well, with all the goats in and me unmolested by Rudy, the milking was pure therapy. And once again Suzy excelled in the milking department.

Back to the pub for a milestone birthday evening. More than enough alcohol followed. By kicking out time I confess I was a bit wibbly-wobbly. Helmut drove me home and Hobo (I found out later) sorted out my bike. Well, wibbly-wobbly or not I managed to sort out the dogs and get the bike in the house in its usual parking spot. And, oops the colour of the navigation buttons went t*ts up. Oh well, later!

3rd July 2012

I was not feeling at my best. I can't think why. Perhaps it was the hangover. I did the pigeons and goats and some stuff around the kitchen.

After lunch I set about one of my triannual word processing jobs for the UK. I refrained from beer until three in the afternoon when I did take a break and cycle to the pub for one.

I did some more on the word processing back home. Oh, how I do hate Micro$oft Word. Its handling of tables is dire, and this is supposed to be industry standard.

Shop, and a second of the day at the little pub outside. Back home I wheeled the barrow up the garden and did the bare minimum of scything for the goats' evening feed. When I wheeled the barrow back down the garden a huge pile of horseradish leaves had appeared over the fence from the old lady. I can't remember if I mentioned it, but there is some random US of A State website that lists horseradish as being poisonous to goats. Well, American goats must be different to Hungarian goats because all mine love and thrive on the leaves. Very noticable with Suzy. If she gets horseradish leaves there is a noticable improvement in milk yield. The same web site lists several other species of plant as being poisonous that are clearly not. Not to my goats at least. Did you enjoy the pictures of goats in crazy places?

Goats in, etc. and a quadripartite meeting in the pub in the evening. I enjoyed a particularly fine cigar which was a rare pleasure. I still have three to go. When I left there was a big thunderstorm brewing nearby. We got the merest edge of it. Not even enough to lay the dust. Ah, we were desperate for rain.

4th July 2012

Very short today. Apart from pigeons and goats I spent the whole day doing the computer job mentioned yesterday.

Pub in the evening. Helmut turned up with another Austrian who I though I knew by sight but had only seen once, which was later confirmed. Hobo had done some work for him and the day that I bought petrol we stopped off at his place to drop off Hobo' tools. Quite a character. The entire front fence to his house was steel plate about six feet high. On one gate he has a couple of signs. One is a big colour poster in praise of the Hungarian Vizsla (dog). The other was a warning that although the dogs might bite they are not big dogs but he is two metres tall, and strong. We had a good evening.

5th July 2012

I was just finishing breakfast when there was a fairly major doggie commotion from the yard. I poked my head out. Tibi was at the gate. Something about garden catastrophe and goats. I hastened to garden and sure enough both Vicky and the wether were wandering about in the garden. Marika was busily reinforcing the fence between us. It turned out that they had both had a little wander through a gap into their garden. Fortunately their dogs had seen the goats and set up their own doggie commotion which Tibi had investigated, seen the goats and shooed them back into my garden before much damage was done.

Well, I knew what this mornings job would be, then. Fix the goat house. Vicky and the wether had long been able to escape at will but had not before gone that far from the goat house. I rounded them up and staked them out, then got Suzy and Rudy staked out.

Back to the yard. Tape measure. Back to the goat house and measure up. Back to the yard and, to Blackie's great delight, the angle grinder came out to play with the remains of the weldmesh. It took the morning to get the weldmesh cut to size and wire it in place in the goat house. It had to be wired as it was secured inside the existing steel window frame in the ex-garage, which Rudy had been steadily taking to pieces anyway. You would not believe that a goat could slowly but surely destroy a welded steel window frame. Oh yes he could!

That was one escape route blocked. I still had the other to do, but I knocked off for lunch. It was another hot, hot day and I had a beer over lunch. After lunch I went back to finish off blocking the other escape route. All I had with which to do it was some fairly flimsy garden wire. Well, it would have to do for now. Rudy set up a plaintive "Meah, meah" from nearby. I was working with my back to him. "Oh shut up Rudy!" It continued and I finally turned to find out the cause. He was stuck on his hind legs in the remains of a peach tree. He had his left knee in the fork of the trunk and his right leg over the left. The poor bugger could go nowhere. It took me some effort to remove right leg from over the top and get it below the fork - he just wanted to put it back on top. I held it below and with the other hand released the other leg with the knee folded under. Do you know, I think he was actually grateful. I was well within reach of his horns, but once he had his four (fore) feet back on the ground he allowed me to pet him by stroking the sides of his face and giving him a good scratch on the top of the head between his horns and just behind. I shortened his chain about half a metre so that he could not repeat the performance. It was the second time that he had been stuck in a tree fork. By pure good chance I had been nearby both times.

I went back to the house and finished off the computer stuff I was doing for the UK. Only a day late, but whatever.

I went up the garden and scythed down, forked up and wheeled back a barrow load of greenery for the goats. When I got the goats in I was, to be honest, too knackered to milk. Oh well, Vicky would no doubt enjoy the treat. There were no caprine repercussions.

Pub of course.

John Michael Greer wrote interestingly today about the derecho that struck the eastern states in the good ol' US of A. Did not seem to affect him too much.

6th July 2012

Another sweltering day. Once it gets over thirty Celsius I really do not like it. Even the Hungarians start to complain. The first problem of the day that I encountered was figuring out where to put the goats. The meadow, apart from the unscythed bit up towards Telek utca, was looking distinctly tired everywhere. I chose places for them eventually, quite widely spaced.

I got on with what I had planned to do yesterday. I did not get it all done. I never do. One thing I did get done was to start off another cheese.

Mrs. Pigeon No. 2 had been sitting two eggs, then one. Today she was sitting none. Just as soon as I get another pair (which I think might be happening as I write) who successfully raise chicks, she and her mate will be in the pot.

I finished off a few minor corrections on the computery stuff for the UK and that was that job out the way until December.

There was a huge thundersorm nearby. We caught the merest edge of it. Not even enough to lay the dust. I trudged with barrow up to Telek utca and scythed for goat supper. By the law of Sod, by the time I trudged back down to the goat house there was a great pile of horseradish leaves over the fence from the old lady. Oh well, the goats would dine in luxury this evening.

All normal after that.

7th July 2012

When the goats went out I managed to get Suzy where I wanted her. The rest were problematic to say the least. Playful, all of them. Head butting games all around and lots of prancing and dancing about. Eventually Rudy sucumbed to the need to eat rather than the need to find out if Suzy was amenable or not.

The garden situation was starting to get desperate. Although there had been thunderstorms around we had had no rain to speak of. Everywhere except the very top end of the meadow which had not yet been scythed was becoming very dry and parched and it was starting to become a real problem finding places to put the goats. It was yet another day well into the thirties. I went for a beer. It became two when Józsi came in. Did I want some hay? Yes please - if things continued the way they were I might well have to resort to importing hay for the goats to eat.

The pub shut at twelve as usual. Józsi followed me down the street and went to speak to Sándor over the road. He is the chap whose wallet I found in the street and got returned to him. He has always been most friendly since. The rest of the family are friendly, but in a formal manner. Józsi came over to me in just a few minutes and told me the hay would be there this afternoon. That put me in a quandary as I had enough cash for the weekend and maybe Monday but none to spare to pay Sándor for the cartage. Józsi told me not to worry - he would sort it. Off he went.

I did the pigeons and goats and then hid from the heat and did some blog updating.

True to his word there was a doggie commotion when a tractor pulled up outside on the dot of three. Józsi and Sándor. Dogs were secured in house and then the big gates were opened for Sándor to reverse in his trailer. It took a bit of doing as it is a four wheeled trailer, and suddenly the trailer was sideways on in the yard. What on earth? Then it dawned on me. It was a side tipper. In a few seconds the hay, about twenty four cubic metres of it, was on the yard.

Józsi needed a beer. He had loaded the hay himself, I think. It was about my normal beer o'clock time anyway. I paid for the beers myself. We had a couple, then back to the house. Dogs remained confined and Józsi set about disappearing the hay under cover. I went in the workshop and set about starting to make a proper door for securing the pigeon landing platform at nights. I had had the wood plenty long enough.

It was time for getting the goats in and Józsi was still at it. Dogs were released then and had great fun playing in the remains of the hay that was not yet under cover. I got the goats in and milked. By happy coincidence just as I returned to the yard, pastoral duties finished, Józsi had just got the last of the hay temporarily under cover. Guess where we went?

Rather a lot of beer followed. I was quite wobbly enough by home time but made it home without incident on the bike. I posted a Facebook comment about the hay and it started a thread with a Facebook friend who told me how much hay cost in the UK and wanted to know how much it cost here. Nothing is the answer. Labour to get it shifted and cartage is all.

8th July 2012

With no aide-memoire notes for the day I have no idea, so I will write about garden trials and tribulations.

It has so far been a disastrous year gardening-wise. I cannot see it getting any better. Let me list it for you: Need I say more! It has disheartened me more than I can say. It will be fixed next year even if it does cost me a few thousand forints. With my pensions kicked in it matters little as I will be able to just buy stuff in, but that is not what I am all about here. On the bright side, the fruit and nut trees are doing well and at least this year a fair number of the vines are off the floor even if they are in serious need of some summer pruning. There are still posts and crossmembers to go in and there are a couple of vines that need grubbing out and replacing - beyond redemption in the pruning department.

9th July 2012

Another day of some random ramblings. Today I started to fill in form DT-Individual. It is related to the reciprocal arrangement that Hungary has with the UK relating to dual taxation. What it says, broadly and if I understand correctly, is that neither side shall disadvantage a Hungarian citizen living in the UK or a British citizen living in Hungary with relation to the treatment they would receive in either country. Well, again if I understand it correctly, that will work very much to my advantage as pensions are not taxed here in Hungary. Which was not a thing that I knew or even much cared about when I made my choice to come and live here.

That is all by-the-by, as what I was going to say was that every single bit of paperwork relating to pensions has frayed my nerves. By the time any single one of them was complete I would be a nervous wreck. Utterly ridiculous! Absurd! The pensions are mine by right. I spent most of my adult life working and paying into said pension schemes. But I could not help it. It was so bad that sometimes I struggled to write coherently on the forms. Form DR-Individual is hopefully the last one, until they change the rules, of course. It sits on my office table requiring a few more details, gathering dust. The nerves have been considerably better since.

10th July 2012

Nothing happened except that it remained hot.

It was John's fiftieth birthday and lots of surrepticious plans had been made. I managed to surrepticiously suggest he got to the pub at half past six. It had been arranged with Jóli that she would lay on a spread at seven. I had suggested pörkölt and bread, followed by some cakes. Jóli had declared it not sufficiently finom, as they say in Hungarian, for a fiftieth birthday. I was the last to arrive, having still had to get goats in and milk, etc. The assembly was John, Hobo, the Austrian contingent and me. Jóli did John proud complete with a fiftieth birthday redcurrant(?) tart. There was way more than enough and it certainly was finom.

By kicking out time we were replete with food and a sufficiency of alcohol. John had a huge doggie bag to take home. I cycled home safely. John was driven back to his house, complete with doggie bags, by Helmut.

11th July 2012

It was another scorching day, ending up again well in the thirties. Apart from that nothing out of the ordinary happened. Pigeons, goats, washing up... yawn.

Posta arrived. Unusually, she had two items for me. Back in the house I opened them. Both were pensions related and both told me precisely nothing. Filed. One was from the Pension Service in the UK. It advised me that I had changed my bank account details. Mmmm. From which bank to which bank it carefully neglected to say. Print out form P4309/2008/BA and send it. That will do. Oh well, it so happened that today I checked both the bank accounts wherein it might land and to my surprise found that a single week of pension had been paid this very day into my UK bank account. The reference was vague: [something]/[my National Insurance No.]/PS. I can only conclude that the PS stands for Pension Service. Now, in this day and age of computers and automated bank transfers we are hardly short of sensible identifiers. My one other new pension that had been paid in was quite clearly identifiable as coming from the provider that I recognised. So why oh why cannot the [something]/[my National Insurance No.]/PS become [something]/[my National Insurance No.]/UK Pension Service. Rant over!

It precipitated me checking some other pensions paperwork and that precipitated a phone call to the UK. I had a very pleasant surprise. After a few rings I was connected. AND I was speaking to an actual person AND they were in the UK AND once I quoted my National Insurance number they knew all about me and answered my query in less than a minute.

That precipitated me into continuing to complete form DT-Individual previously mentioned. Time for a beer after that after checking the goats.

Early evening and the weather changed. I decided to get the goats in fairly early and milk. Well, you know what happens after that. I go to the pub. As I went, it was quite clear that we were in for some rain. As they say on the shipping forecast "Precipitation within sight". Do they still say that? Donkeys years since I listened to it. As I cycled up to the pub I am not exaggerating to say that there were people out in the street watching the rain arrive. The first few fat drops plopped down just as I arrived at the pub. It became a lot of rain and a thunderstorm. The storm came and went but it carried on raining. There was almost a sense of communal rejoicing. When we took a smoke break Hobo actually went and stood out in the rain. "Gyere, gyere" - Come on, come on. Not for long though. It was still raining, but gently, when I went home.

12th July 2012

It was a fair bit cooler this morning after the rain. The goats went out as usual except that all of them were in no hurry to go where I wanted them. It took a while. I was in no hurry. The rain had given everywhere a good soaking but I knew from experience that it took some while to penetrate the ground sufficiently to make the job of getting the goat posts in easy. I had to hammer them in with the heavy mattock. Whilst there and with said tool to hand I removed a couple of dead shrub stumps. They had been killed by goats and were just a nuisance as they each created a fair sized area that the goats could not get to. The rib was sufficiently better that I could put some effort into grubbing them out and they quickly succumbed. It felt good. There are several more that need the same treatment. There are also several small (three to five inches diameter) dead trees. I will leave them in. Rudy likes sharpening his horns on them.

All was normal after that. Some more completing of form DT-Individual and some general computer work. At about three I went for a beer as usual. Józsi was in there. The beer became three or four.

All normal at home except that I did not have to scythe. Sufficient greenery had come over the fence from all three neighbours and all I had to do was barrow round and collect it up.

Pub in the evening and in the absence of John and Hobo I fell into some good company in the smoking area outside. Two families that I have got to know quite well. The husbands do some business together. One of them (Sándor) is a bit of a larger than life character who is also a musician. Both he and his wife speak good English and his invariable greeting to me is "How are you today, my friend?" I had a good evening with them.

13th July 2012

It was a nice morning and once again not too hot. When the goats went out I took a carrier bag with me. On the way back I raided the walnut tree of a dozen young green walnuts. Back in the house I set about my annual making of a Christmas treat. Nocino - walnut liqueur. One of the ingredients is ground cinnamon. I went through my plastic box of herbs and spices. Blast! None. I went over to the shop before she shut. Double blast! She had none in the shop either. Oh well, it could wait and go in a little later. I went back to where I had left off. The next thing to go in was three whole cloves. I knew where they were. In an envelope by the side of the aforementioned plastic box. There were one or two other bits there as well that had to be moved for me to locate the cloves. Guess what I found? Ground cinnamon. I am reckoning that the cloves and cinnamon had been together there since I made the nocino last year.

As ever, since I do not have the recipe written down I had gone on the Internerd to look up my bookmark for it. When I returned to the computer it was off. In fact everything was off. The house electrickery supply had decided on a nice fine morning to trip the earth leakage switch. For absolutely no apparent reason. I punched the button in. It petulently punched itself out again. I punched it in again. Ditto. I punched it in again. Third time lucky - it stayed in.

Clothes washing and cheese making.

Around about lunch time there was a huge doggie commotion at the garden end. I investigated. One of Tibi's dogs was in my garden. The goats did not like it. They did not like it one bit. I limped next door. They were having lunch too. Tibi continued munching. Marika investigated the dog problem. The miscreant dog was already back in their garden and waiting to be let back into the yard. It was suitably admonished and secured within yard. You know, I think that that dog is like Blackie. The goats do not like their presence but neither of those two dogs would harm the goats. Unlike Pickle, sadly.

As I cycled my way to the pub for my afternoon beer there was something clearly going on at the house that had been for sale by Duna House maybe six or eight houses towards me from the pub. The For Sale sign had gone and there was a lot of activity.

When I got home there had been a theft. I had two bread rolls set by for a bite to eat. There was no evidence of a break-in so it had to be an inside job. I had thought that I had left them out of reach. Wrong! Had to be Pickle - Blackie could not have reached them. Ah well, shop, something to replace the stolen bread rolls and a beer at the little pub outside the shop.

Goats, milk, pub...

14th July 2012

Shop in the morning and the shop lady managed to remind me that Pickle had stolen the bread rolls by regaling the rest of the customers with the story. Not that I minded. Home, breakfast, pigeons, goats.

I had just got the goats out when, true to form, Józsi arrived to do a bit of work on the outhouse roof above the potting shed. He had said that he would be there about ten and he arrived at five to.

I did the goat water and then some blog updating. Józsi did about an hour and a half and I dragged him away to the pub for a beer. It was starting to get hot again by then. Even Józsi was complaining about it, but then he had been working in the outhouse loft.

Back home, lunch then pigeons and goat water. It was turning into a hot day again.

I strimmed the yard but only managed half of it before being driven off by the heat. Back to the pub for another beer. There was thunder nearby and it started to rain. Oh-oh! Goats. I cycled back home and in haste prepared the milking kit. With the rain seemingly gathering pace the goats came in early and I got what milk was to be had from Suzy. By the time I finished, the rain had reduced to a mere spitting and spotting. Hmmm - typical. The goats could well have stayed out in it. Oh well, they were in now and it was creeping on towards five anyway. The goats were going nowhere. In for the night.

Shop, little pub outside the shop and home for a snack and a bit of blog updating. I had a snack whilst doing it. I tend to do that whilst the weather is like it is - snack. John had mentioned it as well what a wonderful appetite supressant the hot weather is.

Pub later on. When I left, the sky to the west was inky black and there was a huge electrical storm going on. No rain here, but by the time the dogs had eaten it had reached us and was pouring down.

15th July 2012

It was raining in the morning and not warm - fifteen Celsius, which felt positively arctic after what we had been having. It was the sort of rain that left me totally undecided about whether the goats should stay in or go out. I pondered over breakfast. It was still the same and showed no sign of clearing. I decided they should stay in. Fortunately I had stuff in the barrow so just had to stick some in the goat house for them.

Lots of housework. Swept and mopped all through. There is still much dust elsewhere though. Time for a beer. John had had the same idea. We had a couple and wandered on home. I had lunch and went about my pastoral duties. I had a delight when I fed the pigeons. Mrs. Pigeon No. 1 had presented me with two tiny, live new chicks. The goats had to have hay, which went against the grain.

With the weather still the same I started on a cheese making and started off some beans in a tomato and onion sauce in the slow cooker. The onion was from the garden. I managed to get a bit more done to the new pigeon house door. Simple halved joints, waterproof glue and marine grade stainless steel screws.

By the time it was coming up to goat feeding time it had just about stopped raining. I managed to get a scything down of greenery from the garden for them overnight, and another load appeared over the fence from the neighbour.

No milking of course, as Vicky had been in with Suzy all day. So off to the pub reasonably early.

16th July 2012

It was raining first off but it did not last long. All good - every little shower helps. By the time I had had breakfast it had stopped so the goats went out as usual. Back at the house I did the usual domestics and then set about finishing off the new little door for the pigeon house by affixing the chicken wire and the hinges. It is a little door too. About a foot by two feet. Jumping ahead a little, experience shows that three or four pigeons can get through simultaneously. They walk through, you know. Their preference is to land on the wall between yard and garden that used to hold up the roof of the now demolished little outhouse there, then a flutter and a hop puts them on the outside of the landing platform. They walk inside and then fly off from the inside half of the landing platform.

That took me up to lunch time. Nailing on chicken wire, particularly as fine as I am using for the pigeons, is tedious, time consuming and unpleasant. After lunch the usual round of pigeon food and goat water, then I devised a method of holding the pigeon door open which involved making a nail into a staple and a little work with just about the last of the new, good garden wire which was bought when me and Hobo did the new chain link, since trashed by Pickle, between me and the old lady.

I fitted the little door. Marine grade stainless steel screws, of course. I pre-drilled the lintel for the first screw. I suspect it is acacia. Ha! The screw went about a third of the way in and would drive no further. It was blistering hot, with the full afternoon sun on my back. I was in no mood to bugger about, so I fetched the Birminham screwdriver. The screw was driven home in a couple of seconds. The other five got the same treatment. Lots of random bits of rendering and old mortar dropped out within and without the pigeon house, but the wall stayed intact and the lintel did not move. I found a suitable place to bang in a wall nail to secure the door open by hooking the garden wire over it, and that was that. Guess where I went?

Nothing else to report for the day. All normal.

17th July 2012

It was a normal start. Shop, breakfast, dogs and pigeons watered and goats out. Back to the house, did the washing up and went to get out the strimmer from the potting shed for a long overdue bash at the yard.

There had been a fairly considerable fall of rendering just outside the potting shed. I did not like what I saw when I looked up. I did not like it one bit. It was absolutely obvious that both the top of the brick wall and the outhouse roof timbers were on the move. And not by just a little.

Risking life and limb I opened up potting shed and retrieved both strimmer and petrol can with the forethought that they would likely need a new home. Also, by some prescience, I decided to check the drains. I lifted the concrete manhole cover. I did not like what I found there either. The manhole had bits of the brick lining dislodged and was partially full of earth. Another disaster in the making. I dealt with that one there and then using nothing but hose pipe. Fortunately it was all very loose stuff and I was able to hose it all away to the septic tank. Equally fortunately it was quite clear that the pipe from manhole to septic tank was quite clear. That manhole needs the entirety of the brickwork lining redoing.

Well, two upcoming catastrophes for the day was quite enough, thank you. I got on and did what I had originally set out to do - strim the yard. By the time I had finished I was drenched in sweat. That was enough of outdoors for the day apart from necessary pigeon and goat work.

Blog updating and a beer in the pub was the order of the day. The beer became two when Hobo bought me one. I have for long been meaning to write about sitting under Láci's magnificent erection for a smoke. If there is no one about I amuse myself by compulsively counting the empty beer cases. It is only some while after I came to live here that Láci started stocking Köbányai beer. When he first started there was a single row in the beer fridge in the bar. Now he has two full shelves devoted to it. My compulsive counting leads me to conclude that the Köbányai sales outnumber the sales of all the other beers combined by a ratio of about 1.5:1. The other thing that I notice in the yard winds me up. It offends my sense of rightness. As I count the beer cases, just to the right the other side of one of the house doors is a drainpipe attached to the guttering. It has to be about two inches out of vertical. Would not do for me! Sense of rightness.

All normal after that.

18th July 2012

I was not well. No idea why, and certainly not alcohol related. I did the necessary livestock stuff, which left me drained. Otherwise I did nothing all day except for the lunchtime livestock stuff and the evening livestock stuff, which once again left me drained. Not one of the best days, but the livestock was taken care of, as always.

19th July 2012

Short, sweet and pithy. Everything was pretty normal as I decsribe day to day. Until I returned from my afternoon beer. A bloody great chunk of the potting shed wall was now on the yard. Well, I said it was on the move. So it proved. I had seen Tibi and Marika in their yard as I returned from the pub. I wandered back to their gate and told them. My reaction was just to laugh. The outhouse fell down. Whatever! I was not hurt and neither were the dogs, goats and pigeons. I reckoned that it was the weight of pigeons walking about on it that brought it down! Pictures will follow.

20th July 2012

It was all a pretty normal day, so I won't bore you with most of it. The only out of the way thing was that it occured to me that the falling down of the outhouse might be completely or partly covered on the house insurance. I made my normal towards the end of the morning trip for a beer, managed to catch Posta as she came past and killed two birds with one stone by getting cash and telling her about the wall. I told her to go ahead and look at it as she went past as the dogs were locked within house. She either misunderstood or just wouldn't as when I returned homeshe was a little further down the road than my house, obviously spotted me and in a couple of minutes backed up to my place. Unfortunately by then the dogs were out. I spotted her pull up, opened the house door and black dog dashed within costing me I found out a little later two perfectly good slices of bread. Whatever! He was secured within. Getting the other one in as well, I knew, would be problematic. I short circuited that one by putting Pickle on the short chain. Mmmmm, That short chain needs to be about a metre shorter. I had to collar Pickle and fend her off in the area just by the kitchen wall whilst I accompanied Posta to see the outhouse damage. Poor lady was terrified. Posta inspected, beat a hasty retreat and told me that there would be some paperwork to do as before. She told me that she would need the policy number. I understood and told her that I had it in the house - somewhere. Vesuvius principle. Chuck it all in a heap and if it is important enough it will rise to the top.

Nothing else of note happened.

21st July 2012

Today was the first day of the Village Days. In a break with what has happened in previous years it was extended over both the days of the weekend. Sadly, the weather forecast for today was not good, and when I first went outside although it was not raining it did not look promising. That gave me a problem. Goats in or out? I decided that they should stay in. I had a fair amount of food cut for then in the barrow anyway, and it could be supplemented with a little of the hay Józsi had stacked away.

I changed out of work clothes, put on my village photographer's metaphorical hat and cycled up to the football field. The football had already started and I spent some time taking shots of it. The Canon is a nice little camera and had been about as good as you could get for a compact when it was bought. It was not as handy for doing action shots as my ex-Nikon had been, though. The autofocus was a little on the slow side for the action shots.

As the football was coming to a close for the morning the first spots of rain were falling. I had made a good call with the goats, then.

Over the road by the water tower was a hive of activity with people erecting gazebos, amusements for the children and some for the adults were appearing and great cauldrons of food were well under way in the food tent. There was a huge tent where loads of tables and benches were set up. There was a fair sized stage set up at one end. Tomi - Tony's son and A.N. Other were sorting out the sound system and musicians checking their sound levels.

The football had ended and the mayor presented the prizes. Láci the landlord and his son had set up the bar at one of the open corners of the tent. The pub was closed for the day.

Not long afterwards we were fed - pörkölt. There was a lull after that so I went home to fed the pigeons and check and feed the goats. It did not take long and I was soon back at the village day. The rain had increased, but it did not deter the children from using the bouncy castle. In fact the rain increased their fun by making it slippery as well as bouncy.

The first musical set was provided by Sándor who is a good friend. He and his family all speak good English. They are part of a group of three families that foregather quite frequently behind the pub and who I have described on the blog as being good company. I knew that Sándor was a musician but it was the first time I had heard him sing and play. I was impressed. Most professional and with a very pleasant voice.

The fire brigade from Körmend turned up. They did not bring the turntable ladder this year. They would not have been able to use it on the wet field anyway. It was two normal fire engines and they put on a turn for us. I had noticed a car which was quite obviously a scrapper parked on the rough ground just across Telek utca. They manhandled it a little further away due to the proximity of parked cars then secured one fireman inside. The fire engines withdrew some way, and then returned with blues and twos simulating an arrival at a crash scene. The cutting gear came out. In a few moments the doors were off, windscreen out and the A- and B-posts cut allowing the roof to be folded back. The "casualty" was extracted safely. It was by then seriously raining. The fire engines withdrew again and so did the crowd of spectators. I was a bit disappointed. I had hoped to see them put out a fire.

I need not have worried. Within minutes the car was well ablaze. The crowd returned and so did the fire engines. They extinguished the blaze which was quite spectacular. Huge clouds of steam mixing with the black smoke. It caused a mini traffic jam on the road out of the village as normal passers through paused to watch the excitement.

Another musician came on. Quite different to Sándor who had been wide ranging in his repertoire, singing a fair few international hits. This guy was doing the popular Hungarian stuff.

When he finished there was another lull. I took the opportunity to go home and do the livestock where everything was in order. After that, cycle up the hill for the third time today. Food was on the go again so I ate. The sound guys kept us supplied with background music until it was time for the next turn to appear. There were four of them. Two young girls who turned out to be dancers in the background and what was maybe a husband/wife team to do the singing. Their appearance was hugely popular, especially with the younger element of the attendees who crowded round the front of the stage. Excellent entertainers they no doubt were, judging by their reception. But musically? Well, let's just say that they did not do it for me and leave it at that. I stood it for a while then went home.

Sleep would not come. It was certainly not alcohol related as I had had a fair amount less than I do on a normal day. I tossed and turned for a while then, sleep still not coming, got up, switched on the computer and watched a DVD. I think it was about half past four when I did finally get to sleep.

22nd July 2012

It was a normal day before lunchtime, and fine. The goats went out but fairly nearby. A quick sweep through and up to the pub for a beer. After the lack of sleep I was definitely not on best form.

Home, lunch, pigeons and goats and then a good swill down and into the smartest smart casual that I had available. It was day two of the falunapok weekend. I wandered down to the faluház with camera. Mmmm!!! Smart casual. There were dozens of people milling about dressed up to the nines. I knew some local people but there were many, many there that I did not recognize.

John turned up. We sat together fairly near the front so that we could easily snap a few photos of the procedings. Neither he or I had had the forethought to translate what this afternoons gathering was all about. The Faluház was arranged as for a meeting, not as normally arranged for an entertainment. And a meeting of sorts it turned out to be. In true Hungarian style it started about twenty minutes late. I have noted and commented several instances when time did not appear to be an essential part of some activity. I cannot remember if I commented thus about the Sting concert in Budapest but that was the same - fifteen minutes late starting. I might be wrong but I get the impression that the excess time before these events start is regarded as a social event where old friends/new friends just stand and chat until someone calls it to order. The someone today was the village mayor who finally imposed some discipline. The procedings began.

The first speaker was an eminent Hungarian academic. He spoke for somewhat over an hour, including a projected (Youtube?) video of him saying more of the same. We took a comfort break after that. John legged it. I returned. The second speaker was well known to me. The manager/sponsor of the Halogy football team. He spoke about sporting achievements in Halogy. The third speaker was also well known to me. He is a frequent visitor to Halogy, and when here to the pub. I think that he was high in public office, but don't quote me on that. The speakers were all presented with mementoes of the day and that part of the day wound down. Well, there are a few men of not many words here in Hungary, but not many. And our three speakers this afternoon could certainly not be numbered amongst them. Between them they spoke for three hours and a half.

It transpired later that what it was all about was a celebration to have had the luck to be born here in Halogy. All the strangers (to me) were Halogyi emberek, returned from all over Hungary and beyond. They were all presented with rather splendid display plates complete with stand, emblazoned in the centre with the Halogy crest. The same that is top right on the header to my blog. I was told later that they came from the best (and most expensive) porcelain factory in Hungary.

One of the regular readers of my blog and regular e-mail correspondent later told me that he had had an invitation from the village mayor to attend but could not make it. It would have been nice to meet him and his wife again.

I went home. Entertainers were arriving as I left. Tough. Goats and pigeons. Ah, what a strange dichotomy of lifestyle. Suzy milked, pigeons secured within and dogs soundly beaten I returned to faluház. Fortunately, this evening Rudy was cooperative and did not dump me on my backside in my still smart casual clothes in any heaps of goat sh*t.

It was a usual party evening in the faluház after that. Lots of locals had appeared. I was fed almost as soon as found a place to sit. Lots of the out of the village visitors were still there. I managed to find a seat with the little pub outside the shop regulars, plus a few. I took a load of photos, which as I write are still in the camera. At about half past nine they sold the inevitable raffle tickets. I bought some. They drew the raffle at ten. Guess what I won? Nothing!

By then I just wanted to go home. I retrieved bicycle from John's front gates and cycled home.

23rd July 2012

It was good weather. Nice and bright but not too hot. Mid-twenties - nicely within my comfort zone. All normal - shop/breakfast/pigeons/goats and return to the house to wash up. I was still not at my best. Somewhat jaded after feeling so off-colour yesterday. I did some work on the cheeses and that was pretty well the morning gone.

Up to the pub for a beer. Two out of the way things happened there. The lady that normally runs the faluház office but is on a bit of a sabbatical at the moment caught me there, mentioned something about bones, shot off and returned in less than a minute with a carrier bags full of bones for the goats dogs. Rabbit bones, I knew. They breed them for food and the single one that I have eaten came from there.

I was just leaving the pub when a local builder, name of Ferenc (Frank), showed up. I told him about my outhouse catastrophe. He told me that he could not look now as he had only called for cigarettes and was on his way to see his dentist. In Austria. Well, I suppose that that sums up his opinion of Magyar dentistry. He promised to return later and look. I told him to beep his horn when he did so that I could secure dogs within house.

I lunched, went and fed and watered pigeons and went to check and water the goats. I was worried about Suzy. She was a bit messy at the back end. I cast about and found turds in clumps. Now that is not normal. Goats, as well as sheep, rabbits, etc. normally excrete lots of little pellets. I was worried that she might be developing diarya... dioreha... dyereea... I jest. I do know fine well how to spell diarrhea. Not good in goats. I determined to keep an eye on her. Jumping ahead only a very little by tomorrow she was fine. It took me some little while to actually catch her crapping but I did.

Ferenc returned, and beeped. I secured dogs within. He took one look at it and said to pull it down and start over. Oh :( Get the tiles off it - urgent, then pull the walls down to where damage started having first removed all the roof timbers which were only good for firewood. Well, not encouraging but agreeing one hundred percent with my own perception of the situation.

I went to the pub, somewhat down. I was out in the smoking area when the couple from the recently sold house turned up. I had seen them at a distance as I cycled past and from day one they had always called out a friendly greeting but it was the first time I had met them face to face. They are obviously not hard up as they run a very recent model BMW car. Anybody who runs a BMW car in Hungary is obviously not hard up. I had a couple of surprises. The first was when they called me by name and spoke to me in fluent English. The second was the lady. Very attractive. My immediate thought was Daryl Hannah.

I had my beer and returned home and after that it was all the normal stuff.

24th July 2012

It was a normal start and fine weather. Once the goats were out and the washing up done I took the strimmer to the virges. As usual I did the old lady's as well. Also as usual she came out to me the minute I had finished her bit. She apologised for not giving me any money but I got a litre of her pink wine. I didn't mind. It is just a neighbourly thing to do. Helps my street-cred in the village.

I went to the pub for one before they shut for lunch. There was the usual crop of regulars in there doing exactly the same, including the village mayor who is a pub regular anyway and has the same habit of a pre-prandial if he is not working. You know, I think I only saw the previous mayor in the pub once.

After lunch I did the goats and pigeons, not necessarily in that order, as usual. Obligingly Suzy cr*pped just as I was checking her water. All normal - a bag of Maltesers. Only not. Smaller and made out of goat sh*t, but you know what I mean. I strimmed half the yard. That was enough - it was hot and sweaty work. I went to the pub for another. It became two when Hobo bought me one. We sat out in the smoking area. It started to rain lightly. I had a look out and did not like what I saw. All around the storm clouds were gathering and there were rumbles of thunder.

I necked the beer PDQ and cycled home. Determined not to lose a day's milking I prepared the milking kit in haste and went to get the goats. They were a good way up the garden. I followed normal routine. Wether and Vicky, then Suzy, then Rudy. By the time I got to Rudy he needed no encouragement. He high-tailed it all the way back to the goat house pausing only slightly to see if Suzy was amenable. She was not, of course. In they went in the usual order. I milked, somewhat short of expectations, and provisioned the goats for the night. The full force of the storm hit as I went back through the gate into the yard. I went at best limp back to the house getting somewhat wet. Within seconds it was a downpour.

I had nothing organised to eat. I fancied hard boiled eggs, a slice of bread and marg and a bit of salad stuff. Now, I was not about to lght the stove to cook hard boiled eggs, so I decided on a little experiment. I put the slow cooker on, boiled the electric kettle poured it in the slow cooker and went to the pub. OK, the hard boiled eggs were a little bit brown around the edge of the yolk, but otherwise fine.

25th July 2012

Edited highlights of the day. I dug the onions. Sixty one of them. Many were quite good, as good as any I have grown. There should have been a lot more than sixty one. Thanks Rudy! It is possible that there are a few more hiding in the undergrowth which is pretty well what the main garden has reverted to at the moment.

Posta arrived with the demand for the next instalment of the house insurance. The rest of the day was pretty much as normal so here are some long overdue pictures:
Roof Damage The outhouse roof starting to collapse and the internal wooden structure is pushing the tiles up
The collapsing wall. Note the angle of the top of the remainder. It has since fallen in the yard as well Wall Damage
Debris Like this!
The new door for the pigeons to get in and out. Open... Pigeon Door
Pigeon Door ...and closed
This is about half the hay that Józsi shifted Hay
Pigeons My two youngest pigeons, apart from the new squabs
Hungarian birthday tart Hungarian Birthday Tart

26th July 2012

When I went to the shop this morning I bought a cabbage, a fair sized one. For a reason. It was time to cut Rudy's toe nails. Back at the house I breakfasted as usual. After that the cabbage went into a bucket leaf by leaf. Suzy and Vicky went out quite nearby, on the remains of the main garden one to the north and one to the south but clear of the remaining tomato plants for which I hold out no hope whatsoever. Back to the goat house and I collared Rudy and enticed him onto the goat table with the cabbage. The wether ran free.

I did Rudy's hoofs. It was not fun. Sweat poured. Rudy kicked. But I persevered and at least this time I had him done in one session. I took him out and worked him to where I wanted him. Then I set about capturing wether who was doing summer vine pruning for me. I finally had him collared and on station. I sorted out goat water and that was them until after lunch.

Back to the house and I sorted out the kitchen - as much as it was getting sorted out today - and did some clothes washing and had it out on the line. The hand washing of clothes remains one of the most tiring, tiresome and time consuming jobs that I do.

After Rudy and the washing I deserved a beer. So I went for one. Back home I made lunch and as usual went on the computer. Force of habit but I always check e-mails first. I had had an e-mail from a recent new Internet correspondent who had found my blog. He has a Halogy connection and wrote to say that he would likely be in Halogy later this year briefly. I had other stuff to do on the computer which I did. Pensions - again.

It left me time to scythe enough greenery for the goats overnight nice and early, before my customary wander back to the pub. I had not long been there when the wind blew up, it became very overcast and thunder started crashing about all around. I necked the beer in haste - hate having to do that - and cycled home. As I got in the yard it started to rain. Spot, spot, spot and that was it. The thunder continued crashing all around us but no rain. I hung about a while until it was quite clear that the storm was going away. I cycled back to the pub and had a leisurely beer this time.

It was all the usual stuff after that. In the pub in the evening I fell into company with the same group that I have already mentioned as being good company. We had another huge thunderstorm. We got it this time - a torrential downpour. I did not care. I was in good company under Láci's magnificent erection and all my livestock were safely tucked up. It was still raining when it was time to go home. I did not care about that either. I had the little fold up brolly on the bike carrier so I cycled home under cover of it.

All normal once home. Until I went to switch on the big room light. It petulantly refused to illuminate. I had power - the hallway light worked and the computer was on. Another pet hate of mine. Those low wattage fluourescent light bulbs that cost a lot of money, claim to last a lot of hours and contain a lot of environmentally unfriendly nasty chemicals. I did my evening computer work by candle light which was fun - NOT! I am not a touch typist and this keyboard is so worn with use that many of the letters are barely legible in good daylight, let alone by candlelight. There was much hitting of the Backspace key.

27th July 2012

Overnight another great slab of brickwork had fallen out of the outhouse wall. Oh well, be thankful for small mercies. At least neither me nor dogs were around when it did fall out.

It was hot. I did all the normal stuff and then hid from the heat and updated the blog a bit. A beer, lunch, pigeon food, goat water and some early scything down of greenery for the goats. What an exciting life.

Mid-afternoon I had a quick swill round, a quick change and went to catch the bus to Násasd out of pure spite that once again the Halogy shop had no margarine fit to put on toast. The last lot I had bought, which was an unknown brand to me, had proved to be yet another sample of the stuff that does not melt when you put it on hot toast. It simply would not do.

At least Nádasd and back on the bus does not cost me anything now. I picked up a couple of bits in Bödő and wandered over to the Coop. Damn me if they did not have any sensible margarine either. Out of pure spite I bought some cooking margarine. At least I know that it melts on toast. It preserves cheeses rather well also, if I boil the water content out of it on the stove to leave pure vegetable fat. Back to the village. It was the multilingual regular driver who does the request stops so I was dropped right outside the pub. I went in and paid the bike parking fee then cycled home.

Nothing out of the ordinary after that. What an eventful day.

28th July 2012

After a normal start it was time to strim the verges again. It was hot work - I sweated. As usual I did the old lady's bit and today I did as far as Tibi's gate, which is all of about four metres contiguous with my bit. Also as usual, the minute that I had completed the old lady's she was out there. This time it was a litre of her pink wine. She apologised for no cash - she had no small change. Of course it was not a problem. The minute that I finished my bit and switched the strimmer off Tibi appeared with one of his small pálinkas. Small? Not! It is about a treble of what a small pálinka in the pub would be. I had literally just removed the shoulder strap of the strimmer when he appeared. I was shaking with the effort of using it. I do, you know. I had to use both hands to hold the pálinka. Still managed to spill some though. I thanked Tibi and he shot off. Before I even had chance to get in the yard he was back with a bottle of beer. Oh dear!. I still went to the pub for one.

Lunch, feed the pigeons, check and water the goats and then quite a lot of time updating the blog, which I am well aware tends to fall further and further behind at this time of year.

Back to the pub for the afternoon beer. Hobo was there and John appeared. The Olympic 250 kms cycle race was on. We stayed rather long until it finished. Back home, goats in etc. etc.

I did return to the pub, somewhat late. Helmut and Silvia were there. I continued where I had left off.

29th July 2012

It promised to be another very hot day. For some reason I decided that the goats should go out nearby. It took me some time. First I had to go right up the garden for the stakes, then I had to decide where they were going to go and then the goats had to go on the stakes. Rudy was reluctant and the wether took several minutes to capture. All in all very time consuming today considering how close to the goathouse they were.

The usual domestic stuff in the house and off to the pub for a pre-prandial. John was there having a well-earned beer having cycled to Körmend and back.

At lunchtime closing we wandered on. I had lunch and went the usual round of pigeons and goats. I don't think that I have mentioned that I only call them pigeons because the Hungarians do. To me they are in fact fan-tailed doves. The Hungarians make no distinction. They are all just pigeons. I have previously mentioned the same thing with rabbits and hares. I find it quite strange in a language that supposedly has about two hundred and thirty different words for horse.

I hid from the heat for a while and did some blog updating then ventured up the garden for goat greenery. The scything was pleasant enough work and the scythe was working well, but it was seriously hot and I seriously sweated. Still sweating profusely I secured dogs within and went for the afternoon beer. Towards the end it was increasingly clear that a thunderstorm was on the way. I necked the beer, rapidly assembled the milking kit and as quickly as I could limp went and got the goats in and milked early. Once again I just got back in the yard as the rain came. I still had to give the goats their overnight greenery. I had just concentrated on getting them in with Vicky separated from Suzy and getting whatever milk there was. I went back and did the greenery under the shelter of the brolly.

With goats in early and milked I managed an hour or so on the computer before I went to the pub. I sat in my usual place next to Hobo and it happened that the medal ceremony for the first Hungarian gold medal of the games came on the telly. I was shocked and dismayed at the rendition of Himnusz that was played. It was about fifty percent too fast and at one point both I and the Hungarian athlete lost the melody line for a second or two. I saw him do a double-take as he was singing along with it. I mentally did too. Now, as it happens I know the music of Himnusz inside out as I made an arrangement of it for the flute band back in the UK. The tempo was andante. It should have been largo. If you want to hear the definitive version it is here. You will need to turn the volume up to maximum and/or put the headphones on.

30th July 2012

I did not sleep well, aided and abetted by the black dog who seemed to be unwell. He was coughing and spluttering half the night. I half thought of calling the vet but eventually it subsided and so did I.

I was not up early and the goats were not out early either. They were not overly happy.

I had the sign out for Posta. She arrived in the spare van. No cash machine. I was not overly happy about that either. Lunch, feed the pigeons and check the goats then a totally unwanted cycle ride to the post office in Nádasd. I got my cash.

Back in the village I had a beer and then went home and checked the goats again who were all fine.

I went to the little pub outside the shop. I saw a car pull up opposite my place. The dogs set up a frantic barking. I recognised the bloke that got out of the car. Insurance assessor. I limped home and kept him without whilst I secured dogs within under lock and key. He took pictures of everything - house, all the outhouses and particularly the fallen down one. He told me outright there and then that the insurance would not pay for it. It was not a surprise. Whatever!

Whilst dogs were confined within Tibi turned up and summoned me. I got barrow from garden and followed Tibi. He had been scything over the road. A bloody great barrow load of greenery went into the barrow - enough for the goats for three evenings.

The usual after that - goats in, milk, pub.

31st July 2012

When I arose and let the dogs out it was obvious that we had had a fairish shower of rain overnight. It was still raining slightly but was promising to clear. Indeed it did by the time I had breakfast so the goats went out at normal time. I was pleased by the rain - it would make the weeds grow for the goats. It set out to be a hot day.

I confess that I was not on top form. No idea why. I managed some clothes washing and took the strimmer to half the yard. I had had enough by then. After that it was just minimum business as usual for the rest of the day.  


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