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October 2012

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1st October 2012

Yes, I am still here. In the knowledge that I am three weeks behind there will be some short entries coming up. This morning's problem was no Internet modem. It has been an intermittent problem all month, village power supply related - not the house power. The house power is either on or it is off. If it is off I punch the button on the earth trip switch until it stays on, then it is on.

Missing a load out, all of it routine, I went to the pub for my end of the morning break. I was sitting in my usual spot at that time of day, right by the door, when I witnessed something quite extraordinary. With nobody about I was busily introspecting when the tinyest of movements caught my eye on the floor. I half put it down to some random piece of detritus on the floor being moved by an errant breeze from outside, but then it happened again. And again. It was a housefly on the floor. It kept alternately trying to walk away or fly away. It could not. Something had it trapped. It took me some while to figure out what. On closer inspection I could see that the fly was attached to a spider. It was one of those very small bodied spiders - its body weight must have been at the most a fifth of that of the fly - with hugely long legs proportionally. For a while I watched the titanic struggle between the two.

I went out for a smoke. The struggle was still continuing when I returned. I had my one beer. I still had some to drink when it was closing time. As I went to sit and finish off I was very careful not to tread on the two protagonists. The pub was locked and in about five minutes I was on my way home. I never would see the result of the struggle I knew where my bet would be. That spider was not about to let go of that fly. I have to admit that it had, in all my years, never even occured to me that a spider might hunt thus.

Lunch, pigeons, goats. And then a horrid job. When the boys had stripped the roof tiles they had sheeted down the goat bedding straw in the loft. Unfortunately none of us, myself included had thought about what lay below the loft. What lay below the loft on the side that was not sheeted was my roomful of goat hay and the wood house. The forecast was dire. I had to get some of the black polythene into that side of the loft. It was a nightmare.

Right where I wanted to start was a load of miscellaneous crap all along that side of the loft. I worked my way back through it, hurtling and manhandling stuff. I arrived at Hobo's Pièce de résistance. Right there, which was over by the side that looks out over Tibi's yard was a full two rows of damp, rotten, mouldering cardboard boxes. Ah, FFS Hobo, WTF do I want with these? They got hurtled as well, in disintegrating handfuls. I finally managed to cut and lay the black polythene so as to keep the rain off the firewood and hay.

Beer after that. Forgot to say that I paid the phone bill. Yes, phone bill. Separate to Internet and all that. All my phone calls from here on the land line had been pensions related. Some quite long I will grant. Best part of a hundred quid. Mmmm - Well they certainly do know how to charge for International calls.

2nd October 2012

It was going to rain. Goats stayed in. Did the kitchen stuff and jarred up some tomatoes. Managed a bit of blog. I had a very special treat for lunch. The kitchen stove was going all morning so I cooked a couple of jacket potatoes. Nothing that out of the ordinary about that. The special treat bit was that I had them with Heinz baked beans.

I had a special treat of the rustic kind when I went to to pigeons and goats in the rain. Firstly, Mrs. Pigeon No. 1's squab was now sufficiently fledged that it had fluttered itself to the floor. I returned it to nest and gave it a little supply of seed and made sure it had water. It was most definitely going to have feathers on its feet. The second, and greater delight was that when I passed by Mrs. Pigeon No. 2 sitting I noticed a fragment of egg shell that had not been there this morning. I goaded her gently into rising and attacking me. I had the merest glimpse of yellow fluffiness. It was enough. Mrs. Pigeon No. 2 and her new mate had come good and I was glad.

I tried some blog updating but lacked inspiration. With it still raining at the end of the afternoon I did all the usual stuff, had a bite to eat and went to the pub.

3rd October 2012

Unusually, immediately after breakfast I had a quick ride up to the pub. Not for a drink, but to ask Jóli's help in getting me some bits from the meat van. Not a problem - she would sort it.

The girls went out, and then it was Rudy toe nails day. I had a bucket of goodies to entice Rudy upon the milking table. Rudy had other ideas. To say that he was uncooperative would be the understatement of the year. He simply would not go in the trap and would not put his back feet on the table. Eventually he ended up with horns in the trap but head and neck the wrong side of it in what must have been a most uncomfortable position. I did not care. Secured he was. With difficulty I managed to do both front feet. The back ones proved impossible. Rudy began to struggle and was threatening to drag the milking table round the inside of the goat yard. I sat on it. I could not reach his feet. I unsat on it and he struggled again. Eventually it ended up with the milking table almost on its side and Rudy on his side also. He gave up then, and lying on his side prepared to die. He rolled up his eyes and became semi-conscious. I worked at speed and did his back feet which with him inert was not a many minutes job. I released him and had to rouse him. A drop of cold water about the head did the trick. I had to assist him to his feet, though. He recovered and after a moment or two trotted off, rather subdued, to join the girls. I finished off securing him and the wether. The wether had made the most of it and during mine and Rudy's struggles had single handedly noshed his way through the goodies that I had put for Rudy.

Back to normal after that. I jarred up tomatoes, then went on-line to check bank accounts. My Hungarian bank server was working at a crawl. Nothing else, just the bank. It took me over ten minutes just to get logged in and check the accounts. After that it was time for me a trip to the pub and a well earned almafröccs and a beer, and to see if meat had arrived. It hadn't. Jóli said that she would still get what I wanted if he arrived over lunchtime or early afternoon. I went home for lunch.

After lunch the usual, and another small happiness. There were now two little balls of yellow fluffiness under Mr. Pigeon No. 2.

I strimmed the verges for what I was hoping might be the last time this year. Firewood, pub. Still no meat. Oh well. Jóli promised to get me some on Friday as she too had been relying on the meat van and would now have to go to Körmend for her own supplies.

The goats came in with no problems and Rudy was fully recovered from his ordeal. I ate, not what I had intended, then pub in the evening.

4th October 2012

It was a very misty and murky morning and everything and everywhere dripped wet. Posta caught me at the pub with an envelope to be signed for. Oh good, I knew what that was, then. So it proved to be when I opened it back home. My form DT-Individual countersigned and stamped with the official embossed stamp of the Hungarian tax authority.

Work-wise, one bucket of walnuts collected and an hour on the pointing up of the inside of the pigeon house was about the size of it. Two tiny baby birds doing well.

Pub in the evening, nothing else to report.

5th October 2012

There was nothing out of the ordinary in the morning other than that I packaged up form DT-Individual ready to send back to the UK by Registered Mail. I caught Posta with it at about the same time and in the same place that he had given it to me yesterday.

It is causing me a minor irritation as I write. It is on the tracking system of Magyar Posta as being received into the UK on 9th October. It has not been entered on to the system as having been delivered and signed for. That will mean, in the absence of any communication from the UK, a letter to HMRC. If it proves to have gone astray a) it should have been returned to me here and b) it will mean going through the whole rigmarole of another trip to Körmend to get another copy countersigned and stamped.

From the pub I went down to the faluház. There was a little market selling bits. Well, at least I thought there was. I went into the faluház expecting it to be in the normal place. Nothing. The mayor caught sight of me wandering about perplexed and told me that it was outside in the courtyard area. I found it, found what I wanted, paid and wandered back home for a slightly late lunch.

It was an exact repeat of yesterday after that - walnuts and pointing up and an afternoon trip to the pub when Jóli caught up with me with a bag of meat. Not quite what I expected, but it was more meat than I bargained for, less bones and more money. Whatever - I settled up happy enough. I prevailed upon John to stick half the meat in his freezer for a day or two. Pub in the evening.

6th October 2012

All normal until the afternoon. Once again it was a dull grey start. It burnt off again as the morning progressed. Goats went out.

I had a mountain of work to do. Little of it was done. Early afternoon, once pigeons were fed and goats were checked, it was a change of clothes and off to the idöség nap at the faluház. It had taken the mayor several times to actually catch me with my invitation. I have to confess that I had to do more than a double take when I encountered the word idöség in my aide-memoire notes. My dictionary did not translate it. Neither did the one remaining on-line dictionary that I use. Neither did Google Translate. It took a little while for the penny to drop that it had come directly from the invitation. It was the day for the retired peoples' afternoon entertainment and the general free-for-all party in the evening. I went along with camera, cunningly disguised as a pensioner.

There were the usual entertainments. I watched the shadows of the setting sun and judged my time to return home to pastoral duties. Goats in - all uneventful. Milked, pigeons locked in and I was able to change back from wellie boots, confine the dogs and return to the faluház. I noticed my neighbour John (with the cows) do the same thing.

It was the usual format in the evening. Everyone who had not been fed was fed. Drinks continued to flow in the direction of us pensioners. The entertainment was a couple of guys by now well known to me. My friend Sándor was also obviously well known to them, as after a few brief words he got on stage and did a short set with them. Late enough it was Zzzzs time for me. Dogs kicked, dogs fed, dogs out, dogs in and locked up for the night.

7th October 2012

I was not up particularly early. When I opened up the pigeon house I went in and checked their water as usual. Mrs. Pigeon No. 2 left the chicks and came down for a drink. I had my first chance to get a proper look at them. Both quite lively and now with their eyes open. My good look did not last long as by that Mr. Pigeon No. 2 was on there and sitting them. The feathery footed one was somewhere that I did not expect to see it. Good oh! That meant that it was now flying.

Nothing much out of the ordinary after that. I managed to get a wheelbarrow load of fresh green in for the goats and did another mixing of pointing up in the pigeon house. I went for my afternoon beer after that.

I returned to a scene of devastation in the kitchen. I had bought that very day a six pack of packets of paper handkerchiefs, ten in a pack. I had opened the pack and taken one packet to the pub. Unwisely, I had left the rest on the kitchen work surface. The dogs had had it. It was like a miniature snow storm, with little bits of paper hankie strewn all across the kitchen floor. Out of the five remaining packs there was just one that I could salvage. I gathered the rest up and into the stove they went for morning. Mmmm - don't leave paper hankies where the dogs can get at them.

Nothing out of the ordinary after that.

8th October 2012

The electricity went off twice over breakfast. Being the house that it is I went both times to the meter cupboard. It was not a house problem. It was village wide.

Goats, pigeons, cheese and catch Posta for cash. After a long absence it was the normal post lady. It is a bit like the shop. They generally do not have odd bits of time off, but when they do it is a good one - about a month.

When I fed the pigeons at lunch time the feathery footed one finally had the bottle to join the rest in the general feeding frenzy. It is by no means aggressive. I spread the food about and they all just find a space to peck around.

Two buckets of walnuts, a load of strimming, scything down of greenery for the goats and that was about it for outdoors. I went on-line to a site I had long had bookmarked - a gázdabolt on-line. I was impressed. I found what I wanted and ordered it. With a little help from Google Translate. Within minutes I had confirmation of my order and the e-mail told me that their delivery agent would be in touch directly the order was sent to them regarding delivery. They were. More later.

All normal. Pub in the evening. Hobo was there. Nothing unusual in that, then. He swore that black was white that he would be going home at eight. He left with me when they kicked out at nine! Nothing unusual in that, then either.

9th October 2012

I lay in bed once the alarm went off utterly, utterly convinced that it was Sunday. It took about ten minutes for the realisation to dawn that it was in fact Tuesday. I set about the normal business of the day. It was a pleasant day. The goats went out but quite nearby. I was rescuing their water buckets from a ways up the garden where they last were. There was a call from the fence. The lady on Telek utca's sons were there. They were collecting apples from a smallish apple tree that is quite nearby the fence. I went to the fence and they asked me if the goats liked apples. Not half! They gave the apple tree a good shaking. It is a small variety of apple and they tend to stay on the tree. They filled a big bucket, heaped high and over the fence it came. A penny dropped. It was the first time that I had seen the two sons together at close quarters and it only then dawned on me that they were twins. Hobo later confirmed it. What had thrown me was that one of them wears spectacles full time. The other does not. The water came out of the water buckets, the apples went in and I returned their bucket.

The goats being nearby, I took the opportunity to do the goat feet of the girls and the wether. I did the wether first. He was quite cooperative, unlike Rudy, and it did not take long. I celebrated by returning to the house for a break. I sat down a few minutes and then did the blood pressure. It was sky high! Somewhat concerned I returned to the goats. I had almost reached Suzy when I stopped and laughed out loud. I knew exactly what had caused the blood pressure problem. The tool with which I do the goat feet had long been missing the little catch bit that holds them closed when not in use. I fix that by the simple expedient of wrapping a rubber band around the handles to keep them closed. Having lost two or three rubber bands into goats I had taken the habit of putting the rubber band around my left wrist. It had still been there when I did the blood pressure. Sure enough, I checked again later in the day and the BP was back down to more reasonable levels.

All run of the mill stuff after that. Washing done and on the line, more cash from Posta, walnuts, firewood, up to Toni and Eva for tomatoes and paprika and a call in the pub on the way home. I called in the chicken farm where they produce the chicken meat and ordered some up for the weekend.

The goats got hay for supper but it was not of the best. I ran out of time for scything.

Pub in the evening where I had a cheap night. Hobo was with the skittlers and a couple of bottles came my way from unexpected sources.

10th October 2012

The weather was not good, and in sympathy neither was I. It rained all day. Sometimes less and sometimes more and cold with it. The goats stayed in.

I had an e-mail from the delivery agent for the parcel I had ordered. A very useful e-mail it was too. It advised me that delivery would be tomorrow, but in addition to that it had two web page links. One to ask for delivery the day after tomorrow should tomorrow be inconvenient and another for three working days hence. I was going to be around tomorrow anyway so I left well enough alone. But I suspect that there are number of large UK organisations who could well take note. Parcelfarce?

I started on making lecsó. After lunch I finished it off and put it in the slow cooker for a couple of hours. That was it for the day.

Pub in the evening of course.

I found this interesting article: Dmitri Orlov on Anarchy. Very interesting. Not necessarily the same here in the village.

11th October 2012

The unwellness from yesterday had developed itself into a full on head cold. I woke up sniffling and snuffling, and dripping of snot abounded. I did not mind. I actually felt a lot better in myself than I had yesterday.

It was a nice day. The goats went out. I did more pointing up in the pigeon house. I was confined to the yard, expecting Mr. DPD to deliver me a parcel at some stage. After that I did firewood - two baskets. In desperation for some greenery for the goats later I tackled a young elderberry tree growing where it had no right to grow - right against the outhouse wall behind the ever crumbling remains of what should have been a dog kennel. I had a surprise. Something was tangled up in it. It turned out that it was one of two plants that Eva had given me. One had succumbed. I was astonished by this one. It turned out to be a vine-type plant and whilst I had not been watching had infested the unwanted elderberry tree and also was running up and along some remains of woodwork from where the original wood house was taken down. It was thriving in the poorest of soils. I must remember to feed it some goat sh*t in the spring. You never know, it might help stop that outhouse falling down.

The afternoon was pressing on. I had been confined to house and yard all day apart from putting the goats out. Bollox to it, I was going for a beer. I cobbled up a sign that said "I am in the pub" with an arrow in the direction of the pub and the legend three hundred metres. It worked. I had not long been sat down with my alma fröccs, in a position where I could see comings and goings when I saw a bloke appear who was obviously looking for somebody. Me. His white van was not impressive. Something like an Opel Nova. Whatever, he had my parcel. We exchanged some good natured pleasantries, I signed, paid and was left with a parcel that sort of said "How TF am I going to get that home?"

Well it would not go on the bike in any order for me to cycle it home, so I walked it. One hand on the bike and one hand on the parcel. I got it home.

Goats in, pigeons locked up and that was it for the day.

12th October 2012

Edited highlights. I went back to the pigeon house repairs. I was working on the wall that overlooks the outhouse garden. In removing old crap I found quite a lot of suspicious areas at the bottom of the wall and the floor adjoining. It all had to come out. I made good with a fair size mixing of cement mortar and in places concrete. The cement floors, where there are any, are only a screed not very thick. I only have one outbuilding with a decent concrete floor and that is the potting shed.

Much later I went for my afternoon beer. A character came looking for me. Maize stalks. Yeah, OK, in a minute when I have finished my beer. Back home and a tractor and trailer load of maize stalks appeared. Dog were confined, tractor and trailer manoeuvred and four of us unloaded a trailer load of maize stalks. They were not light, still green at the bottom of the stems. There were more, I was told. Another two trailer loads. They appeared at intervals and were stacked with the rest. I paid for the cartage. Five thousand forints, which was very cheap considering the labour of chopping and bundling the stalks then later loading on the trailer and unloading at my place. There was the usual small additional charge of taking them over to the little pub outside the shop. I had one with them and then it was home in haste and get the goats in. I milked in semi-darkness, the sun already having gone below the horizon.

Pub in the evening.

13th October 2012

I did not sleep well. The head cold managed to wake me several times in the night, sniffling and snuffling. It was cold and rainy. The goats stayed in.

The baby birds had just found their voices, greeting me today with cheep-cheep cheep-cheep. They were doing well and it would not be long until I started putting a little food into their nest box. They were not quite at that stage yet though. I sometimes mull over the fact that all the goat and pigeon stuff is just what I had to pick up along the way, with a little help from some informative web pages.

After that another session pointing up pigeon house wall. It remains slow and tedious work.

I had left some time aside to start attending to the tile stove. The realisation was that it would not be very long before I would need to light it. A check back on the blog told me that last year I had had to light it tomorrow (14th October). The weather forecast was such that I did not expect to have to light it for a few days yet. I dealt with the outside, giving it a good all over clean and making good a few little bits of grouting. The grouting had stood up very well, in spite of the man in the shop where I bought the cement giving me no guarantees at all as to its suitability for a tile stove. A couple of the little patches I did were probably due to my own inefficacy in getting enough grout into the joint. Round the firebox door had suffered but that was no doubt due to the thermal expansion of the actual metal. It all took me but a few minutes.

Normal after that. Afternoon beer, goats, pigeons, food and more beer.

14th October 2012

Very short today. Apart from the usual stuff it was a couple more sessions in the pigeon house with the cement mortar. That's it.

15th October 2012

What I neglected to do yesterday in my efforts with the pigeon house was to get firewood in. There was just, and only just enough in to make toast and coffee. Goats went out and then I made it a priority job to get a goodly load of kitchen firewood in.

Two more buckets of walnuts and another shortish session in the pigeon house. Pub. Lunch. After goats and pigeons were done I returned to the tile stove. As ever, I had the inside to sort out. As ever, it was a horrid job. The first job was to glue back, or as it turned out at least start gluing back a half a fire brick that had fallen out towards the end of last winter. I knew from whence it had come. Immediately above the fire door on the front of the stove. Good-oh! That meant that I would be working completely blind. The next problem was that there was nothing that I could find in my gropings to which to affix it. Well, it would just have to be cobbled in. I cobbled it in as much as I could. Most of the fire cement ended up in the grate. I gave that bit best for the day, made another mixing and started on the other area that needed doing. Oh joy, oh bliss. I could not only get both hands to it but could see it as well. The mixing went in and I left it at that for the day. I washed the wretched stuff off hands and tools. Finger ends were already beginning to itch from it. I went for a beer.

Nothing else out of the ordinary today, and of course I ended up the day back in the pub.

16th October 2012

It rained all day. Not just a bit of rain either. A fair downpour. The goats stayed in, of course. I spent the morning on blog and other computer work.

There was work that I should have got on with in the afternoon. Finishing off the inside of the tile stove and more pointing up in the pigeon house spring to mind. I didn't. I contented myself with a bit more blog.

The usual goat/pigeon stuff and an evening trip to the pub completed the day.

17th October 2012

After yesterday it was a nice day, but not warm. Hobo turned up to tarpaulin the remains of the outhouse roof. A young man who had promised to come and help never showed up. Hobo did a bit more work on making sure that the big pieces of wood that caused the wall problems were even more secure from falling in the yard. Mmmm - secure? Not very. I pottered and did a few bits around the yard.

Without another helper, and he was adamant that I was not going up there, Hobo called it a day, not best pleased that the promised help had not turned up. It was pushing on for lunchtime so we headed to the pub anyway.

Lunch, feed the pigeons and check the goats. Firewood. I was still trying to keep going through the stack on the yard. I wanted as far as possible to reserve the stuff in the wood house for the tile stove. The stuff on the yard was ideal for the kitchen stove anyway, being in the main smaller than I would use for the tile stove. It was very wet after the rain yesterday. That does not affect the hardwood too much but the softwood tends to get much more damp internally.

With kitchen stove well banked up I cooked myself hurka and taties wedges, ate it and went to the pub.

18th October 2012

It was a nice day. The goats went out well up towards Telek utca on a patch of good feeding that I had been hoping to reserve for November.

Hobo turned up and sorted out the outhouse roof some more. It involved even more reinforcing the bit preventing it all falling in the yard. Not good! All not good.

Tail end of the morning was the same as yesterday. Up to the pub for a beer with Hobo and then home for lunch. After that I fed the pigeons and then wandered up to check the goats who were fine. I kept wandering, up to Telek utca, past the neighbour's house and onto the next door plot of land. I made a start on chopping and bundling the maize stalks on there (in the same place and to the same extent as last year). Last year the old boy had chopped and stooked them. This year, with him gone, I would have to chop them myself or pay someone to do it. It is not a bad occupation when there is a small gang of you but solitary and soul destroying on your own. I stuck it as long as I could. I did not get that much done and the sight of the rest of the field still standing was quite daunting. I did take a leaf out of the old boy's book and chose a single sturdy maize stalk to leave standing and began building my stook around that.

Pub, alma fröccs (and a beer) after that. Then home to start on the evening stuff. A bit of kitchen firewood for tomorrow and then get the goats in. I mentioned that they were a long way up the garden. I did the usual thing and they milled about in a thundering herd as usual. Just as I got back past the wreckage of the main garden I had an amusement. The goats thundered around and then decided to thunder towards the fence between me and Tibi. One of their cats was lurking in the garden. It took flight at the approach of the thundering herd. The funny part was that it startled the goats such that they took flight straight back to the goat house. In they all went - one, two, three, four. Oh bollox! That meant that I would have to get the chain off Rudy inside and then segregate them into their separate compartments. It took a while, but thankfully without problem.

Some food, change, pub.

19th October 2012

Very short. Another day when Hobo turned up to do more on the roof, and another day when nobody showed up to help him.

I pottered all day, achieving nothing special.

When I locked the birds up in the evening the feathery footed one was on the floor. I returned it to the nest box.

Pub. Definitely edited highlights.

20th October 2012

It was a nice day and I made the usual sort of start. Shop/breakfast/pigeons and goats out.

A working party turned up. Hobo, John and another young man who had not been here before to help. They set about sheeting over the remains of the outhouse roof with the tarpaulins that I had bought. Dogs were confined to house and I was confined to yard. Situation normal, by about half past eleven everyone wanted a beer so we all went for one. I let the dogs out for a short while before I went, to have a nose about the yard and see what was going on. I reconfined them and went to join the others. Before we left it was agreed that we would reconvene at about two. Except John who had been there a fair part of the morning and not actually done much. He cried off.

I went home, had lunch and did the usual pigeon and goat stuff. Hobo and the young man turned up as agreed and continued. I got the firewood for the kitchen in and did some blog updating.

The guys had the second tarpaulin in place at a time that happily coincided with time to go for an afternoon beer which well suited all three of us. I paid for the beers (again) of course. I asked Hobo about a thing I had noticed on my travels up and down the village. There had been much coming and going at a little house not far from the pub with gatherings of a certain peer group in the village. It turned out that a certain young man, well known to me, had bought the place. It pleased me enormously. The particular young man had been one of the first when I arrived here to come and make conversation with me via my two little dictionaries.

I had noticed another thing on my travels also. The other new people that I had previously spoken about had had gas installed to the house. I remain to be convinced about that. Every year since I have been here there had been news reports that somewhere or other in Hungary had had no gas supply in the depths of winter. Yes, yes - I know. Shale gas and all that. I remain to be convinced about that, either.

Home and early evening routine. The goats came in in a thundering herd again and, I know not why, but for once they neatly arranged themselves in the goat house where I wanted them, boys in boys end and girls in their end.

Pub in the evening. I was not at my best for some reason. I did not stay long and was early home and not long out of bed.

21st October 2012

I was still not good when I got up. I made the decision that the goats would just have to stay in. I opened up the pigeon house and then fed the goats. I was still having breakfast when Hobo and Gyuri appeared. I have no idea how that one works but Gyuri is the diminutive for the Hungarian for George. Apparently. Dogs were out. Hobo tied up Pickle to the well and in they came. Gyuri had apparently already decided that he was not afraid of Blackie which was surprising as most of the village is terrified of him, about which I have no problem at all.

Not at my best or not, something needed doing about the house. I did at least manage a thorough sweep through everywhere, including some ceilings and walls. I had just finished that when, conveniently for them, Hobo and Gyuri finished putting the last tarpaulin up. Pub of course. I bought the beers of course. We were not long at the pub when it was closing time.

Lunch, pigeons, goats. I carried on up the garden and back out onto the maize field. Oh! It was hard going. I managed to chop and bundle the rest of the first block across the field. There had been murmurings of discontent about lack of progress. I had to show willing but I could do with some help up here.

I managed to find time to make up a mixing to go into the pigeon house wall. I made it far too wet. Never mind. It went in as a skim up some big areas of wall close to the floor and did not take that long to get rid of.

At the pub, in the evening in the smoking area there was a lively discussion going on about a black dog. My ears pricked up (as much as they can). Oh-oh - what had Blackie been up to? It turned out that they were not talking about Blackie at all but a mainly black with a few white flashes stray (dumped!!) dog that had been in the village a couple of days. I had seen it a few times and Pickle and Blackie had gone ballistic at it a few times. It looked like a border collie cross. Same size, same physique. It was clearly an intelligent and friendly dog. The discussion was evidently about what should happen to it. Well, I really could not be doing with another.

Back inside the pub there was quite a good soccer match on the telly. I cannot remember what league or what clubs but it was a good match. Not that I am a football fan you understand. The proper Hungarian for association football is labdarúgás, which roughly translates as ball kicking.

When I got home I had no Internet connection. All the correct green lights were on but there was nobody home. I rebooted the modem. It got as far as giving me a DSL connection and then petulantly refused to connect to the Internet. Repeat, with same result. Oh well, not my problem. Clearly a T-Home problem. I switched the modem off and got on with some blog updating. I finished off the day and decided to switch the modem back on to see if I could publish. It came up good as gold. Probably some Windose server somewhere up the line that crashed and had to be rebooted. Or, being a Windose server, just had to be rebooted. I published blog and went to bed.

22nd October 2012

Not the first, faintest idea! Blog holiday.

23rd October 2012

I was under the weather again today. Once again I had no idea why. All day I did just the necessary pigeon and goat work. It was a bank holiday anyway - National day. Unlike the last couple of years there were no formalities on the village green.

I was not so unwell that I could not make my normal trips to the pub and that is were I ended up in the evening. He was busier than a normal week day with quite a few of the regulars taking advantage of the holiday. Nothing else of note.

24th October 2012

The weather was the same as yesterday - cold, damp and overcast. At least I felt better today. The goats stayed in again.

I was stuck in and around the yard for a fair bit of the morning. I used the time to get well stocked up on kitchen firewood. It was clear that we were moving steadily from autumn into winter. The days could still be very pleasant but it was becoming rapidly chilly as the sun started to descend. I was waiting for the dog food man to appear with a fifty kilogramme bag of barley for the goats. He did appear, fortunately in a timely manner. Pickle gave me the usual advance warning of his steady approach. She has a special bark for him which starts the first time he plays his jingle, long long before I can hear it. He dropped the barley right by the gatepost and I paid him. Five thousand forints. Last year I simply could not have afforded it.

By then it was time for me to go to the pub. Dogs were secured within, and I took the opportunity to get the barley as far as the house doorstep. I confess that fifty kilogrammes is right at the very limit of my dead lifting capabilities. I had to three quarters lift it and a quarter drag it to the doorstep about a foot at a time.

I went for my alma fröccs an a beer, then home for lunch. Pigeons, then goats which was cold, damp work. I did some blog updating after that.

In the afternoon I went for my other beer. Hobo was there. We went out for a smoke. He happened to drop it out that he would be working in Ivanc (the village where the goats came from) tomorrow. I glimpsed an opportunity of avoiding a long ride there and back. I told him I needed some pieces of glass. I think that I have mentioned it before, but Ivanc is the nearest place that there is a glass merchant. I still remain amazed that there is not one in Körmend. I mentioned it to Hobo. He said that where he would be working was within a few metres of the glass merchant and to write down the sizes and he would pick the measurements up early tomorrow. As it happened I forgot to do that until later, but as it also happened, in true Hungarian style, Hobo never turned up in the morning for the measurements. I later gave him the card with the measurements on. As I write, he has it in his bum bag still.

I went home and at the appointed time went to lock the pigeons in and feed the goats. The girls had obviously been discussing it and decided to form an escape committee. As I attempted to put the maize stalks in Vicky made a determined dash for freedom. I attempted to restrain her. Bugger! She had no collar on. I managed to get hold briefly of the scruff of the neck. Whilst I was doing that Suzy got past me and was away. Now, goats do not have a scruff unlike canines and felines. Vicky got away as well. The reason is simple. Nature has provided mother dog and cats of all sizes with a convenient means of restraining their unruly offspring - works for us humans as well. Goats have no need of such. Their offspring only want to suckle and start nibbling solids. Anyway, Suzy and Vicky were out, and they led me a merry dance all over the garden for half an hour before I managed to grab Suzy by the collar and have her back in the goat house. Vicky was not long following.

I was pleased to get back to the house, relax for a few minutes, eat and go to the pub.

25th October 2012

I was in with the goats giving them their breakfast when something gave them a start. There was a dog right near the goat house. Blackie! The goats did not like it even though they were safely confined in the goat house. Oh well, get on with it dog. I finished off doing what I had to do with the goats and returned to the yard. Pickle was safely on chain so I left the garden gate open to await his return. There was not a lot else I could do as he had disappeared from sight.

I forgot to mention it but I had previously caught him on the ex-coalhouse roof. He had learnt to climb the maize stalks - the first lot to arrive in three trailer loads - which were stacked around there. Well, today he had discovered that he could get from there down into the garden.

I set about moving the maize stalks away from the area that I suspected was where he was getting up. He was not long gone and returned to the yard of his own volition and without me having to encourage or admonish him. I closed the garden gate and carried on moving the maize stalks. When I had had enough I turned to getting the firewood in.

I mentioned the glass merchant and Hobo yesterday. I had a cutting list written out, which Hobo had said he would collect. It did not happen. I went to the pub for my normal end of morning break after that. Unexpectedly I found Hobo there. It turned out that his days work in Ivanc had been scrubbed for whatever reason. Helmut turned up briefly and my one beer became two when he presented each if us (me and Hobo) with another bottle just as he was leaving.

Home, lunch, pigeons and goats. I did some blog updating and to be honest cannot remember about the rest of the afternoon.

I had my usual afternoon break and, realising that time was getting on a bit, cycled home in haste to do the early evening stuff. I fed the goats, dashed (ha-ha) to the shop and then back home to get the kitchen stove going. Mmmm - virsli (nearest equivalent frankfurters) and potato wedges done in the oven and a couple of fried eggs. Full unhealthy, no doubt. I think that you are supposed to serve virsli boiled. I prefer them cooked in the oven. The last time I went to Budapest they served them thus, cold and sliced into mouthful sized pieces.

Back to the pub for the evening. Football on telly as usual but it was a good match. It was not long before closing that I realised that I had not locked the pigeons in for the night. Oh well, if damage was to be done it would likely have been done by then. When I did get home I fed the dogs and then took the wind up torch and went to lock the pigeons in properly. All was well. They were all present and correct but it was a good job that I checked. One of the youngest pair was wandering about the floor having decided to flutter down from the nest. I returned it to its sibling.

26th October 2012

Well, I thought (hoped) that I had fixed the black dog problem yesterday. Not so, for Blackie once again escaped whilst I was feeding the goats, who now seemed to be contained for winter. A repeat of yesterday. I moved even more maize stalks whilst I waited for black dog to reappear. When he did he went in the house under lock and key whilst I moved even more maize stalks.

Hobo turned up looking for work. There was plenty, starting with the rest of the standing maize stalks on Telek utca. Hobo wanted to try the Al-Ko strimmer with the brush cutter. I got it out and changed the strimmer line head for the brush cutter. I showed him (again) how to start it from cold and off he went. Some little while later, having done what I needed to get done I went and joined him to bundle and stook the maize stalks. Dogs were locked in house. There was a problem. The brush cutter had gone eccentric - a bit like me.

As it happened I had left the toolkit for the strimmer on the doorstep of the house. I sent Hobo to get it, him being fleeter of foot than I. I had had the same problem with the brush cutter, so I knew how to fix it. Tighten the nut up a bit more. I am somewhat wary of tightening nuts up more. "Tight's tight. Too tight's loose (and expensive)." I fixed the strimmer, giving the nut a little more wang. Hobo went back to work. I began bundling, tieing and stooking. We called a halt at about half past eleven and went for a beer, well earned.

I caught Posta and got cash and then home for lunchtime routine. I went to feed the goats and had a repeat of this morning. Blackie escaped again. Right! It had to be fixed. He went in house under lock and key. I set about moving the bundles of maize from the yard into the garden by the goat house. Forty eight of them and light they were not. I reckon every bundle was thirty to forty kilogrammes. I cleared the entire area by the ex-coalhouse. Pick the bones out of that, black dog!

I went back to the maize stalk area on Telek utca. There was no sign of Hobo but it was like a battlefield. I set about bundling, tieing and stooking that lot. Somewhere along the way Hobo repeared. He bundled, I tied and stooked. At about half past three it was definitely beer o'clock. We had the one. Hobo rustled up Pitu to help and we returned to the battlefield. Hobo bundled, I tied and pitu bundled and stooked. I As the light began to fade I excused myself and went to feed goats and lock pigeons in whilst there was enough daylight to do so.

I wandered down and picked up and paid for the chicken meat that I had ordered, then back to the shop for some bits and a beer at the little pub outside the shop which was still in full swing. Hobo and Pitu appeared. I bought them a beer also. It had started to rain. It was a good job that the maize stalks had all been stooked. They rapidly become non-goatfood if they are lying on the floor and get wet.

I went home and ate. Then went to the pub, unwashed, unchanged and uncaring. It had been a pretty exhausting day.

27th October 2012

It was raining. I did the usual. I managed a Skype session to one of my offspring. It was still raining, so I cycled to the pub under the umbrella.

Back home and a quick lunch, then the usual livestock stuff. I kept the kitchen stove going all day.

When I went to do the goats later I caught Marika delivering an armful of little cabbages for the goats. All gratefully received. Rudy was most definitely not happy. He was, as you might say, not getting his oats and he was just more than a little bit interested in Suzy. Well, if I had anything to do with it he would not be getting his oats until next month. March would be too early for kids. April would do just fine. Poor chap, he just stood at the window from where he could see the girl's half of the goat house and gibbered.

I was going to write more, but as I write the tile stove has decided to throw a serious wobbly and ninety percent of the smoke is in the house, not up the chimney. I know where the problem is. I know not what to do about it. In true Hungarian fashion there is no easy means of dealing with it. More later.

28th October 2012

I awoke and rose to a bit of a surprise. There had been a sprinkling of snow overnight.

It was a very windy day also. After breakfast when I went to do the goats and pigeons. I noticed at I passed the outhouse that Hobo's handiwork with the tarpaulins had already started coming adrift. Not good.

All day it was not a day for being outside. It was minimum goats and pigeons - the goats would not have liked being outside today. I did a bit of housework and settled to do some blog updating. It was only then, when I switched the computer on, that I realised that the clocks had gone back. I knew it was going to happen of course but had not changed any clocks yesterday evening with the result that I had actually been up since before six. I changed the house clocks.

A few minutes early I went for a beer. I went the long way round, down past John's and the easy way up onto Telek utca. I wanted to see how my stooks of goat food were faring in the high wind. Very well, as it happened. There was one odd bundle of stalks on the ground. The remainder were standing solid. Whilst I had my apple fröccs and then a beer I set the time on my mobile phones. The only clock that I did not do was the one on the bike computer. As I write it is still showing CEST.

Home, and a change of routine. Instead of having lunch and then doing goats and pigeons I did them first. They have no idea about the stupid human idea of daylight saving time or whatever you want to call it. How much daylight time does it save? None! Their body clocks told them that at about noon CET, which used to be about one CEST, it was time I fed them. So I did.

Some more blog and then firewood. I had a fair amount in for the kitchen but for the first time this year got firewood in for the tile stove. I went for an afternoon beer after that, hours also amended so that I could lock pigeons in and feed goats in daylight. I caught the last third of the F1 on the telly.

Home and do the goats and pigeons. For the first time this year I lit the tile stove. Well, that was better than last year where the blog shows that I first lit it on 14th October. Me getting harder? It was strange, but it warmed up much faster than last year.

Pub in the evening. When I cycled home there were flakes of snow in the air.

29th October 2012

When I opened the roller shutters first thing we had had a fairish fall of snow overnight. I cannot say that I was surprised. For several evenings on the telly weather forecast I had been watching the progress of a huge cold front on the isobarometric chart. When I first saw it on the Hungarian weather forecast it must have been just south of the arctic circle and stretched from about Iceland right the way off the telly screen. It had sunk slowly south since. I was not up early anyway for the simple reason that the radio alarm had failed to arouse me, for the simply reason that there was no power.

First thing that I did when I let the dogs out was to check the circuit breaker in the meter cupboard, suspecting as always that it was a house problem. It wasn't. It was village-wide and went on for several hours.

I went about my business. Shop, stove, breakfast, livestock. I put some water on the stove to heat up to do some much needed washing of clothes (there always is a much needed washing of clothes). I did a bit of blog updating and went to the pub. The power was still off. There was no central heating. Láci had a mobile gas fire behind the bar. The rest of us just kept our coats on. I felt sorry for those in the village that had wood fired water heating furnaces and pumped central heating systems. I knew that they would have to rake the fire from the furnace if it was alight and the power went down, otherwise explode the boiler. With firewood to hand I had no such problems.

I had a visitation in the afternoon. Tibi and what I used to call the English contingent. I tied Pickle to the well and let them in. As usual Blackie was no problem at all. He is not inclined to jump up at people and generally mills around and wants a bit of fuss. It turned out that Tibi had twofold concerns about the remains of the outhouse roof. One, that it would either fall on, or cause the wall that side to fall on, his workshop. Two (and far more likely) that ditto would happen in my yard and kill me. Well, I already knew that and had been trying for however long just to get it made safe. New roof could wait.

When they left I clambered up there and had a good look at the third outhouse that adjoins the pigeon house. Total catastrophe. It had had a lath and plaster inner ceiling, or what passes for lath and plaster - cane and plaster.The same sort of cane stuff that in the UK is woven together and made into lightweight mats that you roll up and take to the beach to lie on the sand. The collapsing roof had taken it down. The only saving grace was that it had collapsed in such a way that none of it was going to fall in Tibi's yard. Whatever! I was not about to tackle it right now.

Goats, pigeons and meat and tatie pie. Not my most successful. Oven not hot enough. Pub.

30th October 2012

I was up a little earlier than usual as I needed to get to the doctor at the faluház for more blood pressure tablets. Of course, Sod's Law prevailed and I managed to catch the tail end of the morning rush hour in the shop. There seemed to be more than the usual amount of gossip to be had and it took me fifteen minutes to get served. Inwardly I was thinking "Come on! Come on!" but outwardly I was calmness and serenity. I knew that there was nothing to be done about it. It was just the way things are. At one point I just stopped inwardly fuming and just grinned about it. Nobody noticed, which is just as well as they would probably have wondered what the hell I was grinning about.

I scuttled about a bit at home to get breakfast and do the goats and pigeons. Then down to the faluház to see the doctor. I needed a repeat prescription for the blood pressure tablets. It was the first time I had seen him in almost two months, last time there having been a locum tenens. I told a little white lie when asked about the tablets prescibed last time. I said that the second lot that the locum prescribed had not agreed with me and I had stopped taking them. In fact, having read the reports of serious side effects on the Internet I never took any of them. He insisted on taking my blood pressure. Mmmm. Under the decent coat and jumper I was still in my work clothes. When I got down to the tee shirt it was definitely a bit arm-pitty. Oh well, his problem not mine. He was happy enough with the blood pressure and gave me a prescription for just the ones he had prescribed in the first place. On the way out he once again pressed upon me the fact that there were lots of beautiful women in Halogy. He seems determined to get me fixed up. Well, maybe there are. But not of an age group that I would stand a chance with!

I went home happy enough, changed back into the rest of the work clothes and went about the business of the day. I had another look at the third outhouse, this time from below on the short ladder. I did not much like what I saw. There was no way that I was going to venture up there. Never even having poked my nose in there before in all this time I did make a discovery. It had a sound cement covered floor.

I made an attempt to start getting the roof tiles off from the outside but it was too precarious and also too cold. I gave it up, went to the pub and then it was lunch time.

After lunch and all the usual I got firewood in then cycled up the village and caught the bus to Nádasd. I went to Bödő. They had one item that I wanted and had not two other items that I wanted and thought they might have. I left with two mouse traps. I still had mouse(s) in the house and yet another mousetrap had disappeared. I went over the road to the Coop. I found there one of the items that Bödő did not have - a washing up brush. They were however out of stock of decent margarine and tuna fish, which they normally had. Well, not the best shopping trip but at least the trip cost me nothing.

Enough for the day. There are another couple of bits to mention

31st October 2012

The couple of bits that I did not mention yesterday were that Hobo did some more cutting and bundling of maize stalks and that Tibi had been around in my absence and chalked on the potting shed doors. It was a message about the remains of the outhouse roof. It was clearly Tibi. He is the only person hereabouts that I know that writes in two colour, pseudo 3-D chalk. I got a picture of it. When I get around to publishing the picture I will give you a rough translation of what it said. Teaser!

As for today, I made no notes and suspect that it was just another day similar to many recently. I will write briefly about finances instead. I do not have a problem with talking about my finances. I am guessing that it is fairly common knowledge in the village due to the amount and frequency with which I get cash from posta.

It has taken from July to now for all my pension payments to become sorted out and regularly paid. There is one more domino to fall and that is form DT-Individual that I have previously mentioned. More later.

I have four pensions. Three are paid into my UK bank account and one is paid direct into my Stirling account here. My plan is that the latter and anything left over from the other three that I transfer over here will go towards sorting out the infrastructure. I checked my UK account today via Internet banking and literally exclaimed "How much?" Until now the infrastructure has been crumbling faster than I could deal with it.

On thirty thousand forints a week I can live very well, including paying all the normal (small) bills and buying in food for dogs, cats, children, mice, the zebra, pigeons and goats and paying for a little help here and there. The big bills I do have to pay separately but there are only a couple or three a year: electricity, water and telephone (if I have to use it for international causes as I did this year).

I think I might have gone to the pub in the evening.  


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