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April 2013

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1st April 2013

In an effort to not get so far behind again I will keep it short. Almost all was well on farm Welsh, but a bit more later. The weather was dire! Where the hell was spring? It was still most definitely winter and it had not been in any way a normal winter. Not that cold but comparatively huge amounts of snowfall.

All the usual stuff happened, then at some time in the morning I checked my blood pressure. It was high. I knew why - I was by then getting seriously worried about what I was going to feed the goats and was very wound up about it. About all I had left was Christmas trees. The hay in the hay house was getting fit for nothing except composting. In the absence of a roof and in spite of being tarpaulined above it was getting dripped on and dripped on to the point of no return. I reckoned that there was about three cubic metres of hay in there and I was struggling to find enough for a single decent feed of the goats.

An angel appeared in the most unlikely guise. Miki! I had happened to mention to him at the pub the hay problem. He had sourced some hay in the most unlikely of places. Next door but two neighbour on the same side as me down towards John's. He did not know where to get hold of a hand cart. I told him.

Within half an hour he reappeared and I had to confine dogs within as he was towing a hand cart load of what I can only describe as fine, dry, mixed hay which disappeared over the garden gate. It was followed by four more loads. Some went in to the goats immediately. They were munching away contentedly immediately. Of course, Miki being Miki he had put it in the most inopportune place. I had told him by the goat house. My fault - should have been more specific. There is a ninety degree apex where the old garage adjoins the goat house yard at the back. That was where it was, which was unfortunate as it impeded me from feeding goat treats from without the goat house.

Miki told me that there would be the same amount again tomorrow. It was morning beer o'clock by then anyway. He went off to the pub. I told him that I would follow on in a few minutes. Dogs came out briefly and then I did follow him and was more than happy to buy him a fröccs and pay him for his efforts. It was a millstone lifted from my shoulders.

Back home I had lunch. With the clocks going on, lunch now preceded goats and pigeons. After lunch I did the goats and pigeons stuff and then set about moving the hay. I found a suitable ground sheet, moved the hay into a mini-haystack and sheeted it over with a spare tarpaulin. A good job too. It was coming on to sleet.

Nothing else for the day except that the goats got more of the good hay and I had an amusement in the pigeon house. Mrs. Pigeon No. 2 had laid an egg again. By heck, she is in a hurry this year. The amusement was that she was sitting the last two squabs, by now almost fully fledged and they were sitting the egg underneath.

Mmmm - short?!?!

2nd April 2013

Today will be short for the simple reason that the weather was dire and I simply hid from it for as much time as possible. On and off it snowed all day. I was well pleased by my decision to move and sheet down the hay. Second of April and still snow on the ground! What goes on?

I did manage to catch doctor today. I also had a stroke of luck. There was nobody in the waiting room and as I went in there his last patient left his office. I had not even had time to take hat and gloves off. I told doctor about the high blood pressure of yesterday. He checked it. Quite happy - one hundred and thirty he said. I was back home in little more than five minutes.

I did the routine livestock and firewood stuff during the day and the necessary trips to the pub. Otherwise that was it. Miki had promised to turn up with more hay. It did not happen and in the conditions I cannot say I blame him.

3rd April 2013

It was almost a repeat of yesterday, except that there was no trip to the doctors and Miki did turn up in the afternoon to shift hay.

The weather was, subjectively, worse. The snow had turned to intermittent sleet and a horrid, biting, nagging wind had blown up.

When Miki started moving the hay the dogs and I were confined within. I was less than pleased when I did get a chance to look outside to see that he had dumped it in a huge heap just over the garden gate, and it was now starting to get sleeted upon. I had clearly told him to where I had moved the last lot, indicating that it was under a tarpaulin in that direction. It was beyond his pea sized intellect. I had to actually take him to the garden gate, point to the tarpaulin that had not been there before and now had a bloody great heap of something under it and say "There!". Bless, he did get it shifted and together we got it sheeted down again. I took him to the pub, bought him a fröccs and paid him a few forints. The going rate for such labour remains as it was when I first arrived. Five hundred forints an hour - about one pound fifty. No wonder the Hungarian grouse "If we are in the EU then why do we continue to get third world pay".

4th April 2013

The weather was better. Not warm, but at least a bit of sunshine. There was not a hope of getting on the garden - still far too wet. The same all over the village. As I cycle about I can see no evidence of anybody doing much on the gardens yet. I will know when it is time when the old lady next door calls in her man with the rotovator.

Nothing much of significance happened today here on the ranch. It was just the usual round of livestock and firewood. It was certainly not warm enough yet to be doing without the heating, both in the kitchen and in the tile stove.

I had an interesting exchange with a young man of the village out the back of the pub. There was more hay to be had. I knew that there was - Miki had dragged me away to see it. The proposition was that it belonged to one of the young man's friends, who also happens to be one of my village Facebook friends. The young man wanted to keep it between me, him and the friend and cut Miki out of the loop.

I had an interesting exchange of e-mails during the day from one of my semi-regular correspondents. It turned out that they have a small plot of land here in Halogy. I identified it from the description and knew exactly where it was.

Nothing more of note. Pub in the evening.

5th April 2013

I forgot to mention yesterday that the county town, Szombathely, made the national news yesterday evening. I mentioned that we had sleet here yesterday. Szombathely had snow, in spite of it only being a few kilometres north of here, and plenty of at that. There was a spate of accidents caused by the conditions.

The young man, named Dávid (that is 'a' as in apple, not 'a'as in April by the way) appeared to move hay, as promised. I had nowhere to put it except in the derelict, fallen down cellar outhouse. Load after load arrived. It had to be sheeted down in case of further precipitation.

Whilst this was going on I, closeted within, set about repairing the kitchen stove. It was falling apart inside. There was much very thin pressed steel within. Now, wood smoke and I suspect coal smoke even more so is very corrosive. The pressed steel bits around the firebox and where the smoke leaves the stove were falling apart by the day. Mmmm! I had thought that this wood stove would last me out! Maybe not. I thought that I had some samottliszt (what they laughingly call fireclay) within the house. I had none and it was too late in the day to do anything about it. I bodged it up by shuttering it up and repairing it with the tile grouting cement that I use on the tile stove. Not good! No idea how long it will last.

All normal for the rest of the day.

6th April 2013

Once again I was not up late. I was in the shop before half past seven and once again there were no loaves. The old chap in front of me had the last one. I would not have bought it anyway as it was sliced and I am not overly partial to the sliced bread here. To me it always tastes stale. I had to settle for a couple of the rolls they call zsemle. It was my own stupid fault anyway. I had forgotten to tell the shop lady yesterday to put me aside a vekni for the weekend. I did a quick rerun around the shop and added flour and fresh yeast to my few bits.

As far as what I did in the day it was all normal except that I had to make bread in the afternoon. It was a good job that I cleaned out the stove yesterday whilst doing the repairs. At least I was able to bake a half decent bloomer so that I could have my breakfast toast tomorrow.

At some stage around lunchtime it all turned abnormal. Dávid had mentioned something that obviously got lost in translation. There was a doggy commotion and he was outside the gates with another load of hay. Black dog was enticed within with a tasty morsel and Pickle was secured to the well. I opened the gates and Dávid wheeled the hay in, out of Pickle's reach. There was more to come I was told - about four or five loads. Next time Dávid appeared he was accompanied by Pitu. I was working on repairing yet another fork handle. I don't think that I mentioned that Hobó broke the first one. The fork belonging to my dear, departed neighbour on Telek utca which he lent me and never wanted back in spite of me asking several times. I think of him every time I use it. It was Dávid who had broken the one I was repairing now, which had caused me to repair the other in haste.

Dávid had jury rigged some extended sides on his hand cart. It looked like the sides were ex-sides from a baby's cot and he had a couple of boards one end and a piece of asbestos (yes!) sheeting the other and allowed him to transport about double the amount of hay that he had before. Another four or five such loads appeared - probably double what Dávid had initially estimated. With the last load the owner of the hay appeared and I settled up with him, thus making him the ex-owner. It was by now afternoon beer o'clock. I sent them off to the pub, telling them that I would have to let Blackie out for a run around and a pee and then join them. I closed the big gates and made sure that the small gate was properly shut and then let Blackie out and released Pickle from well. They had a field day in the hay, which was unsheeted. At one stage Pickle (sadly on chain as always) actually got herself stuck in it. It was a lot of hay, to the extent that if I needed to get into the cellar, which I don't, there was only just about enough room. Dogs having refreshed themselves and attended to their needs, I secured them within and went to attend to mine.

Remind me to write about the tools, particularly the gardening ones. But enough for now. Rest of the day was normal and at least I had fresh home baked bread to eat, then pub in the evening. Mmmm! My aide-memoire notes for the day ran to six words - not bad.

7th April 2013

Highlight of the day. Dávid and Pitu turned up to sheet down the hay that Dávid finished bringing round. It kept me in the yard most of the morning. Dávid managed to knock a great lump of wall down as he was clambering in and out of the derelict outhouse where the hay is. I was not surprised. The (haha) mortar holding the bricks together crumbles to sand if you give it the slightest knock. The whole outhouse could really do with coming down and rebuilding from scratch. Not going to happen.

8th April 2013

The weather was good, and after breakfast I was rewarded in the pigeon house by the merest glimpse of a new baby pigeon under Mrs. Pigeon No. 2. To jump ahead a little, the only glimpses I had after that for several days showed me that there was still only one baby squab in the nest, and what appeared to be an unhatched egg. Wrong! When I finally did get a proper look there were two fine baby chicks in there and what I had taken for an unhatched egg was in fact half an egg shell, not removed from nest by mother bird.

Fabricator Lajos turned up to do some amendments to the metalwork on the gatepost. The bit that was there was too short to allow the deadbolt of the new lock that I had installed to engage. Now there is a word that you most certainly have never seen on the blog before. I know that because I had to go away to Google to look it up. There was a minor problem. I knew that Lajos would want his welding kit plugging in in the house. I had to entice Blackie into the outhouse with a bit of stale bread and lock him in. Pickle was not a problem - she was on her chain. Lajos did a bit of angle grinding, a bit of new metal bending (by eye) and a bit of welding. I fetched the key and he tried it. Perfect! I retrieved his cable from the house and he packed his stuff away and went off. The price, as usual, was a couple of drinks in the pub. All the time that he had been there Pickle had never ceased barking whilst at the same time wagging her tail furiously. Stupid dog!

All the usual stuff happened, with which I will not bore you. It happened that butor Lajos turned up with a couple of bits of wood for me at a most fortuitous time. I had just locked the dogs in and was about to set off for the evening session in the pub. I unlocked the workshop outhouse and Lajos stacked in my bits of wood. He told me that he had worked fourteen hours today machining a cubic metre of softwood. There is an amusing sequil to this particular little story which happened only this very evening as I write. Out in the smoking area Lajos asked me why I had not paid for the wood. I looked at him quizzically and asked him where the other two bits that I had ordered were. The penny dropped with him and he literally smacked his forehead with his palm. For the third time he wrote down the measurements - on a beer mat! I would not mind, but I put the order in in about October, being something I wanted to get done before winter set in. Ah, the Hungarian way. Which winter? The last one or the next?

9th April 2013

After breakfast I went off to open up the pigeons and feed the goats. As I opened them up I had an amusement. Just on the edge of the camping lawn was a great spotted woodpecker hammering away at uncollected walnuts of which there are many still on the ground uncollected when the weather closed in last year. As it pecked away bits of walnut flew out and landed nearby. The amusement was that there was an opportunist thief at work. A cheeky little sparrow was rushing in, grabbing a bit of walnut and rushing away again. I stood and watchedfor a few minutes before going to feed the goats. It quite brightened up the start to my day.

It was a nice day. The meadow was starting to show green, not quite enough yet to put the goats out but it would not be many days. All normal after that. Still getting firewood in.

The shop had had no fruit this morning. The shop lady had told me that there was a delivery this morning. I locked the dogs in just after eleven but on my way to the pub I wandered over to the shop to see if it had been delivered. It had not. I changed my plans and with the weather being so nice I had a beer at the shop and sat outside to wait for the fruit and veg man. There was an old girl of the village hanging about on the same errand clearly. She is a cheery soul and quite often amuses me in the morning by having her breakfast made up. A couple of zsemle with sliced meat which she munches as she cycles home with her shopping. Fruit and veg man did not show up and the shop lady locked up at the usual time. Blast! I went off to the pub in disgust.

I did a double-take as I got home. It looked like the shop was open. Yes, I saw someone come out. There were a couple of other people in there, both on the same errand as me - fruit. It had arrived belatedly and evidently the shop lady had opened up to see it in and decided to stay open a while to see how much trade she picked up. Quite a bit by the looks of things.

It was a pretty normal afternoon for me. I still could not really get on the garden. There is no evidence of much happening anywhere in the village yet.

There was a minor local difficulty outside the shop this evening. I had seen a certain young man of the village go down the side of the shop as I went over the road. I knew where and what for. The young man was back in the shop when Berti, the high quality furniture maker in the village so I have heard, who lives and has his works down the little lane by the shop came up in high dudgeon. From the shop doorway he harangued the young man from the shop doorway for some little while and left. I returned inside the shop for something I had forgotten. Young man was now outside. Bertie had returned and now had young man by the coat front. I seriously thought that he was going to hit him. Fiery little fu... person. I lingered in the shop doorway until it had subsided before venturing out.

It was quite a tame evening in the pub by comparison. In the five years that I have been here I have only seen such a handful of times, four of which involved the same person, mentioned on the blog, who has a habit of releasing tongue before engaging brain.

10th April 2013

Ah, good weather. It looked like spring had finally sprung. It precipitated a sequence of consequences, The first of which was that the wheelbarrow was in the yard and I needed it in the garden, but had a job to do with it first in the pigeon house. I set about it. When Hobó and I moved in the first pair - with two eggs which came to nothing - that outhouse floor was littered with many years worth of crap. All the removable bits had gradually been removed but the floor remained littered with miscellaneous shite and debris that had to be removed. With shovel and hoe I cleared it into heaps and then got in the wheelbarrow. I had estimated two barrow loads. Wrong! Two barrow loads came out today and that was about half of it.

After that, firewood and then into the garden. Not before time, the conditions were good enough to get out and start. I made a start by doing some general tidying up in the goat house area.

Towards the end of the afternoon the wind picked up, the skies darkened and there was a sudden clap of thunder from quite close by. There was no rain but that came a little later - a good steady shower, not torrential. It rather put the mockers on any plans for gardening tomorrow though. The ground was still plenty wet enough and now it had been wetted further.

I had a laugh in the pub late on. Hobó was playing Hungarian cards with one of the village Józsis. Józsi had a fair bit on board and Hobó was absolutely taking him to the cleaners, as far as I could tell without cheating. Hobó went out for a last cigarette and by that Jóli came round making drink up noises. The laugh was that Józsi, quite unknowingly, began finishing off the last of Hobó's beer. I grinned to myself.

11th April 2013

Very short today. It was spring weather again. All was normal except that towards eleven I wandered over to the shop to await the arrival of the Purina van. I asked the shop lady if I had missed him. No, he had not arrived yet. I bought a beer and settled on one of the flower troughs in the sun to drink beer and await the arrival of Purina. Very pleasant it was too. He eventually arrived about twenty past eleven - late for him. I soon figured out why. I got served straight away. A bag of dog food and some seeds. There were another three people there in the couple of minutes it took me and more arrived as I finished the beer. All were on half the same errand I had been on - seeds. That time of year. He was doing a good trade. I finished off the beer and went to the pub for one.

Back home and all normal. Lunch, then out to feed the pigeons and goats. That was when it became abnormal. As usual I bunged a couple of handfuls of hay through the weldmesh to keep Rudy happy then took an armful inside to share out. I chucked handfuls here and there and then took the other half down the corridor to throw over into the boys' side. One of the kids was by the gate which was an unusual place for it to be. There was something not right with it. It was very shakey. I threw the hay over the gate and turned. The penny dropped. Suzy had both her kids with her. There was a new kid on the block! In the gloom of the corridor I had mistaken the new arrival for one of Suzy's. It was a very similar colouration. It had certainly not long been born - still very wet, and Vicky was not yet rid of all the afterbirth.

At intervals in the afternoon I went and checked on them. All was well, and in spite of me being initially concerned about the afterbirth thing, by evening feed time there was just a little blood which is obviously quite normal in the process of parturition.

Happy enough I went to the pub. When I returned home it was warm enough in the house that for the first time this year I did not feel the need of lighting the tile stove. Well, maybe not very short!

12th April 2013

I managed quite a physical day. I need to. I am well aware that the knee problem is not going to go away and will only get worse. I am also well aware that the more strength I can get into that leg the longer I will be able carry on as I am. The specialist at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital told me some years ago that I would know when it was time to have it done. I would not be able to sleep at night because of the pain. Cheery thought! Not that bad yet.

I got a load of washing done and out on the line and then set about shovelling out the rest of the debris which needed to be removed from the pigeon house. Dogs went in and barrow went out into the garden and I retired to pub for a well earned beer.

Back home all was normal and all was well in the goat house. In the afternoon I started shifting ex-goat compost from where it lay just outside the goathouse onto the outhouse garden. It was tough going. I managed half a dozen barrow loads and gave it best. I still had to get firewood in.

In the pub, in the evening, Daraboshegyi Józsi was there. We got to discussing goats. He had had goats before and now wanted more. I offered him Rudy. How much he asked? I told him nothing - he was welcome to him. He demured. We struck a deal on he could have Rudy for a case of beer. He also wanted one of the kids. Good! He obviously knew that one goat on its own is not a happy goat. I had resolved some time ago, after the unfortunate demise of the only goat that I ever sold, that I would never sell or give away a single goat. More than one - happy. One - unhappy. My wether still goes to Rudy for head butting games. Rudy just looks at him in disdain.

Meanwhile, Hobó had his argumentative head on. The butt of that this evening was butor Lajos. I stayed out of it.

13th April 2013

It was a touch and go day as to whether the goats went out or not. I had a minor problem in that I was short of a goat stake. I had walked the entire goat area of the garden three times now and failed to spot it. I had made a mental note long ago to make sure that the goat stakes were always stuck in the ground upright, after a similar incident of leaving one lying on the ground. I had known where that one was, roughly but it was hells own job finding it in the grass. The goats stayed in and were fed hay. When I locked them in, quite by chance I spotted where my missing goat stake was. It was in the old lady's garden leaning against the fence. Not the fence that separates me from her, but the fence that separates her yard from her garden. I had a fair idea of how, and at whose hand it came to be there. I watched for her all day but our paths never crossed, so I was unable to get permission to go and retrieve it. I was not about to go trespassing on her property. Not the slightest idea of what the laws of trespass might be here in Hungary.

All was normal after that. The weather was lovely and undoubtedly spring was here.

In the evening, in the pub it was my turn to receive it from Hobó. I cannot even remember what it was about, or why. It eventually got to me enough that Hobó received the one fingered salute and I went out the back to have a smoke. He came out a few minutes later. I went back in. When he came back in he had obviously pondered upon my reaction and whatever it was that he was going on about before was dropped like a hot potato. We parted company at the end of the evening best buddy-buddies as usual.

14th April 2013

I was finishing breakfast when there was an ongoing doggie commotion from the yard. I poked my nose out to see what was going on, to find Mr. Plod parked across my driveway. Oh hell! Now what? As if by magic Miki sprung out of nowhere and a moment later Marika also appeared. They dealt with Plod without my intervention. It turned out that there had been some overnight thievery going on in the village. Marika pointed Plod in the direction of a house a few doors up from me on the other side of the road. Mr. Plod gave me an apologetic wave, got in his car and drove the few metres to where the actual problem was. Why he turned up outside my door is destined to remain a mystery. I was neither victim nor perpetrator of said thievery.

With my goat stake back (I went and grabbed it myself whilst the faithful were at worship - easier than trying to get through to the old lady what it was about) it was time for the goats to go out. Oh! I was disorganised, how disorganised I was! Even though they went very close by it took me some while.

It was the first time out of the goathouse for all the kids. They went out happily enough, tagging along behind their respective mothers. By the time I had them settled and watered it was morning beer o'clock. Back home I had lunch and did my rounds: feed the pigeons, then check the goats and give them a little hay. I was a baby goat missing - the youngest one. I searched diligently. It was nowhere to be found. I had work to do in the goathouse anyway. I needed to finish off properly the jury rigged repair to the door between boys and girls which Rudy had been threatening to trash. At intervals I searched again for baby goat. Not a sign. Job finished, concerned and naffed off I went to the pub.

Of course, I mentioned it in the pub. It spread like wildfire. Miki was all in favour of calling Plod right away. Mmmm! Now, who in their right mind would steal a three day old kid? Well, I could think of one likely candidate - not Miki. Hobo was more pragmatic. Wait. It is frightened and is hiding. By the time I got home Vicky was clearly distressed and was calling for the kid. I hurredly prepared for an emergency milking, mentally bracing myself that that would mean a morning milking as well. I went to get the goats in.

It too took a bit of organising, with goat treats, water and milking kit all to be carried round to the goat house. I went into the garden. Damn and blast. I had been wrong, Miki had been wrong and Hobo had been right. There was baby goat contentedly tugging away underneath Vicky. With a sigh of relief and an inward curse upon the extra work of having to prepare the milking kit I got them in in the usual order. Rudy first - I make sure he has lots of munchies in the ex-garage half of the goathouse. Then the wether, who I can get into the boy's half unmolested whilst Rudy is busy with munchies. Not a problem after that. Some munchies go in for the girls and they come in with kids in tow. A distribution of hay, and that was me done for the evening.

With relief, I ate, changed and went for the evening session in the pub. When I left, there was obviously something abroad that was disturbing the village dogs. There was a cacophony of barking from everywhere in the village. It was not the barking that I sometimes get on my way to and from the pub that rises as I approach and subsides behind me. This seemed to be all the dogs in the village. No idea. Deer from the forests trying to get into the gardens maybe.

15th April 2013

Short and sharp. I was a bit more organised getting the goats out today. I had a repeat of yesterday in that baby goat disappeared within a few seconds of Vicky leaving the goat house. I never saw where he had his hidey hole and I never saw him all day until evening, though doubtless he probably ventured out to Vicky from time to time.

I posted a parcel for the UK via the Posta van. Well, I attempted to post it. More to come on that.

I got some clothes washed and out and then it was gardening time in a big way. Just outside the goathouse was a fair stack of well rotted ex-goat compost. I wanted it on the pigeon house garden. Shovel and wheelbarrow work. It made me realise just how unfit I had become. Oh, it was hard going. I stuck it as long as I could and managed to get a heap about a third of the length of that bit of garden. I did have the forethought to start by the fence between me and Tibi, doing the longest barrowing bits first while I was freshest.

Pub beer well earned after that and back home to do some blog updating. The goats came in at the appointed time, pigeons were secured and I performed my sartorial update before venturing back to the pub. I took the wellies off and put shoes on. Once again missing baby goat reappeared as soon as mummy was within range.

16th April 2013

The goats went out with no problem. Today the youngest kid did not hide and stayed with Vicky all day. He even started playing with the other two.

After the physical of yesterday I did not do too much today.

The Posta man brought my parcel back and repaid me the postage that I had paid. For whatever reason beyond me he could not accept it on the van and I had to take it to an actual post office to post. More on that later as well.

It was not a normal afternoon. At lunchtime feed one of my hen pigeons was missing. Hobó later said that she would be back. She never was. I only ever had the one bird that went missing and returned. Damn and blast! She was sitting a pair of squabs.

Early evening Hobó unexpectedly turned up to help me get the goats in. For some reason he had taken a shine to bringing Vicky down from the meadow. Goats went in with no problem. I was gratified when I locked the pigeons in to see the cock bird partner of the missing hen feeding the squabs. At least that pair of squabs were by now quite well grown. Within a couple of days I knew that they would be starting to peck-peck at pigeon food. They already had their own water supply. Nonetheless, it brought me back to having but a single breeding hen.


17th April 2013

The weather was good again. The goats went out with no problem except that Rudy kept coming back to me prancing about and with his head down. But I always had my trusty water bucket with me. I would hold it out in front of me and he would come right up with his head high and look at me over the edge of the bucket as if to say "You are not going to wet me with that are you?" and then go prancing and dancing in the other direction. I have another stratagem for when I have got him nearer where I want him. The coat of many pockets has been relegated to work wear. It is a little warm these mornings but has the advantage of voluminous pockets on the outside in which I can hide a few goat goodies - a bit of apple, some small maize cobs with maize still on. When I get there he is normally either butting a tree or bothering Suzy. In either case, I call him and make sure he sees the selected goody that I have to hand and, once again making sure he sees it, I toss it towards the post where I want him anchored for the day. Sometimes he devours it before I can find the end of his chain, sometimes not in which case I toss another one for him, slip his chain on the stake and mentally think "Got you, you bstd" and withdraw rapidly out of range.

I had to rod the drains to the septic tank out again. Not nice work. I will have to do it twice more yet - once with the corkscrew attachment and once with the plunger - before I will be satisfied with it. I had a small bafflement as to why I was not quite getting to the end of the drainpipe. It was only when I withdrew the drainrods and had a count up that I realised that I was one short. I had measured it up accurately enough when I ordered them up from the UK. I found the missing one in the pantry where I had left it the last time I had to scrape out the pipe to the stove that goes through the wall.

I went to the pub for a beer. On the run up to lunchtime closing Jóli took over from Laci, as usual. What was not usual was that she had the telly on. It is normally a cheerless place when she takes over. From where I sit at that time of day it takes but seconds to realise the change has taken place. The telly goes off, if it was on, or the radio goes off, if it was on. The lights go off, and in the colder weather if she thinks she can get away with it the heating goes off as well. Jóli today had the telly on. The reason? The runup to Thatcher's funeral. The meat van never turned up either.

Helmut turned up in the afternoon with a gate and gatepost for me for which I would have a use. I collared Blackie and he dragged it in and set it just inside the big gates.

And to prevent this entry getting very much longer it was all the usual routine after that.

18th April 2013

It was a very pleasant morning - not too hot and not that much wind. After all the usual morning stuff including getting the goats out I decided to kill three birds with one stone with a bike trip to Csákánydoroszló.

I was in no great hurry either going or coming back. First stop was the cash machine where I withdrew what was for me a great wodge of cash. Some while ago I had done an on-line doomer-type questionaire thingy about preparedness. It picked me up on a couple of things. 1. Keep more ready cash about and 2. Store more food. Well, I would if I had a pantry in which it was fit to store food. The second quest was to find the meat shop, which I did with no problem. There was a magnificent range in there. You could have various parts of the anatomy of dead pig as fresh meat, or dead pig turned into an equally great range of various sausage-type products. Anything you wanted. So long as it was dead pig.

Last stop was to post my parcel to the UK. I managed to find a "Job's-Worth". She would not accept the parcel. It had to be wrapped in its own outer skin of brown paper. For God's sake it was an Amazon box that was on its third recycling unscathed. And well taped up. I withdrew, defeated. More to come on that, as well. With parcel back on the bike carrier I cycled back to Halogy, straight past my house and straight to the pub.

All was normal after that - lunch, feed the pigeons and check the goats. I was not up to doing much physical so I did some blog updating.

Early evening I went to lock the pigeons in and get the goats in. I was a pigeon short. I left the pigeon house open for its return. I had just started on getting the goats in when Hobó quite unexpectedly appeared in order to help. He told me that there was a pigeon catastrophe in the yard. We got the goats in with no problems. Back in the yard he showed me the pigeon catastrophe. I expected to see a mangled dead bird. Ha! Feathers were all that was left. Undoubtedly the work of Pickle. Hobó went off and I returned none too happy to finally close up the pigeon house for the night. In the fading daylight I thought that I identified which pigeon was missing.

None too happy with Pickle either I locked the dogs in and went to the pub for the evening.

19th April 2013

In the cold light of day I identified which pigeon Pickle had had yesterday. It was not the one I had thought it was - the spare cock bird with one and a half white tail feathers. It was in fact Mrs. Pigeon No. 2's latest husband. That poor bird is fated. I have lost count of how many husbands she had lost. It also meant that I now had two single parent families of squabs. Bugger!

The goats went out quite nearby and I returned to the kitchen to cook a pörkölt which I had determined would be the fate of the pork that I had purchased yesterday. It is not a thing that I cook for myself that often but I just fancied one. By the time it was well under way it was morning beer o'clock. I tried to get through to the vet but was unable to get a reply. Hobó tried too with the same result.

Back home I also determined on mashed potatoes to go with the pörkölt. The cupboard was bare. Devoid of spuds. Blast! I had thought there were a couple left. Not to be deterred I made nokedli instead. Quite simple, but a bit of a faff to cook. The pörkölt was delicious.

After lunch I fed the birds and checked the goats and their water. I did my normal trawl of the Internet. Nothing new on the doom and gloom front. The Peak Oil scene is full at the moment with hype from industry shills extolling the shale oil boom in America. John Michael Greer reckons that it is a bubble and that we will see the beginning of the end of it by 2016. The extraction rates are pitiful and the depletion rates of individual wells horrendous and of course they are going for the known sweet spots first.

After that, and none too soon, I started on the digging. I started on the easy bit - the pigeon house garden. Ye gods I was unfit. I managed but a single row before the knee said enough. It was going to be a hard uphill struggle to get some fitness back. I went back to the yard and took down more of the collapsed cellar outhouse wall. It would have to be taken right down to door sill level and that side of the door aperture rebuilt. Pub for a beer.

Whilst there I tried the vet again and this time got through. Hobó was there but I dealt with the conversation myself. Next week, said the vet, not specifying a day. When I had finished the conversation Hobó gave me a nod and a wink to acknowledge his satisfaction at how I had handled it.

Back home all the usual early evening stuff, then change and back to the pub. It was very busy. Helmut and Silvia turned up. Laci did not stop serving until quite late.

20th April 2013

I tried some more digging in the morning. Not good! A repeat of yesterday - one row and the knee was giving me gyp. End of morning beer and I had an unexpected lunch in the pub. Laci plonked down two slices of buttered bread, each with a slice of ham on and smeared with some paprika-type stuff. I made it into a ham sandwich and went and enjoyed in the smoking area.

Back home I had the rest of what I had planned for lunch - kefir (because I like it), a banana and a couple of pieces of dark chocolate, both of which I also like but both of which are also good for the blood pressure.

I had another go at the digging after lunch. It went better with an Ibuprophen and a couple of beers inside me. I still did not overdo it and went for an afternoon beer quite early and then early back to the house. Some computer work and some getting in of firewood. I heated up the rest of the pörkölt and today I did have it with mashed spuds, having remembered to buy some in the shop.

The goats came in, I had a swill down and then off to the pub. Once again Laci was open quite late - skittles. I just had my normal quota, drinking rather leisurely and then home.

21st April 2013

Lovely spring weather again. I did all the usual stuff and went to get the goats out. When I came back down the garden Miki was at the garden gate, which was a surprise considering that the gate into the yard was locked. He had to have come over the front wall/fence - call it what you will. Mmmmm! Behaviour to be discouraged.

The knee was giving me serious pain after the efforts of yesterday. I resolved that until I was somewhat fitter it would be one day of physical involving the legs and the next day not. Trying to do too much too soon.

Hobó had said that he would come and do some work but his only appearance was to come and borrow from me a spade-type wood boring bit to fit an electric drill. I found a suitable one. There was a problem with the pig styes at the pub. They have a new crop (pair) of weaners in there and one of the sties for want of a better term was becoming awash with pig piss. They needed to drill some holes to get it to drain. I I have to say that Laci later returned it to me, spotlessly clean in spite of the use to which it had been put. There was no way that I would have lent out any of my precious Jennings pattern bits for such a use.

At home I had lunch then went out to feed the pigeons and check the goats. There was a scene that had to be seen to be believed in the pigeon house. The cock bird that was raising the two squabs by himself and the spare cock bird that I call One-White-Tail-Feather were fighting viciously all around the floor. And I do mean viciously. I knew why, of course. They were fighting for the attentions of the now-vacant Mrs. Pigeon No. 2 who was also raising two squabs on her own. To jump ahead a little, I know who won. The ex-husband of the missing Mrs. Pigeon No. 3. Also jumping ahead, I can tell you that he raised his pair of squabs successfully and only this very day as I write they have ventured into the great outdoors for the first time. Also I know that it is him as he was sitting the latest clutch of eggs that Mrs. Pigeon No. 2 has laid. Her two squabs are abandoned but are by now independant although not yet fledged. They get their own supply of food and water to the nest box, supplied by me, of course. The cock birds were fighting again later. Same with the goats, of course. Even the does, but it not come down to fighting with them. The junior does know where they stand in the hierarchy. Vicky knows fine well that Suzy is the senior matriarch. Occasionally she will transgress and get a good butt in the side from Suzy. The funny one is Suzy and the wether. Given half a chance they will seriously go at it. Even funnier is when the wether tries it on with Rudy. Rudy will give him one butt and then just look at him disdainfully as if to say "WTF do you think you are doing, smallpiece?".

I managed another row of digging in the afternoon. I noticed the old lady, her grandaughter and other family members standing at the fence and looking at the goats with their kids. They were feeding Suzy with weeds from the garden. Little scenes like this make it all worthwhile you know. I regard myself as a gardener, trying to raise as much as I can of my own stuff to eat, and secondly as a goatherder, hopefully keeping them off my bit of land and on their meadow.

I finished off mending another fork handle (reminds me of a two Ronnies sketch - classic) and went to the pub for a beer. Józsi appeared and the beer became two. Hobó followed me home to help get the goats in. For some reason at the moment he has a shine for getting Vicky in. They went in with no problem, and that was that. Hobó returned to the pub. I finished off the pörkölt with a goodly hunk of bread, put the dogs in and followed him.

22nd April 2013

I was unsure whether to put the goats out. It was rather overcast and the Norwegian weather site had forecast rain. I broke my fast, and as it was still not raining I bit the bullet and the goats went out. Not that nearby either.

There was a doggie commotion in the yard as I returned from doing that. The neighbours were at the gate. I let them in. Tibi had a portable radio with him. It was going "Bzzzzzzzzzz" Now, for some time now since Hobó had stripped out and removed the ex-electrical supply Tibi had had the same sound going on of a metaphorical apoidea under his metaphorical Scottish headgear. He had, since Hobó had done the aforementioned work, been constantly accusing Hobó of having done something to his antenna (aerial). How that could be was beyond me. Certainly since I have lived here there never has been any sort of electrical connection between my property and his. I proved the point. In the meter cupboard I killed all the electricity to the house. There was but one earth trip switch to trip anyway - the rest were already tripped. His radio continued to go "Bzzzzzzzzzz". Wherever his radio interference was coming from it was not my problem. Everything from the meter cupboard onwards was dead. If the problem lay with the overhead line onto my property that was not my problem - it was E-on's. Tibi and Marika left, but more later.

I had the sign out for Posta. He turned up in the spare van - the one without a cash machine in it. Oh well, not a big problem. A cycle ride to Nádasd later. Pub.

Home, lunch, feed the pigeons, check the goats and a gentle cycle ride to Nádasd.

I killed two birds with one stone. I took with me the still-unposted parcel for the UK to get it in the post. I got cash first then dealt with the parcel. Oh, my word! Twenty minutes to post a bloody parcel. It took two of them to deal with it. One to fill in a form and one to RTFM and make more than one mobile call to a superior authority. The highlight of my wait was when the lady filling in the form turned it round to me and showed me a particular entry that had to be completed. Fortunately it had a little explanatory message at the top in bilingual Magyarul/Angolul. It asked the value of the contents. It lit my face up with delight when I was able to honestly answer "Nulla! Nulla forint" In other words the contents had no value. To me the contents had no value, except my phyical labour which I price at nothing anyway. The contents? Walnuts for the family back in the UK.

As I left the Posta they hung the Closed sign up behind me. I went for a beer outside the Csillag Büfé.

I cycled home quite rapidly. I confess that I went for one in the local as well. Dávid found me there, looking for work. I lidded the beer, went home and set him on to start on clearing out the deep litter. I returned to the pub to finish my beer. Helmut turned up. I noticed that he had rain on his clothing. I glanced outside to see that the rain had come. Not that much, but that changed within a couple of minutes. Serious rain. Oh-oh! Goats in.

I had no sooner arrived back at the house when an E-On vehicle pulled up, followed within seconds by Tibi and Marika, and then by Uncle Tom Cobbly and all. Ah FFS - it is pissing down and I need to get my goats in!!!!

To cut a long story short, E-on checked the lot. They even broke the seals on their bit and checked the connections. I got a mild bollocking for leaving two 230 volt earth trip switches tripped, even though they feed precisely nothing. Not good for the meter, apparently. Eventually they left, Uncle Tom Cobbly and all left and, still in the pissing rain, I went to the garden to get the goats in. There was a problem. Dávid had removed the outer door into the garden to get the wheelbarrow in and out. That door had defeated me more than once to get back on its hinges. Beyond me. Fortunately I spotted him leaving the shop as it closed and managed to call him back to replace it. Being a fine fit young man he did it seconds.

The goats were by now thoroughly wet and miserable as was I. They needed no encouragement at all to get back in the goat house, except that the milking table was not in its usual place and Rudi was more than a bit reluctant to walk past it.

House, dry clothes, bite to eat and pub. Another short little entry!

23rd April 2013

There was a little rain first off but certainly not enough to even think about keeping the goats in. They went out in their normal order some way up the garden. I had just got Rudy and the wether sorted when the old lady from Telek utca appeared at the fence. She is quite enchanted with the goats and will stand and watch them for some time. I went over and had a chat to her. She still misses her husband terribly. She found some choice weeds to pull and passed them over for the goats. This part of the garden is looking neglected. It is a fair sized area and the old boy used to cultivate it all himself, by hand. She has two sons who help her but I suspect they don't have the time to do it all themselves as they both have their own places to look after.

Goats out, and their water taken care of, I went back to the house and started on making a pizza. I timed it nicely and had the topping made and the dough left to rise when it was morning beer o'clock.

Back home to finish making the pizza, cook it and eat half of it. That was a good lunch. Coming back to the gate I noticed that Posta had obviously been as I could see the top of an envelope peeking out of the new post box. Once back in the yard I opened the post box and had a surprise to find another piece of paper in there folded quite small which proved to be a quite charming note from a lady of my acquaintance, in English, and who I see quite regularly walking one or both of her big dogs past my place. The dogs are very placid - quite unlike my pair of hooligans. In the note the lady had written that she had seen the goats and kids up the garden and had found the scene downright idyllic.

After lunch I managed two sessions of digging, with a beer break between. Dávid was supposed to come and work. A Did Not Happen thing. After the digging a beer at the little pub outside the shop was in order and then home to get the goats in.

Food, swill down, change, dogs locked in and off to the pub for the evening.

24th April 2013

Nothing to report. Some long overdue pictures, not in chronological order:
Suzy with her kids with Rudy in the background. This was shortly after they started going out from their winter quarters.
Vicky's kid, hiding in the grass. Probably the first day he went out, and still with one loppy ear.
This was Albert the day that he was born. It amuses me in an English way to have two goats called Victoria and Albert, both of which work in Hungarian too.
This is Suzy's other kid, still very unsure on his feet. When he was newborn I had to help him up.
Suzy with her newborns. They were still in winter quarters at that time. The deep litter was coming up to about forty centimetres deep, but nice and warm for the kids. Both Suzy's and Vicky's were a month earlier than I expected them. I was going to say that I will have to keep a closer eye on Rudy, but there is more to come on that.
Me in my winter finery. It does not show up well in the picture but if you look carefully there is a considerable scab just on my ex-hair line above my right eye. It was caused in the latter days of the goat's winter confinement when I ventured in to Rudy and the wether to give them their barley for the morning. I had just bent over to pour their allowance in the manger when simultaneously Rudy went to butt the wether out of it. Unfortunately I ended up on the receiving end.
As Warner Bros. would say, for today "That's All Folks"

25th April 2013

I finished off shovelling the rest of the debris from the pigeon house floor out and barrowing it across to join the rest of the debris from fallen down outhouses. The weather was starting to get warm and the sweat dripped.

Hobo turned up but just to tell me that he would not be doing any work for me today. He had something else on that had turned up. I did get him to speak to the vet about getting the dogs microchipped as I had not managed to do anything about contacting him regarding getting it done at the house. Tomorrow, he said.

After lunch I did a bit of blog updating and then went to get some firewood in. It was hot - the thermometer on the kitchen windowsill outside was registering fifty! Sawing and chopping firewood with the sweat dripping - ridiculous.

Marika caught me and asked me if I wanted the vet to call at the house this afternoon as she was going to see him to get their two done at the house. I told her no because Hobó had made the arrangement to get the vet to come to me tomorrow. It turned out that the microchipping of all the dogs in the village was being done today but not by the normal vet. It was a different one who seems to have set up shop in Csákánydoroszló. I gave it a little thought and decided that if she was going to see him anyway to get theirs done at home she might as well get him to do mine as well. Fortunately I managed to catch her before she had went and got her to ask the vet to do my two. I could cancel the other vet anyway. The story is that the law was passed last August and the law stated that all the dogs in Hungary had to be done by 1st January. Well, here we were - 25th April. Not bad for Hungary, and I have to say well in front of the UK where I believe it will not come into force until 2015.

I had to forego my afternoon pub beer whilst I hung about and waited for vet to arrive. He duely arrived, and did my dogs first. It surprised me that he wanted them in the same position that the other vet does for doing the rabies vaccination - left hand side pressed against the gate. Blackie did his usual stunt when I am inside the gate and another person is outside the gate. Leaping as high as he could leap and growling and barking ferociously. I managed to subdue him and get him pressed against the gate. The microchipping took about a second. The bit that surprised was that it went into the left side of the neck, not as I had expected into the scruff. Pickle was less of a problem, and once again all over in a second. She went back on the chain. Tibi and Marika were on hand for if linguistic problems arose. They didn't. I went and got the cash to pay and the two dog vaccination certificates. I beat black dog off and went to vet's car and paid. I had wondered what the logistics would be of recording the microchipping. Simple! Two copies of a bar code sticker. One to go in the vaccination certificate booklet and one to go on the records. The only very minor hiatus was explaining to them which booklet was which so that the correct sticker went in the correct book. The dogs' names are in the booklets in phonetic Hungarian, as near as I can get. Bláki and Pikul.

It was creeping on to shop opening time so I did a bit of stuff around the house and then went to join the little pub outside the shop for a beer.

Goats in, a bite to eat, swill down, change and off to the pub. When I went out the back for a smoke break there was a ghastly, overpowering, chemical stink. I know not from where or what, but it struck me as more powerful poisons going on the land somewhere. Within a minute whatever it was was beginning to give me what I would call a sick headache. I cut the smoke break very short and headed back inside out of it. Hobó was on very good form this evening. In one of his blacker moods and having a go at everything and everybody including me, butor Lajos, Laci and sundry others.

26th April 2013

It was good weather. I was up early, but not early enough. I scrambled about and had as rapid a breakfast as possible then went out and opened up the pigeon house and threw some stuff in the goathouse for the goats, who would have to remain confined for the moment. I did a quick change, secured dogs and wandered at best limp down to the faluház. I had arranged with Tibi, the village factotum, to get dropped off in Körmend at Tescos and picked up again a little later.

I had a limp around Tecsos with a trolley, using it as a walking aid. I bought, inter alia a new clock radio alarm and some multipacks of recordable CDs and DVDs. I really could not rely on the alarms on the mobile phones waking me up and I needed to do some serious computer archiving. It still worries me, you know, the impermanence of digital data. Anyway, I was in and out in twenty minutes, in agony with the knee. Not good, any sort of pavement pounding is bad news. I barely had time to fill and light the pipe when Tibi appeared. He smoked in the village bus on the way back to the village so I got the pipe out and relit it. None of that nonsense here about if it is a works vehicle you are not allowed to smoke in it even if it is your own vehicle.

Tibi dropped me right outside the house. I changed back into work clothes and the goats went out, but not far away.

Pub, lunch, feed the pigeons and check the goats.

Hobó turned up looking for work. Oh, did I have work? There was still a huge pile of what they call deska (boards) that had been removed by Hobó and Miki from the remains of the outhouse. It was just behind the well, and right on top of Pickle's running wire. She kept getting tangled up in it and it had the potential of the carabiner that holds her chain to the running wire coming unclipped. I told Hobó to remove it to the leanto that is always a temporary wood store. It will soon not be. It will fall down as well. Ah, crumbling infrastructure. Coming soon to a place near you. As I write, I think it was yesterday that I read of the road bridge in the US of A falling in the river. Lack of maintenance. Crumbling infrastucture. Know the feeling well.

Pub in the evening, of course. The chemical stink of yesterday was still present, but many orders of magnitude reduced from yesterday.

The hay fever hit me today. I have had it for twenty-odd years. Tree pollen. Still no idea of what species but we had had a fairly strong breeze blowing from the south/south west all day. Straight off the national park. Lots of tree species there.

27th April 2013

I was up and about early, before seven though that is quite late for these parts. The weather was better - a little cooler. It was a normal morning with which I will not bore you.

I made a chilli con carne with heretofore unmentioned minced beef from my visit to Tescos. It was not up to scratch. Too bland. I added more chilli and realised that I had forgotten to include some cooked tomato leftovers. That went in as well.

It all became a bit bizarre after that. Someone turned up. No - name names! Vince turned up to do more clearing out of the deep litter in the goat house. He did good work. I know from the first spring after I got the goats what a tough job it is. I took him to the pub for a beer and paid him.

I let the dogs out when I returned. Blackie escaped into the meadow. He had a look at the next door fence to see if he could terrorise either of their dogs. He could not, so he set off up the meadow. The goats did not like it. They milled about on their chains and the kids crowded around their respective mothers. He got as far as the goats and managed to get about a foot away from one of the kids. He looked at it with some sort of disdain, as if to say "Nem tudom mi ez, nem erdekel" and came straight back to the yard.

I went to inspect what my man had done. He had done well, but I immediately found a snag. The gate between boys and girls now not only opened north to south but also from south to north with nothing to prevent it being thus opened. Previously the deep litter prevented that gate from opening south to north. You may remember that I had to reinforce it (again) to stop Rudy from battering it open in the other direction. I managed to spot Hobó passing by and called him to assist. In a few minutes we had it fixed. Me with hand drill and suitable bit and Hobó with hammer and for want of a better term can only describe as a recycled, rusty, old bolt staple. Job done, we went off to the pub for a beer.

Helmut turned up in the pub. We had a couple of beers and then it was time for me to get the goats in. Hobó offered to help. Helmut was about to drive back to Csákánydoroszló and he offered to help as well. That was the easiest getting in of goats for many a long day. I just got Suzy. Hobó got Vicky and Helmut got Rudy and the wether with apparent ease. The kids just followed along as you might expect. They went inside in their allotted order and that was that.

Well, not quite. Hobó slipped out of the yard on his way back to his beer in the pub. So did Helmut on his way back to Csákánydoroszló. And so did black dog! Off he went up the street. Helmut was most apologetic about letting him out. His comment was that Blackie was so fast. He offered to drive me around in his van to find Blackie. I told him that there was no need. Black dog would reappear in his own good time. Helmut set off back to his house.

Now, I know not how, but my neighbour Marika has some sort of sixth sense about escaping doggie problems. She appeared from her gate with a couple of slices of bread with which to entice Blackie to return. I was already outside the little gate, similarly armed. She set off in a sprightly fashion towards the templom. Blackie appeared, and bit by bit Marika enticed him home with morsels of bread. Once within my ambit I enticed him with a goodly half slice of bread to just outside the gate and then inside the yard with the other half. And that was that.


28th April 2013

With no notes for the day I am going to go off on one briefly about closures. No, not the sort where you say goodbye to a loved one after a berievement. Much more mundane than that. The stuff that keeps products that you buy in the shop shut. I have for long been meaning to write about it.

What brought it to mind originally was that ever since Suzy's first lactation I have only ever used the local stuff that they call "Hipo" for dealing with the milking kit and milking. It is fairly strong sodium hypochorite solution. As is Domestos and all the rest of them but without the perfumery and whatever else and without the absurd mark-up. Anyway, it comes in square, dark grey litre plastic containers. With tamper proof closures. Only they aren't. In all the time that I had been using it I only had two where the tamper proof closures worked as they were supposed and that was two successive plastic bottles bought form the local shop during Suzy's last lactation. They worked as they were supposed to. It soon reverted to form. You could unscrew the cap, complete with closure, and screw it back on again still with closure. It is a damned nuisance to me as I use the cap to measure how much to put in the milking kit sterilising, and also how much to put in the udder wash.

Another example is Coop kefir. For months they went through a phase where you could not get the foil lids off without tearing them. I save all the foil lids, and any other aluminium foil. It goes off to get weighed in with miscellaneous other scrap and I get a few forints back. Mmmmm - kefir foils for a year? Maybe one beer.

I have to admit that they have not yet forgotten how to do vacuum packed prepacks. You know, the ones with a corner that you pull back and peel off the lid. In my latter years in the UK I noticed that they had forgotten how to do it and usually I had to take my big chef-type knife and just slice through the packaging, thereby mangling whatever was in the package. Not so here. The packages open as they should.

29th April 2013

Short and sweet. It was Hobó's birthday today. The goats went out nearby. In the afternoon I had to do another Tecsos. It was a repeat of the last time except that I went in the afternoon and caught the normal service bus. It was a repeat of last time. Not long and a lot of pain in the knee. I was lucky enough to get a lift back to Halogy with a lady that I have recently got to know. Do not read anything into that!

I was dropped off near the pub where my bike was anyway, and it was that time of day. I met Dávid at the pub and he told me he would be round to my place later with more hay. I cycled home.

I let the dogs out, dropped back pack, which was heavy enough, by the kitchen door and had a smoke. Then changed back into working clothes. By that there was a doggie commotion. Tibi and Marika were at the gate - something about hay. I was summoned to follow and Tibi got out his toy tractor and trailer and drove it to the property for sale across the road. I limped at best speed after them, still in considerable pain after the Tescos. There was hay of a sort, but several heaps. I would rather describe it as scythed down grass than hay. We set about heaping it onto the little trailer. Tibi had boards to extend it and some to make the sides deeper. Magically, Hobó and Helmut appeared to give assistance. I was shooed out of the way. Tibi put-putted his way towards mine and we all followed. Pickle was secured to the well on short chain (unlawful!) and Blackie was secured in house. I rustled about to find a dry place to put it and found one. A little corner in the wood house but outside where I normally store hay. With four helpers it was but the work of minutes to get the little trailer unloaded and the hay stacked away.

Tibi and Marika returned home. We closed the gates and I let the dogs out. Hobó, Helmut and I went over the shop for a beer which I paid for for their help. Dávid passed by with his hand cart. Good-oh - he was on his way to start shifting hay. But no, the hand cart went where it was going and Dávid also returned to the shop for a beer. And another. I had been hoping that he would start getting the hay in at about the time I went home from the shop. But no, it was nearer seven than six when the first load arrived. To compound it Dávid insisted that it went in the loft over the sties. That meant that the dogs had to stay in and the goats had to stay out. Fortunately Dávid had help and only three loads arrived.

They left. I closed the gates, let the dogs out and went to get the goats in. As I mentioned they were nearby. It did not take long and went without incident. They received their evening rations and I returned to the house. I changed out of wellies into trainers, such as they are, and unwashed, otherwise unchanged and unfed got back to the pub not far short of eight. Not happy. I like a couple of leisurely beers in the evening - not a couple of rushed ones. I did later gently remonstrate with Dávid about the lateness of the work.

I had a problem in the pub with a female of the species. Not that sort of problem. She is downright rude and makes it quite obvious that she thinks I stink. Well, so did Dr. Johnson. I asked Hobó and John, who was in the pub, about it. Hobó's response was that I maybe stank slightly of goats. John just shrugged. Hobó said that it was her problem -"Pickly Dog probléma". Not a single other person had ever wrinkled the nose at me, morning, noon and night anywhere in the village. Just her. You know, I can smell myself when I get sweaty. I can smell Pickle when she has got wet. I can smell when someone nearby is spreading human excreta on the land. I can smell Laci's pig sty as I pass by if I am going that way. And I can smell both the delicious scent of good hay, the particular scent of walnut leaves and also of newly downed nettles. I cannot, and in the three years that I have had them never have been able to smell the goats, even when Rudy is most definitely in rut.

30th April 2013

The vet was supposed to turn up today to castrate two buck goat kids. If he did, I never saw his car, neither did the dogs go ballistic at someone parked outside the gate. No idea if he turned up or not.

Vince turned up to work and put in a good stint of getting the rest of the deep litter out of the goathouse.

I missed Posta and only afterwards realised that I had not paid for the Internet. Bugger! A cycle ride to Csákánydoroszló into a stiff head wind. I got cash at the cashpoint there, then cycled back along to pay the Internet. I was served by the most ignorant person ever. I handed over the thing that they call a cheque, but is in fact what I would call a Giro means of paying. I proffered the cash. She took it, dealt with the transaction and returned my counterfoil. I thanked her, turned on my heels and left. Not a single syllable had she uttered thoughout. As a friend of mine once said "Even pigs grunt at one another.". I hate that post office. I will make my best endeavours to have to never visit it again!

The knee was not good all day. Strange, but the only time that I can do some serious physical without at best discomfort or at worst serious pain is when I am on the bike.

Dávid was supposed to turn up with more hay. It was one of those Hungarian Did Not Happen things which I think I will abbreviate hereafter to HDNH. Save me a lot of typing.

Little pub outside the shop was in full swing. The goats came in with no problem and I ate, changed and went to the pub. Hobó was on good form. His topic for the evening was the fact that he does not get paid for the work that he does at the football club. On and on. I have been hearing this for five years now. I think that Hobó thinks that being the holder of a set of keys to the football club gives him a certain cachet. Moan as he will, he will not let go of those keys.  


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