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May 2013

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1st May 2013

It was a bank holiday here. May Day, in its rightful place on the first of May, like it was when I were a lad. The weather was good and it promised to be a warm day. The goats went out about halfway up the garden, not that close. Rudy was stroppy on the way out and had to get wet. He fu.... went away after that. It took a while.

I managed some digging and then it was beer o'clock. Home, lunch, feed the pigeons and check the goats. Then more digging until it was afternoon beer o'clock.

The goats went in without problem. In the evening Hobó was seriously off on one. Everything and everybody (but not me - can'ŧ think why). Butor Lajos was there, as was Daraboshegyi Józsi. They both threatened to put him against the wall. I cannot imagine why.

2nd May 2013

Rain and thunderstorms - the goats stayed in. I went in the workshop and gave the edge tools a little TLC. I cleaned, sharpened and oiled them. I noticed that the rain had been blowing in and dripping on my workbench here and there. One of the theres was right on my leather holder for the auger bits. Mmmm - definitely not good for the bits. I took them back to the house, took the bits out and set the holder to dry on the clothes drying rack at the cooler end. The bits had suffered a bit - excuse pun. I knew how to cure that. Use them! I was suffering with the knee after yesterday's exertions so no physical was done this morning.

At the appointed time I went to the pub then home for lunch. I managed two Skype sessions with family over lunch which was good. After lunch I went to do the pigeons and goats. It was still spit-spotting with rain so the goats remained in, where I fed them. After that, the knee was sufficiently improved that I set about digging for where I wanted the spuds in this year. I went at that until the knee said enough, then back to the yard and for the first time this year the scythe came out. I cannot remember whether I mentioned buying a new scythe stone last backend. I used it to sharpen the scythe until there were no rust marks either side of the cutting edge. I set to work to scythe down enough greenery for goat supper. The scythe was working superbly. I had at some stage also made a very slight adjustment to my technique. I had found that by lifting the left hand just a little it helped avoid the point going in. I also took a leaf out of my departed neighbour's book. Slow and steady, taking a cut no longer than the blade and not trying to take too big a cut. I did two windrows halfway across the garden and it was pure joy - clean down to the ground. As usual, the hard work was forking it up, getting it on the barrow and wheeling it back to the goat house. By then the knee was very much telling me that that was it for the day.

Pub. Hobó was there. I got him to ring the vet to find out what had happened to him and rearrange his visit. That was done. Tomorrow Hobó told me. Hobó was looking for a bit of work. I could find him something. We finished our beers and cycled together back to my place. By now it was gone four and in accordance with the law of sod the overcast had cleared and the sun had come out. Far too late to think about putting the goats out.

I set Hobó on with the strimmer to do up the borders. I did some blog updating. At some stage I went out in the yard and spotted Hobó refilling the strimmer with fuel. What was he doing? I soon found out. He was absolutely revving it to death. It was not long before he was back in the yard saying that it had run out of line. I knew fine well that it had not as I had only recently had the cassette refilled. What made me even more suspicious was that he had used it until there was only about half an inch of line. I know that when it comes to the end of the line if you tap and go it will spit the last bit of line out of the strimming head. I got the toolkit, locked the head and went to get the cassette out. It would not come out. Hobó had been revving the machine so hard that the line had popped out of the feed slots and was now jammed between the cassette and the body. I had to use a screwdriver to lever the cassette out, in some trepidation that I might break it. I didn't and it came out. There was plenty of line. I rewound it, fitted it into the feed slots, replaced the cassette and cover and then gave Hobó a bollocking about the way he had been using it. He admitted that he had been running it on full throttle. It does not need it. Just enough to keep the head spinning in whatever thickness of growth you are doing.

We knocked it on the head anyway as it was time for the little pub outside the shop to assemble. We wandered over and I bought him a beer. Helmut spotted us as he was about to drive past and stopped. He also had a beer and also bought one each for me and Hobó. It was very pleasant in the evening sunshine.

When it broke up I wandered home and fed the goats. Food, change and off to the pub.

3rd May 2013

The vet turned up quite early. I was still at the stage of breakfast when the dogs were still inside. I fended them off, locked them in and the vet was able to get to the goathouse unmolested via the yard. He was there to castrate two of the kids. I went in the goathouse and grabbed the first. Closing the door from outside is a two handed job. I had to wedge the door shut with my knee whilst I handed the kid to the vet then bolt the door shut. I assisted vet whilst he did the necessary. The kid shouted, as you might expect. It went back in, I grabbed the other and a repeat of the above. All over in a couple of minutes. He did charge me this time. Two thousand forints - a thousand each. Say three quid each.

I let the dogs out and went back in to finish breakfast. Needless to say, the one slice of bread I had intended to toast had been disappeared by one of the dogs. I sliced another slice and stoked the stove up a bit. The coffee was a bit stewed.

I confess that after doggie dramas and witnessing two surgical operations I succumbed to the temptation of joining the assembled p*ss heads for (for me) a very early beer. I guess that they had already been on it for three hours!

It was all a fairly normal day after that. The goats went out without problem and came in in the evening ditto. Nothing worth reporting.

Pub in the evening where absolutely nothing happened.

4th May 2013

All the young pigeons were now flying. The two youngest ones had not ventured out yet. They would when they were ready. I have only ever lost one fully fledged bird to a predator as far as I know, and that predator was Pickle.

Hobó turned up in the afternoon looking for work. I set him on to more digging where I wanted the spuds.

He obviously did not like it much as in the pub in the evening he said that he could get someone to come and plough it with a tractor. Thanks, but no, thanks. I know the damage that Tibi did - with the best intentions - when he ploughed it the first year. The couch grass defeats a plough, and I know from John's experience that it defeats a rotovator. The only non-chemical way that I can think of to deal with it is to sheet the area you want to cultivate and all around it with sheeting impervious to light for maybe three or four years. Long enough to kill it through lack of light and to allow nature to take its course and have the dead roots rot in the ground.

By the way, does anyone still follow my RSS feed? Please let me know if you do, as I have stopped updating it. As equally I have removed Google Ads, which never paid me a penny.

5th May 2013

It was raining - again!! What was going on with the weather? Fortunately I had plenty of greenery to hand to throw in for the goats, who once again had to stay in.

I had peas! The ones sown in the pigeon house garden were starting to peep through. More to come on that one though.

In the afternoon, in the continuing although diminished rain, I went out and scythed more greenery and wheeled it back to the goat house. Once again, the scything was wonderful - though damp - but the wheeling of it back to the goat house was not fun.

In the pub in the evening the full crew assembled. Me, Hobó, John, Helmut, Silvia and children. Much beer flowed.

Back home I got involved in a Skype session with someone in the UK that lasted quite a while. It was a good conversation but the outcome was not good. More to come on that one some while later.

6th May 2013

No notes, no idea. As a fill in I will tell you about a thing that happened when I was sitting at the little pub outside the shop. I was contentedly drinking my beer when I heard the sound of a tractor starting up. It sounded exactly like Tibi's tractor starting up, but from the wrong direction. I have a problem locating sound sources. I am about eighty percent deaf in the left ear. I turned my head this way and that to make sure that I had heard correctly that it was coming from in the wrong direction. No, it was definitely in the other direction. I heard the sound of it indicating that it was being driven somewhere. It hove into sight from a house somewhere west of the shop on the same side of the road. It proceded to trundle at a leisurely pace past the assembled multitude of the little pub outside the shop. It was, I suspect, of the same vintage and the same make as Tibi's tractor, but was a slightly larger model. It had obviously undergone a major refurbishment as all the green and red paintwork gleamed as only fresh paintwork does, and the engine castings shone. I don't think that they had gotten around to refurbishing the steering gear, as it wandered a bit going up the road. It disappeared around the bend by the templom and obviously did not go far as it wandered its way back past us westwards to whence it had come. Nice little sting in the tail to this little story. It was my bank manager that was driving it!

7th May 2013

No notes, no idea. Another little tale, but sadly with no happy ending. It was not today but a few days later that a person from Daraboshegy, a friend, came to the gate. He wanted goat milk. I had not yet started to separate Suzy from kids and on the day this happened the goats were confined anyway. He shot out a reason for wanting goat milk which totally escaped me and was fairly insistent. I confined dogs, and together we went round to the goat house. I locked us within, put some munchies for Suzy in the tray on the goat table and between us we tried to extract milk. I knew that there would be none - the kids had been with Suzy all day. Well, we tried. A couple of days afterwards he and his whole family turned up. It was a repeat of the above except that I now had Suzy separated from her kids for part of the day. Dogs confined, and up the garden. They were carrying something swathed in an old jacket. It proved to be a fallow deer fawn. Orphaned, I suspect. It could barely stand. It did suckle a little from Suzy, but not much. Now, how can a bloke like me possibly have imagined that I would be running a small herd of goats, or that one of my goats would have to be wet nurse to a fallow deer fawn. They did not come back. Sad ending. I saw him several days afterwards. The fawn did not survive. I was not surprised. Prey animals - goats/deer/antelope... - can normally stand immediately after birth and run or hide soon afterwards.

8th May 2013

Very short and sweet to at least get another day posted. The weather was very uncertain so the goats stayed in. We did get a bit of rain, but not much. They could have gone out. Anyway, they were in.

In the afternoon Hobó turned up looking for work. I set him on digging for where I wanted spuds in. I managed some digging myself. The old lady attracted Hobó's attention. We had about had enough by then, so we went to see what it was all about. Two of my kids had escaped the goat house into her yard and were busy nibbling the grass around her firewood heap. She beamed at them with pleasure, but obviously wanted them to be returned to the goat house where they should be. I despatched Hobó to capture and return them. He handed Albert over the fence to me and set about capturing the other. I bundled Albert in a most undignified way back into the goat house and in the meantime Hobó had persuaded the other to return whence it came and then wedge the offending escape route shut.

In the meantime Hobó had made a right dog's breakfast of closing the gate between my yard and garden. Blackie went walkabout. We retired to the yard, with Pickle going ballistic and wanting to join the fun. We did not have to wait long. Blackie had done a tour of the garden, an inspection by Tibi's fence to see if he could terrorise their dogs but could not and came back to the yard where I let him in to praise.

Pub in the evening. Short-ish.

9th May 2013

The weather was good. All was normal. I did a load of scything, some of it for goat greenery but much more for a bit of hay at least from my own place. That's it.

10th May 2013

Good weather again and all was normal until the afternoon when I went out to string a wire for the vines through the pre-drilled holes in the tall posts. I had drilled quarter inch holes for the wire. It would not go through, as it turned out, two of the holes. I went back to the yard and fetched brace and bit. I took the quarter inch one thinking it would clear the hole. It didn't, and I limped back and got the five sixteenths bit. The first post was no problem - a fair amount of effort but no problem and the wire went through. I was dripping sweat by then so I took a break. When I returned the wire went through the next post also. It did not go through the next one. Brace and bit again. I was almost through, dripping sweat again, when there was a click and the brace went loose in may hand. I withdrew the brace to find that one of my precious Jennings pattern bits had parted company right where the end of the borings spiral is. Bugger! The rest was destined to remain in the post until it rots to the ground or is burnt as firewood. Dispirited, I abandoned it for the day, went back to the house and cooled down. Then went to the pub for a beer.

11th May 2013

All the birds were now flying, including the most recent ones. Helmut turned up to help with doing Rudy's feet. The girls went out and then we captured Rudy and downed him just by the milking table. There were four of us. Me, Hobó, Helmut and someone else. It was much more convenient than last time as I was able to sit on the edge of the milking table and do his feet in relative comfort. Rudy scrambled to his feet and wasted no time on us but headed straight out to join the others where he went on his stake without incident. We headed for the shop and had a little pub outside the shop celebration of a successful outcome.

It rained in the afternoon and the goats had to come in a bit sharpish.

Pub in the evening.

12th May 2013

It was good weather. Bright and sunny but not too hot. I got some washing out and washed up in the kitchen. An end of morning beer.

In the afternoon I did a load of scything. A couple of windrows for the goats and then a couple of windrows down the other side of the garden to turn into hay as the forecast was good. Pub for an afternoon beer after that.

I cooked and ate - can't remember what, then went to get the goats in. Catastrophe! All fine until Rudy. He managed to get well and truely entangled in the wire for the vines that I had had the problem with, still unfinished. He managed to get his chain, still attached to collar, into a right state. Well, it had to be disentangled. He did not much like it. He had me down in a trice and then had a right go. On my back I had to fend him off with one hand whilst simultaneously untangling his chain with the other. I managed it eventually and scrambled away from him. I got him in without further incident, but oh, it hurt! He has to go!


13th May 2013

The shop lady wound me up today. After a leisurely breakfast I put the wellies on to go and get the goats out when I realised that there were a couple of extra bits that I could have done with from the shop. I was not running early. It was nine twenty. The shop is supposed to close at half past on a Monday morning. I never even got out of the yard. I could see that she was already locked up and gone.

The goats went out, not early and not nearby. Getting them out is easy and relatively stress free. Suzy and Vicky come out and the kids follow. I choose the spots for them, put the stakes in and put them on the stakes. Rudy and the wether come next - the only slightly stressful bit. The wether invariably escapes but I collar Rudy as he comes out and clip on his chain. Then I tell him "Off you go." Whether he does or not quite depends upon if the girls are nearby or not. If they are nearby he invariably ends up nearby as well. If they are not I may have to give him a little gentle persuasion at the length of his chain and also invariably when he spots them he will set off at a trot. I wear the coat of many pockets for the simple reason that I can put an apple cut in two in one of the big outer pockets. An apple a day keeps Rudy at bay. He may or may not bother the girls, but sooner or later his appetite for apple will overcome his testosterone level and I can call him, toss half an apple nearby where his stake is, find the end of his chain and slip it over the stake. Sometimes I need both halves, which is why I always have an apple cut in two. I step smartly (as I can) out of range and that is that.

House work, pub, lunch. After lunch I set out with brace, another, bigger bit and set about sorting out the tangled mess of wire from the fraccas of yesterday. It was hot. I did not enjoy it and at the end, although I had the wire through all the posts it was not to my satisfaction. Ran out of threads on the strainer. Needs another couple of inches. It would do for now. As I write it will still have to do for now. I did a little scything but by now the knee was seriously complaining. Pub. Afternoon beer.

For the first time this year I had separated her kids from Suzy in order to get a milking. I prepared the milking kit and was about to set off to get the goats in when Tibi appeared at the gate with a tirade. One (or more) of the kids had escaped into their garden and devoured Marika's paprika plants. Not good. Something would have to be done about that. Much more to come.

Get the goats in. Logistical nightmare. Enough for today, I will tell you tomorrow. I did get them in and I did get a milking. Suzy was no problem at all. She knew exactly what was expected of her. I got my milking. Not a lot, but certainly more than enough for my morning coffee.

Pub. I was not at my best. I felt as though I had a chill coming on.

14th May 2013

I got another milking today, otherwise I have no idea. All normal.

US of A readers beware. If you follow the link below "They" may come looking for you. "They" may come looking for me as well for publishing the link. I have long thought that the US of A is the most dangerous country on the planet. During my years teaching at university I met up with two of my ex-students that had been out to the States for a few months after they graduated. They hated it. It was not long after GWB declared his "War on Terrrism". They said - escuse pun, but it was actually said - the Americans were paranoid about there being a terrrist behind every bush.

Anyway, read this blog entry for today on The Burning Platform (today being 20th June :( ) with the title of "WHO ARE THE REAL TRAITORS?". It is a long read but it goes into depth about how the 0.1% have taken control of the States. The author is obviously a brave man in his defence of the whistle blower Edward Snowden. Must get myself tooled up. Crossbows! Same stopping power as a Colt .45, silent and accurate up to a hundred metres.

15th May 2013

Vince turned up and put in a good stint for me and cleared out the last of the deep litter from the goathouse. He spread a goodly load of new straw about which was good in a way but not what I wanted. What I wanted was for the layer of, basically, compost to be scraped off right down to the concrete floor and then to get in there myself and give it a bloody good hosing down throughout. It would have to wait until I mucked out myself. Still, I paid him well, knowing what a sod of a job it is, having done it myself the first year.

I had Marika at the gate, not happy. Baby goat(s) had once again invaded her garden and eaten stuff, as goats will. Bugger! I went back to garden and secured two of the baby goats on their own little posts and stakes. That should keep the third, younger kid nearby. They are like a little autonomous mini-herd of their own. Well now, there is a word that I have never used on the blog before.

I pondered on wandering goats and came up with a solution. Not cheap, but a bullet that would just have to be bitten. On my way for a morning beer I called in to Tibi and Marika and told them what I proposed, which was a hundred metres of new fencing between me and their garden, by way of pouring oil upon troubled waters. Tibi did a little pouring of oil upon troubled waters himself. Two of his famously small pálinkas came my way. Oh dear! I got some insight into history. Tibi spoke very disparagingly about the family that were here before me who apparently espoused the communist cause which I can highly imagine not going down at all well with Tibi. He reckoned that the fence was maybe thirty, thirty five years old and was a pretty gash job even back then. Oil poured, I took my leave and went for my morning beer.

After that it was pretty much a routine afternoon, with a milking when the goats came in.

16th May 2013

The weather was good again. Warm, sunny and not yet too hot to work in. I was not best pleased with the shop. I was not late there and there was no fresh bread and no kefir. She had stale bread which I turned down flat and settled for a couple of the breakfast rolls for lunch. I had the tail end of the loaf from yesterday in the house. It would have to do for the breakfast toast.

The goats went out and not very close nearby. All except for Suzy who stayed on the staging post just outside the goathouse. I returned, found some munchies and set them on the goat table tray then got Suzy in to do her feet. After the sheer hard work of Rudy it was a delight. She was very cooperative and her feet were not too bad at all except for one - left rear, I think - which always seems to be in a worse state than the rest. It did not take too long and I rejoined her with the herd.

I wandered over to the shop at about eleven and asked Erzsi if the Purina van had been yet. He had not, so I had a shop beer and settled down in the sun to wait for him. The young lady with the twins in a tandem pram passed by and we exchanged pleasantries. Those twins do a lot of kilometres around the village. Two, maybe three times a day they get walked right around the village. Sometimes with the young lady and sometimes with older ladies, who I take to be the grandmothers.

Purina turned up, quite late which meant he had to have been doing a fair trade on his rounds. I bought dog food, returned to the house, secured dogs and cycled up the pub for one.

Home and lunch. I thought about doing a Körmend Tesco run by bus but decided against it. After a leisurely lunch I went and fed the birds then checked goat water. I carried on up the garden with wooden barrow in tow and did a load of scything. Two windrows west to east across the western side for goat supper and two longer rows south to north on the eastern side to dry for hay, the forecast being good.

I think this was the day that two of Laci's grandsons were being actively encouraged to climb about in the vinegar tree as the Hungarians call it. There was little foliage on it yet and it gladdened my heart to see the children encouraged thus. The tree is not that tall and has many close spaced branches with lots of horizontals that make it easy to clamber about in it.

Back home I did a load of computer stuff, none of it blog unfortunately. Then relit the stove, cooked something quick, easy, cheap and cheerful and went to the little pub outside the shop. The temperature dropped, it became overcast and started to rain. Oh-oh - goats in. Fortunately Hobó was about and came to help. It did not take long and went without incident. I got a milking and the goats got a bit wet. Hobó went off to pub and I followed him when I had changed as much as I was going to change and dogs were secured within. It was a good evening. Helmut turned up and Laci did not kick out that early.

17th May 2013

It was raining steadily and the goats stayed in. The rain eased a bit towards the end of morning and I managed to get out and scythe down some greenery for the goats. I forked it up, which as usual was the worst and most painful bit of the job and wheeled it back to the goathouse.

By lunchtime the rain had stopped but I decided that for a reason the goats could stay in. The reason was that I had decided that today would be the day that I ventured to Tesco.

I had a successful trip to Tesco, getting everything I wanted including a new, fairly meaty electric drill. My last one had disappeared with Hobó for repair and never reappeared. It was, err, buggered anyway. There was a reason for getting it, which was that a job which was on the horizon would need some biggish holes drilling in steel, which is a thing that you cannot do with Jennings pattern bits and brace. Once again the trip was painful and I was glad to get back to the village.

I paid the bike parking fee at the pub then went home and got some firewood in. I was becoming increasingly certain that I had another pair of pigeons on my hands. I was quite pleased by that.

I had for the first time found liver on the meat counter in Tesco. I set about doing braised liver and onions. When the onion was done and the liver seared it went in the slow cooker. I went to the shop after that. I mentioned to Erzsi what I was cooking and, I suspect to drum up a bit of extra trade, she suggested that I add marjoram to it. Sadly for her I had it in stock at home and added it when I returned.

Liver and onion gravy with marjoram, mashed spuds and peas. Mmmmmm :)

Pub in the evening. It came on to rain. A lot of rain. There was a thunderstorm. All we got was just one huge thunderclap - I never saw the lightning, it was some way distant - and that was that.

18th May 2013

The weather was good. The goats went out almost as far up towards Telek utca as they ever go. It took a while. I did a load of kitchen work and by then the knee was seriously telling me to get off my feet for a while so I did. I booted the computer and as usual checked e-mails first. For some reason today I had a lot of e-mails to read and a lot that needed answering, either directly or via Facebook. Some needed thinking about and by then it was beer o'clock so I went to the pub.

Back home the first job was to separate her kids from Suzy. The uncastrated one that I chose on a whim and who is destined to be the Rudy replacement - Albert - was no problem. The other was. It took me about twenty minutes to capture him and get him on his little stake. Back to the house and a not particularly early lunch over which I answered the e-mails that had needed a bit of thinking about.

I put the strimmer round the yard - much needed. By then it was afternoon beer o'clock. Whilst there I checked with Laci that it would be OK if I were not at home for a package being delivered from the UK by DPD to be received there. Of course it was not a problem. Jumping ahead to the evening I sent DPD a message for them to advise their Szombathely depot that that was the case. Helmut and Silvi showed up so another beer came my way.

I got some firewood in relit the stove and had a repeat of yesterday's meal. Hobó had promised to come and help me get the goats in and he did - on time. A good job too. Getting the goats out is two trips early in the day. Getting them in on my own is five and I was still in considerable pain. I only had to do the one limp all the way up to Telek utca to get Rudy. Hobó will have nothing to do with that! My job!

Pub in the evening, where I bought Hobó a beer and paid him enough for a packet of cigarettes and his "breakfast" (coffee and a small rum) in the morning. There was an interesting episode. Hobó and I had been outside for a smoke and were returning to our beers when I saw a character at the bar that I did not know and as soon as I saw him, being an ex-pub licensee, I thought "Trouble" and so he was. No sooner had Hobó sat back down at our usual table than said character rounded upon him. He clearly wanted to invite Hobó outside for a fight. He was also clearly cigány. Hobó sat his ground. No, he was sitting right there and enjoying his beer and watching the telly. The more Hobó refused to go outside and fight the more enraged cigány became. In the end Laci intervened and using extremely polite and formal Hungarian effectively told him to go forth and multiply. That was a first for me. I had seen Laci stop the tap on a couple of regulars that were clearly in their cups and gently send them on their way, but it was the first time that I had seen him effectively say f*** off to anyone. Hobó made a phone call to the police in Körmend to ask if they could send a marked police car to have a slow drive up and down the village a couple of times. I don't know if they did - I never saw them - but by kicking out time there was no sign of cigány anywhere in the village. Ah, all in an evening entertainment in my life here.

19th May 2013

A couple of quick updates just to reassure you that the blog is not abandoned. Yes, I am struggling to fit it in with various other things going on but I will keep plodding on.

Very edited highlights of the day. Nothing happened out of the ordinary until early evening. There was a thunderstorm brewing nearby. Hobó came along to help get the goats in. I was preparing the milking kit and Hobó was getting all the goats, except Rudy who is my job, nearby. He made a dog's breakfast of closing the gate into the garden behind him and Blackie escaped. He did not go far and on his return came face to face with little Albert. Albert promptly butted Blackie with his little horns and Blackie beat a swift retreat back to the yard. Coward!

20th May 2013

I was going to tell you about my bank manager and the tractor but I already told you. One other snippet. He now has a little motorcycle that he uses to come to the village on when he comes to visit his parents. Sign of the times I guess. Nothing else to report.

21st May 2013

Miki arrived, and arrived and arrived and arrived with lots of hand cart loads of hay. And fine hay it was too. It got stored away. An amusing incident at the pub. Out the back having a smoke and I saw Laci wander up into the upper part of his yard with a small bucket of something. He called to something out of my sight behind the conifers and I saw his pair of ducks of whatever breed they are come running after him. Well, it amused me. Feeding time at the zoo.

22nd May 2013

Very edited highlights. There was a thunderstorm in the afternoon but we only caught the very edge of it. The goats stayed out. As usual Hobó helped get them in when it was that time of day.

23rd May 2013

It was cold. Unseasonably cold - what was going on with the weather? There was a blustery north wind blowing that caused me to return in house and don a work sweater before venturing to the shop.

The goats went out, quite nearby. I found some munchies and returned Vicky to the goathouse where I did her feet. If anything she was even more cooperative than Suzy. It was a pleasure and did not take very long.

A bit of washing up type housework and it was beer o'clock. I was waved down by my neighbour Tibi. The last time that he had fed me palinká there had been some discussion about black locust fence posts, which I had only ever seen referred to thus by one of my random e-mail correspondents. Quite correctly, of course except that hereabouts it is just called acacia. Except that it isn't. It is pseudo.acacia. Anyway, the import of the nessage from Tibi was that they would be here next week or the week after. As I write, however many weeks later they still have not appeared.

I had my morning beer. Back home and lunch and then feed the pigeons and check the goats. My now Mrs. Pigeon No. 1 had clearly abandoned the clutch of eggs that I had suspected that she had stopped sitting a couple of days ago. They were stone cold. I removed and disposed of them. They both contained full term chicks that had simply failed to hatch. Darwin at work again.

Miki came bothering me about hay. I might have said before that he seems to have made it his life work to make sure that I have enough hay for the goats for winter. I am actually truely grateful for that. He went off to get hay in a borrowed handcart. I solved the issue of how he was going to get it here by the simple expedient of locking the dogs in, telling Miki they were locked in and just get on with it, and going for an afternoon beer.

Upon my return I found all the gates wide open. Miki was clearly still at his life work. Unable to let dogs out I hung around and found some stuff to to in the workshop. Miki eventually turned up with another handcart of hay and got it where I wanted it. There was more, he said. I told him firmly that that was it for the day and paid him well enough. With all the gates finally closed I was able to let the dogs out and by then it was time to go over to the shop.

Shop lady managed to pull a good stunt. I got my few bits and paid with a five thousand forint note. In my change I got back a five thousand forint note. I, being the honest chap that I am, told her immediately of her mistake. She was suitably grateful.

Goats in - Hobó helped. Pub.

24th May 2013

Keeping it as brief as I can, Miki turned up with more hay and Tibi mowed across the front for me. I went to the pub for my normal preprandial. Plod turned up in the yard whilst I was having a smoke. Two carbon dioxide gas bottles were unloaded from the plodmobile. No idea if they were full or empty. Either a) they had borrowed them for some do of their own or b) Laci had called in a favour and had themdrop off two full ones as he was running out. It amused me.

I had a bash round with the strimmer. Miki turned up with more hay. I went for an afternoon beer and when I returned Tibi was digging out the ditch for me as far as my driveway.

Hobó helped get the goats in and afterwards I had beans on toast which was a remarkable success, having purchased just one can of Bonduelle beans on spec in Tesco. I had tried other brands in various supermarkets and found none to my liking. I wished that I had bought ten or twenty! Every bit as good as Heinz.

Pub in the evening. Hobó was on form. He had a go at his perennial favourite - the fact that he does not get paid a penny for the work that he does at the football club and afterwards about the price of white spirit compared to the price of petrol. At least he was leaving me and my dogs alone.

25th May 2013

It was cold and raining. The goats stayed in. I did some housework including sweeping out the soot from inside the kitchen stove. It is not good. It is falling apart internally as fast as I can patch it up.

I went for my normal end of morning beer. There was a skittles do going on and Hobó said they would not be closing at lunchtime. He also said to sit tight and we would probably be fed. There was a choice of pörkölt or fish soup. I had the pörkölt. Oh well, that was lunch sorted out.

The weather improved in the afternoon but the goats stayed in. It proved to be a good job that they did as a bit later it came on to rain again quite sharply. I had to rustle about as quickly as I could and get some good hay that I had made and stacked covered over with polythene sheeting.

All the usual evening stuff including a trip to the pub. John came in followed shortly by his parents who were over from the UK. Laci did not close early. With his permission I broached a bottle of Drambuie that I had had brought over for some of the locals to try.

26th May 2013

No idea.

27th May 2013

It rained again. The goats stayed in again. I now had my current Mrs. Pigeon No. 1 sitting two eggs. That's it.

28th May 2013

The weather was better and the goats went out. Vince turned up and did a final stint of cleaning out the goat house, which included scraping as much as possible goat compost off the floor. In the afternoon I broke out my new aluminium ladder for its first actual outing. I scrambled up into the loft above what had been the big garage. I had asked the boys last year to move all the crap timber and miscallenei over to one side so they could stack hay in there. It had sort of less than half happened. Correct me if I am wrong but did not Samuel Langhorne Clemens write in Huckleberry Finn say "One boy is one boy. Two boys is half a boy and three boys is no boys at all.". Well, it had been a case of half a boy. I set about it myself.

I got it about half done. A load of crap timber and various bits of other crap were stacked tight under the northern eaves. Ex-window frames and the like were hurtled down to the goathouse floor. It was hot up there. I had had enough. I descended, removed my good aluminium ladder, which by the way has my name, village and postcode stamped into each section. I removed the hurtled down crap also and went for a rather well-earned afternoon beer. Or two.

All normal after that. Goats in. Milked. Bite to eat. Swill down. Change and off to the pub.

29th May 2013

Well, I suppose that I should make some sort of effort with the blog in spite of a severe case of writer's block.

The weather was good but not too hot. Vince turned up on time as usual and I set him to work. Within a few moments he returned to the garden gate to report a minor catastrophe. He had broken the handle of the heavy mattock. I was not overly surprised. My fault. Left out over winter in a couple or three inopportune places. I found him other work to do. It turned out that it was his birthday.

In the evening Hobó turned up to help get the goats in. I had a catastrophe with Rudy due entirely to my own stupid fault. Hobó and I set off at the same time, him to get the wether and me to get Rudy. All was normal with Rudy at first. I just pulled his stake and let him go, pausing only to pull him away from an area where I did not want him. He set off back to the goat house at a trot. I followed at best limp. Unfortunately Rudy overtook Hobó and the wether and equally unfortunately Hobó was letting the wether have a nibble at a choice bit of greenery. I was limping back at best speed when Rudy decided to investigate what was going on. He went round me, managed to hook the water bucket out of my hands and had me on my back in a trice. Oh, he was determined to have a go! I got my hands on his horns and fended him off as best I could, but ye gods he is strong and was shoving me along the ground with my ribs taking a fair pounding. I told Hobó in no uncertain terms to abandon the wether, fill the water bucket from the garden water butt and pour the lot over Rudy's head - including me if necessary. He did. Rudy got very wet and so did I but at least Rudy desisted after that and went his way. He has to go.

We finished getting the goats in without further incident and I milked. But - oh - my ribs hurt.

I went to the pub for a suitable palliative intake of amber frothy liquid. The ribs still hurt. They did for days. Back home the day was not quite complete. I fed the dogs, let them out and settled to the computer. After about twenty minutes there was a doggie commotion, ongoing, from the yard. The commotion did not come from the road end of the yard but further up towards the garden. I poked my nose out but could see neither of the dogs. I had to fetch the wind-up torch and follow Pickle's chain to find them. They had a hedgehog cornered and, of course, it was curled up really tight in a ball. They were barking furiously at it. I dragged them away, by force for Pickle and by threats of imminent violent reprisals for Blackie. The were locked inside. I went out and checked a little while later. Hedgehog was nowhere to be seen. It had obviously made good its escape, none the worse for its encounter with my two hooligan dogs. I was pleased to see it. It had been a while and I like to have them around the place.

30th May 2013

It rained steadily all day. The goats stayed in of course. Somewhere along the way I mentioned a package that I was expecting. I seem to have neglected to say that it had arrived. A pressure canner - large size. Twenty four quarts for those that can remember quarts or somewhat over twenty six litres for my younger readers. I still had the kitchen stove going and gave it a wet run - as opposed to a dry run. The difference between a pressure cooker and a pressure canner is that it works at a higher pressure and therefore a higher temperature than a pressure cooker. It has a weight on top the same as a pressure cooker but that does not control the pressure. The weight will only lift if you get it seriously over pressure. You control it by the use of a pressure gauge. I reread the instructions and then read them again. I put just a little water in it - about a pint - and set it on the stove. I did not have a big fire going but eventually it came up to pressure. I knew that it had because it is fitted with a safety lock which is all metal and locks the lid from being opened until it has returned to atmospheric pressure. Controlling the pressure was simple using the temperature gradient of the wood stove. I was happy enough that I knew that I would be able to safely can several kilogrammes of goat curry when the time came. Not long hence.

I had a morning beer. All day I was in some considerable discomfort from last evening's encounter with Rudy. The ribs were considerably bruised. Home for lunch and then the usual round of pigeons and goats.

I went for an afternoon beer. I was about two thirds of the way throught it when Rex came on the telly. Another beer. I had almost finished that and Rex was about to end when Daraboshegyi Józsi appeared and another beer came my way. Oh dear!

Home, goats and pigeons and then relit the kitchen stove to make myself a pörkölt. I made it with mashed potatoes because, much as I like them I could not be bothered with the faff of making nokedli. Pub in the evening, but quite late and not for long.

31st May 2013

With no noted for the day I will fill in with a couple of items, previously unwritten about for your amusement/edification:
firstly is the contrast in drinking styles between me and Hobó. I would call us the pragmatist and the optimist. Guess who is whom? I will let you know later which is which, and
I never mentioned on the blog the endearing habit that the locals have of throwing their bedding over the gates/fences in the sunshine. Now, this is actually a good thing to do, as strong sunlight is a wonderful sterilising agent, but from place to place it does get a bit unsightly. Blog not quite dead yet - more to come.  


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