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August 2013

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1st August 2013

Well, you will have noticed that the blog has been noticable by its absence so I am attempting to do as much as I can about that starting right now. There will be gaps as I have been lax about making up my aide-memoire notes.

The weather for the last month has been grim and it continues. We are in the midst of a heat wave and drought. The goats are confined within as there is nothing on the ground for them to eat. I have had to be feeding them what was supposed to be winter fodder and whatever else I could get hold of. Not good.

It has not been conducive to getting anything meaningful done. Temperature records have been broken and around Balaton the medical services are being run ragged dealing with victims of the heat. The house is in disarray, the yard is in disarray and apart from some tomato plants which someone weeded and staked for me the garden is in disarray.

2nd August 2013

It was promising to be another scorching hot day. I was bathed in sweat by the time I went to the shop and back. The goats continued to remain inside. Everywhere was brown and parched. Catastrophe. Fortunately I was being well supplied with greenery for them, but more on that tomorrow.

I need to update you with some pigeon stuff that happened earlier, back in July. The first thing was that Pickle killed and ate what was at the time my only laying hen. The hen had two young chicks. That left me with just three adult birds all three of which I was fairly sure were cock birds. Mr. Bird set about attempting to raise the chicks on his own - not for the first time. Well, unless one or both of the chicks turned out to be hens that would be the end of the pigeon experiment. A couple of days later when I went to let them out and check on them I found one of the chicks on the floor, still alive so I returned it to the nest. The next day it was on the floor again, this time dead. That left me with about a fifty-fifty chance of the remaining chick being a hen. To cut ahead a little I had a huge surprise to find one of the birds which I was sure was a cock bird sitting an egg. She only laid the one egg and sadly it came to nothing. A little further ahead and I can tell you that Mr. Bird once again raised the single remaining chick. Cutting to today my new Mrs. Bird had laid the second of a proper clutch of eggs - two - and was sitting.

Helmut turned up in the afternoon with his nephew. They ran me to ground in the pub. They had a water container for me. Just a small one. One thousand litres. A one metre cube in a steel frame. Well, it would do. I would just need to get it positioned and arrange rain water catchment. It is a far cry from what I would like, which is two ten thousand litre tanks on concrete plinths at the top of the land with lots of rainwater catchment so that I could gravity feed it to the areas where the goats should go. Mmmmm. Some way in the future I suspect.

Back home I spotted where Helmut and nephew had parked water container. It was in a good spot for now.

Pub in the evening, of course.

3rd August 2013

I said yesterday that I would talk about the goat greenery. Well, it is Miki that is providing it. Ah, Miki. In the lingua franca of the village he has a big Pickly dog problem. Now, I really do appreciate the work that he does to help. Heart of gold. But! He always wants to talk about it. And talk about it and talk about it. To the extent that sometimes I just want to say to him "You know what I want, Miki. Just get on and do it!". Anyway, he did that today. I really did not care from where the greenery came but he had to tell me anyway. Twice. Eventually he went off and did it. On his return he had to tell me - twice - where he had put it. I did not care. I would be able to see with my own eyes where he had put it when I went to feed the goats.

The weather continued the same. Blistering. Goats stayed inside.

At lunchtime beer I got information from a surprising source. It was the cost of having my knee sorted out at the next county hospital over - Zalaegerseg. The information came from Hobó. Apparently the doctor had imparted it to him. One and a half million forints. Ouch! Still cheaper than going to Budapest and much cheaper than returning to the UK. Also only a bus ride away from Körmend - about forty kilometers as opposed to two hundred and sixty. No doubt there would be consultation visits first.

In the heat I did the minimum I could get away with.

Laci was open quite long in the evening. I ended up with one more beer than my usual allowance.

4th August 2013

It was even hotter today. Minimum work again just doing the goats and pigeons.

I did my normal preprandial beer. A guy came in who I will call Michy, that being the nearest that I can get to his name phonetically. I had known him since the first winter that I was here. He supplied the pig for the first village pig killing way back in early 2009. Aside, the village pig killing seems to be no more. There has not been one for the last two years. I think the reason is that it was sponsored by the village football club and they now have no money. Hungarian prevalence. I digress. Weeks and weeks ago I had sold Rudy to Michy for two cases of beer. The beer had appeared, and had been consumed mainly by people helping me out around the place. My considered opinion was that Michy, being Hungarian, was not about to put his hand in his pocket unless something was actually going to happen. I had a gentle go at Michy. When was it going to happen. He assured me that it would happen this very afternoon.

I went home, had lunch and did the pigeons and goats. Afternoon came round. At the appointed time I went for an afternoon beer, and then home to get out of the heat. Afternoon was turning steadily into evening and nothing was happening. I went over and joined the little pub outside the shop.

Still nothing happened so I went home and did the usual pigeon/goat routine. I was almost at the stage of getting ready and going for the usual evening beer when there was a major doggie commotion from the yard. I poked my head out. It was almost seven in the evening and Michy had turned up with his cohort (Miki and Imre) to collect Rudy. Oh bollox! That meant that Suzy, Vicky and the kids had to come out of the goat house. I dismissed them and sent them round to Telek utca - there was no way that Rudy was coming out via the yard.

I went and got Suzy and Vicky out, secured nearby the goathouse. The kids ran free. They would not go far. With that Michy and cohort arrived down the garden. I went back in the goat house and secured Rudy on chain. They took over from there. Now, Michy, Miki and Imre are no spring chickens but they are all fine fit blokes, unlike me at the moment. I watched as they struggled with Rudy all the way up to Telek utca. Not my problem any more. I got the girls and the wether back in and, with a little difficulty, the kids. And that was that. Bye-bye Rudy. Did I shed a tear at his departure? Did I buggery! He was wild from the first day I got them. At least at the moment my new buck goat Albert is a gentle creature, and for the moment at least Suzy is the herd boss.

Very belatedly I got to the pub, where I made up for lost time by celebrating Rudy's departure.

5th August 2013

It was another scorcher with temperatures threatened to be pushing on towards forty Celsius. Ouch. The shop had no cheese and had had none since Saturday. It was not going to appear until Wednesday. I ask you! All there was was some Dairylee-type stuff in foil packed wedges. Thanks but no thanks.

I managed a bit of housework and washing out to dry. That was enough to make the sweat stream. All I did the rest of the day was to hide from the heat. That is apart from the usual livestock stuff and the normal trips you-know-where.

6th August 2013

There are some gaps in my notes here so I will fill in with a few bits that happened in July. Starting with a thing that I think I mentioned in May. The prevention of goats getting into Marika's garden.

I might have mentioned it. Marika gardens and Tibi farms. Tibi assists Marika by ploughing or rotovating Marika's bit of garden and Markika assists Tibi with the farming by doing I know not what.

I digress. I like doing that from time to time. Somewhen in late July, after multiple conversations and multiple phone calls the fence material arrived, with much thanks to the young Budapesti couple that I have already mentioned on the blog. It took the best part of a week to organise a workforce to install it. It took four days and two blokes - Vince and Pitu - to get it installed. Plus Dávid to do some chain sawing. Ooops, there went one of my best vines. Plus Dávid's live-in girlfriend who made a cracking job of weeding the pigeon house garden and staking the tomato plants.

7th August 2013

With no notes made for the next couple of days I will take you back to a couple of things from July. The first I think was on the 5th and did not make me at all happy. The previous day the goats had been right up towards Telek utca about as far as they ever go. I went to get them out as usual. I wanted them much nearer today so the first thing was to retrieve their stakes. I got as far back as the water butts by the main garden and my knee was absolutely screaming at me. I had to abandon the stakes and return to the house to recover. The realisation dawned that today I was simply in no condition to get the goats out. After a while to recover I went back out. The goats stayed in and I fed them hay. It was no big deal as I was rapidly running out of places to put them in the meadow. With the continuing drought conditions there was simply no grass or weeds growing more or less everywhere.

8th August 2013

The next thing that also happened sometime in July was what turned out to be an action of absolute stupidity on my part. For various reasons I had to bite the bullet and make the decision to cycle into Körmend. I had a stroke of luck on the way there. I was just riding down through Nádasd when a vehicle coming from the Körmend direction flagged me down. It turned out to be the young Budapesti couple from the village. They asked where I was going and I told them Körmend. Get in! They promptly turned around and drove back all the way to Körmend. They asked me where I wanted dropping and I told them at the Halászcsárda. So that is where they dropped me.

It was beer o'clock by then anyway so I had one. I also did a thing that I had been promising myself to do ever since I started getting my pensions - treated myself to a meal out. After that I set out to kill all my birds with one stone. I had a number of calls to make in the town and amongst others it involved cycling pretty well the full length of Rákóczi utca, the big main east/west road through town from Fitting Kft in the west to Tesco in the east. When I had finished all my calls I called back in the Halászcsárda for a beer before beginning the cycle home.

It was on the long uphill drag between the truck stop and the level bit before Nádasd that I knew I had problems. The heat was getting to me. The shoulder straps on the backpack were hurting - I had a fair few kilogrammes in it - and the quads in both legs were screaming for mercy. I cycled doggedly on but I confess that the hill into the village, up to where the football field is, beat me for the first time since the very first day that I cycled to the village. I had a struggle to get off the bike, let alone push it the rest of the way up the hill. Thankfully I got to the level bit at the top, remounted and then coasted all the way down the hill. I stopped at the pub. I could hardly walk and I could hardly speak. First thing I did was to down a pint of cold tap water. The quads hurt for days after that and I realised later that I must have come close to doing myself a serious injury.

9th August 2013

Short and sweet and back to todays date. In the evening the weather broke. We had a thunderstorm and then it settled to a nice steady rain.

10th August 2013

It was still raining when I went to the shop in the morning. Everywhere had had a thorough soaking. Good! Oh boy, had we needed it.

Today was village day. It turned out to be a very low-key event compared to the previous couple or three years. There was little by way of sports and no organised games for the children (but some disorganised ones and the inevitable brace of bouncy castles). In a lull in the procedings I took the opportunity to have a gentle ride into Daraboshegy to see how Rudy was doing. It took me two tries to find him which was surprising as he was right by the roadside. It was a spot that I did not really associate with being on that property being, as it were, on the wrong side of a little roadway or track. He was in what I can only describe as a little corrall with stout fence posts and stout freshly cut planking. He was still on his chain which was fastened to one of the fence posts. It was clear that they move him from fence post to fence post. It was a good spot. It is hard by a little brook and shaded from the heat. It also had a lot of fast growing greenery that he could munch. I got off the bike and called to him. He clearly recognised me as he spoke a little "Meah, meah, meah" to me. I fed him some apples that I had taken along for the purpose, watched as he demolished them and then cycled back to the falunap in time to see the ladies' football.

It was alright on the football field which is smooth and frequently mowed but, oh, it was hard going on the bit over the road where the rest of the activities take place. I could not stay long on my feet. It was definitely not good for the knee.

I judged my time for going home, letting the dogs out for a while and feeding the goats and locking the pigeons in. There was another football match going on - a normal match between Halogy SE men and some other random team. I figured that if that was going on they would not be dishing up the food until it was over or pretty much over. I went home, did the above, got the dogs in, changed into something a bit smarter and cycled back.

I had judged it about right. Most people were eating but had clearly only just started. Hobó's folks had turned up with a couple of friends known to me. Hobó insisted I just sit down and went off and got some for me. It was the mixture as before, pork and bean gulyas. The portions were plenty big enough for me. Hobó's mother amused me greatly by producing a gert plastic container and tipping all the leftovers in it. Clearly only there for the free food, and she had to send Hobó's stepdad home to find a bigger and stronger carrier bag in which to take it home. She also took a great stack of the disposable plastic dishes in which it had been served.

I sat and watched the sun setting over Austria - the rain had cleared during the day - with a feeling of absolute contentment. The evening entertainment started. It was, errr, mediocre after last year. Neither John nor I lingered long and I was abed at a respectable time of evening.  


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