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October 2008

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1st October 2008

A good listen on possible ways of change to meet Peak Oil.

Well, I did say there would be a blog update. The first couple of days are going to be a bit short and sweet! I spent the morning packing earth brick mix into the walls. After that I did the washing, as it turned out to be a beautiful day - much needed! Speaking of it being a beautiful day, there are loads of swallows about today. I don't think they are the local ones as I haven't seen them for days. I suspect these are from further north in Europe and are just stocking up en-route. Went to the pub a couple of times. That's it for today!

2nd October 2008

Most of the day I was rubbing down undercoated windows and replacing the glass. Did I say that the glass is held in by triangular wooden fillets? And did I also say that the bits where the glass goes has never been painted since the house was new. The result is that there is a little gap behind all the fillets. That's not a problem at the top or sides of the windows, but at the bottom edge all the dust has crept into the gap (both sides) between the frame/glass/fillet, and there is basically just earth in there. I suspect you could grow a crop on it! When I were a lad I was taught to paint the frame where the glass was to go, and whilst the paint was still wet run a bead of putty in there, then lay the glass in, secure with glazing sprigs, then paint the glass and run the outer putty onto that. I'm doing something similar here, except that instead of using putty I'm running a bead of decorator's filler outside the glass, and inside, then bedding the beading onto it. Time will tell. With a bit of luck the window glass won't rattle every time a truck or tractor goes past.

Another three hundred and fifteen walnuts!

3rd October 2008

Tom Whipple with a discussion of the relationship between Peak Oil and the American financial crisis.

And I have no idea what I did!

4th October 2008

Bloomberg News on the fall in Russian oil output. Aren't the Russians the main proponents of abiotic oil?

I mentioned that the dog is moulting. I had to remove the hairs from the scrubbing brush today, as it had got to the stage of no longer being efficient. It took about ten minutes of teasing out from the bristles of the brush, and I ended up with a small handful of very fine, slightly crinkly dog hair, and as I sat there in the chill of the morning I could feel the insulating warmth of the hair in the palm of my hand. It came to me that I had read somewhere on the Internerd about knitting dog hair, so I decided to start saving it. Maybe in about five years I will have enough to knit a pair of baby's bootees, but at least they would be unique!

As I was expecting UK visitors tomorrow I needed to go to town for some comestibles suitable for decadent western tastes. Unfortunately, it being Szombat, I managed to cock up the bus times, so I ended up doing the shopping as a cycling trip.

I had arranged to meet helper in a little pub in Daraboshegy at five o'clock, but what with my cock up, it was quarter past by the time I got there. There was no one there except the landlady. I asked for a Dreher in my best Hungarian, and got back a gob-full of something about English. There was a quite terse exchange, but eventually I did manage to extract and pay for a bottle of Dreher from her. Some odd person drifted in and out but by half past I was still there on my own - no sign of helper. In a degree of WTF I texted him in rather pidgin Hungarian and sure enough he arrived about five minutes later. It got a lot better after that! In the other room of the building is a shop. Quite tiny, but like an Alladin's Cave of goods - just a few of each, but many, many lines. Including big bags of dry dog food :) One less reason to go into town! While ever the pub is open the shop is open. They were doing a good trade too.

We cycled back to Halogy in the dark (with no lights!), barely able to see the side of the road. The trick appears to be to stay in the middle of the road unless a car comes. In which case, of course, you can see the side of the road momentarily.

5th October 2008

I was expecting my son and daughter-in-law today, so as you can expect the majority of my morning and early afternoon was devoted to making the place a little less like a peasant hovel and more like a home! Swept, dusted and mopped in that order - throughout.

On my travels I did my "office" table and my eyes lit upon the Canon printer that wouldn't feed paper. Oh well, kill or cure! I took it outside as it was a nice sunny afternoon and put the hose on it full go. It made a big pool of black - printing ink. Didn't bode well at all. I hosed the printing ink off the yard and gave the printer another dose for luck. Another pool of ink.

My visitors arrived somewhat earlier than expected, and having failed to contact my mobile from outside marched straight in. The first I knew of it was a bit of barking and my son's voice saying (something along the lines of) "Get down! No, Pickle, get down" My daughter-in-law is very wary of big dogs and I have to say that by now Pickle is quite a big and very boisterous dog. Nonetheless I like to think a very good natured dog.

Anyway, all was well. A quick tour of the cottage and the yard and it was time to eat the Hungarian style meal I had prepared. Good job they like paprika! But then again there were only three heaped dessert spoonsful in it :)

I dragged them kicking and screaming to the pub to meet my adoring public!

6th October 2008Updated

I had planned for a bit of man (and woman) power whilst my visitors were here, and I had been saving a particular job for the occasion. Since I arrived a tall dead conifer has loomed over the garden. Well, it had to come down! The two man saw had been sharpened enough (must get an "after" picture). I had also planned how to take it down safely. It wasn't a huge tree, but it was quite tall - I reckon fifty feet (fifteen metres-ish) and it had developed a decided lean onto No. 72. Obviously I could not let it fall that way! A bit of appliance of science was involved (apologies Zanussi) using a ladder, two lengths of steel washing line, a walnut log and a stake. I sent the son up the ladder (that's what you have sons for) as high as possible to tie the first length of steel washing line round the tree. The other end was tied around the walnut log. The other length of washing line was also tied around the log and led back in the direction in which I wanted the tree felled. I drove a stout stake into the ground then had my son hoist the walnut log aloft (that's what you have sons for) whilst I secured the other end of the washing line to the stout stake. This is starting to sound like Gerard Hoffnung, isn't it? I made a small notch in the tree in the direction where I wanted it to fall, and then we went in with the two man saw. We soon made a discovery - it doesn't work if the bloke on the other end pushes! Everything stops. We enlarged the notch until it was about half way through the tree, then went in the other side. We got about a third of the way through and the tree started to "stand" on the saw. In spite of all the poundage applied it still wanted to fall into next door! With aforethought I had also to hand my two axes - a big 'un and a little 'un. I drove the big one into the saw cut using the little one. At least the tree now seemed less inclined to fall into next doors! A little more work with the bow saw and a bit more wedging saw the tree decide that it wasn't going to fall on the neighbour's garden after all, and with a little application of man power down it came within a foot or so of where I had planned. I was at least able to shout "Timber" on our behalf for real! After that we had a beer. Pictures:
The top broke off on the way down. Down Comes the Dead Tree
Down Comes the Dead Tree Doesn't really do the scene justice.
The victors. With Pickle in on the act, of course. Tree Fellers
For reference here is a section of one of the pictures I took when I came to look at the property. The tree is indicated in the distance. Dead Tree
After the success of the tree felling we moved to more mundane tasks: the daughter-in-law collecting walnuts, the son digging the krumpli (spuds) and me scything down around the chestnut tree preparatory to collecting chestnuts. The next door neighbour saw us digging spuds and turned up with a small bottle of walnut oil, saying something about krumpli. Must sort out what that recipe is! Then it was lunchtime.

After lunch we had a quick run to Nádasd to buy a fermenter. Biggest fermentation bin I have ever owned by far! Here it is:
Fermentation Bin That's me with it.
Helper turned up part way through the afternoon and whacked the weeds back around the vines. Tomorrow's job. Whilst that was going on the neighbour from No. 68 turned up complete with chainsaw and made short work of the tree. I wheelbarrowed most of the bits down to one of the woodsheds. It is ready to burn as it has been dead a long while and has seasoned in situ. Not much calorific content though, unlike the oak.

Early evening we went out for a meal, and finished the day off with a trip to the pub. A very satisfying day!

7th October 2008Updated

It was a cool start to the day - everything damp as there had been an overnight shower. Including the walnuts which got left out. Ah, well! The assembled party had a joint effort at making Persian-style walnut cookies. Very, very time consuming and also rather extravagent, calling for six egg yolks which of course left me with six egg whites. What to do with six egg whites? Yeah, OK, meringue! Couldn't be bothered after the effort of making the cookies. The cookies were very delicious but a touch on the underdone side - just a little bit too crumbly. I think next time I will adapt the recipe slightly and see how they turn out. I'll let you know.

We had been invited out to lunch en-famile - usual place. We had been expecting real Hungarian goulash, but it turned out not to be. It was quite similar to what I had prepared the previous day, but with less paprika and the addition of some pasta instead of the Hungarian dumplings I had done. I did a "swapsie" - a jar of my jam in exchange for some pickled hot paprika, only it turned into a food parcel.

We didn't stay too long, as I really wanted to get stuck into the next major job, but we did call in the pub for a quick one on the way home. Once home we prepared for the major task - the grape harvest. As part of the preparations I was armed with fence mending materials to stop Pickle getting in next door (again). As I mended the fence (again) Pickle promptly found another place to get through. It got worse! As soon as I realised she was through I looked into next doors to see Pickle trotting around the garden with a chicken's wing in her mouth. Complete with chicken attached!! Much squawking and lots of feathers. By the time my son and I got round there Pickle had released it. It had run off but I still don't know how much damage it suffered. The old lady has been distinctly cool since. For her pains Pickle got locked in "the naughty shed" for three hours. We carried on with the grape harvest. Pickle whined and barked from "the naughty shed" throughout! Tough - she has to learn not to go next door. I had planned to use the opportunity of the extra manpower to harvest the grapes anyway, but the timing was perfect. The whole village for the next couple of days was a frenzy of grape harvesting. The place where Pickle came from has several hundred litres. So does the pub! We managed a wheelbarrow absolutely stacked high - couldn't get any more on it. Loads left to pick. We wheeled them back to the yard. I had planned to scald an oak stick, tip the grapes in the fermenter and simply beat them about, but we no sooner got in the yard when the next door neighbour arrived. She spoke about "machina" and made handle-turning gestures. I showed her my hand mincer and she laughed. I was instructed to follow her, and we ended up in the cellar next door. A proper cellar, with arched brickwork and steps leading down. She showed me what she meant by "machina". In cross section it's a bit like this:
Apologies for the roughness of the diagram - not had time to make it any better. There are a pair of meshing but separated cylindrical serrated cogs inside a hopper arrangement, geared together on the outside and turned by a handle. The whole thing is mounted on a couple of bars which simply support it centrally over the fermenter. Grape Crusher
Whilst there she also showed me the press. Very crude - just a circular board with a groove round just inside the perimeter and a hole through which the juice drains. One big threaded rod in the centre and another circular board to go on top (which was nowhere to be seen - in the garden apparently). Anyway, under instruction I grabbed one end of the "machina" and she grabbed the other. Round to mine. She and me chucked the grapes in, son turned the handle. I am not exaggerating when I say that we did the wheelbarrow full in about five minutes. And that was it. She picked up "machina" on her own and trotted back to hers. We had the result of my grape harvest in the fermenter. Never even had chance to take a photo of the barrow full of grapes. But here is the result:
Grape Must Rather pathetic in the great big fermenter, but by far and away the most alcohol I have ever made at one time. And it is wine - real, red, grape wine!
We had a bite to eat and then went to the pub for son and daughter-in-law's last evening in the village for a while. I forgot to say, too, that they wanted to print out their flight boarding passes so we tried the printer. Bugger me, it worked! Only black, but at least it fed the paper and printed - didn't just go bang!

8th October 2008

It was a cold and misty morning. My son and daughter-in-law prepared to leave to return to the UK. Not a lot of work got done, just a fair amount of chin-wagging. They left about half past eleven and I waved them off into the distance. It's a sobering thought that they are probably my last UK visitors until spring next year - assuming that anyone wants to come back and visit me, of course. At least they took with them a carrier bag of genuine Hungarian walnuts!

Both me and the dog were on a bit of a downer after they left. Pickle was very subdued - just lay about moping. She really does love people, and what has she got? Me!

I had a bit of a sort out with the produce - the walnuts outside finally dried off and the result is that I have had to upgrade the walnut operation again to version 1.0.2! Picture:
Walnuts and apples in the kitchen. Walnuts and Apples

9th October 2008

An article about preparing for Peak Oil, and this article from Robert Hirsch who is the lead author of Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation and Risk Management, more commonly known as The Hirsch Report.

Another cool and misty start. We seem to be in a settled pattern at the moment - cool and misty starts to the day with the sun burning through by late morning, with glorious afternoons that allow working in just a tee shirt. I was still a bit down after yesterday so I contented myself with attending to the alcohol production in the morning. I bottled up the cider/perry concoction. It really is evil! And pink! In hindsight, perhaps it didn't need the extra kilogramme of sugar. If you have ever drunk really rough Somerset scrumpy you will have an idea what it is like. The apples in the bucket from yesterday's picture went through the hand mincer then straight onto the remaining yeast from the bottling. At least this lot is just cider, and it is from my apples. I had to core and chop them but the peel just went straight through the mincer as well, and as the apples are a lucious deep red this lot will probably be a lot pinker than the last lot.

Later I went into the garden. Pickle was locked in the yard after the old lady's chicken episode! She did not like it one bit! I did a walnut collection - only one! Bucketful!!

10th October 2008

Once again Richard Heinberg steps in with this piece correlating the financial crisis with Peak Oil. Also Tom Whipple yesterday at Energy Bulletin.

Another cool, misty start to the day which gradually turned into another delightful Hungarian autumn day. By Lunch time I was back to a tee shirt again.

The window frames at the front of the house (looking out onto the road) are starting to prove a bit of a nightmare! The actual windows - the opening and closing stuff - is fine, but due to cumulative years of neglect the bottom rails of both the front windows need, well basically replacing. Can't do that now, so resorting to petro-chemical cure - epoxy! Chop out the rotten tenon joint to just the slightest bit of good wood, then make up a piece to fill the gap, and epoxy it in. There will be pictures later.

Apart from that I managed to get another window prepared for painting. It is a painstaking exercise. The paint - what is left of it - is not amenable to the blowlamp and the paint at the top of the windows is too amenable to the blowlamp, which mean that each layer comes off separately and a lot of work to get back to bare wood!

Collected another half a bucket of walnuts.

11th October 2008

A rather unusual source of doom and gloom but here is a Rolling Stone article interviewing James Taylor and talking about shortages and localisation.

Saturday, and a deliberately lazy day. Having said that, I chose a spot not too far from the house to dig earth for the walls. I had to go in about two feet deep to get to the hard subsoil of which the house is made.

I also started off another little project with walnut wood. I begin to understand why fine cabinet makers have walnut as the choice of timber. I cannot fathom why it is so disregarded locally. It's the first time I have ever worked with it. I sawed up a load and burnt it when I was eighteen, but that's another story.

12th October 2008

Tom Whipple's regular Sunday contribution.

I was supposed to be in the pub by six thirty (am) to watch the F1 live. Didn't make it! Can't think why!!

I finally got round to sawing down the last but two Christmas tree - the one in the yard. That leaves two. One had the grapes growing off it and it will be despatched just as soon as, and the other I will leave, just for old times sake. I also sawed down several non-productive peach suckers in the yard.

I saw the result of the F1 on the Internet, so that knocked on the head any desire to see it on TV. I contented myself with continuing to work with my bit of walnut. It's the only timber I have ever used that comes up fine and smooth when you plane it across the grain - beautiful. My little Stanley No. 92 shoulder plane has been worth its weight in gold already here, but I am making arrangements to get a proper smoothing plane. I could really do with making a proper work bench too, but that's for the future. I did an Internet search to see if I could get Aerolite 306 wood glue here in Hungary. Short anwer - no! Wonderful stuff, Aerolite. Urea/formaldehyde waterproof resin glue, much used in boat building and aircraft construction (it's one of the few glues that is approved by the authorities for aircraft construction). It comes in two parts - the glue as a powder that you make up with warm water, and a hardener (formic acid) that acts as a catalyst for the glue. The glue goes on one face and the hardener on the other. Put them together and, bingo, a joint stronger than the wood itself. I went to several UK sites, but they all would either not despatch to Hungary or were quoting stupid prices for courier delivery (£20 minimum). I finally hit on Restoration Materials who not only sell it at a reasonable cost, but ship it at Post Office rates - still quite expensive compared with the product, but much better than courier rates!

Pub in the evening - nothing changes, except that they were closing up by eight fifteen. I don't know what it will be like in the depths of winter!

13th October 2008

Once again a misty cool start, with the sun burning through by mid morning, and able to work in just a tee shirt by lunch time. I finally managed to pack the brick mould, and actually worked up a sweat doing so!

I was busy rubbing down the next window when my UK mobile rang. It was a very nice lady from Restoration Materials ringing for my card details. They are based in Bury, so she had a lovely, homely Northern accent and was very pleasant. Music to my ears! Minutes later the post lady turned up with something I had been dreading - the electrickery bill! I opened it with a degree of trepidation. I don't know whether I said, but the electric bill only comes once a year. As it happens it was somewhat of a kind-of pleasant surprise - £90-ish. Mind you, that is for the seven months (nearly) that I have been here. Nonetheless, when I consider that my cooking and water heating is all electric (at the moment) not too bad.

Here's a picture of the current status of walnuts - I think I'm on about version 1.0.3 or even 1.1.0 by now!!:
Walnuts Walnuts version 1.0.3. The big basket would be about three bushels, the smaller one about two and a half. So I reckon that is about five and a half bushels.

14th October 2008

I unpacked the brick mould. I'm still considering whether to knock up a machine to do it. Pickle promptly pranced (apologies for unintentional alliteration!) upon them rendering one beyond repair and two slightly wounded. B***dy dog! Having said that, she continues to astound me with her intelligence. She understood "sit" when I got her at three months old. With little effort she now will "sit", "down" and wait for her food and so on. The one thing I still find disconcerting is that she will lie on one side and look at me with one eye - the other being on the underside - always seems a bit baleful, but it's not really!

The westernmost of the two front windows is proving - err - difficult. The bottom rail is rotten, and it has progressed into the uprights. Picture:
Rotten piece of one of the window uprights. Rotten Window
I used a piece of oak (firewood!) to repair it, with a fair amount of epoxy resin glue. Not one of my best jobs ever, but a bit of oak should see me out! It took two and a half hours on that one little repair, but then again that is a bit what this Halogy project is about.

I know that I have only scratched the surface of that window, so there will be much more to come!

15th October 2008

Work proceeds slowly on the beechwood chopping board, but it proceeds! I need the smoothing plane from the UK before I can finish it. Yesterday's window repair is sound and solid, but not pretty - needs a bit of cosmetics!

I made window No. 4 fit and sanded it down, then went to Körmend and paid the electrickery bill, and the Internerd bill - expensive month already! On top of that, I spotted a wood burning kitchen stove in town. It was top side of £200, and my helper reckons it is "sok penz" (too much money). Still thinking about it, though.

I got home to find that helper had repaired the bit of fence that fell down at the top of the plot. I wonder if that is deer that caused that. If I catch one on my land there will be fair bit of venison going around the village on the qt.

My son left me a cryptic message:
Written vertically - rotated for ease of reading. That's the big lounge stove by the way. Clean Me - Stove

16th October 2008

The bits and pieces that I had sawn down the other day were still lying on the yard, so I spent a liitle while starting to clear it up. The green stuff has gone in another woodshed to dry out for next year. Once I get the village tree expert on the case of the fruit trees there will be a lot more to go in there. The garden is still being neglected. Haven't even collected the chestnuts yet, and there are more grapes to come.

The rest of the day was spent in painstakingly measuring up, finding suitable wood and cutting and planing wood to repair the monumental damage to the window frame. There will be a lot more to come. At the moment all I am doing is concentrating on the outside bit so that along with the actual windows it can be prepared and painted to make it waterproof before the real onset of winter!

Not much else going on. Pub in the evening and (as usual) I bought "chips" (crisps) on the way out only they aren't - they were these little teddybear things. They come with a free india-rubber type give-away. I'm not sure whether they are supposed to be rubbers, or just decorative. Anyway, tonight I got a "Tux" - well, almost!. (For those not in the know, "Tux" is the Linux penguin.) Picture in an appropriate setting:
Tux Tux - almost :)

17th October 2008Updated

Had a hangover this morning - can't think why! In view of which it was a bit of a slow start. Not too slow to miss out on the fresh bread in the shop though.

As a penance I made the next load of bricks. It remains a pain in the back job! Ah well, only about another thirty to make for this quarter of the house.

Life in the village has settled to a certain quietness; the frantic activity of the vintage is over and there are no scheduled pig killings or other celebrations of which I am aware. Some harvesting is still going on - the corn (by now popcorn - i.e. maize) harvest continues but it doesn't have the urgency of the wheat harvest. The mornings remain cool and misty and dawn comes slowly and late, in spite of which, the village characters (being kindly) still foregather before seven for a small libation to Bacchus. At least I don't start until I have done a couple of hours work!

I fitted the second two pieces of wood to replace the rotten bits in the window frame, involving much use of both ordinary wood glue and epoxy. The reason it went in in two pieces was that to fit it as one would have involved entirely removing the roller shutter blind on that window. Hmmmm, cut a bit of wood in two and glue it back together in place, or remove the roller shutter - let's think!!

I made a decision - a (relatively) big one. Got changed quickly and went to town, where I negotiated for (unsuccessfully) and bought nonetheless the wood burning kitchen stove. Having agreed to buy it the monosyllabic conversation went along the lines of "Deliver?", "Yes", "When?", "Now?", "No, three o'clock - bus home". Amazing what you can achieve with so little. Well, I hoped it was. I caught the half past two bus back to the village having made another couple of purchases and got back to the village in time for a swift one before getting back to the house for three o'clock. Well, five past! I no sooner arrived when the Zenit van pulled up. I put Pickle in the house, and the driver backed his van in the yard. Another monosyllabic conversation ensued. "Where?". "Here!". So together we dragged in out of the van right there by the cottage doors:
Pickle suspiciously inspects the new arrival. She is very suspicious of anything new in her life. That's objects, not people - she has an instinctive reaction to good and bad people, nothing to do with me. She just knows! New Stove
Pickle Galloping Around the Yard As with everything else new, it precipitated a frenetic gallop around the yard. She has a route (several actually) around the well and around the back of the now fenced off sand heap. I took a load of shots. This was the best I could do! I think one paw may actually be on the ground. (Front left)
By removing all the heavy bits - the cast iron heating surfaces, etc. - I was able to get the stove into the cottage single handedly.

18th October 2008

An article by David Herron in which he thoroughly takes to pieces the writing of Ismael Hossein-Zadeh who claims that Peak Oil is a myth.

Work continued on the westernmost window. The more I look at it the more convinced I am that it has moved with the house, and the further across it I go, the more difficult it is to make the windows shut. I have managed three out of the five so far - the two top ones, one of which still requires work to the frame before painting and one of the bottom ones. The remaining ones are the last two windows that I will work on this year. It only leaves two windows facing No. 68 and the bathroom window still to do.

My Aerolite glue arrived from Restoration Materials in the UK - that was good service!

Early evening I did what was undoubtedly the most dangerous job I have done on the property - removing the large radiator in the kitchen using an angle grinder. Very constricted work space. A nasty, nasty job. It had to come out though, as logically that is where the stove is going, as it is the only spot in the kitchen with reasonable access to a chimney. I bottled out at the last with the angle grinder, and with a sliver of pipe being the only thing holding the radiator I had a quick go with the triangular file and in less than a minute had the radiator free. Still not easy to fit the stove - to get to the chimney I have to go through two walls. Removing the radiator has also rendered the central heating inoperative, but if push comes to shove it can be reinstated just by capping the two pipe stubs I have left protruding from the wall for the moment. Still going to be a lot easier than building a new chimney up through the roof somewhere! I left the radiator where it was for today, and went to the pub!

19th October 2008

In the cold light of day I set about reorganising the kitchen to get the stove in. I had to get the old radiator out first of course. Fortunately it was just resting on a couple of loose supports that I was able to lift it off one end at a time so that it just sat square on the tiled floor. Being a tile floor in both the kitchen and hallway it was easy to slide it out and find it a temporary home in the hallway. Likewise I slide the stove into its approximate position, during which operation I noticed all the firebricks within wobbling about. And the fire door! Typical Hungarian workmanship - every fire cement joint in the firebox was adrift, and some of the joins had no cement at all. Fortunately I had some to hand, left over from the TLC of the big lounge stove, so I set to and redid all the joints. Once that was done I put back all the ironmongery. It remains only to connect it to a chimney. Oh yes, nearly forgot. I found the instructions for connecting it to a chimney together with some specifications. Apparently its output is twelve kilowatts of heat. Picture:
It begins to look a bit more like a Hungarian kitchen. Amazing how much space the removal of the radiator has created! Stove in Kitchen

I did a load of chopping out and packing the kitchen wall, and laying earth bricks - the ones Pickle hadn't trampled to death!

After that I started on the next of many ongoing woodworking projects, but a fairly urgent one. I spent a couple of hours sorting through the debris of the pallets on which the firewood arrived and eventually, with much sorting and sawing I had the makings of a crude wine press. (No more crude than next doors!). By the way, the beech chopping board is still on the go, a bit at a time. I'm awaiting the arrival of a decent Stanley smoothing plane from the UK - still can't find what I would call a good hand tool shop here. Loads of electrical stuff, just no good hand tools.

Whilst I was doing this, I was mulling over a plan for keeping warm in the winter, or more particularly keeping the house warm, particulary the big room. I hit on a six point plan. The points are time-scale based, not necessarily in order of efficacy: Might get the first five done this year :)

20th October 2008

I was up before it was light this morning, which is all very well, but involves burning electricity! I'm still seriously thinking of going twelve volt, with a wind generator and using LEDs for lighting and some sort of switching arrangement for laptop and modem. I have seen some UK kit - £475 for the generator. They also sell lead/acid batteries with a fifteen year guarantee (price unspecified!). When I were a lad (in fact I think the remaining milk rounds still use them) the milk floats were all powered by a bank of batteries in the bed of the float. I lived on the top of a hill. The milk floats were so drained of power that they had to use regenerative braking when they went back down the hill to the dairy so they had enough power to get to the recharging point. I seem to recall, at the age of being interested, asking the milkman how long the batteries lasted before replacement, and I seem to recall the answer being about twelve years. That would be in the nineteen sixties. So much for advances in technology! I reminisce!

It was cold when I went to the shop, and dawn was rising in the east in a majestic red and magenta splendour. "Oh-oh" I thought. Bad weather to come. Wrong! How different it is to the temperate maritime climate in the UK. In fact it turned out to be a glorious day during which I not only managed to wash a load of clothes, but get them dried as well.

Once it was light I found evidence of the first frost:
Frost on Stool Left Out Overnight I had left the stool in the middle of the yard. Having said which, there was a hard frost last September whilst I was over in Hungary looking for a property. That caught a lot out. There was no heating on in the hotel!
It being so cold at first, I worked under cover with a heat source. I blowlamped window No. 5. By the time I had it done it was beer o'clock, so I sat on the step as usual. As usual, the same people came by at the same times. They must think "That bloke is always sitting on his step, drinking beer and smoking his pipe!". In fact, I know they do, as I have picked up snippets of conversation to that effect. Helper usually puts them right. And so he should, as he got me in the habit!

I set to after that to make the window fit the frame. This is the frame that was rotten. Three hours! I spent three hours on it and it still wasn't good. You could see daylight under the bottom rail! Thoroughly pissed off I got the toy mower out and mowed the yard. It was tee shirt warm by now. Pickle went hysterical, as usual. By now she has got quite brave with it, and given half a chance will grab a wheel and pull it off course! I went on to start to mow the camping lawn. I got about five feet. Walnuts everywhere, hidden by the falling leaves. So I raked leaves and collected walnuts instead. I didn't count. Spent too much time making sure Pickle didn't escape next door!

I did a few rough sketches and measured some of the house to figure out where the exhaust pipe from the new stove would go. Going to be a tough one. Whichever way I go, I am going to have to knock through a 500mm earth wall to get at the chimney!

Later in the day I found out where to get the stovepipes from. Bödő, of course!

21st October 2008

It was a very misty morning. In fact, according to The BBC it was foggy:
Foggy Morning. Foggy Morning
It didn't really clear until gone eleven, but by ten the sun was burning through and looking to the sides you could clearly discern the top of the fog layer. A classic temperature inversion fog. I could go on about the city smogs in the UK in the early nineteen sixties, but of course most reading this would not remember them. Visibility down to about five metres!

Set to work finishing off making that blasted window No. 5 fit. Another hour, and more bits glued on the window frame. I still have to move the catch on the frame before it will lock shut - it's a good five millimetres out! It got as good as it is going to get.

Tidied up and swept the yard - covered in bits of chewed plastic and splinters of wood - Pickle!! As bad as having a kid!

I measured up and calculated the positions for the stove pipes for the kitchen stove, and over lunch knocked up a couple of diagrams using Dia (a diagram drawing program) and printed them off in the hopes that they would help explain to the nice man in Bödő what I was after:
Stove Diagram Diagram 1.
Diagram 2. Stove Diagram
In the middle of this there was a commotion from outside - Pickle going ballistic. It was the water meter man wanting to read the meter. I put Pickle in the house, and the meter got read. Raised an eyebrow, as if to say "Have you really got through that much water?". I was not about to have an in-depth conversation about flooding the cellar, so I just told him "pici problem". The amazing thing in this day and age was that he was working off a hand written list, names, addresses, previous meter readings - the lot. All hand written on ruled A4.

Finally finished lunch, and quickly knocked out another couple of bits of chopping board, then went to buy the bits for the stove. Sure enough Bödő had the lot. Except little doors made of fire cement for the bottom of the chimney. He wanted to sell me a steel one at four thousand-odd Forints. I drew the line at that. The stove pipes are stove enamelled black inside, white outside, and cunningly arranged with a slight taper on each end, one in and one out. To look at them you would think they were parallel, but they aren't. They fit very sweetly into one another, including the elbows. I still managed to spend just top side of 10,000 Ft - ouch. But it is on the list of one-off jobs.

I also bought a lawn leaf rake, and when I got home set about the pear tree leaves in the yard, until the light went. Pickle didn't much like having her paws brushed with it!

I was writing yesterdays blog when I noticed frantic hard disk activity. "WTF?" I thought. did a quick "top" and it turned out to be "makewhatis". Haven't seen that one run before.

Late in the day from Energy Bulletin a discussion of the role of the run up to Peak Oil in the current financial crisis. Also, quite by chance, I found out about hibiscus fibre. It is produced by a similar process of retting, scutching and hackling that is used in the production of linen. I know what to do with the prunings then!

22nd October 2008

It was quite a cold start, although not a frost. I decided on starting off with a 'keep warm' activity. I finished off the clearing up of pear tree leaves that I started last night. I also finished off the leaf rake, which exploded in mid-stroke. I suppose that's what you get for buying a £1.30 Chinese one. It's repairable if I sacrifice one of my precious pieces of stainless steel, and recycle a Hungarian nail. Part of the task was removing the debris from the pulling down of the makeshift fence, and whilst I was doing that the old lady from No.72 came over and chatted. I've no idea what she chatted about! But she was quite friendly, and was even friendly towards Pickle, which is surprising under the circumstances.

I had misgivings about the pipework for the stove, and decided on an alternative. Instead of going into the small room and then through the earth wall I decided it would be easier to go through the earth wall first, into the hallway, and then through the brickwork into the chimney. It leaves the small room without any heat, but then again I'm not expecting it to be occupied in the winter, and there is no water supply in there to freeze. Just keep the door shut. That meant that the hallway radiator had to go, so out came the angle grinder again. I really do hate that tool - it scares the s**t out of me. At least this time I had unfettered access to the pipes I wanted to cut. Much easier. In about ten minutes it was out, and out of the house leaning against the well. I had a measure up and laid things out:
Stove Pipework Laid Out The stove pipes laid out on the hallway floor...
...and marking out and calculations scribbled on the hallway walls. Measurements on Wall

After lunch I went back to the windows, and spent all afternoon on that. Fortunately, window No. 6 just has to have a millimetre off the bottom of it, otherwise it fits and closes fine. The old lady next door had family visiting - I think I have only met them once before, but the bloke kept coming to the fence to make a fuss of Pickle. I asked him if she was being a problem. He said she was not a problem at all - nice man!

Pub in the evening - very quiet, only four or five others in there, and closed by half past eight. Oh, and I forgot one of the keeping warm strategies - straight out of Seymour. Put another layer of clothes on!

23rd October 2008

I got well caught out today. It was a public holiday - Republic Day. It is, of course the date of the 1956 uprising. There was mention of it on TV yesterday, but it rather failed to register. It only clicked when it was so quiet in the morning, and the shop was shut. It was a cool and cloudy day anyway:
Pickle Being Nosey Pickle was wondering where all the people were!

I did a bit of long-overdue house cleaning, then set about installing the kitchen stove. I had more misgivings about the length of horizontal run for the smoke, before any vertical bits - I wondered if the fire would even draw. So I decided on a simple test. I stuck the horizonal pipe on loosely and simply lit a couple of sheets of paper in the stove. I thought that if it burnt, and if the smoke came out of the pipe and rose, it should be OK. It burnt, and the smoke duely came out the end and rose (filling the kitchen with the smell of burning paper). After that, here's how it went in pictures:
By sheer good luck, I only had to remove a single tile, which was the work of a few seconds the adhesion being as bad as it is. To my amazement and delight, there was evidence if a previous stove pipe hole through the wall - a circle of lime mortar. There is a perverse sense of satisfaction in reversing so called "improvements", and taking a building back to "the old ways". Installing a Wood Burning Kitchen Stove
Installing a Wood Burning Kitchen Stove How to make the hole through the wall? It is half a metre thick! I had a bit of a brainwave. I had lurking about an old gate hinge. The hinge end was right for hitting with a hammer, and the other end was more or less chisel shaped, about two inches wide. Sure enough, it made mincemeat of going through the wall, and working from both sides I had daylight within about fifteen minutes.
A bit more work, and the stovepipe went through the hole. Installing a Wood Burning Kitchen Stove
Installing a Wood Burning Kitchen Stove And a little more to get the line right.
As you can see here. Notice the little arrow at the top, just right of centre - that is where the left hand edge of the stove was destined to end up. Installing a Wood Burning Kitchen Stove
Installing a Wood Burning Kitchen Stove An elbow and upright were positioned to give me the line to go into the chimney through the wall by the door, as shown by the cross. I chipped away the plaster, revealing the bricks. Again luck was on my side, and I uncovered a quarter closure. Being held in place with lime mortar it was out within a few seconds. More good luck! I found that the inner face was covered in soot deposits - I was into the chimney already. A bit more whacking about and I discovered that the chimney was much bigger than I had thought, but was actually partly let in to the earth wall. Another fifteen minutes I had a hole big enough for the stove pipe, and all that remained was to cut the last piece of pipe to length.
But by now it was beer o'clock. I stayed in the pub much longer than intended - watching a film. Fortunately one of those where the humour does not rely on language.

Back home, I took my life in my hands once again and used the angle grinder to cut the remaining pipe to length. I have no idea what the proper way to seal the pipes together is, whether the very narrow taper is considered enough. So I simply used decorator's acrylic filler, figuring that it will just degrade to carbon under a fair amount of heat, leaving a (hopefully) smoke proof joint. I mixed up a load of fire cement and sealed the last pipe into the chimney, and that was it. Job done:
The finished job. With a lot of luck it had turned out to be very straighforward and had taken me much, much less time than I had envisaged. Sadly, I couldn't try it out today, as the drying time for the fire cement was six hours. Tomorrow!! Installing a Wood Burning Kitchen Stove

24th October 2008

I would think that you can probably guess the first thing I did this morning - once I was dressed, of course! Yep, I lit the stove and put the coffee on. Then, as usual, I went to the shop for my daily bits and pieces. By the time I got back from the shop, the coffee was just cooking. Amazing. All I did was light it and chuck a small handful of softwood kindling on there. Just to prove it:
Smoking Chimney It was still quite dark when I took this, but that is undoubtedly smoke coming out of the chimney. The first time that one has smoked for a year or two.
What amazed me was the speed at which the stove got hot. Very nearly as quick as switching on my little one ring hob. The air temperature in the kitchen went from twelve to twenty four in about half an hour. The heat from it lasted, I suppose, about half way through the morning, but then again it doesn't have, and isn't intended to have the heat storage of the big stove in the main room. When I first visited the cottage just over a year ago, I have to confess that I thought the stove was a montrosity, in spite of the estate agent's extolling its virtues. Now I know why he did!

Back to the decorating after breakfast. Window No. 6 proved more of a problem than expected - spent an hour on that. Then I finally got round to sanding down window No. 5 for painting, expecting helper to arrive at any time. Eleven o'clock, he had said. Reliable as diarrhea! Never showed.

I popped over to the shop for something I had forgotten. When I got back the gate wouldn't open. I turned the handle as usual, and it just went "click". The handle returned to the horizontal and then wouldn't turn again. I had to leg it over the fence to get back in! I couldn't have done that a year ago! For whatever reason the handle on the inside worked. Once! Fortunately I had used the opportunity to actually open the gate. When I used the inner handle sometimes it would work fine, and sometimes it would go "click" and the handle would turn but nothing happened. Returning it to its horizontal position would result in another "click", and then it would either work, or not, as the case may be. The outside handle invariably gave the same result that caused me to have to scale the fence. WTF? Both handles are attached to the same piece of square metal that goes through the lock! In desperation I searched about for another lock, and the only spare one I could find was the one in the summer kitchen door that fell off. It came out easily enough, only to find that it was a left-handed lock - it was clearly marked with a "B". I'll leave it to you so sort that one out. In the attempt to convert it to a right-handed one, I bust it. Shit happens. And it was a five lever lock. Nothing like as sophisticated as a Chubb five lever lock, but a five lever lock nonetheless. I went back to plan "Z", and pulled the lock out of the gate. It became apparent immediately what the problem was, as the screws that hold the two halves together were all adrift. One was missing completely. I pulled it apart, and, amazingly, internally it was perfect - all beautifully greased and smooth. The cause of the problem was that because the two halves had come apart the bit that the square fits through had come out of its hole on one side - hence the problem between the outside handle and the inside one. I repositioned everything and screwed it back together, only to find that the catch would retract but not return. Bugger!! Undid it all again to find out why. I should have spotted it the first time round. The sliding part of the catch was bent. I think it is made of what I would call "monkey metal" - officially "MAZAC". This is going to break when I hit it, I thought. Anyway, it didn't. One hit of the hammer straightened it, and when I reassembled it, it worked fine. The grease was an absolute so-and-so to get off my hands - no wonder it has withstood the Hungarian climate!

After a brief spell back on the windows I had another search for wood to make my wine press. A bit of sawing and planing and another piece is sorted. It will be very crude, but, I hope, effective.

Lit the stove again and cooked an omelette. By the time I had beaten the eggs and sorted out the other ingredients the pan was hot enough to cook it in! Mind you, what I hadn't done was to ensure that I had enough stove-type wood to start it up in the morning to cook my coffee! All part of the learning curve!

25th October 2008

Not up particularly early, but I still got to the shop by eight. It was quite a promising sort of morning. I had to go and find kindling before I could make coffee. I ended up with a big basket of tree bark from one of the outhouses. There is another basket full, and loads of plastic sacks full lying about all over the place. No good for the big stove, but it burns well enough in the kitchen stove. Must do some comparative measurements of the two fire boxes to give you an idea of the difference.

By the time I had broken my fast and got outside to work, the weather had changed completely. A vicious blustery cold wind had sprung up from nowhere. I laid what bricks I had made, redoing the window sill repair. My first effort was no good - I made the mix far too strong with lime, and far too wet and trowelled it on. Must of it has to come off again and be redone with brick mix, which doesn't set as hard and shows virtually no shrinkage.

The maize harvest goes on with huge tractors and huge trailers passing periodically. Otherwise the village seems particularly quiet. I set about the one remaining window to remove the paint remnants that the blowlamp won't touch - mainly in the fine detail of the mouldings. Before the paint was removed it was difficult to discern that there is fine detail in the mouldings!

By lunchtime I had had enough, I was cold and my feet were freezing. One of the problems with not moving about jobs. The only place I have warm feet is in my big room. Wooden floor. I have cold feet in the kitchen and bathroom (tiled floors) and in the pub (also a tiled floor). Ah, the insulating properties of wood. I retired indoors. The big room was still warm from the lighting of the stove the previous evening, but the kitchen was cold, so I lit the stove in there. By the time I had made lunch it was warming up nicely, and I got to thinking about the oven. I pulled out the hi-tech control that decides whether the hotplate or the oven gets hot, and sure enough the oven got hot. I decided to make use of it and bake some rock cakes. Bit of a problem, as I was very low on margarine - forgot to buy! I substituted half olive oil for half of the margarine. Worked a treat, as did the oven:
It's probably beginner's luck. Rock Cakes
By the time I had finished baking, the temperature in the kitchen was up to twenty six!!

Early evening I went to the pub. Turned into a bit of a session with helper, but I knocked it on the head about half past seven. Helper was winding on about "egy ora" the significance of which entirely escaped me until I saw a reminder on the Beeb that the clocks go back. They do here too. I didn't realise until I looked it up that it is an EC directive!!

26th October 2008

Nothing worth reporting on the doom and gloom front - yet. All rather overtaken by the general collapse of the entire world economy. I wonder how long it will be before Ghawar goes into decline, and I also wonder how long it would be before the Saudis admitted it! How fast is Cantarell declining? Thirty percent per year? Hmmmm.

Cool and cloudy morning, and I started with my least favourite job - making earth bricks. I still have loads to make for just the kitchen section of the house. I reckon about another thirty. Four at a time! Come spring, I'll have to do the same again with the other half of the same wall. But I have a cunning plan. I will make a few earth bricks now and again, whenever the weather is suitable through the winter, and store them somewhere frost free. I packed the remaining earth mix into a suitable place in the wall.

Did a bit more decorating stuff, and made another set of bricks. Two in a day - hard going.

I have mentally planned out a bit of worktop and storage to go alongside the stove, so I had a measure up and set about the dwindling heap of wood left over from the pallets. As a complete aside, the bloke from whom I got the firewood apparently thinks I am the best thing since sliced bread. Now, I know he is not overcharging me anyway, as I have now had two much more expensive quotes for firewood - even considering that my helper managed a bit of discount. It seems that if he sells to Hungarians they will always argue the toss on price, and then be rather difficult to extract the money from. He quoted me a (reduced) price. I gave him the cash, plus a few Forints for the lorry driver. How to make friends and influence people! Where was I? Ah, yes. I measured up and spent about a hour sorting out various decent bits of the pallets. All oak, but by now mostly waney edge. Nothing wrong with that in the scheme of things.

Some twenty-ish bits of sorting, measuring and sawing later I had the basic framework of my kitchen unit. In the meantime Pickle had managed to get into the kitchen and ate my only usable mixing bowl. My fault - I didn't apply the kitchen lock:
Kitchen Lock Hi-tech child (Pickle) proof kitchen door lock. Bless her, she would only have to chew through the string!

Went to the pub early, came home early, and started to put together the wine press. Basically it is oak plywood. Three ply. Only each 'ply' is nearly an inch and a quarter thick!!

27th October 2008

A physically heavy day, and the weather not too hot. But quite a nice late autumn day. Winter is drawing steadily closer and the signs increase day by day. It is the time of year when some of the trees have lost all their leaves and some remain in their autumn colours. Rather nice, ought to get photos. I laid some bricks in the wall and rammed a load more earth into the remaining spaces.

I need to get to Bödő for a few bits and pieces, but I'm expecting a parcel from the UK, so it will have to wait. By lunch time I had sanded down the last remaining window. There is no sign of helper to do any painting, but I know that he has a lot of work elsewhere, and I have always impressed upon him to fit what work I have for him around any other paying work he might have.

After lunch I set about removing the final bits of cement rendering from the bottom of the kitchen wall, so that I can get at the last bit of foundation to work back up to where I have repaired to. The cement was very stubborn and it took me a good couple of hours to knock out what I wanted. Another barrow load of rubble went into storage (permanent).

Evening fell rapidly, and I withdrew indoors to add another bit to the wine press. This is just the top (or bottom) half and it is already at the limit of what I can lift by just gripping it in my hand. It certainly isn't pretty, but by the time it is finished I hope it will be functional!

Pub in the evening, where I met up with helper. By the way, he does have a name, but I do try and not directly identify people by name on the blog. We had - within the limits of my magyarul, quite an in-depth talk about money. It is as I expected, and have spoken about before. Much of the village exists hand to mouth, getting by with a bit of work here and a bit of work there. I expect that when winter really kicks in lots of people have a very hard time.

28th October 2008

I finally got to the end of the foundations of the earth wall of the house! More serious beating about of the structure. And the earth wall behind all the cement is still wet and soft. I wonder how many more years it would have stood before collapsing if I had not bought it. At least at this end of the building there is no insect (ants) infestation or damage. Instead of that, the entire face of the wall is sheering off vertically in line with the previous repair. Repair? Destruction, more like. This is what it looks like:
Picture shows progress of the repairs, and the extent of the damage behind the cement rendering. Wall Repairs

Did the washing, and after lunch had a self-inflicted haircut. So that was three hours out of the day. I was in the middle of the haircut when my parcel arrived from the UK. Driver looked askance at the state of me, with hair all over my tee shirt and one side of my head cut, and the other not. I explained by noises and gestures. Noises and gestures seems to work very well! Signed for my parcel, and off he went. I added another bit to the wine press.

29th October 2008

Interesting piece from the Beeb on eco-footprints. And a thought provoking article from Peter Goodchild. Also a sneak preview of an upcoming International Energy Agency report. Not good! Hmmm, busy day on the doom and gloom front. Must go and make bricks!

I paid dearly during the night for my day of knocking seven bells out of the house. Woke up several times with hand and elbow pain. Nevertheless, I duly went out and made another set of bricks. I laid a load of the ones I had already made too. Need to finish taking off the cement rendering and lay the last two actual bricks into the foundation.

During one of my breaks I cleaned the dog hairs out of the scrubbing brush that I use to brush Pickle. It's a daily job actually whilst she is moulting, and most days she gets brushed twice. I have almost an ounce of Pickle hair now, and that's just what has come off the brush. There is dog hair everywere, I have to sweep it up daily too. Got me to thinking about sequences of events. The dog is moulting, so I started collecting the hair. It is quite a short staple - maybe three centimetres, but it has a natural crinkle to it which will hold it into a fibre once spun. I spun a bit between my fingers and the resulting yarn was surprisingly strong. Now, I'm not about to attempt to spin an ounce of dog hair with my fingers, so the consequence of that is that I need to learn how to spin. It was always part of the plan for the project. Unfortunately that means I need a spinning wheel. I'm not about to pay top side of two hundred quid for a spinning wheel, so that means I will have to make one. That in its turn means that I have to make not one pole lathe, but two. An ordinary pole lathe will allow me to turn such things as the spindles, bobbins, etc., but to turn the completed wheel I will need a face plate lathe that allows large diameter stuff. I have the plans for that in mind as well.

In the afternoon I popped over to Bödő to get the bits and pieces I needed. I think it was the smallest shop I ever did in there. They didn't have a teaskanna, nor did they have an oil stone. Angle grinder discs - sixty pence. I called in the pub on the way home of course. Stayed a bit longer than I intended (nothing changes there then!). It was starting to get dark as I went home. In the gathering gloom of dusk I went out to get some kindling for the big stove. As I was getting it Pickle was going ballistic at something. Investigating I found that she was chasing a frog around the yard. I stopped her, and even in the low light level I noticed that the frog was not one of the normal ones. It was red! Too good to miss, so I captured it to share with you:
Red Frog It's not Photoshopped - it really was this colour. And tame. It sat quite happily on my hand for a while as I contemplated how to get a picture of it. In the end I dropped it into the cardboard box that my UK stuff had arrived in. I released it into the garden afterwards so that Pickle could torment it no more.

Late in the day, the Daily Telegraph.

30th October 2008

I spent the whole morning - well, until one o'clock afternoon, burning the paint off the space between the inside and outside windows of just one of the front room windows. Horrible, horrible job - need to be a contortionist - horizontals and verticals all over the place. I will confess I had to have an extra beer during the course of it. Anyway, that's one done. I still have the outside to do, but at least it doesn't involve the contortions!

After that I laid some earth bricks. Working steadily towards having the kitchen wall completed, but it is still a nightmare. The further across I go, the higher up I have to repair the damage. Then I had a play with my new toy. My third Stanley smoothing plane. The first got nicked (or lost, but I suspect the former). The second I abandoned in Bournemouth after it was subject to such abuse (not by me!) that it was beyond redemption. The local hand planes are still made of wood, of a similar type to the ones my grandfather used. I believe my brother still has at least one of his wooden planes. In my search on the Internet for local planes I came across pictures showing what I would consider to be upside down planes. They mount the planes with the blade facing upwards and slide the wood across the plane.

My battery drill died! Not really surprised, and I don't think I will try and claim warranty. Left out in the rain too many times, and sadly abused. And anyway, it consumes second hand electricity! Leaves me with a problem as far as finishing the wine press goes though!

In the pub in the evening, the younger generation were there in force, and I got to thinking about how relationships develop here. There is a very attractive young lady that has recently started coming in the pub, obviously in company with one of the village lads. I know that she comes from Daraboshegy, as I have seen her get on the bus there many times. I'm guessing, but I reckon that the expectation of that age group is to get together with someone from the village, or at best the next local villages.

31st October 2008

This from PC Magazine. An unusual source from doom and gloom! And unrelated to doom and gloom, class, pure class!

Bricklaying and packing earth. Not worth writing about!

Afternoon I went to town on the bus - really must get to Szombathely and sort out my bus pass! On the way several people got on the bus carrying what looked like the Hungarian equivalent of wreathes. Hmmm - must be on the way to a funeral, thought I. However, as I walked into town, at the top of the pedestrian bit was and area with many similar wreathes laid out on the paving stones and for sale. Obviously something going down of which I am not aware! I carried on. Bank, drug store for dog treats, dohanybolt. Then I went in search of two things I wanted and one that I needed. The 'wants' were a tea kettle to go on the stove and a mixing bowl to replace the one that Pickle ate! The 'need' was a drill - preferably a hand drill - to replace the dead battery drill. Without it a number of necessary projects are on stop. I dodged between three shops checking out what they had, and the prices, and then back-tracked and bought the three items in the best value shops. A hand drill was not to be had, so I bit the bullet and bought a mains electric one. And some spade-type wood bits. Funny thing - they call a kettle that goes on a stove a "teaskanna" or tea kettle. It's sort of quaint. I haven't heard it called a tea kettle in many a long day. Strange part is that if you do a search on the Internet for one in the UK they are actually still catalogued as tea kettles! I also bought a rather nice stainless steel bowl to use as a mixing bowl. At least the bitch-dog from hell won't be able to eat that! On the way home more people got on the bus carrying wreathes.

Once home I unwrapped my goodies. Here are the bowl and the tea kettle on the stove:
It looks more like a Hungarian kitchen by the day! Stove with Tea Kettle and Bowl
I soon discovered that giving the bowl a tap on the bottom makes it resonate in a delightful way. Pickle took an immediate dislike to it. Bless her, she is such a sensitive soul - deeply distrustful of anything new in the surroundings! If I tap the bowl and make it ring, she is out of the house like a shot. If I follow her out into the yard with it and just wave it about, she will gallop around the yard like crazy. Hehe - easy way of exercising the dog!

Pub in the evening - too much beer! And that was October.


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