Many moons ago, friends shared a house with a girl who’d come back from her weekends at home saying what a fantastic time she’d had. Everything had been brilliant. Great craic. Amazing. Then one weekend, when she stayed in town, they got to see that her version of brilliant, amazing, and great craic didn’t quite live up to what they’d envisioned. I’ve been there, too. I’ve done that burning-the-candle-at-both-ends thing in an effort to have a good time. I’ve sought out the amazing, the spectacular, and the craic and turned my nose up at the quiet, more restrained weekends others enjoyed.
Perhaps it’s old age, maturity, or just growing up – but lately, it’s the simple things in life that I get the most fun out of.
The lovelies were visiting from Dublin this weekend. We picked them up from the airport on Friday, and took them down to the village to see the new pad. Barely giving them time to unpack, I put them to work picking and pitting cherries. That evening, we bbq’d before driving the 50 minutes to Zalaegerszeg to see the great Ripoff Raskolnikov in action at the Pop-Up Café, a lovely little venue tacked on to the side of a community centre. [Frenk is playing there next weekend – I can see it becoming a regular haunt.] It was a brilliant gig – and I use the word intentionally. The lovelies were well impressed with this talented lyricist who could give Tom Waits a run for his money. [I’ve chosen two songs that I think Imelda May should sing, and I’ve made a note to write and share this with her. I think she’s with it enough to answer or at least read an FB post. If anyone has an email address for her, holler. What a great new image she has eh?]
The next day, after a leisurely breakfast and some more cherry-picking, we stopped by the Balaton Airport for a nose. Tucked in behind a disused army barracks, it’s quite something. Flights still fly from there (RyanAir used to land its Dublin flight there back in the day and I’m hoping they’ll start using it again). But if I landed there on my first visit to Hungary, I think I might have some misgivings. And if I had money, I’d be looking at what could be done with those buildings … so much scope.
Next we headed over to see the lads at Florridora’s – the masters of Cream Teas. There we spent a lovely couple of hours catching up over pots of Earl Gray and plates of lavender shortbread, coconut sponge, rocky road, and traditional scones with whipped cream and raspberry-and-lemon jam. They now offer a catering service and will come to your home to prepare and serve a cream tea for your friends, colleagues, neighbours. A cracking idea – and they travel – and they bring their own china.
Back then to the cherries and another al fresco dinner with the neighbours. Later in the evening, the guitar came out and the sheep next door were entertained. I still need to get to grips with this noise thing. I am ridiculously considerate of my neighbours and need to relax a little and take advantage of the fact that it’s my house dammit and if I want to be outside chatting at 11pm, that’s okay. Yep – I made it to 11 before moving the sing-song indoors. Next time, I might make it till 12. Gulliver’s jerkin wasn’t knit in a day.
Sunday morning after mass (I was accompanied up the road by a neighbour I’d not spoken to before and managed to hold my own in conversation – in Hungarian) I came home to a fab breakfast of baked eggs with asparagus. This would set us up for a morning at the Liliomkert market over in Káptalantóti where I ordered curtains from a Transylvanian néni who travels in every few weeks with her wares. We communicated through her 10-year-old grandson. Between my Hungarian and his English, I can only hope that I get what I think I ordered. I’d left my wallet at home so came away without the cinema chairs, the old locker, and the gold-framed mirror I’d set my eye on. Next time.
Traffic was so bad going into Keszthely that we turned off and headed inwards, over the mountains. What spectacular views of the vineyards and the rolling hills and valleys. We stopped for lunch on the way back before going home for a quick nap to ready ourselves for the last game of the season at Zalaegerszeg. Big Z is set to take over the team later this month and I’m looking forward to the season starting end of July. The VIP box is quite something. The stands were practically empty, it being end of season with nothing riding on the game. Just wait, though, till he works his magic. Hajra ZTE!!! It’s all to play for. We stayed in town for dinner – the first of many to come, I hope – before heading back to the village.
This morning, before starting out for Budapest, we got some more cherries picked – the sour ones are now ripe and that tree is loaded. I’ve spent the evening accosting my neighbours and forcing zip-locked bags of megyes on them. The rest I pitted and pulped and bottled.
Perhaps by other people’s standards, we didn’t have a glamorous weekend. Nothing life-changing happened. No records were broken. Nothing remarkable and yet everything remarkable. Some sayings were added to the repertoire:
- Have you met you? Said in response to a ridiculous denial of something that’s bleedin’ obvious.
- A present from me to me. Used to justify an outlandish purchase.
- Every pot has a lid (or in Hungarian – every hole in the sack has a patch to fit). Another way of saying, there’s someone for everyone.
- I’ll have one more than no more. Used when having that last drink is never enough.
- And my all-time favourite Steinism – You’re not putting hearts in babies. As in get over yourself – what you’re doing isn’t that important.
I didn’t want to leave. The next couple of weeks will be full on, both people-wise and work-wise. But this week was a good one. This weekend was my sort of brilliant. Good times spent in good company – this is what I’m grateful for.