2020 Grateful 51: Here on Earth to fart around

We live in a world of convenience. We can buy just about anything we need without leaving home. We’re increasingly interacting with people online. Heated debates over pints and packets of crisps are being replaced with rants on social media. And then occasionally, we’re reminded of the importance of real people and real experiences. Read more

I helped make my world better today

‘That was a message from the Sheha [mayor] of the local village. We were to go there today, to visit the school, and give out books and crayons. She’s cancelled. The roof blew of her house earlier today, because of the storm.’ Read more

2020 Grateful 52: It is what it is

It’s the middle of January and I’m already three weeks behind in this new grateful series. There was a time when that would bother me. I’d be staying up well past my bedtime trying to fit it, and everything else in. No more.

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7scents

I have a peculiarly impulsive sense of smell that has led me to stopping random people and commenting on the scent they’re wearing. Women usually smile, take the compliment in their stride, and volunteer the name of their perfume. Men, once they get over my brazenness, seem inordinately chuffed that someone even noticed. Read more

2019 Grateful 1: The end of the 2010s

Well, it’s been quite a decade. From the first iPad in 2010 to Brexit, Trump, and the Bojo phenomenon. The 2010s saw both William and Harry married off and brought a close to the Harry Potter series. Gangham became a dance thing and many people thought the world might actually end in December 2012. Same-sex marriage became legal in Ireland and the ice-bucket challenge took the world by storm. Kids ran around after Pokémon Go and women marched on Washington. We had a total eclipse, we had the Me Too movement, and a Banksy painting that self-destructed. Yes, it was quite the decade. Read more

2019 Grateful 2: Lesson from the Bishop

The pessimist in me says that it had to happen sometime. My love affair with my Hungarian village was a little too good to be true. It would eventually disappoint. Read more

2019 Grateful 3: Szaloncukor

Hungarians take their sweets seriously. Very seriously. Just watch what happens when the first szaloncukor hit the shelves in the lead-up to Christmas and the pistachio ones are late! Madness ensues. Read more

No foreigners here

Christmas came early for many people in Budapest this year with the election of the beautifully named Gergely Szilveszter Karácsony as mayor of the city in October. New Year in Hungary is known as Szilveszter and Christmas translates as Karácsony. And yes, I checked. He was a June baby. Read more

2019 Grateful 4: Looking for Advent

Determined to make the most of the short time I have in the village this month, I did my research. I checked out all the local Christmas/Advent markets, cross-referenced with the dates I’d be here, and picked Sunday, 8th December to capitalise on what was on. Read more

2019 Grateful 5: An eye-opener

I’ve been writing this weekly grateful series for eight years. I’ve been practising my daily grateful litanies for longer still. And even with all that practice, there are nights when it takes a while to come up with ten things to be grateful for. Read more