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

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

2019 Grateful 6: Embracing imperfection

I doubt I’d register on the OCD charts. I’m not obsessively compulsive about anything really. Okay, so I’d straighten a picture frame if it was crooked (or a curtain or a knife or a plate or a tablecloth or pretty much anything) and I couldn’t sit to eat unless all the stuff used to prepare the food had been put away. And yeah, I’m usually doing dishes before everyone is finished eating. And I have to leave the house by the same door I entered (as does everyone who comes to visit). But aside from all that… Read more

2019 Grateful 7: Murder in Clane

I’m not a huge fan of travel books, the endless lists of the best things to see, the best hotels to stay in, the best places to eat. It’s all rather subjective and oftentimes dependent on sponsorship and payment in kind. I much prefer stories about experiences with the details I need knit into the narrative. Read more

2019 Grateful 8: How many candles?

A recent dinner conversation wandered into a discussion of Menorahs. My friends were on the lookout for a nine-candle Menorah rather than the more common seven. As has happened so often that I’m no longer surprised, once the wish had been voiced I went from never seeing any to tripping over them. Well, not quite tripping, but close enough. Read more

2019 Grateful 9: Yellow Roses

Tonight in Budapest, 4 November 2019, protestors marched from Clark Ádám tér to the Constitutional Court where they laid yellow roses in solidarity with victims of domestic abuse. Two particular cases have been highlighted in the press. Read more

2019 Grateful 10: Gentle On My Mind

Scrolling through Facebook recently, I saw a friend had posted his playlist and at No. 3 was Glen Campbell’s Gentle on my mind. It’s one of my favourite songs, even if I am a self-professed illiterate when it comes to music. Read more