I have finally completed my feng shui homework and it’s taken me so long that I can’t really remember why I needed a horse in the corner of my living room, the corner where my reputation sits. I have a vague recollection of the feng shui maestro explaining that ló is Hungarian for horse. And that I should pay careful attention to the type of horse I put there as udvarló (literally a courtyard horse) is Hungarian for suitor. I daren’t venture any further in to what might be verging on Freudian interpretations of similarities between horses and suitors. Suffice to say that I took her at her word and have been searching since August for a horse I could bond with.
I tried all my usual haunts – the BÁVs, Petőfi Csarnok, the antique shops around town, even my mother’s living room – but it wasn’t until I was walking up the main street in Chişinău, Moldova, a few weeks ago that I found what I was looking for. It was sitting under some plastic, sheltering from the rain. The stall owner was also sheltering somewhere because he or she never made an appearance. I stood a while and looked and decided that I’d pass by this place again on my way back and in the meantime, would think about him. And so I did – and almost immediately, out popped not one, but two stall owners and the haggling began. My horse was born in 1960 in St Petersburg in Russia. He’s silver plated (there was a number 9 used repeatedly but I’m not at all sure what that relates to – something to do with the silver) over something heavy… sitting on a wooden base.
Such is the economic situation in Moldova that a lot of older residents are selling off their silver and brass to make ends meet. That in itself is quite sad to see and I wondered then, and I still wonder, what sights my horse has seen. If only he could talk. Am well impressed with him though. And I was fortunate enough to have enough euro in my wallet to take him home. My stall owners, having exhausted their English and my French, nabbed someone from the street to translate. She seemed to think I was getting a good deal. But that didn’t matter really. Good deal or not, he is just what I’ve been looking for and now has pride of place in my living room, underneath one of Kerényi Zoltán’s photographs, on his own pedestal. What more could an udvarló want?