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Something old, something new

It’s not often that I get to see how a number of choices meld together to create something that actually works. Even more so when you’re making those choices in the hope that it will all come together but you know that it could just as well go completely wrong as go completely right. I’m jazzed. I struck lucky.

At lunch last week, the inimitable Mr F started waxing lyrically about this photograph he’d gotten as a birthday present. When explaining to me that  it captured a Russian tank on fire in front of McDonalds on Blaha Lujza tér didn’t work, he pulled out his iPhone to show me another photo of WWII parachutists in the sky over modern-day Budavár. I still wasn’t getting it but infectious as his enthusiasm is, I knew it was worth following up. So when he sent the link, I clicked – and I began to understand what he meant by superimposing old photos on new.

Rószák tere 1936 and 2011

Kerényi Zoltán started posting to this album earlier this year. Nothing much happened for a few weeks and then some blogger picked it up and it went viral. I must have been out of the country to have missed it. He gets some old photos, finds out where they were taken, goes back to the original spot, takes a new photo, and then inserts the old into the new. The difficultly is no so much finding the original places, apparently, but finding the right lens, angle, light to make the fit work. The result is this interesting take that gives you the best of both worlds – a window from the present to the past. Suddenly the juxtapositon of a burning Russian tank and the golden arch of McDonalds didn’t seem so implausible.

Halászbástya 1975 and 2011

I have this inexplicable need for things to be signed. American author Evan Esar maintains that a signature always reveals a man’s character – and sometimes even his name. Perhaps that’s what intrigues me. Be it a book, a painting, a photograph, a ceramic ashtray, I want it signed by the person behind it. It makes it more real. And for signatures, you need matting. Trouble is, this word does not translate into Hungarian. Nor can you buy precut matts in assorted sizes. There’s a market there for someone. And it’s nigh on impossible to find a readymade frame in Budapest that has not been made in China.

Getting photos or paintings framed in Budapest is right up there with tooth extractions on my list of least favourite things to do. Choosing the matting and the frame; deciding on the size, the look; taking the effect I want it to have out of my head and articulating it in such a way that I get what I want and praying that what I want actually works – that all adds up to stress. Bringing someone along for a signature (or a second opinion) is even more stressful as I’m likely to be talked into choices I know won’t work. But work they do. Am jazzed. Nice work Mr K. Nice work. Am so glad I ignored the denim blue.

Ikea should package G&Ts with their put-togethers!

IMG_2638I’ve arrived! I’m now officially resident in Budapest! I got my first Ikea catalogue in the post today. And what’s more, I read it. Scary. I found a book shelf that would fit my kitchen. Not quite the black wrought iron job I had in mind, but it would do the trick. And the job I was waiting on hadn’t arrived (and still hasn’t arrived), so I decided to take advantage of the moment and head east. From my flat, it’s a 7-minute walk to the korut, a 5-minute tram ride to Blaha Lujza tér and then the piros (red)  metro four stops to Ors Vezérs tere. Door to door about 30 minutes. Ikea has opened a shop in Dublin and are expecting so much traffic that they’ve had to delay their opening hours to 11am so that people have a chance to get to work before the hoards descend. Myself, I don’t quite get the attraction! And I’ve just finished work on a marketing book with a case study on Ikea in CEE and it certainly made me think twice about shopping there again… I’m not a chardonnay girl!!!

But it was going to be a quick in-and-out job – I knew what I wanted and could carry nothing more. I was back, job done, in 90 minutes. The only moment of indecision came in the CBA (the corner shop) on the way home: a beer or a G&T – which was more appropriate for the task ahead? You would think I’d know this but, although I have Ikea stuff in my flat, I have never put anything together myself. I have some great friends who know my limitations. In the end I decided on a beer – it was a job I reckoned that would require more brawn than brains!

Four shelves graduating in size (check);  four metal legs (check); and 16 screws (check). Everything present and correct.  I had a quick look at the instructions. Clear.Simple. No bother. It took me a little while to figure out how I was going to do this with only two hands (and yes, it was a little easier when I put down the beer!). I tried propping up the frame, but it kept falling. Metal frame hitting stone floor in the calm dead of night… that’s a sound that resonates! After the third fall, I thought it time to think a little. I laid the frame across two chairs. Good job Maro… not half as stupid as you look girl! Then it was a matter of lining up the holes and getting the screws in with one hand using that funny allen key. At some stage I realised I must have been absent the day God was handing out coordination skills! After many a wonderful cuss word had been set forth upon the unsuspecting universe, I finally had it together. Standing tall….but slightly leaning to one side… mmmm…  I checked the instructions again and saw that the holes where I was to screw it into the wall were not where they were supposed to be. So I took it all apart.

This time I was more careful. The holes were now where they were supposed to be. I put it back together again, a little quicker this time as I sort of knew what I was doing.  But something still wasn’t right. It still wasn’t level. So I looked at the instructions again, and this time noticed the little arrows underneath the legs (isn’t Ikea clever!!!). They all had to be facing a certain way. But they weren’t! So I took it apart again, swapped them around, and put it all back together again.

But something still wasn’t right. So for a fourth time, I checked the instructions (both diagrams) and noticed that I hadn’t matched up the legs properly – the extensions were on the wrong sides. So I took it apart yet again and once more, put it back together. And then, the moment of glory. I set up up against the end of my units and it didn’t fit! And yes, I had measured… but I’d measured from the wall and not from the skirting board. That loud wailing you heard in Hawaii Deb… that was me! And I wasn’t crying because the bloody thing wouldn’t fit; or because I couldn’t read the instructions properly; or because I had to redo it so many times; or because it was a wasted journey; I was wailing because the beer wasn’t cutting it. Ikea is definitely a G&T job!