Wednesday, February 28, 2018

frozen again

Slip sliding into town with the non-grip tyres. The usual grimaces as the snow fluctuates and coat collars tuck round any remaining visible skin. A rawness for only the rough to endure to bring in the necessary provisions. 
Back home, just, calmness from the chill. A tranquility for all seasons but winter in particular. Frozen paths dug out from the snow direct you to your chores. No freedom of movement. A sense of frustration as this is all late and March is tomorrow when other work had been planned to take place. The hens are temporarily in the old henhouse, a warmer site but in the way of wood and cats. Only the outdoor toilet is a distance away from the front door now. The trip to the loo is now a journey in these conditions to it's far outpost. But a warm seat awaits if you wait for your wife to go first!     

Thursday, February 15, 2018


A chance to shine in the eyes of our neighbours, six plus years before the deep plunge into man-made fibres for the bedroom floor. No more striding in with wellies, replaced with a tip-toe socked foot. A replacement stove tucks into a tiled off corner awaiting it's connection day as its floor-space dries.
Maybe a 10am beer and an afternoon hour of 10 homemade donuts isn't the healthiest of days. But the neighbourly rounds are essential for the local gossip and the broadcast of our carpet. An almost fanfare moment as usually the news is what we hear not what we tell.
A shiny, new wooden floor had been the plan. But warmth, budget and the necessity to complete eventually took precedence. 
Soon our sofa-bed in the kitchen will become nightly redundant once again as we hope to return to the made-over room. A relief for the strained back and a good night's rest away from the dripping kitchen tap that still bothers me.     

Friday, January 19, 2018


January blues. Too many scoffed biscuits from a generous neighbour. Then an indulgence of meat force-fed at Grandma's birthday and leftovers there after which even Harik fusses. This christmas food hangover must end. It is noticeable the detrimental difference this takes on our bodies diet. So used to racing through the pumpkin surplus in the cellar before the evil teenage face-looking zits take over completely the hardened surfaces. Garden carrots are rhythmically compressed to juice now as part of the detox recovery. The over-sized homegrown beetroot too is no longer admired, just chomped down in whatever way makes us recuperate. 
And all this cannot be explained to a neighbour round these parts who's diet we had just skipped into for only this darkest period of the year. The norm of meat, and more meat, followed by hard drink and whitest of white sugar biscuits with coffee granules swimming in your cup to swash it down. Time to lie down and and let the perspiration dry, and thinking did I really see an advert on Slovak television at Jana's Gran's place for a medicine called "retard".

Monday, December 25, 2017


The sludgy mess of our road now the snow begins to melt. Sliding the top layer of the road's gravel surface into the neighbouring field down the bottom. The resulting craters will no doubt dis-please our retired ex road-worker neighbour with his recently acquired low-suspension 1990's Honda Civic. 
Now that the twice a day bus to town has been cut to just once in the afternoon, his decision to delve into the petrol market has probably been justified for his sake. One more car for Harik to bark at as it trudges slowly past every Friday. And unfortunately it is only Harik. Sadly to us and him his companion/tormenter/side-kick/manipulated buddy Jaffa has been found a new place on a sheep farm. To us, either an impulse decision to help us leave for brexit-land or a knee-jerk, un-necessary reaction which may not have been needed if the politics fall down. It has left a sense of loneliness to our place. The patchy white landscape is failing to lift the spirit despite the beautiful mists that like to fall and catch the end of the day's sun. The anxiety, broken light switches and only a half-heated house (we are still waiting for a new stove in the bedroom after I knocked out the last smoke- releasing one back in October...) is certainly not we have discovered for the romantic or the daring to live every year.  

Monday, December 4, 2017


As our train pulls into a peripheral Bratislava station a couple of Sunday's ago a huddle of riot police await an incoming train on another platform. Presumably for an incoming entourage of football related hooligans (British 1980's throwback style...). But unbeknown to them the train arrives at a different platform. Keystone cops comes to mind as the huddle quickly cross the lines to welcome all but a few surprised disembarking passengers with no association to any team.
Glum faces in my carriage staring into blank telephone screens probably missed this magical moment of entertainment. No audience for this prime viewing. 
Maybe I'm more absorbed with my whereabouts than any technology. The clocks can stand still if you want, like at old man Foytik's home, who sadly passed away a few months back. Snow comes and snow goes, the visual effect is there to be enjoyed. Try it.  

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


The arrival of Winter. The wood neatly stacked and sheltered, the ground is going to sleep. Our burning 'tv set' shaped stove to keep us entertained in the long evenings and distract from the outside world.
First flurries falling from the sky, earlier this year but we are prepared. The hens are all confused, the snow-hidden earth fills them with trepidation to step down towards their morning feed. There is no-hiding their dislike for this time of year. Neither our fridge which painfully hums louder, not helped by the odd mouse visitor taking refuge in the warmth behind. It's interest is in the sackfuls of walnuts still being splintered from time to time. The sweetened smell of apple jam on the stove an extra incentive to investigate.
Short days with daylight at a premium. More time to think and less to do. Escapism in too longer thoughts though is very counter productive.   
It's time to clear-out now, too much has been hung onto for future projects that will never happen. Passed down belongings and collected nonsense needs dusting down and shifting. The spider's cobs only give a fake vintage value. We don't need this baggage anymore, our next chapter is drawing closer.     

Monday, October 30, 2017


With daylight at a premium, time to battle the elements to capture every fallen leaf for our precious garden mulch. Indoors, every fly that has cheekily squeezed through cracks into the cottage during their extended lifetime of October's late warm flush are now slowing to be a captor of our many resident spider population. Even the sudden reappearance of ladybirds are rotting to crumbs and brushed to the hen feeding pot. More mudding of cracks, more white-washing of walls as if we have only just moved in. But the place was beginning to look tired, and the therapeutic brushstrokes are a pleasant enough distraction from the sleet and downpours. 
And currently a bake-off between neighbours is giving us a satisfying reason to visit either. Apples were aplenty, and so now some lush and succulent slices of treats that need to be sampled. I know my pleasantries in the language and they know my sweet tooth.