Return to city
in afternoon. It's chilly.
Small hours watching
After-dark mission on
with sidecar in which Vicky the dog, and Bela the three-year-old, sit on
my lap as we experience engine trouble in rain. At the Karavan bar we find Sanyi of The
Stranded Truck, who gets it going in no time.
In small hours successful work on
and Geza come over to Robin's and I supplement some glasses of Tokaj with the
cherry wine they bring, until I am burbling like a fool out in the dark, candlelit
garden while we all shiver in blankets. Must read some
My train is delayed an hour by some self-centred, self-pitying suicide on the track, yet it
mysteriously reaches Kecskemet well within time. Then train from K is a half-hour
late anyway. In the afternoon, on Andrassy ut, I ran into two more pretty girls
the same cult - sorry,
denomination - as
Gabriella and Paula.
More good news about mother's continuing recovery from the
Get back and meet
who has temporarily moved in with me.
Robin and I find out from a disgruntled farmboy
on a motorbike that the thing looking like a
Bronze Age barrow
was an outdoor
small-arms firing range back in, oooh 1989. Down at the Tisza, I slither across a
mudbank into the boat
Jeremy and Robin built together about two weeks ago from some
old planks and a pot of tar. About 12' long, it looks reassuringly boat-like, though
the 3" of water swilling around inside is a bit disquieting. I set to work bailing
water out while Robin paddles it into the middle of the river. Water enters at about
the speed I bail it out, but we don't sink. His dog swims out to us to join in
the fun. Beautiful dusk.
Finished Robin's copy of Alain Hus's
Etruscans', an old
paperback full of black and white illustrations, about the northern Italian people
whose alphabet always gets cited in alphabet books to explain how Greek
letters turned into Latin letters. Popularisers such as
get a ticking off for being
overexcited by the mystique of a people largely mysterious, says Hus, because only about
100 words and a few lines of Etruscan language survive. More in the way of maps of Etruria
would have been nice. A little frustratingly, the
pictures that are used as little 1"-high vignettes for the chapter headings are much
more beautiful and intriguing (gorgeously expressive bronze statuettes, mostly) than
the often rather raw-looking sculptures given entire pages for their pictures. Perhaps
less really is more, after all. Or just 1950s artbook taste?
Indoor work on website. I get square eyes. Finish Robin's book
by Davidovits and Morris, a well-argued book suggesting that the
amazing engineering feats of the earlier ancient Egyptians
(The Old Kingdom
between 3000BC and 2000BC roughly) were not about stone-hefting,
but were and still are built out of very high-class concrete. Davidovits builds a simple
and compelling case that this is their "lost science" and that the
Middle and New Kingdoms
ran out of the raw materials that had made their concrete so
good. The concrete-making of the Romans was even more degraded in comparison, and
the mediaevals forgot how to make concrete altogether of course, before its modern
rediscovery. Convincingly, this dissolves the problems of shifting 50-ton blocks into
position, the solid burial chambers apparently carved out a "single" piece of rock,
the intricate carvings on quartz-hard stone before even bronze tools were good, replaced
by carvings in soft sandstone by the later Egyptians centuries later with better metal
tools once the ingredients for the concrete were running low. Clear calculations given,
and since the author claims to hold several 1970s patents for newer types of concrete,
a pretty persuasive package. Lots of things his critics could check up on, such as his
attempts to translate some heiroglyphs, some Greek and some of
Pliny's Latin in his search
for texts that could be about cement-making in Egypt.
Sunny drive on old roads with Robin out of
I imagine trees
with foliage pierced with solid pentagonal or hexagonal rods of empty air.
A sort of bonsai process on fully-grown trees. The empty, tube-like slots
could be tilted and aimed at certain star systems for certain seasons, so
you could line yourself up and look up through the hexagonal hole in the
bushiness of the mature tree at night.
Out late with
[he makes a wonderful green soup, unlike anything I've ever
had before], Zita, Robin, the once-elusive Reka, and
baby-clothes designer Leila from
Holland [plus Ben and Jake]. At a
full of miserable, stony-faced pretty
girls, Robin and I meet the more cheerfully pretty missionaries Gabriella
and Paula from Mexico. Gabriella, pregnant, has me say a little prayer
with her as backless dresses and low-cut punkness strut around us on all
sides. I also meet the charming Boo Boo and hear about his
Robin and Balint go deep into the world of the
[district 6 throws old
furniture out and streets are piled with broken chairs and rotting sofas],
and discover the usual amazing bargains. Well not really bargains. Free stuff.
Istvan darkly mutters of
thrown out by nuclear plants
still giving off radiation years later.
We meet Istvan at a
art event based around a roomful of screwed-up newspapers.
I finish the copy of
by Jean Sasson that Hussam lent me. Tempting to describe it as
shopaholic-in-a-gilded-cage but there are some genuinely harrowing bits.
The girl sentenced to confinement in a silent, completely
black "women's room" for the rest of her life for bringing
dishonour on the family trumps the other unfortunate drowned
by prearranged appointment on a Friday morning by her family
in their swimming pool.
Robin and I drive into
His chum Zeno
goes missing. Istvan's mother shares a delightful
lasagne with us and Goran enthuses about a Croatian
tinned-fish product spokeswalrus.
A quiet day struggling with
Annika writes an e-mail about
Swedish minister's stabbing. John writes
another e-mail, suggesting her death was organised by Brussels to
try to hustle Sweden into the euro pack with a sympathy vote.
Robin & I motorbike around a bit in the dark with his dog.
Bela and Caspar show me lots of pictures of
I wake from a vivid dream about restaurants in Tokyo.
Later Olga tells me about wallpaper and textile pattern fairs in
Frankfurt. Later, the train to the plain.
Jeremy reveals it's Robin's birthday today. High on coffee on the train, a chattering
girl sets me off into fantasies about some cut-paper artwork I'm going to create about
how men and women talk differently. I even reach the point where I imagine writing a
compelling book about train timetabling, Lord help us all.
I cook chicken in sherry again,
and Jim, Julia,
39 Steps. Quite sweet, all that manly, gruff camaraderie
between chaps yearning for a decent bit of adventure. Interesting how much it
was about clothing, disguises and relations between different classes. The
sense of real danger as the hero alternately closes in on and flees the
unspeakably intelligent and coolly evil German spies is sharp enough, and
yet not yet hardened by the weariness and nastiness of what we know of the
First World War and what came later. Patriotism and danger are still superb
fun - a deadly serious yarn on the run, but still the perfect antidote to
boredom. The flavour of the narrator's shock early on in the story
at finding a stabbed man in his flat
[he had seen plenty of killing in Africa and had to do a bit of fighting
himself sometimes, but this "indoor" business still shook him up]
conjures up bluff bravery crossed with unshakeable innocence.
Written around 1914 it already sounds elegaic.
I phone the hospital and hear that mother survived the operation. Huge relief.
Wake up among the crowing cockerels at
Tim's, only slightly groggy.
Whisky and ginger wine
at Tim's, while we watch a double
Robin and I visit a
gallery in Ujpest,
and find it is shut until late this
month. Later Brent gives me a
that works, and Esther and I drink tea in the
Voros Oroszlan teahouse.
I put on a green polo shirt over my head. Once it is on I find a
put through several folds of it. Why did I put it there? When? How did I
put the shirt on and not jab it into my face?
Istvan cooks dinner for Robin & I (yum) after we go to a
gallery opening (um).
Normal day at the office.
Empowering coffee with Robin after we visit the excellent
Photo-Developer Man that
Terri introduced me to last year.
This site reappears. My penance is done, citizens.
And shoe problem solved.
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
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