other links : i ii iii
Can you translate the next 300 words into
if so, please contact me
and there will be rejoicing.
while sneezing in bed. A book full of firm
common sense instructions for making a range of English cheeses, but the
focus is on
a variety I dislike. The line drawings and black-and-white
photos did not disappoint (any real how-to book has lots of black-and-white
photographs), but I was left a bit intimidated. Making cheese properly is clearly
rather complicated. You have to measure the acidity a lot, boil all your
equipment repeatedly, and look after awkward little pots of microbes called
At certain stages, getting it right to the degree and
to the minute is essential. For example, if you stir the
curds for more than
four minutes (such as for five minutes) after adding rennet, the cheese may be
doomed. Then you have to care for the things like babies, pressing them,
unwrapping them for hot-water washes the first few days, rewrapping
them in bandages with lard. On and on it goes. Protect the fat globules,
winter milk not same as summer milk, check what drugs and feed the
cows/sheep/goats are on, ask local health officials which ditches
to pour the
whey into. Gordon Bennet.
Walking along a dusty, sunlit back street, I see a large Hungarian man in a
pale grey suit stroll out of a doorway. Hands in his pockets, he addresses
a parked car, saying "Aaaaagh!".
Still with his back to me he then adds, again
to no-one in particular, "And maybe
then B." As I pass him he turns, sees me and chuckles.
Quiet Sunday in. Finished the
copy of Edward Gibbon's
and Fall of the Roman Empire', though
this thick enough
Penguin Classics edition seems to
have half the chapters abridged. A lot of fun, though perhaps not
quite enough fun to make me seek out the unabridged version.
The alarming tale of the feckless
and his naively noble
(and their two scheming wives
Antonina) stays with me
The Blues and the Greens
wrecked Constantinople sound a lot like football hooligans. The
misplaced attack on Persia under the remarkable Emperor
Julian "the Apostate"
is also quite an episode. I'm not sure if he should get away with suggesting that
displaced sects of
seeded early waves of Protestant dissent
in Europe a thousand years later, but his style is such a cunning mix of irony,
deprecating caution, mordant wit, and sober restraint, it is hard to
call his bluff on overinterpreting. But overall a masterly narrative - fine mix of
large social forces and crucial individuals. I tried to read
Gibbon's earnest yet wry
footnoting which keeps popping in chunks of the Latin and Greek from original sources.
Rather embarrassingly, I could make out very few sentences in either. So much for
cramming languages into children.
A visit to Franc's corner cafe in the 19th district. I meet Csilla & Ildiko. Heavy
rain buckets down outside as we discuss
the PUP and the
Scots story over cakes & decaffeinated cappuccinos.
Finally I manage to not have my class panic in the Friday performance. Went well.
Not hung over from last night's merriment at
winery where Bob on
guitar and Marek on fiddle had us all dancing Greek folk things, in between
intense chat. Franc & I touched on the men-in-love-versus-women-in-love
discussion with Daniela & Claudia. Franc waxed ecstatic about a
motorbike he once owned.
Today, an uneventful trip back to a cloudy Budapest in Franc's car, after
warm farewells from Zistersdorfers. Pest flat feels strangely empty.
Yesterday went round Zistersdorf with my class. We dropped in on
Jackie's house to see her father's remarkable mural stretching through their garage
& kitchen, replete with
symbols picked out in bright, colourful tiles.
In their garden, a rather large small castle, in pond with fountains.
ends with him making a rousing call for a
new kind of maths suitable for things like explaining how big molecules behave.
I was boring my friends twenty years ago saying we'd need that, so
comforting to be confirmed. Lots about maths in biology: basically how the
principle of symmetry-breaking keeps cropping up. As in his other books, Stewart
comes back to the strange arithmetic of animal walking styles - the lovely verb
'pronk' describes when an animal (such as, occasionally, young deer) moves forward with
all four feet at once in a sort of stiff, four-legged jump. Plenty about
flower-petal-numbering. Fewer diagrams than I would have liked.
Late afternoon, watched some US comedy dubbed into German on my
hotel room television. A suburban girl was misusing magical powers to shrink people in size and
imprison them in a dolls' house. In a macabre sub-plot, a woman loses her face, and
crawls around on her hands and knees, unable to see with her smooth pink head,
while her face gives her directions from across the floor like a floppy, talking pancake.
At the same time two other German-language channels both had similar-looking shows
competing against each other where audience members or actors argue with each
other in studio mock-courtrooms, complete with lawyers & magistrates.
Today, cooked twice,
once with my children, once with Leeann's class, all delightful and
charming. Then out to the pond where Bob organised the treasure hunt.
Watching children rushing around among sunlit trees clutching leaves could have let me
finally live out my
in the Rye fantasies if I'd ever had any.
Woke in hotel room, unsure if was 7am or 7pm. 11 hours later, woke at 6am out of dream about climbing
a 50-foot-high wall encrusted with candelabra inside giant hall. By day, Franc's talented class with
Armenian bright spark, Manuel.
Back in the Austrian classrooms with the giant wooden
compasses & protractors.
Long car trip to
Zistersdorf with Franc & Bob.
Istvan, Robin, Mariann & Ilan.
Cracking thunderstorm ends warm,
Time to take back our
with Jasmina. She tells me about
afterwards at the Moszkva ter metro station concrete rooftop cafe. Gorgeous sunshine.
Apparently, just last week
was peering over the
crater rim of Etna.
Tried to explain Jacobs &
& big reeds on Csepel Island.
Four times in the morning I wake out of interesting dreams.
voting result could be extended to constitutions;
Something vivid about hi-tech steel mills in Holland;
homosexual saying "I'm not just an 'Asian man'. I'm an 'Asian ear man'.";
4) Forgot this one.
Man in bookshop sells me
In the gym today, two young Americans chatting among the machines about high-school
and college sports. One says to the other:
"You know what I really miss about football and
I miss being able to
really fuck somebody up."
They shook their heads in quiet, wry nostalgia some seconds, then
returned to their work-outs.
On the long Saturday as Sanyi drove us back into
town (before the 2nd shift) to walk Johnny the Rottweiler, a discussion
in the car about what to do if
broke down. Tom
reckoned that if he stays in shape, he can run twenty miles or so
cross-country, enough to get out of almost any city in an afternoon.
in Paty for drinks. We plant shrubs.
17-hour day at film editor's in
Mariann & I play
fox and chickens.
at 3.30 darken the sky and it
rains for two hours.
The streets are dry by 6.30 when brilliant yellow sun comes out.
Got to the end of Rob's copy of Matt Ridley's
via Nurture'. Ridley, onetime science writer for
aims to kill the black-and-white "nature versus
nurture" debate with a host of examples about how interdependent they are. Lots of
examples of genes that can only be switched on by environmental cues and types of
learning from the environment that are gene-driven but still open. The most
interesting remark is where he turns one particular typical view on its head: far
from genes locking us in at an early age and the environment enabling us to be
flexible, Ridley provocatively claims it is environmental influence that defines
much of our fate from an early age and our genetic inheritence that gives us freedom.
One of many studies he quotes suggests that one cause of male homosexuality can be the
hormonal environment of a womb of a mother that has already carried older brothers
to term. Or the recent analysis of the WWII Dutch Hunger, when pregant women on
starvation rations had underweight baby girls whose grand-daughters two generations
later are still being born with lower-than-average weights. So I'm convinced. Shame
all these different genes switching on and off have to be called confusing
things like nobox7 or cac6b.
shows me his garage & training shoes.
"We rep everything" Bruder
on the phone for me?
bit glum about her cube of drinking straws.
in my toothpaste.
Finish translating for Gordon and redoing the
With Mariann & her friends see
Else, the latest Woody Allen film. A bit
sad to note how much older and greyer Allen is. Rather like ageing pop divas,
Allen now has a younger stand-in at the heart of the romantic-comedy action,
while he is an eccentric older cameo character the hero, Jerry, keeps meeting up with
in Central Park. Very smooth dialogue and story-telling, decades of experience
show: Allen's paranoid raconteur is well-judged. But some disappointing
bits. The sexy, capricious girl just
isn't attractive enough to have that much power over
Woody's alter ego, Jerry. While Jerry seemed too weak - a little too anxious and guilty -
for the good-looking young man he is. And surely even Manhattan (or at least Woody Allen
films set in Manhattan) should have
moved on from jokes about name-dropping Dostoyevsky, Camus, and Billie Holiday?
Touchingly, Budapesters really do seem to have a spring in their step today
about having entered
the Franco-German trade cartel. Poor loves.
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
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