October 31st; Thursday. Since it's the night before the day of the dead, the time when souls can pass more freely across the divide, here's a tribute to late great Saudi statesman Osama bin Laden.
Wednesday. Paris biologists unveil La Blob, a kind of slime with 720 sexes. An organism for our times!
Tuesday. Travel back to Budapest in the morning, and in our early-afternoon lesson Esoteric Veronica gives me a sleek new sports bag she is junking, plus a handsome flagon of schnapps she doesn't want. Men with clipboards say that space is made of zillions of tiny universes. Well obviously.
Monday. I catch a bus to, and walk back from, Aranka's village. Her four children are playing in the dusty drive of their house, and a disappointed boy of about 9 asks why I didn't bring The Dog With No Leash. Aranka takes custody of my blue sports bag, so I shall have to manage for a week with supermarket carrier bags.
Sunday. Bela almost cuts his hand off with a hatchet while chopping wood. Zeno & his friend Judit take him to hospital to get the gash stitched up. Still oddly warm, with yellow sunshine out of the shadows. Last night Bela talked me through all the various Fives games.
Saturday. A misunderstanding about the motorbike means I fail to get to the next village during Seamstress Aranka's opening hours. Wistful autumn sunshine is surprisingly warm. My lips burn from eating ripe figs off the bush next to Robin's studio. Seems they contain some kind of natural acid or antiseptic. Sullen wasps on the bush grumble as I turn up to compete. Some figs are fermenting on the branch and taste of alcohol.
Friday. Go with Robin to his rural fastness in Tiszainoka by train as darkness falls. We are driven to the house by Levente, a friend of Gyuri. We find Zeno the Alchemist and Bela both in high spirits. There is much hilarity. Teaching rats to drive toy cars apparently calms them down.
Thursday. Finish book borrowed from Esoteric Veronica about the astrological houses: 'Reflections & Meditations on the Signs of the Zodiac' by Louise Huber. This goes through the 12 houses, interpreting them as psychological states superimposed on the night sky. First of three similar books she lent me. This week went out one night with Programmer Andras, and on the topic of argumentative Budapest apartment-building residents' meetings, he mentions how one friend said he had attended a residents' meeting in his building and now believes in the existence of Satan.
Wednesday. Slightly oddly cited on physics-dot-org, thought-provoking study suggests married white women identify more with men than other married women.
Tuesday. A manifesto stylishly titled Dare to be Grey, which has the fingerprints of the EU all over it, both in its sly insinuation that being completely against something (such as against the EU, to choose a totally random example) is necessarily extremist - and also in the muddled, stuffy thinking and writing.
Monday. Johnson sent three letters to the EU, as compelled by the Brussels-craven Commons, one asking for an extension but unsigned, another as a cover letter to that saying he was forced but doesn't agree with it, and a third saying he does not want an extension. Intriging move, perhaps plotted by the clearly sharp-minded Dominic Cummings?
October 20th; Sunday. The vaguely simian Rory Stewart, another Etonian, makes a bid to be London Mayor. A superficially smooth & articulate pitch from a man who weeks ago was talking of setting up a "parallel Parliament" to stop Brexit. He now - it seems - regrets having been a Tory, and The Guardian laps this up of course. The obvious question unasked - if there is no power anywhere in modern Britain, why stand for the post of mayor?
October 19th; Saturday. Much excitement at Westminster where the first Saturday Commons sitting since the Falklands War should debate Boris Johnson's non-deal with the EU. Instead a motion by always-cuddly Oliver Letwin takes up the day.
October 18th; Friday. Software to scan faces at festivals.
October 17th; Thursday. White women more likely to vote for conservative parties?
October 16th; Wednesday. Painting zebra stripes on cows reduces insect biting.
October 15th; Tuesday. Recently I've discovered a very restful cafe/bar near Esoteric Veronica's office, where I can arrive early for her lesson and sit quietly with a range of elderly men. In general three are playing cards, with bartender as fourth man, over at one end of the room. A couple of tables are decorated with vinyl records under the sheet of glass, but only a couple, as if the idea ran out of material. Their WiFi password refers to the founding of Budapest's 9th district football club in 1899. After about three visits where I consume one coffee or two coffees and a water, the bartender seems to have decided I'm not such a bad person.
October 14th; Monday. "Anti-solar cell" generates electricity "from darkness".
October 13th; Sunday. Over a coffee & a water outside the Ice Buffet place, read a short book lent to me by Robin, called 'Great Is God's Zoo' by Iris Masters Zwack. It would be unfair to give away the ending, but an extraordinary range of odd personal stories about meeting odd people is tied together in the final pages. The initial story conceit is that Zwack is practising her budding writing skills by befriending eccentric characters in her corner of New England: a weird taxi driver, a retarded girl who stacks fruit at the grocery, a New Age fitness trainer - they each get a chapter.
October 12th; Saturday. Testimony from 2017: senior Irish Republic customs officials giving evidence to the Irish Republic parliament saw no need for any physical border infrastructure on the frontier with Northern Ireland in the event of Britain leaving the EU. Rather letting the "backstop" out of the bag.
October 11th; Friday. Texan slideshow alleges removal of very hot year 1921 from US climate data to make the overall 20th-century trend upwards. Delicious BBC article on climate-change anxiety (the editorial art is specially special): a doctor writes. UCL researchers claim Britain is about to have a record cold winter.
October 10th; Thursday. Concerns continue that Britain's military were transferred to Euroblob control by Mayer the Betrayer. Even plans for an EU army were dismissed as a "Leaver lie" by 2016 pro-EU campaigners, in classic projection.
October 9th; Wednesday. Guided by Michael A.'s friend Art Dealer Tony, I have started dropping in on the refreshingly cheap, vaguely communist-era Ice Buffet bar where coffee, water, and scones are still affordable. At their outside tables along the sunniest part of Petofi Sandor street, fat aggressive pigeons gang up on any person who tries to eat and drink alone. Often their beaks are smeared with the whipped cream of an abandoned pudding. The dove-shaped slatterns hop onto a table or chair but cleverly stay just inches out of any angry patron's arm swing. I'm going to have to buy a small water pistol and fill it with sharp-scented disinfectant.
October 8th; Tuesday. The slightly sinister-sounding group Extinction Rebellion are criticised for defacing Wiltshire's White Horse monument with their runic, black-metal-occultist-style logo.
October 7th; Monday. After visiting several textile shops across Hungary in the last month or two, must admit to being slightly downcast by the sheer vileness of the fabric patterns. Anything so straightoforward as (say) white polka dots on a solid colour, or blue and white stripes is completely absent. While I've long drawn comfort from the fact these retail outlets still exist in the quantities they used to in England, that there are still Hungarian women, old and young, making their own clothes, quite disheartening to find just now naff most - no all - of it is. If it's white, it's covered in frills and fussy detailing. If it's patterned, the pattern aspires to irregularity - five different widths of stripe in one fabric, for example. If there is a repeating motif, it's twee, cluttered, and too pale or too dark. Colours are selected from a rich palette of sickly yellows, anaemic browns, blood-piss reds, and those nasty blues and greens they use to make dangerous drug capsules look worrying. With relentless success, every pattern hits that magical sour spot of optimal ugliness.
October 6th; Sunday. A court decision in the EU makes it likely that Facebook can be ordered to retract its posts worldwide. EU censorship developments continue.
October 5th; Saturday. Wall Street Journal article yesterday: growing numbers of girls attending college discover shortage of suitable men. Male author wonderfully tactful about women's focus on marrying "up".
October 4th; Friday. Still a bit giddy after finishing the tedious translation about gold investing on Wednesday. Hanging over me for weeks. Don't go in! To his web of sin!
October 3rd; Thursday. Devon farmer prepares for Brexit with Nazi-engineered giant cows. + interesting piece on craze for professional walking back in 1815.
October 2nd; Wednesday. Two pieces about the legal side of Britain's attempts to leave the Euroblob. One from Lawyers for Britain about Article 50, and another (a .pdf) from a respected jurist at Oxford, says last week's Supreme Court judgment on prorogation broke the 1688 Bill of Rights.
October 1st; Tuesday. Military bod warns EU taking over Britain's armed forces.
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
markgriffith at yahoo.com