Sunday, December 27, 2015


With great anticipation we dive our spoons into the reheated festive sauerkraut soup. It doesn't bother us that for the last two days every mealtime has consisted of leftovers of the same in our household. Not that the toilet runs could put us off for having any more, this was our neighbour's speciality this time. Full and hearty, three helpings later in my dish and a small shot to wash it down. Although our visit had not started so well, a bottle of english bitter for him to try was not approved. Nothing can beat the taste of a mass produced 'Heineken influenced and owned' Slovak lager rather than a flatter and  deliciously fruity malt produced in a small brewery in Cornwall that I had brought over. But that did not deter his temptation to gossip. Four inches of pot-belly bellowing from below his t-shirt at every exaggerated piece of news he tells. Like our other neighbour from the other day he lives alone and having company round is a special occasion, although he is far too proud to admit to such a thing. 
A less than sobering short trip back through the densely dropping fog and a chance to re-adjust to normal house temperatures (we aren't afraid to wear a jumper here!). A lazy finale to the christmas weekend, with just a few trimmed cuttings cut and a clean out of the outside loo excusing for a need for a hot water wash.
Rumour has it that winter might be starting here next week. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Dec 24th

Gazing at the old television screen with the sound muted. A Czechoslovakian farce plays amongst the adverts for the up-coming Christmas film feast on the tv, which to great fanfare includes Home Alone 1 and 2. Enough reason to never own a television set in Slovakia.
The flickering light bulb just about shines enough light and gives a lovely warm glow to the kitchen of our old neighbour's home where we are sipping cheap Hungarian plonk. His stories begin in a vague detail that I can understand before the speech slides more to a mutter as more is drunk. 
He has lived here all his life, he knows nothing beyond a dozen kilometres from here but has a frightening amount of knowledge and self-suffiency. We are humbled to speak to him and to have as a neighbour. 
Our extended stay takes us to darkness outside, but the fog has fallen to give a silently mystical and reflective lightness as we wander back through the woodland to our place. 
The weather is un-seasonally wrong as like everywhere at the moment. All the frantic wood cutting and garden clearing from the Autumn months seems more like a wasted effort. The ground is still not frozen and we are easily warm enough with less wood burning. We wish for the snow to come to help with the eco-culture as another ladybird wakes between our bedroom window pane. Only a more traumatic January and February can save the season.
The smell of sauerkraut on my hand, squeezed out from it's airtight container for the evening's festive soup. Fish with potato salad to follow, almost to tradition. But I am starving now and I fight with my dog for a piece of dried bread roll. Tomorrow's visit to our excessive 'other neighbour' for leftovers aplenty is still a mouth-watering distant thought with more to gossip, drink and take in. Maybe those television planners have got it right, it is always nicer to be not so home alone at this time of year.