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.