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Set the scene at A Table

Set the scene at A Table

It has a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’. It’s small with a rather cramped appeal but this somehow allows it to always feel full. The counter on entering whets the appetite with its impressive display and if one is interested in take away or sitting in there is the choice. The traditionally French twist, the baguettes, the croissants, the éclairs, the croque monsieur et madame all fit. I remember when it first opened I had the fear it might fail on this Franco-feel, Trianon still burning in many a Hungarian heart. However, not enough of them, it would seem, care to, at least this, associate the food and culture with the travesty of war – and that’s a good thing. Thriving, I would say, A Table is as much a testament to Hungarian open-mindedness as it is to any good business plan. Being Buda side is obviously a plus with the up and coming all vying for real estate this side of town, and, with the traditionally wealthier classes hereabouts, any business plan with such culinary aspirations was bound to have a greater chance of success. Still it is nice to see its progress in slotting into the life of Retek utca and long may it continue. That I hold some of my classes here nowadays does in no way compromise me in regard of this critique…unless it gives me a discount. Oh how principles are thwarted by the promise of power!!!

A note to the negative: It can get cramped in here as mentioned but on a cold winter’s day this may turn out to be a little biased to the side of endearing. However, on a scorching summer’s day, with air-conditioning coming in the way of an open window this place may become stifling for many. That said give me the smell of croissants and other butter pastries at the death of my light over the stale stench of a butt-filled ashtray, or rancid spilt beer, any day.




Baby Rodeo

Baby Rodeo

Trying to nappyise…

Made difficult if she decides she is not interested in cooperating. She’ll then employ all tactics necessary to fight the good fight which can be daunting if she is set down on her nappy-changer. The fall from there is about a metre to a tile floor. Worse still is if it’s a particularly messy present nappywise and she refuses to stay still. Altogether a tough discipline with points dropped for letting the baby fall, putting the nappy on backwards, or just getting all too messy. Drawbacks even if successful: A broken nose from a heel first, bruised body, or just ego. Other unpleasantness can be imagined.

and dress Tara….

A feat in itself this compromises  trying to pin her down while trying to prize one of her legs out from under her coiled up body, flicking her over and getting at least one into a pyjama leg. But even this is not enough because if the wait is too long she’ll have wriggled out again and scattered across the bed, giggles in her wake. While not as messy as the nappyising this has its challenges when it comes to all out physical endurance. Points dropped for putting legs in to arm parts of pyjamas, and vice versa; for making the baby cry!!!; for getting one or both legs in and losing them out again. A special penalty point is incurred if you have actually mistakenly put her pyjamas back on instead of her day clothes after changing her nappy in the morning.

Las Ramblings

Las Ramblings

“A villamoson…nem hallom!”

Well we certainly could hear her but gladly she made this her insistence point and hung up. The idea right now mid-Friday afternoon – just having been to the doctor with Tara, my own chest paining – of having to listen to this woman would have been frightful. Frankly, I needed rest. I’d slept some last night, but rather erratically. Tara being feverish – fighting a throat infection – tossed and turned the whole night through and was tracing buses and trams and trains across the ceiling by the skylight. My first impression had been that she was still dreaming. Now I’m more inclined to believe she was being just a little bit delirious. Nothing like a fever to push the mind to other streams of consciousness…

Arriving into Barcelona all those years ago, 44°C on the roadway sign, me huddled up in a thick blanket shivering with a soul deep chill, I can only reminisce to the comedic concerning my mind’s wanderings.

The gay guy at the petrol station who would have gladly taken me home. No doubt he had a cure for my fever.

The campsite we stayed at where I marked, like a wagon rut, a trail between the tent and toilet, each time a pot to hand in case both ends decided to erupt at once. They didn’t, then, to my knowledge but I’m certain they would have had I forgotten the pot.

What a place to have been. An arse-hole ripped from posterior propulsion, sitting grimacing, looking through tear-filled eyes at a lap full of vomit! Not that I was getting the satisfaction of a projectile puke by then anyway. Bile, and blood vessels bulging – ah, what sweet memories.

As for the city itself, well, I have the occasional figmented memory, flashes, though in all sincerity, beneath the brief returns I have at once an underlying and overwhelming appreciation for the toilets in that city, especially the McDonalds on Las Ramblas!

Oh, how the mighty had fallen!

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Buda squared

Buda squared

The bus that takes me over the hill from Paseréti to Kolossy tér is a tale of two cities within the confines of an even older one, Buda.

What I mean by this is, well, this! Over my side, where I jump the bus there lies the relatively sleepy suburb, albeit Hűvösvölgyi út which is an artery bleeding both ways. A few feet off, however, and one can capture the comparative solitude whether passing low beyond the tram tracks or high beyond the 129 bus’s last port of call this side of town.

On the other side, the yang to this ying, is the positively busy hub around Kolossy with many’s the bus passing through either up Szépvölgyi út or along below on Lajos utca. The tram, No. 17, also dissects the area and with the road, and pavement, works ongoing in this sweltering August, the place truly is a hive of activity.

But let me tell you about Disneyland, or Noddy Town, or whatever it was my student coined in reference to Kolossy tér. It is a place with facilities, provisions to both commerce and fun, and together where applicable. However, it has never quite captured my undying interest. Given the choice of Anya’s, later Tina Turner’s, bar on Podmaniczky utca in the 6th district, Pest, or any of the places here, whether dives or fancy, I’d have leaned towards the former. It was all about the atmosphere, and this Buda haven lacked of all this.

That said, today in my leisure I walked over from Pacsirtamező utca, through the Timár utca stop, itself Flórián tér directed – I, however, about facing going the opposite way and as I strolled along Lajos, the pretty girls from the Szolarium out smoking, the old women dragging trolleys laden from the market, I began to notice the söröző-s this side, not the Bécsi út side, of the Kolossy complex. Perhaps the casino and the Leroy always put me off there, but here, suddenly I found myself pondering a drink, the tables outside a definite lure. I didn’t stop this time. I passed them on. I’d made up my mind to go home quickly to my little flowers, but the seed had planted itself – for another day.

Passing Café 5 on the corner of Szépvölgyi and Bécsi I glanced at an alluring menu: 990 huf for a 2 course meal and thought, definitely another day.

Bouncing back over the hill now and on up to the Bölöni György stop on the 29 I’m beginning to notice a growing importance to this once tedious transport line.

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