Tag Archives: fun

Jukebox Junkie


For those of you familiar with Bogyó és Babóca you’ll be probably aware of the catchy theme tune which introduces the cheery pair of friends. For those of you unfamiliar, think of the many animation pairings, except perhaps for Pinky and the Brain, and you should be getting that sunshine, adventure, and existential angst feeling.
Well, Tara did her tour and now it’s Keela’s turn though I am not certain as to the extent of the appeal beyond the opening tune itself.
Awakening early morning Keela no longer cries out for her mother’s milk first thing. Instead, she bobs her head and rounds her lips, emitting a hum and doodle that is a mimicry of B & B themselves. That she also grabs for the books probably indicates an appeal in the feature too but a night time despair is more easily subdued by a rendering of the tune than by any graven image.
So what is it, I ask myself, that has made her latch onto Bogyó and Babóca so suddenly and so intensely? And then suddenly it hits me! With The Community, a comedy series I used to watch with my girlfriend, and with Keela present, there was also a noticeable reaction to the theme tune but what remains is the difference that B&B are also available to touch in book form on the floor. What then does this suggest? To any old fool the answer now dangles before the nose, but I’m not any old fool! I’m the worst kind:)
But Just in case you’re wondering:
A hint of animation on-screen
A dash of animation in books
And a catchy tune to boot!

But does this all explain Hello Kitty?
Well, some mysteries intend to remain unsolved…



What’s in when going out?

What’s in when going out?


If you mention Móricz Zsigmond körtér it often evokes a feeling of nostalgia, and this for a place I have but a recent memory of. I’ve thought and taught here and drunk but a bit and yet I feel it’s somewhere I’ve been before, a place of greater memories, even if it isn’t.
There is a certain atmosphere in the area what with the tram rushing through as well as the 6 and 61 finishing up here. The schools, bookshops, fastfood places, all a step off make it a vibrant hub and now with development of the Metro 4 complete this area has come into its own. It owns the night scene Buda side, even if Lövõház is challenging to the north, and with the restaurants, bars, and general nuisances fanning out in all directions from the square, it’s certainly a pin to put in your google, or mental, map. Bartók Béla út, which dissects the square, is the main source of attraction and distraction with Szatyor, Nevada Pub*, Moha*, to name but a few offering up in terms of not only food and drink but other forms of spiritual nourishment. Nevada with its Cowboyish Wild West look, swinging doors to boot, has live music from the middle of the stairs on your way up: a live set-up in such a confined space?…interesting! (Sometimes a DJ may take over.) Booking a table is almost a prerequisite especially if you’re a group, or come looking for the perfect seat. The winter sees activities contained indoors while the sun shine draws forth a smattering of chairs making it a perfect beer and leer environment, even if your lungs and ears have to compete with the slight inconvenience of pollution from the ever busy Bártok Béla út…
Szatyor across the street has a sprawling ground floor with tables all ariot, while upstairs the seating is shared with a space for performances, exhibitions, and all the rest. As with Nevada it can get tricky to find seating around the weekend so be warned.
Whereas Nevada is a pub with grub on offer, Szatyor is a cafe with its own culinary aspirations. An offer of garlic soup followed by a Lángos was one of the lunchtime treats when I was visiting , and I tried it (poor students that afternoon), so while many may judge that as its downfall, it was most certainly for me its selling point. Like Nevada service in Szatyor never breeches the barrier between polite and friendly with smiles being somewhat a rare commodity.Maybe it’s the pressure, maybe it’s me, but especially in Szatyor’s case it seemed to be a little off-putting.
Another place worth mentioning is Moha which can be found farther down the street towards Gellért tér, and which is also inclined to entertainment beyond the food and drink on offer. As a place for breakfast it works, with ham and eggs amongst the choices, and there is an atmosphere which suggests something greater bubbling just beneath the surface. The grand piano in the corner may have something to do with it; my interest peaked. Of all the places I’ve mentioned it is the one place which I have not had the chance to sample evening time, so as to what to expect I can only fictionalise. A sign indicating a movie theatre hidden somewhere out of the morning’s grasp leads me to conclude that this place is aspiring to something bigger. As to whether it will achieve this, well, that remains to be seen, or will perhaps remain forever relative, because afterall, what is success? How can it be…blah blah blah.
That there are plenty more places to choose from goes without saying but to a man who has now got two children and too little time, such voyages of exploration are somewhat staggered, at least in comparison with what has gone before. These days memory must serve in place of accuracy, perhaps, and so I leave you to ponder and, if you wish, to contradict my words, for afterall, and in the end, there is no right nor wrong, just subjective truths:)



*UPDATE: Since writing this review I have been down that way again and found two changes, not to the locations but to the names.

Nevada is now Osztrák Söröző: https://www.facebook.com/osztrak


and Moha is The Rabbit and the Duck bar, with a great logo to boot.






Ah shur, tis Grand (The Grand Hostel)

Out of town but not out of town this private hostel sits on 2 major transport lines, the 61 tram, and the 29 bus. A ten minute walk, if you’re taking it easy, either side of these and you’ve got the 129 bus or the 5 bus. Apart from the 29 which takes you North to Óbuda and towards the Roman settlements, all others take you East or South towards the river, the castle, and the city centre.
A night bus passes by every hour and is accessible from a myriad of points throughout the city.
Beds are provided in dorms or private at prices which imply hostel, not gap year-Daddy’s wallet.
If on a brief visit then the city is your calling but if allowed a night or two to recuperate the hostel also provides its own entertainment with locals dropping in, and Peti the Proprietor is always willing to bang out a tune. Be warned: Peti’s got a good and varied taste in music which he may employ to keep you from your Zzzs. Your choice!;)



A Taste of Belgium in the City Park

I dedicate this to Rebecca, Zolsi, Sziki, and last but not least, Vivien. Who are they you may be asking: my friends, my past lovers, my colleagues, my acquaintances; My children!?
None of these things but special nonetheless. Here in my heart a place is kept just for them.
Let me tell you about Rebecca: she held my destiny in the Palm of her hands. Clear and sharp she set it and I embraced it. Zolsi offered a taste of the sweet, and I left cherry picking indulged in the nectare of a fruitful intervention.
Sziki’s cold gaze dissipated in a Brusselian whiteout, I was now most truly and fully immersed in the dolce vita. Even statues offered their own sense of relief.
Oft times the self proclaimed Cap’n, I was met upon the high seas by Vivien, daring me to engage. Not to be left floundering I set sail for the oceans of the mind and I’m still not sure when I’ll, if ever, return.
A mention I feel is necessary for Gyuri but I have no clue why. Did we meet in the shadows of my memory? And then there’s a place, not a person: the Liget Kocsma. Maybe Gyuri is the mad grinning stranger purveying such on the foamy side of life.
Now before you think that was that there was a moment when Gianni stood in horror, or intrigued, I can never tell, and was set on the path to perfect pizza. Sounds like the beginning of a good joke. An Irishman goes into an Italian pizzeria…

…and add the fact that I was coming from the Belgian beer festival and all would seem sensible, at least in some vein.


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A Stout Performance

A Stout Performance

If in Cork and in need of a dose of craft beers then why not try the PorterHouse, Sheare’s Street. Set in the Mardyke complex a little off dead centre it’s still on the run in from UCC and other noteworthy sights to see. A selection of food bits plus more a hungry soul will not find oneself abandoned, and for all those of the thirst quenching persuasion, even if craft isn’t your style, this is still a pub with all and sundry behind the bar.

For further details: http://www.porterhousebrewco.com/bars-cork-sheares.php


The Province of Taste ( Levendula )

Up in the 12th, a climb if you’re on for it, is where to find the lovely Levendula. An owner that’s renowned for his alcohol intake, and an interior that’s black, and maybe because of paint, this is one of those places that’s not pretty but is nearly perfect. You don’t come here for fine dining or for beer served up in a clean glass but if you’re one of those let the heights deter you. For the atmosphere adventurers there is something about this place, accessible by either 112 or 102 bus from the city, the former runs right the way through Pest while the latter comes up from Széll Kálmán tér to its terminus hereabouts before continuing on its loop around, and both stop just outside the door.
Its point, beyond the characters than adorn the place all year round, is the garden. A balmy spot offering shade on the hillside it is also only a few stops short of a fabulous viewpoint if one continues up along the 112 bus route.
Not a place for run-of-the-mill connoiseurs, it is certainly a place for off-the-beaten-track troubadours, and when you find it remember to tell your doubts:
I told you so!


Good Marketing

Good Marketing

Set away within the framework interior of the Lehel market building this Fancy* little Cafe has its general appeal. Below on the market floor, the raw meat, and fresh fruit and veg vies for purchase on the punters’ purse strings while on this floor in the environs, cheap clothes and shoes make promises in price that I know from experience they will not keep.

Never mind because if you’ve found yourself with time, maybe with shopping bags weighing you down, this little cafe offers hope in terms of well made coffee.

A polished affair of wood and brass inside, there are also the obligatory metal seats outside and whereas they may not offer the same luxuriant feel they are perched at the railing, overlooking the activities below.

Coffee is freshly ground here and can be bought by the bag as well as enjoyed in brew. Other beverages are also on offer, teas etc., and there are the compulsory marlenkas (layered cakes) on the counter. Sometimes there’s more, sometimes less, but it is a place to pass a while, the atmosphere within the shell of Lehel market building, abounding.




A taste of Italy

A taste of Italy

A lunchtime menu attracted me to this place seeing as its reputation precedes it in terms of price. And yes, while the main courses begin in the high 2000s and soar it’s the drink that’ll catch you. The only red in glass is a generous 650huf per “deci” (100ml/10cl) while the water is even pricier. Still, prepared for that, I wanted to enjoy this. Then what of it?

The place is pristine and service implied. The only fault early on was a horrible buzzing made by the air-conditioning. It was turned off on request, if somewhat reluctantly. Silver trays serve as place mats and the whole thing is too Upstairs-Downstairs (or Downton Abbey) for my liking. The cutlery is set up with the intention of being worked through, and the serviettes are folded and propped. Not a place I’d bring my daughter – the bull in the china shop image prevails, though the rebel heart would almost delight.

I imagine regaling her future husband with what may, or may not, be an embarrassing story. If she’s truly my daughter she wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Beneath her such finery would be, but not beneath me it would seem.

The waiter was a friendly chap, verging on a professional courtesy, but he engaged, held eye-contact, and played his part unobtrusively. He knew we were there for the menu!

Coming then to the food. On first impressions I saw only average – presentation aside – and in taste I felt that while competitive, it wasn’t high end as the prices would suggest. Okay so I had the menu of minestrone soup, a main course with pork, fried potatoes, and a ragu sauce, which could explain the simplicity, but my partner’s pasta, while certainly tasty, was only that. In fact it was the sauce that saved it. Maybe we were expecting too much, but it seemed overly simple considering the prices. That the ingredients are fresh is a given – this is the stronger selling point, I imagine, and on this note I’d have to conclude that overall it was worth the experience.

Nevertheless I do, with bias, think Andi could have made as good, if not a better, job at home. And perhaps this is not really a criticism as it is in Italian culture to love home-cooking anyway.

Finally, dessert was a caramel cream pudding with an alcohol twist. Tasty but the chocolate sauce was too buttery. Ahh, what the heck! A good destination for the menu but if intent on good Italian food in the city I suspect there could be better.



Baby Petanque

All you need for this game is a baby, preferably at a younger age (more on that later), a set of eight balls (note plastic or sponge are more advisable: more on that later too), 2-4 players, and weather permitting, a garden

Played much like the normal game of petanque, boules, petanca, or whatever name you go by, baby petanque has one minor difference. Instead of using the cochonnet, or jack, a baby is used.


Another discreet difference is that baby petanque is not confined to the outdoors, unlike the original, although I’m sure there are venues outside of the sunny Mediterranean region where lovers of the sport have adapted this too.

Overall the goal is very much the same with the player who lands their ball closest to the baby being the winner. This is why a younger baby is more suitable unless you feel like upping the stakes and playing a more challenging game of baby petanque, clueing in the factors of baby movement, and ball disturbance. For further information on baby movement and stakes purchase visit our official (non-existent) website Just Kiddin’ .

Now concerning the material of the ball: apart from damaging a tile floor if played indoors metal balls also hold the risk of harming the baby!

One last factor. A line is drawn at a minimum distance of ten feet from the stationary baby and it remains the constant starting point to which players have to return to after each round as, in contrast to normal petanque where the cochonnet is thrown back from whence the players have come, it is not advisable to go throwing baby around – however much you may be tempted sometimes!

As with all sports for active and imaginative parents the primary goal is to have some fun.

Everything else will be just a matter of happenstance and babychance.




Baby-driven yoga

In the early months I can remember Andi suggesting that we copy everything that Tara did as she lay on her back on the bed between us. Lying flat on our backs and holding our legs out and up at a 45° angle for more than 10 seconds was pressing, more than 20 was testing, more than 30…well who am I kidding, but little Tara could hold them up there in that position for far longer, bring them back down and raise them again. We endeavoured to mimic her as best we could and, well, it was from this that an idea of baby-driven yoga was spawned. Now let me be clear about this. When it was formulated I was under the impression that two great minds, Andi’s and mine, were at work but as it later turned out Libero had got the jump on us by some years. In fact, it is quite possible that Andi had seen the advert herself and had been inspired by the trace memories. She’s in the business afterall.

Well it all came to pass that during a class with a particular student the topic came up of baby-driven activities and I mentioned the yoga idea. Imagine the horror when I learnt that the concept had already existed! Imagine the thoughts of conspiracy as I had in the earlier days of Tara been teaching a woman from the SCA marketing department. Storming home that evening the winds of fury driving me along I poured out my fears of betrayal, and such, to Andi. “Relax,” Andi proffered “that ad’s been out for longer than Tara’s been around.” So matter of factly! But nobody told me. The fury became a pout and I sulked off into an evening beer…and began to dream again of schemes and things.

Comment: The activity itself of baby-driven yoga is actually a good fitness test, as are most activities concerning babies and young children. I can only imagine the older kids are more psychologically challenging but let’ wait and see.

In order to get the most benefit out of it one needs to do exactly what the baby does up to the point of reason of course. Babies are, by their nature, much more flexible than us adults so don’t push yourself into a contortion from which you can’t return!


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