Sunday, December 13, 2009

Accentuate the Positive

I've decided that there's been a bit too much smut and degeneration on this blog of late and I feel it's time to emphasise the positive, to post something nice... and so here's my seasonal 7 without sin:

#7 Buffalo Milk: A diminuative Hungarian lady brings many litres of this, plus buffalo sour cream, in from her village once a week and sells it (illegally, now we're in the EU) in my wife's hospital. Not only do I admire her enterprize, her strength and her refusal to wear anything but her traditional costume at all times, but it is also the creamiest you will ever taste - no going back to gold-top after that.

#6 Hat Wearing: Country folk in Romania have the most wonderful array of whacky hats (a whole blog post in itself), each region having it's own style; elderly townsmen favour a small trilby, beret or flat cap - my father-in-law has all three. I bought a beautiful charcoal grey, fur-felt, Sinatra tile for my wedding and wear it whenever it looks like rain; it makes me look either a dandy or a member of a religious cult - and as we Dilos are Primitive Methodists many may agree with that evaluation - but slightly less so than I would do in Blighty.

#5 Kittens: I promise this will be the last post that mentions our kittens... for a while. By the way, they got called Elvis (not sure which one of you won the naming competition) and Mitzi (yep, one of them was a girl). Here they are with our new friend Karen "The Kitten Whisperer", from New Zealand, who's been delighting us not only with her vowels but also her kitten psychology which has got 'em purring with a passion.

#4 My Garden: If you think the kittens have become boring, be warned that I've barely started going on about my garden :-) From the wasteland it was when we got this place it's now got natural stone paving, raised beds, exotic flowers, outlandish vegetables, and a rockery in the shape the Matterhorn (due to be extended into the whole Alpine range in the spring).

#3 British Comedy: I pine for this, and it makes me proud to be British, but these days BBC Entertainment (née Prime) mainly serves up a diet of The Weakest Link, EastEnders and other such slack-jawed tosh. But there are still flickers of comedy greatness, and best of all is when The Missus gets it too. She's a huge fan of Del Boy (who speaks directly to all Eastern Europeans regardless of their nationality), and adores Richard Ayoade in The IT Crowd. Excellent. Now I have a new hero, Omid Djalili, and am trying to convince her that this slobberingly elegant bastard Iranian love-child of Andre Agassi and Alexei Sayle is the new comic Messiah.

#2 Poetry: I'm a total ponce when it comes to poetry, but it serves me well. In my job I rarely have breaks and when I do I usually waste them trying to drag a conversation out of one of my colleagues. But, I keep a small collection of John Donne's love poems in my pocket at all times (I've also got Keats) and when I'm desparate I sit in the nearby graveyard and whip it out:

Oh doe not die, for I shall hate
All women so when you are gone,
That thee I shall not celebrate,
When I remember, thou wast one.

#1 You! Yes, dear reader. I seek not world-wide fame; a small, regular readership is ample satisfaction for me. You cannot image - though actually, when I think about it, you probably can - how much joy I get from people's comments, and from the fact that (I dare to think) I could now probably post a picture of a dog turd and still get them in double figures, so thank you, thank you for your kindnesses, thank you for bearing with me, and thank you most of all for being you.


Gorilla Bananas said...

That woman is the mother of all babushkas. Is there a Romanian word for "babushka"? I'd just love to watch her milking her she-buffalo. Have you persuaded your kittens to rest on top of your head? Much better than a hat in my view.

Francis Sedgemore said...

"when I'm desparate I sit in the nearby graveyard and whip it out"

In Blighty such behaviour will get you at the very least an £80 on-the-spot fine from a subcontracted council litter pickeruper.

Madame DeFarge said...

Thank for raising the tone once more. I never knew they had buffalo in Romania. I am yet again enlightened. Do they wear hats too?

Kevin Musgrove said...

I retract my scorn at the Hairy Bikers' reference to buffalo mozzarella in their Romanian jaunt.

I'm so beguiled by the notion of an Antipodean kitten whisperer that I'm leaving all the double entendres in the naughty box.

Gaw said...

Your reciprocating loveliness overwhelms. More on hats please. I'm an inveterate hat fancier. They're not only more interesting than kittens, they provide an excellent use for their pelts.

No Good Boyo said...

These are all good things.

Back in Soviet Russia one of the few pleasures afforded the masses was a fine selection of fedoras. I wore one at the 1985 October Revolution Parade in Voronezh, during which I carried half of a barrer recommending that passers-by "Bring to Life the Decisions of the XVII Congress of the Communist Party of the USSR".

I recently saw a photograph of that moment, and was horrified to note my resemblance to the late Lavrenty Beria. Mrs Boyo thought I looked rather swish.

In Tashkent I was woken every morning by a woman bellowing "Qaymoq!" (cream) from her milk cart. I would yell back "Get on Top!", to little avail.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Bananas, there are several words (borrowed from different languages) they are used here for "babushka" ("babushka" being one of them). Karen could get the kittens on top of her head - they were like putty in her hands.

Francis, I'd have struck a bargain with the parky, reducing the fine to £40 and getting me his phone number into the bargain.

Madame, yes, though these are not yer original European Bison (though we have some of those, confined to reservations) but Asian water buffalo, brought here by the Crusaders, apparantly. Their huge horns preclude hat wearing.

Kevin, The Hairy Bikers quite liked Romania as I recall, thank heavens they weren't pretenţioşi. Our Kiwi Kitten Whisperer was lovely but has just now left on a train to Vienna.

Gaw, ah, great, another hat fan! I shall indeed post more on hats sometime in the future. Good idea about the kittens, for whenever we get bored of them.

Boyo, Lavrenty Beria?!?!! Airbrush yourself out of that photograph before anybody else recognises the simularity. That milk maid must have expected a few risque ripostes in her line of work, it's surely only natual.

Alice Scradcza said...

A dog turd photo is quite unecessary but I think your blog would be better to have good examples of Romanian welding. Some nice long fillet welds in steel or, even better, some good aluminium butt welds.

Camilla Jessop said...

I am concerned about anyone who sits in a graveyard and whips it out, as you say. There are private rooms and houses for that sort of thing.

Brit said...

It does a man good to take stock of his pleasures.

Alas, the joy of hat-wearing has always been an elusive mystery to me and will, I fear, ever remain so.

Lulu LaBonne said...

Ok - I said Elvis and claim half a prize, you can add it to my commission from your rent boy earnings.

I would like to see how you wear a hat Gadj - it's such a tricky thing too pull off - usually only older men manage it.

Gaw said...

Brit, going bald encourages an interest in hats, particularly during inclement weather. Are you that confident?

Ana said...

I definitely said Elvis, too, so I claim the other half. Ah poetry... I read a poem in the waiting room of my doctor's office last weekend in The New Yorker that made me cry. A hazard of poetry. But the nice thing about it is that you can, indeed, whip it out whenever you'd like... as often as you like. ;-)

Gadjo Dilo said...

Alice, and an aluminium butt weld you shall have! My father-in-law is an amateur welder, indeed almost an extreme welder, as in the extreme ironing sense.

Camilla, I'm sure you're right, I'm sure there probably are, but nothing is as thrilling as doing it outdoors.

Brit, true, very true. But have you never wanted to look like a Chigaco gangster, an elf, a Tyrolean huntsman... Isambard Kingdom Brunel??

Lulu, ok, half a kitten is on its way to you. (Only joking, kitten fans!) I can wear a hat and can indeed pull if off. Half my rent boy earnings are also on their way to you.

Gaw, we can work on him until he gives up and buys a Kangol Junior trainer beret, then help him to progress from there to the real thing.

Ana, ok, and the other half goes to you. Poetry can be very tear-jerking, I agree, and convenient, and value for money: let's keep this ourselves or they'll slap a special tax on it.

Brother Tobias said...

'And hat with hat again retaliate'. That's not you under it, is it? The garden looks great, as does the buffalo milk - although my attraction to the latter is coloured by my feeling that they are amongst the smelliest animals on earth.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Brother T, that is indeed me under it, on my way to get hitched as a matter of fact. Buffalo are quite smelly but only because they use the same room as both their lounge and their bathroom, give them more space and they'd be as clean as you or me!

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

As you will have no doubt seen during your jaunt to Ingerland, Mr Djalili was playing the part of Fagin in the current West End production of Oliver! Unfortunately he can no longer claim to be the world's only Iranian stand-up, since an attractive and funny lady called Shappi Khorsandi has started treading the boards. I have also enjoyed your posts Gadj, especially your musical treasure trove, and I look forward to more of the same in 2010. La Multi Ani si Un An Nou Fericit. (I hope that's right)