Friday, 29 May 2009

Heavy Handed (footed) Police Swoop on Vegetable Sellers in Underground

This is a common occurance. People set up temporary, illegal stalls in tube stations.
Someone informs on them and the police come in battalions, take names and confiscate the goods.
Haller 27.06.09

ps. the traders were back the next day!

pps. havin difficulty getting the hang of uploading stuff backwards !!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Shaking a Leg at the FMK

This is for all of you coming to Ben and Krisztina's wedding on 4th of July.
Look and learn - you will be expected to have reached this standard by then!

The video is taking too long to upload - will have to find a different way of doing it-until then here is the first frame!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Haller Neighbourhood

Showroom Camping !

Relaxing at Work!

Antonio and Tiziana with Lula and Cissy (Princess)

Walter and his Wife, from Zurich

Unimog,The Ultimate Outfit! What is Am plotting with those scissors?

Plane Tree. We are located underneath this beautiful tree inhabited by birds, bugs and bats.

Sky Bike

Sleeping Rough

Local Supermarket. Good bottle of Muscat 70 pence !

Man Descending a Staircase

City Balcony on Haller utca

Cardiac Hospital next door. Sirens day and night! Not far to go in an emergency!

Friday 22nd May

Antonio, Tiziana, Lula and Cissy, our lovely Italian neighbours made us delicious linguine and pomodoro for supper last night. Calabrian speciality bread and salami,sun dried tomatoes and parmesan to start! They are our neighbours to the left. To the right are a couple from Zurich and opposite a couple from Denmark although he is originally American.(we call him the Reverend because he makes friends with everyone, wears a tie on Sunday and his number plate begins RV)
Tiziana looked over our van this morning and said 'piccolo! but it has everything necessary'
Our solar panel is causing a stir amongst several men who look it over admiringly and tell us at length all about their attempts to solar power their vans (which all hook up to the mains) but ofcourse it's still far too expensive!

Friday, 22 May 2009

Run Rabbit Run

Woods near Roth, Bavaria

May Tree on the main square in Grein on the Danube

Grein Municipal Theatre - the oldest in Austria 1791 - it is said that Napoleon sat in the box on the right.

A rare treat for you all - Tina & Am 'in drag'

The Danube fron Greinburg Castle, still in the possesion of the Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha (Prince Albert's family 1840 m. Queen Victoria)

Bakery, Spitz, Wachau, Austria

Beneath Vienna - following in the footsteps of the Third Man

Field near Balaton

Ripening Almonds (for Susie)

The Gnome of Paloznak, above Lake Balaton

Our office in sunny Budapest

'.... eet doesn't start very well' the lady on the end of the rescue service phone said but we are underway again and all we needed was a bolt - the mechanic in Workington somehow managed to loose one - all that chatting to his mates.
As we are leaving Jabbeke we catch a glimpse of a bright green field full of red and blue rabbits. Surreal - we are reminded of an incident the night before as we were arriving in the aforementioned place tired, bleary eyed and concerned about the van. Running towards us in the middle of the road was a lop eared rabbit chased by a crowd of teenage girls oblivious to all save the rabbit. Am reminded us that in the Native American Animal Cards the Rabbit symbolises fear. Oh! Oh!
Later we stop at a new motorway service 'pod' and low and behold the daily special is rabbit fricase!
There are too many rabbits in Belgiun for our liking.
Later still, we get to the Rein side camping at Meerbusch. The sun is warm and after a couple of litres of the local draught pils the rabbits are getting considerably smaller - reduced to a handful of babies lolling about on the grass in the park platz. (for yellow eyed Jane)

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Snap Happy!

The Lokals sitting out in the evening sun Hidegkut near Lake Balaton 18th May

Wiener Schnitzel, Maria Ellend, Austria on the Roman Wine Road Carnuntum 18th May

1000 miles from Cardiff

A sink friend at Roth

Friday night, 15th May. Peaceful camp in the woods by a lake near Roth, Bavaria. Here the beer was a gorgeous 11% knockout. slept beautifully!

The other bank of the Rhein after having crossed the following day. Near Dusseldorf.
Asparagus Peeler in action - it's in season - delicious!

The Rhein Ferry at Meerbusch
On the banks of the Rhein

'Pillow' the pride and joy of her retired parents lives on the campsite.

13th May, in Jabbeke. Helle, the Belgian AA man fits a new bolt to the alternator and charges us 1 Euro!
The very empathetic lady on the AA phone said 'you 'av zee age ...' she meant the van of course which is 11!

Ferry in the Mist - Channel crossing 18.30 12th May

Iris and Kitty checking out the facilities.

Budapest At Last!

We arrived on Tuesday tired and hot - it's 30C here!
Sorry for the long delay between posts but we were not connected up.
Hope to do better now.
What follows is a series of photos to give a flavour of the journey 1500 miles long - there is a lot more to come - stay with us and please contribute.
The astute ones amongst you will have noticed that the sequence of photos is back to front .... just to fox you .... you are lucky it isn't all in Hungarian!!!

Friday, 8 May 2009

Romani Tales

Tina and Roma with Bear, Near Obrovac, Yugoslavia 1988

Mami, Annemarie and Roma Children, Duisburg am Rhein April 1991

Romani Tales

4 days ‘till liftoff !

Just a few days ago we received the latest educational production, from the Romani Project at the School of Languages, Linguistics, & Cultures, Manchester University, a DVD-ROM called ‘Romani Tales,’ It is really interesting, FREE and follows in the wake of their previous (also excellent) interactive journey to the Romani Language (2007)
‘… its aim is to promote awareness of Romani culture and its diversity across the communities of Roms, Gypsies and Travellers in the UK and across Europe. Young people are invited to follow the narratives of Romani people from ten different countries who share with us their thoughts about work, school, marriage and traditions. They can listen to people’s attitudes to Romani people and are prompted to reflect on their own attitudes. Those who know some Romani can follow the narratives in the original sound, as told by the speakers’ says Professor Yaron Matras, the project coordinator.

It is surprising how little people, know about Gypsies and what they do know almost always conforms to the stereotypical view.
Very few people seem to have actually met any Gypsies in situations other than doorstop encounters where they were selling something or at the movies where they are generally portrayed as degraded characters.

This is one of the reasons why we are making this journey … to try to unhinge the stereotypes.

I wonder if my brothers (thank you for your posts) or nephews have come across Ricardo Quaresma of Inter Milan ? He’s a fantastic football player apparently – he’s also a Gypsy.
Marli, the Portuguese bartender in Manchester on the Romani Tales DVD tells us about Quaresma and informs us that Gypsies are colourful, landless but culturally interesting and although they are associated with poverty they are also associated with great richness.
He also recommends ‘Gogol Bordello’ – a Gypsy Punk Band – if you havn’t heard them you are really missing something …. ‘utza, utza, utza !’ (phonetic)
Cheers Marli.

Sunday, 3 May 2009


First Breakfast ... eggy bread ... yummy

Christo was here !

9 days to go.

Everything is ready …we just have to pack the van. We did a dry run on Friday so we know that the gear will all fit in its appointed places but it is quite tricky. The tripod was awkward because of its shape and sticky out bits – eventually we decided that the only place it could go is in the ‘dead space’ behind the passenger seat. In fact rather a lot of things have ended up there – can only hope it’s big enough to accommodate them all.
The van has been the job of work. Finding it, converting to a camper and preparing it for a major road trip has been ongoing for the last year. Things have not always gone smoothly. For example, don’t take your van for its MOT on a Friday 13th – it’s just asking for trouble – in our case £300 worth of welding underneath. What was galling was that we had it looked over before we bought it but 6 months later the same mechanic decides it needs all this work … Transits are known for it … so he says. Did we buy a rust bucket? We will soon know.
To discover its foibles we took it on a test run at Easter to meet the family in the Lake District. We had a couple of problems. We parked up at the campsite in the field where we parked last year but the Transit is much heavier than the caravan so we sank into the grass and got stuck straight away. No one batted an eyelid … I grabbed the first bloke I saw …he went off, came back with a 4x4 and towed us off so the first night we perched on the only bit of hard standing we could find, right by the entrance … in everybody’s way. With the beautiful weather that followed, the field soon dried out and we were able to go on and off easily and try out the new awning that attaches to the side door and gives us an additional 3x2.5 meter extension to our living quarters. It was more complicated to erect than the instructions said but it’ll be easier next time. Its’ light and opens right up – a really useful bit of kit – quite a luxurious extra room.
We had a couple of mechanical failures to deal with too. Two at once. One – a thing called a relay. The indicators packed up – a fuse perhaps? Chris, an extreme canoeist staying on the campsite with us, left his wife, the comfort of his beanbag infront of the bar-b-q and pint-pot-of-wine in hand, prezel torch on head, came to our rescue.
We didn’t even know where the fuses are located. Chris did. He went through every single one and then decided it was relay such and such and we could get one in any Halfords. Phew. The second thing was a bit more complicated. An orange light was illuminating on the dashboard. It could be one of two things or if we were really unlucky – both. Battery or alternator said Chris. Bank Holiday Monday … no mechanics working – what a to do. It turned out to be the alternator, we found a parts shop in Workington and they knew a garage to fit it … just like that … but ofcourse it cost another £150 quid.
Teething troubles – let’s hope. Tomorrow we are taking van to Brecon to see Gwen and Helma, over from Holland … walking in the Beacons … sure we’ll be fine. We’ve got breakdown cover now.
And that was a saga. European Breakdown cover for longer than 90 days. The only people who do it are the AA … but it costs – ouch! Poor Annemarie was on it for a whole day and a half but she got us there in the end … at a price.