Monday, June 27, 2005


I have two jobs to do today.

Three or four minutes into the first one and I am jolted sharply out of my rather sonambulant post-awakening state by a sudden 'whoosh' and a rush of cold water splashing all over my mentionables and causing me to completely lose my place in the Elmore Leonard novel I keep in the throne room.

I react entirely in character and say, "Fuck". A lot.

A quick investigation of the cistern reveals it to be beyond all hope of repair so it is with an internal "Later" that I grab a coffee and head for the study to continue my content assessment job.

Three or four minutes into this one and...there is no 'whoosh', just an unresponsive screen and the inevitable realisation that my service provider has gone tits up again. Later having arrived much sooner than I thought it would, I test my ability to fit and install a new cistern by dismantling the old one. I turn off the stop cock and disconnect the flexible pipe. It flops limply, issuing a thin stream of water onto the bathroom floor. I have an incontinent stop cock. I go to fetch a bucket all the while wondering what the plumbing equivalent of prostate problems might be.

The cistern is now in kit form on the floor where I leave it while I check the PC and discover that the server is back up. I allow myself to be distracted for a while and do a quick blog hop. I see JonnyB has linked to me with the tag 'This man needs help' and I find myself in wholehearted agreement.

I can't quite summon up the will to carry on with the web site content stuff and decide to go to the cistern shop where I ask for a 'víz tartó' instead of 'tartály' and am met with blank stares all round. I am reminded of the time I was at the checkout in Tesco and asked for a tent (sátor) instead of a plastic bag (szatyor) and the time I asked an old girlfriend in front of a group of her friends whether or not she was still showering (zuhányozni) when I meant smoking (dohányozni).

The problem now is that, being a phoneticist, my pronunciation of Hungarian is such that I am often mistaken for a native and people don't make the linguistic assumptions they would normally when communicating with a foreigner. They expect semantic exactitude and suffer system lock when they do not get it. In the present case I am reduced to pointing and carefully enunciating, "One of those, please".

I make my purchase and hurry home with none of that feeling of warmth and excitement that is the usual result of having a recently bought package in the boot of one's car. I step out of the car and into dog shit. Not only that, but I also notice that she has been in search of cool ground and has decided that the freshly watered earth around our equally freshly planted green pepper plants would be ideal.

So it is no wonder that I feel just a trifle unfortunate as I kick off my shoes on the step and enter the house where I am greeted by Froggy and Idris.

 Posted by Hello

Suddenly I don't feel so unlucky after all.

And the new cistern? I'm just off for a quick void. I'll let you know.

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