AKA Big Pigeons, Tiny Ants
“I think the pigeons are bigger in Budapest!”, exclaims my mother.
She’s come to Budapest to visit, and we (myself, my mother, her husband Tony and Mila) are sitting outside a restaurant near the riverbank. My mother’s currently staring at a gang of medium sized pigeons which, as you've probably guessed, she thinks look big. Earlier today she told me that the ants look smaller.
The waiter approaches.
"What can I get you?" he asks in perfect English.
I’m confident that mother dearest is going to order a cup of tea as her bloodstream must now be running dangerously low on cup of tea levels (ie 20% blood, 80% tea). She’s even brought some emergency teabags with her to Budapest, just in case.
"Can I have the vegetable soup?" asks my mother.
"Goulash for me." says Tony.
"Egy nagy tál guyásleves és egy nagy pohár hazi vörös haj.” I say.
The waiter pauses for a moment to process my sentence. He looks a tad confused, but then seems to twig and wanders off.
"You speak very good Hungarian!" My mother says. "I'm very impressed!"
I smile proudly and decide not to mention the fact that I think I've just ordered a large glass of house red hair.
A few minutes later and our orders arrive. This is Mila's cue. Prior to this moment she's been quietly sitting, chewing on her toy giraffe and observing. Now however, she appears to be being burnt alive by invisible acid. She's either hungry or she's just realised that the wooly hat that my mother has knitted, is actually for her. I look around and sheepishly smile at the other diners. I take Mila out of her buggy and sit her on my knee, but it's no good. She's still wailing like her uncle was when he found out that they were cancelling Birds of a Feather..
"Maybe she'd like some vegetable soup?" suggests my mother.
"Hmmm." I say. "I'm not sure Zsuzsa will approve."
"AAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!" screams Mila.
"Give me the soup." I say and begin shoveling spoonfuls of the stuff down Mila's throat. The soup runs out yet Mila is still restless. A few additional spoonfuls of goulash however, seem to do the trick.
"Don't tell mummy." I whisper to Mila.
She looks at me as though I’m an idiot. “I can’t even speak you twat!” her face says. “How the bloody hell am I going to tell Mummy!?”
I begin attempting to eat my goulash with Mila on my knee, although her grasping, little, soup loving baby hands are making things tricky.
"Do you want me to hold her while you eat?" asks Tony.
I throw Mila at him, pick up my soup bowl like a mug and begin gulping. Once the soup has been downed I then neck my glass of red wine (which thankfully doesn't appear to be that hairy).
In the meantime, Mila has found a bread bowl to play with and appears to be momentarily calm. I start to relax.
“Zsuzsa’s going to the ballet tomorrow.” I say.
“What’s she going to see?” asks Tony.
“Carmen Miranda?” asks Tony, and then roars with laughter. I laugh also, although I have no idea what we’re laughing at.
“Maybe.” I mutter under my breath, barely audible.
We leave the restaurant and begin our journey home.
We are walking past a backdrop of the Danube and Buda Castle. My mother gets her camera phone out.
“Could you just go and stand over there?” she asks. “I just want it to look like we’re having lots of fun.”
My aunt is also on holiday at the moment. My mother is determined to show her that we are having more fun than she is. She takes the photo and we walk on.
“I think the buildings are taller here.” says my mother.
“I think it’s because you don’t usually look up.” says Tony.
“I do usually look up!”
“Hmmm.” says Tony.
We walk on towards my flat. Mila has fallen asleep. I’m secretly Googling Carmen Miranda.
“I quite fancy a cup of tea” says my mother.
There you go.