I’m in a village in Hungary called Bógacs with my favourite wife. Mila is a half hour drive away with her grandparents and we are getting to know an old, beloved friend. A friend who goes by the name “Doing Bugger All.”
It’s funny as I didn’t actually realise how much I’d missed my old friend “Bugger”. I haven’t seen him for at least nineteen months. We’d planned to meet a few times during our wilderness period, but things have always got in the way. Things like paying the bills, life admin, warding off a threatening dad bod, cleaning up baby sick etc. But here he is, finally. And you know what? He looks good! Better than I ever remembered. And oh my god, Bugger smells terrific!
We actually nearly had to cancel this long over due rendezvous! We woke up on Wednesday morning, ready to fly to Budapest only to be confronted by a very spotty child.
“Fuck.” said Zsuzsa.
“Shit.” I’d replied.
But, after a mental day that involved taking Mila to the doctors, getting a prescription, losing the prescription, scouring the streets until I’d found the prescription, frantically packing, furiously working and aggressively taxi riding, we’d eventually made it on to the plane.
Incidentally, whilst on the plane Mila had forced an old lady next to us to eat a baby biscuit, staring at her and assertively saying “More! More!” like a tiny dictator until the biscuit was gone. The woman was reluctant, but powerless under her forceful baby ways.
“She’ll be running the country one day.” said Zsuzsa.
She’s probably right, although to be fair, I’m not sure which country. North Korea maybe.
Also, whilst on the plane Mila managed to skilfully place a snotty tissue on a sleeping man’s head. Zsuzsa and I both decided to ignore it and pretend it didn’t happen.
Anyway, back to Bugger All.
“Maybe it’s because your nostrils are so large. The wind rushes in too fast.” says Zsuzsa.
We are currently sitting in a Bógacs restaurant and Zsuzsa is attempting to diagnose why I often cough. It sometimes amazes me that she isn’t yet recognised as one of the greatest medical minds of the century. I mean she’s just so damn brave! Such a maverick! First it was popping a beef tomato on my toe to cure and ingrowing toenail, then it was ironing some cabbage and stuffing it down her bra to combat sore nipples. Now this. Up there with her most accomplished work. The Ferencz nostril ratio to wind force theorem.
The waiter brings the menus over.
Zsuzsa is about to ask him for an English menu, but I stop her.
“It’s okay honey. I can read it.” I say.
I begin reading the menu.
What is this gibberish!?
A few minutes later and the waiter reappears.
“Igen (yes)?” he says.
I’m panicking a little, but I see a word that I recognise, “marha”. That’s beef! I like beef. Everyone likes beef! Everyone except maybe vegans, but I’m pretty sure that they also, secretly like beef.
I point at it on the menu and grunt.
“And also uborkasaláta (cucumber salad).” I add, recognising another word from my time in Budapest.
The waiter looks at me like I’ve just shat on his carpet. He then shakes his head, turns to Zsuzsa and says something to her.
“He says that is not a good choice. It won’t go well with the beef cheek,”
What!? Who the hell does this joker think he is? Telling me what to choose! What will and won’t go with my beef! Does he not know that I’ve watched Masterchef several times? Actually he probably doesn’t. But anyway, naturally I’m outraged and I must convey this fury.
“Okay.” I say with a warm smile.
Ten minutes later and my meal is put in front of me.
Beef cheek and six donuts in gravy.
I stare at the food and then at Zsuzsa.
“Cow face and donuts.” I say flatly.
“You don’t like?” Zsuzsa replies.
“Um, I like cow face. I like donuts. I’ve just never seen them on the same plate before. And who the hell does this guy think he is that he can pair donuts with beef, but not cucumber salad!? Clearly insane!”
“Honey. Let it go. We’re free! Eat your cow face. Eat your donuts. Relax. Enjoy. Live a little, for tomorrow we will no longer be free.”
I look at my wise, medically challenged wife and I nod. She is right. This is our last meal of freedom for quite a while. Our last meal with our dear friend, Bugger. Why am I letting a waiter spoil it? I will eat my cow face and donuts, sip some wine and cherish the moment.
I tuck in, and you know what?
Donuts do not go with cow face.