Day 119 - Carry on Budapest

Carry on Budapest

Alas I didn't take a photo of the old man in pants, so this image of Mila trying to act cool will have to do.

Alas I didn't take a photo of the old man in pants, so this image of Mila trying to act cool will have to do.

There's an old man standing in our flat in his underpants.

It's our neighbour.  He rang the doorbell a few moments ago and when I opened it the scantily clad gent invited himself in.  He’s trying to say something to me in English, but struggling to find the words.  I think he’s asking if the noise from a neighbouring flat is bothering us, but to be honest, the only thing that’s bothering me at this precise moment in time is the old man standing in my flat in just his underpants and an open, extravagantly multi-coloured overcoat.  He looks like Joseph from Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, if Joseph had recently divorced, lost his job and then turned to the bottle for comfort.    

“Maybe, best if I speak to Zsuzsa?” he says.  “I struggle for the English”.

Zsuzsa, you may well remember, is the artist formerly known as 'wife'.

“Zsuzsa!” I bellow.  "Our neighbour is standing in our flat in just his pants.  Help me!" I want to add.  

Then I remember.  Zsuzsa is in her underwear in our spare bedroom and our spare bedroom is only a few yards away from our erotically dressed neighbour.  She’s trapped!  I block our neighbour’s path to prevent him getting an eyeful of wife while I try and work out a plan.  Moments later though and Zsuzsa confidently appears.  She’s wearing a large ski jacket (the only thing to hand).  She walks up to our neighbour and I leave them to it.  Just two people having a chat about a nearby, Austrian oboe player.  One wearing saggy white underpants and a coat made from the skin of butchered teletubbies, and the other a ski jacket in a sweltering hot flat.  

I then have an idea.  This morning we read that Mila is now at the age where she should begin to laugh.  On reading this we spent the day tickling her feet, doing silly dances, flaring our nostrils and making funny noises.  Alas we haven't even managed to raise so much as a snigger.  We're disappointed, but also relieved that this means that Mila probably isn't a Daily Star reader.  But maybe the unusual sight of an old man in pants will make Mila giggle!  I fetch our baby girl and show her the old man in pants.  Mila just stares at him and frowns.  

The following morning and Zsuzsa has left me alone with our sleeping cub.  I’m very proud of myself as I’ve been ultra productive while Mila sleeps.  I’ve been beavering away with a work project and I’ve also done some rigorous exercise. 

I’m about to jump in the shower when I hear something.  A baby cry.  Fudgenuts!  I eventually decide to solve this crying baby, stinky body conundrum by bringing Mila’s play mat into the bathroom so that I can keep an eye on her while I shower.  I plonk Mila down on the floor, switch on the shower, let my dressing gown drop and I’m about to step in to the steamy hot water when I hear a noise that I haven’t heard before.  It’s a laugh.  A baby laugh.  My baby’s laugh.

I turn to Mila to see what on earth could be so funny.  What could it be?  One of her cuddly toys?  A strange sound?  Has she just discovered her own feet?  None of the above.  It’s Daddy’s ‘bits’.  She has suddenly decided that Daddy’s ‘bits’ are hilarious.  Brilliant.

“Ok, Mila.  You can stop your giggling now.”

But Mila is having none of it.  Her little baby face is contorted with hilarity.  It’s apparently the funniest thing that she’s ever seen in all of her nine weeks on Earth.

I point my baby in the other direction, continue with my self conscious shower and reminisce about those halcyon days before Mila learnt to laugh.

 

Day 1 - Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Blending in with the natives

Blending in with the natives

It’s my first full day in Budapest.  I wake up, the sun is shining.  Yes!  Take that UK!  Shove your erratic weather right up your rainy anus!  My heavily pregnant Hungarian wife, who at this late stage of pregnancy is beginning to resemble a pregnant guppy, is in the kitchen making coffee.  I step out on to our little, but delightful balcony, survey the scenic Buda hills, take a great big contented breath of Buda air, and then it hits me.  Bloody hell, it’s hot!  Very hot.  I immediately make a calculated decision that it’s too hot for pants and this, obviously, makes me happy.

The wife

The wife

“Morning honey”, my miniature wife beams, waddles over wth her big fat belly full of baby, and hands me a piece of paper with an unusual number of ‘Zs’ on it.  I look at the paper, puzzled.  “This is your list of challenges for the morning”.  Have I woken up in The Crystal Maze?  As wondrous as that sounds, alas the answer is no.  I’ve been given a number of ‘The Apprentice’ style challenges to complete, assuming of course, that it was an episode of ‘The Apprentice’ where they were challenged to go and buy nectarines.  The thing about me, probably one of your favourite bits about me actually, is that I’m bloody brave.

“I accept your challenge!  I will buy you fruit!”

And so off I trot, to the wild plains of Buda, a warrior in flip flops, armed only with a piece of paper covered in ‘Zs’ and a mobile phone with a dodgy reception.  Shortly after stepping outside I notice something unusual about my hair.  It has become apparent that my hair and the Hungarian climate are an unusual, dare I say it, heady mix.  Back in dear old Blighty my hair is slightly wavy, but nothing too extravagant.  However, after a little under five minutes in the mid thirty, Hungarian heat, my hair has decided enough is enough and is making a play to become exceedingly extravagant.  My hair has turned in to Liberace.  Suddenly I’m a white man with an afro, or so it feels.  I need too check this bad boy out before meeting my friendly local greengrocer who I’m sure, even before meeting him, is called Laszlo.  

Being the eagle eyed swine that we both know that I am, I spot a darkened car window just a few metres ahead and on the other side of the road.  Bingo!  I momentarily wonder if there are Bingo halls in Budapest and then flip flop over to the car, looking around to avoid appearing like a preening, vain peacock wearing a David Hasselhoff wig.  With the coast seemingly clear I peer in to the dark, back seat window and begin inspecting the damage.  Verging on a code red, curly hair disaster, but I can manage this.  With a bit of spit and a fleshy five pronged comb I can tame this frantic beast.  And so I set to work.  

You know how when you’re in a lit room and the lights go out, and for a few moments everything is pitch black, but then gradually, your eyes adjust and you start to make out shapes?  Well the same is actually true for darkened car windows.  I’m leaning right in, staring so intently at my own reflection that I can count my own pores, when something moves.  It’s in the car.  I adjust my gaze slightly and then lean in further to inspect the movement.  What I see chills me to the core.  There’s somebody starring back at me.  A pair of eyes.  A startled pair of eyes.  A startled pair of female eyes.  A mother’s eyes.  A breastfeeding mother’s eyes!  I am staring intently at a breastfeeding mother, discreetly, feeding her tiny baby.  Oh, the horror!  And yet I’m still staring, like a rabbit caught in the headlights!  Must…stop…staring!  The expression on the woman seems to be changing.  Anger is replacing fear!  I do the only sensible thing that I can do.  With all of the blood drained from my face like a piece of halal meat, I mutter the words “sorry” under my breath, turn and hurriedly canter away, flip flops clopping like a mule.

Back in the safety of the flat, moments later, I tell my wife the bad news.  “All out of fruit sorry honey”.  The streets of Buda are fraught with peril.  The next twelve months could be dangerous.