Day 347 - Easy Riders, Raging Baby

AKA - Lake Cesspit

FRIDAY

We’ve just arrived at a lake on the Hungarian/Austria border that quite magnificently translates as Lake Cesspit.  The in-laws are with us and the plan is to hire three bikes between the five of us (the five includes baby Mila), and then spend the next three days making our way around the lake.  We hire the bikes and off we go, looking uncannily like an alternate reality Goonies.  Zsuzsa has elected to drive today so it’s just me, the in-laws and a baby.

The scenery is spectacular and as I mend my merry way through the Austrian countryside I can’t help but feel like I’m in the film Easy Rider.  I’m playing Peter Fonda and naturally, Mila is Dennis Hopper.  You don’t need me to tell you that the mother in law is obviously Jack Nicholson.

SATURDAY

We’re staying in a lovely little rustic motel/vineyard just over the Hungarian border.  It’s three in the morning and Mila is wailing like a banshee.   Alas, it’s my turn to deal with her and Zsuzsa’s turn to pretend to be asleep.  With Mila screaming as though she were on fire, I decide to change her nappy.  I put her down on the spare bed, turn on my phone torch, remove her nappy and then fumble around in a vain attempt to put a fresh nappy on her pink little butt.  Mila is refusing to play ball and is howling and rolling around on the bed like a South American footballer following a rogue gust of wind.  I’m exasperated.  I’m tired.  I’m also naked by the way.  Suddenly the door to the hotel room opens and in walks the mother in-law to help calm my distressed baby.  Did I mention I was naked?  I’m also surprised as I thought our door was locked.  The mother in-law sees me and continues with her relentless advance.  What the devil is she doing!?  I then notice that she doesn’t have her glasses on and is yet to realise that the only thing I’m wearing is a look of utter despair.  I do the only thing that I can do and dive for cover behind the bed.  Luckily, Zsuzsa intervenes and shepherds her mother out of the room like a trusty, old sheep dog. 

It’s now the following morning.  It’s my turn to drive and we’ve agreed to regroup in an hour or so in the next village.  Mila’s fast asleep in the back of the car as we approach the Austrian border.  I notice border police stopping cars and get a familiar feeling.  It’s the same feeling that I get every time I walk through the “Nothing to Declare” section at airports.  Namely, the feeling that I am coming across like a heroin smuggler.  Every time I try and appear as un-heroin smuggler-like as possible, but in my head I’m exuding heroin-smuggler-ness.  Now, as I approach the border police, I’m trying desperately to not look like a child snatcher!  I pull to a stop and the border policeman’s mirror tinted face glares in.  I smile at him, probably in the exact style of a child snatcher.  He waves me through and I breath a sigh of relief.

Twenty minutes later and I’ve reached a village called Rust, parked in a street called Seekanal and I'm awaiting the cyclist’s arrival.  At least I hope that’s the street name rather than some kind of designated activity area.  After a full day of cycling yesterday, I’m a little sore, and that’s pretty much the last thing I’m seeking right now if truth be told.

Absolute gangsters

Absolute gangsters

SUNDAY

The final leg of our cycling adventure.  We spent last night in a spa-hotel and we’re now sitting in a lovely little pop-up cafe/bar in the middle of a vineyard.  The temperature is in the mid-thirties so we’ve found a little shade to cool ourselves while we quench our thirst with white wine spritzer.  

“Mila had five poohs today!” Zsuzsa proudly announces.  “Two before breakfast!  Just like her Daddy!”

Naturally both Mila and I are furious with her mother’s loose tongue.  I’m internally debating how to deal with her, when Mila takes the bull by the horns.  She reaches out, grabs her mother’s drink and pours it away.  Unfortunately for me the majority goes over my crotch.  My hands and my clothes are drenched.  I sigh and then turn to face the sun in an attempt to dry off.  Out of the corner of my eye I notice the father in-law watching me.  I turn to him and he smiles.

“Foreskin.” he says.

“Uh.”  I reply.

“White wine.  Good for skin.”

“Oh.  Is it?” I say.

I have to admit, I'm a little relived.

A few hours later and our cycling adventure is over.  We’re all tired and sore, and as we head back to Budapest I’m remembering when I used to (try) to play the guitar.  After a while the skin on the tips of my fingers became hard and tough to deal with the constant strumming.  As I nurse my sore bottom I can’t help but wonder if cyclists experience a similar phenomena.  I mean, do all professional cyclists have very tough butt skin?  Don't pretend that it’s something that you’ve never pondered.   

That's all folks!

That's all folks!

Day 222 - The Shit Storm

"Run for your lives!  There's a shit cloud coming!"

My little ladies.  One slightly shittier than the other.

My little ladies.  One slightly shittier than the other.

Mila, if you’re reading this from the future, I apologise.  Perhaps someone has dredged this up on your wedding day and decided to embarrass you.  Perhaps that someone is me!  To be fair it does sound like something I would do, and in that case I apologise again, but this week you’ve had diarrhoea.  A lot of diarrhoea.  Basically our week has been a huge tsunami of baby shit from start to finish and it all came out of your little baby butt.

It started just before we went away for a few days.  I’m not at home, but I get a WhatsApp message rom Zsuzsa…

“She just had a Niagara Falls of poo!”

I put two and two together and decide that Zsuzsa’s talking about Mila, not her mother who she’d been speaking to earlier.

We’d planned to go away for a few days to visit the in-laws, and despite our worry that this is just the beginning of a vicious assault on our senses, we decide to stick to our plans.

Feeling very sorry for herself

Feeling very sorry for herself

A few shit filled days later and we return home.  It hits us instantly.  A wall of stench.

“What the hell is that smell!?” asks Zsuzsa.

“Smells like someones shat in our radiators!” I gasp.

“There must be a rogue shitty nappy somewhere in the flat.” Zsuzsa deduces.

And so we set to work.  We search every nook and cranny of the flat.  I’m surprised as I previously didn’t realise how many nooks that our flat had.  I've often suspected that our flat had more than its fair share of crannies, but not so many nooks.  We search for about half an hour, find nothing, and eventually give up.  We are beginning to accept that we will always live in a bog of eternal stench, but we’re hoping that eventually, we will become accustomed to the smell.  Dinner parties might be a hard sell though.

The next day, I escape from our cloud of shit particles and head to the office.  A few hours later and I get another WhatsApp message from Zsuzsa…

“Her little bum is red and sore and her tummy is still upset.  I’m using a camomile tea infused Muslim to wipe her butt.”

I’m guessing the Muslim is probably equally as upset as Mila’s tummy is, perhaps even more so.  Zsuzsa will later accuse autocorrect, saying that she meant muslin (cloth), but I have my doubts.  I’m blaming Donald Trump.

It’s now Friday.  We eventually found the rogue nappy (hiding in the bathroom bin).  Mila is supposed to have a swimming lesson and to be fair her shit festival appears to be coming to an end, but just to be safe we decide to give swimming a miss.  Instead, like some kind of wild, rock n’ roll rebel, I’ve decided to pop Mila into her buggy and visit the local shopping centre to buy a pepper grinder.

Feeling like Iggy Pop I'm now in a kitchen utensil shop looking for pepper grinders, but something catches my eye.  It’s a massive glass piggy bank.  I instantly decide that this is what is missing from my life.  This is the item to complete our joyous existence.  I pick the piggy bank up, pop it under my arm and head towards the counter.  Being the conscientious Dad that I am, I look in the buggy to check on our little shitty cub.  A glassy eyed, motionless baby face stares back at me.  I look closer.  Still no movement.  My heart begins to pound.  I wave my free hand back and forth, millimetres from her face.  Nothing.  

“Oh my God!  Mila!”

I’m panicking.   With my free hand I slap her chubby little baby cheeks a few times.  Mila turns and looks at me, a look of shock on her face.  She had for some reason unbeknownst to me, decided to fall asleep with her eyes wide open.  I was gentle with my slapping, but her expression tells me that this was not how she wanted to be roused from her slumber.    

Mila and a pig shaped witness

Mila and a pig shaped witness

So, if you happened to be in a kitchen utensil shop in Budapest on Friday morning and saw a man, holding a massive piggy bank with one hand, whilst frantically slapping a baby with his other, that was me.

And Mila, I apologise again, this time for waking you up by slapping your little baby face, but now it’s time for you to apologise.  You need to apologise for sending me in to a blind panic by sleeping with your goddamn eyes open in a kitchen utensil shop in Budapest on January 27th, 2017!  Who the hell does that!? 

Happy wedding day by the way.  Enjoy the rest of 2046.

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 110 - Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation

The Wife and I

The Wife and I

I’m sitting in a waiting room, waiting for a business meeting.  After a few minutes, the lady who I’m meeting appears at the door with a beaming smile.

“Hi.  I’m sorry, but I won’t be giving you any pussy today.  I’m a bit sick”. she says.

I’m now worried that I’ve misread the agenda.  I mean I’m all for being friendly, but that’s the kind of greeting that you rarely get, even in Essex.  I’m also not sure that my wife would approve.  She’s funny like that.

The meeting runs its course, and true to her word, I am given no pussy.  Not even a little bit!

An hour or so later and I’m on the phone to my wife, recounting the tale of the friendly greeting.

“She mean’t ‘puszi'!  It’s Hungarian for kiss!” she explains.

“So it’s not a Hungarian custom?” I ask.

“This isn’t Ancient Rome!”

"And you're absolutely positive it isn't to do with the fact that I'm having a really good hair day today?"

"She meant 'kiss'!"

I’m relieved as I have a few other business meetings scheduled for the next few days, one with a fairly elderly gentleman who smells of tinned spam.

“That’s a very funny misunderstanding” I say.  “It’s definitely going in my blog.”

“Don’t put it in your blog!” my wife says.  “If she reads it she will be mortified.”

Later that evening my wife has a look on her face that suggests that something is wrong.

“What’s wrong?” I ask.

“Nothing.” she replies.

Shit.  This mean’s something is definitely wrong.

I prod and poke her until she eventually caves.

“You know your blog?” she says.

“I’m aware of said blog” I reply.

“How come you only ever refer to me as ‘wife’?” my wife says.  “Everyone else has a name.  Mila has a name.  You have a name.  I’m just ‘wife’.”

“I don’t know.”  I say.  “I think I just called you wife in the first one and then continued to run with it.  Would you like me to name and shame you?”

“I want a name.” my wife says adamantly.

It’s later that evening and Mila is having one of those nights.  We can’t stop her crying for love nor money.  My wife’s well appears to be running dry and not even the trusty old dancing to AC/DC trick appears to be working.  

We try the dummy, but she keeps spitting it out.  As a side note, why don’t they make dummies with elastic face bands?  If they're good enough for party hats.  By the way, you can have that one for free.  I’ll keep an eye out for you next year on Dragon’s Den.

After several hours of nursing, comforting and "shushing", my wife eventually gets Mila off to sleep.  I sneak in to the bedroom where they’re both lying.  A lullaby is playing.  It's a lullaby that we've heard thousands of times over the last few months, and it’s starting to make me want to eat my own feet, just to take my mind of it. 

"Shall I change the music?" I ask with pleading eyes.

"As long as it's gentle and quiet.” my wife replies, barely audible.

I scroll through my iTunes.  I find The Carnival of the Animals, a magical piece of classical music that you'd recognise from countless films.  I turn the volume down to near silent and press play.

But my iPhone has other ideas.  It quite fancies listening to The Beastie Boys at full volume.  My iPhone is a despicable dick.

"LISTEN ALL OF Y'ALL IT'S SABOTAGE!"

Mila is awake.

Zsuzsa is livid.

There will be no puszi for me tonight.

Zsuzsa aka The Wife

Zsuzsa aka The Wife

Photos courtesy of @zsolt.barabas.

Day 82 - White Candy

White Candy

Me sleeping

Me sleeping

My wife has been thinking.

“Honey.” she says.  “I’ve been thinking.”

Told you.

“You know what having a baby reminds me of?”

I lie there motionless, eyes closed and mouth open, a bit of dribble slopping out of the side of my mouth.  A sexier image, you will surely not hear of today.

“Like travelling on the 6:30am Ryanair flight to London whilst looking after a crack addict, EVERYDAY!” she replies.  “You’re standing in a Ryanair queue before the sun comes up.  You’re so tired that it feels as though your skin is about to fall off your body, and all the while, someone with manic eyes is pawing at you, pleadingly”

I nod at my wise wife.  She’s hit the nail on the head.  I’ve been trying to put my finger on the feeling for a few weeks now, but I think this tiny, female, milk providing soothsayer has nailed it.

“All we need now is for some bastard to turn up at our front door selling scratch cards!” she adds.

I think what my wife’s analogy is alluding to is that we are constantly tired and our baby appears to be going through cold turkey every two to three hours.  She wakes up in a blind panic.  She’s frantic!  She’s desperate!  Only one thing will quench this furious desire.  That thing being a nipple spurting milk.  I haven’t tried my wife’s milk, but by the reaction of her one, sole customer, that’s some good shit she’s peddling!  

Craving a hit of 'White Candy'

Craving a hit of 'White Candy'

A thought hits me.  Maybe my wife should open a milk bar, like the one in A Clockwork Orange!  It would surely go down like a house on fire in Shoreditch.  They’d be arriving on their penny farthings and queuing around the block to sample, what I have no doubt, is seriously addictive stuff.  But then I start to worry that my wife’s lactation process won’t be able to keep up with her customer’s demand.  I‘m also worrying that there will be complaints to Watchdog that she is dealing a new, legal drug.  What would its street name be?  ‘White Candy’ maybe.  We might need to buy a camper van and head out in to the desert to replenish our ‘White Candy’ stocks.  It sounds like a lot of work.  I decide that I don’t want that stress for my wife.  It’s at this moment in time that I start to realise that I'm suffering from delirium, brought on by sleep deprivation.

To be fair to our little girl, she does actually sleep through the night like a fleshy little log.  The problem is, we don’t.  The reason being that Mila often makes a choking sound during the night that suggests that she can’t breath.  Concerned by this, we speak to the doctor and he assures us that it’s quite common.  Basically she can’t yet swallow properly so either milk, mucus or both often gets stuck in her throat.  

We are momentarily relieved until he adds, “You should keep an eye on her though as there is a chance that she can suffocate in her sleep.”

Great.  That’s sleeping off the menu for the foreseeable future then.

But anyway, today I am getting a temporary reprieve from our ‘White Candy' loving, wheezy little human cub.  I have been given a green card by my kindly wife and I intend to use it wisely.  I’ve now been in Budapest for more than two months, but I’m yet to visit one of the city's amazing thermal spas.  Today is the day where I rectify this.

Gellert Spa

Gellert Spa

A couple of hours later and I’m entering a sauna at Budapest’s ostentatious Gellert Spa. The sweltering heat hits me and I feel a tad feint, but I decide to battle on.  In the sauna is one other gentleman.  An elderly Hungarian man in tiny speedos that are struggling to contain his low hanging testicles.  I sit down and he smiles at me.

“Jó napot! (Good Day)” he beams, seemingly delighted to have some sweaty company.

“Jó napot.” I reply.

“Hogy van? (How are you?)” he enthusiastically asks.

“Jó köszönöm. (Good thanks)” I reply.

The elderly gent obviously detects an accent as his next word is "Deutsche?”

“Nem.  Angol (No, English)” I reply.

“I speak a little English”, he says.

I smile back before asking “How are you?”

This was my mistake, for this man does not realise that if a Brit says “How are you?” he doesn’t actually give a rat's ass how you are.  It’s just a turn of phrase.  It’s akin to saying “Hi”.  If anyone replies with anything other than the stock answer of “Good”, we assume that they are insane and proceed to panic.  Apparently however, if someone asks the same question to a Hungarian, it is an invitation for them to tell you their life story, as the man then launches in to a gargantuan monologue about the last few years of his life. 

He explains that he has just retired, but that he’s not enjoying it and that he wishes he was still working.  He’s struggling to cope with so much free time.  He then begins to tell me about his family.  His daughter is recently divorced and it’s causing the family much anguish.  He then elaborates on this subject, by divulging minutia about his daughter’s marriage and why, exactly, it broke down.  But I’m no longer listening.  I’m close to death.  It’s nearly one hundred degrees celsius in this hell hole of a room and my life is flashing before my eyes.  I’m discovering that living off minimal sleep for two weeks is not a good pairing for a room that’s so hot that it would melt Frodo’s ring.  I want to get out!  I need to get out!  But I’m British!  To simply get up and leave halfway through this man’s story might seem rude.  I’m trying to assess my options.  Do I get up and leave halfway through this man’s story, or simply give up and collapse, here on the smouldering floor.  If I get up and leave now, obviously I will need to leave the city for fear of bumping in to this man again.  I mean, he might give me a disapproving look!  Alternatively, if I collapse on to the floor, the spa will probably need to find a spatula to scoop me back up off it.

I eventually decide that social embarrassment is probably slightly more appealing than potential death, and I’m about to leg it, when the door opens and another elderly gent in x-rated speedos enters.  The two men’s eyes meet and they begin to converse.  I see my window of opportunity and leave the sauna.  I can feel my blood simmering and now know what it must feel like to be a live lobster in a pot of boiling water, whilst an older lobster with low hanging testicles tells you a sob story.

All of a sudden, an early morning Ryan Air flight with a crack addict doesn’t seem so bad.

Day 68 - Do Babies Dream of Baby Sheep

Do Babies Dream of Baby Sheep

You know how I said before that it was the waiting for the baby's arrival that was the hardest part?  Bollocks!  The waiting was the easy bit, as you can see from my new top three list of the hardest things about having a baby, ranked from hardest to easiest...

  1. The birth.  Horrific.  Brutal.  Savage.  Basically like a Saw movie.  (Shudders)
  2. Twenty four hours of a baby crying.  Oh!  My!  God!  Please sleep!
  3. Waiting for an overdue baby.

In fact, as unbearable as it seemed at the time, I actually miss the waiting part now!  I mean, we love our baby, we are over the moon, smitten, and very rarely think about selling her on eBay, but I live in a beautiful city, it’s thirty degrees outside and I don't have to go and sit in an office!  I miss being able to just take a stroll up to Buda Castle with my favourite wife, pop in to Pest for a bite to eat, or visit one of the city’s many bars or cafes for a sociable drink in the sun.

Maybe I’m just feeling a tad bitter due to the fact that Mila spent yesterday (which incidentally was our third wedding anniversary) screaming at the top of her tiny lungs.  FOR TWENTY FOUR FUCKING HOURS!  I think she’s maybe going through that phase.  You know the one.  The phase where the ONLY thing that will stop her crying is to be carried around by her Dad while he sings the entire back catalogue of The Crash Test Dummies to her.  The trickiest part of this is that I only know two of The Crash Test Dummies' songs.  These being ‘Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm’ and ‘Afternoons & Coffeespoons’, and out of these two songs I know a total of eight words from the lyrics, seven of which are in the titles.  So, our anniversary evening consisted of me, with wild, bloodshot eyes, wandering around the flat carrying a baby, guessing the entire back catalogue of The Crash Test Dummies.

“She’s asleep honey!  Why don’t you try and put her to bed?” my wife says.

I nod and then looking like a man carrying his life's work through a field of land mines, I carefully put my sleeping child to bed.  Her peaceful, sleeping head touches the mattress.  Her eyes shoot open.  She glares at me and she is frantic.  She screams.  I pick her up.

“Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm.”

Repeat until my eyeballs bleed, while I consider if there's any feasible way to put our baby back inside my wife.

One other thing that hopefully one of you experienced parents out there can help shed some light on.  Why is it that a baby will sleep through storms, sirens, violent political demonstrations etc, but if you step on to a squeaky floorboard, wide awake!  Why!?  What is this witchcraft, this black magic!  A few days ago we went for a walk with Mila in her buggy.  It was some kind of National Hungary Day so there were celebrations all over the city.  We’d just managed to get Mila to sleep by walking vigorously over a cobbled street, when up ahead we spot something that terrifies us.  A parade of Hungarian bagpipe players coming our way!  About fifty of them, all gleefully blowing in to their abhorrent sacks!  We've no idea what Hungarians are doing playing the bagpipes, but naturally, we are horrified.  We look for an escape route, but it’s no use.  We are surrounded.  So, with darkness in our hearts we prepare to walk in to the bagpipe playing hell.  And...our ridiculous little human didn’t so much as raise an eyelid!  Astonishing sleeping skills!  We are delighted!  We get home, she seems to be in a coma, we put her to bed, step on a floorboard that had just at this moment decided to become squeaky.  Eyes shoot open.  Scream.  We are broken.

“You know our baby?” I ask the wife.

“I know her.” she replies.

“Well, I think she might be a bit of a dick.”

“Don’t say that honey!”

“I’m sorry, but she has screamed for the entirety of our wedding anniversary, only stopping if I sing early 90's, obscure, Canadian rock to her!  Not only that, but she seems to time her number two’s for when it’s my turn to change her nappy!  You get a little splash of fragrant baby wee, I get stinking baby jalfrezi!  What the hell is that about!?  Like I said, I think she might be a bit of a dick.”

“She’s not a dick.  She doesn’t understand what’s going on.  She’s going through something called a leap.  She’s just scared.”

“Well, I hope you’re right!  She better be scared shitless!”

When we do finally manage to get Mila to sleep I often find myself staring at her, wondering what the devil she’s dreaming about.  I mean, what does she know?  She knows the inside of my wife’s uterus, she knows that breasts are delicious, and she knows a tiny section of Budapest.  She'd be a rubbish 'phone a friend' on Who Wants to be A Millionaire.  She probably doesn’t even realise that the United Kingdom recently had a referendum about whether or not to stay in the European Union!  Or maybe I’m wrong and she knows a lot more than she’s giving away.  Maybe she has been quietly absorbing the world around her over the last nine months from inside my wife.  

What the hell is going on inside that tiny head?

What the hell is going on inside that tiny head?

 Maybe her dreams are vivid and wild.  Maybe they go a little something like this…

Flying over the Alps like a fleshy, baby, Ryanair jet

Flying over the Alps like a fleshy, baby, Ryanair jet

The Even Littler Mermaid (Eat your heart out Nirvana Nevermind cover)

The Even Littler Mermaid (Eat your heart out Nirvana Nevermind cover)

Dancing with pink dancing sheep on the beaches of Kokomo (obviously)

Dancing with pink dancing sheep on the beaches of Kokomo (obviously)

Riding her stuffed dog Rufus through the wild jungles of Mexico

Riding her stuffed dog Rufus through the wild jungles of Mexico

Travelling across a river with her friendly, stuffed, pink, giraffe, Juan Sebastian.

Travelling across a river with her friendly, stuffed, pink, giraffe, Juan Sebastian.

Or maybe she’s just dreaming about my wife’s breasts. 

Day 51 - Budabreast

Budabreast

I've been trying to furiously milk myself now for hours, but so far not a drop.  I think the pump is broken.

I've been trying to furiously milk myself now for hours, but so far not a drop.  I think the pump is broken.

If you’d told me several years ago that during the summer of 2016 I’d spend a whole morning, miming the action of pumping a tit to bemused looking, elderly ladies, on the other side of Europe, I’d have been dubious.  Today this happened. 

I was traipsing around Budapest in a desperate quest for a breast pump.  From shop to shop I travelled, like J.R Hartley looking for a book on fly fishing, but with more nipples.  And you know what?  Not one person in any of the shops spoke a word of English!  What on Earth are they teaching these people in the breast pump selling schools of Budapest!?  

The situation repeatedly played out like this.

I enter a pharmacy/medical supply shop.

An elderly, gruff Hungarian woman stares at me blankly.

“Beszél Angolul (Do you speak English)?” I say.

“Nem (No)” they reply.

Bollocks.

I do the only thing I can, and look them in the eyes pleadingly, whilst pretending to grab my imaginary tits and squeeze them.

Cue a furrowed brow from the gruff Hungarian lady.

My eyes become more and more pleading as my tit squeezing mime becomes more and more elaborate.  On a few occasions they twig and answer me with a shake of the head.  On a few other occasions they just continue to stare blankly.  But, just like those man hungry Mounties, I eventually get my man/breast pump.

My search was all in preparation for my ladies finally returning home to our Buda Nest.  Mila was born four days ago, but due to the particularly savage nature of the birth, Mila ended up hurting her collar bone and my wife dislocated her arsehole (or something like that).  So they’ve been kept in until now to recuperate.  Mila also needed a blood test as she was apparently looking a bit pale.  Thankfully the results came back positive, with the midwife concluding that she was probably looking a bit pale because she was half British!  What the…!?  But today was the big day.  They’d been given the all clear!  My little lady and my even littler lady were coming home.

The message to come and collect them comes through and I’m overjoyed, despite the fact that it might disrupt my evenings, which over the last four days have consisted of me, a pair of underpants, a sofa, The Olympics and a bottle of wine.  I jump in the car and race across Budapest to collect my girls.

On route to the hospital.

Once at the hospital it becomes apparent that we now have an abundance of possessions that must go with us wherever we go.  In the past, when we’ve hosted friends with children I’ve always been incredulous or sneerful, or both (sneerdulous?) by the sheer amount of apparent ‘shit’ that they’ve hauled with them.  Sterilisers, little tubs of slop, numerous wheeled contraptions, bags, more bags, a few more bags just in case.  Now, even before our baby has arrived home, I cast my eye at our car full of ‘stuff’ and begin to calibrate with their apparent madness.  It was bursting at the seams with baby shit (not literally)!  I make a mental note to do all that I can to stop this insanity in it's tracks.  We need to be the kind of couple who put our flip-flops on, chuck the baby in a baby bag, grab our passports and toothbrushes and head to The Amazon.  This may be wishful thinking.    

We leave the hospital and drive home.  Mila screams from start to finish.  On the straights I almost reach twelve miles an hour.  After what seems like several days (but was in fact less than twenty minutes), we get home and it hits us.

What the holy fuckety fuck do we do now?

Back in The Buda Nest.  Let the games begin!

Back in The Buda Nest.  Let the games begin!

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.