Everyday Life in Hungary

Magical July in Hungary

Lavender Fields

We are so lucky to have lavender fields in our little village. The farm opened their gates to the public last week and I could not resist taking a look with my camera and taking the obligatory pruners! I collected 3 bags of their heavenly lavender. The ladies running the field were very helpful and encouraged me to stuff my bags full! I had to watch out for the bees as there were many buzzing around also enjoying the lavender. The smell was divine and it was interesting to see the little tractor harvesting the lavender into large white sacks. It will later be processed into essential oil, soaps and honey. Lavender has many therapeutic qualities, I like to use it as a sleep aid. In its oil format I use it to treat burns with amazing results. It soothes the burnt skin.

Village Swimming Pool

Our little village swimming pool opened its gates at the beginning of July. For 2 years (because of the pandemic) it has been closed so we were thrilled to hear it was fully operational again. We have a good sized pool with a slide for the youngsters. Great value too…just over £2.00 for the full day. There is a large grassed area with trees, outdoor games, fire pits, oven and picnic benches. The local ice-cream man visits daily selling not just ice-creams but sweet yummy cakes too. A lovely place to spend the day…and just on our doorstep.

Haley our Siberian Husky

We are fortunate that a visiting vet comes annually to administer Rabies vaccinations to the local dogs. Haley does not travel well in the car so we very much appreciate this rural service. She has recently been shedding her winter fur which takes a few weeks. We are constantly brushing her to help her shed. Huskies, you would think, do not do well in hot weather as they are associated with a cold climate and snow. However, Haley would appear to love sunbathing in the high temperature we are having in Hungary at the moment. Her summer coat keeps her cool and she munches on ice cubes. She is a very active dog and loves to poke her head through the railings frequently to see what’s happening. When she is exhausted she takes a nap…but still has an ear open so as not to miss any action!

Sunflower Fields

Travelling around the countryside you cannot help but notice the many sunflower fields that line the roads. They are a staggering sight covering acres of fields with a vibrant yellow. Hungary is a big producer of sunflower oil and the flowers will be around for weeks with the farmers letting them dry ready to be harvested for their precious oil. We grow sunflowers in our garden but purely for the pleasure of looking at them. The finches love the seeds and are frequent visitors a bit later on in the year.

Residency Permits

The UK has recently left the European Union, meaning those of us who are British, living somewhere else needed to apply for residency status in our respective countries. Having already gone through this process before (when we first arrived 4 years ago) we expected this to be straightforward and easy. We had 12 months to complete this process (until the end of December 21) but there have been many difficulties with the Hungarian computer systems. Finally 6 months later we managed to complete the process and so now hopefully, we will retain our status in our adopted country.

Without a fridge during a heatwave!

We are currently experiencing a heatwave in Hungary…high temperatures of 38/39 degrees Celsius which is a touch uncomfortable. Imagine our horror and dismay when our Samsung fridge-freezer decided to stop working! We asked a Hungarian neighbour to contact Samsung on our behalf to arrange to get it fixed! Would you believe, 2 weeks later we have had no visit from Samsung, or explanation even though we have a 10 year warranty. We have ended up buying a very small fridge to tide us over until we can get our main fridge freezer fixed. There was talk that the part required was no longer available but I don’t know how true that is. I am certainly struggling with the after sales service from this company.

I am going to be a granny again!

What joy it is when your eldest son tells you “Mum you are going to be a granny again” I am so happy for him and his partner but slightly saddened I cannot go over to England and celebrate their news. They are expecting a boy (they have a daughter already) which is super news. I am for ever thankful for the internet and facetime, years ago we would not have had that privilege. My granddaughter will be 4 this year and starting nursery school soon, I do miss her. Maybe next year when this disabling pandemic is over (or controlled) I will be able to reconnect in real life.

So that was just a little update of what has been happening in our lives at the moment. This weekend is the annual Harvest Festival in the village. A wonderful occasion that I shall be photographing, watch out for the next blog entry. 😃

Everyday Life in Hungary

Chatting to a Newspaper Journalist, Making Bacon, Building a Tandoori Oven!

A few weeks ago whilst browsing Facebook a journalist was asking to interview expats living in rural Hungary. That’s me, I thought so  I contacted her and said I would be happy to talk with her.  She writes for the Budapest Times and travels around the country with another person who is a travel guide.  We met up at a local restaurant and chatted for almost 3 hours.  Her tape recorder came out on the table, I was a little apprehensive at first but it was all good and went very well.  After a while I forgot the tape recorder was there!

When we had finished chatting they both wanted a tour of our village so I took them to all the pretty places.  They were very impressed.  The article was published recently in the Budapest Times and here it is

I was overwhelmed with everyone’s good wishes after it was published, I almost felt like a celebrity!  Added to that the journalist was extremely complimentary about my photographs and suggested I joined a Facebook group who would appreciate them too.  I joined, and was approached by a gentleman who asked if I could start a regular feature posting my photos with a little text about rural life in Hungary! Of course, I said yes!!  Sometimes I need a little push in the right direction.

Kisszékely church overlooking the valley
Life in the slow lane, Kisszékely village
Kisszékely lake

So, in other news…

Making Bacon

We all like bacon in our house and was a little disappointed with Hungarian bacon so decided we should make our own smoked bacon. We invested in a meat slicer and bought a huge piece of belly pork with the skin on. Next, we removed any bones and cleaned the meat thoroughly. We then pricked the meaty side very well with a fork, made a salt and brown sugar coating 50/50 and rubbed it in very well all over. Then we wrapped it up so it was sealed (carton or cling film) and put in the fridge for 2 days. After 2 days, we removed the pork from the fridge, washed it well to remove the coating and dried with a kitchen towel. Now for the smoking. We created a home made smoker from wood we had in the garden and cold smoked the bacon for 3 days in the smoker. The aroma around the garden was tantalising. Finally after 3 days we sliced and ate it. The bacon freezes well if necessary. We shall never buy bacon again, it was so delicious and had a gorgeous smoky taste.

Our dog sat very patiently throughout the whole procedure hoping for a quick bite!

Building a Tandoori Oven

The boys in my life, my husband and my son have been busy in the garden making a Tandoori oven this week. Neither of us had built or cooked on a traditional tandoor before… originating from Turkey. I assumed it originated from India…!! How wrong I was. We did a virgin run yesterday and the results were fantastic. Apparently, according to our guests you could smell the beautiful cooking smells all over the village! Our Hungarian neighbour was out gardening and was very curious to know what Eric and Raphael were building….he kept nodding and saying “egen” (yes in English) when Eric explained he was making an oven, I don’t think he really understood! We marked the occasion by inviting a couple of friends who live in our little village to be our virgin tandoor tasters. We had a very fun afternoon, with lots of laughter and good conversation. The food was great, expertly cooked by Chef Eric and enjoyed with great company, New Zealander Jackie and her Hungarian husband Gabor.

We have a “Kings Chair” for Eric made from repurposed tyres… Jackie and Gabor posed for pictures. We had a fabulous Tandoori Day!