This has been a bad couple of weeks healthwise. Bogi came down with mumps (conveniently "mumpsz" in Hungarian) while I was away. This weekend, having sat out the requisite two weeks at home we noticed that she was not hearing very well. A visit to the ENT doctor on Monday confirmed that there was a problem - that she had a large octopus in her nose. So yesterday she went to have it surgically removed (obviously having an octopus in your nose is not especially healthy nor does it make it easy to breathe). All is well now, though and there are no more octopi or any other form of squid or cuttlefish clogging up her nasal passages as far as we know.
OK, OK, it wasn't actually an octopus. It was a polyp. However, the Hungarian word for octopus and the Hungarian word for polyp are one and the same (polip). So, like a true dad I have been amusing myself all week referring to it as an octopus. In my defence, it has made her laugh too, and helped her reach the operation with at least a couple of laughs to punctuate the pervading sense of fear.
She now has some spots which may or may not be the onset of rubella, another childhood disease which is also very popular at the moment in Csikszereda. Rubella when I was growing up was the best disease going - a week off school with no ill effects barring a couple of non-irritating spots. Of course in those days rubella was called German Measles for reasons I'm not sure of. Was it like Spanish flu in that it seemingly originated in Germany? Or were there more xenophobic reasons? Perhaps it was seen as very efficient form of measles - in and out in a few days without causing much fuss. Who knows? In other etymology-of-spotty-childhood-illnesses, chicken pox may be so called because it's like a rubbish version of small pox (see also "chicken feed") or because the spots look like chick peas. Not like any chick peas I've ever eaten, I have to say.
To top that off, I have a raging flu, though not of the avian variety. (Although I learned recently that all strains of flu originated in birds). Still, such is life.
Last night, contrary to my usual form, I found myself cheering on an English club in European competition (It's not unheard of, but it's fairly rare. I certainly won't be doing it in the upcoming Champion's League final). This is because of my overriding hatred of Steaua - and especially Gigi Becali. However, I had been slightly swept up by the seeming unitedness of the nation behind them (though this may have been a media invention) and thought it might be nice if they got to the final (and then got humiliatingly thrashed).
At half past ten Romania time last night, the game was all over. Steaua were three nil up on aggregate (effectively 3½-0 up because they had scored away goals) and there was only an hour left to play. At half time, even though Middlesboro had pulled one back, there was actually a discussion of the possibility that Steaua would get to play Barcelona in the European Super Cup final, and so relive the EC final of 1986. I thought that it was a bit premature, though I did assume that they would at least get to the UEFA Cup final.
The rest, as they say, is history. A stunning fightback by Middlesboro (for the second time in two rounds), and Steaua crashed out at the death, beaten 4-2 on the night. I was happy and still buzzing from seeing such an incredible game of football. But then as I flicked round the TV channels, the shock and dismay of everyone told its own story. This was a match that a lot of Romania wanted Steaua to win so they could represent the nation on a European stage. I don't really understand that level of national feeling for a club side (I'll be very very happy if both Arsenal and Middlesboro lose the two finals to come), but I could see that it was there. I'm sure there were hardcore Dinamo and Rapid fans who were happy that Steaua had lost, but most of the country it seems was shell shocked. I started feeling sorry for those Romanians who had willed the team on and seen them crash out in such unbelievable circumstances, so close to the finish line. As channel after channel wheeled their best pundits on to try and make sense of this national calamity, I began to wish that Steaua had indeed clung on to get to the final.
Then one channel cut to live footage of Gigi Becali leaving the stadium. He was so gaunt, so haggard, so white, and for the first time ever didn't look like he was enjoying being on TV, and in fact remained tight lipped and silent. He looked utterly broken and almost like he was about to burst into tears. At that point my heart lifted and my spirit soared and I remembered why I wanted Middlesboro to win in the first place. Grazie mille, Maccarone.
Sorry Romania - you deserve to have something to cheer, but not led by that cretinous oaf. Rapid in the final? Now that would have really been great.
Podcast 90: The Rest Of The Season, Decided
10 hours ago