Wednesday, January 03, 2007


On Monday, I learned of another new cultural practice previously unknown to me. That is the practice of Crumbs. To explain I'll have to go back a day further to New Year's Eve...

On New Year's Eve, we went to a party at the house of some friends in a village not far from here. Booze had been bought and lots of food prepared (to say that a pig had died for the gathering would be stretching it, but one did die immediately prior to it and provided the guests with large amounts of food - not so much me, obviously)

Anyway it was an excellent party - the children danced and played all night long, the adults got excessively drunk, and Paula and I got the chance to welcome everyone to the EU (as the only EU citizens at the beginning of the gathering). I don't really remember much afterabout 2.30am until I was woken up at 4.30 to go home - I had crashed around 3 it transpires, next to Paula who zonked out sometime in 2006. I won't bore you with how much and what varieties of alcohol I consumed, but it's safe to say that it was somewhat more than was absolutely necessary.

So anyway, we went home, and re-crashed out. And then of course Paula woke up at about 8. Now when you look at baby-related websites and the like there are these little milestones they have you look out for - baby's first word, baby's first steps, baby's first adorable solid turd, that kind of thing. They never have you look out for "the first time your baby wakes you up on New Year's Day when you've had about 3 hours sleep and you have a stonking hangover". But, new and prospective parents, let me tell you now, it's a milestone you will face.

Being (occasionally) a good husband (and being as how I had had an extra hours sleep at the party itself), I got up to spend the morning with her. Fortunately she was fairly tired herself and so I could mostly get by with holding her in my arms and watching a bit of TV. But much as I love spending every minute I can with Paula, I'm not that keen on spending time alive in any sense when I feel that bad. (It's actually another argument for having children earlier in life - in my early 20s I might have coped. In my early 40s - it was hellish beyond reason).

So, I slogged through the morning, and eventually was joined by the rest of my family, who looked much more lively than I felt, and was informed that today we were going for Morzsa - the aforementioned "crumbs".

Crumbs is this: The next day after a party, in the afternoon, you all go back to the house of the party to have lunch, and basically reminisce about the night before. Lunch, of course, being all the leftovers from the party. That's basically it. In the state I was in it was something like a massively extreme hair-of-the-dog* - not only was I going to be drinking the same stuff that had so damaged my capacity to exist happily, but I was going to have the same food, in the same place with the same company. If nothing else it would either tip me over the edge of vomiting (where I felt I was), or cheer me up no end.

It did the latter, I'm happy to reveal. Or at least, it didn't exactly make me feel full of the joys of 2007, but I did feel significantly better (though no less tired). But that first beer was very slow going.

We didn't leave until 7pm either - and we were the first to go. I think the thing broke up properly around 10. They like their parties here.

(*I have learned that "the hair of the dog that bit you" is exactly the same phrase in Hungarian. Which surprised me quite a lot. It sounds like one of those one-language-specific idioms)

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