Sunday, July 24, 2005

I am still alive

It's been a long and demanding course, but I am still alive.

Here's a brief update to let you know what you're missing out on:

1. Erika has seen Pityoka sucking "her" thumb on screen. (Not sure if it is truly sucking at the "your baby is the size of a Big Mac" stage, but you know the two bits were in a similar place). We are still having occasional worries (including one today), but, touch wood, all seems to be OK.

2. Romania got flooded again. It basically pissed down through July and eventually various places flooded severely. Something like 25 people died along with thousands of animals. A friend and colleague from Iasi had to travel to Bucharest in the thick of it and it took him twice as long as normal as the worst hit areas were a swathe of counties seperating Moldavia from the rest of the country. He ended up going via Galati, which, if you look at a map, you will see is quiote a long way out of the way. The road from here through the Csango valley (that we couldn't pass in August last year -see post passim- is still, as far as I know, closed)

3. The Romanian government resigned and then decided not to. No, I don't really understand it either. I'll do some research when this is over.

4. London got attacked twice, once by terrorists and the second
time (thankfully) by crap-terrorists. In response the police shot some innocent Brazilian bloke in the head five times for the crime of wearing a big coat.

5. I finally bought myself a bike. I have now seen a number of villages that I previously hadn't, and am thoroughly enjoying cycling round the area. Though having not cycled for a year, I have been reminded of the fact that I have two bones in my butt and am writing this while sitting on the softest cushion I could find.

6. The course is going very well, and I'm dead chuffed by the 6 participants and my own ability to hold it together when training for 6-8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Normal service may be resumed next week

Saturday, July 09, 2005


Why are pre-natal vitamin pills so big? They are vast things about the size of a 24 week old foetus. The people who have to take these huge almost impossible to swallow monsters are (as you might imagine) pregnant women. A particular subset of the population who are constantly gagging and on the verge of chucking up. Would it not be at all possible to make these tablets one quarter of the size and recommend that the mothers-to-be take 4 of them? Do I have to think of everything?

Those family and friends who are worried about Erika's health during these few months should probably not read this recent blog post from Halfway Down the Danube, about a Romanian pre-natal balls up. If it reassures you we have no famous or expensive doctors in Csikszereda.

Friday, July 08, 2005


Just in case you missed it, Ken Livingstone's speech made yesterday through clouds of emotion must rank as one of the finest ever made by any politician ever, particularly under such circumstances.

I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.

That isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith – it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee, that the city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I'm proud to be the mayor of that city.

Finally, I wish to speak directly to those who came to London today to take life.

I know that you personally do not fear giving up your own life in order to take others – that is why you are so dangerous. But I know you fear that you may fail in your long-term objective to destroy our free society and I can show you why you will fail.

In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.

They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don’t want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

blogs not bombs

Not much time or inclination to write anything after the London bombs today - but here is a powerful blog account of someone who survived...

"Surviving a Terrorist Attack

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Last post for a while

I'm starting a one-month intensive teacher training course tomorrow so will probably be offline for a while. Should be interesting, though, I enjoy training this course and this time I'm doing it for a bunch of people I know (one of whom is Erika, assuming she's physically up to it).

For the next couple of days I recommend the video that you can find here on the Euronews page (the one about Ethnic Hungarians in Romania). The first village shown, Makfalva is between here and Marosvasarhely/Targu Mures, which we drive through everytime we go and visit Erika's family. The second third of the clip is in Marosvasarhely itself. It's quite a good little clip for seeing how things are here. I don't know how long it will be available online though. No longer than this week, I'd imagine.

Yesterday I was in our local corner shop buying bread. The assistant typed in the cost in new lei (RON), had to mentally multiply by 10,000 to tell me the price, I paid in ROL(old Lei), and she had to once again mentally change what I paid her into RON so she could put it in the till, which then told her how much change I needed in RON, but she only had ROL to give me, so she had to do it again. If nothing else it will make the shop assistants of Romania highly proficient in multiplying and dividing by 10,000. I still haven't seen any of the new currency.

Some websites you might be interested in:
200 Globes
Google Earth. This one's a piece of software to download and play with, you get to "fly" around the world "visiting" places from above (through satellite photos). If you want to look down on me type in Miercurea Ciuc, Romania and fly in (after you have done it the first time, fly somewhere else and then come back - once the pics are all loaded in it looks much better the second time)

I'll try and post something each weekend for the next four, but probably that will be it. Cheers all, and have a good July