|R pictured by Jane Hattatt at The Four Seasons Hotel, Budapest, on the night of 3rd. October|
Wednesday, 3rd. October:
Armed with sheaves of white gladioli, somewhat in the manner of Dame Edna Everage, and with an equal touch of vulgarity, we arrive for drinks at R's wonderfully stylish and uniquely theatrical apartment where we consume much in the way of champagne, possibly more than is wise. Later our party progresses to Tom-George Restaurant in the shadow of the Basilica where, seated at the best of all tables, we enjoy more champagne and the most delicious of dinners. Pudding, R announces, is to be taken at The Four Seasons Hotel, which it is, but not before a serving of yet more champagne. Meanwhile, we are informed, one B will dance [is this to be taken literally?] through the bar for our amusement. B fails to put in an appearance. Do we even notice? The Metro has long since stopped running; we opt to walk home.
Friday, 5th. October:
N and A descend upon Budapest accompanied by huge quantities of luggage [we privately question the length of their stay]. Warnings about unscrupulous taxi drivers are ignored and so they travel from the airport at considerable cost. We dine out at M's where they are charmingly charmed by the intimacy of this bohemian bistro.
|A and N pictured by Jane Hattatt at Modem, Debrecen, where N is photographing her|
Saturday, 6th. October:
We entrain for Debrecen to arrive in time for a VIP luncheon [the food is rather dreadful] at Modem, the city's Contemporary Art Gallery, in advance of the Private View of 'Nightfall', an exhibition which runs until February before transferring to Prague. We are met and escorted upstairs by the Director, introduced to the Curator and several artists, and decline an invitation to be interviewed for television. Afterwards we indulge ourselves with a splendid afternoon tea at the iconic Ikon.
|an interior view of Ikon, a leading restaurant in Debrecen, Hungary - we took tea outside|
Sunday, 7th. October:
At the State Opera House we have tickets for a performance of 'Carmen'. But first N and A generously insist on champagne at the nearby Callas Café and Restaurant where, at a pavement table, we enjoy some early evening sun which, happily, breaks through the rain clouds. Afterwards dinner is at Klassz Étterem where our favourite waiter, Tibor, welcomes us with complimentary glasses of, yes, champagne and is endlessly patient with A who, knowledgeable of wine, commences a lengthy tasting. We leave long after the kitchen has closed.
|the closing of a dance recently performed by R, our affectionately styled Mad Boy|
Wednesday, 10th. October:
At home where we host a Birthday Dinner for 'Mad Boy' in celebration of his coming of age at twenty-one years. Wax from the lighted candles drips heedlessly onto the cake, rendering it largely inedible. The Hungarians are somewhat dismayed. We, British, in a display of fortitude, take up our cake forks with aplomb.
|K is seen sporting patriotic shoes in accordance with his new found status as a British citizen|
Saturday, 13th. October:
K and N, no longer our young Russian friends for they greet us flaunting British passports having, most recently, jumped through all imaginable hoops to achieve citizenship, come for lunch. It is the first occasion on which we have seen the eight month, infant Isabelle who is cocooned in the Rolls Royce of a 'baby buggy'. Where, we wonder, are the perambulators, nannies and walks in the park of our day? They bear gifts of bouquets of heavenly white flowers which positively, and perfectly, fill the flat.
|iced 'Fondant Fancies' as enjoyed by us when taking tea with our much loved neighbour, S|
Sunday, 14th. October:
To tea with our neighbour, S, who delights us with a plate of iced 'Fondant Fancies', last seen sometime around the 1950s. We eat rather too many of these sweet, 'melt in the mouth' little cakes. S has put out a 1960s dolls' house, complete with original furnishings, for her grandchildren and so we have a very jolly, retro afternoon.
This evening P and N collect us in their rather swish new motor car and whizz us off to Marroco's Restaurant on Hove seafront. There we are presented with the most generous gift of the entire recordings of Kathleen Ferrier together with her 'Letters and Diaries' as edited by Christopher Fifield. Perfect. Our own renderings of 'What is life to me without thee?' are eclipsed a million or more times.
Monday, 15th. October:
Tea at Metro Deco in Brighton's Kemp Town with N, P having to appear at work! The clientele rather Marks and Spencer but the cakes surprisingly good. We discuss Vatican II, Rome and the Papacy, and the local Co-op.
|Food for Friends, a Brighton vegetarian restaurant where we dined twice in one week|
Tuesday, 16th. October:
With E and S, both weighed down with the trials and tribulations associated with selling houses in Britain, for a pre-arranged dinner at Food for Friends, appropriately located next to the Friends' Meeting House in central Brighton. Excellent vegetarian food is enlivened further by the presence of our fun waitress, the effervescent Patsy, who is as entertaining as she is efficient. Too late for a train to Lewes, E and S depart in a taxi.
Wednesday, 17th. October:
V and M, lately returned from the South of France where they have a house, visit for the day. Inheritance tax preoccupies them, something about which, since we have no heirs, we care not a jot. In the evening we are again for dinner at Food for Friends but this time Patsy is not, alas, on; her replacement is duller than a shop girl from Tunbridge Wells. Oh well!
Thursday, 18th. October:
Catch up with C who, when not in Bosnia, Croatia or Cambodia, runs the café in our local bookshop.
|interior view of M's Restaurant, Budapest, with our favourite table waiting in readiness|
Saturday, 20th. October:
Dinner á deux!