BREXIT plus one week

Dinner at Da Mario, Vécsey utca, Budapest

Dinner at Da Mario, Vécsey utca, Budapest

Dinner last night in Budapest.  A table of lovely, young, hopeful people from every corner of the continent, sharing a meal in a pavement cafe and talking together in the only language they all had in common – English.

The history of Hungary is the usual European, blood-soaked tapestry of a thousand years of conflict, culminating in a tumultuous 20th century.  The Nazis, the holocaust of Hungarian Jewry, then  hyper-inflation, the Communists, the uprising and finally the rebirth of the Hungarian Republic, peace and freedom within the EU.

A week on after Brexit I still feel sick to my stomach over what has happened.  I voted Tory at the last election and am now consumed with anger and hatred towards them.  I will never forgive them for inflicting this catastrophe on our country.  I feel sad for a generation of young British people whose seat at that table has now been taken away.

I’ve spent  the last 15 years travelling between the great cities of Europe on business.  On the whole I found the experience exhilarating.  While living in Nottingham I was a director of a French company based in Paris.  Some of the streets of Milan are as familiar to me as those of Nottingham.

I suppose that makes me one of the out-of-touch, metropolitan elite who have only gained from our membership of the EU.  Certainly I have yet to meet anyone who will admit to voting to leave.  I clearly don’t mix in the same circles as these people.

Kazuo Ishiguro, the most “English” novelist of our time, has articulated exactly what I am thinking in a measured piece in the FT.

I hope that, eventually, I will get over this and start to make the best of our new reality.  But right now, I see only years of pain and division ahead of us.

Great Market Hall, Vámház krt, Budapest

Great Market Hall, Vámház krt, Budapest

Organic farmers' market at Szimpla Kert Ruin Pub, Kazinczy u

Organic farmers’ market at Szimpla Kert Ruin Pub, Kazinczy u



Hiking in Madeira

Brocken spectre

A Brocken Spectre

In a bid to escape the winter gloom we spent a week in Madeira in early March. In actual fact, in the North of the island and at lower altitudes the gloom was worse than at home and resembled North Wales in November.  But climb up though the drizzle and a very different world is revealed. We witnessed a spectacular cloud inversion, I saw my first Brocken Spectre and am now nursing sunburn.

The best hike is undoubtedly the poular trek between Pico do Ariero and Pico Ruivo.  Hiking there and back gives almost 3000ft of ascent in about 6 hours on a superbly engineered path.  The picture below looks back from Pico Ruivo to Pico do Ariero where you can just see the dome of the military radar installation which you can drive your car right up to.

The levada walks of Madeira which follow the old irrigation channels are, of necessity, pretty lacking in gradient.  But the area of the central mountains looks full of promise for further exploration and now you can fly direct from East Midlands to Funchal with two carriers Madeira could well become a regular winter destination for us.

Cloud inversion. Pico do Ariero

Pico do Ariero

The cuisine of Madeira is not well known, at least by me.  Hot Limpets seemed to be a local speciality and one which surely ought to be better known in the UK.  Limpets, as any student of the British seaside rockpool can tell you are widely and freely available.  They have a tendency to stick to the rocks like, well, limpets.  But a kick with a sturdy boot can dislodge them.

They seemed to have at least as much merit as escargots – the taste being predominantly from the garlic butter and the lemon, but there was a fresh, seaside saltiness which I liked.

Hot Limpets

Hot Limpets at the Quinta do Furao