We sit in the two wicker armchairs that belong to the studio and prepare to project a film on the studio wall. It had just become dark. Looking to my left, to the window, regularly spaced in the corridor that leads to the toilets, I see something:  a pink sleeve, a yellow hand and a white cloth: wiping the windows, not cleaning them, reaching up just enough to wipe the bottom of the windows. What was connected to that white cloth, yellow hand and pink sleeve would have been in the part of the courtyard that was locked. Permanently bolted.


We lock the front door.

We sit down and are silent. We wait a while. We settle.


There is a knock at the door.  We don’t answer it but sit silent in our seats.


Some time passes and we need to go to the toilet. We go together and Magali suggests we bring something. It is my inclination to bring the knife or rather for Magali to bring the knife and handle whatever situation should arise. She takes the projector’s VGA cable, making sure the two blue plastic ends can be freely swung and the black cord is tightly held.




The toilet is slightly separated from the studio and there is a door that opens out to the street and another that opens to the courtyard. The courtyard has two sections, one with a gate and another the one with with a bolted gate. All that is generally accessible is the walkway into the rest of the building: the previously Soviet building. Both doors are locked. We use the toilet and return to the studio.




After a while we relax and watch ‘Youth’ a film by Paolo Sorrentino.


[1] The knock at the door mentioned earlier could have happened at this point.

[2] Or this point. 




Recipe based of a Tesco or Interspar pre-packaged selection of vegetables.  

With Thanks to Aki.


(for quantities of each item add as much as you feel, exceptions mentioned)


  • Red Onion

  • Garlic (just enough to make sure all the other flavours are at their best)

  • Fresh Ginger (generous amount)

  • Carrot

  • Sweet Potato

  • Potato

  • Turnip

  • Kidney Beans (Canned)

  • Rosemary

  • Salt

  • Equal amounts water and apple cider. (Slightly more water.)  

  • Pumpkin Seeds

(Can add, hot Hungarian pepper, black pepper (or rose pepper), and ground paprika at your discretion. Can thicken sauce.)



Fry onions. Once onions begin to brown add garlic and ginger (chopped). Once cooked add salt, water and cider[1]. Add chopped vegetables to the broth (in order of time needed to cook). Add sprig of rosemary and cook until ready.  Add canned kidney beans.

Serve with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and dark bread (with butter) and enjoy.


[1] I don’t know if in the case of this soup the alcohol in the cider cooks off or it is a case similar to that of mulled wine, where the cooking process makes the alcohol stronger. 



All the traffic lights at the intersection are red and everyone waits patiently for them to change. 


I knock a glass off a plinth and find that there are no brooms in the studio. I walk to the nearest hardware shop, knowing that I have seen brooms waiting at the shopfront.

I type ‘broom’ into the shop owner’s mobile phone’s translation application.


The shop owner shows me to the brooms. There are four kinds to choose from.

“littlie[1] seprű?” I ask and the shopkeeper and we walk around the shop. There isn’t a small broom. I point to the shop’s dustpan.

“Little seprű” the shopkeeper says as he walks around the shop looking for a dustpan and brush. “Little seprű?” he says to his employee.  The employing shrugs. I am told that there is no little seprű. This is my indication to leave.


I buy a normal sized broom.


[1] This is what I thought the Hungarian word for little was.  



During our first visit to ‘Gébárti Kézművesek Háza’[1] we are shown into a room for weaving. Our tour guide tells us that this is where his rivals work. While standing in the room we are invited to join his group that meets every Friday at 5pm to work together and make things (weaving?)


On Friday evening we bike there and go into the weaving room. We tell someone that during the week we were invited here and we are moved onto the next room (but before stepping out the door we are told that if no one speaks English or German in the next room to come straight back and they will help). We walk into the next room and there we are greeted immediately and shown without a second second where to leave our coats.


We spend the evening making leather bracelets with deer bone clasps tied with monkey fist knots.


[1] Gébárti Kézművesek Háza is a center for Hungarian traditional crafts. It is the only center of its kind that is open all year and not just in the summer.




One night walking home Blair notices that the 'Z' and the 'L' of the Zalaegerszeg Hollywood sign have been switched. The next morning Lazaegerszeg is once again Zalaegerszeg. A few days later she receives a message from some locals. Attached is a photo of the sign: the letters spelling EGERSZEG are all that remain.


Yesterday over lunch I notice that there are banners for the Egerzeg Festival hanging in the centre of Zalaegerszeg. 



“Forget everything that’s going on, before anything: there is a Russian owned Nuclear Power Plant in Hungary.” Was what was repeated by a Hungarian man over a long dinner conversation. [1]


[1] "In the 1980s, the government planned to construct two VVER-1000 units as Paks 5&6 (each 950 MWe net). Preparations were almost completed when the project was cancelled in 1989 due to decreased power demand.

In 1996-97, Paks Nuclear Power Plant proposed building a further one or two units of 600-700 MWe capacity – either the Westinghouse AP600 design, the AECL Candu-6, or the Atomstroyexport/Siemens VVER-640. This was later rejected by MVM because it did not fit government policy at that time.

Ten years later, with the need to build about 6000 MWe of new generating capacity by 2030, new nuclear plant was again considered, and two 1000 MWe units for the Paks site were proposed. In March 2009, the Hungarian Parliament (330 for; 6 against; 10 abstentions) gave preliminary approval to this, though some foreign investment would be needed. Paks expected to issue an invitation to tender in 2012, with a decision in 2013, and the government set up a project company MVM Paks Nuclear Power Plant Ltd or MVM Paks II as a subsidiary of state-owned MVM in 2012. It was considering five PWR reactor types: Areva's EPR; the Areva-Mitsubishi Atmea1; Atomstroyexport's VVER-1000 or -1200; the Westinghouse AP10003and Korea's APR-1400. It was not keen on first-of-a-kind designs, and hoped to avoid the need for cooling towers. The new units should be capable of load-following.

Rather than proceeding with open tender, in January 2014 the government signed an agreement with Rosatom to build two reactors at Paks, with Russia providing 80% of the finance. The government said that the EU had already approved a draft plan for building the units of up to 1200 MWe each, at a likely cost of around €12 billion. The first unit was to be operational about 2023. In December 2014 MVM Paks II signed three implementation agreements with NIAEP-ASE of Nizhny Novgorod. These formalize the design, procurement and construction parameters for the new units, conditions related to their operation and maintenance support, and details regarding fuel supply and the handling and storage of used nuclear fuel.

A €10 billion financing deal from Russia was agreed in February to cover 80% of the anticipated project cost, with Hungary to repay the loan over 21 years of operation. The interest rate is below 4% for 11 years then 4.5% then 4.95%. In a 256-29 vote the parliament approved the finance deal. Hungary plans to start drawing on the loan in 2105 to finance planning. A site permit is expected in 2016, a construction permit in 2017 and construction start in 2018. Levelised power cost is projected at €55/MWh. Based on public information the IEA estimates the overnight capital cost at $6215/kW.

Fuel was to be supplied solely by Rosatom, but this aspect of the deal was challenged by the EU’s Euratom Supply Agency (ESA), backed by the European Commission (EC), on the basis of there being no alternative supplier for the particular fuel design in the event of a supply disruption. The contract was later approved by the ESA with the duration of the exclusive contract with Rosatom being cut from 20 to 10 years, after which time alternative suppliers would be able to bid to supply fuel.

In November 2015 the EC announced it had started legal action against Hungary over the Rosatom contract for the Paks II project, expressing concerns about its compatibility with EU public procurement rules. The EC then opened a state aid investigation into the project financing for Paks."

From: http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-g-n/hungary.aspx (accessed 19th October 2016) 



They were three to four (or two to three) hundred years old at their time of death and found eight million years later in an open-pit lignite mine near the town of Bükkábrány. Transported to the Ottó Herman Museum four of the sixteen now live there, preserved in tanks and asked to linger on.  These cypress trees somehow still living, heavy death in murky waters.


Magali takes a photo of the tree through the viewing window of the large steel tank. She looks at the camera, reviewing the photo that has just been taken. Perplexed, she takes another photo and another. “It’s so weird: all I can see is a face. That’s creepy,” she says.


I point to an illustration of a boar on the wall behind her. The drawn animal’s head is identical to the face in the photo. 


We are informed that there is one ghost in Zalaegerszeg but it’s not really a good ghost, because all he does is move some objects around hotels rooms and following a pause we are informed that that piece of information was maybe heard from a drunken Scotsman at a bar. 


While walking down the street: maybe on the road, maybe the grass between the road and the footpath, maybe on the footpath but most likely in a manner that was nothing out of the ordinary we were approached by a woman. She said something. Realising we didn’t understand she dismissed us and we walked on.

"I didn't understand anything she said, but in my experience of Hungary, we were being reprimanded."


While I was looking at the ticket machine by the bus stop at Budapest Airport a woman approached me. In German she offered me her 24-hour Budapest transport pass with 2 hours of credit left. We had a conversation. I told her I needed to go to catch a bus to Zalaegerszeg, and she told me that I could use the ticket until 13:16.  She watched and smiled at me with encouragement: to make sure I used the pass, glad to see me use the pass.