So here I am sitting in my front room wishing I was somewhere else. I’m back from my Hungarian Happiness Hike. I’ve left behind the Gypsy music, the Egri Bikavér, the pigs’ clod with onions, the broad majestic Danube, all the people called Ferenc and the beautiful warm Central European sunshine. I look outside to see it is raining and inside I feel cold. I’ve put my summer shorts away and I’ve switched the gas fire on. Miserable English wet Sunday afternoon syndrome is never more intense than when I have just returned from somewhere that has been positively lovely.
However, there is joyous news on this occasion as I have brought home with me from Hungary a companion who will stay with me in my lounge as I tap away at my blogging keyboard and accompany me on my travels to distant shores.
I met Attila in Balatonfüred. He was hanging around with his mates outside a gift shop on the busy promenade by the lake’s shore and I knew straight away that a lifelong friendship had been forged.
The name is one that I thought had died out long ago. Attila the Hun had been a bit of a local hero in those parts in the fifth century but I didn’t imagine that Hungarian folk would still be giving the name to their new born males. Attila (the Hun), along with Vlad (the Impaler), Eric (the Red) and Winnie (the Pooh), is a brilliant name and one which I wouldn’t mind having myself. Though now I have a dear friend called Attila there would be no point and it would be a bit confusing when someone called our name but only a little bit because my new cohort cannot hear a thing.
I really enjoy my own company and down the years I’ve often thought that travelling alone was the best way. However, I soon discovered that Attila is the perfect companion when I’m on the road. He’s always happy to go wherever I want to go, he’s not a fussy eater, I never have to pay for tickets for him, he doesn’t drink but he doesn’t mind me having a drop, he doesn’t moan or groan or snore, he never disagrees with my left wing political views, he enjoys my music, he doesn’t make me listen to music I don’t like, he’s got that ‘smart-casual’ look about him, he doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t hog the bathroom, he’s not a Scum fan and he’s a true Hun. Also, despite being a Hun, he hates being called Hun, just as I do myself . . . grrr!
On my cycling trip in Indo China earlier this year, my friend Byron (the Cheese Inspector) had a similar companion in a small stuffed toy bear called Gerald. I thought this a bit strange, a young man carrying a teddy bear with him and photographing it in provocative poses at exotic locations, but since I bumped into my own fluffy little fun guy I fully understand.
So, dear reader, meet Attila . . .