Saturday, 11 September 2010


I'm going to Budapest soon and I am determined not to pack too much this time. Usually on the eve of a voyage I am to be found sitting on a suitcase, squeezing the lid down, trying to get it to close. Just as I think all is well and I can snap shut the fasteners, the far corner suddenly splits from the base. With some difficulty, I get that squashed back into position and then the corner diagonally opposite leaps up at me instead. I stamp it into submission, only to find the whole of one side is beginning to gape.

Just at the moment, our new government reminds me of one of my overfilled suitcases. Just when you think it's all finally contained, an independent springs out of nowhere, claiming he didn't know a certain tax would not be part of some process. They get him under control somehow, but almost immediately another independent leaps up, saying he is also concerned about some other aspect of the same tax. He is appeased and settles back down and all seems to be well. Then a third independent appears, saying he doesn't just want the tax discussed; he wants the whole thing redesigned.

Day by day, we get another glimpse of things that are meant to be shoved out of sight - governmental socks and underpants, worn pyjama bottoms, fraying string vests - each one bursting out just when you least expect it. Presumably the whole churning mass will be sealed up eventually. Good strong padlocks will be needed then.


  1. I think ours is like some unclaimed baggage. Someone wanted it once, but then they lost it, never came back and are now faintly embarrassed to be reminded that they ever owned it.

  2. Ah yes, an old carrier bag with twenty-year-old unwashed underwear in it...

  3. Hilarious, Madame, we are all faintly embarrassed here.
    Kevin, your tone sounds faintly nostalgic, as if recalling an especially good bottle of wine (and I'm not criticising you for that - a fondness for unwashed underwear is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, provided you don't try to remove it from those still wearing it)