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  Thu 23rd September 2010

That's "cheers", a word that my Hungarian couchsurfers taught me last night. It doesn't sound anything like it's spelt.

They're two girls who are starting MAs in Psychology at Lancaster and are staying at mine until they find somewhere to live. They arrived yesterday afternoon, fifteen hours after they'd set off from Budapest, lugging huge and heavy suitcases with them: their next two years. They had to go more or less straight to a house viewing. They came back disappointed, saying it was damp and it had a depressed air about it. I vaguely know the people who own the flat and I'm not surprised they found it a bit gloomy. The owners are.

I made a coal fire and put some wine out. They stood up. I did too. They got a bottle of wine out from a suitcase, and plucked some socks out from the top of its cardboard sleeve which they'd put there to help transport it. "Right, OK, we pretend, nothing has changed," said Andrea. "We are very happy you allow us to stay." They presented me with the wine and then reached back to the suitcase for some paprika salami, explaining it was of a type unique to their region. We settled down with the sausage, Felicity's homegrown tomatoes, some red pepper and pitta bread, and the lovely dry Cab Sav.

This afternoon they came back after a day out flathunting and said they'd already been to the pub. We got talking about funny names which sparked off several anecdotes. I told them about when I was working for the Water Board and one of our Chinese customers was called Mr Fuk. They told me about a place name in Hungary which means "panties". "Where are you from? I am from Panties", she mimicked. I told her that the name of the island in the Shetlands called Twatt is funny to an English speaker. They didn't know what "twat" means. "It's a very very rude word for..." I pointed a finger at her. "Vagina." I hope they don't find a flat too soon.

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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person

M / 60 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

WLTM literate woman, 40-65. Must have nice tits, a PhD, and an mdma factory in the shed, although the first on its own will do in the short term.

There are plenty of bastards who drink moderately. Of course, I don't consider them to be people. They are not our comrades.
Sergei Korovin, quoted in Pavel Krusanov, The Blue Book of the Alcoholic

I am here to change my life. I am here to force myself to change my life.
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The more democratised art becomes, the more we recognise in it our own mediocrity.
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Tell me, why is it that even when we are enjoying music, for instance, or a beautiful evening, or a conversation in agreeable company, it all seems no more than a hint of some infinite felicity existing apart somewhere, rather than actual happiness – such, I mean, as we ourselves can really possess?
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