Wednesday, 11 January 2012


In September 1970, I spent a couple of days in Budapest, staying with a doctor friend, whom I'd met (and had to stay) when he had visited London earlier that Summer. It was one of those episodes, the importance of which bears no relation to its duration. The reason? The intensity of the hospitality I received from Ádám and his mother, living in circumstances far reduced from those they had earlier been used to, but unceasingly generous to this traveller passing through - certainly compared to the standard I'd set in London.

Since then, we have corresponded regularly - if only at Christmas - though I have never been back to Hungary. Knowing Ádám (and - over time - his family) even in this tangential way has stimulated an interest in all things Hungarian, particularly the music of Bartók and Kodály. Politically and economically, the country appears from here currently to be in a mess, alas - but this seems happily unreflected in the family photograph I've just received, taken near Lake Balaton last Summer.

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