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Sunday, 29 November 2015

358: Kazimierz Dolniy - again

358 blogs in and I can't avoid some repetition. I last visited Kazimierz Dolniy on 8th March. Went there again yesterday and came back today. (I have to go to many places twice just to apologize! :)) I hired a 'pot luck' car from SixT at Chopin airport and they gave me a Renault Megane. Nice car with an integral Satnav, which worked very well once I'd figured out how to change the masculine Polish voice to 'Jane' from UK. The car was almost new and sparkly clean when I got it. 24 hours, 360 km, and some Polish weather later it came back filthy. The weather was OK yesterday but it was dark by the time I got there. Looking out of the window after dinner I noticed we had had snow! Driving back today the snow had melted off the roads but was still lying on the fields. By the time I got to Warsaw there was no sign of it. By the time I got to Mlociny it was raining.
I stayed in the same hotel as last time (Zajazd Piastowski or, in English, The Piastovski Inn) and treated myself to a sauna before dinner last night. And a beer, or two, of course. It was a nice hotel despite the name, which might suggest that one could easily be displeased with it! I'm not explaining it - you either fall in or you don't!

I'm always impressed by the roadside shrines. They are in every village and town and always well-tended. 

A busy week coming up. Busier than it has been since before summer. Finally I'll be able to pay my rent :) And there's me taking half of December off. Just as business was picking up. Oh well, you can't take it with you. Just heard of another two colleagues from my military days who have contracted cancer and are about to start their chemo. Live for today. If & when tomorrow comes it's a blessing.
Finally, a tongue in cheek offering from Face Book, whilst I'm on the subject of poor health.

Monday, 9 November 2015

357: We will remember them

On the 11th hour of the 11th Day of the 11th month the United Kingdom pays homage to our servicemen and servicewomen who have fallen in conflicts during or since the First World War. On the Sunday before that, or on 11th if that is a Sunday, the Royal British Legion organises services of remembrance up and down the country to honour the people who gave their life so that we could enjoy the freedom that we as a nation now cherish. The largest service is at the Cenotaph in Whitehall and our Queen graces the occasion with her presence. Wreaths are laid at memorials in many cities, towns and villages.
Ramsey is no exception. The British Legion organised the parade yesterday afternoon and this was followed by a service in the church, conducted by the Bishop of Ely. The High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire also took part in the wreath laying and the church service.
I think that events such as these are part of the fabric of our society and help to bind us together as a nation. I would estimate there were about 100 people present for the wreath laying ceremony and the church was packed to the gunwales.
I was there, formally dressed for the occasion.
This morning I walked to the local cemetery to pay my respects to mum and dad and on the way there took the opportunity to take pictures of the wreaths which had been laid yesterday.

To finish, a long video clip of the 2014 parade at the cenotaph.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

356: Lazy Sunday afternoon!

This is so not me, sitting here, in my little flat in Warsaw, at 2.30 in the afternoon (dentist's time), and still with a towel wrapped around my waist - which is what passes for pyjamas in this household. I had my morning lesson, from 7 to 8, and then had the bright idea to go back to bed, or at least to go and lie on it "for a few minutes". I fell into a deep slumber until almost 11.30.  Woke up feeling almost refreshed and then committed my second sin of the day by turning on the computer and playing stupid solitaire. But it was OK, I only did it for an hour and a half! Doh! The trouble with taking "down time" like this is that outstanding jobs-to-do stack up behind you and the rest of the day becomes a matter of prioritizing and deciding which jobs must be done today and which can slip until tomorrow or, possibly, the day after. There are some lessons for tomorrow which I haven't yet prepared. That is a cardinal sin, to go into the classroom with nothing in the back pocket. The thought of being 60 minutes into a 90 minute lesson and having covered all the pre-planned material and having nothing in reserve fills me with dread. It happens occasionally and is one of the reasons why I like the job. The adrenalin "buzz" from thinking on your feet is, usually but not always, satisfying.
What day is it today? Sunday 1st November. All Saints' Day, especially in Catholic countries. Here in Poland, absolutely everybody goes to visit the grave(s) of their loved ones. The authorities even lay on buses to ferry people to the cemeteries. People place a candle, or perhaps a little lantern, at the graveside. When I realized yesterday that all the shops would be closed in Poland today I scurried off to my local supermarket. It was dark and quite an impressive sight passing the local cemetery on the tram and seeing the glow from hundreds of lanterns. Here is a picture from Google images.
Image result for all saints' day
What day is it tomorrow? Monday 2nd November. All Souls' Day, when Catholics in particular pray for their dearly departed.
No more. I've rambled on for long enough - perhaps too long.  Must crack on and do SOMETHING, even if it's only making a list!
My very best wishes to my dear sister who will be retiring at the end of this week. I wish her every happiness. Sorry to be missing the party on Saturday.