Catching up

Last post was Sunday. Not good enough. All my blog-juice was used up putting two posts on Polandian, busy at work and other excuses.

I wish someone would invent a device that recorded your thoughts in text so I could just cut & paste here. I do genuinely have many “must remember to write about that” moments but by the time I get here they are lost in the synapses never to be thought again.

Random thoughts from this week:

  • How amazing is surgery! There ws this TV programme showing a heart operation where they not only put the patient on a heart-lung bypass machine but also drained her body completely of blood and dropped her body temperature down so low that her brain activity readings were so flat you could pronounce her dead. Then they just pumped the blood back in, warmed her up and she was right as rain! Amazing. If I come back again I want to be a surgeon doing tricky stuff like that.
  • Why do many Polish taxi drivers fee they have a right to block the street while their passenger pays and leaves? Watched one moron today block ul. Zlota for a few minutes when he only needed to move another 20m and park at a taxi rank. When he eventually moved off he immediately did an illegal U-turn and then went off to mess with drivers in other parts of the capital.
  • Why do I find the whole John Paul II death thing so moving when I’m not Polish nor Catholic? TV showing various progs because of Easter.
  • How genuinely friendly almost all Polish people are when it comes to children. Zosia was playing with some friends here at home and before very long she’s invited for a bonfire next to the lake, fed with potatoes and sausages roasted on the fire and generally looked after by some, more or less, complete strangers. I’m sure there are bad people in Poland but I’m far happier leaving her to go off with strange families here than I would be in the UK.
  • We had an awaria here today with the wod-kan system. There are two pumps to move sewage from our estate up to the public sewer and thanks to a sweater blocking a pipe they both went kaput last night. Being the furthest away from the problem we didn’t notice anything unusual this morning but noticed poor water pressure and then lights and action around a manhole on the far side of the pond. We wandered over like nosey-parkers and it appears they’ve been having fun. The workers were dispatched at 03:00 to get to Poznan, the only place in Poland where a similar pump could be bought. They got one and have been fitting the thing most of the day spending hours down a stinking hole on Good Friday! The water supply was switched off while they did it. They got it finished at around 21:00 and now everything is fine, even better pressure than before in fact. The whole exercise was done in a very Polish ‘golden hand’ way with people lowering the new very heavy pump above the head of the guy in the pit with what looked like a not very well tested device consisting of bits of string, elastic bands, somebody’s trouser belt….! Then it was wired the wrong way so it was sucking instead of pushing. But hey, it got done on a Good Friday and cost peanuts to fix beyond the price of the new pump itself. Would it happen that easy anywhere else?
  • Andrew at work keeps coming up against these “Welcome to Poland!” moments. Today it was the failure to change the tyres and the PIT. He’s driving to Szczecin for Easter and was supposed to have his tyres changed to summer ones a few days ago. This was cancelled but then an emergency session organised for today. Of course, the tyres that had arrived from Łodz were the wrong ones so he’s stuck with winter tyres until next Friday. These ’emergency fixes’ have a tendency not to work out here. His next question was what to do with the PIT form now it’s completed. His idea being to ‘pop down’ to the urząd skarb, hand over the document along with the money he owes and Bob’s your uncle. He hasn’t quite grasped the fact that you just don’t mess with urząds unless you have absolutely no other options available. He’ll be posting it next week and bank transferring the dosh.
  • Why is our cat growing gonads the size of coconuts and what kind of clang are they going to make when they hit the dish after the snip?
  • Why can’t people realise that saying “You can leave when you’ve finished everything you need to do” on a Good Friday is exactly the same as saying “Down tools and go home immediately whatever is going on”.
  • How lovely is Warsaw when there’s no traffic!
  • What could be wrong with our friend who’s having loads of very serious medical tests this Easter and not joining us in Mazury? Epilepsy has been mentioned, but it’s not that, so what is it and will it get better?
  • Will another colleague find some employment soon after losing his job at the end of March? He’s got a family of 5 kids to feed and no matter how much rationalisation you do it still doesn’t feel any better.
  • Well, one more salary to go at the rate in my contract and then the benefit of the lower tax rate in Poland is transferred graciously over to my employers bank account instead of mine. As for any contracted bonuses, well you kiss those goodbye too. We should all be grateful to have a job at all I suppose. Seems the only way to guarantee a bonus these days is to be one of the bankers that caused all this bloody mess in the first place. They get bonuses because if they don’t the company might “lose its most talented people”. How demeaning is it to know that you’re less important and talented than a useless banker?
  • An article I read said that in the UK, the gap between amount lent by banks and that coming into banks from “normal people” in 2001 was zero. By 2007 it had reached something like 740 billion pounds!! The gap, effectively 40% of all money loaned, was being made up by money coming from shady foreign institutions somewhat akin to loan sharks, although there was a suggestion that the money actually originates from the savings of less debt hungry nations like the Chinese. This is the money fountain that has dried up and one reason why everyone is in such deep du-du.
  • Am I going to get my RICS case studies and ‘continuous learning’ charts done in time? As I sit here I’m already 2 days late and I feel bad about it. I’m hoping everyone will be too busy over Easter to worry about it and by the time they come back I’ll have them done. I have no choice to be honest so it looks like I know what I’m doing on Easter Monday.
  • The sounds of the birds in the mornings is amazing! Really noisy and because half of them are trying to attract a mate the range of sounds is just incredible. I’m really peed off that I’m not able to identify from calls. Not even close.
  • Will I EVER find a place in Warsaw I can buy industrial sized bags of peanuts for the bird feeders!!!! This is NOT a country where people like spending money on feeding wild animals unless they are basement cats. Best I can find are sets of nets with two pouches of peanuts and three grease and seed balls. No damned good to me – I need at least a 10kg bag of peanuts and not at edible style prices.
  • Are we going to get frogs here or not? Ideal conditions.
  • Is this the strangest set of tags for one post, ever?
  • Will this list never end……….
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