Sunday, December 30th

My apologies for the Christmas break but the lead up and execution of the Holiday season was, as usual, akin to staging the Olympics but without all those volunteers. It was made worse (or better) by the addition of two kittens to our home. Not only that, but two kittens who had lived their short three month lives thus far in a cow shed in minus a lot temperature meaning trips to the vet every day were an essential part of our season of good will, and still are for one of them.

On with the show!

In the beginning, God created trees and snow then on reflection he realized what a mess they both made and so he created gardeners and he said unto them;

“Thou art nature’s vacuum cleaners. Go forth and multiply for I have put trees and snow all over the place, especially in Strangely Park.”

And the first gardeners said unto God;

“Oh Lord! This looketh like a tough job thou hast given unto us for the trees and snow are a multitude. Hast thou also thought of some kind of reward system?”

And God said;

“Thou haveth tea breaks every hour but aside from that thou shalt get thy reward in Heaven. In the meantime, never covet thy neighbours wheelbarrow!”

And the gardeners went forth and God saw that it was good.

Fortunately for Oleg, God also created sunshine and in the last few days that’s been a big help but before that arrived Oleg was pretty busy. As soon as he had he finished removing leaves, the snow came down and he was busy trying to remove that. From the roads and paths at least, he’s not worrying about anything else. Truth be told, he wasn’t really bothered about any of it until people started falling over on the ice and Florence Nightingale obviously called and gave him/them a bollocking.

Since then they’ve been out with the wooden scrapers and the toy-town snow removal machine that was clearly designed for considerably smaller places than this but is better than nothing. Plenty of salt, too, as we’ve had many days where the snow melts and then turns to ice overnight. Even Hagrid has been joining in the fun.

Luckily, we suffered a great melt. Temperatures rose 20C from -10 to +10 since Christmas Eve and so Oleg and company have had some time off for good behaviour.

Christmas at Strangely Park was fairly uneventful. The decorations look great though, especially when everywhere is white. A mix of personal and communal lights really makes the drive through Strangely Park a very satisfying experience.

The surgery / legal business must be booming because the Fitness’ have ditched the Volvo and invested in a new 5 series BMW. Mr Fitness was spotted on his terrace smoking! This must just be a Christmas treat he allows himself, either that or he was blind drunk because the “Wesołych swiąt!” he shouted back was rather blurry around the edges.

Hemingway gave the MG a run out in mid freeze and wrapped himself up like a Christmas present to stay warm as it has no roof, not even a soft one.

Unusual amount of coming and going from Gigolo’s place of people who did not appear to be girlfriends. More like relations visiting for the holidays. Must have cramped his style rather.

Penthouse and Slightly D have been elusive, again. I think they are actually away, again, judging by the way the car is parked. Neatly in one space means they are away, casually across both means they are home. Beloved ran into Slightly the other day and was rather rudely treated I have to say. He ought to either get some manners or work out how to explain what his damned problem is.

Aside from that, as I say, Christmas has been a quiet one with lights on at the windows and smoke coming from the chimneys with the fragrant smell of burning logs drifting our way but not a lot of outdoor action.

Ourselves, we did “Wigilia” at BIL’s place (Brother In Law). It had most of what you would expect. We then did Christmas Day at our place where roasted meat, roast potatoes and veggies were served up. The Christmas Crackers were remembered but the Christmas Pudding was forgotten, much to the delight of the gathered Poles none of whom like the stuff anyway. I shall devour a whole pudding with a packet of brandy sauce myself later and then die of stodge overdose.

Local news. One of those French hypermarkets has opened a new centre in Lomanki, just ten minutes north of us. A giant supermarket plus eventually 99 other shops of varying sizes and interest. So far they have opened half of the other shops with the rest coming in Spring.

We tried out the supermarket and managed to spend 650 zloty ($210) on foodstuff, supposedly for Christmas. As it turned out on closer inspection we had got 650 zloty worth of nothing we really needed for Christmas and so “Let’s go buy stuff we need for Christmas!” became a daily household cry for about a week until we actually had got what we needed. Not needed, needed is the wrong word, wanted is a better word. Then, when the two festive days are over you find at least half of it is still in the fridge or pantry untouched, unopened, unwanted, not needed, so you do your best to use it up before it dies. This means eating strange meals like vegetable salad and herrings for breakfast, Christmas Pudding for lunch or the infamous “ryba po grecku” (Greek fish – bits of fish with shredded carrots on top) for any meal because we have a couple of kilo to dispose of!

Still, that’s all part of the fun that is Christmas. Now, after many a dodgy tummy and uncountable trips to the rubbish bins up by security we appear to be past all that and looking forward to Sylwester or New Year party at BIL’s place tomorrow night.


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