Sunday, January 20th

It is easy to confuse a priest with a book, at least in Poland it is. The word for priest is ksiądz and the word for book is książka so the first four letters are exactly the same followed by dz or ż which are actually a very similar sound when you say them and then the ka, in the case of a book, which is such a popular little ending in Polish that a stupid foreigner might well be tempted to stick it on the end of the word for priest thus turning the priest into a book.

I’m reminded of this because the Holy Spirit, in the form of a priest from our local church across the highway in Mociny West, visited us last week. This is the second time it has happened since we have lived at Strangely Park, the last time being perhaps three years ago when I was home alone. I’m not used to answering the doorbell and finding a priest standing there in full regalia so I assumed the worst and my heart sank. I suppose body language and a smile quickly assured me there had been no terrible accident and I invited him in. He did a few strange things, left me with some playing cards and left again. The cards are like you might collect with baseball or football players on them except they have saints and religious text. I have visions of lonely priests swapping their duplicate Saint Francis for a Saint Benedict and searching high and low for the elusive Saint Zacharias the Wanderer.

This time the priest had rung our doorbell only because the previous owners were registered flock members and so would be expecting a visit. We invited him in nonetheless and he changed the details on his index card. No high tech devices for the church as yet, just pen and paper. Beloved made sure he knew I was the spawn of the devil before we got started, “We’re a bit of a mixed up family, my husband is Church of England, a Protestant and not to be trusted.”. The priest did a few safety checks about whether we were married in a Catholic way and it seems we passed. You can’t be too careful, I might have been the Archbishop of Canterbury’s spy.

To drink he wanted 1/10th of a glass of water at a temperature that had something to do with a microwave. After some pushing he adjusted this to 1/5th of a glass. Are all priests so precise about their drinking requirements?

He went through the whole ceremony, prayers for this to be a good home and family, blessing some water and then splashing it about the place, the Lord’s Prayer and then some general chit-chat on the sofa. I think I got my marking of the cross the wrong way around but we got two of the playing cards anyway, one of which he seemed quite excited about. He dallied further in the hallway on the way out asking how I like Poland and stuff, which is the point where we think we are supposed to hand over some cash. We didn’t hand over any cash and he left empty handed, just like the last guy did three years ago. Probably why he didn’t come back the following year?

I can’t help it. I see a Catholic priest and I see a member of perhaps the wealthiest organization on the planet. The idea of making them even more wealthy never crosses my mind outside of the peer pressure effect of a collection bowl being passed around. Anyway, we’re on the list so we shall see what happens next year.

What was clear from our chat was that Strangely Park is a Godless place. Of all the residents we have here there were perhaps a handful who the priest had an appointment with. No surprises there then.

The past week also included a personal visit from our downstairs neighbour, Mr Misery, who was accompanied by Florence Nightingale. Predictably, he was coming to complain about something, namely the fact that there is damp appearing on one of his walls. He took me down to show me the problem and I reciprocated by showing him our damp problem, which is on the same wall immediately above and which is far more impressive than his own. We found no solution other water is coming from somewhere above and heading downwards. Now it seems Starbuck’s builders have also reported water coming into her place. Attention may now move to the roof in addition to Penthouse’s bedroom.

Darth Muller was in town. Strutting around purposefully followed by Handy Mick and the Munchkins like ducklings in his wake. They’re up to something, possibly involving the French house which may, or may not, have been re-let.

The Rapster’s dog tried to kill me, well, it ran at me pretending to be scary. I told you those dogs were highly strung. Lots of unnecessary apologies from the Rapsters.

Oh, nearly forgot. Whoever is in charge of traffic has now made it illegal to make a left turn from the highway (coming from Lomanki) into Mociny East. We have absolutely no idea why they have done this but they feel so strongly about it that they have installed no less than three signs to make it clear. 99% of the time I’ve used this turn I have been the only car doing it and have not been blocking anything or anyone. This is the complete opposite of the left turn going in the other direction, heading out of Warsaw and wanting to turn left into Mociny West – the way I take Offspring to school. This seems to be a very popular turn recently and is regularly backed up so far that those waiting to turn are blocking one lane of the two lane highway causing all sorts of traffic mess. This really is a junction in need of management but nothing is being done. The other one was never a problem but has now had three no left turn signs installed. Go figure!


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