Sunday, January 27th

Temperatures are fluctuating either side of -10C and snow management has been the most popular outdoor activity at Strangely Park in the past week with keeping warm coming in a close second.

The dominant sound is the scraping of snow-bats and shovels as Oleg and the crew clear roads and residents clear balconies. There’s a law here that snow must be cleared from roofs, balconies and such like and another hi-tech note was taped to the front door recently to remind us of that obligation. Attention to snow clearance gained heightened national importance after the collapse of the roof of Katowice trade hall in 2006 when it was hosting the 56th National Exhibition of Carrier Pigeons. More than 700 fanciers were in attendance at the time of which 65 died and more than 170 were injured. It is rare for pigeon fanciers to visit Strangely Park but we clear the snow from the balconies anyway.

The second most popular sound is that of General Patton’s dog whistle. This mainly comes drifting through from the area around the lake in the evenings. There has been no snow clearance around the lake, no need to do so, and so it’s a great training ground for night attacks on enemy positions in Siberia or other places where nasty Russian commies might be hiding in the snow. The General sets up an enemy encampment using the gardener’s hut on the far side as a base. I suspect Mrs. Patton plays the Russians and she has a great view of the battlefield from the elevated position that the hut commands. The General then sends his dog, an Irish Setter, one way round the lake while he goes the other controlling the dogs movement with the whistle. This pincer movement takes Mrs. Patton by surprise and so they all celebrate yet another famous Polish victory over the Russians with a shot of vodka and a squirrel roasted over an open fire.

Looking forward to a couple of easy weeks ahead now. The winter school holidays have started and for the next two weeks the schools are closed. We’re taking the second week off ourselves and Babcia will be looking after Offspring for this coming week. Whenever the schools are closed the traffic around town is considerably easier, which makes for a nice break from the usual madness.

Ever since they closed half of Warsaw to build Metro Line 2 it’s been a bit crazy getting around. It sort of works but is a long way from being easy and I’ll be really happy when it’s finished, in about 5 years time no doubt. So damned annoying that the Russians ended up “giving” Warsaw a giant wedding cake of a building instead of something useful like a metro system. How much better would this place be if it had a metro system like Moscow’s!

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