Sunday, April 7th

Strangely Park has been stuck in a “Where the hell is Spring!” depression for a while now. We’ve had brief glimpses of what was coming, one day of sunshine, followed by yet more snowfall and dropping temperatures. The terrace has been cleared at least ten times now and we are really hoping there is now light at the end of the shovel.

The days are getting longer. Late home from work on Friday at around 19:30 and it was still light, just. Today is glorious enough (5C and sunshine) to have the awning extended and to enjoy some terrace time. By the end of next week we should be above freezing day and night and be basking in somewhere close to 10C. It’s all heading in the right direction and we are staring to cheer up a little!

We have tried bravely to improve our mood by bringing surrogate sunshine into our home with bookings of a spring break in Barcelona and a summer holiday in Emilia Romagna, the bit close to San Marino, whose football team have been out and about recently. They have an all time record of; Played – 118, Won – 1, Drawn – 5, Lost – 112, Goal Difference – minus 468. Their win was against Liechtenstein. You have to conclude that being a pinhead of a nation does not bode well for footballing success. Nevertheless, we look forward to visiting them this summer.

Around Strangely has been nothing unusual given that everyone is stuck in the same fog. Oleg and his wooden snow-bat brigade have been ever present. The Fitness family have been really going for it. Hemmingway has had the Rolls out a couple of times. Kurwa gang had a wild weekend. Florence Nightingale has needed a couple of signatures, one of which was a vote to spend money on upgrading our bicycle room. Apparently, Starbuck, whose renovation is still going on, decided it would be a good idea to upgrade our bike room. I suppose this was driven by the fact that there is nowhere for her to put her bike! It’s a decent sized room but has no racks on the wall so the floor space is full of standing bicycles. Could probably do with a coat of paint and a stronger light bulb too. Anyway, we were invited to spend our money improving this basement room and we refused. In simple terms we said “When the problems we currently have inside our apartment are fixed, we are happy to join in with improving the building as a whole but until then, no way are we contributing to anything.”.

There’s a chance this attitude might hinder our drive to win the “Resident of the Month” award, if there was such a thing. This would be a shame because on all other fronts we are streets ahead of the competition. Our balcony was cleaned of snow almost immediately, every time, we are 100% up to date with all our payments, which is more than most people around here can say and we are not at a state of war with any other residents. We have the annual meeting of the management committee coming up in April and in between all the fights I’m hoping for a rosette, diploma, knighthood!

A nice thing about Strangely Park is that being so close to the river we often see migrating birds using the river as a navigation aid. I’ve just seen 30+ Canada geese on their way north. Wikipedia tells me Sweden is a summer breeding ground for them so I suspect that’s where they were heading.

Away from Strangely, Beloved was regaling me with tales of the parking mafia, still a problem here in Warsaw. They take two main forms. Firstly the parking attendants whose job would normally be to help you to park but here is to make your life difficult and to grab as much money for nothing as they can. You arrive at a car park that clearly has many empty spaces, the attendant says there is nothing available, you schmooze a little, he thinks he might be able to find something. On your way out he does not open the barrier but approaches with an outstretched hand. Beloved’s last such encounter was at a place where she was a customer of the place that had parking places made available for customers but still had to pay Mr. Peaked Cap. Second scam, if there is no attendant there will be security guards who will ask you if you would like them to look after your car in a voice and manner that suggests if you don’t they will themselves make sure it gets damaged.

You can avoid these morons sometimes if there is street parking, as long as there are no drunks. The drunks cruise the parking slots and when one is emptied they will stagger over to it and wave their arms around. For this helpful service they also expect to be paid. Some also offer to look after your car. Best to say you will pay the drunks when you get back because most of the time they have buggered off somewhere else by then.

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