Sunday, July 17, 2011

The bedroom at night

Sorry, for those of you looking for salacious stories it isn't going to be what you thought from the title. But, you might as well keep on reading.

What happens when Warsaw's "bedroom" sleeps? 

The area where I live in Warsaw is known as the "Bedroom of Warsaw". This is because there are lots of young office workers living here, and as Poland workers average the second most hours in the developed world behind only South Korea, some of these people here basically sleep, wash and maybe eat before they leave again every day. Combine this with the fact that many people now living in Warsaw are from all over Poland then you can see why the place can be quiet on weekends. The line up of people to head home for weekends is evident on a Friday afternoon from 1400 onwards, if you go anywhere near an arterial route out of the city it resembles what Poles would love to call "masakra". The traffic will be banked up, lots of sad faces, hooting and tooting horns and there will be people getting highly frustrated at anything and everything. The other thing you notice in this neighbourhood other than the quite evident lack of the older generation, in the numbers you would find them in other districts, is that there are lots and lots of prams.  Nearly everywhere you turn, there are young mothers strolling talking on mobiles or even having a sneaky cigarette while walking bubs. Sometimes you will see them walking dogs as well, or at rare times there will be dogs, bubs, and grannies all together, the classic trifecta. 

Ursynow, in the last 2.5 years has changed a lot in my eyes. People only knew it for banks, wine shops and dentists, I am guessing three things that the young professional can't do without. In fact it is amazing how much young Poles care about their dental activities and it is not uncommon to see males or females in their 30's in braces. As for wine, the consumption of it now has gone above that of vodka and is second only to beer. However, since I have lived here there has been many cafes, bars and restaurants open up. In fact just within 100m or so of our house you can now find 2 fusion restaurants, a cafe/bar, an indian/pizza/kebab eatery, a Georgian restaurant, a sushi restaurant, an italian restaurant, another cafe, a bakery, a Chinese restaurant, and another two pizza shops. Where as only half if not less of these were here 1.5 years ago. So things are changing, I think people are slowly losing their willingness to go home to their country towns and villages and now are willing to spend more time in the city. Which is great for everyone, except maybe the isolated parents.

So these are just a few pictures at night from our balconies.

Getting creative

Stormy weather

twilight and the penthouse

More twilight

more creativity with the zoom

thunder bolts and lighting very very frightening me
More twilight
Setting sun
Sun is nearly gone

Sun is gone
Ok, so I love the late night skies. I hope you don't mind.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

On your Bike

Recently, on a public holiday the old "Trouble and Strife" was off swanning about in Southern France, for work, and I was stuck at home alone and a little bit bored. I decided to whip out the old Amsterdam and hit the paved world. I headed down the road Aleja Komisji Edukacji Narodowej, thankfully most commonly named KEN instead. I then vanished into to Las Kabacki, the Kabaty Forest. As the weather was fine there were people everywhere, the paths were filled more than the roads. I pedaled around looking at all the people, dogs, babies in prams, old people Nordic walking and teenagers walking while sipping from half litre beers. 

Riding at a speed that must have been nearly the speed of light I needed oxygen and inhaled deeply. What is that smell in the air? It smells like pork and smoke. I followed the smell along with many other people and came to a little clearing. I was amazed by the numbers of people. They were spread out across a large area, from the tree lined fringes in makeshift bikinis, ie bras and underpants, through to small huts with tables and fire pits. There was music from stereos footballs flying about and people being unPolish. Yes, they were smiling, IN PUBLIC! Crazy!
Fire pits and huts

A Granny parade

The grannies keep on moving.
It also brings me to another Polish thing, well actually it is also very British. Why do men feel the need to take their shirts off the minute there is some sun about. Mostly it is the rotund, the sweaty and the surprisingly hairless characters that do it. I find it a little disturbing, but maybe that is just me. Many, have said to me that as I am from Australia I should be used to people without clothes on due to the heat, but I really don't recall too many shirtless portly gents other than at the beach. It is like in the UK where as soon as there is a snifter of sun it is get the pasty bits out and make them red ASAP. If women were to do it, in Poland at least, there would be massive public outrage, grannies protesting in front of the presidential palace and burning effigies of Prime Minister Tusk. So why can men? Maybe some Polish boys can answer that one for me.
A shirtless man tends his fire in preparation for the adding of pork in casings.
The nordic walkers smashing along.

I pulled over to enjoy the serenity

And was brutally attacked by wildlife
The amsterdam looks resplendent in timeless black and white.

I know it isn't Nowy Swiat, but this is deep in the middle of the forest, the trail is packed up ahead.

The meal before Marty went to France, all sourced at the local markets, fresh, cheap and bloody delicious

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Brewing up a storm.

So, a quick World Of The Alcohol, or WOTA for short, update. It is always a busy time at this time of year, as there is so much produce popping up. Most of it of course needs to be formulated into some form of alcoholic beverage. Some of the latest things I have been up to.


                                                                          when using this
 like this

You get this
and if you add it all together you get this.

 So ingredients are as follows:
1.4L of Vodka
1.5L Brandy
600mL Warm water which is mixed with 500g Dark Muscovado sugar
2.8kg of sour cherries most pitted but leave about 20 or so with stones.
easy as.

I have also made a black currant nalewka in a similar format, however, as yet I have not added any sugar as I want to see how sweet it turns out. It is already getting that great colour of cassis.

 What else has been on the boil? Oh, so apt. I have been making nettle beer again. This time the nettles are a little older than last time and maybe we didn't collect as much because of this.

So nettles plus water
Gives boiling water with nettles.
Strain them
Then you get a beautiful nettle tea which is great too. I decided to follow a different recipe this year to last which had good results and even better ones with time. So this year I used this one I think I like it because it was posted by the author on my first Polish birthday. So that is bubbling away still even after moving the liquid off the lees. So we will wait a little long till I bottle it. Hopefully avoiding any accidents
Like this one. The exploding world of elderflower champagne. Thanks Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. So if you want to ever make elderflower champagne, use the recipe that I linked, and made, on here but not Hugh's. This explosion happened at 4 in the morning and as you can see destroyed the plastic container that I thought would hold any leakage, the biggest piece of the Grolsch bottl was the upper neck all 5cm of it! Certainly some power. That said the other recipe makes a delightful brew, of which I thoroughly recommend. Those who have tried it really enjoy it, like Spumante but more floral and less sweet.

Happy brewing!

Animals Animals Animals Animals Animals everywhere.

“If a dog jumps in your lap, it is because he is fond of you; but if a cat does the same thing, it is because your lap is warmer.”

Alfred North Whitehead quotes (British Mathematician and Philosopher, 1861-1947)

I guess the title pretty much says it all about this post and this quote from Alfred says how I feel about cats and dogs. Kittens are cute, fully grown cats are just selfish. Puppies are cute, but dogs are faithful and loving. I think to me there is a clear winner.

A big dopey dog

Or tiny little kittens?

I think Marta has made her choice

Of which a certain mother is not so happy

Some are saying pick me, pick me

You're not going anywhere!

Someones later personality is already clearly on display

Time for a feed and a sleep. Tough life.

For the theme song to today's post and any 80's children from Australia click here

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Barn Storming.

Sometimes in life we miss out because we are in a rush. When in Warsaw, I am always seeing people whirl around me, running for buses, trams, trains when chances are they would only need to wait a maximum of ten minutes for the next one. When we rush, we miss the little things. I remember when I would catch the train to work and walk down Rundle Mall in Adelaide. At first I would always rush to get to work early, then one day a woman smiled at me, it made me smile. I then continued to smile at people as I walked down the mall those morning following, some people smiled back, some thought I was a serial killer but it was this that slowed me down. Then I started to look around me, it was so early in the morning there wasn't many people to be smiling at like a chuckle headed loon, so I started to look past the shop window displays and the horribly ugly signage associated with sales, new shipments, or whatever else they would try to rope the customers in with. I looked up, I saw the old building facades the beautiful bricks that you would never see in the "glitz" of the shop fronts. From then on I have tried to look at all the little things around me. From sewer covers, to building finishes. So this post is about the little bits of a 100 year old barn in Sokolka.

The devil is in the detail.

More hinge
A different Hinge
hook and chain
knot of wood
Knot and gap with straw
Banging on
The door
Nail and Grain
Knocked out knot
Nailed wood end
Wire in the sky

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