7th month in Warsaw (August 31st – September 28th)

We’re well past the halfway mark now, and I have a strong feeling that the year is moving too fast. There are still so many things I haven’t done.

The leaves are turning: you’re in danger of being conked on the head by a conker if you walk under a horse chestnut tree: the temperature is dropping: darkness is falling earlier and earlier. We join other Warsaw inhabitants picking up chestnuts with their irresistible gleamings and patterns and we delight in watching sycamore helicopters twirl down as they go about their business.

This month has been a month of visitors from the other side of the world: Sandy, who has been my friend for many years, in my old Moruya life, in my Broken Hill life, again in my south coast life and now in my Warsaw life: my beloved eldest daughter who has been in my life even longer; and Kate, a relatively new friend with whom I share books and movies and art and life in general. It’s been a feast of ease in English, and a chance to show off my Warsaw. It’s also brought home closer and given me home-dreams.

Jaś and Maja

Their agility increases as summer passes. Now they can both walk along the top rope in the fire engine playground, and hang upside down, folded-armed, like bats. Maja walks along the balance bar and turns round and walks back. Their arms are strong and they know the skills involved in climbing and hanging: they are no longer tentative. They are proud of their muscles: Maja carries her bike up three flights of stairs and a heavy chest full of animals from her house to ours.

Aunty Franki brooks no nonsense and proves to be a firm and skilled distractor when someone throws a horizontal. She supervises Maja as she cracks and scrambles her own egg (her own four eggs if truth be told). She mimes a variety of Australian bush animals crossing the road in front of the motorbike and sidecar we’re driving in the playground – “Look! look! A wombat.” She initiates lying on the ground to watch the leaves falling. She helps Maja form words from the magnetic letters on the frig. “Quoll”, her avatar, is the first one I see. She solves the problem of getting them dressed in the morning by doing it while they’re still asleep. She is the perfect aunt.

Dziadek sets up an aeroplane factory and produces rockets and paper planes and helicopters, which we fly in the park and the empty pond, and from the wall of the Palace. The boats aren’t so successful and become waterlogged too easily. He allows himself to be chalked all over, to the gentle amusement of one of the playground mums who exchanges a smile with me as he walks past, and he galumphs through parkland waving his arms in rough imitation of a cockatoo. He is the perfect grandfather.

Maja takes her first photos with my camera: the two portraits of my daughter are hers, and she also took one of the geometric patterns of a bench which made me believe in photographic DNA. She has begun to pose for photos instead of burying her head or disappearing offstage.

R is carrying Jaś, and he dangles heavily in her arms. “I red hot lover” he declares. We startle, wondering where on earth he’s heard the expression and what it means to him. We repeat what we think he’s said and he becomes agitated. We finally figure out he’s saying “I red hot lava”, after a lengthy morning conversation about volcanoes.

Exploring Warsaw

This month involves a lot of revisiting, as I show Warsaw to friends. I revisit the Palace on the Island in Łazienki in search of a botanical dinner service: climb the spiral staircase to the viewing terrace, twice: potter around the Old Town, also twice. But I also break a bit of new ground: hunting for kosher grape juice, I find the synagogue: I finally join the walking tour of Jewish Warsaw: I ramble along the refurbished riverfront three times, past the coolglobes, once on the only early morning walk of the month. I swelter as I search for very large spiders hiding in their glass cases in exhibition space in the very, very large Palace of Science and Culture, and admire the exhibits in the newly-opened Dollshouse Museum, also in the palace of science and culture. We return to the palace for a movie and discover a vast domed atrium, parquet-floored and chandeliered.

I spend a pleasant Sunday morning prowling amongst orchids.

A visit to the British Council Open Day to see my daughter in her workplace didn’t yield my daughter who was on her lunch break, but it did remind me of National Theatre Live in Warsaw, and so I went out on a chilly evening for three glorious hours of “Threepenny Opera”, a superb and challenging performance – in English. I’ve seen a number of Disney movies with the kids, but they’re all dubbed in Polish.

The Warsaw marathon runs past the apartment, a melange of sound: the slapping of feet, the clack as paper cups are discarded at a run, the crunch as they’re trodden on, shouts from the runners, cheers from the bystanders – a mesmerising rhythm of movement and sound. So mesmerising that I fail to identify my daughter amongst the five thousand + runners, coming past me in bursts. She was apparently behind the contingent in armour carrying spears, emulating the original Marathon runner. She finishes the 42 km feeling triumphant and unstrained, and I wonder yet again how I managed to birth such a daughter.

And I eat out nearly every meal while Kate is here.

Pick-of-the-month photos

Back home

My son continues taking great photos. Friends are building a state of the art outdoor bread oven. A waratah farm has opened its gates to raise funds to support indigenous literacy. One of my favourite local galleries has a calm and elegant ceramics exhibition. My Newcastle friend has booked our Airbnb for our Melbourne jaunt in May 2017. 
Where on earth do I want to be?

About morselsandscraps

A retired Australian who spends a lot of time in Warsaw, and blogs as a way of life.
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17 Responses to 7th month in Warsaw (August 31st – September 28th)

  1. Rosemary Barnard says:

    A very busy, happy and fulfilling time you are having. I don’t need to tell you just to live in the present and don’t worry about what you can and cannot accomplish before you return to Australia. I loved those elegant Art Nouveau lamp posts and the curved wall behind all that glass: reminds me of the Sydney Opera House. Which also reminds me that I saw a performance of “The Threepenny Opera” in one of the smaller venues there years ago, with Kate Fitzpatrick, who also gave a superb performance. I am a great fan of Brecht and the social justice messages which characterise his work. “Mother Courage and Her Children” at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre a couple of years ago, with an Aboriginal cast, moved me to tears. Now you take care of yourself and get adequate rest, as winter approaches.


    • The curved wall is in the Museum of the History of the Jewish People – a contrast to the darkness of a lot of their history. The performance that really towered for me was Macheath’s: so not what I expected, and such an indictment of self-righteous fat cats. We’re off the vegan diet in an attempt to combat winter ills.


  2. Lucid Gypsy says:

    I had to double check how many arms and legs Jas has, made me smile! S
    Well what a lovely month again, I rather like your chic haircut and there’s some delicious food there. I expect your early morning walks will become fewer or later as autumn closes in, but the colour will be fun with your camera – and Maja. Plenty more lovely family days Meg, enjoy x:-)x


    • I tried this morning to get another appointment for a chic haircut and agreed to who knows what in response to hairdresser mime! I had my first autumn-leaf shoot this morning, and we’re on helicopter watch as the sycamores turn. There’s one in the courtyard and one on the street outside the living room. Enjoy the closing in in your world.


      • Lucid Gypsy says:

        Where’s the photo then? 🙂 The autumn colour doesn’t really get going here until November, I’ll have to go and find some sycamores, perhaps lunchtime at work. I’m sure yo got some good photos to share.


  3. Heyjude says:

    What a fabulous time you are having Meg, you must be exhausted at times! You and J are the perfect grandparents, Maja and Jas are very, very lucky to have you in their lives. And you them. Enjoy each and every day. Australia is there waiting for you and no doubt once you return you will fill your days scouring the beaches for treasures. You must miss the sea.


    • I do miss the sea – I heard it in last night’s rain and wind. My greatest grandparental virtue might be never talking on my mobile in their presence. J really astonishes by his dedication and imagination. I barely even get to read a story. But Little Cockatoos is still my preserve.


  4. quollgirl says:

    I miss you all so much as I look at the photos of the golden Polish autumn (should that be capitalised?) that wasn’t. I want to be here with my animals (including the human ones) but I also want to be there.


  5. Pingback: 7th month in Warsaw (August 31st – September 28th) « quollgirl

  6. restlessjo says:

    Love you darlin. Great to see the twinlets! I have 5mins in a Tavira bar. Please give my love to the others. Impossible to keep up out here and I’m not sure that I want to. Home Wednesday but SO much to do xxx


  7. Sue says:

    Oh you do make me smile, Meg! Always commenting yhat there is so much you haven’t done, when what you have done would put most people to shame! Keep that camera clicking and those legs waking, I always look forward to your posts. I have just returned from a short break to Spain myself…..and it was nearly as hot as Warsaw!


    • Ah! I wondered how and where you were. I was about to email to check that you were OK. Did the heat knock you about? And where in Spain? Thanks for enjoying my posts. I’ve got about six unfinished ones. Yesterday I lost my house key – like permanently and forever – so I’m taking advantage of the chance to catch up a bit while J keeps his legs walking.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sue says:

        I went to Andalucia- firstly Malaga, then to my friends house in rural Campillos, roughly between Malaga and Córdoba, then to Córdoba. Early mornings were good, and I went out most mornings to drink in the sights and atmosphere. With plentiful cafes and bars, walking about later was OK too! Cordoba is stunning.


      • Sue says:

        Oh, and I meant to say bad news about the key…


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