No more daybreak walks for me. I sit inside, storing up heat before I venture out – except on preschool days, which generate their own special warmth. On Friday I am diverted from a mid-morning plan – get to Nowy Świat quickly to photograph the Kossakowski Palace, and then scuttle back home equally quickly – by the sight of a peacock. So once I capture the palace I set off to walk back three bus stops along a very familiar stretch of road. I pass an oversize glittery hat full of parcels; an intricately twisted tree, bare except for its red fruits; a number of buildings painted since I first noticed them the year the twins were born; an explanation of a brick building with alien arches (a search for a national style in 1895 led to a neo Gothic facade imitating a Venetian palace); construction work, a great crane swivelling overhead with its load of concrete blocks; a doorway into a courtyard from which a tractor comes straight at me; a gracious building scaffolded with battered timber since 2012; an antique bookshop with woodcuts and pale pink and green maps in the window; and Christmas lights in seven different designs.
Then I come to the peacock, and nearby a pleasant mosaic swan alone in the footpath and a ladder of fungus ascending a grey fissured trunk. I diverge into Ujadowskie park and find my old photographic confederates waiting for me: bark on trees that survived the destruction of wartime. There is also a summer house with sparse vines, a pond inhabited by willow reflections and seagulls, and orange-and-yellow-leaved companion trees.
And then a cosy bus, and Friday lunch with my daughter, a recent regular pleasure that I relish.