Monday, December 31, 2007

For Cold Lang Syne

Poor Audrey has been laid down with a cold the last couple of days. Amy also had one for a while and even I contracted a near-deadly 'man cold' for 24 hours or so. We're pretty much over our bugs now, but little Audrey has spent the last day coughing and sneezing. It's meant we've had to curtail our trip to Sarah's this evening for her New Years Eve party which is a real shame, but hopefully it'll mean Audrey will wake up in 2008 feeling a bit better.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Lovely Christmas at Pene and Mike's

Audrey woke up early on Christmas morning with eager anticipation of the day ahead (ok, I'm stretching the truth a bit, being as she's only 4 months old).

Anyway, after pancakes for breakfast, we all sat round the tree and encouraged Audrey to 'open' her presents. Santa had been pretty generous to her, so we spent the morning playing with her new toys - although we did wonder whether she got more enjoyment out of the wrapping paper and ribbon(!?) - we liked the toys though!

We then caught a tram down to our friends Pene and Mike from the New Zealand Embassy. They had cooked a huge lunch for us and their family. Audrey enjoyed spending time with Oliver, Pene's grandson who is just a little younger than her. Similarly we enjoyed catching up and swapping stories with David and Alex (Oliver's parents).

Pene and Mike put on a fantastic meal with all the trimmings (including the turkey which they cooked on the barbecue) and I managed to have two servings of pretty much everything on offer.
One of Pene's sons, Tim had arrived the day before from New Zealand (minus his two bags which had been lost in transit) and did remarkably well to stay conscious until nearly 7pm.

At the end of the evening we pushed Audrey back home in her pram, all of us full of Christmas cheer and with very full tums!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Christmas!

Rather than send one of those impersonal e-mails around wishing everyone a Merry Christmas - I thought I'd do it by blog! Here's a picture of Audrey (4 months old today) - no doubt this picture will be used in evidence when she finally learns the number of Child Protection Services.

As a special 'Christmas Present' to you all - here's a link to some more pictures of our beautiful daughter. Happy Christmas one and all.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Audrey goes to visit Maria

This is Maria Romanowska, who was our midwife when Audrey was born back in August. We all went to visit her today to thank her once again for all the help and advice she gave us when Audrey arrived. It was great to catch up with Maria, and she was really pleased to see how much Audrey had grown over the last four months. We really have a debt of gratitude to her. She is an amazing woman.

In the evening Audrey went to a Christmas party at our friend Patrick's place, but she was unfortunately still too little to be able to consume the yummy mince pies and mulled wine he had made (so her mum and dad kindly helped her out).

Friday, December 21, 2007

It's Chriiiiiiist-maaaaaaaaaaas!

Last night was the Bokano Christmas party - (the English language school where I occasionally 'work'). I met a really tall Polish guy there who asked me whether I came from London. When I told him I was from Wolverhampton his face lit up and he gleefully said 'Slaaade!'

It turned out he was a big fan of the Wolverhampton super-group Slade when they were at their pomp in the 1970s. He knew loads of their hits, 'Cum on Feel the Noize', 'Mama Weer All Crazee Now' as well as the iconic (and appropriate for the event) 'Merry Xmas Everybody' - probably the best Christmas song in the World Ever. We chatted for a while, but strangely not many other teachers were able/willing(?) to join in our conversation.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Trevor's Christmas Quiz

I've put together the attached Christmas Quiz, to allow people to while away the hours between re-runs of Only Fools and Horses, Mary Poppins and The Great Escape.

The quiz is fairly self explanitory, and I'll post up answers in the New Year.

You should be able to print a copy of the quiz from the picture below, or if you can't see the picture, by clicking here

Unfortunately the file sharing software I've used requires 'flash' so if you can't access the quiz by the two means I've suggested, but desperately want to play then send me an e-mail and I'll e-mail you a copy.

If you're in the Grace family then strictly no peeking!





Tuesday, December 18, 2007

When Amy met Lech


It's not every day you get to meet the President. Amy was present at a state visit yesterday, representing Australia and Lech Kaczynski was pressing the flesh with his country's Ambassadors and their juniors. I'm sure if Audrey had been there she'd have got a kiss!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tallest and Thinnest

After encountering the biggest bran flake in the World on Thursday, we experienced more 'Warsaw records' when we spent Saturday visiting the tallest Christmas tree in Europe (in Warsaw's 'old' town square) and one of the thinnest houses in the World (in ul. Brzozowa - seen marked in red). The house in question is only the width of the front door. It was pretty nippy though and temperatures have fallen below freezing during the last few days.
We also went along to an art fayre at Warsaw University where students try to flog their (excellent) work, albeit at inflated prices.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Santa (s)Nowhere in Sight!

I'd promised Audrey that I'd take her to see Father Christmas today. He was due to appear at our mums and tots group and as a result all week she's been nice (rather than naughty) in preparedness.

Unfortunately we arrived at Hula Kula (the kids play-area where he was planning his appearance) about an hour late this morning and Santa had already disappeared (to go off and make more toys for the children). At least that's what I told Audrey. Apparently the chap in the suit got too hot and only donned the red jacket and white beard for a short while. I was told that while he was handing out presents most of the kids in the place cried through a combination of fear and excitement.

I'm not sure at only 16 weeks old, whether Audrey would really have been any more composed either. She did get a chance to 'swim' in a ball-pool though which she enjoyed (despite looking terrified in the picture). Apparently though it's a gruesome sight when ball pools are emptied - one can only imagine what horrors lurk beneath!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Giant Bran Flake Sighted in Warsaw

After all the talk of GM crops in the news I found a gargantuan bran flake in my bowl this morning. The mega-flake is seen pictured with a normal flake (right) and is at least 8 times normal size. Are evil forces at work? or perhaps it was just that the chap in charge of the machine was on his tea-break??

who needs three shredded wheat?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas comes to the Hickman's






























On Sunday afternoon we took an outing to buy our Christmas tree (Polish:choinka). It was rather an adventurous trip to a garden centre up the road travelling on the 709 bus together with Audrey in her pram and a few dozen Poles. The air onboard the bus was heavy with a myriad of cold and flu viruses.

The 'Obi' store we went to was similarly busy, as people scrambled to buy plastic angels and red flock coated Father Christmas figurines direct from China.

I was pleased in a way, as up until this point I had been rather disappointed by the Polish attitude to Christmas. I've noticed that (unlike the UK) they didn't fill their shops with tinsel on the 1st November and it was possible to look around almost all of the stores in Warsaw without your ears being affronted by Paul McCartney on the in-store sound system chirpily hoping you were having a 'won-der-ful Christ-mas-time'. It was almost as though the Poles regard Christmas as if it were some kind of religious festival.

We struggled back home, complete with tree, potted poinsettia, pram and baby.

Our apartment now has the look of a winter wonderland. We've got some nice dec's including some real Polish ones bought for us last year by our Polish teacher Ewa. It's probably the last time for a few years we are able to have decorations on the bottom few branches of the tree.

I did record an early casualty - a red bauble which smashed somewhere down the back of the sofa, shards of which Audrey will probably find when she starts to crawl in a few months time - perhaps I should have invested in bounce-resistant plastic baubles from Obi.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Happy St. Nicolaus day!

On 6th December Poland celebrates St.Nicolaus day. It is the day that St.Nicolaus a.k.a Santa Claus visits children and leaves them a small gift (or hands out punishments!). The gift tends to be left in a shoe. From what I've read the tradition appears to be slightly different in various regions of Poland. In some areas it appears to be the main day for presents, but most households across Poland will also get a second visit on Christmas eve from Angels (who tend to be a bit more generous with their gifts!)

One thing I have noticed though is that Poles do not have their own version of Christmas crackers. I think it's a great shame as much of my material comes from the jokes contained within them! In their absence here's a few of my favourites to make up for it...





Q. Where do Santa's little helpers go to relax?
A. The Elf Farm

Q. What did Adam say on the day before Christmas?
A. It's Christmas, Eve

Q. What did Santa say to Mrs. Claus when he looked out the window?
A. Looks like "rain", "Dear"!

Q. How does Rudolph know when Christmas is coming?
A. He looks at his calen-"deer"!

Q. How long does it take to burn a candle down?
A. About a wick (it helps if you’ve got a Black Country accent with this one)

Q. What do angry mice send to each other at Christmas?
A. Cross mouse cards !

Q. How do you describe a rich elf?
A. Welfy





Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ul Czerniowiecka goes to Hollywood

There is a cafe/restaurant on the ground floor of our apartment, and from time to time they film (what we presume to be) a Polish soap-opera there. Every month or so, 2 or 3 large film trucks show up and erect lights and sound equipment both inside and out. We haven't managed to catch the programme on TVP yet as we don't watch a lot of Polish TV, but we do keep looking out for it. I've also tried to take a couple of (funny) walks past camera in the hope that me and Audrey could appear at the back of a shot.

On a completely different subject Audrey has started to 'chat' to us during the last few days. Obviously it's only a few gurgled coos and clucks at the moment, but it's lovely to hear and she always looks pretty pleased with herself as well. She's also developed a real fascination for her fingers and can spend ages looking at (and then eating) her fingers on both hands.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Let it snow, let it snow, (don't) let it snow

It started snowing last night and we've got a thin covering everywhere. It's still a little rainy though so it doesn't feel like it's completely taken a hold (yet).
Audrey and I went to our weekly Mums and Tots group, now looking increasingly mis-named as another guy has joined this week - bringing the tally up to 3 - I think we need to get the EU (Diversity Division) to look into our plight ;)
Audrey was her usual nosey/interested self and was fascinated in the other babies/toddlers there. She kept going until she completely flaked out and fell asleep. At this point dad took the opportunity to eat a big slice of delicious cheesecake - the group is called 'bumps' and babies after all.



Mums and Tots is so exhausting!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dariusz Dziekanowski

I was lucky enough to play 5-a-side last night with Poland's great Dariusz Dziekanowski. Just in case you've never heard of him he got 63 caps for Poland between 1981 and 1990 (playing against England in Mexico '86) as well as playing for both Celtic and Bristol City. At a conservative estimate I would say he was at least 10 times more skillful than me, and, despite being about 6 years my senior I suspect that his knees and back don't ache as much as mine do this morning!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Separated at Birth?

Australia elected a new Prime Minister yesterday and handed outgoing leader John Howard a humiliating defeat. Being connoisseurs of rubbish TV though, we couldn't help but notice that new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd bears more than a passing resemblance to day-time chat show host (and sometime drag-queen Lilly Savage) Paul O'Grady. Are the two in any way related? perhaps we should be told...



Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ginger Bread Men


Sarah, from the British Embassy, kindly gave me some black treacle a few weeks ago (an ingredient that is hard to come by in Poland for some reason). Together with some other stuff found at the back of the cupboard, I used it to make 57 ginger bread men (and women) and a ginger bread Christmas tree.

Amy helped me out by eating the broken ones!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Mums and Tots Christmas Bazaar

Today was the hugely anticipated(!) day of the Mums and Tots Christmas Bazaar. It was held in a restaurant in Konstancin (a posh country area that borders Warsaw). I met up with the Mums and Tots who I know from the group which me and Audrey attend every Friday.

It was a really nice event and very Christmas-ey. Lots of decorations, wooden things, jewellery and crafty stuff. I bought several cakes - (yum), but perhaps in hindsight jewellery may have been a more astute purchase.... Afterwards we travelled back into town to meet Amy, for Audrey's lunch.

As usual Audrey got lots of admiring comments. Unfortunately in the excitement of it all she decided against her morning nap, so as a result she's pretty whacked out this afternoon. We've got a doctors appointment this evening and the poor girl has got to have a couple of routine jabs - not a nice way for her to end the week!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

They think it's all over - and they're right - it is.

In six months time thousands of football supporters throughout England will be looking forward to the European Championships with eager anticipation. Bunting will hang from houses, and hoards of fans with red and white painted faces will crowd around TV screens in bars and sing football songs. Unfortunately for the England football team though, the songs will be in Polish and the team being supported will be Poland.

This follows England’s sorry demise last night to the mighty Croatia – a team Amy reminded me, that is basically the Australian ‘B’ side (a number of their players either grew up and/or played in Australia).

England lost a woeful game 3-2. It was a shameful display, having been handed a lifeline by Israel at the weekend. It was poor at so many levels – the players on the pitch, the management, and the FA ‘decision’ makers. Even the shiny new Wembley Stadium pitch was embarrasing.

Once McLaren has been sacked, who will want to take on the reigns? And mores the point who can sort the sorry mess out anyway? The whole system seems rotten to the core. How many ‘years of pain’ is it now? I think I might need a calculator to work it out…


Audrey has 'her' say

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Night on the Tiles!

Audrey enjoyed a Saturday night on the tiles when we were invited to Stefan and Agnieska's house, friends we met in baby-class before Audrey was born. They live in the Wlochy area of Warsaw, which is a short taxi ride from our apartment.

They have a baby boy called Franciszek who was a really BIG baby. Even though he's only 3 weeks older than Audrey he is already about 20cm longer than her. Stefan had invited another two couples round who had babies about 6 months old, so we shared 'parenting chat/tips'. It was a really nice evening and the two of them had laid on a load of nice food and nibbles. I especially enjoyed Stefan's German beer - perhaps a little bit tooo much as it made Sunday a fair bit harder for me! Audrey's head being no doubt considerably clearer as she made the wise decision to stick to milk.

The picture is of Audrey, chilling out on a Sunday in her Bonds 'lounge wear'!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sculpture

The first week at home/work hasn't gone too bad so far.

Audrey had a nasty cold at the start of the week which didn't really help things, but it cleared up as the week went on. The snow that started the week also turned to rain on Tuesday so getting to/from the Embassy wasn't too bad for me. Amy loved seeing Audrey at lunchtime and the two girls were (literally) inseperable when Amy got home from work.

I was out on Tuesday at a nearby sculpture park and saw this sculpture which looked kind of familiar.....

Sculpture

Trevor, Amy and Audrey

Monday, November 12, 2007

Snow!

I've been listening for a while to people telling me that we're in for a long cold winter. Apparently the beavers stored more logs than normal(!) and all the birds flew South a week or two earlier this year. It snowed today for the first time this winter, so perhaps the beavers were astute in their planning.

It wasn't a gentle Bing Crosby type of snow either, but a fine rain-like snow that came down with meaning. It was wet and cold. I'm not sure if like the Eskimos the Poles have 400 words for snow, but today's could certainly be described as okropne (horrible)

More importantly today was Amy's first day back at work and mine as 'real' stay-at-home dad. My first day has gone ok and (despite the weather) I nipped into town for lunch so Amy could see (and feed) Audrey. I hope Amy's day has gone ok, but we both know it'll be tough over the next few weeks/months. I'm afforded time to write this blog as Audrey dozed off on the way home and is still asleep in her pram. When she wakes up I'll sing to her about the wheels on the bus, which I suspect if it carries on snowing won't go round and round quite so easily tomorrow.

Footnote from Amy: Well, as Trev writes above, today was my first day back at work. There were tears this morning when I left (from me, not Audrey!) and again when I first arrived at work. The day did go quite quickly though and the visit from Audrey and Trevor at lunch time certainly made it more bearable. Audrey charmed the local staff with big smiles for everyone - she obviously puts on her best face for public appearances!! We're not sure how long Trev and Audrey will be able to keep up the lunch time visits - a lot will depend on the weather and considering it's already started to snow they may not continue for too much longer :(

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Audrey's modelling career launched!





















Last Saturday Audrey appeared in her first advert! The ad was for the Wolves merchandise catalogue and appeared in the Wolves programme sold during their league game against Bristol City. It would have been seen by thousands of fans ;) Unfortunately she received no fee for the whole page ad (I think her manager sold her short), but it's certainly a worthwhile addition to her portfolio.
To think, I actually sent the picture in, just to brighten up their day! A new modelling career is launched - watch out Kate Moss.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My head weighs 5.1kg

Which I think is a fair bit more than the average (4.5kg)

You can calculate your own head's weight by filling a bucket of water and putting your head in it. The amount of water that is displaced equals the weight of your head as 1 litre of water roughly weighs 1kg. Does this mean that I've got a bigger brain?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Remember Remember the 5th November

We took a short break to England last weekend. It was really nice to catch up with Robin, Shan and the boys, and do a bit of DIY in Flowering Cherry in Newbury. We also took a quick trip up to Wolverhampton to see Audrey's grandparents, which was great as well.

5th of November is Guy Fawkes Night in the UK and so the streets and skies throughout the whole weekend were full of bangs, and flashes. It was especially pleasurable this year, as although a bit chilly England was dry (often Guy Fawkes Night manages to coincide with days of unbroken clouds and drizzle).

On Saturday night we had a bonfire party at Robin's place, which his 3 boys loved. Audrey wasn't too sure about it all, so spent the night indoors with her mum (I guess at 10 weeks old fireworks are a bit difficult to work out!).

Generally Audrey had a good trip, but it was hard at times moving her around the country - she's been used to a nice daily routine over the last few weeks and so sometimes trips in cars, planes and strange places did get a bit much for her. (no doubt she was also unhappy about missing Deal or No Deal on tele!)

It was a good adventure for both her and us though. We had an amusing time on the plane. On the way to the UK we put one of the plane's two toilets out of use by stuffing it FULL of used nappies - (we HONESTLY thought it was a bin!) We were very apologetic to the steward after realising our mistake, but I don't think the line of passengers that formed down the aisle after our actions were terribly impressed.

We also had another weird experience near Cheltenham where we sat and watched an empty Mazda roll down a hill in a pub car park, into a parked VW Beetle (leaving both cars a bit worse for wear)
Audrey also got to use both her new passports during her trip and is can now class herself as a jet-setter!

Here's some more pictures from the last 5 days

The Middleton boys Joe and Patrick (Sam peeking between them) in a cafe in Hungerford


Eat your heart out Sydney harbour bridge - this is Newbury!


Sam with a sparkler


Audrey (in her filmstar coat) and her Grandma

Thursday, November 1, 2007

All Saints Day

On All Saints Day the Poles decorate their cemeteries with candles and flowers. As far as I can tell it's unique to Poland and also not just restricted to Catholic cemeteries.

This evening a group of around 12 of us went along to Powazki Cemetry (the oldest in Warsaw) which on this day is lit throughout with lanterns and candles. There are some huge graves and tombs there, containing Poles of varying fame and wealth and also a number remembering the 200,000 soldiers and civilians who died during the Warsaw Uprising.

The night started at Sarah's place where we enjoyed deeelicious chocolate brownies, and ended with a well-earned cup of hot-chocolate (with added Nutella!) courtesy of Kathryn.

We're off to the UK for 5 days tomorrow. Audrey gets her first taste of flying (aged a mere 10 weeks old) - please let her sleep!

Audrey the Aussie/Pommie

Lucky Audrey acquired two passports in a day yesterday. After collecting her British one from the British Embassy she went across town to gather her Aussie one and then ran into Ian Forsyth the Australian Ambasssador who she gave one of her gummy (yet cheeky) smiles.

The advantages of having two nationalities is that she can take her pick when it comes to the cricket, and it'll no doubt it will also be easier for her to secure a bar job in Kings Cross when she's on her 'gap year' in 18 years time!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Very Bad Deal

One of the more unfortunate aspects of being at home looking after Audrey is that we’ve both become addicted to an atrocious day-time game show called Deal or No Deal.

The show is hosted by a guy called Noel Edmonds who appears every day in his trademark bad-taste shirt/jumper combos. Edmonds was a mainstay presenter with the BBC in the 80’s and 90’s starting as a DJ and then moving on to host a series of game/quiz shows. Amongst other things he was the eponymous host of both Noel Edmonds Breakfast Show and House Party. During this time he also created the puerile ‘Mr Blobby’ character which subsequently (and rather depressingly) went on to have a No.1 hit in the UK. Edmonds 'first' career come to an abrupt halt when one of the contestants on his show died in a televised stunt and he was deemed (in my eyes, if not the courts), to blame for the death.

Now though he’s back. Deal or No Deal gives contestants the opportunity to win anything between 1p and 250k. It’s actually a really painful 30 minutes of television. Edmonds tries to build up the tension by speaking periodically on the phone to ‘The Banker’ who is cast as the villain. Actually anyone with an ounce of intelligence knows that it’s really just a production assistant back-stage.

The show really drags. There’s less skill involved than flicking a coin and the programme culminates when the contestant opens his/her box at the end to reveal whether the cash prize they’ve won (or lost) is more or less than the amount in their own box. I decided after watching one episode that you could save a lot of time and bother by just jumping to the end and opening the player’s box in return for a cash offer but that wouldn’t really give Edmonds his stage. Edmonds contract for hosting the show is rumoured to be around 3 million pounds.

So why then, if Deal or No Deal is the most low brow and brainless programme you could imagine, are we always there at 5.30pm watching?? I think I'm ready to answer the question....

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mums and Tots


Audrey went along to her first 'Mums and Tots' session this morning (although perhaps as I'm going to be going along with her, maybe I should lobby for it to be re-named 'caregivers' or something PC like that?) It was held at Penny's house who is one of the members - she has a 5 month old boy called Moritz. She laid on a huge spread of yummy food.

It was really well attended and there must have been around 10 other mums, as well as Amy, me and (of course) Audrey. At 9 weeks old she wasn't the youngest - there was a baby boy aged 3 weeks, but typically most of the other kids ranged from 6 months to 14 months.

It was interesting to watch Audrey's reaction to the other kids crawling, toddling or running around her. She quickly realised (as did we!!) that there were others there who could scream/cry far louder than her, and kept close to mum as a result. She didn't seem too terrified though and gave a few of the mums a gummy smile. Everyone admired her and said how beautiful she was (would we have gone back if they'd said she was ugly?) and it was also nice to chat to some of the mums, some of whom have been in Warsaw for years and years. It's a real international mix of people.

The meeting only goes from 10am-12pm but poor Audrey was exhausted in the afternoon, due to her excitement at seeing the other kids this morning and a particularly late night last night (I think all 3 of us could do with a long sleep!)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Party on!

Audrey went to her fourth party in as many weeks last night! A bash thrown by Dianne, who works with Amy at the Australian Embassy. It was a posh affair and we all enjoyed catching up with people we hadn't seen for a while. Audrey acted as a human magnet and groups of clucky women (and men) soon surrounded her.

We met up with Ewa our Polish teacher which was great, and Audrey also enjoyed some 'cuddle time' with Auntie Pene, from the New Zealand embassy (who had been so good to us when Audrey was born). All 3 of us disappeared a little early as there was a rugby game going on in France which we watched on S4C (which we can pick up in Poland!) complete with Welsh commentary (though in hindsight I wish we'd stayed at the party!)

Pene and Audrey

Friday, October 19, 2007

Warsaw in Autumn

There are some lovely Autumnal colours around Warsaw at the moment - to see a few more pics click on this link

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Autumn Almanac

It was a lovely day in Warsaw today, warm and sunny. Me and Audrey went to the park and sat and enjoyed the afternoon sun. The breeze blew the leaves of musty coloured-yellow.
Almost every bench in the park was full of parents sat alongside babies in prams, catching the last few rays before winter sets in. Amy missed out on the park as she was at a work lunch (I guess I missed out on the nice cakes she ate while she was there!)




My folks left Warsaw today. Here's hoping that their trip home doesn't take as long as their journey here!

The Five of us at Wilanow on Monday


We heard good news today that Audrey's Australian citizenship had been approved so we can get her passport without having to resort to trying to smuggle her in one of our bags for our trip to the UK next month.

England lost 2-1 to Russia in the football, which was a bit of a bugger (see ya Steve McClaren), perhaps rugby SHOULD be our national sport!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Audrey and the Kids In America

On Saturday night, Audrey's favourite band, Mabel Rankin played (perhaps?) its last ever gig in Warsaw. The venue was Patrick's place and the event was (another?) leaving doo for Jon and Emma.

We thought you might like to see just how rapt Audrey was with Jon's performance (even though Douglas insists that it's him that is the talent behind the band)


video

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Up yours Delors!

England 14 France 9

Are you watching Jacques Chirac?, Gerard Depardieu? Marcel Marceau we can't hear you (geddit?) Eric Cantona, Inspector Clouseau, we have beaten them all, Edith Piaf, you're not singing anymore...Louis Pasteur, feeling sour? Napoleon Bonaparte your boys took a HELL of a beating! your boys took a hell of a beating...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Trevor's Mom and Dad come to visit

After a horrendously delayed flight on Wednesday evening, my mom and dad arrived in Warsaw and came to meet Audrey (mom's namesake) for the first time. They're staying for a week, which I'm sure will fly by.

It was really nice to see them both, and it'll be good to show them around the city a bit as well.

That said, we were all wrapped up in our thick coats today as dark grey skies appeared overhead. Poland's winter has just begun its long slow assault on the disposition of its people. The Poles aren't fully fed up with it now, but give them another couple of months!

As a result we stayed in the warm for much of the afternoon and mom and dad got to watch Audrey sleep, poo, coo, cry, get bathed, cry some more etc. We're planning to meet up tomorrow lunchtime and on Saturday evening my mom and dad are going to see the Moscow City ballet, which we hope will be great for them.

I've loaded a few more Audrey pics up from the last week as well - so click here if you want to see them!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

England 12 Australia 10

ok, before I start I must admit to not being much of a rugby fan.

I did get to watch the second half of yesterday's World Cup quarter final between England and Australia though (poor Amy and Audrey had to stay at home).

It was a scrappy game and both teams seemed pretty poor, England emerged victorious (again) basically through Jonny kicking a load of penalties (again). This time though he wasn't as infallible as 4 years ago and missed a few. England wore nasty socks and Australia were rubbish in the scrum.

I was of course chuffed that England won, but perhaps not as much as a lot of the others in the bar, and certainly not as much as Channel 4 news, who said England had beaten their "Arch Enemies". It seemed a bit strong (or comical?) to me - "Rivals", ok, but Gregan and Co, aren't exactly the Red Barron, or Dick Dastardly.

Oh well, at least it's all set up for a semi final against France - our 'arch enemies' and then maybe a final against Scotland or Argentina, both obviously our 'arch enemies'. Perhaps it's just that nobody likes the English and the English like nobody?

In the evening we went to Emma and Jon's leaving party at their apartment. Audrey had been a bit out of sorts in the morning, so we didn't stay for long. Audrey shared the limelight this time as there was another baby (Seb) also in attendance - Jon said that the party got extra 'cred' by having lots of babies in attendance ;)



Audrey didn't care who won the rugby

Friday, October 5, 2007

Nuts about Walnuts!

It's Walnut season in Warsaw at the moment and it's possible to buy big bags of them for not very much.

My impression of walnuts has always been defined by the rather bitter, dried up things that you crack during Christmas in front of a Bond movie on TV, but these are quite different. They're quite soft and really sweet (I guess which comes from being fresh). They're now a staple in most of our meals, although it's tricky encorporating them in cups of tea!

Audrey enjoyed a trip to the Australian and British Embassy this morning, and was coo-ed over by hoards of ladies. She's been really good today after a lengthy bout of colic last night which went on until about midnight..zzzzz.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

It all became worthwhile..

when you returned my smile..


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Sunday Lunch

On Sunday we went to a farewell lunch for Emma and Jon Baines, friends who are leaving Warsaw soon, hosted by Kathryn and Douglas (Kathryn works at the British Embassy with Emma). Audrey was perfect!! She slept for around 4 hours. What joy! We were able to sit up at the table and eat our lunch, including dessert and tea/coffee, without having to worry about nursing our little princess. She waited until after we had all finished before she demanded her lunch!

Audrey was passed around to be nursed - which, of course, she loved! She does like to be the centre of everyone's attention! (must take after her Dad!) After lunch, the boys went out into the backyard for a game of cricket and we were then entertained by Douglas and Jon (aka Mabel Rankin) who played 3 songs to wrap up the day's events. Audrey was bounced in time on her Dad's knee and fell asleep on the final song - what a perfect end to a perfect day!


Mabel Rankin perform at their 'secret' gig