Monday, December 31, 2007
Happy New Year Everyone!
Friday, December 28, 2007
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).
Monday, December 24, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
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
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
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
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
who needs three shredded wheat?
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
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
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?
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
Mums and Tots is so exhausting!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Amy helped me out by eating the broken ones!
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
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
Thursday, November 15, 2007
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.....
Monday, November 12, 2007
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
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.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
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
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)
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
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!
Sunday, October 28, 2007
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
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
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
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)
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
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
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
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
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Mabel Rankin perform at their 'secret' gig