Thursday, September 27, 2007

If you go down to the woods today...

We didn't see any teddy bears, but the three of us enjoyed a lovely trip to Kabaty Forest this afternoon. We travelled there by metro, with Audrey enjoying another go in her harness (thanks for that Robin & Shan).

The weather was nice and as a result the forest was full of parents with babies and children across the full spectrum of sizes and ages. The forest stretches for miles and is a really nice part of Warsaw.

We came back via Tesco (hurrah!) where we bought some overpriced cheddar.

Audrey was so lovely during the day. She really enjoyed the trip and was bright eyed whenever she was awake, and has started coo-ing occasionally!

In the evening we treated her to a bath, where there was a bit of a soap swallowing incident, but fortunately she is too young to call Childline and report her parents.

You can see some more Audrey pictures here

Monday, September 24, 2007

Audrey in the Park

Here's a short clip of Audrey which we took in Lazienki Park yesterday. We took her to see/listen to the Chopin concert which takes place every Sunday afternoon. She was really good and lay on the grass throughout, only joining in with a bit of singing right at the end!

(apologies that this is on YouTube - let me know if you have difficulty accessing it, but unfortunately I couldn't make the video application that comes with the blog program, work this time)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Audrey's Passport Photo

It's now a requirement for children of any age to have a photo on their passport. It used to be that they could be added to their parents documents, but now (presumably as children are growing up faster) they have to have their own passport, I presume just in case the child decides to jet off to sunnier climbs. Although I suppose if that happened they would then be learning to fly before they could walk?

We went into town yesterday to get a photo for Audrey. The difficulty is the regulations for the photo are so strict it's incredible. Top of chin 22mm from the bottom of the picture, no hats, no parents hands, looking straight ahead, no dribble from corner of the mouth (ok I made the last one up). It was certainly a challenge with a baby just 4 weeks old.

In the end we found a really lovely chap who took about 25 pictures of Audrey (eyes closed, mouth open, floppy head etc etc) until we found one that just about did the job. He then set to work on his computerer 'tidying up' the picture and we ended up with one that we hope fits the bill (Amy worries that Audrey's eyes aren't looking straight ahead and look a bit 'shifty').

The man was really good on the drawing program, and I reckon I'm going to set him to work on some of my photos - he could take years off me. It was also amazing as he spent about 20 minutes clearing up tiny specs on the picture for which he charged about 35 zloty - something which an ad agency would have sucked their teeth and charged 500 quid for.
We've just got a multitude of forms to fill in now to accompany the picture!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sunny Day in Warsaw!

Today was really hot and sunny, not at all like a mid-September day, so we took Audrey out for her first go in her baby harness. We didn't go far, just up to some local markets. She was asleep within minutes which was great!

Trevor cooked fish and chips for tea (something which is definintely hard to find in Poland) I'm not sure if it was quite Harry Ramsden's quality, but still nice (and greasy)

We decided against opening a Northern Rock saving scheme for Audrey.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Audrey gets a Birth Certificate

Trevor went to register Audrey at the the Town Hall, and get a birth certificate for her. It was an exercise in extreme bureaucracy (something that the Poles are World Champions at). It took about an hour to fill in all the forms - at one point they thought Trevor was from Norway as they had misread 'Newbury'! Still at least she's now got a Birth Certificate - she now just needs to register with the Australian and British Embassy, but hopefully that'll be a bit less onerous!

We've grown a couple of cherry tomato bushes on our balcony and they're really bearing fruit now. Ok, not exactly staggering examples of horticulture but they're nice in salads.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Kim and Mark come to visit

Kim and Mark came to Warsaw to visit us for a few days. Amy and Kim work together at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Kim is currently posted to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It was lovely to catch up with them and show them some of the sights of Warsaw.

Trevor gave them the "Hickman Old Town Tour" (albeit a little rushed as he was in a hurry to get home to resume fatherly duties) on their first day and then all five of us went together by bus (Audrey's first bus trip!) to Wilanow Palace.

The (mostly older lady) guards in the palace had stoney faced expressions that looked as though they had remained un-thawed since the end of the cold war. They were distinctly unimpressed that we had dragged two and a half week Audrey out to see this part of historic Warsaw, Audrey meanwhile was unperturbed by it all and slept throughout.

Mark, Audrey, Amy and Kim

Amy, Kim and Mark in Wilanow's gardens

Audrey snoozes by the palace

We also discovered a useful ruse that the washing machine seems to helps soothe Audrey to sleep when we place her in her basket alongside it. We are running out of things to wash as a result, and choosing the shorter 'eco' cycle is no longer an option as far as I can see!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The car's the star

Warsaw's roads are full of the usual Fords, Toyotas, BMWs, Opels etc. Amongst all the dull run-of-the mill cars though, you can often spot tiny cars, (usually in a poor state of repair), being driven at breakneck speeds along Warsaw's pot-holed ridden streets.
The Fiat 126p is a hangover from Poland's communist past and was Poland's most popular car in the 1980s. It is nicknamed the Maluch (the small one). There were over 3.3 million of these cars manufactured in Poland between 1973-2000 and the place must have been full of them.

Production of the car sat uneasily in Communist Poland, (where cars were considered a luxury item), and so the vehicles were distributed via a 2 year waiting list or via a coupon given by authorities for merits.

Most of the cars you see on the road in capitalist Warsaw 2007 are suffering from old age, but I do like spotting the odd Maluch careering round the city and weaving in and out of traffic - they often seem to travel far faster than their tiny engine should allow.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Audrey's first two weeks

Audrey was 2 weeks old on Friday and we are still amazed that we haven't managed to drop or break her! Having said that it's not been easy either. We're worried at the moment that she might have a spot of colic as she spent a lot of last night screaming/crying leaving all 3 of us feeling frazzled today. It still amazes us how lovely she is though, and like proud parents we've taken a lot of pics of her (probably too many). If you want to see some click here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Amy, Trevor and Audrey go shopping!

Ok, before I start I promise that I won't fill this blog with details of every single shopping trip we ever go on, together with a list of things we bought. Today's outing was special though as it was our first real trip out together as a family.

We went up the road to Galleria Mokotow a large shopping centre near our apartment where we spent an hour picking up a few things we needed. Audrey slept throughout. No doubt as she grows, being a female she'll find it harder and harder to go past shoe shops, but as she was asleep in her pram this afternoon, today wasn't a problem. All went well (me and Amy even found time to have a hot-chocolate) and it was nice to get out of the apartment for a short while.

When we got home we were visited by our friends Emma and Jon from the British Embassy. Emma is expecting a baby soon, and so she got some hands-on practice with Audrey. It was nice to see them, and it's a real shame that they'll both soon be returning to the UK soon.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Uncle Ralph comes to visit

Audrey received her first overseas visitor this weekend when Trevor's brother, Ralph came to Warsaw to visit.

Ralph declined the invitation to stay with us, preferring instead the somewhat more salubrious (and quieter) confines of the Marriot Hotel (he was here with a conference).

It was lovely to catch up. As well as meeting Audrey, Ralph received the guided tour of Warsaw Old Town from Trevor on Saturday, and on Sunday the two of them visited the Uprising Museum (one of the best museums in Poland).
Audrey is doing really well. She is feeding regularly (we are still feeding every 3 hours day and night) and she is starting to have 'alert' times which we are attempting to encourage during daylight hours! It's still hard work but we both know it'll be worth it.

Ralph feeling broody (even though he'll deny it)

Audrey admires her new toys


There are major roadworks going on across the road from our apartment (Pulawska Street). One of the workmen had got a bit carried away with a digger and sliced a water pipe! The resulting fountain attracted numerous kids and onlookers...