Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Andrzej S. Fogtt

It was a nice sunny day in Warsaw, so on the way back from our lunchtime trip to the Embassy, Audrey and I got off the metro a few stops early and went to an art exhibition near Plac Konstytucji.

The exhibition, by Polish artist Andrej S.Fogtt had been made 'Editor in Chief's Pick' in the Warsaw Insider Magazine so I was expecting good things.

The Gallery (Galeria Sztuki Fabiarnia) was only a small place - I guess the art journals would call it 'intimate'. An old lady stood on the pavement outside, and when she saw us approaching she extinguished her cigarette and went inside the gallery to turn on the lights (I guess this gives you an idea that it wasn't Tate Modern that we were visiting!)

The guys work was ok. To be honest though I thought some of his paintings looked like they'd been inspired by computer circuit boards. Audrey wasn't that impressed either. If you're nearby Plac Konstytucji then go and have a look and make up your own mind but personally I think I'd only give it 5 out of 10. There is a bakery nearby that serves nice pączki, which I would say would be a far better way to spend 10 minutes.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Trevor aged 7 months

I've just received this picture from my Mom and Dad of me aged 7 months (about the same age that Audrey is now). Made me chuckle.

Baby Massage

Audrey and I went along to Baby Massage this morning. It's a six week course organised by a lady in Mums and Tots. Today we were focusing on legs and tummies, and the course builds up week by week.

There were 6 babies there and all of them really loved it. Audrey was totally relaxed afterwards and is now crashed out in her cot. At 8 months old she was the eldest of the lot which makes a nice change as normally she's the 'baby' of groups we attend.

Oonagh, the lady who runs the group gave out these words, which I really liked. They are by Janusz Korczak, who was an amazing man. I'll post more about him another time.

A Voice For the Child

Children are not the people of tomorrow,
but are the people of today

They have a right to be taken seriously,
and to be treated with tenderness and respect.

They should be allowed to grow into whoever they were meant to be-
"The unknown person" inside each of them is our hope for the future.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Around the world in 8 days

We've just got back from a short trip to Australia. It was a really nice break and great in that it allowed Amy's parents (Ivor and Wendy), her Nana and Grandma as well as her brother Ivor, and his family to meet Audrey for the first time.

Amy's parents live in Nuriootpa located in the Barossa Valley. It's a big wine growing region and is a really beautiful country spot. Autumn had just begun in South Australia, but despite this we were treated to a lovely week of weather with the temperature in the mid 20s.

Audrey loved our trip, not least as it allowed her to venture out without her coat (without any of the risk of mohair-beret-wearing old Polish ladies chastising us about her state of undress).

She also became aquainted with Milly and Lottie, Amy's parents two dogs who variously scared, excited and entertained her during our spell in Australia. The extra inches in height Audrey will gain before the three of them meet again in a few months time, should just about give her the upper hand over them, but for now it was a fairly even contest!

It was also nice to catch up with Amy's friend Louisa who made the trip out to Nuri' to see the three of us. Unfortunately, because the trip was at such short notice and we had only a short time in Nuri' we were unable to see our other friends. We really look forward to catching up with everyone when we come back in August.

I also got chance to have a couple of games of tennis with Ivor (Amy's dad) which was great fun as well.

While we were away, we also celebrated our first wedding anniversary. It's amazing how the time has flown, and how much has happened in the last 12 months.

Here are some pics from our trip - if you want to see more click here. (Let me know if this doesn't work as I've had some problems with the link)

Audrey and her Great Nana

Audrey and her Great Grandma

Audrey and Pop

Audrey (poses) with her Nana

Louisa, Amy, Trevor and Audrey in Nuriootpa

Amy and Audrey in Harhndorf

Audrey in Hahndorf

Here is a short visit of Audrey enjoying the sun in Hahndorf, a lovely town east of Adelaide.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


We've just come back from a week away in Australia, visiting Amy's Nana and Grandma as well as her parents. More of that in another post. I wanted first to have a rant about KLM, our chosen operator for our journey from Warsaw-Adelaide.
KLM's literature suggests that flying with them offers 'A unique experience'. I guess it's true, but not really a 'unique' experience I want to repeat for a while.
All of the stewardesses had serious attitude problems, they were curt and abrupt. This was comblined with small and hard seats and a laughable inflight 'entertainment' system.

Things started to go wrong just before the stewardess on the Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur leg of our journey, woke me up by spilling a whole plastic cup of orange juice on me in the middle of the night.
At another point a stewardess told me that the vegetarian option was fish (hmmm)....After that things went from the sublime to the ridiculous, missing out the sublime altogether....

The inflight entertainment system was a joke. It consisted of overhead TV screens spread very sparingly throughout the plane. On our return journey the TV was at such an acute vertical angle above our heads that you had to seriously crick your neck to see anything on it. Not that we seemed to be missing much as it looked like it was airing mostly Disney classics and series 2 Simpson episodes.

The standards reminded me of a budget 'no-frills' flight - but on a long-haul flight and with none of the advantages of the cheap airline ticket.
Luckily we had a 7 month old baby to entertain us throughout the flight - I think everyone else enjoyed her singing as well (he he) Actually she managed the flight really well and probably coped better than either her Mum or Dad.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Australia Bound

This might be the last post on this blog for a couple of weeks as we're off to Australia for a short trip (short in time if not distance!) returning on the 27th.

Garry and Kath come to visit

Garry and Kath arrived from Newbury to visit us this weekend. It was really nice to see them, and the rain that greeted them on Friday gave way to lovely sunshine today on Monday. It was as if they had arrived in winter and left in summer!

We tripped round the Old Town and Lazienki Park and then paid a visit to Wilanow Palace, which was really beautiful in the sunshine. On Sunday the five of us went swimming and Garry and I spent a few exciting minutes whizzing down the slides in the pool while the girls (Amy, Kath and Audrey) relaxed in the spa!
Garry brought a toy chicken as a present for Audrey with him and the chucking noise it produced frightened the life out of her at first! The toy definitely grew on her during the next couple of days though and she ended up laughing when she heard the noise rather than greeting it with screams as had first happened. Garry left with the rather un-flattering nickname of 'The Chicken Man!'

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Shop assistants at our local supermarket, 'Top Market', used to be about as welcoming towards us as group of Tibetans greeting an Olympic torch relay.

Fortunately a new supermarket, 'Super Sam' has opened right on our doorstep and the folks who work there are much more gracious towards us. As a result, we've switched our allegiance and custom to their store.

I also take the odd trip to Tesco (to remind me of home!) which is at one end of the metro line.

Whichever supermarket we choose though, one thing that always amazes me is the abundance of sweetcorn on the shelves! Every store seems to have mountains of the stuff. On a visit to Tesco yesterday I counted 14 different brands. That's brands - not tin sizes- if you include tin/jar variances you ended up with over 20 different options when choosing your corn!

It's not really a foodstuff that I've particularly searched out, nor come to think of it one that I can devise a wide range of uses for. If anyone does have a list of sweetcorn recipes then please send it to us as we'll have no problem getting hold of the ingredients!

Buskers in Metro Centrum

I took this short clip of some buskers yesterday in Metro Centrum. I thought they played a nice tune. Apologies for the dodgy camera work but I was holding a pushchair with my other hand!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Swimming and the Zoo

Amy had a day's leave on Friday, so the three of us went along to the Bumps and Babies group. Audrey was a bit tired and so wasn't in the greatest of form, but was grateful to have both parents there to dote on her every need!

On Friday afternoon we headed down to Wodny Park for another swim. We're going to try and make it a regular trip. Audrey had delighted in her first trip to the pool last week, and seemed to enjoy her second trip even more - she found she could lie back in the water and wet her head. It was a nice way to spend the afternoon, especially as the pool was pretty empty on a Friday.

Saturday was a sunny day and so we headed off on the no.4 tram to the zoo. We'd last visited the place in February, when the cold weather meant we were probably one of the few visitors to the zoo on that day, but the sunnier weather on this visit had brought scores more people out.

Warsaw zoo is huge - one of the largest in Europe and being springtime there were lots of baby animals on view - monkeys, zebras and kangaroos. We spent a long time in the aquarium where Audrey chased fish around their tank with her inquisitive fingers pressed to the glass.

We caught the tram home with Audrey asleep in her pushchair.
Sunday was spent drinking tea and wishing we could get Sunday newspapers!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Audrey said her first word this morning. Well actually she said three. She woke up as usual around 6.15am, but instead of her usual gurgling she clearly said 'Sub-prime mortgages'. I'm not sure where she got it from, but after breakfast she said it a couple of times more - clear as a bell.

We also practiced with her crayons just before Amy left for work and she drew the picture below, which seems to show the FTSE 100 12 month index. As she's only 7 months old, I'm not sure how she knew the figures for the 5 months before she was born, but it seems a remarkable co-incidence I'm sure you'll agree....Do you think we should tell anyone?