Family

Lingering in Leeds!

The breathtaking ceiling in the Victoria Quarter

The breathtaking ceiling in the Victoria Quarter

I seldom pay more than a flying visit to the city of Leeds, but recently I had cause to wonder why. Never much of a shopper, I’m happy to let life flow around me as I absorb the architecture. Strolling through the city with my son, I was left far behind when we came upon the Victoria Quarter.  Here is just a glimpse of what I saw before I scurried to catch up.

Click on a photo to open the gallery

How about this for a ceiling?

How about this for a ceiling?

The wrought iron was spectacular too

The wrought iron was spectacular too

Down at ground level wasn't shabby either

Nor was ground level too shabby

All of the top names in the world of designer clothes are here, so if you are a shopper you will undoubtedly be in heaven.  County Arcade, Cross Arcade and Queen Victoria and King Edward streets were linked together to form the Victoria Quarter in the 1900s. Theatre architect Frank Matcham was responsible for the design, which no doubt accounts for its drama,  lavishly using faience and marble.  The Empire Palace Theatre was originally part of the development, since replaced by Harvey Nichols department store.

Nothing stops in the world of design and Victoria Quarter is currently undergoing a new phase. Me, I was swept on past beautiful Kirkstall Market to the newer kids on the block, Trinity Centre.

Looking up in the Trinity Centre

Looking up inside the Trinity Centre

Are you a tennis fan?  Crossing town we came upon on open air big screen, and my son remarked that if Murray makes the final it would be a great place to watch the match.  Given current weather conditions that would seem like an excellent idea, but my husband, whose birthday it is that day, was less than thrilled with the suggestion.

Federer, wilting in the heat?

Federer, wilting in the heat?

Right on his doorstep, brand new First Direct Arena is eagerly awaited.  A hot venue for summer!

But I can’t help hankering after the old.  I looked wistfully up at remnants of the old Leeds.

I'd be happy with a home like this

I do hope it will last!

So what did you make of Leeds?  A thriving modern city these days.  I hope that Dawn will enjoy adding it to her collection at A Lingering Look at windows.  This month she looks at windows that aren’t windows any more!

Jo’s Monday walk : City of Norwich

The headstone at Norwich Castle

A plaque at the entrance to Norwich Castle

Few things in life flow entirely smoothly, do they?  I thought I’d scored a major success when the friendly driver of our National coach proposed an outing to Norwich on the tour’s ‘free’ day.  I’d spent one glorious day boating on the Broads, if you remember, and had arranged to meet with the remainder of the Polish family in Norwich the next day.  Perfect synchronicity!

Arriving in good time, I found a sunny bench on which to deposit Dad, with his newspaper, to await the family, while I hightailed it up to Norwich Castle. (not the best of benches, Jude– Dad complained because the back had broken off.  No pleasing some folk!)  It being Sunday, the castle was closed till 1pm but the views were sure to be good.

As usual, click on a photo to open the galleries

Norwich Castle dates back to the Norman Conquest.  It was noted in the Domesday Book that 98 Saxon homes were demolished to make way for the castle.  Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go inside, but the link will give you an insight.

Back to my story.  Receiving a text from Grażyna to say they’d arrived, I scurried back down to Castle Meadow.  Standing hopefully beside Dad, we watched the approaching cars.  ‘Is that them?’  ‘No, it’s a taxi’…. ‘Is that them?’  ‘No, it’s a taxi’…. ‘Is that…?’  The moral of the story is, don’t wait for someone to collect you on Castle Meadow.  It is reserved for coaches and taxis only!  Fortunately, because Dad’s not so mobile these days, we only had to walk 50 metres down to the next junction to meet the family.

Anyone for a game in the castle grounds?

Anyone for a game, in the castle grounds?

Before leaving the area, don’t miss the beautiful shopping arcades, just opposite the castle.  The Royal Arcade, designed by George Skipper, opened in 1899.

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I thought that Wikipedia’s Great Yarmouth page was big, but the one for Norwich is huge!  An obvious sign of the importance of the city.  The first thing I learnt was that it sits on the River Wensum, and you can travel by boat from Norwich all the way to Great Yarmouth, via the River Yare.  I would like that!

I didn’t know that in the 11th century, Norwich was the largest city in England, after London, nor that in company with Edinburgh, Kraków, and others, it is a UNESCO City of Literature.  But I might have guessed that its origins go back to Roman times.  The city walls, some of which are still visible, were built between 1280 and 1340 and were 4 kilometres long.  One of the things that I did notice is that Norwich has a lot of churches.  Many no longer have a religious function, but the buildings have been preserved. (I even saw one which was a puppet theatre!)

A chunk of city wall

A chunk of city wall

With Dad settled at my cousin Wojtek’s home, it was time to take a walk into the city.  Heading for the cathedral, I crossed the river for the first time.  A sign promising ‘One of Norfolk’s hidden secrets’ and the view beyond the garden gate stopped me in my tracks.  I had stumbled upon the Bishop’s House Garden on a day when it was opening for charity!

A first look at the River Wensum

A first look at the River Wensum

 

This 4 acre garden has belonged to the Bishops of Norwich for over 900 years.  The open day was in full swing, with draughts and snakes and ladders set out on the immaculate lawns, and a cello playing in the background.  The perfect setting for such a lovely day but time, as so often, was my enemy.  For the history and more photos see the link above.

Approaching the Cathedral, the architecture is varied and beautiful.  I enter through the cloisters.

The heraldry is beautiful

The heraldry in the alcoves is delicate and lovely

Norwich Cathedral was begun in 1096 and completed in 1145.  It was constructed from flint and mortar, and faced with cream-coloured Caen limestone.  The building has real presence, and many quiet corners for reflection.  A new refectory provides the main entrance and a space for contemporary art exhibitions.

The architecture in Norfolk is often highly distinctive due to the use of flushwork.  This was popular in Medieval times, in areas without a good local building stone.  Flushwork creates a flat flint wall where the stone is ‘flush’ to the wall.  Decorative patterns and motifs can be used for variety.  The Ethelbert Gate below is a beautiful example.

I saunter around the Market Place, with its fine Guildhall and market stalls, then turn towards the river and ‘home’.  The family are preparing a barbecue and I shouldn’t be too late.

Back to the river and meandering home

Back to the river, meandering home

It must be time to meet the family, don’t you think?  Well, here they are- from left to right, Mateusz, Kasia, Arek and Mariusz (at the back!), Agnieszka, Jarek and Grażyna (the boat owners), cousin Wojtek, Dad and Basia.

No excuses for the lion!

No apologies for the lion- he came with the house!

I hope you enjoyed my walk around Norwich.  There are numerous facts in the links I’ve provided, if you have time or interest.  But you need to save some time to join my happy band of walkers again this week.

Many thanks to everybody!  At least two cups of coffee will be required.

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I have many wonderful shares again this week.  If you’re thinking of joining me, click on the Jo’s Monday walk logo for a few simple facts.  Let’s get going, shall we?

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Drake was first past the gate post again this week.  Join him in Alsace… and across the river  :

Hospitality across the river

Jude’s flower images are always a delight.  Did you know she has this second blog?

Garden Portrait: Glendurgan

Anabel has found me some wonderful waterfalls this week  :

Lake District walks: Elterwater circle

A lover’s house on the Mekong!  Sound intriguing?

Vietnam- Marguerite Duras

Amy’s trees in the Canyon are one of the most beautiful things I have seen all week!

Monday Walk: Trees in Grand Canyon 

Back down to earth for a Suffolk walk with Geoff.  Lovely irises!

Bulcamp to Halesworth and back again

You will love this small piece of Tasmanian paradise!  Many thanks, Ruth  :

Bruny Island

And if it didn’t keep hiding in a vale of cloud ….

Playing hide-and-seek in Franz Josef Glacier

Gently does it in northern France, with a little haiku from Viv  :

Happy Haiku Chain

For a sunburst of colour, I defy you to find anywhere better than Valparaiso!

The Hills of Valparaiso, Chile- UNESCO city of colour and steps

I love industrial heritage walks, especially beside water, and this one from Karen is a beauty  :

A walk in Riverside Park, Manhattan

Rub your eyes!  You might not believe that this Causeway is in Australia (but the beach is a bit of a giveaway)

A walk to the Giants Causeway

Richard is another Cornwall fan so he and Jude will get along just great!

History and beachlife on the Porthtowan to Wheal Coates coastal walk

Wherever you end up this week, I hope you enjoy it.  We’ve passed the solstice now.  Hope it’s not all down hill!  See you next Monday?

Tilting at Windmills

A life of ease

A life of ease

Well, if I’d just called it ‘a lot of boats on the Norfolk Broads’ you wouldn’t have read it, would you?  Admit it!  At least I’m giving you something else to look out for.

This is our mooring- a nice place to start

This is our mooring- a nice place to start

And this is our boat

And this is our boat

It’s moored at Stalham, on the River Ant, in Richardson’s marina.  A peaceful setting, away from the hurley-burley of Wroxham.  We glide gently across Barton Broad, and Jarek points out the shallow water where, almost daily in peak season, boats run aground.  When we pause to admire the scenery, a swan raps smartly on the hull.  I’m not sure if this signifies ‘get a move on’ or ‘where’s the bread?’  Short on bread, we move on!

The naughty swans

A naughty swan

Looking ahead I glimpse some houses

Looking ahead I glimpse some houses

And am delighted to find that one has a thatched roof

And am delighted to find that one has a thatched roof

What a location!

What a location!

And the neighbour's none too shabby, either! (and there's a bench for Jude)

The neighbour’s none too shabby, either! (and there’s a bench for Jude)

But here's our first excitement- a windmill!

But here’s our first excitement- a windmill!

There are a seemingly endless supply of them, strewn across the Broads.  Many have been restored and stand there, gracefully pointing the way with their sails.

Here's another, wonderfully elegant example

Here’s another, wonderfully elegant example

It's quite a long way up!

It’s quite a long way up!

We sail on a little way and then execute a fine turn to seek out a mooring place.  Time for hungry sailors to eat, and then stretch their legs.  We are moored alongside How Hill House, and a treat is in store.  Tiny Toad Hole Cottage was an eel-catcher’s home.

Welcome to How Hill, Staithe

Welcome to How Hill, Staithe

Click on any photo to see the gallery

How Hill Trust provides an environmental study centre for the Broads.  The preservation of the incredibly beautiful house is no small part of this, but there are landscaped gardens too and a sweeping lawn for picnics, rolling down to the river.  There’s even a restored grain mill, if you’re looking for somewhere to stay.

The detail around the windows is exquisite

Smell the roses and admire the detail around the windows

And how about this for a view? (can you spot the windmill?)

How about this for a view! (can you spot the windmill?)

And look at the wisteria!

And look at the wisteria!

We’d better get back on board.  Too much playing ‘lady of the manor’ isn’t good for me!  And there’s a coffee stop to make, with homemade Polish rhubarb cake.

We putter along the waterways, using the sail sometimes, or the small motor.  The water lilies drifting at the water’s edge and the dazzling yellow ‘water buttercups’ captivate me, but I’m unable to take a decent shot.  I’ll just have to go back another day!  Maybe you’ll come with me?

Six word Saturday

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Living up to my reputation again!

I've worn them out!

I’ve worn them out!

I spent the evening racing around Great Yarmouth, but I can’t download the photos from my camera till I get home so you’ll have to make do with this old one!  I’m going boating with the Norfolk branch of the Polish family today so I won’t be here to chat.

Norwich tomorrow, where I have an appointment with some cloisters and a Jacaranda tree. (Thanks Carol!)

Sound good?  I’ll tell you all about it as soon as I can.

Meantime, enjoy your weekend, and do pop in to see Cate at Show My Face if you can.

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Jo’s Monday walk : Canalside in Nottingham

A faithful companion

A faithful companion

Nothing quite gladdens my heart like stepping out along a towpath on a sunny day.  Canalside people seem to me to be some of the friendliest in the world.  I hadn’t planned to walk along the canal at Nottingham, but I had a couple of hours to spare before meeting my daughter for lunch. The canal runs right by her office, and the sparkle of the water had me hooked before I knew it. Added to which, I couldn’t possibly get lost following a towpath! (my sense of direction being notoriously lacking)

There’s something really delightful about being in the heart of the city and yet totally removed from the hurly-burly and the bustle.  Come and walk with me, and we’ll leave our cares behind.

This was the scene that greeted me on the towpath

This was the scene that greeted me on the towpath

It was part of their morning routine to attend to the canal’s wildlife.  The young man was happy to chat while he fed the goslings.  The dog resisted its strong impulse to give chase.

Trams ran overhead

Trams run overhead

But I was more interested in the serenity beneath

But I was more interested in the serenity beneath

Nottingham Canal came into being in the 1790s as a means of carrying coal from the mines, which were scattered around the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire borders, into the city. Previously the coal had been hauled overland, or via the Erewash Canal and River Trent.  The new canal, which ran for a little under 15 miles, would more than halve both journey and cost.  But, with the advent of the railways and the increasing cost of tolls, the canal was no longer viable.

Following privatisation in 1947, almost any local authority who wanted it could have the land, with the result that much of the canal has been filled in and built over.  I was oblivious to this as I pursued my stroll along the canal.  The downstream section through the city centre, and connecting to the River Trent, remains in use.

Many buildings back onto the canal

Many buildings back onto the canal

While cyclists happily scoot past

Cyclists scoot happily past

The towpath is also part of Nottingham’s Big Track, a 10 mile cycle route which follows the canal from the railway station in Nottingham to Beeston locks, and returns via the Trent riverside path.

Bike track

Bike or walk?  You can choose

Ahead, the excitement of a lock!

Ahead, the excitement of a lock!

Castle Lock beckons

Castle Lock beckons

I don’t walk far before I’m having more encounters with the wildlife.  A coot is a little curious about me, but not sure if he wants to hang around.  Smart apartments line the canal at this point, and I’m rather surprised to come upon a heron, nonchalantly preening himself.  The young man with the dog catches me up and tells me that this is the heron’s regular haunt, seemingly oblivious to observers.

The canal twists and turns through the city.  Around the next bend I find a colourful narrowboat and pause to admire the painted canal ware displayed on deck.  A passerby stops to tell me that the boat sells beautiful things.  He thinks it must be moving on today as there are usually many more goods to see.  The owner pops his head out, and we chat about his next destination.

All manner of boats are tied up along the towpath, or come chugging towards me.  I’m looking out for Castle Meadow marina, where I hope I might find some breakfast.  As I approach a barman is putting umbrellas up to shade the outdoor tables.  When he smiles, I ask if he’s doing coffee.  “Not till 11″ he says.  My face falls because it’s only 10.20am.  I hover, looking at the boats, and he takes pity on me.  I don’t push my luck and ask for toast, but it’s very pleasant sitting there, at the ‘Water’s Edge’.

You know that I couldn’t resist a wander among the boats before carrying on along the towpath, don’t you?  They’re all so colourful and individual.  Do you have a favourite?

I carry on, not sure how much further I should go because I have a lunch date.  There are some lovely canalside homes and even a boat builder’s yard.  Hawthorn tumbles from the trees and I take many more photos.

The blossom crowds the towpath

The blossom crowds the towpath

Jill looking beautiful in the boatyard

‘Jill’ looking beautiful in the boatyard

With sparkling Vermuyden for company

With sparkling Vermuyden for company

I turn back reluctantly, not sure how much further I could have followed the canal.  If you are interested in the history, this link will tell you a little more.  I joined the canal at Trent Road.

I’m sure some of you will have glazed eyes.  I just can’t help my fascination with boats, and for me it was a lovely respite from a sometimes stressful world.  Time now to put that kettle on and see what everyone else has to share.

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As always, if you click on my logo it’ll take you to the Jo’s Monday walk page, where I explain how to join me.  Thank you very much to all my contributors for keeping me so well entertained.  Your company is priceless.

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First up, it’s a little dainty stepping out in the desert with Drake this week :

Step’ing stone in the sand 

Tobias enjoys looking for the details :

A short walk around Luxemburgplatz

If you like walking, sometimes you just have to ignore the weather :

Lake District walks : Easdale Tarn

Or how about a pretty little village stroll, complete with clogs?

A bit of green 

Going from green to blue, with somewhere rather nice to sit :

A walk in the woods

Does anyone write a better ‘gardens’ post than Jude?  I don’t think so!

Garden Portrait : Trelissick

Let’s travel to Toronto with a newcomer next.  Please say hello!

Monday walks : Toronto Doors Open

A luscious cacti garden in Arizona next, and Amy’s first humming bird!

The Desert Botanical Garden

Geoff made the very most of a Bank Holiday Monday with…

A Blast on the Heath

Not so much a walk as … varoom- varoom!  A ride :

On the Grid at the Indy 500

Rosemay is ‘under the weather’ in Munich, but what a beautiful city!

A stroll in the Englischer Garten

And last, and totally fabulous- Gilly has us flirting with death on the cliff tops!

A Walk at Morte Point

Thank you so much, everyone!  Definitely living up to my name  this month- next weekend sees me in Norfolk, visiting with Polish family.  I hope to schedule a Monday walk, and I’ll be back Monday evening to chat with you.  Till then, have a wonderful week!

Wacky windows in Nottingham

Headine news!

Headline news!

Many of you will know that I took a flying visit to Nottingham at the weekend.  But not so swift that I couldn’t have a healthy salad (and a naughty cake) in Hopkinson with my lovely daughter. A Vintage store that spans four floors (yes, 4!), you can sit in the cafe on the ground floor surrounded by the most delightful clutter.  No need to worry about calories!  The 4 floors will soon work them off.

Click on a photo to view the galleries

The external is quite arresting too!

The external is quite arresting too!

Nottingham has shops by the gazillion, but I’ve always loved arcades and Flying Horse Walk is surely an eye pleaser. Let’s go a little more upmarket, shall we?

And inside the arcades

Inside the arcades

And looking up

And looking up

More flying horses!

More flying horses!

I’d like to say thank you for the kind thoughts and good wishes I received at the weekend.  A few prayers won’t go amiss but I’m hopeful that things will get better.  Love is all you need, but sometimes we need a little help too.

And, of course, I’m linking to Dawn’s A Lingering Look at Windows.  Let’s go window shopping!

5 photos, 5 stories- Day 5

You might remember this, from Weronika's wedding last year?

Weronika’s wedding last year, Dad centre stage, and a whole host of family!

Already we’re at Day 5!  I need to thank Minerva, Nin, Elaine and Viveka for nominating me for this challenge.  They couldn’t have known how much I’d enjoy it.  I hope you’ll go and say hello and read their stories too.

Do you remember Adam, from yesterday? (the gentleman, sitting reflectively, next to the 3 sisters in my photo)  He is the lynchpin to the whole Polish story.

Whenever we visit Poland, we fly into Kraków and Adam quietly and efficiently sets everything in motion.  He and his family gather us up from the airport, feed us, ferry us around and generally ensure that we have a good time.  I cannot thank them enough for their kindness.

Adam’s mum, my beloved aunt Anna and Dad’s youngest sister, died 5 years ago.  I never met his dad, but Adam could not treat his own father with more respect and affection than he does mine. Nothing is too much trouble. So, when I said that I wanted to see my aunt Lusia and uncle Jakub in Bełchatów this trip and had only one week available, he booked 4 days from his own busy schedule to transport me there and back.  Adam owns a bakery and baker’s machinery business. It has grown to international proportions, in partnership with his good friend Tomek.  We joke that, in the family, Lusia has the best potatoes, but Adam the best bread.  You’d never go hungry!

Adam’s large and comfortable home, in the Kraków’s suburbs, was adapted to accommodate his mum throughout the years of her declining health.  Now the basement has been converted into a starter flat for his oldest daughter, Weronika.  Last May I attended her wedding to Wojtek (he was good at sweeping up broken glass).  In July they are expecting a new little addition to the family, a first grandchild for Adam and Marta.  What a welcome awaits him!

It’s simply impossible to tell this story short, even though I have left out a myriad of characters. Dad’s youngest brother, uncle Jakub, and his wife Czescia live in a fine old suburb of Bełchatów, called Groholice.  Daughter Bożena lives just over the road, and sons Andrzej and Krzysztof have built their own homes in the neighbourhood.  All have families.  Jakub’s son Tomek I seldom see- he travels abroad to work and hasn’t ‘settled down’ yet.

Adam binds together and weaves between all the branches of our family.  Extending the hand of peace, he is welcome in every home.  Basia, Adam’s only sibling, lives to the north of Kraków, in Chorzów, with husband Zygmunt and just one son, Przemek.  In September this year Przemek will marry Magda.  I very much hope to be there.

And so the story goes on….  I hope I haven’t bored you and am grateful for the opportunity this challenge has given me to share.  Perhaps I need another 5?  If you can bare to read more, the background is explained a little more fully in Exploring the Polish connection.  Be warned- it always makes me cry.  It just remains to nominate Lynn at Life after 50 (most of us know a little about that!), another lady who loves to travel.  I only hope that she can find time in her busy life. Time now to say, thank you very much for reading.

Six word Saturday

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 5 photos, 5 stories- Day 4

Sisters Theresa, Irena and Grazyna with cousin Adam

Sisters Theresa, Irena and Grazyna, with cousin Adam

Today I’m having to combine my Six word Saturday with the 5 photos, 5 stories challenge, which takes place on consecutive days.  It just so happens that ‘5 photos, 5 stories- Day 4′ makes six.

Before I continue with my Polish stories, I must thank Minerva, Nin, Elaine and Viveka for nominating me for this challenge.  I know you’ll enjoy their company and the stories they have to share.

Today it’s the turn of my aunt Otylia’s family.  Lusia, as she is fondly known, is another octogenarian.  The only surviving sister of 4, I’m glad that she can still find so much to smile about.  The photo above includes her 3 daughters, Theresa, Irena and Grażyna.

Theresa still lives at home with her mum, works full-time and helps control their enormous garden.  Her daughter Edyta also lives with them, but is hoping soon to go to university at Wrocław, a couple of hours away.  Sitting on a garden swing seat, I had a long conversation with Edyta (practising for her English oral exam).  Grandma now needs a walking frame, to get around the house and garden she once tended so faithfully.  Aunt Lusia’s potatoes are legendary!

Enter Grażyna and Marek!  For a number of years they have been building a house on half of Lusia’s land, whilst working full-time and living in a high-rise flat in Bełchatów.  It is finally nearing completion, and not before time.  It will be so much easier for them to help Lusia, and Theresa, living here at close quarters.

An occasion with Grażyna and Marek is always one to relish.  A born joker, Marek also loves to sing, often accompanying himself on guitar.  One sunny afternoon, Dad and me arrived at Lusia’s to be met with a lovely surprise.  A family gathering, with Marek firing up the barbecue.

Let me describe the house.  2 stories, with a staircase but nothing upstairs.  A roaring wood burning fire in the lounge.  Bare cement floor, and a sea of trestle table and chairs.  Small fitted kitchen (in full swing as Grażyna and Theresa prepared salads- Irena arrived later with hers, straight from a busy day at work).  The most popular room in the house?  The downstairs shower/loo, with a curtain pulled across the doorway.  Singing on the loo is advisable. Doors are the next job.  And did we have fun?  Didn’t we just!  Aunt Lusia on one side of me, Dad on the other, both in their element, surrounded by smiling faces.

So many stories still to tell but well aware that I have exceeded my ‘six words’ for today, I’ll have to ask you to come back tomorrow.  I’ll just tell you that lovely Irena lives on the other side of Bełchatów.  She and husband Arek have a large home/market garden and a small shop in the open market, selling seeds and ‘all things garden’. (and she has a day job in a sweet factory too) Busy?  Non-stop!

Hard to believe that Debbie from Travel with Intent hasn’t been nominated for the 5 photos, 5 stories challenge yet. Lucky me!  It is my privilege to present her.  Please do say hello before you drop in on Cate with your six words (or 500 +, as in this case).  But most of all, thanks for reading and have a happy weekend!

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5 photos, 5 stories- Day 3

Little Nadia- with the shoes her Mum has made

Little Nadia plays with shoes her Mum, Ania, has made for her, while Marta stands guard

Yesterday on Day 2 of my 5 photos, 5 stories challenge I talked about Nadia’s sister, Kinga, and their hard working family.  So far I have focused on the children, a constant source of joy in the lives of my Polish family.  Tragedy and untimely death have their place in the story too, but my stories are more about celebrating life.

I should pause here to thank Minerva, Nin, Elaine and Viveka for nominating me for this challenge.  I know you’ll enjoy their company and the stories they have to share.  As the name suggests, I will be posting 5 photos, accompanied by 5 stories, on 5 consecutive days.

Dad was 1 of 9 children born to Bolesław and Marianna.  Of those 9, there are 2 aunts and 1 uncle that I was never privileged to meet, and a much loved aunt who died 3 years ago.  The land from the original homestead has been divided up between the survivors and their offspring.  My Polish family are lucky to own their own homes, but it comes at the cost of back breaking work. The family all pull together, pooling their skills.  No-one is too old, or too young, to help in whatever way they can. (ok- we’ll excuse Nadia for now, and Kinga is happiest playing on the sand hill outside their ‘soon to be’ home)

In some cases it takes years to finally achieve the dream.  My cousin Ewa and husband Henryk have for many years been trying to build a house on their plot, very close to her sister Jadwiga. Health problems and lack of income have made it hard for them.  At last, with their children all grown up and married, the end is in sight.  They live in an apartment in Katowice, about an hour away. While Ewa works in a hardware store in Bełchatów, Henryk, no longer young, shovels and plasters with whatever labour he can find.  Walking around the shell of their home I felt in need of a hard hat, and a good imagination to see the lovely dwelling that it will become.  Over the fence, Ewa’s brother Piotrek, some 16 years younger, smiles and waves from his fine house.  A carpenter by trade, his wooden floors and staircases gleam beautifully.

The family I have been following these past 3 days are all descendants of my Dad’s brother Zygmunt.  He and Leokadia had 10 children and some of them I know better than others. Zygmunt himself is the uncle I never met.  He died just months before Dad was reunited with the family.  Though he doesn’t seem to have had a very happy life, I can’t help but feel that somewhere he is looking down on all this and smiling.  Leokadia (Lodzia to us), into her 80s, still lives on and looks after the farm with sons Bolek (short for Bolesław) and Jozef.  Daughter Marysia has a beautiful self build, also at Zawady, the family’s home village, and runs a little boutique.

Tomorrow we step across to another branch of the family.  I’ll be taking you to a barbecue at a home that has been a long term building project, but is nearing completion.  I can promise you fun when Marek is around!  My personal A-Z of Poland is the back drop to my 5 stories.  Time now for a nomination!  I was first drawn to Lucile at Bridging Lacunas by her visually stunning header.  Since then I have discovered that her posts are thought provoking as well as fun, and some day I hope to get involved in Photo101 Rehab too.  I don’t know if she can find time for this challenge but I do hope so.  See you tomorrow?

 

5 photos, 5 stories- Day 2

Meet Kinga!

Meet Kinga!

Yesterday was Day 1 of my 5 photos, 5 stories challenge and you met some of Kinga’s bears. Today I’m introducing Kinga herself- a shy 5 year old, with all the exuberance a child can bring to a willing playmate.

I should pause here to thank Minerva, Nin, Elaine and Viveka for nominating me for this challenge.  I know you’ll enjoy their company and the stories they have to share.  As the name suggests, I will be posting 5 photos, accompanied by 5 stories, on 5 consecutive days.

What does it say about this family when Hubert (Kinga’s dad), who works full time and also is building a home for his family, has taken the time to make this playhouse/slide before their house is even complete?  Well- they like fresh air, that’s for certain, and are planning to make the most of a Polish summer.  The single storey, but spacious, home now has a bathroom fitted, and the family will move in soon to make that final push to completion.

Dad’s father, Bołeslaw Szustakiewicz, owned a good-sized parcel of land, which he farmed with the help of his sons and daughters.  It was one of Dad’s jobs, as a boy, to take the cows to a stream, before they settled for the night. After his father died, the land was divided between the surviving children.  Dad, torn from his home during the war, was no longer a part of the inheritance.  Returning to his homeland some 64 years later, it is wonderful to see how that land has been used.  My Polish family have introduced me to a new way of living.

My cousin Jadwiga is Bołeslaw’s granddaughter.  She inherited a sizeable plot, on which she and Andrzej built their own home, and a lovely garden.  Daughter Ania (Kinga’s mum) has lived, with her family, in an extension of her parents home while Hubert has been building, in the grounds. It’s now their turn to reap the benefits of all that hard work.  As well as raising a family, in her spare time Ania designs and makes children’s shoes.  Tomorrow we might look at some, and I’ll tell you more about the land and its new owners.

Now it’s time to nominate!  I’m offering this to Viv in France, not with any conviction that she will take up the challenge, but Viv does post her brilliant poems very regularly and I’d love you to read them.  The back story to this post is My personal A- Z of Poland.  Hopefully see you tomorrow?