Monday, 8 October 2007


It was a beautiful weekend. Bright leaves underfoot, mist hanging in the air and teenagers (not to mention respectable adults acting like teenagers) snogging in the Planty.

I made record time around Ikea thanks to a pre-prepared list (Hah- take that cunning Swedish marketing ploys!), and my room now looks much cosier, with a new (proper) duvet and a rug on the floor. Oh and I have pans to cook things in now, but that's a minor detail. When my old flatmates moved out I realised exactly how much of their kitchen equipment I had been using on a regular basis, and decided it was really time to make one or two investments (the thought of trying to survive a below-freezing winter without tomato comfort-pasta fills me with panic).

Actually I began to feel a strange creeping sense of unease after winding around the bedroom sections and exploring cupboard spaces in the neatly set-up kitchens on display. In Kraków, as in Lakeside, Leeds or Edinburgh, Saturday afternoon sees families and soppy couples (like my sister and her boyfriend) pondering over gadgety things to clutter your kitchen drawers and squishy things to throw over your sofa. It's all very suburban and settled. The uneasy feeling grew. By the time the walkway wove around to 'children's toys', I was elbowing toddlers out of the way and diving between pushchairs in my haste to get to somewhere safe like 'gardenware'.

- Can I...

When Car Guy reached for my bags at the till I almost bit him.

-I SAID I can manage!

We made a very hasty exit.

N.B. After surviving my first Polish wedding, my second Polish housewarming was a piece of kremówka: nothing more challenging than students and guitars, the odd vodka shot and something about a gangster's paradise (see Karaoke).
I won't mention (because I promised) that the party started at eight, we arranged to arrive at ten and we finally found the place around midnight. Nor that getting there involved upwards of an hour and half in the car; asking for directions on at least five separate occasions (once from a taxi driver with GPS for heaven's sake); getting stuck twice at the same level crossing and doing the same reverse manoeuvre (much to the dismay of the drivers behind us) twice; stopping after an hour or so for KFC outside a petrol station (because being lost is hungry work); and finally Car Guy handing the phone to me:
- You do it. Speak English.
- Hi, we're at the petrol station; I began.

Neither will I mention that the walk home took fifteen minutes.

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