Monday, 15 October 2007


Now I don't normally follow sport all that closely, but I do love rugby because just occasionally it provides me with an opportunity to Gloat Over The French, as is only right and proper.

Imagine my delight when, tuning into the Today programme on Wednesday morning, I found myself listening to the wailing and tooth-gnashing of several New Zealanders, who hadn't even considered that NZ might be knocked out early, stuck in Paris with unwanted tickets for the World Cup semi-final.

That was Wednesday: by Saturday night, the Polish 'Golden Autumn' ('Blue Autumn' possibly more appropriate given my general hue after an hour and a half of rollerblading along the Wisla in shorts) and a rather breathless start to the school term had conspired to make me forget all about the plight of the Kiwis* and the England-France match.

It was only once I was sitting on the bed with mascara still wet, trying to keep still so as not to make the hairdryer cut out (the circuitry in our flat is ever-so-slightly sketchy, which adds a fun, surprise element to basic everyday tasks such as vacuuming, computing and having the light on) and waiting for the doorbell to ring, that I realised the Battle must already be underway. Johnny Wilkinson could be running rings around the French and I'd never know!
Polish radio was out of the question- I can barely grasp the weather forecast (probably just as well- the prospect of winter is starting to give me the serious jitters and it's possible that if I had actually known that it would be minus one on Monday morning, I'd have been on the next WizzAir to Bari before you could say 'Ambre Solaire').
I tried the Radio Five live site.
- 'Streaming in progress...
The doorbell rang.

- Results? It's terrible, Kazakhstan are beating Poland... Rugby? No, in the football, what rugby?
The Poles seem singularly lacking in concern for oval-shaped sports and the Importance of Beating the French.
As a last-ditch attempt, I sent a desperate Skype message home, but to no avail. It was Saturday evening, around Silent Witness time. I didn't stand a chance.

An hour and a half later (punctuated by two stops for provisions- both shops had the radio tuned stubbornly to the Poland-Kazakhstan match- and a long, chilly walk in the suburbs) I found myself seriously out of my depth as the youngest person at a Very Grown-up Party. Unfortunately my Polish is still not up to phrases like: 'So... what keeps you busy these days?' or 'Aren't interest rates just murder?' (or even: 'Nightmare trying to find a babysitter'- although this is unlikely to be a problem in Poland, thanks to the babcia army).
- You must have some vodka- then you'll be able to speak Polish; urged the hostess.
I have already tried this method on several occasions and as yet have no consistent set of results (although that may be more due to the unreliable memory of the researcher- me- the next morning).
I managed to muddle through a couple of questions about working in Dublin, and then took refuge in English, and, unexpectedly, Italian.

By the time I finally learnt the results of the rugby (around midnight, by bullying one of the grown-ups into looking it up on his rather swish palm-top device), I no longer cared that I was juvenile in appearance, professionally rather scruffy and distinctly deficient on the communications side of things.
Whooping and dancing seemed to be the most appropriate course of action.

ps: There will be an election here soon. From eavesdropping on Polish friends I've learnt that Donald Tusk is Our Man. Please accept my apologies for the lack of pertinent political content in this blog. Although I managed to scrape through a Government and Politics A-Level (which largely involved memorising mysterious phrases such as 'single transferable vote', plus a rather thrilling paper on Marxist Feminism), back in my jolly school days, please do not expect any intelligent comment from me. At least not until I've got the hang of the basics (crossing the road, listening to the breakfast news, telling the shop assistant I'm Just Looking and so on).

*(A Singularly Comforting proper noun because it is totally uninflectable in Polish: biedny Kiwi; idę na rugby z Kiwi; oglądam sport z Kiwi; lubie Kiwi; nie lubie Kiwi; myślę o Kiwi; i tak dalej ad infinitum...)

1 comment:

artur said...

I think there might as well be other uninflectable words in polish but the one that pops to my mind right now is" tabu".oh, here comes another one: polo .I guess it has something to do with endings ; whenever a foreign word ends in u,i ,it is not inflected.Artur.