Monday, 3 March 2008

Delikatesy II and the friendly traffic warden

I think I've mentioned before how much I love walking in Sevenoaks with my Dad because he knows everyone. It's impossible to get anywhere in less than an hour.

On Saturday morning I was overcome by curiosity and finally persuaded him to stroll along to the Polish deli with me so I could get my ogórek fix.

It was a beautiful sunny day (thanks greenhouse gases). Rounding the corner, we saw a man in a green gilet with a PDA marking out long slow strides along the edge of the pavement.

- Oh that chap used to work for the bank

said Dad.

- used to see him on the station in the mornings. Retired and works as a traffic warden.

We waved and he crossed the road to say hello. Before long he was telling us about the quirks of his job: how nice it was to be out in the fresh air all the time, and how annoying it was to get caught by cameras in box junctions and so on.

- I tell them you can always appeal. Usually it works. And you always have to check- it's illegal to issue a ticket unless you're absolutely sure. That's why I was counting out the paces for that one.

He indicated the car stationed precariously on the double yellow line on the corner of a t-junction. A woman had unlocked the rear door and was buckling a child into a safety seat.

- There you go, she's back now. Ah well we'll leave it then.

- Once I found myself booking my own car. I thought: hang on... there's something funny here: my car's in the garage at home. So I called my wife and sure enough...

Entering the deli was brilliant: less cluttered than Kefirek but still like stepping back across the border. On the door were little scraps of paper with small ads scrawled on them:

...'poszukuje pokoju'... 'tlumaczenie angielski-polski'... 'korepeticja' etc. And it was strange seeing St John's school referred to as 'Swietego Jana'...

- Dzien dobry!

said the guy behind the counter, and I was a little taken aback. Was the clientele exclusively Polish then?

Later in the day I realised why he had taken me for a Pole:

- What's that on your coat?

said my friend, pointing;

- some kind of Polish mafia symbol?

I looked down and saw a red heart-shaped sticker... 'Wielka Orkiestra Swietecznej Pomocy'.

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