The last of my retrospective posts for 2015…..and what an end to the year.
It started off as November had finished – house viewings and auctions. I found the next project and after a bit of brinkmanship we cut a deal. I was quite surprised (and a little nervous that I’ve missed something) but quite happy to be back in the harness soon. It even has a roof garden (see pic):
Clearly one of my first priorities will be to turn the roof garden into a roof. Hopefully before the roof collapses.
The gearup to Christmas began in earnest. This year (for the first time in many years) we had a real tree and new decorations. It was ace. I went and bought the tree without adult supervision and found out when it was home that the thing had a volume very close to that of our lounge. Clearly, we wanted to be able to sit in the room whilst the tree was up so some judicious pruning* was done and we just about had room to still use the lounge. Here it is in all its glory
The memory of sitting in front of the TV after finishing decorating it and watching, from the corner of my eye, as a small list slowly became a significant lean and then quickly progressed to an alarming tilt before being caught just before disaster still makes me smile.
No sooner had we got our Trafalgar-square-scale Christmas tree under control than we were off again. This time to Krakow for 3 days.
It was a beautiful place to visit, the architecture and friendliness of the people and history were all great. The overwhelming sadness of what happened to so many people there during the second world war isn’t glossed over at all, but somehow doesn’t hang too heavy. It’s all dealt with by anyone that we spoke to in a very matter of fact way. Very open an honest, but without either anger or sentimentality. I guess the passage of time means that most who now talk about it will have studied it or have heard stories rather than direct experience, but they all did a good job of walking that fine line between underplaying the terrible events and mawkishness.
We went over to see Auschwitz and Birkinau. It was mind blowing just what an industrial scale operation had been set up to exterminates race. Again, the whole subject was dealt with in a very matter of fact way. Our tour guide was exceptional and managed to convey the facts without sensationalism or sentimentality. It was a very bleak place and quite a sobering day.
Mrs A and I love a good old walk around a city and we walked for miles (Mrs A’s account can be found here – it’s really rather good), for my part I loved the architecture and the street food and the bison grass vodka. We had plenty of all 3 for next to no money at all. We got some great tips on where the locals head for the best food and bars and headed there. I got to eat Zapiekanka with bacon and plums on it, followed by vodka in a bar that was far too young for us. I cared not one jot and accidentally had drinks with the barman and some random others at the bar. Lovely.
We arrived home late and tired on a sunday night, with a couple of days at home before heading to That There London, which is next up, in December part 2.
* – hacking approximately half the tree off