Monthly Archives: July 2013

For those who remember

For those who remember

The customer in the restaurant decides he wants squid for dinner.

The waiter takes him to the tank, where he makes his selection – “there, the ugly bad-tempered  green one with the moustache”

The waiter scoops the squid out and passes it to the chef, Gervaise

Gervaise takes one look, shivers and passes the squid on to Hans, the dishwasher.

Now Hans is a great hulking brute of a man. Not the sort you’d like to meet in a dark alley

Hans grabs the squid by the legs, slaps it down on the chopping block and raises the cleaver

The squid looks him in the eyes and whimpers

Hans lowers the cleaver, then raises it again with a roar

The squid sees and lets out an even louder, more quivering whimper

At which Hans lowers the cleaver, shakes his head – he can’t do it

Which …

Just goes to show that Hans that does dishes can be soft as Gervaise, with vile green hairy-lip squid

Sleep apnoea

Sleep apnoea

Do you, or does your significant other, snore, sleep badly, wake up with a start or stop breathing in your sleep? Here’s John’s story.


I had been sleeping badly for a while, and I’d snored for years (allegedly). I happened to be at the National Heart and Lung Hospital, the Royal Brompton in London, talking to an asthma specialist, and he asked me how I was. I said I’d be OK if only I could sleep. I was waking at least once a night, sweating, heart pounding and gasping for breath. I thought I was having night-time panic attacks – I HAD to get up and do something for an hour or so until I calmed down enough to go back to bed. “Aha” said the good doctor. “We’ll get you in for sleep apnoea testing”.


So it was that on the evening of 1 May 1997 I reported to the sleep lab at the Royal Brompton. After dinner there was one last chance to use the bathroom, then I was wired up – heart monitor, oxygen levels, sound and video, I had it all! And it was an incredibly hot night, too.


Next morning at 06:00 the sleep support technician unwired me and read the print outs. “You died over 600 times last night”. I’d had over 600 episodes – stopped breathing – in eight hours. “We don’t want you to go home without a CPAP system”.

cpap mask

Sleepweavers are the most comfortable masks I’ve found

And so it was I got my first CPAP system. I slept uninterrupted and snore free that night, and ever since.

Taking my CPAP system with me whenever I travel is a small price to pay!

What’s a Polish Breakfast?

What’s a Polish Breakfast?

For a start, older Poles just do not get breakfast cereals. Rice Krispies and other famous cheap breakfast cereals just aren’t sold over here. Other cereals, often for kids or more premium ones and/or products adopted from the US, are to be found, though.

Still, milky cereals aren’t that popular with adults. So what is?

Hotels will usually serve up bread, butter, cheese, ham/sausage and jam with fresh tea or coffee. A lot of people will have that before leaving home in the morning, too. It’s quick and easy and can even be plated the night before and cling-filmed into the fridge to just grab next morning – and if time is short, coffee goes in a thermos mug and everything else makes a sandwich to eat on the way to work.


One of the better breakfasts we’ve had in Poland was at the Zajazd Krystyna, outside Krakow. Our “egg” breakfasts came with a layer of grilled bacon in the hot dish, under the fried eggs. And it set us up really well for a drive almost to the Channel.

Out and about, McDonalds offer a breakfast menu, including some items we’ve never seen in the UK. They had to withdraw the McKielbasa, though – it simply didn’t sell!

mcd ambuland wroclaw

Ronald McDonald funds an ambulance in Wroclaw

And porridge. Porridge warms the tummy of more Poles than you might think – and a pan of porridge left on the stove overnight will be delicious next morning!

But what about a full English? Our attempts to get close to the traditional all-out full English breakfast have gone one step further with Rajmund’s find of boczek surowy plastry, the ones with a wyśmienitych wedlin smak. Literally “raw bacon slices with a delicious sausage taste”! They’re very thin slices, so much more like what you’d find in a bacon and egg mayo sandwich, but still … bacon …

Or go to any English or Irish pub in Krakow!

The Decoliner



While I remember, I want to post some photos of the “Decoliner”. Fans of “Storage Wars” may recognise it as one of the vehicles used in the show by Barry Weiss.


The entire body was hand-fabricated by Blastolene Cars on the chassis of a 1973 GMC motorhome …


… and a cab from a 1955 White COE (cab over engine – forward control).


It took some time to build.



The roof driving position (fly-bridge) is fully operational.





The interior is quite something.





But it’s the outside that takes the biscuit!




Other Weiss cars include a 1940 Ford COE truck



a somewhat customised 1946 Cadillac



and the Beatnik.



About Abouts

About Abouts

Home is where we tell our personal story – our blog, in today’s terms.

If you want to know about us, how we think and how we came to be in Poland, have a read here.

Abouts are where we store information we hope will be of use to anyone coming to visit us, or to holiday in this part of Poland. They cover travel and transport, Kamionka Wielka, Nowy Sacz and Kraków, and many of the places we’d hope you might like to see. We even added a page about Kraków for kids, which we hope will be useful to parents but which also contains one or two attractions not mentioned elsewhere – like the Air Museum and puppet theatre.

John is a Trip Advisor Destination Expert for Poland and he’s often surprised by how little research some people do before heading for Poland – he’s a man who has always read up on his destinations before trips, including one holiday over 30 years ago when he read about the streets of Estepona and every card every one of the six travellers sent referred to the “gorgeous wrought iron balconies gaily bedecked with flowers”. More seriously, on TA today there’s a first-time post from someone who “will never go back to Poland” because the ever-vigilant ticket inspectors fined her and her bf for failing to valid their bus tickets – something every article on Polish trams and buses tells you to do!

Ticket validating machine

Incidentally, and this is a bit of an “about”, you buy tickets for a duration as well as a zone. Kraków only has two zones, and the trams are all in the central zone, but it’s still best advice to buy a one-day ticket (or longer) as that way you’ll not fall foul if your tram gets held up. (A delayed bus or tram does NOT extend the duration of your ticket, so watch out!). Plus you will cut down on the number of potential man/ticket machine transactions you’ll face…

Please feel free to browse or “follow” as we’ll keep updating the “abouts” and adding to “home”.


When God was creating the world He said: ‘And yes, the Poles — I will give them a land flowing with milk and honey, rich grain fields, lush forests teeming with game, lakes and rivers full of fish, natural resources such as coal, copper, silver and sulphur, scenic mountains, an impressive seacoast, rolling green meadows and beautiful blonde-haired maidens…’

A little angel witnessing the process pipes up: ‘But aren’t the Poles getting too much of a good thing?

God replies: ‘Just wait till you see who I give them for neighbours’.

Central Europe