Hiya, I’m back. Spent two glorious weeks on the beach in Greece, swimming in the sea, eating and drinking too much. Nothing new then. Now I’m back home and I have to say I keep noticing more and more let’s call them ‘informal’ signs of the Polish ‘invasion’ on the streets of London (or should I say the recent and now subsiding invasion?).
I’ve seen a can or two of Polish beer in my street before, but that was an occasional sightng, rather than a regular occurence. After all, I don’t see that many Poles in my part of London. Nowadays, the sight of a squashed can of Lech or żywiec (sorry, lost the capital ‘ż’ on my keyboard) is as common as that of a discarded packet of Walkers or of a free newspaper on the floor of a tube train. Not sure whether there’s a particularly messy Pole living in my neighbourhood or whether someone else has fallen in love with Polish lager and regularly (and impatiently) empties a can or two on the way back from the corner shop.
But recently I’ve noticed something which really made me smile. Way back in the 70s and 80s it was common to see shops closed for months for REMONT (refurbishment). They wer closed for months not because the refurbishment was extensive or complicated, only because nobody really cared much. After all, everything was state-owned.
Every time a shop or another outlet with massive window was closed for remont, the builders would whitewash the windows inside the shop and then use their fingers to scribble on them the ominous word REMONT (often reversing either the letter ‘r’ or the letter ‘n’ in the process as they were not used to spelling words, let alone spelling them backwards).
Recently I noticed a shop in south London which is closed for refurbishment. And, yes, you’ve guessed it. The window is painted white and the word REMONT (spelt correctly) is scribbled across the top. Fabulous.
I haven’t seen such a thing in at least 20 years. Whoever did that must have a great sense of humour. Good to see old traditions don’t die. Oh, and just like in Poland back in the 80s, this particular REMONT has been going on for months now…