Monthly Archives: November 2008

Calling all Poles!

One of the principles behind the blog was to introduce to my readers some UK-based Poles and their views on living in the UK – why they are here, what they admire, what they miss. In a short, Q&A form.

I’ve decided to ask a few people initially to answer five short questions. What I didn’t expect was the fact people are willing to post their entire lives for everyone to see on Facebook, but are occasionally sensitive when they are asked to say what they really think. “I don’t know how I could open up to the world,” was the answer one of my friends gave me. Oh dear, trouble.

So, while some people are still mulling over their answers to the short “Pole poll”, I’ve decided to spread the word and ask those questions directly on the blog.

If you are Polish, are currently living in the UK, or have lived in the UK – I want to hear from you! Here are the 5 questions in the Pole poll:

1. Who are you?
2. Why are you in / have you chosen the United Kingdom?
3. If I went back home to Poland, I’d take with me…
4. I’ll never get used to…
5. I miss…

That’s it. Easy, eh? You can be as concise as you want, you can elaborate, you can add things from yourself. As long as whoever is reading this can get a sense of your relationship with the UK. And if you could add a picture of yourself, that would be ideal.

If you would like to be featured on this blog or know someone you think would be interested, forward this post to them or email me:

If you need encouragement, here’s how I answered my own questions.

Image © Eleaf via Flickr, used under CC licence

UN Climate Change Conference in Poznań…

… is starting this Monday. Follow it on Twitter. If you care about the planet. Or are into Twitter. Or both.

Violen’s Photography

As you’ve probably noticed, my blog automatically displays random pictures from Flickr, tagged with the word ‘Poland’. These are not my pictures, although sometimes I wish they were.

And through this small Flickr plugin I discovered the amazing photography of a Poland-based woman who calls herself Violen. Her Violen’s Photography Flickr photostream is a joy to explore. She is based in the southern city of Bielsko Biała, not far from where I was born. She travels all over the south, charting everything – from beautiful architecture to urban decay and mountain landscapes.

Some of her pictures are taken in the advanced HDR technique, giving them this extra depth and a bit surreal dimension. All of them are very atmospheric and quite rich, both in texture and in content. If this is your first contact with Polish landscape, well, sit back and enjoy.

(Hope you also like the pics and it’s not just me being overly sentimental here.)

Image © Violen’s Photography, all rights reserved

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Do you have a PLan?

Polish PM Donald Tusk was in London yesterday. He was supposed to try and convince Poles living here to come back to Poland, by asking “Do you have a return PLan?’ (PL stands for Poland, of course). All that because the Polish government has launched a special site, where Poles living in the UK can get advice regarding moving their lives back to Poland.

Allegedly in the first 24 hours after the site was launched, it was ‘extremely popular’, although I would argue whether 150 questions asked in 24 hours is really that much, bearing in mind that there are anything between 500,000 and a million or even more recent migrants from Poland. But at least the government is eventually doing something useful apart from just saying ‘Come back!’.

A London-based Polish portal Moja Wyspa quotes unnamed ‘experts’ who predict that up to half a million Poles may go back home in the next few years. That’s just another finger in the air estimate – nobody really knows how many people have come to the UK from Poland in the first place, so how can they predict how many are planning, sorry, PLanning to return?! But it’s good to see someone wants to help them at last.

On an almost unrelated note, looks like Aussies are also abandoning the capital. I have certainly noticed that among my Australian friends…


Bobski the bloody builder
The Daily Telegraph and me
Londyńczycy – EastEnders come to Poland
Poles on Poland
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Teraz Polska – Poland Now

If you ever see this logo on any Polish products, you can be sure it’s something of a really good quality, something Poles are really proud of. ‘Teraz Polska’ (literally: ‘Poland Now’ or ‘Time for Poland’) is a national competition, in which brands, products, producers – and recently also individual city councils – compete for the title of the best in their respective field.

There have been 18 editions of the competition and you can find the Teraz Polska logo on a really wide range of products – from vodkas to sausages; from spices and healthy food to men’s suits; from software to roof tiles.

Almost anyone can nominate, but the final choice is down to a group of experts who test the products and award the TP title. The Teraz Polska title acts as a stamp of approval of the product’s quality, but also opens the door to new markets.

During my recent trip to Poland I was surprised to see how many products, even as basic as margarine and cheese bear the Teraz Polska logo. Which I guess, from a consumer point of view, is very reassuring. Although I also liked this variation of the logo, a bitter comment on our favourite national passtime:

Moo and me

Like every ambitious blogger, I expect this blog to be so big I will need to hold yearly fan gatherings at, er, Wembley Stadium. Or somewhere. Of course.

In anticipation of this, I have just ordered my mini Moo cards:

Cute, eh? I’ll be handing them out left right and centre during upcoming events like the first Dirty South Twit meet-up etc.

Oh, and during the Wembley thingy, of course.