Sunday, 22 May 2022

Further S7 extension progress

Getting tantalisingly close to the finish, two years and four months since the first scraping away of the topsoil, the S7 extension, there's talk about opening at least the northern section by next month. I'll believe it when I hear the traffic's roar. In the meantime, some final strolls around the site and its environs...

Below: "S79, I'd like you to meet the S7 extension"... South Warsaw's equivalent of Promontory, Utah, where the two ends of the transcontinental railroad met. To the left, the S79 takes you into Warsaw; take the right-hand exit for Belarus and Russia, or turn left and carry on along the S2 for Berlin and Lisbon, or swing north around Warsaw for Gdańsk and Scandinavia. To the right, straight through to Kraków, Slovakia and the Balkans beyond.

Below: at the junction of the western service road, which connects Dawidy Bankowe with Dawidy, work is almost complete. Fencing separates the S7 from surrounding land, yellow posts mark out the boundary of the land for the road ('pas drogowy'); the final asphalt has been laid. Some pavement still needs to be finished, but the end is in sight. 

The service road that runs parallel to the S7 on the eastern side is also nearly ready. Again, the pavement hasn't yet been laid end to end, but the asphalt is down - and to my surprise - the signposts are up! Below: from where the eastern service road meets ul. Baletowa, it's six kilometres to Raszyn ('Fool's Raszyn/Where angels fear to tread')... Raszyn, the Staines of the East

...and from Baletowa, via the new asphalt of the eastern service road, it's three kilometres to Zgorzała. Note the roadsign for gated level crossing - this is at W-wa Dawidy station. While the new road sign encourages curious drivers to take a look, the road is still closed; barriers remain in place.

The big news at the other end is that the pedestrian and cycle viaduct is now officially open. Below: looking west up the newly constructed ramp that meets the bridge structure. Behind me Zgorzała, ahead of me, across the S7, Zamienie. No stairs, just a long, gently sloped ramp at either end. Wide enough for cyclists to safely pass each other. The the left, the eastern service road that takes traffic down to Nowa Wola, bypassing the village of Zgorzała, which will feel massive relief when the S7 opens.

 from the top, looking south towards Lesznowola. The sign, translated literally, says: TEMPORARY CROSSING. WE ASK FOR CAUTION. DO NOT LEAN OVER ACROSS THE BARRIERS!! Presumably leaning over the barriers will be OK once the crossing becomes permanent. 

And now, some bonus shots of planes landing on RWY 29, rarely used unless the much-longer RWY 33 is being repaired or, as happened yesterday, there are particularly strong winds from the west. This creates the opportunity of catching the planes against a backdrop of skyscrapers.

Below: a LOT Polish Airlines Embraer ERJ 175 flies in front of the Warsaw Hub and Spire buildings. In the foreground, W-wa Jeziorki station, a southbound train approaching. Photo taken from the viaduct over the tracks.

Left: LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in livery commemorating the centenary of Poland's independence, which occurred three and half years ago. Taken at ground level from the S7's western service road north of ul. Baletowa, with the same cluster of skyscrapers as in the photo above. Beyond the treeline, Węzeł Lotnisko, where the S2 meets the S7/S79.

Below: a Finnair Embraer ERJ 190 coming in to land, flying in front of Varso tower. Taken from south of Baletowa, so from a greater distance. 

Below: A Wizz Air Airbus A321neo - something of a Supermarionation vibe here!

This time last year:
Town and country

This time two years ago:
Covid and economy recovery

This time three years ago:
Electric cars for hire by the minute

This time six years ago:
Mszczonów - another railway junction

This time ten years ago:
The Devil is in Doubt - short story, part I

This time 11 years ago:
Stormclouds are raging all around my door

This time 12 years ago:
Floods endanger Warsaw

This time 13 years ago:
Coal line rarity

Thursday, 19 May 2022

The Speed of Life

There aren't enough hours in the day. I tend to take things slowly; tasks get interrupted by distractions, or put off to tomorrow - and even when I am doing them, there's no rush. I don't like panics; there must be air between tasks, life is to be enjoyed not hurried, and those distractions will always pop up. 

I prefer to take things easy. At my own pace. Eating - I'm usually the last to finish eating. I enjoy the process, especially when the food is good (and as I avoid bad food, this covers most of what I eat). Walking can be significantly speeded up with the aid of Nordic walking poles, an excellent accelerator - but I also like to dawdle, take photos, enjoy the view, contemplate nature. Ever since getting the Huawei health app on my phone, I can see that my 'moderate-to-high intensity' walking decreases markedly in summer, when the living is easy. The speed of life slows down for summer. And summer in the countryside is slower than winter in the city.

Procrastination is a huge problem for mankind, especially when you have no external deadlines hanging over you. An essential lesson for life is to impose your own meaningful deadlines. And to stick to them.

Being somewhat on the Asperger's spectrum, I find spreadsheets comforting, and for me tabling my daily exercise and dietary intake is an excellent deadline-maker. This has its downside. OK - so before going to bed, I need to finish my work, write a blog piece (or at least move it forward, process some photos if not actually publish), do my exercises. With things being put off towards 'later in the day', the last two or three hours are a rush to finish what needs finishing, while fighting off distractions. But then there is the immense satisfaction of closing my laptop with the day's spreadsheet filled in correctly; 11,000 paces, 20+ press-ups, 16+ pull-ups, 40 sit-ups, two sets of back extensions, three sets of exercises with 5kg weights, six minutes of holding the plank, and 40 squats. 

Incidentally, the squats are done usually in the morning, while the kettle boils. This is for the water to heat my coffee cup. I do this so that my espresso stays hot for longer, as I don't want to be gulping the coffee down, but enjoying it properly, not drinking it lukewarm. Logging the squats in the spreadsheet sets me up for the day; I push myself to get as many sets of exercise in before 17:00. But during the working week, often there isn't the time, so it gets bunched up into the evening.

Work has its own deadlines - you don't want to let down clients or colleagues, so things get done by when they need to get done. Over the years, I've learned to be more efficient, no longer having to spend so much time on stuff like researching background that by now I know well. Routine tasks are executed properly because of repetition.

Much as I don't like to admit this - I am a slow learner. But - having learnt a lesson, having acquired a deep insight, through experience, reading or from another person - I tend to learn it well. Solid foundations for future learning. But it's taking me so long! Stuff I should have known when I was in my late 20s, only falls in place now, as I'm in my mid-60s. 

We slow down as we age. Things take longer to do. My father, in his last years, in his mid-90s, would take an hour and half to eat his main meal of the day; he had an electric plate-warming tray on the table under his dinner plate.

I see speedy people, in a rush. They are efficient. They get things done quickly at work. Their work rate is exemplary. They can get five tasks done in the time it takes me to do two (with dawdling and distractions along the way). They deserve higher pay for that reason alone.

But at the end of the day, here's my question - if  'live fast, die young' is a motto - is the corollary true? 

This time last year:
Does it all come right in the end?

This time two years ago:

This time three years ago:

This time four years ago:
Heavenly Jeziorki

This time eight years ago:
Why are all the shops shut today? 

This time nine years ago:
Jeziorki at its most beautiful

This time 11 years ago:
Useful and useless in my wallet

This time 12 years ago:
In search of the dream klimat - remote viewing made real

This time 13 years ago:
Zakopane to Kraków in 3hrs 45min

This time 14 years ago:
The year's most beautiful day?

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Prime spring, Jakubowizna

Spring is the best season of the year; nature is fresh and green, exploding into life, and the warmth returns. Today, St Sophia's Day, is traditionally considered the end of the mid-May cold snap brought about by the Ice Saints (St Pancras, St Servatus and St Boniface - in Polish the 'cold gardeners' (zimni ogrodnicy). This year, temperatures exceeded 20C for four of the last five days, hitting 27C on Wednesday. Time to pop down to the działka and sample the joys of spring.

Below: setting off from W-wa Jeziorki this morning; I'm waiting for the southbound train to Chynów, approaching in the distance, while a train from Radom bound for Warsaw makes its way northward.

Below: landscape with orchard and railway, north of Chynów station

Below: one of the XII Canonical Views of Jakubowizna - the house on the corner of my street.

Below: another of the XII Canonical Views of Jakubowizna - the farm track coming off my street.

Below: a cherry tree buzzing with bees. I felt no discomfort in their presence; they were just getting on with their work, me - continuing on my walk. Click to enlarge.

Left: a lapwing (czajka), one of about nine or ten individuals I saw today flying around over the orchards to the east of the railway line between Chynów station and the DK50 at Nowe Grobice. 

Today is only the second time I've seen them around these parts; they used to be seen regularly in Jeziorki and Dawidy Bankowe, before work started on the S7 expressway extension. 

Very characteristic shape, call ('peewit') and flight characteristics.

Below: from my first ever visit to these parts back in 2014, I have come to associate hares with these orchards. This pair seemed elderly, but could still put on a burst of speed.

Below: market gardening, between Nowe Grobice and the DK50, much quieter now that the S2 tunnel under Ursynów has been opened and sanctions against Russia and Belarus start to hit trade in goods.

Below: the foreshortening effect of the 70-300mm zoom lens pulls together meadow and orchard in blossom, railway line and housing.

Below: quintessential Jakubowizna, the 'road' to Machcin II. I last walked this stretch six weeks ago when it was ankle deep in virgin snow.

Below: the farmhouse on the junction - if you are here, you're on the right road.

Below: my działka, looking its finest, full of forget-me-nots (which in Polish are niezapominajki - literally 'forget-me-nots'; they symbolise memory right across north-west Europe).

This time six years ago:
Classic car show, Nadarzyn

This time seven years ago:
Classic vehicles at London's VE-Day 70 celebrations

This time nine years ago:
Malodorous passengers on Warsaw's public transport

This time 11 years ago:
Inside Filtry - Warsaw's waterworks (Museum Night 2011)

This time 12 years ago:
Warsaw's Museum Night 2010

This time 13 years ago:
On Transcendence

Friday, 13 May 2022

A better tomorrow for the soul

It's been a long time since I came across a spiritually inclined scientist who could set out a vision of spiritual evolution that coincides so neatly with my own. From Wikipedia: "Itzhak Bentov (1923-1979) was an Israeli-American scientist, inventor, mystic and author. His inventions, including the steerable cardiac catheter, helped pioneer the biomedical engineering industry. He was also an early proponent of what has come to be referred to as consciousness studies and authored several books on the subject."

This short clip gives an idea of his main thesis regarding how we evolve not just biologically, but as consciousness. Sadly, little has survived of his TV appearances, but we get a good idea of his thinking. 

Tragically, he died in the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 shortly after take-off from Chicago O'Hare Airport in 1979, aged 56, in what was the worst non-terrorism-related aviation disaster to have taken place on US soil. Had he lived into this millennium (and why not - he was born a few months after my father), he could have contributed to the scientific discourse about consciousness in a meaningful way - there would have been many more interlocutors willing to take his ideas seriously and develop them.

An early modern-day panpsychist, he wrote "consciousness permeates everything".  

This time three years ago:
The Ice Saints - right on cue
[today - over 22C fourth day in a row]

This time seven years ago:
Then and now: Trafalgar Square (recreating my father's photos)

This time nine years ago:
Reflection upon the City Car

This time 11 years ago:
Biblical sky

This time 12 years ago:
Travel broadens the spirit

This time 13 years ago:
Welcome the Ice Saints

This time 15 years ago:
On the farm next door

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

How does a 'better tomorrow' look?

If we assume that this planet has another two and half billion or so years before the sun swallows it and at least another billion during which it will be habitable here, there's still a hell of a lot of future ahead of us! 

But how will that future look - better than the past, worse - or the same (after all we're only human)?

Homo sapiens has only been around for around 300,000 years - not even one three-thousandth of the time still left for this planet. Literature - the written form of storytelling - has only been developing for 4,000 years. The Industrial Revolution began some 250 years ago. How much further can we evolve as a species during that billion years we have left, before we're forced to move on? Or will we kill ourselves with nuclear weapons or runaway man-made climate change within the next few hundred years?

I'm an optimist; I believe that despite setbacks, man-made or natural, we will prevail, we will evolve, we will eventually reach out beyond our planet, our solar system, and go on to colonise space.

Intelligence, wisdom and kindness will win out over barbarism and stupidity. The long march of the evolution of consciousness is destined to continue as the Universe unfolds.

This may seem unlikely right now, considering the current outbreak of barbarism and stupidity in the Kremlin, but progress is generally two steps forward one step back.

Born in England the 1950s, the biggest part of my life has generally been the experience of an upward arc of human progress - material, technological and social. From the grey postwar years into the Swinging Sixties, the colourful consumerist 1970s; the 1980s London of Mrs Thatcher's Big Bang, the end of communism, the single European market, computers and smartphones, life had been getting steadily better, more interesting, diverse and richer in experiences and horizons, especially intellectual ones. Sadly, I believe that this particular upward arc peaked sometime around 2012-2013. History is cyclical. Since then, it has turned downwards; this is clear as we review events of the past decade, beginning with the aftermath of the financial crisis (that somehow bypassed Poland), Brexit, Trump, Xi, Putin and Covid - and now Putin unrestrained - and of course climate change. Dangerous populist ideologies, stupid people tampering with national policies

How will the future look? Will tomorrow be better? 

Not even our best minds are able to predict the future with any meaningful accuracy. Some of us can intuit the future better than others, but even so, this typically means getting one thing right for every two things we get wrong.

We couldn't even model the course of a pandemic. We can't see how Russia's invasion of Ukraine will end. (Hopefully with the departure of every last Russian military unit from Ukrainian soil.) But then what? Regime change in Russia? Reparations? Who will pay for the rebuilding of a shattered nation? How will Russia look after such a debacle? Right now, we haven't a clue.

But let's think about a deeper future. 2072. Fifty years on.

I'm optimistic. History is cyclical. [Another link] After the downturn, an upturn. We will progress, we will have learnt. Overcoming the challenge of man-made climate change and man-made disasters such as despotism, repression and war must be top of the human agenda.

I think the future will tend towards being less consumerist-oriented. There will be less 'stuff' in circulation. [Look at your mobile phone. It's a phone, a TV, a radio, a camera, a movie camera, a watch, a compass, a step-counter, a torch - individual bits of kit that are no longer needed.] Books will become a status symbol as consumption of reading material will happen more online; artificial intelligence will be bolstered by our own augmented intelligence. Example - access via one's mobile device to Wikipedia. A slightly simpler voice-activated interface will make it easier still.

The future will be greyer - but it will be more meaningful. Less gaily coloured plastic baubles. The look-and-feel of our future world will be more austere; showing off will be seen as infantile and egotistic. Conspicuous consumption, built-in obsolescence and 'keeping up with the Jones' are already a consigned to history, having peaked in the 1970s and '80s.

The rush to make money will be tempered by a greater respect for the fragile planet on which we live. Fewer privately owned cars, less exotic holidays. But a rush to live in temperate climes, to move away from unbearably hot zones. 

My hope is that people will learn to live in comfort and no longer chase after luxury, placing greater store on learning, skills, arts and crafts, science, philosophy and extraterrestrial exploration. The life sciences will flourish; who could have believed that a vaccine could have been rolled out globally within a year of a pandemic taking hold across humanity? The next decades will see advances in medical technology moving forward at a pace similar to than in IT since the 1980s. We'll see huge advances in longevity as we start to unravel the genetic mechanisms of ageing.

I'd like to think that in the longer term future, the levels of knowledge, wisdom and insight that I have achieved in my mid-60s will be standard across most 20 year-olds, who will only stand to grow wiser and more knowledgeable as their reach their 200s.

A stable population of five billion human beings, with natural population decline kicking in by the second half of this century will be sustainable.

Five billion people, at peace with themselves, at peace with each other, not obsessed with wealth and status but with acquiring knowledge and spiritual development.

This time last year:
Blossom time in Jakubowizna

This time two years ago:

This time three years ago:
Busy doing nothin'

This time eight years ago:
Springtime pictorial

This time nine years ago:
Kitten time!

This time ten years ago:
Warsaw-Centrum to Jeziorki by train with super-wide lens

This time 11 years ago:
Loose Lips Sink Ships - part II

This time 12 years ago:
Jeziorki in the infra red 

This time 13 years ago:
Some rain, at last!

Saturday, 7 May 2022

Hills... I gotta have hills.

Central Mazovia is pancake-flat. The horizon is at the same level whichever way you turn. In this, it's like Iowa, where to quote Bill Bryson "if you stand on two telephone directories, you have A View". Which generally, I don't mind from a flashback-familiarity point of view, those big skies remind me of the prairies... But the flatness means that hills are at a premium - even temporary, man-made hills...

Seeking a higher vantage point is instinctive in animals. Felusia's favourite place in the kitchen for example, is perched on top of the coffee machine - the highest point in the room - an ideal spot from which to observe human activity. Scrambling to the top of a man-made hill around these flat terrains to have a look around, a rest and a beer, has been a pleasant local activity in recent years, made possible by the civil engineering works going on in the neighbourhood.

Gone now is the ballast mountain (across the tracks opposite from the Jeziorki end of ulica Kórnicka). It stood here between 2016 and 2020 when PKP PLK was modernising the Warsaw-Radom railway line, and afforded good views to the north and south-east. Below: looking across at Jeziorki, the 'up' line awaiting new rails.

Gone too are the highest soil mountains that once stood astride the S7 extension works. Below, the one next to Węzeł Zamienie, between Jeziorki and Dawidy Bankowe. Photo taken on 3 May 2021 - amazing progress since then. Sadly, without this view-yielding mountain.

Below: view from the top of the soil mountain at the northern end of the S7 extension, where it meets the S79. 

Alas - these high places, and the views from them - have gone. These were favoured places of mine to scramble to the top of and enjoy a beer around sunset - the golden time of day.

It seems that hills are at a premium - even modest ones. Between Zgorzała and Zamienie, all the hills associated with the S7 extension works have been levelled with the ground - with two exceptions. Both are on private land (situated on either side of the expressway); both are now fenced in. Presumably the owners simply asked the builders not to remove them - and the builders happily obliged. Win-win.Builder saves costs of removal, landowner has a Feature. Below: the hill on the east side of the S7. Plant a few trees, make a path, bench at the top, make good - nice. [There are also two such man-made hills, leftovers from civil-engineering works, by the ponds in Jeziorki. The local 'ziggurats'.]

But there's still one range of soil hills remaining, west of the railway tracks a little way north of W-wa Jeziorki station. 

Sadly, although extensive in area, they are not very high (about four-and-half metres at the highest), but they are easy and safe to climb.

Below: the view is OK, nothing spectacular (certainly not when compared to the 12-metre-high hill that stood next to where Węzeł Zamienie now is, second photo from the top), but at least it's here and above ground level. But for how long? Until a new viaduct extends ul. Dawidowska across the railway? If so, it will be a while.

Below: my brother has rendered my photo taken from the Ballast Mountain looking north (seen originally here) in the style of German artist Anselm Kiefer, catching the atmosphere of the late afternoon in winter with a light frost and a dusting of snow.

The end-of-day pilgrimage requires a destination; the destination requires a vantage point, a spot for contemplation while watching the setting sun. 

The motorbiking season is soon to start, and with it the opportunity to explore further afield, beyond the reach of public transport.

This time 11 years ago:
'Old school' = pre-war

This time 12 years ago:
Britain chooses a coalition government

This time 13 years ago:
Landing over Ursynów

This time 14 years ago:
On being assertive in Poland

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Park + Ride for Jeziorki - at last.

Well, it's been a long time coming, but it's finally happening - W-wa Jeziorki station will be getting a proper Park + Ride. Work began in February - sewerage and drainage works, now the above-ground part begins to take shape. The P+R will have space for 136 cars of which six will be reserved for disabled drivers. There will be covered bicycle parking for 40 bikes, and charging points for electric vehicles and bicycles. Planned date of completion - September 2022. Cost - over 5.9m złotys (£1.1m). A better investment for Warsaw's public transport than, say, five Solaris Urbino 12 buses?

The idea is for motorists to drive into from outlying towns and villages such as Lesznowola, Prażmów and Tarczyn and park here - the first station within Warsaw's Zone 1 for onward travel by train into the city centre. This will make more sense once a) SKM ('rapid urban rail') services start serving Piaseczno this December and b) the S7 extension is open.

Below: looking east from the stairs leading from the viaduct to the 'up' platform

Below: Official visualisation of the completed project, seen from above the viaduct.

A regulatory must on every Polish building site, however humble - the information board. Contact details for the investor, contractor, building inspector etc. This board describes the investment in Polish as 'Parkuj i jedź', yet the acronym PiJ is never, ever used - rather abbreviated in  English as Park & Ride (usually styled as P+R). 

Meanwhile, train services are getting faster. On Wednesday, I took a train from Chynów to Jeziorki that was advertised (and indeed took) as taking 24 minutes. That's seven minutes less than it used to. Journey times into town will be shorter once modernisation work on W-wa Zachodnia is completed.

the way it looked, back in 2008, when drivers started leaving their cars on the muddy verge by the station to take the train into town. New station, new viaduct - the character of W-wa Jeziorki has changed totally since then.

This time last year:
Decimalisation and determination

This time four years ago:
God, an Englishman, orders his Eden thus:

This time seven years ago:
I buy a Nikon Coolpix A

This time eight years ago:
More about the Ladder of Authority

This time nine years ago:
By bike, south of Warsaw

This time 11 years ago:
Functionalist architecture in Warsaw

This time 12 years ago:
What's the Polish for 'to bully'?

This time 13 years ago:
Making plans

This time 14 years ago:
The setting sun stirs my soul

This time 15 years ago:
Rain ends the drought

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Return to Konstancin-Jeziorna coal sidings

Hunting the railway vibe, the klimaty kolejowe; going where the coal trains go. A long walk across the southern edge of the Las Kabacki, then on to the railway sidings at Konstancin-Jeziorna

Below: looking down at the sidings from the slight rise at the western end. The middle line runs straight through with two set of sidings on either side, all of them long enough to accommodate the longest rake of coal wagons (typically 40 in one set). Full trains (2,000 tonnes of coal) go from here to Siekierki power station; empties come here from Siekierki to be picked up and returned to the sidings south of W-wa Okęcie station, 14km away. 

Below: a rake of empties has just arrived on the second track, the engine the brought them in has been uncoupled, it ran forward, changed onto the middle track to run back to Siekierki. With summer on the way, there's fewer full coal trains heading to the power station. The manoeuvre done, the level crossing gates rise, and many cyclists crosses the tracks, heading to Konstancin (right of pic) or Powsin and Las Kabacki (left of pic). Click to enlarge.

Below: the train standing on the first track in the pic above is pulling out of the sidings and onto the single track towards Okęcie via Piaseczno and Nowa Iwiczna. Level crossing with barriers on ulica Wąska ('Narrow Street') and on the other side of the tracks - ul. Saneczkowa ('Toboggan Street).

Below: heading up hill, a gentle ten-metre rise over 1.7km as the line approaches - but does not enter - the Las Kabacki forest. The level crossing on ul. Głowackiego in Kierszek is close to the border of Warsaw and the forest. Foreshortening effect of telephoto lens zoomed out to 300mm makes the hill look steeper than it is .

Below: looking back towards the sidings from the end of the disused siding, that can be seen on the right of the photo above.

Below: the way things were, April 2008. View from the other end of the sidings, from the level crossing on ul. Warszawska. The train on the middle track is moving away; it has one engine at the back, pushing, and another at the front, pulling. These days, the modernised SM48 locos can pull a whole loaded train unassisted.

There are plans to upgrade this line to a passenger line, which I must say would be a splendid idea (offering a new connection across Warsaw's southern suburbs). It's been talked about for ages (usually just before local elections - see this PR visit), but at last there's a master plan being drawn up, which in February last year was said to be three and half years away. So a reality by 2030? One can but hope... The line won't be a part of the government's Kolei Plus programme, which will be restoring 34 disused and partially disused lines to passenger service, rather this line will be part of a metropolitan project devised by the City of Warsaw. 

I returned by 710 bus from Klarysew, mainly to see the new route linking Konstancin and Kabaty - ul. Stefana Korbońskiego, a sorely needed thoroughfare for local residents. When I say 'new', it opened to traffic in December 2017 (!) this was my first visit here! Below: before boarding the bus - busy scene in Konstancin. Flags out for the 3 May public holiday, the red-and-white repeated on the level crossing barriers and road signs. In the absence of a direct Jeziorki-Konstancin train, I took the 710 bus to Kabaty, Metro to Stokłosy, then 715 bus home. Total walking today: 18,500 paces.

This time three years ago:
A review of the second part of Hillier's Betjeman biog.

This time four years ago:
New roads and rails

This time six years ago:
The Gold Train shoot - lessons learned

This time eight years ago:
Digbeth, Birmingham 5

This time nine years ago:
Still months away from the opening of the S2/S79 

This time ten years ago: 
Looking at progress along the S79  

This time 11 years ago:
Snow on 3 May

This time 12 years ago:
Two Polands

This time 13 years ago:
A delightful weekend in the country

This time 14 years ago:
The dismantling of the Rampa

This time 15 years ago:
Flag day