Saturday, 3 August 2013

My ogród is my działka

Weather-wise, it's such a lovely day. From yesterday evening until tomorrow morning there will not be a single cloud in the heavens above Our City. Hot (30C), dry, with just a whisper of a breeze. Absolutely ideal. Time, then, to make the most of it - some sun-protection cream, a deck-chair, and a day to enjoy the garden (below). Enjoying rest and solitude, I ponder on the nature of the garden in the context of Poland.

Like the English word 'garden', with it's roots in the French verb 'garder', with concept of keeping or protecting something, the root of the Polish word ogród is seen the Russian 'Gorod' (town), and the concept of surrounding a place with a fence (as in defence) in order to protect it. A garden, and an ogród, must be ogrodzone or fenced off. Living in a house on a plot of land, one has one's own działka, or literally, plot.

I wrote (here and here) about the importance of the działka (which has come to mean summer house) in Polish society. Most Poles live in flats in towns and cities and many of those own a działka in the countryside. Like Russians and the dachas.

The word działka comes from the verb dzielić, 'to divide'. Small parcels of land, divided among workers' families; larger parcels of land, divided among the Party faithful. The future of many działki, in particular those in sought-after urban areas, is uncertain, as their legal status is often in the hands of local authorities who are partial to the blandishments of developers.

Below: American blueberries (borówki). I pick nearly half a kilo; it's a good year for this berry. Sadly, blackcurrants (czarne porzeczki), which I love, have not come into fruit this year at all (and I can't see them in the shops, either).

Left: the transience of joy. A pair of dragonflies, my favourite insects. I ponder on the fact that today the garden is entirely free of mossies (the dreaded culex pipiens), which is the staple diet of the delightful dragonfly, and I wish them bountiful offspring.

Meanwhile, back in the house, an update on the cat situation. While Eddie and I were in Wales, Feluś and Izia have gone to a new home, leaving Czester and his mum Lila (below). Lila's breeding days are over; she's the 'cat in the kaftan', having been sterilised last week (no more kittens for Lila, then). Mum and son are doing what cats like doing best when it's 26C outside - taking a well-deserved nap.

Eddie comes home and we cook a spicy Punjabi chicken curry together (with Basmati rice and fresh spinach), washed back with a Lidl shandy. As I write this post, it's just gone nine pm and it's still 26C outside.

This time last year:
Poland's 'lemmings' will sink the Right

This time two years ago:
Mazowieckie province tempts with mini- and micro-breaks

This time three years ago:
Pride and anger


Helena said...

Why do Polacy dress up their female cats as Demis Roussos?-I ve never seen such garb on a feline before.Hope Chester is sterilised also now.Just as well his Mum has been now or there would be incest.I could drop a line to Radio Maria.

Michael Dembinski said...

Never having owned a cat in the UK, I thought this was standard practice around the world - to keep the cat from licking its wounds...

Mum and son do like a spot of rough-and-tumble, though I guess this is aimed at toughening up the little nipper before he takes on the outside world!

Helena said...

Brits + American vets prefer 'The Cone of Shame'-ref.Up.-but very rarely needed in sterilisation ops as all sutures hidden so protecting wound not normally required.