Saturday, 7 October 2017

Times pass, things go, things remain

At the western end of ul. Świętokrzyska, the block of flats is being torn down to be replaced by the 155m-tall PHN/City Tower. Construction begins next year. Communist-era flats are coming down across Warsaw; their presence in the centre of the capital are de facto social housing, a reason why so many elderly people live right in the middle of town (something unthinkable in, say, London). While social diversity may be judged a good thing, these buildings are rigid with asbestos. This particular block was built in the mid-1960s for foreigners, and was home for many Western firms that set up offices in Warsaw in the early 1990s. This view, with the top of Spektrum tower (formerly TPSA Tower) reminds of Marineville from the 1960s children's TV series, Stingray. Photo taken from the bus stop outside Costa Coffee, Rondo 1 on 4 October. All pictures in this post: Nikon CoolPix A.

Below: update, photo taken two weeks later on 18 October. Here's the progress in the demolition for you...

An InterCity locomotive with interesting heritage. This is a retro-liveried EP07 at Warsaw Central station. Most InterCity EP07 locos are painted blue and grey like the carriages, but this one's paint scheme harks back to the 1980s. Back in 1962, Poland bought 20 electric locomotives from English Electric, serving PKP as EU06 (Elektryczna Uniwersalna 6), along with a licence to build more locally. These were the  EU07 series, built from 1963 on. Many were converted to EP07s (Elektryczna Pasażerska 7), with more powerful motors and different gearing appropriate to stop-start passenger work. Originally built in 1987 as EU07-442. it was converted to EP07-442 in 2003.

Rarely does one see a mode of transport that's nearly 140 years old - but here in Warsaw I chanced upon a penny-farthing based on original parts from a 1878 German bicycle.. I stopped and had a chat with the friendly owner, who told me that the Polish for penny-farthing is bicykl, while the Polish for bicycle is rower, from Rover, the British brand that had two wheels of equal size, the rear one chain-driven by pedals. Before Rover became such a language-changing hit in Poland, the word welocyped meant any human-powered two-wheeler without chain drive. So a bicykl is a welocyped, but a rower isn't!

Which reminds me that last week saw the 50th anniversary of the first airing of British TV of the cult series, The Prisoner, starring Patrick McGooghan. Shot in Portmeirion, the fictitious village featured in the series had as its logo a penny-farthing.

Left: Finally, the passing of time does not bypass me. Today, for the first time ever, I got a old folk's discount on train travel. All 35% of it. So instead of paying nearly 14zł for the return ticket from W-wa Jeziorki to Ustanówek, I paid 8.80zł. Neither did the conductor on the way out nor the ticket inspector on the way back want to check my ID to ensure that I wasn't lying about my age. Haven't done that since I was 17!

This time last year:
Feels like the U.S.A. again

This time four years ago:
Warsaw's craft ale revolution kicks off

This time six years ago:
Poland's president inaugurates Moni's academic year 

This time eight years ago:
Autumn evening, central Warsaw

This time nine years ago:
Short-term future of suburban development

This time ten years ago:
"You'll look funny when you're fifty"

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