20 May 2010

Summer Plans

We have come to a decision to spend our holidays in Poland this year. We are going to jump on our car and head to the unknown... or rather well-known... :) I know it would be so much easier to just book a flight and be with our families within a couple of hours. We do not want, however, to leave Angie with strangers and have decided to take her with us and travel by car.

It is going to be a long journey involving 1500km on the road. We would normally make it in about 16-17 hours but considering the time we have to spend crossing the Channel, all the stops we have to make to exercise the dog and the state of Polish roads, I think we are going to make in about 20 hours.

We have just booked a ferry from Dover to Dunkirk in France. The prices for the end of August and mid September cruises are not that bad, actually. There is one thing that has really surprised me.

In order to board a ferry with a dog, we have to pay for the pet’s ticket, £15 each way. Now, because a pet is like any other passenger (!), charging for a dog seems like a fair enough idea. Once on board, we cannot stay in the car and have to go on lower or upper decks. We cannot take the dog with us and have to leave her locked in the car. Ok, these are the rules we have to acknowledge and agree to.

Nevertheless, there is one thing that I do not quite understand. If I travelled without a car and wanted to board a ferry to France or back to England on foot and with a dog, I would be allowed to take my dog with me and would not have to leave her anywhere. The only rule that applies to this situation is that a dog must be on a lead and must stay on the lower deck for the duration of a cruise.

So how come am I not allowed taking my dog on a lower deck when I travel by car? I feel that since I pay more money because of the car and since I am charged a ferry ticket for my dog, I should have some privileges, wouldn’t you agree?

Well, apparently bosses who are in charge of this ferry business do not agree at all. It is just unfair and a bit disappointing... that’s all...

26 April 2010

There Is Something You Should Never, Ever Do While You're Waiting For A Train

I am off work. Finally. It has been a really long day and I just could not wait to finally get out of there. I walk down an escalator at Hammersmith Station. I patiently wait for an eastbound Picadilly train. While I am waiting, I notice that my hands are a bit dry. I take hand cream out of my purse. Before I put the lotion on, I take off my engagement ring and put it in my mouth (I always do it because I just hate when cream gets in slits of my ring). I put a bit of lotion on my hands and start rubbing them together. I see a train coming. I take the ring out of my mouth and place it on my left-hand ring finger. The train stops and in this very second I see my ring falling down on the platform. The rest is just slow-motion, movie-type standard. I see the ring reaching the ground. I scream "OH, NO!!!". My "no!!!", however, does not really help and the ring slowly rolls away, bounces off the wall of the train and falls down the platform. It is gone! I have lost it... I have lost my engagement ring...

I see a Customer Service Adviser. I approach him with a "oh-my-god-what-have-I-done" kind of look on my face. He smiles and calmly asks: "Have you dropped your mobile phone, dear? Don't worry, we'll get it for you". Oh, boy, do I wish it was my mobile down there on the tracks... And then I start panicking. I almost yell at the guy: "I haven't dropped my mobile! Far worse! I've just dropped my engagement ring! I have to get it! You have to help me! I need my ring! I need it now!". The man smiles once again, tells me not to worry once again and then calls a colleague and asks him to assist me.

After about two minutes (although it seems like hours) another TFL worker shows up holding a metal stick that has a small hook on one end and some sort of a big, round magnet on the other. He also smiles and tells me not to worry. He asks me what I have dropped and where. I explain to the guy that it is a white gold engagement ring with a diamond. I tell him where and how I have dropped it.

We start looking for the ring but cannot find it. There is lots of rocks and dirt on the tracks. We cannot see the damn ring. A train comes. We have to postpone the ring-searching until it is gone. The train leaves. We bend lower and scan every single place, inch by inch trying to focus on smallest details. No luck. Another train. Other passengers become interested in what we are doing. They start asking questions. I give a description of the ring. An elderly couple offers their help and starts looking for the ring. I almost cry. I tell the Customer Service Adviser that my fiance is going to kill me... that I have to find the ring... that it is bad luck if I do not...

Another train. The elderly couple wishes me good luck and gets on the train. The Customer Service Advisor and I get on our knees. I can see he really wants to find it for me. Other people dangerously bend over the platform edge. Everyone tries to help. Another train comes. The worker tells me that I would probably have to come back later in the evening or tomorrow morning when the station is less busy. I cannot really blame him. The situation gets far too dangerous as other people bend over the platform edge trying their luck in finding the ring. Another train stops... then leaves. We are still on our knees.

Two young ladies approach and asks whether they can help me. I tell them the story once again. One of them offers another pair of eyes, at least until their train comes. She starts looking for the ring. And then I see it. It is there! Below the platform! Amongst the rocks! I yell: "I've found it!!! It's there!!!". I literally jump on the girl and start hugging her happily. I can tell the Customer Service Adviser is also excited. He smiles and gets ready for the big moment. Another train comes and we have to wait until it leaves the station. The worker gets on his knees again, stretches out the stick and reaches for the ring. People around us are quiet. Everybody awaits the long-anticipated moment. The worker gets the ring on a hook and handles it to me. I can hear sounds of relief around us. I put the ring on my finger and start randomly hugging people on the platform. Everyone is happy for me and they wish me good luck...

Is there anything I have learned from my little incident? Oh, yes, definitely. I have learned that I should never, ever take off my engagement ring before putting hand lotion on my hands...

10 April 2010

Feeling Upset...

Today is a very sad day... Polish President and dozens of key Polish officials are dead... Poland is in mourning... I have never been a big fan of Lech Kaczynski but I am deeply disturbed but what have happened today... I do not have the words to describe how I feel... I am upset... I am sad... I am feeling anxious about the future of my country and my fellow Poles... Let's stay united...

7 April 2010

Training Session

Below are a few photos from one of the last training sessions with Angie :)

Take it



Sit & stay


30 March 2010

Back In London

I spent last weekend in Poland. I caught an early flight to Lodz on Friday morning. The weather was beautiful! Sunny and warm, +19 degrees Celsius!!! I was shocked!

My mom and her partner picked me up from the airport. It was very nice outside so we decided to go for a walk and had an early lunch at a small restaurant that specializes in making delicious pierogi (a Polish word for dumplings). We then went to see a solicitor (my main reason for going to Poland) and visited Slawek's parents'.

Saturday was very busy. Even though the weather was horrible (it was raining all day and it was only +10 degrees Celsius), Saturday was quiet busy. First, we went to visit my grandpa's grave, did a bit of shopping. Then we went to see my brother's daughters and spend few hours with them. I also managed to see few of my friends. We went to The Lizard King Pub, had a few delicious cocktails and pints of beers, talked, laughed and listened to rock'n'roll music that was played live. We had a good time. It is a shame I could not stay a bit longer. Maybe next time...

I am back in London now and, even though the weather sucks big time, I have been really happy and cheerful since I have got back.