POSTCARD FROM POLAND — It’s late September and I really should be back at school.

The book’s finished!

Losing the Plot, a novel by Richie Malone (as told to me) is with my editor, after a summer in Spain spent slaving over a hot, sweaty keyboard.

If you want a taste of it, click here click here and you can find the back cover blurb and the first thirty pages, or so. It should be in the shops-stroke-available through Amazon by Christmas, but don’t hold your breath.

If you don’t already know, amigos, I’m back in Poland.

Bye bye Brzeg

But this year it’s ‘bye bye to Brzeg’ and ‘hello to Nysa.’

I’m working — three days a week, to allow time for the next novel-stroke-project — for a Nysa-based school called STEP.

I mainly teach adults Business and functional-stroke-conversational English, and the school has great facilities and a refreshing and positive ethos, so the job is varied and challenging. Heck, I even get free Polish lessons.

But enough about work.

I imagine that you’ll be wanting to know what’s Nysa like?

It’s a town founded in the tenth century, the capital of Nysa County and has a population

Hello Nysa

just shy of fifty thousand. I’m not going to do the Trip Advisor-stroke-History Channel bit but, if you’re interested, you can find out more from Mr Wikipedia.

On the positive side, it has a huge lake where you can sail, muck about on jet skis, and enjoy other water sports, should the fancy take you. The lake has a bit of a sandy foreshore and it’s surrounded by a track that runs for around forty kilometers, which is great for cycling and jogging, and generally getting away from things.

Nysa also has several interlinked parks… which again are great for walking, jogging and, for some of the locals, sitting and drinking extra strong beer.

There are a few decent bars and restaurants, so it easily outscores Brzeg here — but if you’ve read any of last year’s blogs — even a small village on the dark side of the moon would outscore Brzeg for a choice of hospitality opportunities.

There’s also a shopping centre in Nysa, and I live sufficiently far away from the centre so as not to be kept awake by church bells all night.

However…

Brzeg’s only plus point was not an insignificant one: a regular train service to Wroclaw taking less than half an hour to reach the city.

And that’s the first problem with Nysa.

Last train to Nysa? Forget it!

It takes over two and a half hour to reach Wroclaw by train from Nysa and an hour and twenty minutes to complete the journey by road. So if I want to immerse myself in city culture, visit a decent restaurant, attend InterNations functions or just hang out and enjoy cosmopolitan city life — which generally means having a few beers — it’s necessary to drive, find somewhere to park and to stay over.

The other negative thing about Nysa is that unless you live in the centre, you need to drive everywhere.

But it’s early days; I’ve only been here for a week, so by the time you receive my next Postcard From Poland, I will have had the opportunity for further exploration.

 

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So, last weekend I spent a couple of days in Wroclaw with an old school mucker, attracted to Poland by the outstanding value it offers. We are, after all, still talking about the Land of the One Pound Pint, and this holds great appeal for my old amigo.

I’d not seen this fella for years and so we had a bit of catching up to do.

But on Friday morning, I somehow managed to knock myself out. As I stood up from the seat of the smallest toilet facility I have ever seen, my head collided with the metal door handle. There was blood everywhere and I would certainly have failed an HIA had this occurred on the rugby field.

In short, this somewhat curtailed our activities to the extent that by late afternoon I was still groggy and in need of a sit down.

And so we decided to go the cinema.

Over lunch we had heard the people on the next table discussing a film that was premiering and is the subject of an attempt to get it into the Guinness Book of records as the most watched movie on the day of release.

Kler — Poland is no stranger to contraversial movies… but is this a step too far?

Kler, which translates as Clergy, had already attracted considerable outrage and controversy.

The movie, according to the website TVN 24,“…features drunk, fornicating and child-abusing priests [and] has outraged some conservative politicians in Poland and fueled debate about the Catholic Church’s influence in one of Europe’s most devout nations. One of them sexually abuses a blind orphan boy. Several senior members of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, which counts on the Church’s backing for electoral support, have spoken out against the film.”

And so, being Ulster Protestants, we just had to go along and see what all the fuss was about.

Priests: “They’re not saints. They just wear cassocks.

Unfortunately I fell asleep after half an hour and woke up to witness a disturbing climax (no spoilers here) so I cannot, in all honesty, even fudge a critique. However, what I did see was a mixture of black humour and a stereotypical if believable view of the Catholic Church. Wojciech Smarzowski, who played one of the priests, summed it up succinctly, with his comments on priests: “They’re not saints. They just wear cassocks.”

I’ll definitely watch it again, but will try to avoid head trauma and aim to stay awake next time.

Well, amigios, that’s about all my news. I’ve been back from Marbella for over a week now, and although I’m missing it like hell, I’m embracing all the prospects my new job and life in Poland has to offer.

 

Hasta pronto, chicos!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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