It’s a lovely sunny day and it’s the Third of May, the day the Polish Constitution was born in 1791. It’s a national celebration so in Poland no one is at work, shops are shut and judging by the temperature, many will have taken to the countryside to do their favourite things, partying or just being with family. It is also the first birthday of my blog Polish at Heart and I’ve put together “a few of my favourite things” as Julie Andrews sings in Sound of Music, but from a uniquely Polish angle.
What are your most precious items?
Have you ever considered what you would take with you in a crisis? Our parents and grandparents who were deported to Russia had to make quick decisions in those moments, whether they were half an hour, ten minutes or an hour. Apart from the practical things, what are your most precious items? These are mine:
- Kuchnia Polska, presented to me by an Uncle in Poland on my 22nd birthday
- Babcia’s diaries written in Wilno in the 1930s
- Samovar I bought for 10 US dollars in Lwów on a visit in 1998, I like to think a Polish family may have used it
- Brooches worn by my Babcia and Mother-in-Law
- African Elephant candle I used in my twenties and reminds me of those carefree days
- Prayer flag from Nepal and in Tibetan tradition, flown for me by a friend the day I had my last kidney transplant
- Poster by Teodor Axentowicz, part of the Young Poland Art Movement at the turn of the 19th century. I adore the colours, which you will find reflected in my website.
And my favourite concepts that inspired Polish at Heart ?
Originally a peasant dance, Augustus II, King of Poland (1697-1733) introduced it into the noble courts of Europe. Following Poland’s loss of independence, it became a sign of support for the oppressed Polish nation even in Britain, where it was written about in The Observer. As Ada Dziewanowska, American expert on Polish Folk Dancing says “it combines the fiery spirit with pride and elegance, vivacity with lyricism, dignity with joy, and boldness with gallantry.”
These are from my garden last May and symbolise for me, the unique Polish nature, so colourful, so intense, yet they bloom for such a short time like the Chinese saying, the light that burns twice as long burns half as long, as so many of our heroes. Also, of course, the soldiers who died on the fields of Monte Cassino in 1944, immortalised in the song written by Ref-Ren “Czerwone Maki na Monte Cassino” (Red Poppies on Monte Cassino) on the eve of the battle.
There is something so calming and British about taking out the china for an Afternoon Tea. Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford is credited with first making ‘Afternoon Tea’ into a formal social occasion in the 1830s, although tea had been imported since the 17th century and stored under lock and key due to its expense. My husband’s English grandparents took afternoon tea every day but this photo was taken at the Orangerie in Kensington Palace last year with a dear friend.
A huge Thank You Today
To all my readers, wherever you are. I’m amazed that in this first year of tens of thousands of visitors, 51% of you are from the United States, with 30% in the UK , 5% in Poland and also in Canada. So a really warm hello to you all:
Najlepsze Życzenia w Dzień 3 Maja, My very best wishes on 3 May!
It has been such a pleasure writing for the last year. Health is not something I talk about but I’d had an incredibly bad couple of years, with two major operations within a year, losing my second kidney transplant, starting dialysis and finishing work for one of our government’s Ministries in PR and Events, which I loved.
Polish at Heart has given me a new lease of life and your comments have always lifted my Polish Soul. A million Thank You’s to you all 🙂 .