5 photos, 5 stories


Time to get started on those stories!  I have nominations from Minerva, Nin, Elaine and Viveka, so what am I waiting for?  First I’d better tell anyone out there who hasn’t seen this challenge (and there can’t be many of you left!) how it works.  Post a photo, tell a story/poem/joke- whatever your style is- on 5 consecutive days and pass on the nomination.  Simple, right?

So why have I been stalling?  Well, the stories that I want to tell are of a personal nature.  Not like my usual gung-ho walking style.  And I’ve become so used to telling my stories with photos that I’ve become a little afraid of the naked page.  But there are Polish snippets just aching to be told. So, will you indulge me?

The bears you see in the photo above belong to a little girl called Kinga.  At 5 years old she is big sister to a bouncy little bundle called Nadia (who you may remember from this post).  The two of them are granddaughters to my cousin, Jadwiga.  During my recent stay in Bełchatów, in Central Poland, I slept in their playroom.  What a time I could have had, playing all night with the bears and dolls!  But instead I slept soundly, in a haven away from the Polish chatter.  Try as I might to understand the ebb and flow of conversation at the family dining table, invariably it eluded me. The bears were undemanding company.

Like many Polish families, Jadwiga’s children went abroad, seeking better opportunities.  Ania and Hubert both worked in England for a time, and speak our language well.  Theirs was the first Polish wedding I ever attended, and the dancing and warmth of the occasion sparkles still in my memory.  When Hubert found a decent job, in the local power station, it was time to come home and start a family.  Jadwiga considers herself blessed by their presence, because her younger child Krzysztof and his wife Marzena have elected to stay in the UK. Gifted with computers, her son can provide a good lifestyle for his family in Reading.  But it means that Jadwiga has yet to meet her beautiful new grandchild, Maja. (yes, all girls , so far)  Soon there’ll be someone else sleeping in that playroom, but only for the briefest of visits.  And when she and her parents return to England, she’ll be taking another little piece of Jadwiga’s heart with her.

Rarely did I look at my cousin and not see a smile upon her face.  She starts work, driving a school bus, at 6 in the morning till 8, and then again in the afternoon.  Coming home, she can’t wait to sweep Nadia out of her playpen and dance with her around the house.  A myriad tasks are done with the baby on a hip- either hers or Ania’s.  The house has been extended to accommodate the young family, but for the past 2 years Hubert has been building them a beautiful new home, within the family grounds.  But that’s part of tomorrow’s story.

The background to my 5 stories can be found in My personal A-Z of Poland, though looking at it, I see it needs some revision.  I hope that you will enjoy this new little venture with me.  Today I would like to nominate Gemma at Dear Bliary to take up the challenge.  I fear that she might be too busy to do so, but I know that she would add her own uniquely wonderful style to it.  Please do visit the lovely ladies who nominated me.  They each have a lovely tale to tell.



  1. Back after a looong time, Jo. Have a lot to go through… these 5 stories just called out to me, so starting here! Off to read the next!

    1. Hi Kan 🙂 Hope all’s well and that you’ve been somewhere wonderful. Will check that out later as I’m still in catch up mode (becoming permanent 🙂 )

  2. Escaping to the quiet company of the Bears in your story.
    Rang a bell in my memory of how tiring a foreign language can be.
    It made me a lot more sympathetic when the situation is reversed.
    When in the company of foreign visitors without realising it I speak slowly.
    It amuses Pauline she reckons I take on a funny accent.
    Yes Jo your story came to life when I read it.


  3. I love hearing more about your personal side Jo. It is so difficult to see our children move away. Both of our children live away from home, a driveable distance but still too far for this mom’s liking!

  4. You are a gifted storyteller Jo. And your wonderful extended Polish family make captivating subjects. Can’t wait to read the rest 🙂

  5. It’s good to hear your family stories, Jo. Thank you for sharing them. And especially the bears 🙂 (I’ve been doing this challenge too this week – which has been quite a challenge doing something every day). I look forward to the next photos and stories.

    1. The daily writing, I love, Tish. Sometimes I’d just like to shut the world out and do it 🙂 It’s the aftermath of 5 days posts and the 240 Inbox that I struggle with. Maybe I’ll just delete them. (but you know I won’t 🙂 ) Thanks for reading. I’ll be over to yours later 🙂

  6. thank you for sharing this with us! So many children are leaving the nest to find their future in far away lands. I only get to see my grandchildren when we visit them!!

  7. Lovely heart warming story I can imagine your vivacious cousin Jadwiga dancing around the house with grandchild on her hip. Your words conjure up a delightful picture.

    1. Thanks, Pauline 🙂 I don’t know where she finds the energy, but then… you find it when you need it, don’t you? And there’s so much joy in that home.

  8. Lovely bears! They sure are comfy and warm.

    Your story sounds familiar. Of children leaving the nest and finding their future in far away lands. Gone were the days when generations of families were born and die in one place. It is sad in a way.

  9. I like this. You weave your words beautifully as you describe this Polish family that I have struggled to understand how they fit into your life – or how you fit into theirs. I look forward to seeing how your stories pan out over the next few days. And maybe you can put a sort of family tree on your Polish A-Z so I can follow the line 🙂

    1. It’s a good idea about the tree, Jude. I get lost in the detail myself 🙂 My stepbrother started to draw one up but Dad is one of 9 and there were so many gaps that he gave up. Thanks 🙂

  10. Wonderful to hear more of the personal side of who you are Jo. What a heartwarming story of this hardworking pair and full of love too.
    I am going to be away for the next five days so I may not keep up but will check in whenever i can. 🙂

  11. i love your family story, Jo! very heartwarming, inspiring and lots of love. Kinga’s bears are so cute! can’t wait for the next one 🙂

  12. You are a wonderful story teller! I enjoy reading this a lot. You described the visit so well that it reminded me of the time I went back to China visiting my uncles and cousins.
    Have a great day! Can’t wait for the next story 😉

    1. Can’t beat a bit of a yarn with your fruit and yogurt, Anabel (I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt- it might have been a big wodge of bread and cheese and some crisps 🙂 ). Thanks a lot! You’ll enjoy my lovely ladies.

  13. That is a lovely heart warming story. I’m so moved and impressed by the family warmth and loyalty which it is harder to spot easily in the UK, or is that just my impression based on families in the south east where material advance and display seem to so important

    1. Polish families are, in my experience, very close, Peter and their values are more like those of old. You’ll see what I mean as the story progresses, but thanks for your time and attention. I appreciate it. 🙂

    1. Well, you know all about living apart from yours, for whatever the reasons, Viv. And yes- life, and its joys and disappointments. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  14. Sweet bears and lovely experience in the baby room. You slept like a baby! Interesting to read about your family

  15. I love this inspired series. And now I get you, and a glimpse into your Polish life. In this one you capture beautifully the feel of your Polish family, and the image is a great start to a gentle piece. I absolutely understand your feeling of insecurity without photos. Invariably the ebb and flow eludes you?? I feel like a sideshow alley clown at family dinners here, turning my head mechanically from person to person in the vain hope of recognising one word in the flow.

    Since you were nominated by four people, I’m expecting twenty stories. Am I right???

    1. Oh, Meg! You deserve a big hug for that! And you’re probably just more honest than me because your description of a family dinner sounds awfully familiar 🙂 I knew you would understand 🙂
      Once I start to tell the story I find it hard to stop so you’ll probably get 20 stories squished into 5 posts- is that ok? And have you already been nominated because I would delight in your stories 🙂 (I think Jude may have suggested it but you were on the move at the time- no such excuse now 🙂 )

      1. I’ve just plotted a series that I’ll write, probably long after the challenge fades, on my time in Broken Hill. Can’t do anything now: no headspace, no photos. I’m struggling to keep up with my adventures, and I don’t want to shape them around the challenge. Too many photos for a start! Thanks for thinking of me.

        I’d love twenty stories squished!

      2. It’s a deal 🙂 I sat in the garden and scribbled a bit this afternoon. Our first brief taste of proper summer weather. Gone tomorrow allegedly. 🙂

      1. well you never throw anything with wild abandon – (IMO) – and actually, your photo posts are rich resources and mini adventures that enrich with visual deliciousness – good to know you write so well too – ok – enough flattery for one comment – would not want anything to get too thick ! ha

  16. Wow, you are a fantastic storyteller … and the image is so adorable. Thanks for join the challenge …. We are never getting too old for teddy bears are we or ??????!!!

    1. Hugs and more hugs! I am running out of the door to t’ai chi. I almost didn’t dare hit publish. Will be back to read yours later. Thank you for such a lovely response. 🙂 🙂

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