Flash Bangs and BT

Posted by on 11, Aug 2012 in 2012 - The Last Dictator Tour (Belarus & Russia), Poland

Flash Bangs and BT

I’m not the worlds biggest fan of dogs and when they bark all night long I’d happily shoot the little darlings, of course when you’re thinking this you never in a month of Sundays expect to actually be given a gun to carry out the evil deed, so I was heartily relieved that when this scenario raised its ugly canine shaped head on our first night in Poland and it was Mike who was handed a Glock 10 pistol and not me! Its the last thing you expect really, asked if we slept well by the camp site owners Mike and Ali said the dogs had been very noisy and they were immediately promised a gun to deal with the problem. Ha ha we all thought, just a joke, but it duely turned up and was eventually used in earnest one night causing the dogs to immediately shut up, not because they were mortally wounded, but because they didn’t like the slightly disappointing bang the gun made when fired through Mikes roof vent.

The campsite itself was in the middle of nowhere, literally and we were the only visitors, but it was lovely. We parked in an orchard where we could pick our own plums. It also had a small bar where the owner made his own Vodka which we all sampled agreeing rather tipsily that the grapefruit was the best! We were really looked after well here and were told about the village annual festival which was taking place on the Sunday of our visit. The owner even cycled down with us to make sure we got in ok (or went!) and we were treated to some great folk dancing by the local youngsters followed by a cinema music concert by a section of the Lodz Philharmonic. Obviously this was all lubricated with a vodka (cranberry) and some nibbles which consisted of what looked like stale rolls coated in sugar glaze.

The weather here has been good but we have had the occasional storm., in fact on one morning we were all lazing around the van under the awning, recovering from the vodka in take, when the wind suddenly got up lifting the awning off the ground. Linda and Ali grabbed the front of the awning to prevent it flying away and had to hang on for dear life whilst I unhooked it all to put it away. Naturally Mike stood around supervising and to Lindas great embarrassment her shorts fell down as she hung on to the awning right in front of Mike and having just got up, she had no underwear on! Mike, instead of rushing to help, just laughed his socks off and poor Linda was left to pull her shorts up with one hand and hang on to the awning with the other!

Warsaw has had a few mixed reports from people we’ve all met along the way but we loved it. Our initial reception at the campsite was true old communist style, no smiles, no pleasantries just a gruff “You pay now” but this lady was an isolated incident and everyone else has been lovely. The centre is a mixture of the communist block buildings and the restored older buildings. Sitting in the central square its hard to believe that all of it was rebuilt in 1953. Again the timing of our visit was fantastic and we arrived to a city full of commemorative events for the 68th anniversary of the Warsaw uprising and at 17:00 we stood in a crowd outside the presidential palace with hundreds of others in silence deafeningly pierced by the sirens of fire trucks and police to mark ‘W’ hour – the start of the uprising.

I came to Warsaw in 1972 with my parents and have few memories of it, but it apparently has changed remarkably since then, most of these changes coming after 1989 and the end of communism. The city now has a cafe culture with the main streets lined with luxurious restaurants and bars and the people are immaculately turned out in all the latest fashions. It has a really nice feel to it and is very cycle friends friendly too, a real Gem of a capital city.

And then there was BT! Somehow BT managed to discontinue our telephone line, whilst at the same time continuing to bill us for two lines and adding broadband to the bill to boot. To make matters worse their computer system now thinks our number is with another provider so reporting this fault and getting it repaired is almost impossible. To fix the line we need a BT line, which we no longer have because BT have discontinued it! 11 phone calls to India, (2 hours of repeating the same thing again and again) 2 online chats to support, using twitter and speaking to the Priority Care Team has resulted in absolutely no progress. They really are wholly incompetent In the support department.

Anyway, we delayed our border crossing to try to get the problem resolved, but can’t wait for another few days so are crossing in the morning.

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