English Summaries for 2B

Here are the English summaries I wrote for 2B magazine from November 2008 - February 2010. 
This month (March 2010) I have helped translate the whole magazine into English.
You can read our latest edition of 2B here:  http://www.2b.nepco.org.uk/

November 2008

2B30 English Summary

This month’s 2B is full of tales about inspiration; be it those who inspire us, or those finding inspiration from their surroundings in Newcastle, something they’ve read or seen, something experienced, or something happening back in Poland.

Be inspired by Danuta Kudłacik’s report about Marzena Kurzawa’s dedication to participating in the Great North Run. Hear how Marzena’s experiences as a PhD student lead to her decision to raise money for the Parkinson’s disease Society. Having been in training for the event since June, Marzena gradually increased her running distance until she could manage the famous half marathon. This self-motivated and ambitious Pole trained come rain or shine and despite minor injuries and getting cramp, Marzena made an excellent time, and now looks forward to her next goal, running a marathon!

Inspired by genealogy, Joanna Lompart-Chlasciak traces the Middleton family back 700 years to their residence at Belsay Hall just north of Newcastle. She recalls how the English Heritage entrusted property, designed by Charles Monck, continues to boast many hidden splendours including colourful wall tapestries and architecture inspired by Monck’s love of Ancient Greece. But as Joanna reminds us, it’s easy to get carried away in the atmosphere of 19th century England at Belsay, and not everyone has the ability to trace their lineage back as far as the Middleton family.

Pondering the nature of ‘Languages without Boarders’ (Język bez granic), Kasia Makarewicz asks if we know our Brummie from our Geordie, our Cockney from our Scouser, explaining all in a useful map! Similar contemplation is evident from Cezary Niewadzisz. After considering the meaning of Remembrance Day on November 11th, and the symbolism behind wearing a red poppy in the jacket lapel, Niewadzisz encourages the Polish community to remember each other and those back home, urging readers to contribute to helping write 2B. Jerzy Wojciech meanwhile deliberates over the state of Polish football and Polish foreign affairs also sparing a thought for the homeland this November.

As the holiday season approaches there’s advise on the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs from Neil Fraser, and some timely literary words from budding poet Gabrysia on what to expect this Halloween.

Continuing in literary corner, Grazyna Winniczuk reviews Krystyna Kofta’s new book ‘When Women Snap’ (Gdyby zamilkły kobiety) which asks why men and women can’t seem to agree. Drawing on her own relationship with her husband, and the philosophical thoughts of famous muses, such great advice about how to conduct our relationships (in Polish) is now available on loan from libraries in Newcastle.

Inspired by my travels around Poland, I hope you enjoy my own column this month focusing on the city of Warsaw and my encounters with that famed Polish hospitality. Finally some beautifully creative reflections from Lena Weber on Maléna Scordia, inspired by a character from the hit Italian film Maléna. Her touching work explores the sad theme of memory and suffering, as if written through the eyes of Renato, Malena’s teenage admirer. Finally Lena and Tomasz take inspiration from the stoic tale of Tom Thumb (Tomcio Paluch), in their fairytale for adults, a story about having courage in all situations.

December 2008
2B31 English Summary

This month we prepare for Christmas and New Year at 2B magazine, where joviality is in the air.

To get us in the festive spirit the eccentric Polish-born Australian-raised Newcastle resident Kasia Bylok tells us about her plans for the Small Huts Art Group (SHAG), inspired by a night spent with a bottle of wine, her neighbours and a flatmate.

Kasia shares with us her passions for the arts, sciences and ‘general laziness’. But from one so laidback comes the very proactive and cheekily named SHAG, wherein like-minded artistically talented individuals enjoy painting, musical performance, installation, performance arts, photography and film, plan a new year full of musical festivals and knitting circles. SHAG aim to integrate the old and young, people from across cultures and occupations, and bring fresh endeavours to Newcastle; even pulling in Polish acts such as Warsaw’s Dead Infection and Białystok’s Squash Bowels.

If that doesn’t tickle your festive taste buds, try Jadwiga Skierska’s article on the famous British inventor John Boyd Dunlop. Another loveable eccentric, Dunlop trained as a vet in Edinburgh only to then champion pneumatic tyre manufacturing! While helping his son learn to ride a tricycle on the rough cobbled streets of Belfast in 1887, Dunlop realised that the hard rubber wheels weren’t sympathetic on the human frame, and so went about trying to claim a patent for the air filled tyre. The usual international conflicts ensued, namely a French and American patent already claimed by inventor Robert William Thomson prior to Dunlop’s brainwave.

No such transnational strife for Kasia Makarewicz though, writing her regular column ‘Language without boarders’. This month Kasia puzzles over expressions used to talk about the British newborn. ‘Bun in the oven’ alludes to pregnancy as the process of baking, ‘a baby shower’ is not the baby’s first bath but the practice of honouring the expectant mother with gifts, and ‘wetting the baby’s head’ does not involve a visit to the local priest but in fact the practice of visiting the local pub. Eccentricity it seems takes many forms in this month’s 2B magazine.

January 2009
2B32 English Summary

This month’s 2B magazine has something for everyone, some history, politics, and plenty of the arts.
Joanna Lompart-Chlaściak admires the ancestral estate of the Bowes-Lyons family, Sir George Bowes being the great great great great grandfather of the reigning queen. While such stately palaces may be commonplace in Poland, in Britain they are rarely so tranquil. Eloquently described in this article as boasting 160 hectares of wild pastures, a labyrinth of pathways and forest tracks, the National Trust owned property is applauded for its great imitacy with nature. A visit to Gibside says Joanna, is a lesson in rekindling the past through nature. But nature can be a cruel task-master too, as Jerzy Wojciech summises, explaining the recent political events between Russia and the Ukraine. As a worrying freeze continues to hit Eastern and Central Europe, and the perils of relying on Russian gas supplies persist, we await the warmer spring temperatures with great anticipation.

Cezary Niewadzisz however, has new hope. New hope, he says, comes with a new year. He’s ditched his melancholy reflection for some upbeat cynicism about life as it is now. It appears that preparations to emigrate, reading books and learning about British culture and a new way of life, can’t prepare one enough for the reality of living in this football obsessed nation, and with each change in job, Cezary foresees that a new set of vocabulary is soon learnt! Speaking of different cultures, Lena Weber ponders how a land as epic and vast as Australia with a 40,000 years worth of aboriginal heritage might possibly be represented on the big screen. Baz Luhrmann’s latest film not only presents the history of Australia’s ‘lost generation’ but, for Lena, comes some way in telling a story about the entire continent and how it has shaped the Australian people. She strongly recommends the film Australia with its captivating music and wonderful Australian landscapes.

It’s the Newcastle landscape however, that inspired Emilia Łapińska’s winning competition entry. She tells Danuta Kudłacik how regular weekend trips to Newcastle’s Quayside led her to photograph the Millenium Bridge one eerie winter’s day. So it appears that winter in Newcastle does not make everyone think about distant and far lands.

February-March 2009
2B33 English Summary

Ever considered where’s the worst place to live in Great Britain? This month’s 2B muses over this very question, looking at the 2007 list compiled by Channel 4. Poor old Middlesbrough, according to the report its residents are either drunk or at the casino. What’s more, there’s no where to park, and the city has some of Britain’s longest NHS waiting lists and lowest wages. But despair not if you’re from Middlesbrough, as our friends at 2B believe there are many good reasons to be proud if you’re from the city. Explorer Captain Cook was born just outside Middlesbrough and the singer songwriter Chris Rea is a local lad too (two Brits that Poles are surprisingly taken with). Better still, and this issue of 2B being specially dedicated to National Science and Engineering Week, Middlesbrough is celebrated for its bridge building expertise. The city is further cited as a place of great investment and changing visage, with its modern art gallery, new housing estates and city university. Well at least our North East Polish community seem to like think there’s more to Middlesbrough than Channel 4 might give it credit for.

Meanwhile Kasia Makarewicz toasts the incoming month of March and prepares for the festivities that surround St Patrick’s Day on March 17th, by helpfully clarifying some British slang terms associated with drinking. Particularly amusing is the explanation of ‘Beer Belly’ or ‘Beer Gut’ as ‘those with a preferred taste for real ale’, and ‘Cider’ being deemed a ‘gaseous wine from apples and ‘unlike in Poland, in England it has a good reputation and is especially popular among women.’ Beer bellies and cider drinking women a like, if you’re still sober at this point read about song birds, bleating sheep, blue skies and seagulls in Joanna Lompart-Chlaściak’s very dreamy magical places article. This month she’s visiting the fishing village of Craster and the castle ruins of Dunstanburgh. Or if staying indoors with a good book is more your thing, go to writer’s corner, where Grażyna Winniczuk is reviewing the happy and uplifting work of Alexander McCall Smith who is far away in Botswana with the Number One Ladies Detective Agency. From Botswana to Middlesbrough in one breath, and be sure to enjoy St Patrick’s Day along the way!

April 2009
2B34 English Summary

This month’s 2B casts a reflexive voice on Polish migration to Britain. Piotr Surmaczynski asks what it means to be Polish, pondering what Polish tradition and identity now entail. Similarly, Danuta Kudłacik offers fascinating insight into the supposed ‘hasty retreat’ by those returning to Poland.

Featuring several perspectives from Poles living in the North East, some interesting points are made about levels of interaction with, and tolerance from, the wider British society. Those interviewed offer reasons for having left Poland originally, which include obtaining an English language education and aspiring to lead a different life. Frustrations with life in Britain are also exposed; accruing constant debt, and the amount of litter on British streets, for example. Meanwhile reasons to stay, such as meeting partners, starting families, liking the North East of England, and finding better working conditions, leave the author concluding that the initial problems of arrival soon fade.

No “Śmigus Dyngus water-throwing celebrations” here though, laments Kasia Makarewicz, suggesting that the Polish community in the North East could offer us a cultural exchange by tempting English acquaintances with a glass of water rather than the their usual cup of tea. Nice try Kasia! Further humorous observations are made regarding British Easter tradition: the British seem to like travelling great distances in their cars over the Easter weekend for example, Easter eggs have cult status in Britain and are advertised throughout winter, and ‘how do we eat’ our Cadbury Creme Eggs?

If you like excursions in the fresh air, a trip to the Farne Islands come highly recommended. But, we are warned, remember to wear a hat as they’ll be a creme egg of a different sort on your head otherwise, when angry seabirds defend their nests from passing tourists! If your sea-faring legs aren’t up to much, 2B’s writers also recommend a trip to The Cheviot Hills this Easter, where on a windless day, Joanna Lompart-Chlaściak finds herself rewarded with wonderful views of neighbouring hills from the Cheviot summit.

If you’ve still energy to burn after eating all those Easter eggs, learn about the joys of local little league football training from Frank Fedorowicz and his dedicated dad Kuba, in conversation with Asia Lompart-Chlaściak.

October 2009
2B39 English summary

Ghosts and ghouls at the ready, 2B have gone all festive! In this month’s 2B you’ll find Gabriela Winniczuk telling us all about Halloween in Britain. According to this young journalist it’s a day of ‘dress-up and pretend’ where shops sell all sorts of ghostly apparels and there’s lots of sweet eating and knocking on doors. Small children make good monsters and pumpkins, says Gabriela, whereas teenagers tend to be vampires, devils and cats. Gabriela draws on her experience of ‘trick or treat’ from Halloweens past, remembering fondly the fake blood and telling of ghost stories late into the night.

It’s less about the spooky and more about the spiritual for Beata Brzeziańska. She believes that back in Poland there are two Halloweens, the commercial and the traditional. Traditional Halloween, she feels, is about heartfelt reflection and praying for the souls of those we have lost. In Britain however, it seems all about children having fun, but when Beata talks with English colleagues who have primary school aged children, she realises that much of the practices of Halloween in Britain have old customs and origins too.

Away from the Halloween gremlins we have two of Poland’s fairest exports, Anna Fraszczyk and Marta Zielińska, in conversation about the beginnings of publications for the Polish community in Newcastle. We have our usual culture listings, details about our latest photography competition themed ‘Polish architectural treasures’, and this month Joanna Lompart-Chlaściak takes a stroll around Amble marina and Warkworth castle; excellent ghost-hunting territory for this seasonal time of year.

November-December 2009
2B40 English Summary

What are you going to buy your nearest and dearest this Christmas? Stuck for ideas? Read our helpful ‘present buying guide’ in this month’s 2B magazine.

Try buying an eco bag ‘for her’, a bungee jump ‘for him’ or splash out on a weekend in a spa ‘from them’. The kids will love a ticket for the Centre for Life, and for all significant others, why not have a piece of Newcastle inscribed in their honour? Donate to the Great North Museum and get a butterfly name plaque on the wall, or surprise a loved one with a seat named after them at the Tyneside Cinema. As for yourself, remember to subscribe to 2B next year, packed full of information about places to visit, cultural reviews and articles from the Polish voices in our region.

This month for example, Danuka Kudłacik speaks to Alex Colling about Project ByCycle, and we’ve some advice about how to greet the Queen if you happen to meet her parading down Northumberland Street or opening The Great North Museum, as was the experience of Julie McIlwraith. Lucky Grażyna Winniczuk caught up with British born Polish fire fighter (and celebrity) Kevin Aiston when he visited Newcastle to promote fire safety. Beata Brzeziańska examines Christmas the British way (the infamous office party and day spent in front of the TV!). But however you spend Christmas this year, the resounding message from 2B is not to feel alone, there’s plenty of ways to get involved with your local Polish community and fun for all the family, visit our forums and message boards (www.polnews.co.uk) to find out what’s going on. Meanwhile, season’s greetings from all of us at 2B!

January 2010
2B41 English Summary

It’s the New Year and time to reflect on our spending habits. Thanks so much to Kasia Makarewicz for her article on family finances. For all those, like me, with a baby in the house, you may find it a challenge to put the baby on a budget. This month’s 2B provides some useful ideas on how to make a saving. Use price comparison websites to look for cheap deals on nappies, says Kasia, and hire toys from a toy library; you can even get bigger equipment on loan too, such as stair gates and baby walkers for example. Kasia also recommends spending time with the little ones in the local library, it’s free, educational and there’s lots of fun to be had. Subscribing to the websites of baby retailers will usually pocket you some money-off coupons, and find out about government schemes such as Healthy Start vouchers, to help you buy fruit and vegetables for all the family. Lastly Kasia suggests buying second-hand from car boot sales and from E-Bay, though always check the item is within a local radius (you don’t want to drive to Aberdeen to pick up a washing machine!).

‘The sun always shines after a storm,’ says Agnieszka Brzeziańska. She went from cleaning bedrooms and learning English from the television and radio, to understanding the local Geordie dialect, taking calls in a hotel reception and eventually being promoted to a managerial position at the Jury’s Inn in Newcastle. Hard work, determination and some luck, or in Agnieszka’s case, a defeat, paved the way to her success. Her uplifting story gives us all hope that our chance is round the next corner. We urge you to sit down with a Singing Hinny (see inside for the recipe) to read our latest endeavours.


February 2010
2B42 English Summary

This month’s 2B magazine has a very distinct transportation theme. Beata Brzezianska talks to Michał Jendzio about the moment he realised his childhood dream to fly a plane. When he was six Michał’s uncle took him in the cabin of a plane and let him sit at the controls. In his boyhood he watched planes fly over his hometown. He recalls his first flight vividly, the circumstances of his rekindled dream in Britain, and the gruelling training in order to obtain his pilot’s licence. This is an uplifting story on many levels, taking our heads into the clouds.

For transport of a more everyday kind, read Kasia Makarewicz’s brilliantly practical article about where to find facilities for those of us with wheelchairs and buggies in tow, when out and about in Newcastle city centre. John Lewis gets a big thumbs up but beware of the baby-change toilets in The Gate, the lock’s broken so Kasia says it’s only for exhibitionists!

Familiar with the ‘Newcastle Diamonds’, ‘Redcar Bears’ and ‘Berwick Bandits’? Then you must know about Speedway. If not it’s a motorcycle sport where riders compete with just one gear, no brakes and on an oval track usually made from dirt. ‘Żużel’ as it’s known in Poland is popular with our Polish cousins as they’re very good at it! In 2009 they became the world champions. Joanna Lompart-Chlaściak says it’s a sport to be enjoyed by all the family, so if you’re tempted you might like to spend your Sunday afternoon at the Byker speedway track.

For a slightly less adrenaline fuelled afternoon, you are very warmly invited to join the Gerard Arciszewski’s International Community Association (GAICA) in Consett, at one of their many forthcoming events. This is an organisation that promotes integration across nationalities and has a large contingency of Polish members. And the transport link here? Read all about their Consett to Durham cycle ride!

Rachel Clements