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“Mosquito Mayhem”

By Frank Letras



Is it me or are the mosquitoes in Poland particularly vicious?

On a recent visit to a local restaurant for a romantic meal with my wife, having eaten the main course

and it being a lovely, warm, summer evening, I suddenly felt the urge to sit outside in order to enjoy

desert ‘alfresco’. My wife almost immediately started to complain about the mosquitoes and how they

would not leave her alone.  After accusing her of being a softie or words to that effect, we finally left the

restaurant patio and made our way slowly back home. When we got home I was absolutely shocked to

find that she had been bitten no less than thirty times.

I myself having been a victim of similar abuse on a previous outing felt quite relieved to have been

spared this time around, but I couldn’t help thinking how incredibly ferocious this insects were in this

part of the world.

In an organised display reminiscent of the long forgotten ‘Solidarnosc’ these tiny brutes inflict wounds

on their victims. Enough blood sucked to put even the most industrious vampire to shame. Yeah,

Dracula would be turning over in his grave if only he had one, that is!

I figured out that just from me, my wife and my infant son, the little terrors extracted enough blood to

keep a medium sized mosquito colony busy for a whole month. If only the blood drive people were as

successful, there would never be shortages in blood banks.

So I asked around to try and ascertain just how dangerous these beasties could be, having grown up

with movies like ‘Mosquito Coast’ and been witness to global news events like the ‘West Nile Virus’

mini-epidemic in the United States at the start of the millennium and of course the ever present Malaria

and the not-to-be forgotten Yellow Fever, I might be forgiven for being very apprehensive about these

blood-suckers. But I need not have worried, as local experts explained these insects just bite. They do

not carry those kind of deadly diseases. Or so it seems.

One never knows. Experts are often wrong. They are, after all, only ignorant people with experience.

They cannot know every eventuality. It’s just guess work for the most part. While I must confess to not

knowing the front end of a mosquito from the back end of a cow, which makes a very poor choice for a

critic, but someone had to say something about these tiny terrorists with wings and a very annoying

wining. The battle lines have been drawn.

As for me… I know just what to do come next summer. Plenty of insect repellent and a brand spanking

new fly-swatter.

The end



“Better Be Quick-BBQ”

By Frank Letras


So the bar-b-queue season is ending once again and I can’t say I’m sorry to see it go

It’s the same thing every summer. I start out with the best of intentions. I spend a small fortune

on all the latest and best gadgets, I read all the new magazines for the all the new fangled recipes and

I drag the family out to nearest bit of grass that allows gardenless plebs like me to light a fire and try to

burn some tasteless meat.

And the results are inevitably the same each and every time, it pours down with rain, despite the

assurances  from all the weathermen that it will be a perfect summer’s day. The coal won’t burn, instead

smoking annoyingly like it’s got nothing better to do. The burgers taste like warm, soggy cardboard and

the spuds burn to crisps happily in their jackets. So after much sabre rattling, usually from the Mrs. we

pack up and head to local burger joint where the kids can ‘big up’ their french fries and their litres of

watery ‘cola type’ drink  for the princely sum of 30p. What is it about today’s society that encourages

us to let others do our thinking for us? I don’t want some spotty sixteen year old to decide for me how

much cola I should drink or how many ‘skinny’ fries I should consume. It really gets my goat up.

But anyway I digress. Back to the bar-b-queues…

Why can’t the English conduct a proper bar-b-queue? The Aussies are experts, they even cook ‘shrimp’

on their ‘barbies’. The Americans satiate their huge appetites by flipping the side of a whole cow on the

coals a couple of times before tipping it onto their bicycle wheel sized plates, even the Portuguese show

off their bar-b-queue expertise by slowly roasting sardines over their fires with great dexterity, and if

you happen to find yourself near a Polish native I absolutely swear by their delicious bar-b-queued

kielbasas. Only the English can turn a simple bar-b-queue into a ‘Punch and Judy’ show. So if you happen

to be out and about enjoying the late summer sunshine and you happen to pass a perspiring individual

that is shaking his fists at a smoking pile of rubble and turning the air blue with his cursing, you’ve probably just passed

me enjoying one of my least favourite pass –times.




“Phew!! What a Wet Scorcher”

By Frank Letras

Wow! What a lovely hot summer we’ve just had. Long hot sunny days, temperatures reaching the upper


thirties, at times you could’ve been forgiven for mistaking Strzegom for the Costa Brava or the Canary


Islands. If you discount June and most of July that is.


So much rain came down in those two months that I, a recent arrival from England, ( I moved here in


June), while standing on the little stone bridge at the bottom of Swidnika street, watching the torrent of


brown water batter its way past beneath my feet, couldn’t help but wonder if I had made the right


choice in moving here. Coming from a land where the rain never stops to a land where it never stops


raining really had me worried.


But I was assured that the events of this summer were not commonplace, that it doesn’t really rain that


much here at that time of the year, on the contrary it is usually hot and sunny, so that having had my


trepidations allayed, I welcomed the hot weather like a five year old welcomes a bucket of ice cream,


and have really enjoyed the rest of the summer with some zest.


Having grown up in London, I, along with the rest of my fellow Londoners spent the most part of our


adult lives obsessing about the weather. Indeed it is ingrained in British culture. A typical conversation


between two Londoners would go something like this…


Awight mate? Poxy bloody weather we’re having again ain’t it?”- market trader one


“Watch ya. This bleedin’ rain is really getting’ on my wick. I hate the poxy rain.”-market trader two


“They say it’s going to be hot and sunny tomorrow… “-market trader one


“Oh No! Bloody sun, too bloody hot, I hate the bloody heat”- market trader two


“Nah! Not really, only kidding mate, it’s gonna be cold and rainy for the rest of the week.”


“Oh No! Not more rain and cold! I hate the bloody rain. I hate the bloody cold.”-m.t. two


See what I mean?


No, but really, the British are famous for complaining almost incessantly about the weather. If


complaining about the weather was an Olympic Sport then the British representatives would get the

gold medal every single time. As for me, I have really enjoyed walking around this beautiful town and


watching people with happy dispositions for as long as the sun shone.


People are happier when it’s hot. Oh yes, they might comment it is too hot a couple of times, but on the


whole they smile brighter and easier, they walk with a better purpose, chores are made simpler and the


faces say it all really… They are SUNNY!! Sunny happy faces…


The end


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