Monday: Dobrzyn

January 6, 2014 • 2:25 pm

Today is a holiday in Poland (“Three Kings” day, honoring the visitors to Baby Jesus), so all is quiet. It was quite warm, and after having stayed outside a while, Hili demanded to be let in.  But when I went to fetch her from the windowsill, she scrambled up the trellis to the roof by the second floor, where her nemesis lives: the black tomcat named Fitness:

Hili wants in

Hili likes to taunt Fitness through the window, knowing that she’s safe, for when they’re outside together, Fitness takes out after her. Here he is, about 8 years old:


After some obligatory Fitness-taunting, Hili sat on the roof and proudly surveyed her domain:

Hili on roof 1

Then she took a nap in the sun (if you’re a Bergman fan, you’ll recognize the name of the house):

Hili on roof 2

After lunch it was time to take THE PICTURE. I had brought a mug on which I’d had put a picture of Hili (taken on my last visit) drinking from a cup on which Kitten Hili was pictured. My job was to capture Hili drinking out of that two-Hili mug, creating a Three-Hili-Regress mug. This is the successful result. If you enlarge the photo you can see Kitten Hili, like the smallest figure inside a group of Russian nesting dolls:

Hili X 3 (1)

Next time I’ll try for four.

After lunch, walkies along the Vistula, with the local kids playing soccer:


The river was lovely today, with the brown branches of winter nicely offset by the blue Vistula (you can see the far bank):


As always, the sun hangs low on the horizon. This was taken at about 2 pm:


For dinner we all felt like reverting to childhood, and decided to have Andrzej’s special Polish dish, apple fritters. It consists simply of homegrown apples from the front yard, battered with milk, flour, and eggs, and lightly fried. They’re served hot with powdered sugar and a glass of milk. We also tried some with a bit of maple syrup that I brought: something that Andrzej and Malgorzata had never tasted. (They like it.)

Peeling and slicing:

Malgorzata apples

Batter up!Andrzej battering


38 thoughts on “Monday: Dobrzyn

  1. “Next time I’ll try for four.”

    Aren’t you afraid that at some point all those Hillis will collapse into a singularity?

  2. Glad everyone liked the maple syrup – it’s one of the few things that we do right! LOL

    1. Indeed, I can’t imagine life without it, or how anybody in the Western world can make it to adulthood without having had it.

      Makes me wonder what sorts of Polish equivalents I’m equally unaware of….


    2. Except every single time I got to Australia or New Zealand on my Canadian passport they make a crack that goes like this:

      Customs agent: “are you carrying maple syrup?”
      Me: “no, why?”
      Customs agent (laughing): “Oh I just figured because you’re Canadian”.

      They honestly can’t get enough of this and I’m sure they must say this to every Canadian! Oh well, they are usually being nice to me and letting me go through the quicker line.

      1. Ha! A couple of years ago I ordered from a place in Virginia, a gallon of maple syrup which I arranged for my husband to bring home with him on one of his trips to the States. He got a lot of comments from various Customs officers on his way home. Unfortunately we’ve eaten it all.

  3. Those fritters look tasty. I found a nice medieval recipe for them. The same idea except it calls for saffron and fresh beer with active yeast.

  4. A fourth Hili would definitely be recognizable. A fifth Hili would require special equipment and technique and might exceed the resolution of the printers they use for ceramics.

    Also…Fitness does look like a fit cat — he fits his name well. Shame the two don’t get along.



  5. This is turning out to be possibly the most elaborate and expensive infinite regression series of photographs in the universe.

    1. Oh -and Fitness looks like a real sweetheart. Reminds me of my dearly beloved dust-bin foundling Pippin.

  6. Three Kings’ Day? Matthew doesn’t mention how many wise men there were, it’s just been assumed that there must have been three to reflect the number of gifts.

    It was only a fabrication of the 5th century that made them three, kings of specific countries (including India) and gave them specific names (including ‘Caspar’ although I thought that was the name of the Holy Ghost – or am I mixing up my stories?)

    Herod sent them to Bethlehem where they saw Jesus as a ‘young child’ in a house – not a baby, not a stable with a manger.

    Luke had Joseph and Mary returning to Nazareth via Jerusalem after a week.

    Matthew had Joseph and Mary fleeing to Egypt for refuge after Herod ordered the murder of all males under 2 in Bethlehem and ‘coasts’.

    And when they returned to Judea after Herod’s death, they decided Nazareth was safer, because they still had fears from Herod’s son.

    They obviously realised that if they originally came from Nazareth, no one would ever expect that they’d return there.

    Obviously Matthew and Luke agree in all the important details. So the story of Jesus’ birth must be correct.


    1. It’s worse than that, of course. Matthew (well, I mean the anonymous author of “Matthew”) has the birth taking place at home in Bethlehem, attended, as you say, by gift-bearing astrologers from the east, during the reign of Herod. But “Luke” says it was in a barn far from home in Bethlehem, attended by shepherds and heralded by angels, during the census of Quirinius, which took place ten years after Herod died. “John” is no help at all — he doesn’t say where Jesus came from, only that it was definitely not Bethlehem, and “Mark” simply neglects to say anything about a miraculous pregnancy or a dramatic birth.

        1. Well, we do know that Paul actually existed. Although he didn’t know Jesus. We don’t know who the disciples were. We don’t know who wrote the gospels, beyond that they were Greek-speaking Gentiles from outside Palestine. Mark and Luke traditionally were written by people who didn’t know Jesus either – Mark the secretary of Peter recording Peter’s account, 2nd hand, and Luke the gentile travelling companion of Paul.

          1. The problem with stating that Paul actually existed is that there’s so much myth surrounding him and so much confusion surrounding his biography that there’s no way to construct a coherent enough description of who he was to say if anybody is a match.

            For example, he’s supposed to be the Rabbi’s star prosecutor turned traitor in favor of the Christian cause. And yet there’s no record of anybody vaguely fitting that description in the rabbinical record. That’s one of the essential parts of his biography, right up there with Washington being a general in the Revolutionary Army.

            Somebody obviously wrote each of the Epistles, though equally obviously the same somebody didn’t write all of them. Half of them were plausibly written by the same person, and that person signed them with the name, “Paul,” and reasonably enough maybe really was known by that name. That person was also uncontroversially an active evangelist in early Christianity, and almost certainly the source of many of its myths and traditions — especially, for example, the introduction of the Mithraic Eucharist in the form of the Last Supper.

            But to put claims much stronger than that on it make about as much sense as saying that that later bishop from Myrna “really” was Santa Claus. Maybe he’s at one of the great many far ends of a spaghettified game of telephone that today ends with a fat dude with flying reindeer who drinks Coke as he flies up the chimney, but he sure as shit ain’t Santa, and Santa really ain’t real.



            1. Paul is real – we heard he was dead when we played that album backwards.

              Oh wait, maybe that was a different Paul.

              1. I don’t anticipate being invited to a pre-teen child’s party any time in the foreseeable future. But, should that eventuality come to pass, I know exactly what I’ll be bringing.



    2. It doesn’t really matter does it? If the Three Kings were in the original fiction book or a later addition to the fiction. It’s all fiction.

  7. Fitness looks exactly like my old cat, Guelfo, who I think was part Siamese. Is Fitness quite small? Guelfo ( she had a brother named Ghibelline) never got past about 6 lbs.

    1. Funny, I was going to say that Fitness looks like a biggie-size version of our very slender part-Burmese kitty (actually a sweet sixteen). Rescued from a shelter. The purrfect cat, except that she’s taken to incessant nocturnal caterwauling since her sister died last summer. Bleary eyes from lack of sleep for most of the whole household.

    2. Are Siamese cats usually small? The one I had year ago was real chunk — maybe the biggest cat I’ve ever had.

  8. I had a cat several years ago that climbed on the roof every night and howled though the night. We named her Banshee.

  9. Man, everything that adorable couple cooks up looks absolutely amazing. There’s something very hobbits-in-the-shire-comfy-cozy about all of it. And I love the hili mug pic, reminds me of Stephen Colbert.

      1. If only you had more of a typo & it read “salvation” then it would have been borderline Freudian Slip! Damn!

  10. Wild Strawberries, the film? Dickens’ A Christmas Carol deliciously served up Swedish style.

    Well spotted, Parker! Smultronstället is a dwelling fit for hobbits (and professorial Chicagoans escaping the American midwest tundra). 🙂

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