It’s with a heavy heart—as usual—that I take leave of my human and animal friends in Dobrzyn. And although the cherries may go uneaten, I know that Hili and Cyrus will not go unloved.
Here are a few photographs of quotidian life here, a relaxing combination of work, walkies, five meals a day, and cherry pie (Malgorzata, amazingly, has made good on her promise that I would have fresh cherry pie every day).
Cyrus is an old dog (estimated to be 11 or 12), and so he has occasional joint pain and walks stiffly. Yesterday Andrzej gave him a pain pill cunningly concealed in a juicy bit of beef that I’d purchased for the d*g a few days before:
I may have posted this earlier on this trip, but in case I didn’t, this is an old-style wooden house in town, of which there are a few. About a century old or more, they are typical of the houses that the Jewish residents of Dobrzyn inhabited before the war. I’m told that about a third of the town’s inhabitants before the war were Jews; now, as far as Malgorzata knows, she’s the only person of the 3000 in Dobrzyn of Jewish ancestry. (Andrzej was brought up Catholic, but both of them are now atheists.)
Third breakfast, the meal formerly known as “lunch.” Beside the usual assortment of cheese, ham, garden vegetables, and sausage, we had oscypek, baked smoked sheep cheese from the Tatra mountains (I believe this local variety was made of cow’s milk). My lunchtime tipple of blackcurrant juice is visible at lower left (why don’t American supermarkets stock this stuff?)
Many cherries still hang in the orchard. Although locals are invited to harvest these stragglers, few do it, and so there are many pies that will never be made. It’s the laws of physics.
This is one of the many trees whose cherries weren’t ripe at harvest. You can see all the fruit waiting to be picked (actually, the cherries should be a bit darker than those above).
These are ready for picking; sadly, their fate is not a pie, but withering on the tree:
Twice a day, Cyrus chases his ball on the soccer field during walkies to the river.
A happy d*g with his ball:
This is an old child’s toy—perhaps a Polish version of a teddy bear—‘that Malgorzata found upstairs after the lodgers moved out. (They’re now gone, so the upstairs is empty.) Not a very cuddly toy!
Below: a violation of the Laws of Nature, though cute nevertheless. Hili, of course, is the dominant partner in the relationship:
A typical scene: I am working at the computer with Hili sleeping next to me. I thoughtfully provide her with a blanket to make her more comfortable, and also tuck her in. (Photo by Malgorzata)
This is the penultimate pie, which I finished by eating from the pie dish rather than soiling another dish. (Photo by Malgorzata.)
True to form, when that pie was gone Malgorzata made another. I picked and pitted the cherries. The plastic cherry-pitter is truly an amazing device: it’s simple in design but stupendously effective. (Photo by Andrzej).
I found a cherry shaped like a butt! Andrzej says he’s never seen one like this.
The pitted cherries are put in a sieve over a bowl, and fresh cherry juice drops into the bowl: enough to allow us a glass each:
Last night’s dinner: four-cheese quiche made with leeks, cream, and spices—served with salad and, of course, a cold Zubr.
Goodbye to my friends!:
Goodnight and farewell!