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[Comic wink] How Very Bazaar
by Newropeans-Magazine
2010-08-04 08:23:56
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That  crazy, sexy  humanitarian and art-lover Napoleon Bonaparte (who incidentally trails Napoleon Solo in the Napoleonic Cool stakes) once said of  the  Little Britayners that they are a 'nation of shopkeepers' or 'un naseeon des schoppekipeurs'.  This was meant to be an insult and in reply the  Brits  went  off and hacked out the  greatest empire   ever; much bigger than any  Johnny Francay could dream of. 

But I digress again, what was  a put- down is  quite a  roundabout compliment. If anyone is a nation of shopkeepers, it's Polayne.

My own block  has its little bazaar: a township of little  shacks ,sheds and pavilions  selling all you need to  live:  excellent charcuterie, tasty bread and cakes ( jagodzianki especially, the  little blackberry pastries),  fresh fruit and veg straight from the tree and field, and if you want,  straight from  from a cow. The  produce is irregular, unwashed and delicious. The strawberry and cherry season is in full swing   and you can buy a basket  of a couple of kilos for a quid. Polayners from the sticks park up, open the boot and commence trading.  There's not a plastic wrapper or sell-by date in sight. You buy daily and fresh, usually returning from work. Thus, the  weekly shopping  chore, at least in my part of town turns into a continual  buying and consumption that is woven into your daily habits, therefore your daily culture. You don't need to worry that you may run low, as there's always a little kiosk  nearby.

I can't get used to it yet, accustomed as I am to the weekly shop.

Perhaps the supermarket and the weekly shop has done more to kill off the culture of  good food and family dining than we know or care.  I love these little markets though, and it must be  an EU commissioner's nightmare. Great!  Napoleon must be spinning in his mausoleum, (okay,okay, so they use his metric system) .

Varsovia is like that, a big sophisticated capital with loads of  Ronnie Barker style 'open- all- hours'  (most hours) shops. You need to know your way around as there are no big names  nearby  an it's all within  walking  distance so , people walk. The  corner shop butchers and bakers disappeared from the  baroque avenues and  rococo squares of my old home town, the ancient royal city of Boltoon a long time back, never ever to return, ever,ever,ever: the law of totally forseen consequences of the bleedin' obvious operated  brilliantly in this case. 

I hope that it doesn't happen here, but I am not so sure. The supermarkets and hypermarkets have  sunk their teeth into the country and lifestyles are  changing   like in  the West of Europe. Once we  had Catherine the Great, Fredrick the Great and Joseph the (all crazy, sexy humanitarians and art –lovers), now it's Real, Carrefour and Tesco.  We could be  digging our own graves with a smile.  Worse, dig one: get one free. 


Jan Darasz - Warsaw, Poland

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