The Embodiment of Anonymity


What do you do better than most people?

Think about it for a moment, before continuing.

One of my best abilities is that of data analysis, best in the way that I am not just good,  I am probably better than you can imagine.

That probably sounds like boasting, but it isn’t. Let me fill you in with some background.

I have worked for many companies, and as a consequence have experienced many managers and people in business in general, as well as a whole lot of other people doing the different tasks that make up our working lives. If I was going to give one piece of advice to all of these it might be that life is not like Farmville – when one gets promoted one does not automatically power up on those skills one associates with that position. On the other hand, our ego may demand that we defend our position, that we have indeed powered up on those skills, especially if we have been in a position for some time.

I will be blunt, most people are fairly crap at analysing data in any way but in which they have been taught when working at the business level, but our ego may not allow us to accept this. However, I have lived in Poland for twenty years but I will not be writing any literature in Polish in the foreseeable future, and I can say this because I do not allow my ego to prop up my business persona. I only have one life, and I have both psoriasis and arthritis to contend with all the time, I do not need a set of fake ideals to make my life even more complicated.

So every day I watch managers deal ham-fistedly with data, and there is no resolution.

Skills have to be learned, and then practiced, intensely. Just as no one gets to speak a foreign language without specific kinds of consistent work, no one gets to speak data without a similar amount of perspiration.

Remember that I asked you to consider what you do best? And what does that blog title mean?

Right, if we allow our ego to defend our poor skills, then we are saying that those poor skills are as good as our other skills. Our good skills.

One of the hardest things to talk about with people is their good skills. They downplay them.

So: ( CrapSkill x 10 ) + ( GoodSkill / 10 ) = Mediocrity

Each and every one of us has a unique set of skills at which we naturally excel plus a set of skills at which we have worked hard to learn. These are our core skills, and these are the ones we need to be using to add quality to the processes in which we engage.What is more, just as we cannot imagine what someone thinks when they speak a really foreign language, or does some artistic work beyond our experience, then we cannot imagine what those people with other skills in our workplace see when they are applying their skills – and they cannot see what we see in our minds when we apply our own skills. We never really know how far our imagination falls short of understanding what they see.

My mind burns with a strange light when I let it go in its areas of experience, yet dies to a pale glimmer in other areas. Where does yours burn?

The classical vision is that we have all the required skills, and that if we have a superior position then we have all these skills at a similarly elevated level. This classical vision is only our internal vision – while what other people see in us is what we present, and if we follow the ‘mediocrity’ process then mediocrity is what others see. In a company with many people at a certain level following the ‘mediocrity’ process, then all the outsider to the company perceives is anonymity.

Think about this: of all the people you have seen or passed by today, how many of them do you remember? Those who you know plus some you see every day in your home or work space, plus a few more? How many of those will say anything but what you expect to hear?

Anonymity. It is all around us.

The purpose of a team is to create a group of people not with just different sets of knowledge but with different natural abilities that can cross the knowledge boundaries. The way forward to a better business team involves leaving the classical ideas behind that Qualification Z ensures that Person X is able to do Job Y, and that we should appear invincible to our team.

This has implications in our ability to choose further training, because if our ego or our lack of imagination oversells the skills we do not have, we are unlikely to choose appropriate training.

Fear, ego and mediocrity. The embodiment of anonymity.


Beliefs: Hate or Renewal?

via Daily Prompt: Renewal


Apparently I am an evil man.

I used to attend the Roman Catholic churches here in Poland; no more, because hearing evil from the mouths’ of priests just left me unhappy, plus I was tired of walking out of churches mid-mass. The church-goers were not the problem, just your usual people one meets anywhere, but I considered it unfair to burden them.

The primary issue was that, apparently, all evil comes from the West, making me feel all peculiar being the bringer of evil sat in the midst of the righteous. My opinion was that all evil comes from the heart, in which case the heart lies in the West, or maybe it was that the priests had forgotten the centuries of struggle with Russia, to the East. Perhaps, though, they thought that the end of Communism would mean Poles would be free to spend all their free time in the church, freely following their priests’ lead in all things in life, when it turns out that what most people wanted with freedom was to be, well, free.

As a man of science who believes in God, I discover that to those who are also believers in Science or those who are Atheists, I am evil because I believe in God. Am I thus taking evil with me wherever I go, bringing it fresh to the Godly and the Neutral alike, one evil for the former and another for the latter?

I consider part of the problem to be books. Did I tell you that I bring evil to the world of books as well? I was once rash enough to admit that I had thrown some books out with the rubbish, although in my defense I knew at the time that some of the poor of the city regularly went through the waste, collected any books they found and attempted to sell them on the streets.

Evil is my name.

Books live in the past, beginning their lives when they are written and then growing older, like some kind of civilisation where the citizens procreate and die, only ending when the last copy is destroyed. Books of science and books of religion are very similar, in that each states what the authors believe of the world at the time of writing, a summary of the thoughts of many people. Science books can be deceptive because most are fairly new, yet that is not the same as making them true in their entireties. Science grows in two ways: by adding new content to the old, and by replacing some of the old knowledge following the twists of our understanding.

Schooling, whether dealing in religion, the sciences or whatever, has a tendency to emphasis the idea that all ideas are known. The teacher gives a problem, and the answer to the problem is to be found in a book. Again and again. Therefore books are founts of all knowledge.

As a research and development engineer I have a different viewpoint, because in this field there are no books to give the ideas. Problems are met every day, and they have to be solved by experience, comparison with similar problems from the past, looking for patterns in the data that might suggest a new reality, or blind luck. New science books ultimately come from the work of people like me, not from teachers or priests – they merely exist in an old vision of the world.

Religious books can be very old, but that is not to say that what they offer is irrelevant, in fact they are quite remarkable as they have to speak to people from all kinds of backgrounds, classes, technologies and so forth, but they also have their flaws as nothing so general can meet all specific needs. These flaws are often deliberately selected by people who do not like religion as evidence that all the religion, all religion, is invalid.

Once the current thought in science was that heat and cold were separate fluids that somehow flowed through solid materials. The idea seemed to fit the evidence, until one day someone found a way to disprove it, and science moved on. That meant that the science books of the time were flawed, and still are, we just have no way of knowing which bits are true and which we assume to be true. On that basis, books of science and religion are indistinguishable from each other, we just make our choices which of which we believe.

Or at least, we should.

What often happens is that people make the choices that suit them, them spew vile hatred of people who state that they have made other choices, using clever-clever put downs based on how wonderful their choices are.

There are people out there who want power, and to get this they find it most convenient to climb an established hierarchy that heads in the required direction. These people only believe in themselves, but they pretend to hold the values of the hierarchy, and without a qualm will shake that hierarchy to make their passage easier, and to damage competing hierarchies. Up they rise, powered by their own hot air.

Education should allow us to solve problems, and make choices that suit us and our communities, so that when a problem presents itself we can respond in an appropriate manner. Each of us has our own set of skills, so there is no need for any of us to be able to solve all problems, but if we care anything for our communities we should be able to put our unique efforts to make life better for all. If we see groups apparently attempting to remove the freedom from other groups of people, then the people to defeat are the power-garnering leaders, not the others in the group. If we simply attack the group, all we are making of ourselves is another group who wishes to remove another’s freedom. No amount of self-justification of our group makes taking the freedom from another justified – it just makes us the problem.

So am I evil? Or am I just an easy target for other people’s frustration? People too inconsiderate to care that the people reading what they write are innocent. How many innocent people have to be abused every day until the abusers realise that they are part of the problem and not the solution?

Discover Art


If we are teaching culture then it could, I believe, be worth examining that peak of valued culture – art. If we have an opinion about art, it should surely demonstrate something about how we view the rest of culture, and maybe also the actual process of describing what we see.

So what is art?

We know this already, there are museums and galleries full of the stuff. However, just because the world exists, does this mean we understand how the world came to exist? Or, to put it more bluntly, could we produce another one? The fact of something existing is not quite the same as knowing the whys and the hows of its existence.

Here is a test – go to some library or bookstore, physically or online, and see how many books there are explaining all about the artists, types of art and methodologies. The average small bookshop will probably have dozens, while a decent library will have hundreds, all full of interesting knowledge about how to see, recognize and do art.

Now count the number of books about how to evaluate art that is freshly painted by students, and out of those hundreds of books available to us locally there maybe half a dozen on how to look at a picture and express its worth in artistic terms. Now read one of these, and compare it to all those other art books – and we will find that while most art books have an authoritative style, those for evaluating fresh art are vague. What we see here is that most people who talk about art actually know very little about how it works. Sure, we can recite history, talk about styles and technique, but the best that we can know about something is to get the consensus of some group as to whether they like it. The key questions in this revolve around what it is that they actually like, and why.

If we randomly pull a coffee table book about a field of art that we either have no or little experience with, then we will have pages and pages of new visual experiences to enjoy, although if we ignore the text we have no way of choosing between the good and the less good, other than by previous life experience (guessing) and assuming that if it has been included in such a book it must have some worth (other people’s guesses). If the subject is something we are uncomfortable with, such as abstracts while we prefer ‘proper’ images of things, then we might override common sense and call it all rubbish. Common sense being that we all like different things, and that we know that some group of experts has stated that this set of art to be very good.

One of the elements of our upbringing is the insistence on criticizing those things outside our experience: even education participates in this by forming elites, groups, subjects, and defining what is proper and what is not. Rather like supporting a specific football team, the truth is that these groupings and the resulting denigration of other people’s choices are not about quality but just the need to feel included somewhere. Those groupings are largely random – a different upbringing would have impressed the values of a different group upon us. We take this need to belong and denigrate into our adult lives, partly disabling our ability to make good quality decisions in the process.

What this tells us is that our ability to evaluate the significance of any human activity relies heavily on being involved in some way in that activity. Relying on the opinion of someone else who is not involved is no safe guide at all; therefore we and the people we trust as sources have to go out and experience things in order to have an opinion that has any kind of value. We need the results of the actual experience, and the experience in having experiences in order to value the process of gaining experience.

The benefit to us and our students is that the more experience we gain in different groups is the discovery that there are more people out there in the world caught up in other groups who share our values – we are merely blocked from reaching them by our own, artificial barriers.

Talking to the Artist


Did you know that artists and engineers share something significant? Yes, really.

Previously I talked a bit about the teaching of culture, mostly about the question of unknown or forgotten culture. This time we deal with the fear of the unknown, or why people walk or talk away from artists and engineers.

When I create a picture people can tell me what they think it is, which is fine, or they can tell me why they prefer something else, which is fine too. If instead I talk about my pictures while I am creating them most people cannot get away fast enough. The same happens when engineers speak about what they are engineering.

So I asked myself why. Then I asked whether other people experience the same under other circumstances. Finally, does this have any relation to the teaching of culture?

I think it mostly revolves around the unknown presented in its naked form. Education kind of encourages the view that things are fixed, as in fixed answers to set questions, or that if something new does come along it will arrive in a fully finished manner – fully tested and approved, presented by proper social actors, such as magazine writers.

When we talk to an engineer the product is unfinished, raw, and there is no social actor to give their approval. Oh no, the peasants cannot live on cake. Having one’s home remodelled is noisy and dirty. Old people do have sex.

So much of culture involves concealing the grubbiness of reality, the creation of an artificial environment that is remote from reality. Cleaner than reality. Superior to reality. The more artificial we make our life the more difficult it becomes to connect with people far from our safety zone.

Engineers talking engineering is too distant, too dirty, the engineering crude until the approved product lands on the shelves.

Artists talking about their current work is too distant, unless they speak the spiel as approved by the relevant social actors.

Fellow employees talking about some innovation is too alien, even if it will improve the way we work or the product we make.

When culture is taught to people from other cultures we have to pretend either that they are in our culture, or devalue their culture, the colonialisation of their culture with ours, because the one thing that is feared is that their culture is superior to ours. More than that, learning their culture takes away our superior position of giver to the masses, to that of receiver.

Hence, if we wish to teach culture effectively, one of our tasks is to learn not to steer clear of others when they describe the processes they go through in their work, for work they we consider distant from ours or dirty. We must be able to achieve meaningful dialogue with those who produce culture – not to talk the past, our knowledge, at the, to prove our knowledge, but to talk to them with the understanding that most of the learning will happen on our side. If we, as teachers, were treated the same way as we treat the producers of products and culture then we should feel offended, as we do not expect our students to walk away or to start talking about other things. It is worth remembering that we are mere manufacturers of standard knowledge.

It is something that takes practice, as in our minds we have to realign the social system that we carry in our head from a kind of hierarchy to that of placing everyone on the same flat plane, as our equals.

After all, no matter how distant or dirty a process may seem, they all appear from the same essential material – our minds.

Culture is Dead


Stand up if you believe things were better in the past. Good, the door is over there, we will stay because life is more interesting than that.

Culture dies – because one day everything dies, even the universe. However, if culture dies we can still make it live again, we just have to care. That is WE have to care, rather than complain that other people do not care. We can sum up culture as the sum of people caring, rather than the sum of people complaining.

When something is new it can seem interesting, then we get bored with it, pushing it to the back of our drawer of life.Sometimes, though, we are rummaging around in our past and we rediscover this forgotten thing. We buy a suit or dress, love it, forget it and then we or someone finds it and calls it retro.

  • Love
  • Forget
  • Retro

This is an important concept if we are teaching culture, because when we are at the bored stage someone else might be still at the interested stage. For years the Communist era was uncool in Poland, for example, but now people are rediscovering some of the gems from that era, like furniture they used to have. Foreigners have a different perspective: they have not been through the cycle, they are still at ‘Love’.

If we are teaching culture, what is boring to us may be very interesting to those we teach, the trouble is that we cannot know beforehand what will be interesting, because other people will never love all the things we have. And they will love things that we never did.

To make things even more complicated – we do not know some of the things that we could love, and our students cannot know everything that they could love. No questionnaire can discover the things we or anyone else do not know that we do not know. In other words questions imply that we know the question, just not the answer. However, what about a question addressing a completely new piece of technology that will appear in ten years time? We lack knowledge of questions as well as answers.

A good example is the British TV series ‘Escape to the Country’, where a couple is presented with two houses that fit the desires they list, and then with a house that goes beyond the list. The latter house is chosen more often than either of the two that fits the knowledge they brought with them to the program. The unknown element can be more interesting than the known. Questionnaires tend to question the status quo, of things in danger of slipping from Love to Forget.

Next… if we teach culture we need to experience some of it, and keep experiencing it because things keep on a-changing. We need to watch films, go to theatres, visit factories. Our students come from varied backgrounds, and they are usually polite enough to pretend that what we present is what they want. Education is often a bludgeon of compliance, preventing us from believing that things could be different, but is that our hand on the bludgeon.

Are we mindlessly programming our students with classical views that they will never really enjoy?

Are we mindlessly programming our students with culture we do not really understand?

Are we mindlessly programming our students full stop?

The argument goes something like theatres will not continue to exist unless we teach about them in culture classes. My counter-argument is that theatres do not continue to exist because a bunch of mindless teachers force the idea of theatre on students. Theatres continue to exist because actors make them interesting and interested people find the money to keep them doing what they do so interestingly, and this process picks up fresh people incidentally for the most part.

The hard truth is that not only must we experience culture to teach it, we have to accept that our way of experiencing it may not be the only relevant way, or even be close to the most interesting way.

Consider clothes shopping, a common element of modern culture. When you go shopping you might do what many people do: enter the shop, find a rack and then start going clack, clack, clack down the rack and onto the next one, looking for interesting clothes, colours and sizes all at the same time. Often people spend about 20 minutes in a shop, and see about 40 different items.

Consider my clothes shopping: I enter a shop, scan the clothes as I walk around, looking for interesting colours and patterns. If I see something interesting I approach it and put my hand on it to feel the quality. If it passes that test I might investigate further, if not I continue around the shop and move onto the next one. In 20 minutes I might see 1oo-200 items in 3-5 shops. I see more clothes, and only look for sizes if something passes all the visual and texture tests, so the chances of me finding something interesting is several times higher than the average shopper.

The point here is that we need to experience culture, and we need to do so in ways outside our previous experience. To find out how we need to experience culture with people from very different backgrounds.

Short Fire Forms

Short Fire Forms.  I often wonder whether the classical view of language is the right one or, at least, the only valid one. Once more to the bar, my friend, to ponder short words and lost souls.

Short Fire Forms

FU to say it without flowers

FU to say it without flowers

What a nice beer. The great thing about speaking is that it shares a lot with drinking – we have a wealth of bodily functions that we can use to make the point that we are trying to make clearer, anything from a slight change in tone to swinging a mighty, nuclear hammer that mysteriously deposits us face down on the floor. For writing, though, once we lift our pen from the page and depart from the room, our words lose their essential physicality and become mono-coloured, two dimensional shadows on the page.

Ghosts of our presence.

Many cultures have shown a distrust of mirrors of cameras, accusing them of stealing part of their soul. And perhaps it is true, in a way, since everything we see in a mirror or a camera arrived there by light that earlier interacted with the surface layers of our body, and every interaction results in an exchange. I myself am more concerned with the interactions we have with books; as soul stealers I believe they have much greater potential than mere mirrors and cameras. Think about it. A mirror or a camera is made try and show you what is there. A book is created in attempt to change what is there. You.

That is not to say there are not people out there who will misuse cameras and mirrors, there are, just as there will always be publicans who store their beer badly, or water it down. However, whenever we pick up our pen there is usually something we wish to change – ourselves or others. If we keep on reading then we must keep on changing. If we keep on reading what other people are reading, then surely we and they must steadily become more alike yet different from what we were. Reading steals our soul, a piece at a time.

Writing itself does give a certain permanence to our ideas, without demanding that the reader maintains our pace of monologue: the thoughts will not be lost if the reader chooses to linger over one particular phrase, or abandon them part way through. This shadow world has less to engage our senses, leaving us more opportunity to consider other aspects of the message, and one of these is the repetition of vocabulary and structures. ‘This is a nice book, it is nicely written, and has quite a nice cover’ could be spoken successfully as we distract our audience’s attention by waving around the gaudy block of printed pages we have firmly grasped in our hand, but it loses its essential now-ness once it becomes a shadow on the page. Rather like a freshly emptied glass, which we have to picture full by using our mind rather than by using our senses, although if it is someone else’s glass our imagined brew may not match the former occupant of the glass.

Another aspect is that of patterns. If we were to step into an unknown bar we would have to be specific in asking for what we want, because no one would know what we wanted. When we become more acquainted with the bar, we can arrive and order our usual beverage with no more than a raised finger, relying on the barkeep’s finely tuned brain to spot and learn patterns. While writing has evolved how we think about language, and how we share those thoughts, it has not really altered the way language works. Sometimes the idea of writing causes people to wander off course, into believing that the idea of story was born on a page, or that present day European languages are all the bastards of a true Latin parent – to me a sure sign that these people have sold their remaining souls to the dark letters of the page. Writing is like the foam on the top of beer, in that while it might look different to the rest of the beer it is nothing more than beer with a few more bubbles in it.

In terms of learning a foreign language we need to explore what is considered acceptable and what not in the various uses of language. One significant area involves speed words, those multi-meaning packets that we can pick from our memory with little effort and know that the listener or reader will fill in the gaps.

Nice – pleasant, good…
Big – large, significant…
Spot – location, dirty mark, seek
Keep – maintain, continue, hold…
Get – receive, obtain…
Fuck – oh no, whoops, copulate…

Whether we are asking for a drink or jotting down a note these short forms are a brilliantly effective way of expressing ourselves, and deserve great respect. Yes, some of the boring bookworms of this world do tend to drone on about an imaginary world in their head where the worst thing that could happen would be a girl having her pigtails pulled, but language has many important functions that are not worthy of belittlement. One cannot fairly judge their usage as being a lazy, simplistic form since formal language is nothing more than the replacement of speed words with a set of stock phrases. In terms of language, comparing speed words with formalisms is like trying to describe one sandwich as being better than another based on a list of ingredients used for the filling, forgetting that the major part of both sandwiches is the bread.

When we write all that many of our readers know about us is contained in those few words, leaving us as a mere shadow in their minds. What is more, we cannot be sure that their understanding of what we describe is any more substantial than the ghost of our presence, and so we must be careful to use description that attempts to prevent the reader from forming mistaken assumptions. This requirement for more care does tend to make writing appear more formal than the spoken language.

Our use of shortcuts can be problematic due to their multiple meanings. When we say ‘get’ do we mean ‘receive’ or ‘obtain’, for example, as these have very different meanings: when we buy a beer the barkeep should not be obtaining our money (by taking the money out of our purse or wallet) but be receiving it (we take the money out). Shortcuts work well in writing when we can be sure that the reader will have the experience or training to follow the instructions, or we know that the reader may have reading difficulties or a limited reading vocabulary. A simple ‘Get milk’ on a scrap of paper is still writing, and since we are hardly likely to give it to a stranger, then who does receive it should be experienced enough to interpret its meaning.


Finally we have a special one, aside from its use in relation to speech, that we use in place of ‘for example’ when we are estimating or suggesting something for something we are having to guess. “Let’s get twenty people, say, and see if we can…’. For some strange reason, some translator schools seem to teach it as meaning ‘precisely this value in words’, as in: “2,000,000 (say: two million)” instead of just using the precise phrase of ‘in words’: “2,000,000 (in words: two million)”. ‘Say’ is an informal shortcut, rather than a formal phrase, which is what makes its use seem strange.

Well, that’s enough waffle for now, it is time for me to put away my keyboard and do something useful – like dozing in front of the TV.

The Philosophy according to Names and Surnames

The Philosophy according to Names and Surnames.

Or the problem when there is a lack of feedback in education.

Or discovering you don’t know as much as you think you do

The Philosophy according to Names and Surnames

On Names and Surnames


Sometimes when I can find a quiet place in a bar I examine the causes and effects of the things that surround us, of the things that we so often take for granted or which take place over a length of time such that they are beyond our possibilities to notice. How could we tell, for example, back in the 1960s and 1970s, that the eventual result of buying those refrigerators would be the endangering of our atmosphere through the release of the gases that allowed them to work, or that we would become nations that wasted up to forty percent of the food we buy?

It is the same with education – at the beginning of our working life we may only guess what we will need to know in our jobs in fifty years’ time, as all that we know for certain now is that by then the world will have changed. Well, one thing will not have – there will still be people moaning that the beer is not as good as it used to be.
In the teaching of foreign languages we often start out by learning phrases that allow us to exchange names, and for English we might learn ‘My name is Jan’. As we then rise through the schooling system we get handed from teacher to teacher, teaching material to teaching material, yet there is no one in full control of our education path. If someone in the teaching system does notice, for example, that graduates cannot do basic math then questions get asked and the basic math teaching may even be reassessed. However, if no one notices such an effect, then how can we seek out the cause?

We know what we know, and we know what we do not know, but we do not know what we do not know.

So, students of English here in Poland get their early bite of vocabulary in the word ‘name’, and then at a later point in the curriculum this is joined by ‘surname’ amongst a whirlwind of other words and structures. Eventually the words ‘name’ and ‘surname’ arrive together in a single phrase: name and surname. No questions are asked, because no one knows that there is a question to ask.

The word ‘name’, though, is a general word, on the same level as ‘beer’. If someone arrives in a bar and asks for a beer and a brand-X lager, they should not share the barkeep’s surprise. ‘Surname’ is a specific noun, on the level of ‘Brand-X lager’, one designed to describe a specific product.

Beer and brand-X lager.

Name and surname.

Logically, we might think, this error should not happen, for the usage of name will be explored many times in the curriculum, as well as appearing in other sources, such as general culture.

My name is Bond, James Bond.

If we were a university lecturer and we somehow failed to comprehend this information in the blizzard of information that is a second language, although a fraction of that collected by a native as part of his or her life’s experience, then the error may start appearing in our work. The result of our failure could be whole generations of students becoming teachers and repeating it in their work, as some kind of truth. This is not untypical in a classical world where we value repetition over observation of unharnessed raw data, learning specific things by rote and then crying when too few people appear to create anything these days.

Those typical errors which do appear regularly in second language use are often there due to a lack of feedback from real life events. University lecturers continue to smile and teach, repeating their past to each new set of students without taking an effective part in actual language use. This failure goes unnoticed by the people who pay the lecturer’s wages – us.

As the effect of second language use is largely hidden to us in the mists engulfing the recipients, living and speaking elsewhere, it is very difficult to track an error back to its source. In foreign language study the connection between what someone does and the result is weak, and as a result the participants are often unwilling to accept that they have a responsibility to society to actively seek the failures. After all, they are doing what they were trained to do – why should what they do be queried? Even better, since the teachers attend the same courses as the translators then many errors in translation go unnoticed by other people in the nation as they have been taught the same errors by their teachers.

This sad lack of quality and quantity of contact with foreign natives does leave the lone translator, often working alone at home, in a rather difficult situation and under a great deal of pressure when required to produce work that is ‘native’. One could compare language teaching to a bar in a village, where the villagers rarely venture forth beyond their borders, never tasting what the world has to offer, yet with no specific training attempting to deduce the world from an advertising card depicting a scantily clad lady, with the final two packets of peanuts still obscuring our vision.

My new booklet on the Lublin region!

Kazi 04 water boatman

As I write this I am about half way through proofing a new project – a booklet about this region of Poland based on about a dozen of my images and the kind of things that interest me about the region and which actually led to me creating the images.

I want to produce an alternative to the rather boringly similar other guides I have seen, and I have seen many, something that talks about stuff one does not need some qualification in the history or architecture to appreciate. Basically, I tie together a series of reminiscences to form a kind of story, introducing a little bit of many things to make the region more understandable, to have a bit more depth.

Anyway, here is a sample:

The Wisła River, or Vistula as we know it, forms the western border of the Lublin province, and has a number of bridges and ferries operating along its length. Rivers have always been some of the most awkward things to pass when we wish to travel on land as they are not something that we can simply go round. The particular ferry route we chose is quite ancient, lying as it does on the trade route between Krakow and Lublin, at the popular small town of Kazimierz Dolny. On this occasion we had intended on using the car ferry, but were thwarted by water too shallow for anything but a passenger boat to traverse. While this latter style of boat is today made of glass fiber, its general design is pretty much the same as the wooden boats that have long been used on local lakes and rivers.

I plan to publish it as an ebook, so it is available anywhere for very little money. I am sure I shall make some mistakes along the way, but it feels good to be doing something a little different.


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