On the occasions on which I manage to get over to Melbourne (my mother’s hometown) to visit her at her care home one can either get a cheaper local day ticket for the Arriva buses (which also, since the company has expanded its operations internationally, operate in and around Michalovce, strangely enough) which gets one out from Derby as far as Melbourne, in which case I tend to break my journey on the way back in the Derby suburb of Allenton, or a more expensive one that gives one the run of the Arriva Midlands network, in which case I travel on to Swadlincote and then on to Burton-on-Trent and then back to Belper via Derby.
In recent months I have discovered a supermarket in Burton (Freshco) that sells goods from all over Eastern Europe, specialising in Polish products (the till receipts are in Polish!) Also on sale are (mostly Polish) magazines and I am delighted to report that, in the edition of ‘Rewia’ (strapline, ‘Close to the Star’), dated 24.05.2016, I have encountered a story on one of the GOTGE, Maryla Rodowicz. I also encountered another one of those nostalgia-related two-page spread articles all about Polish schooldays (specifically, the Polish equivalent of A Levels) from the days of the GOTGE, complete with a photo of one of the popular bands of the time, whose name literally means ‘The Red Guitars’. There are also photos from ‘Rewia’ readers of memories of their youth/childhood. It’s certainly – along with a teach yourself Polish book I recently brought out of the library and the fact that both Czech and Slovak are related – a very good way to teach oneself a language and I am beginning to understand whole sentences in Polish without having had any formal education in the language.
Also at Freshco there were on sale that Hungarian speciality (consisting of smallish cylinders of sometimes flavoured cream cheese coated in plain chocolate), Pöttyös Túró Rudi, which had sachets attached to the outside of the pack containing what turned out to be sort of ‘Top Olympic Trumps’ cards of Hungarian sporting personalities and it is quite remarkable that one of them had the same surname (I’m not sure how common it is) as one of my GOTGE – Gabriella Szűcs. As someone with a fondness for things Belgian, amongst other nations, I used to like following the sporting fortunes of the high jumper, Tia Hellebaut (there was something enticingly strange about a world-beating bespectacled high jumper from a small town in Belgium!) and was as overjoyed about her Gold Medal in Beijing as any from Team GB (I followed the Final on a Belgian newspaper site’s live ticker). It seems I’ll have to develop an interest in Hungarian Women’s Water Polo – which I now know is ‘vízilabda’ in Hungarian – at Rio (if it goes ahead, with all this zika business!) after a discovery like this. Well, I suppose that’s as ‘strange’ as a bespectacled high jumper – to British eyes, certainly, because water polo is hardly a majority sport here. Water polo players are clearly more high-profile in Hungary! So, it’s a ‘Hajrá Magyarok!’ (‘Hooray for the Hungarians!’) from me…despite what they got up to in Slovakia! (and their ‘comical’ language!) Also by some remarkable coincidence, Gabriella Szűcs has the same birthday (7th March) as that other Hungarian great (and a GOTGE), Zsuzsa Koncz. I think I have worked out that ‘Bajnok’ means ‘Champion’ and that, therefore, ‘Bajnoki’ must mean ‘Championships’, so it looks as if I’m beginning to penetrate this ‘comical’ language now!
…and here’s the Pöttyös Túró Rudi Facebook page, where one can teach oneself more Hungarian by clicking on the ‘See translation’ link below the passages of text.