Category Archives: Wild places

Why are there so many Polish immigrants in the UK? Why is Poland such a bad country to live in?

First of all, if Poland were a bad country to live in, I wouldn’t live here. I am, after all, British. And there are a lot of British people living here, some in cities, some in more rural locations. As well as more and more other foreigners.

The reason you see a lot of Polish people is that this country has the same population as all the countries Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia combined. Percentagewise, more Lithuanians have emigrated than Poles, but that doesn’t mean that Lithuania is a bad country either.  However, because there are thirty Poles in the world to every Lithuanian, you’re still not going to run into them as often.

 

Polish Exploration – the example of Mikołaj Przewalski

Poles are more adventurous than most peoples. They have had more than their share of explorers and discoverers. They were not by any means always looking for an easy life, but simply highly interested in the whole world and what is in it. One example I can easily give is a wild horse species, now endangered, which lives over in Mongolia. This was discovered by a Polish guy called Przewalski and is to this day called “Przewalski’s horse”.  He also has a Przewalski’s gazelle, which is less known, and was the first to describe to science te wild Bactrian camel, although clearly that was well-known from time immemorial. What was not known, though, was that this wild Bactrian camel was a separate species to the domestic Bactrian camel. This by the way I very much doubt would stand up to genetic analysis, because people are saying that dogs are basically the same species as wolves, but apparently what domestic Bactrian camels evolved from was really a different thing entirely, so there you go.

Mikołaj Przewalski (or as he was known in Russian Николай Михайлович Пржевальский),  was born in Smolensk, a perennial favorite haunt of Poles, in the Spring of 1839, and died in a place called Karakol (yes, I know, Turkish for “police station” but this is I think an actual town in Kirgizia which bore the name Pzhevask in his honour for a while before the Turkic police stations, the black arm gang, took over, and exploration and zoology put on the back-burner) in 1888, a good ten years after the birth of Stalin, not sayin’ anything, but you have to admit the moustache has a certain familiar look…

This chap was a Russian citizen, as at that time Poland was not even on the map, and Poles were either Prussian citizens, Russian citizens or Austro-Hungarian citizens. He used his “nash chelovek” status to explore all over Central Asia wherever the Russians went. He was so adventurous, that some people even reckon that he was Stalin’s real dad, but that’s probably just an urban legend.

These days some criticism is levelled at him for being quite high-handed towards the native peoples of the places he went to, which just goes to show that it was not just the British and other West Europeans that took an Imperialist stance it was everyone, and if we had been on the receiving end instead of the dishing-out end, it is highly unlikely to have been better.

Here you can penetrate anywhere, only not with the Gospels under your arm, but with money in your pocket, a carbine in one hand and a whip in the other. Europeans must use these to come and bear away in the name of civilisation all these dregs of the human race. A thousand of our soldiers would be enough to subdue all Asia from Lake Baykal to the Himalayas….Here the exploits of Cortez can still be repeated.

(N. M. Przewalski on Asia)

 

But above all for him it was exploration, science, nature, collecting specimens of unknown plants, insects and higher life which really got him his Vega medal.

How Przewalski's gazelle appears in Sclater's "The Book of Antelopes", a seminal work on these Bovidae from 1894.

Philip Sclater, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons The_book_of_antelopes (1894) Procapra przewalskii.

This is the same spirit that sends people to the UK. They believe that it will improve their English, which in turn will enable them to communicate on a world-wide scale and they want a nice classy English (unfortunately on building sites they tend to pick up something less than classy, but of course they don’t know that, and proceed with their h-dropping and “effing and blinding” when they get back and are trying to use English for the purposes of international tax consulting, or something equally august). They want to experience something different to their own country and culture, but which is still relatively friendly. The pay of course doesn’t hurt either, but for many it is not the prime consideration.

 

Some will stay in the UK, appreciating the education system as the grass is always greener on the other side, and wanting good UK universities and qualifications for their kids. Some are merely saving money and will use it to buy back in Poland in lush countryside a bigger mansion than any of their work colleagues in the UK will ever have.
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Sophie’s Class visit the European Bison

20 December 2021

Original YT playout date: 29 May 2010
Duration: 49:29

This is a first ever on my channel – Sophie had a school trip to see European bison, deer, wolves, lynxes, wild boar and wild horses that there are in the Bialowiezska forest, which is the border between Poland and Belarus. It is the only place that the wisent, or European bison survives in its wild state, although some of them are in enclosures so that the public can look at them.

Sophie asked to take my old video camera with her and this is what she did, with no help from anybody. Even the postproduction I simply sat and took her instructions on the font for the titles, the colours, the choice of background music. could we have a film-maker in the making?
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Alsace holiday #3 – Route des Cretes

Original playout date: 20 August 2007
Duration: 9:44

Lovely to remember the time my parents and I were enjoying Flammkuchen or tartes flambees together in lovely scenery in France. Contains a nice gallery section for the photos taken that day. I remember how that day the temperature down in the lowland was about 5 degrees hotter than up in the crests.
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Hungary Series #4/5 – Still in Hortobagy

Original playout date: 28 July 2007
Duration: 7:55

We pick up where we left off in Hortobagy and its national park, the Hortobagy Puszta. We see tourists getting off the narrow guage railway, but there are no more trips schedules for the day. A nice gallery section to the tune of Tritsch-Tratsch polka, which by the way includes the cracking of a whip, and we also see a whip lady in the gallery, who was selling Hungarian cattle whips in the town.
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Hungary Series #3/5 “Life inside a Hungarian thistle”

Original playout date: 14 July 2007
Duration: 12:15

The conference over, I go out to visit the Hortobagy Puszta, so we see Heroes Square and the drive out east.
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Cranes in Pomerania

Playout date: 15 March 2007
Duration: 1:07
Views at the time added to HTV: 832
Likes at the time added to HTV: 6
Dislikes at time added to HTV: 1
Popularity % ” ” ” =L/(L+D): 85.7%
Comments at time added: 2
Total interactions at time added: 9
Total interactions to views 1.1%
Camera: Panasonic DMZ -FZ33
Post Production: Windows Movie Maker – slight use
Location: Pomerania, near Koszalin
Other people featured: None
Genre: Environmental
Music used: “Cranes” a Ukrainian folksong
Languages used: Ukrainian
Animals/plants featured: Cranes
Other remarks:

There is an unusual majestry about the crane, they fly very high and are rare, but it is a large and graceful bird and comes in flocks, not lone or in pairs or smaller groups like the storks. If you go in March to a farm in northern Poland, you have a chance to see the sight I record here, and it is worth the viewing,

Welcome to the new species of ape!

 

 

Big news in the atheist community. A new species of ape has been discovered. A phylogenetic study has just concluded that this kind of orang-utan speciated 700,000 years ago whereas the other two species of orang-utan separated from each other 400,000 years ago. Modern humans at that time were all one big happy family, and still pretty much in Africa, it is supposed.

Welcome to this new species, congratulations on being discovered, and what a wonderful thing evolution is that we see it going on around us all the time, with whole new species appearing again and again despite what these religious nutjobs tell us.

Happily thanks to this discovery, science has once again allowed us to pat ourselves on the backs and reassure ourselves that we can explain fully how this world came into being and even if there are loads of unanswered questions and uncertaintoes, one thing we can be absolutely sure of, God and the Bible had nothing whatsoever to do with it!

(I speak as a fool, of course).

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapanuli_orangutan

 

RSA 10/10 Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope

Playout date: 3 December 2006
Duration: 4:58
Views at the time added to HTV: 1,996
Likes at the time added to HTV: 5
Dislikes at time added to HTV: 2
Popularity % ” ” ” =L/(L+D): 71.4%
Comments at time added: 5
Total interactions at time added: 12
Camera: Logitech Webcam
Post Production: Windows Movie Maker – medium use
Location: South Africa
Other people featured: None
Genre: Environmental
Music used: Follow you, follow me” Genesis (karaoke version)
Languages used: None
Animals/plants featured: Proteas, other local, lizard, ostriches
Other remarks:

A gallery-stye video featuring my photos taken in Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point national park. Starting with “Follow you, follow me” it rounds off the South Africa series with a few more bars of “this could be heaven for everyone”. Certainly I have been to few places more reminiscent of paradise than the area around Capetown in South Africa.

RSA 9/10 – Scenes from around table mountain

Playout date: 29 November 2006
Duration: 7:52
Views at the time added to HTV: 11,714
Likes at the time added to HTV: 17
Dislikes at time added to HTV: 0
Popularity % ” ” ” =L/(L+D): 100.0%
Comments at time added: 6
Total interactions at time added: 23
Camera: Panasonic DMZ -FZ30
Post Production: Windows Movie Maker – slight use
Location: Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa
Other people featured: Tour Guide voice
Genre: Environmental
Music used: “Morning has broken” Cat Stevens and “Oh Lori” by Brothers Alessi
Languages used: English
Animals/plants featured: Local plants, eg Jacaranda
Other remarks:

The noon gun goes “bang” at mid day, but the camera doesn’t give an impression of how that goes through the body. This video was silenced and reights claimed because of the use of Cat Stevens version of “Morning has Broken”, which I found interesting. I have to be treated as a “pirate” (ha-harr, me hearties) for using a snippet of his song to accompany some images on a free film, but he is doing just fine making a record of an old Highland hymn and making a mint out of it to use for jihad against Christians and nobody says tat he was pirating or misusing the old Highland hymn to make money. Double standards much?

Additionally is “Oh Lori” by the Brothers Alessi, a very nice piece of mood music from the 1970s which is one of my all-time favorites of all time.

Sealy Phocas (South Africa series 4/10)

Playout date: 14 November 2006
Camera: Fuji Finepix
Post Production: Windows Movie Maker – slight use
Location: Hout Bay, Cape Town
Other people featured: David Uncleborough, Afrikaaner boat captain, Viktor Dmitrievitch Huliganov, Pierre Delauney
Genre: Environmental
Music used:  Heaven for Everyone, Queen
Languages used: English, but with Russian and French words for seal.
Animals featured: Arctocephalus pussilus, Cape fur seal

I rarely do a lot of different voices on one video, but this is one occasion. I do what I hope is a passable
impersonation of David Attenborough (I called this character David Uncleborough and he comes up a couple of times in my films), and also I do a South African, some Huliganov and some Pierre Delauney.
The Hout Bay cape fur seal colony is a beautiful thing to see. This is the part of the world where the great
white shark preys on these creatures, even jumping out of the water to attack them. We didn’t see any of them today, though.
The mountains around are the twelve apostles, very majestic neighbours of the Table Mountain.

Old Usenetposts Gallery #7 Fish Pond in West Poland

Gallery Page 7 – Fish Pond in East Poland

The lake you see in this photo is not far from the last photo. Here it is possible to see the black stork, a much rarer sight than the usual white stork, but I didn’t manage to photograph it. This lake is man-made and each spring it is commercially stocked with carp for the table and for sport fishing. Each winter it is drained, and lies empty and, in theory, dry over winter, which greatly reduces the ability of pests and the parasites of fish to overwinter and wreak havoc with next year’s lot.

Lake near Golebiowki, Siedlce region

There are not many natural lakes within striking distance of Warsaw, even Zalew Zegrzynski, the large Y-shaped reservoir north of Warsaw at the confluence of the Bug and the Narew has been flooded artifically, but the North of poland has many more natural lakes from Mazury through to Pomerania, and some, such as Lake Sniardwy (Poland’s largest lake probably a few hundred times larger than the one above) are among the largest in Europe. The Polish Sniardwy compares to Lake Windermere in England or the Hungarian lake Balaton. Contact me for recommendations if you are planning a holiday in Poland.

Lake near Golebiowki, Siedlce region

More scenes from the other parts of Poland and coming up, as well as many other themes, but they will be reposted later on. I’ve done these seven for now, and I will move on to something else to avoid a monotony – especially of things you don’t usually see on this blog – and come back to the remainder of restoring this part of my old Usenetposts.com website some other time.

Old Usenetposts Gallery #6 Birch Forest

Gallery Page 6 – Birch forest in East Poland


The birch forest you see here is typical of East Poland. When I first came to this country 19% of the country was forest, including the largest original forest in Europe, the Bialowieski Park, home to the European bison. Now, because of tax breaks for reafforestation, the figure quoted is around 22%, making Poland one of the most forested countries in Europe. This is part of another piece of ancient woodland, not so large as Bialowieski, but not far off it. It contains a huge selection of wild forest fruits, and we always go here to collect cowberries, bilberries, cranberries, and a variety of edible wild mushrooms (not something to be done by the uninitiated, by the way, as you can end up with the ultimate gourmet event!). I cannot give the exact location, as in Poland it is tradition to keep one’s forest finds secret.

Polish birch forest in the summer – Photo taken at near Topory, Siedlce region June 2004

The typical fauna of the forest in this place are deer and boars, and storks and cranes are plentiful. Last time we came here we saw three cranes walking nearby, a very rare sight on the forest floor, as they are very cautious of humans.

More scenes from the same part of East Poland and coming up, as well as many other themes …

DJJ 13th February 2005

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