Birthday Bombki


I celebrated The Frustrated Gardener’s second birthday yesterday in one of the farthest corners of Poland, near the city of Wroclaw. The countryside in the south west of the country is pastoral and green, a gently ruffled counterpane of orchards, wildflower meadows, small villages and forests. There are bees and song birds in their trillions, filling the air with the sounds of summer. Every hedgerow is powerfully scented with elderflower, acacia and lime blossom, perfect for making honey.

Few counties in England retain this degree of bucolic charm. Perhaps Shropshire and Herefordshire might meet the mark, but cover a much smaller area than mineral-rich Silesia, of which Wroclaw is the capital. The extent of the verdure is lovely to behold, a reminder of how England might have been were it not for centuries of population growth and agricultural ‘progress’.

If you are wondering what took me to this far flung part of Europe, it was neither scenery nor wildlife, but the traditional art of blowing glass to make Christmas baubles. No one makes baubles (known locally as ‘bombki’) like the Polish, who still hand-blow and decorate each and every decoration with remarkable precision. Below I am reflected in a silvered glass bauble that’s waiting to be lacquered.


Mission accomplished, a 168 mile drive took me to Krakow, from where I flew to London Stansted. After a quick luggage swap at Liverpool Street station (thanks to Him Indoors for giving up a quiet Friday night in front of the TV), I hot-footed it to Paddington to board the Night Riviera Sleeper, one of the last remaining sleeper trains in the UK. Tired and crotchety I shut the door to my cabin on platform 1 and awoke at 6am to views of mist rising over the forest flanking Bodmin Moor. I had arrived in Cornwall.


Today has been spent at Trevoole in the company of Beth, Travis, my sister Katherine and niece Martha. Seeing them has made the long, tiresome journey worthwhile. As always the farm looks fresh, unbridled and vital – a lot more similar to its Polish equivalent than I might have considered before my trip. A big dose of Cornish fresh air has left me feeling sleepy but invigorated as I embark on year three of my great blogging experiment.

Look out for a full update on Trevoole shortly. Meanwhile I shall leave you tonight with a few more Birthday bombki.