Saturday, 11 June 2011

One Month Old / Poland

What a crazy little whirlwind the last few weeks have been. From shooting my first 'weddings', to getting them both featured on RocknRoll Bride and the Wedding Community Blog. Things just seem to have exploded and I seem to be being flooded with enquiries! It's all good though! It's amazing, I guess if something is meant to be then all it needs is the first initial push. The rest will just gather its own speed and momentum. It's funny, a feature on RocknRoll Bride is kind of where I put the bench mark for the future, I never thought I'd be ticking that off with with my first attempt! This week ended with a beautiful email I received from someone, telling me just how inspirational they found my work. I was totally over whelmed that someone would even take the time to email and tell me that. Hopefully, here's to many more months like this in the future!! 

Slap bang in the middle of all this was our little 'oliday. Last week we went away for a small break to Gdansk, Poland. My wife Emily is half polish on her Dad's side. The family came to England sometime in the late 50's and have only ever been back once since. Em's Aunt Gina celebrated her 70th birthday this year. For a gift, myself, Emily, her brother Simon and their 2 cousins (little) Gina and Mark decided to take (big) Gina back to Poland to visit her home town. What followed was a lovely little holiday, of 32oC sunshine, massive dandelions and lots of lody (ice cream).

Whilst this was predominantly just a lovely break, returning to Poland did have a huge significance for the whole family. Emily's family came over for a short holiday once before, in the late 80s. Having lost contact with his Polish relations, Em's Dad Tom, took the family back with an intention of trying to trace his own father. Knowing he was a doctor, they managed to trace him back to a surgery in Sopot. Unfortunately when they got there, his father's name wasn't on the board. They never enquired any further and the trail ended.

This must have struck a chord with Tom when they got back, because shortly after he sent a letter to an Uncle to make further enquiries, with the possibility of maybe going back there again. Sadly, that trip back never happened and sometime after that Emily's Dad passed away in a tragic microlite accident.

In the subsequent years, the idea of going back was often discussed, however Gina never thought it would happen in her lifetime. We traced the path back to Sopot and to the old farm house where Gina spent a lot of her early years while staying with her Grandparents. Amazingly the farmhouse was still standing, although now just an old decrepit shell.

Next to this was the old frozen lake, where Gina fell through the ice as a child, only to be pulled out and beaten with birch sticks to warm up.

And then on to the apartment, opposite the old Swedish Embassy, where Gina and Tom lived as Children. Gina's main recollection of those days is of a spy using their front room to spy on the Embassy. I was absolutely fascinated by it all.

There aren't many people who I've met that have had such a colourful life as Gina. Her life is a long tale of tragedy and wonder, yet you will never meet anyone more humble and unassuming. I want someone to write a book on her life. Maybe one day they will….

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