Monday, 13 July 2009

Młochów - Welcome Summer Family Picnic

27 June was the date set for Nadarzyn local authority's annual summer festival with Młochów Palace Park being particularly appropriate as the venue - it coincided with its reopening date after renovation.

The report in Nadarzyn News July edition, with additional pictures on page 13 is as follows:

This year's festival in Młochów - Welcome Summer - took place on 27 June. Nadarzyn Arts Centre, as every year, prepared a multitude of attractions for both the youngest and adults. Even the capricious June weather turned out kind, so that, apart from the performances, participants of the festival could also admire Młochów park, in which renovation work is drawing to an end.

The first Family Picnic took place on Sunday afternoon, 28 June, on the church-side area of a park in Nadarzyn. Holy Mass starting the community afternoon was presided over by J.E. Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz - Metropolitan of Warsaw.

The Church

However, the most awaited point of the picnic - by the youngest - was the opening of the playground. The symbolical cutting of the ribbon was done by the Parish-priest of Nadarzyn Parish, the Mayor of the Gmina, and a representative of SEGRO (sponsor of the children' play equipment), while those who were obviously most interested, that is to say the children, occupied the playground from the start until the end of the event. The afternoon was full of various attractions for all the family. There was a raffle, barbecue, various competitions and games for children, stage performances, etc.

Alongside the many Nadarzyn resident visitors and their guests, were the representatives of Nadarzyn Gmina local authority, of course, with Mayor Janusz Grzyb at their head, plus a delegation from the friendly Ukrainian Gmina of Hostomel with Mayor Anatoli Kiriczenko. The Picnic concluded with a concert by Orchestra OSP Nadarzyn under the leadership of Mirosław Chilmanowicz.

The playground, as Parish Priest Andrew Wieczorek emphasised, grew out of a social initiative supported by Nadarzyn Parish and Gmina Nadarzyn local authority.

The Palace, with children's playground to the left.

I am sorry that there are so few photographs, but we arrived, took the dog for a walk around the park and then I was told we had to leave. We had a good, if distant view of the evening's fireworks, however.

The park still had quite a bit of work to do on it, but this was not surprising after nearly two months of heavy rain and storms.

Polish-English Translators

I have been using Kompas' Polish-English Translator for sometime. It provides excellent results for my purposes, but it is hard work. I decided to try out Techland's xt Professional to see if it was easier to use. Despite remembering it from the past as being roughly equal in quality, my first reaction was very negative. I decided to make a comparison test. The results are available as a PDF document.

The conclusions were:
The test was designed to found out which of the two programs was best for producing good quality English translations by someone who knows English and relatively little Polish. Judgements are inevitably personal and there may be some bias towards the Kompas product based on familiarity and satisfaction with it. I have tried to balance judgement to take account of this. However, it must still be concluded that Kompas Polish English Translator 4 is clearly superior to Techland's English Translator xt Professional.

Kompas provides an effective working framework for producing quality translations, which is completely absent in Techland. Only Kompas provides the easy ability to edit a full translation within a window in a way that is familiar to any word processor user. It gives easy access to automatically generated word options in the same way as a spell checker, whilst providing many other translation tools.

Statistical comparison of the two suggests that Kompas has better automatic translation, although the need to subsequently edit both versions may reduce the impact of this. Weird translations abound in both, but Techland had numerically more failures and provided two translations that were misleadingly wrong, both of which resulted in an incorrect final translation. Problematical translations are far more easily identified and corrected in Kompas. The ability to turn off word re-ordering in Kompas is a major advantage in analysing the text as changing word and sentence order is as often detrimental as beneficial.

Integration into Open Office for Techland remains an interesting feature, but the low quality of the translation makes it little more than a novelty feature. There may be other features of Techland's translator that are superior that have not been used or appreciated in this assessment. It can, for instance, be quickly noticed that Techland is much simpler and is probably easier to use by someone who is less able to assess the quality of the output eg a Polish speaker with limited English. Kompas, on the other hand, may be a product for those who accept that a lot of work is required.

Price is inevitably a feature of product value, with Kompas being significantly cheaper in addition.

A second comparison showed:
Positive to Techland was further evidence of its better grammar handling when making automatic word substitution. (However, this would not have made any difference if Kompas' full editing capability had been used. NB It was not used to make the comparison as Techland does not have this capability.) On the other hand, Techland's re-ordering of words again seriously distorted the meanings, resulting in incorrect translation. Kompas' dictionary - both in automatic translation and manual checking of words - was also found to be superior, especially (but not only) in its inclusion of a much wider range of phrases.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Młochów written history

The weather has been wet and windy, so I have not been able to get out much to take photographs. However, I have been able to take time to get together a summary of Młochów's history from the internet. I was offered more unpublished information yesterday when I was making final corrections, but rather than wait further, I am putting everything as it stands so far on a downloadable file. I will wait to produce a summary, however.

The file is at It is a large file with many pictures, maps, etc, so you may wish to copy it to your computer before you open it.

The description of the history of the village focuses largely on the palace and its owners, but I have put it in the context of the local town and the national politics that may have affected the people who lived here. It is very much targeted at those of us who have little or no idea of Polish history and tries to give a a glimpse of some of this.

I have not yet decided how to make the names more readable and will try to do this when I update the text. If anyone (TurkeyHunter?) has anything to add to the history, please let me know.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Młochów Ancient History

Vandals in Młochów

View of Młochów village from the direction of the archaeological sites

Not local louts, either, but the real thing. The Vandals of ancient history; the guys who later went round Western Europe, arriving in Rome in 455 AD to have fun in good football supporter style, smashing, burning, stealing and kissing the pretty women without their consent (probably).

A unified and illustrated translation of a number of articles on archaeological finds in Młochów, with historical background based on the work of Stefan Woyda (pronounced Voida) are available in 'Archaeological History of Młochów, Poland'. An extensive range of independent notes have also been added. It is available as a PDF file from Fileden. NB: it is a large document and it may be better to save it to disk first.

Looking along the Cold Water stream. The Vandal settlements will have been on either side of it

The Vandals were melting iron and making weapons, tools or maybe jewellery and household items in the north of Młochów in the 1st and 2nd centuries. This was part of major iron and iron product manufacturing area, with many production sites having been found within a distance of about 15 km/10 miles north of Młochów. So much iron was produced in this area that it was clearly not just for local use. A very rough estimate suggests that it may have produced enough to supply 11th Century Britain with all its needs. Stefan Woyda suggested that this was one of the two centres - the other in Poland's Holy Cross Mountains - created by leaders of the Barbarians in order to produce enough weapons for the whole Barbarian world to defeat the all-powerful Romans.

Looking along the western side of the Cold Water. The tyres are from an old racing track, possibly for go-karting

The Młochów site appears to have been chosen because it was on the dry slopes either side of the Cold Water stream. It started work later than many other sites and is quite small in comparison with others. It is also further south and some distance from other sites, so it seems a reasonable guess that this was an off-shoot of the main centre, perhaps being an independent effort in an separate village.

An overgrown part of one of the streams leading to the Cold Water

In the middle of the 3rd Century, a specialist kiln to produce pottery was built and used in Młochów, making pottery turned on a potter's wheel. This is the only one known to exist in central Poland, with others only existing in the south. Old pots were made by hand and fired on an open fire. Although it probably produced inferior quality to that in the south and eventually collapsed whilst it was baking pots, its discovery in 2004 allowed Stefan Woyda to theorise about the highly spiritual nature of the people that limited acceptance of this new technology.

'Archaeological History of Młochów, Poland' adds lots of ideas about the meaning of the iron and pottery site.

A small pond on the western edge of the iron settlement

It is unclear what sort of lifestyle the Vandals had beyond the iron and pottery production. They are described as herders and farmers, although the balance between the two seems unclear. The existence of the iron and pottery sites give the impression of a reasonable stable and peaceful area, although the level of weapons production must also imply an underlying level of fear or aggression.

In the forest in Młochów. The remains of a recreated dug-out hut is in the centre

Today's countryside in Młochów is a combination of fields and woodland, with little sign that either have existed unchanged for centuries. The use of charcoal for iron production shows that woodland existed in those times. The pattern of modern streams, sometimes now partly existing as road side or field drainage, without any significant channels being carved through the centuries show that there would have been significant marshland, with the iron site possibly being an exceptional area of a clearly flowing stream.

Bronze age people also lived at this site, said to be in about 1000 BC. Sadly nothing more has been found about this.

In the forest in Młochów. This combination of grassland and woods might have been similar to the ancient landscape

A wooden manor house and farm buildings were also found to have been here dating from somewhere between the 16th and 19th Centuries. Stefan Woyda originally thought it may have been destroyed in the Swedish Wars in Poland, but this may have been a rather wild guess as the date isn't even clear. However, there seems to have been some sort of disaster, as cows and horse were buried very close to where the house was.

The Młochów clouds will have been familiar

Although I have called the inhabitants of Młochów 'Vandals', the correct term for the people is the Przeworsk Culture (pronounced Pshevorsk), which is an archaeologically identified group that survived form the 3rd/2nd Century BC to the 4th/5th Century AD through central and southern Poland down to Romania. The Vandals are widely described as being 'identified with' the Przeworsk culture, although, from the internet, Roman descriptions seem to suggest that the Lugians lived in the South of Poland, whilst the Burgundians lived in the centre (eg in Młochów). Lugians are normally identified with the Vandals. Although I trust the internet for its faithful depictions of points of view, I do not trust its historic truth. Neither do I have faith in Roman descriptions of an area where they never lived, must have had only vague knowledge and for which their historians had a free hand in inventing information to fill gaps - historians do the same today of course, but are more likely to be challenged. My own prejudice is to like the idea of living where 'Vandals' once lived - the most famous of the ancient tribes because of the modern survival of the word through the existence of the hordes of vandals that inhabit the modern world.

The buildings may have changed, but winters will have still have been harsh

Not that all Poles with an interest in these tribes would agree with me. The Vandals are considered to be Germanic, whilst Lugians are thought to be Celtic, so Polish internet opinion either separates the two or to argue for significant intermixing. (The likelihood that this view is driven by nationalistic anti-German views does not mean that it is not true. Anyone brought up in England under the shadows of 20th Century history will understand the emotion, although Poles can add centuries more conflict to their bias. English attitudes strongly assert that the English peoples changed too much to be considered Germanic. How cares? Would White Anglo-Saxons Americans, as they used to be called, actually care if they were called White Germanic Americans? My own prejudices lead me to doubt whether it is right to say that the ancient Germanic peoples are the same as modern Germans.)

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Photos: Park and Nursery School

Having written the notes last time, I went out to get some more pictures.

The nursery school is in Spring Street, so I went to get some pictures of it. The photo of the back view came out best:

More pictures at 2009 04 Nursery School

Walking further down the road, there is a traditional wooden house:

From 2009 04 Nursery School

Although most new houses are standard brick, etc construction, there are two modern wooden houses a little further to compare with the old. Here's one:

From 2009 04 Nursery School

Wandering along further I come across a back entrance (or temporary work entrance perhaps) to the Palace Park. When I went round the park before I was very impressed with the bridge between two of the ponds, which looked very ancient with old brick, no side guards, but a young couple sitting with their feet over the side. The renovation makes it look very different:

More pictures at 2009 04 Mlochow Palace and Park renovation

Saturday, 18 April 2009

The Palace and the Environment

Nadarzyn News has two items in the April edition.

The park in Młochów

Works on renovation of the park in Młochów began in August last year. Supervised by the conservator of ancient monuments, the park was cleared of excessive growth and unwanted self-sown plants. The three arch bridge was restored, ponds were cleaned of mud, the existing brick wall was renewed and extended to surround almost all of the rest of the park . Lamps have been installed in part of the park and the first paths are now hardening. There is still a lot to do, but it has to the summer to be finished. The contractor is FLISBUD Building and Assembly Works, who will look after the care of the plants under care guarantee for the following year.

The Palace and two Pavilions: click here for more photos

The front end of the park

Ecological activities - a meeting with a forest warden in the Public Nursery School in Młochów

Care for the natural environment is an all-important part of our work with the children in our nursery school. We teach children to respect nature, we sensitise them to her beauty and we make them realise the necessity of her care and protection.

To help children love and respect nature, we organize a series of activities each year on environmental education to ensure that children have direct contact with nature through walks, excursions, observations and personal activity. One way we have of increasing understanding of nature is periodic meetings with a forester warden. Our nursery school entertained one of the workers of the Chojnów Forest Inspectorate Service on 27 February. He came to the meeting in official uniform, bringing many interesting and little well-known things with him eg. a 'klupe' – an instrument for measuring the girth of trees, and a device by which foresters measure a tree's height. Children listened with interest to stories about the types of trees met in our forests and about the life of its inhabitants. Without difficulty, the pre-school children recognized well known trees shown on coloured boards: beech, oak, maple, lime, rowan, ash, spruce.

Fascinating for the children (and all of us) was to learn that the sound of a dog barking in the forest, might actually be the call of a male roe-deer. During the meeting the children improved their knowledge of the lives of beavers. They learnt a great deal, eg that beavers cut logs to build dams, and they build mounds called beaver lodges from branches and mud. The tail of a beaver is called a trowel, which, by splashing, serves as a rudder to control the depth of immersion. Beavers also use tails to communicate between themselves: splashing the tail warns other beavers of danger. The children were delighted to hear the description of the tusks of the wild boar (the pipe and sabre) and the end of its snout (the snuff-box). The forester said a lot to children about the behaviour of different forest animals (roe-deer, red deer, squirrels) and birds that are seen in the winter. During the session, they children enriched their knowledge of tits (great, blue and crested). They also learnt of two birds whose favourite dainty is the seed from pine-cones: the hawfinch and crossbill.

Children had time to look at and touch the exhibits that were placed around the the room. Among them were insect traps designed to assess the number of the chosen insects in the habitat, a stag's antlers, the bark of a spruce with channels made by the bark beetle, imprints of the hooves of wild boar, roe-deer and squirrels... During the session, children asked questions and showed a lot of interest in the subject. Finally, all of the children gave the leader of the activity a small, personally drawn picture of winter birds, and every child was given a set of ecological coloured pencils. The next activity will take place at the Chojnów Forest Inspectorate educational footpath.

The dark side of life

Nadarzyn News gives a regular list of the local police and fire brigade activities in the month. All I have seen for Młochów before was a haystack on fire, but in March there was some crime reported, as follows:

03/02/2009 The Fire brigade went to look at fire at a firm in Chestnut Alley. No fire-fighting activity required.

20/01/09, about 7.25am the police arrested two men, citizens of Georgia, suspected of stealing a laptop worth approx 2,000 zloty from a firm in Młochów during the night of 15-16/01/09. At about 9.30, the police arrested four men suspected of stealing laptops jointly worth approx 11,125zl on 12/12/2008 from a firm in Młochów.

Monday, 2 March 2009


I was thinking that it might be nice to put some local news items in this blog to give a more general idea of where I live, so I looked in the local newspaper and found this item about the local nursery school. Its one of those heart-warming, "isn't life wonderful" stories, which I rather liked. My translation may not be perfect, but I hope the spirit of the original survives.

Nadarzyn News - February 2009
Local Authority Newspaper

The Public Nursery School in Młochów

"No one else is in a position to give children what grandparents provide:
they sprinkle the dust of stars on the lives of their grandchildren.”
A. Haley

From the beginning of January, the children in the nursery school were already preparing themselves for this important day. After all, grandparents – loving and dear, warm and understanding - forgive their beloved grandchildren for even their worst naughtiness.

We began with the preparation of the repertoire, then we designed the invitations for our special guests:

My dears, the time is near
We want you with us here.
Free time please set aside,
Our door we'll open wide.

Because now we wish to invite you,
There's a show that will delight you.
It will be a very great display
Grannies' Day and Grandpas' Day.

For you shall not regret
Your spare time that you set
Get ready soon to move
To the Public Nursery School
In Młochów (Mwo-hoov).

For two weeks, the children were absorbed in preparing presents - surprises and cards. This year, all the groups prepared 2009 calendars for their Grandmothers and Grandfathers. (Every group according to their own ideas, of course). Then the children created greeting cards. Next came portraits of their darling Grandma, oh, and their beloved Grandpa, of course. A lot of time was devoted to creating the artistic part of the show (songs, poetry, dances).

At last, the long-awaited day came. From 14.00, the invited guests began to assemble in the gymnasium. The nursery school children could not wait to see their grandparents, but at the beginning they had to make do with a quick kiss – only after the performance would there be time to nestle on the shoulders of Granny and Grandpa.

Performances began by the "Middles", after them came the "Little Ones" and then came the "Elders". Every group had in its own repertoire of poetry, songs, dances and instrumental performances. The children did not expect such a hot reaction during the performance: loud cheers, whooping grandfathers. Cries of "Bravo!", Super!”, "Good, Good!, etc" are only some of the calls of joy and satisfaction coming from the guests.

After the performance, the grandchildren could at last embrace their Grannies and Granddads in their own rooms during a shared tea-party. The nursery school children were not a disappointment here either and showed, with good manners, their respect towards their guests – first they found seats for Grandma and Grandpa, and sat themselves down only if there was a vacant seat or they sat on Granny's lap. They treated their guests to sandwiches and tea. Last of all, every child handed over the personally made presents and greetings card.

For the nursery school children, this was one of most eagerly awaited and happy days. Grandparents took the day off on work especially for them, and came from different parts of Poland to view their performance: just so that they could stay with them for these few moments. For these guests, the details were not important (not standing straight, unfinished lines, etc). Of importance was just the grandson or granddaughter, after all they are even more their darlings than their own children.

It was clear that between grandparents and grandchildren there is such a wonderful bond. Grandparents almost always know what it means to bring up their grandchildren patiently and with smiles, to speak calmly and brightly, to joke, to play and to make them happy. The child knows that busy and hard-working parents do not have not time to listen, but grandparents will always will find the time, will listen, will console, will advise, and will simply interest themselves in the problems. It doesn't matter whether the child is nursery or junior school, the child's problem is important, even if it is just about a broken toy car or doll.

Grandma and Granddad are as irreplaceable now as they have always been: ready to sacrifice their own time, to care, be patient, and give their hearts to their beloved grandchildren.

Bożena Grochowska
The Public Nursery School in Młochów