On Friday 14 August the First Polish Get Together took place at Polish Cafe-Restaurant HAK in Robertson Street, Hastings.
The aim of the meeting was to bring together Poles living in Hastings and Rother and aid integration with the local community. It was also to encourage many more people to get involved and participate in events prepared together.
POETRY AND MUSIC
The evening was organised in the spirit of poetry by Adam Mickiewicz, a 19th century Polish poet who had to become an emigrant due to the political situation in his own country. Since the aim was integration both the introduction and poetry reading were prepared in Polish and English. The Polish presenter was Elżbieta (Elizabeth) who is also behind the idea of organising such events in and by the Polish community. The poems ‘Ode to Youth’ and ‘Uncertainty’ were beautifully read by Danusia. Oscar, our 13 year old English star of the evening who without hesitation agreed to help us to prepare this evening only a couple of days earlier read both the introduction and the poems.He amused the audience with the poetry and his innate charm. Throughout the evening the guests could hear in the background music by Chopin played from a specially compiled recording.
Honorata Góralczyk’s guests at Cafe-Restaurant HAK had an opportunity to talk to her about the cafe’s menu and other offers. Ela talked about her ideas which she would like to introduce and develop in the framework of her new initiative called the European Club for Successful People and Ola represented the Polish Association in Hastings and Surrounding Areas.
POLISH FOOD TASTING
The meeting was full of good vibrations and it was accompanied by a tasting session of a few Polish dishes. There was a potato soup called ‘kartoflanka’ and four types of Polish pierogi [pronounced ‘pyeroghi’] (a dish which could be described as something between dumplings and tortellini). The fillings available were meat, sauerkraut-mushroom, potato-white soft cheese and buckwheat). The guests also tasted Polish bread with ‘smalec’ [pronounce ‘smahletz’] (home-made specially prepared lard with pieces of meat and fried onions) and gherkins. Everyone was delighted with the food, although children especially loved the soup, the four of them (3 British children and 1 Polish one) even had second and third helpings of the dish.
All seats at the cafe were taken, some guests had to stand. It was difficult to predict how many people would arrive due to short notice and the fact that the event took place relatively early in the evening (at 6pm). We were expecting anything between 10 and 50 people. I counted 37 which is a very good turnout. Half of those were Poles, the other half were mainly the British, but we also had locals who come from other countries. The special guests were the representative of East Sussex County Council Councillor Trevor Webb, and from Hastings Borough Council we had Councillor Alan Roberts and Councillor Peter Armstrong with his wife Jackie.
The evening turned out to be a great success and we hope to organise similar events at least every two months. Very soon you will be able to see an events calendar at Cafe-Restaurant HAK. We are planning to hold poetic readings, functions and meetings of the Polish Association. All participants in any of the above are encouraged to sign the cafe’s Guest Book.
Everyone is welcome.
On behalf of the organisers I would like to thank everyone for coming. I would also like to thank all those who were involved in the preparation of this evening, especially Honorata who offered to use her cafe as the venue and who, along with Krystyna, Danusia and Ela made over 450 pierogis. Further thanks are for Ela, Danusia and especially Oscar for running the event and beautifully reading poetry. Thanks also to everyone who contributed to the welcoming and warm spirit of the evening.
* Cafe Hak closed on January 2010
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