Winter in Poland is cold - it is -20°C today and the rivers and lakes are frozen over. Hot food helps and was thus consumed. I hope I am wrong, but it appears to me that Polish cuisine consists of cabbage, cabbage, cabbage, potatoes and some meat. And large dill pickles. This is what lunch today suggested in any case: I had 3 different types of cabbage piled high onto my plate - red cabbage, cole-slow and sauerkraut - by a lovely little old lady in the local eatery who thought I lacked essential gasses.

I am not here for the food, I am here for the beer. No, really: I am involved in a data migration project for a brewery in Poland. And in answer to your question: Yes, there is free beer!

Being in the business of Data Migration, one inevitably needs to get into the details of the local language to make sense of the data. I made a little detour into the Polish Language and my discoveries thus far reveal this:

The Polish language is interesting from a masochist's point of view: it has 7 cases - so every verb is conjugated in 7 different ways for each tense. What excruciating fun! And it has 3 genders (like German), but it has no articles, as in the English "the" and "a/an", so that at least is one bit of grammar that the student of Polish can dispense with. "What, no articles?", I ask. "No, totally superfluous", said the sanguine Pole who made my laptop work today here in Poznań. Apparently it had to be reverse-configured for the reverse-proxy. My suspicions of the old urban myth about Poles were immediately confirmed: More things than usual are in reverse order in Poland than in other places in the world and computers are no exception. The Poles even have a mathematical notation called "Reverse Polish Notation" (RPN). The Poles invented this and many other great things that go in the direction that other things come from.

But I digress. Back to what happens when you don't have articles in your language: This has some unintended consequences for article-bereft Poles who learn to speak English and enthusiastically bung these newly-discovered linguistic artefacts in everywhere, even where they don't belong, like in front of proper names. The famous little children's rhyme now becomes an arrhythmic, polish variant: "The Jack and the Jill went up the hill". To continue in my own vain: "To fetch a bottle of beer".