Michal and I are buying a plot of land some 16 kilometers south of Krakow. Once a farming field, it is now a tops bit of dirt for a home with views of the mountains based at the foot of a forest. To complete the cliché, when we visited it once, a deer ran across it. But what makes me very excited is the existing land owner. She is 74, never married and childless. Her arms are the size of tree trunks. Even at her age. She is the strongest woman I have ever seen. When our car got bogged, she came out to assist by pushing the damn vehicle out of the mud. And didn’t even slip. She spent the last week chopping down the trees and shrubbery to make a clearing for the road that the council is promising to build. They paid her 1000 zloty for the chopping (some AUD $450). Yet she is softly spoken and trusts you completely as long as she is confident you’re not out to screw her over. And we’re not. There is a small problem in closing the deal though. We’re taking out a mortgage for the land and the bank will only pay out the sum via account transfer. Normal, yes? Well not if you have never owned a bank account. As in ever. She was first hoping that we would arrive at the solicitor’s office with a suitcase full of cash (mind you, we did just that when we were putting down the 10% deposit), and was a tad disappointed when we asked her this evening to open a bank account to complete the contract of sale. I too was a bit shattered. I was really hoping to don some black shades, whack a cigar in my mouth, and slam a briefcase filled with 90 000 zloty and smirk ‘ya gonna count that?’ But she consented to the bank idea. Michal and I in the next week or so will drive her to Krakow and help her open an account. Fancy that! The vendor trusting the buyer with the vendor’s money! Only in Poland. In exchange we have agreed for her to plant some potatoes on what will soon be our plot. Nice bit of contracting that, methinks.