A polarized peopleThe Poles are either bubbling with life, or comatose; they love or they loathe. It is this total commitment to the occupation of the moment which earns them the reputation of being mercurial. As Hemar wrote in his song: If only Poles did systematically and economically what they do spontaneously, they would be perfect.” Necessity is the mother of inventionKey national characteristics are adaptability, a knack for improvisation, and the ability to make the best of what is available. A good Polish cook is one who can make gourmet soup from a rusty nail. The Polish touchDevotion to style pervades all areas of life: the table might be rickety, but it is covered with a snowy tablecloth and decorated with a vase of flowers. Never say neverWhen the Communists rather foolishly tried to stop the Poles practicing their religion, the churches filled to overflowing. Forbidden” is a term of encouragement to a Pole.