I’ve finally done it.
Bared all at a česky nudist beach (despite the inclement weather)? Dipped a rohlík into a yogurt and called that my dinner?
No, I’m afraid it’s far worse than that.
I’ve joined Twitter.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will have already spotted my first few tweets which now adorn the top right of the blog. Feel free to retweet, follow or ignore my musings as you see fit.
In an attempt to compensate for my recent lengthy silence, here are some posts I nearly wrote this year – but didn’t – in a condensed form. You could call them my first tentative steps in the realm of micro-blogging (but of course they all exceed 140 characters).
1. The Hairy Hell’s Angel Who Left Me Speechless (and with a Sore Behind)
We are at the village for the weekend. Not an unusual occurence. I am walking down the stairs in the Village People’s panelak on my way out to do the usual Grandma visiting.
A bearded Hell’s Angel with a basket and a beer belly is coming up the stairs. I’ve never met him before in my life. We pass – but not before he has whacked me on the behind with the big wooden stick he’s brandishing, saying by way of explanation, ‘Zasloužíš si to!’ – you deserve it.
It’s Easter. We’re in Czechland. Hitting ladies with wooden sticks will not get you arrested: in fact, it’s a key Czech male rite of passage.
2. Vaclav Havel Has Only Got One Lung
I’m feeling a little down in the dumps. Worn out. Blue. I ring Czechman at work for some cheering up.
‘But I’m so tired,’ I moan. ‘For no reason,’ I wail.
‘It’s the weather,’ replies Czechman. ‘It’s so strange – one minute it’s hot, the next there’s a storm. Even Vaclav Havel is tired I heard.’
‘Isn’t that because he’s only got one lung?’
3. Pani Hitlerová, Yoga Teacher
In another (misguided?) attempt at integration, I begin attending yoga classes. In Czech. I’ve done a fair amount of yoga in my time so figure that if I don’t understand what’s going on, I can just copy everyone else. The flaw in my plan is that I’ve forgotten how much time you spend in a yoga class with your head between your legs and your backside in the air. This makes it rather difficult to see what’s going on around you.
I’m doing my very best downward dog in just this the position when the teacher – let’s call her Pani Hitlerová – heads over and starts shouting instructions at me. ‘Dlaně od sebe!’
I try moving my feet a bit further down the mat. Nope, that’s not what she meant.
‘Dlaně od sebe!‘ she yells again.
‘Rozumíte mi?’ I hear her asking somewhere above my head.
I hate admitting that I don’t understand but perhaps the time has come. ‘Ne,’ I reply.
Actions do indeed speak louder than words. Pani Hitlerlová responds by kicking my hands apart.
And I thought yoga was a non-contact sport. Not in Czechland it seems.
I’ll never forget the word ‘dlaně‘ though. It means ‘palms’.
4. Another Czech word I wish I’d known (but now will never forget)
It’s Saturday morning. The sun is shining outside but I’m wandering around Tesco looking for the one item I specifically came in to find. I need to ask for help. The problem is, it’s a toilet brush. Which I’m not sure how to say.
I consider stopping a Tesco employee, saying the word ‘zachod’ (toilet) which I do know and then miming a frantic scrubbing action.
I text Czechman instead to save embarrassment. And it’s ‘štěka na záchod‘ in case you ever find yourself in the same situation.
5. Cue Applause
A piece of advice for those of you planning a trip to the theatre here in Prague – and no, I’m not going to tell you to leave the jeans and trainers at home, because I hope that would be obvious.
When the curtain falls at the end, remember to clap. A lot. Until your hands turn red.
Try it now. If your broadband connection is really good, perhaps I’ll hear you.