Monthly Archives: December 2011

Goodbye Vaclav Havel

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So today’s post was supposed to be my customary mix of amusing photos and ironic comments poking fun at Christmas markets. However, instead Girl In Czechland would like to say farewell to “Czech hero” * Vaclav Havel, who has just passed away.  No one individual was responsible for overthrowing the Czechoslovak Communist regime but Havel played a major role in leading Czechs towards and during freedom.

He wrote plays too. Lots of them. Some of them are quite good.

What was most fascinating to me as an outsider was how humble Havel appeared to be: a rare thing indeed in any politician, let alone a national leader. Humility can be feigned of course but it seemed genuine. I greatly enjoyed watching Citizen Havel, a fly on the wall documentary of his first few years in office after the Velvet Revolution. The viewer is rewarded with intriguing glimpses of life behind the scenes at the Castle. Like Klaus getting in a sulk because Havel doesn’t immediately invite him along when Bill Clinton’s due to play the saxophone at a club in Prague.

Poor Klaus. If he’s mourned at an international level it will be only as the man who stole that other guy’s pen.

Back to Havel. I know he wasn’t universally admired among Czechs and it certainly isn’t up to me as a foreigner to judge the success or failure of his two terms as president.

However, even a cynic like me can’t help but wish that more of those in power who strive to make truth and love triumph over hate and lies.

*Havel was described as a “Czech hero” in the headline on the Guardian website when it reported on his death.



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A hilarious post about Anglo-Czech relations at Christmas

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This was supposed to be a sidesplittingly funny post about Czechman and Ms Girlova’s different views on how a proper Christmas ought to be.

Let’s turn our attention to Disagreement #1: The Christmas Tree.

When I was growing up, we used the same plastic one every year until my mum decided to buy one of those fancy fibre optic ones which precluded the need for fairylights.

I digress.

When he was Czechboy, my beloved had a genuine pine tree in the corner of the living room. Now he’s Czechman, only the real deal will do. A fake fir will only enter our home over his proverbial dead body.

The photo which makes up the last post is an attempt at compromise.  Czechman’s mum gave us some fir branches which you can see I’ve placed in a vase and gone to a good deal of trouble to make as festive as possible with decorations both handmade and shop-bought. The orange spiral is my first ever circular bit of crochet.  These days I am quite the happy hooker.

I digress again.

Anyway, my silly blog then went and decided to publish the photo of my festive arrangement by itself! If you’ve been following Girl in Czechland you will know that I would never publish a post without including any words.

I started to lose my temper with all things tech-related. My creative mojo had packed its bags and fled.  Without that initial spark of inspiration, all I’m capable of producing is this poor excuse of a post. Sorry.

Still it isn’t all bad. There has barely been a single flake of snow this year which is good news for someone who spends all winter living in fear of death by falling icicle. I also took some nice snaps of signs that that Prague can still look festive even without the white stuff. This lovely golden mistletoe is on sale outside the church near Jindřišská along with – yes, you guessed it – Christmas trees:


Speaking of trees, this little knitted stromeček is all my own work. Not impressed? At least it won’t shed pine needles all over the carpet.


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