How can you tell Christmas is coming when you live in Czechland?
The appearence of the carp sellers.
No need to consult Delia Smith on how best to deal with a 15kg turkey you know you needn’t have bothered buying: in Czechland, the centrepiece of the festive spread is fish and potato salad. Or if you’re really lucky, fish head soup.
The two gentlemen in the photo above are from a village near Brno. The one on the right comes to Prague every year to sell his wares; they both had to sleep in the car to keep an eye on their goods. I tried to engage them in witty banter or rather, grammatically inaccurate smalltalk. Disappointingly, neither of them seemed that interested in the fact that I’m an Anglicanka or that I find all this choose your own carp business very exotic. Oh well. They did agree to pose for the photo.
I hope the hammer is for dispatching the fish rather than attacking passers-by.
Normally I have already flown to England before the carp sellers set up their stalls so seeing all this fishy produce on offer on the streets of Prague has made me rather snap happy. I know someone in the comments asked for more pictures of statues covered in snow. Here’s a fish head instead.
The carp swim around in the huge buckets you can see behind the table covered in blood and guts: you choose the one which catches your eye and then either get your friendly carp seller to chop its head off or take it home and keep it in the bath until the big day and do the gory business yourself.
On the way back to The Village, we stopped at a small town en route to meet with one of Czechman’s former schoolmates (see! I used that word!). He pulled out his mobile phone and proudly showed us a picture of the three carp he has swimming around in the tub. Not for much longer. Christmas Day in Czechland is less than 24 hours away. You will, of course, receive a full report right here. For now, another amusing tale of my efforts to communicate in Czech.
‘What do you have for dinner on Christmas Day in England?’ asked Czechman’s mum while we were decorating the Christmas tree together.
‘Klokan’, I replied.
Laughter ensued. The word I wanted, of course, was ‘krocan’. The only ‘klokany’ in Europe are in zoos. No doubt just as tasty as their feathered wattle-necked friends. As for the carp, I’ll let you know.