Monday, June 15, 2009

Visit to London

We just got back from London. Unexpected trip it was. I don’t really want to get sympathy from anyone, but my old Gran died. She was 86. Most people think that Grans are nicer than Mums. Not in my case, Gran always thought I was undisciplined and spoilt, every visit as a child was always a lecture about modern living and of course the usual favourite for old Londoners, Yes, you’ve guessed it …. THE BLITZ!!!!!!!!!!

I think everyone in Great Britain knows about how London fared during the Blitz. Same old clich├ęs. Plucky firemen, Winston Churchill visiting ruined houses and fighting with Germans on the beaches, the Queen Mother singing songs to locals in her big fur coat, my gran making pots of tea for old ladies in the Tube stations, kids wearing big labels waiting to be evacuated and going to live with mysterious writers in big rambling country houses with ghosts. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I don’t want to be cycnical or anything , but there’s a kind of romance about it all now.

This side of London is all but gone now, but things have always moved on.

For example , Gran was a bit too young too remember highwaymen getting a public hanging outside Newgate Prison or the hunt for Jack the Ripper, but what will be remembered about us?

I think it’s strange that no-one has ever disguised the fact that London has always been a tough place to live, for example Charles Dickiens wrote books about the poverty and inequality of living in London. And what do we do, we romanticise it, don’t we. All those nice costume drama’s and interesting characters.

So when future generation learn about a tough and unfair life in London during the early part of the 21st century, all the characters will be cute and funny and there’ll be lots of romantic snow lying all around.

Makes me glad to be in Brno again, and the snow’s along way off.

One last comment, about Nutter of the Week. One of Grans friends brought Grans budgie to the funeral, the cage even had a black ribbon round it. It chirped through the Vicar’s sermon and now we don’t know where it is.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Day at home and other ramblings

I cancelled all my lessons today, just felt like it and stayed at home. Watched a few DVD’s. Some film and then Catweazle. Yeah, I know I was too young for Catweazle, but he was here in Czechoslovakia and readily approved by the Communists. Exactly why, defeats all reason, possibly because he opposed William the Conqueror. Maybe because he kept a frog called Touchwood and did magic.

It’s sometimes strange to live in country that was until quite recently a communist dictatorship. When you look around, you’ll see much more advertising than in UK. In Britain it’s banned on motorways for example, here it’s everywhere on the roads. At least 30% of all cars have some kind of blatant advert it seems.

Dagmar, my girlfriend came home to make lunch, she’s fattening me up for Christmas I reckon. Down here in Brno, most people have a big lunch and then a light dinner. But for me it’s difficult to feel anything but sleepy after, so it’s loads of strong coffee and force myself out.

Czechs have strange ideas about England. They think English food is the most boring in the world, but they don’t what we eat, apart from Fish & Chips. They think all English beer is warm and flat, mm.. ok some is. They even ask if I have a bowler hat! They are also fascinated with the USA and especially with the Wild West. They watch an old western TV show called Vinnetou and his friend Old Shatterhand. I watched an episode, amazing Stewart Granger was in it!! But, the original language was German and it was shot on location in Yugoslavia. How did Stewart Granger manage to pull it off?

Their country music is just as interesting, I didn’t know that Kenny Rodgers made Czech versions of all his hits. My mum would be horrified!! She’s actually an Eagles fan.

When I was a kid, she made me take guitar lessons so I could try and play all her favourite numbers, well I didn’t have much choice.

Now she usually listens to the Eagles after a few in the pub. She sings along out of tune, much to her boyfriend Johnnie’s delight. Then she gets a word or two completely wrong, which has Johnnie bursting out in a fit of giggles.

Mum texted me that she’d call tonight with a bit of news.