500 Year Vision

Take pleasure from walking lightly on this Earth

Exhausted & crying


Yet another incident fraught attempt to travel. This time via bicycle. We bought M a bike on Friday, so that we could reach the house (20km, no Saturday bus, no car because we don’t have paperwork yet). After 5 km it had started misbehaving – the bit the pedal was attached to had worked loose.

Luckily we were able to fix it – with the help of a stranger innocently working on his garden in a small Czech village. He even gave us the tool we needed! Some people are so nice. We managed to get to Novy Mlyn, though stopping every so often to tighten up the loose fitting. The countryside was beautiful (something we’re nearly taking for-granted now) and the journey felt like very good exercise (i.e. it is nearly constantly up hill from Tábor).

When we finally reached the house we were exhausted and clueless as to what to do next. The house looks like just so much work. And the collapsed barns are an absolute eyesore. There were loads of toady thingies in the pond playing leapfrog. They were calling loudly enough for us to hear from some way away and wonder what was going on. We had a good look round the house & garden and then were kind of petrified into inaction. The answer seemed to be to do nothing, ie drink beer & catch up on January’s issues of the New Scientist left there on our last visit.

I was too excited to sleep properly, and managed to wake up M at 8 the next morning – we did a big clean of the house. 7 hours later it looked much better. Unfortunately our new water pump – in the cellar, has been stolen. M says not to worry and we are really lucky really.

We clearly didn’t bring nearly enough food with us, though… which is very surprising as this is the kind of thing I’m very careful about normally! On Sunday all I had left was olives & crisps (Bohemia Chips from the large supply given to us by the Burians – after I once managed to say in Czech “Bohemia Chips are the best crisps anywhere” – they were so impressed that they gave us a bag every time we saw them from then on). However, carless on Sunday meant that we couldn’t just drive to Tesco to pick up supplies – including water (now none left at Novy Mlyn).

Twenty minutes into our journey home the Interspar Red Fox bike broke completely. I’d worked all day, not slept the night before, not eaten or showered (no water), and was aching from the previous cycle ride. And after we’d picked the thing back up out of the ditch (where M had thrown it), we were left stranded in the Czech countryside without the language, friends or resources to get back home. At these times you think, what the bloody hell do we think we’re doing here. I didn’t cry, but it crossed my mind – luckily I was distracted by M throwing the bike in the ditch.

We pushed the bikes until we reached what we discovered to be functioning bus stop and were lucky enough that the only bus of the weekend was due soon, and also lucky enough that the bus driver let on the incomprehensible foreigners and bikes. So we didn’t need our alternative plans to a. cry and b. lie in front of the bus till he agreed.

So, a couple of hours later we were acheily watching the world go by from a cafe on a small Tábor square – over delicious food (an apt Czech saying “hunger is the best chef”) and lovely beer. A man and his son were moving stuff into a building. The man seemed to be doing most of the work. I noticed an old man with a dog I’d seen around before. I love seeing really old people with really old animals walking around together. It’s just so appropriate. The old man was loitering though, and then started looking in cars & trying various vehicle/property door handles. Maybe he was about to run off with an armful of loot. Maybe the old dog and old man walk were simply a disguise for a perfectly able bodied burglar. Later on the moving man was left in the middle of the square, his son had driven off leaving him with a fridge. We were going to ask him for an ice cream – we were too knackered to offer him help. I cried (with laughter – I think we were a bit giddy from the sun).

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