500 Year Vision

Take pleasure from walking lightly on this Earth

What is it with the Czechs and sand?


On Sunday we learnt an important lesson – why chimneys should be regularly cleaned.  The lesson was, of course, too late – as we had by then already set our house on fire. To our rescue came Chynov fire brigade. With great efficiency they poured sand down our chimney and put out the blaze. When the police arrived, I told the officer that the firemen were on the roof, putting songs in the chimney (Pisek/Pisen). My Czech is not good.
This is the second time I have been rescued by Czechs filling something up with sand.

When he was a child, my grandfather watched as Exeter was set ablaze during the second world war. As he watched it burn, a bomb fell a few feet away from him. He felt the ground heave up… but the bomb did not detonate.  When the bomb disposal officer arrived, my grandfather followed him to the crater where there lay a 1100 pound bomb ‘as big as a dinner table’. When they opened it they discovered a note written in pencil saying ‘to the people of England from the people of Czechoslovakia, this bomb will not explode’. The bomb had been filled with sand.

When we got married in Prague (31st May 2005, Old Town Hall), I tried to tell the story about the bomb to the official conducting the service…  a strange feeling – if it had not been for the bravery of unknown saboteurs…

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