Farmer’s Market on Saturday – Worship on Palm Sunday

Market 1

Crowds at the Farmer’s Market © Ricky Yates

In early March, after a two-and-a-half month winter break, the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market at Vítezné námestí resumed. So now nearly every Saturday, we take a short bus or tram journey from the Chaplaincy Flat and explore what the market has to offer. As you can see, we are not the only ones who do so and at times, it can get quite crowded!

There are a number of stalls that we regularly visit each week for supplies of bread, eggs and potatoes. Whilst we can buy such things from our very convenient Kaufland supermarket, the produce from the Farmer’s Market does always seem fresher, is often cheaper, and one can be almost certain that the producer obtains a far better return for their labour.

Stall selling Moravian wine © Ricky Yates

Stall selling Moravian wine © Ricky Yates

Another of our favourite stalls is this one, selling Moravian wine. Whilst they do sell it by the 0.75l bottle, you can also have a plastic bottle filled from the tanks behind the counter. Two litres of extremely quaffable white wine costs around CZK 150 (just under £5.00 at current exchange rates).

The senior proprietor, (the gentleman behind the stall on the right in the photograph above), is Czech. However, he also speaks reasonably fluent German and has some English. So we frequently conduct business with him in a mixture of all three languages! When we are about to depart, his farewell words are almost always to wish us ‘Ein schönes Wochenende:-)

Flower stall at the Farmer's Market © Ricky Yates

Flower stall at the Farmer’s Market © Ricky Yates

Czech people do love their flowers and there are always numerous stalls that sell them. I couldn’t resist photographing this colourful stall yesterday which, as you can see, was doing a thriving business.

Accordion player/singer © Ricky Yates

Accordion player/singer © Ricky Yates

In the centre of the market area, there are various stalls selling freshly cooked food with tables & chairs where you can sit down and eat. And you can usually do so to musical accompaniment such as this young accordion player/singer was providing yesterday morning.

Our visit to the Farmer’s Market at Vítezné námestí yesterday morning, when all the accompanying photographs were taken, marked the beginning of a busy but enjoyable weekend. Today, not only did we have our Palm Sunday Eucharist, but the service was to be followed by that significant event – our Annual Church Meeting.

Just a few minutes before worship was due to begin at 11.00 this morning, we suddenly had a problem of the nicest sort. We completely ran out of copies of the Palm Sunday Order of Service as the congregation became double the size for a normal Sunday. The cause was a large number of visitors, mainly Americans but also including a delightful Indonesian couple. The biggest visitor group was a party of high school students from Connecticut, along with their teachers. We solved the problem by me asking from front, for people to share, so that everybody could follow and join in the liturgy. Fortunately, we just had enough palm crosses to go around!

After reading the Palm Sunday Gospel – Matthew 21. 1-11, I led the congregation in a procession outside, all around the Church as we sang ‘All glory, laud and honour, to thee Redeemer King’. Fortunately, when we re-entered the Church, we were still just about in time with Professor Michal Novenko on the organ :-) Some of those living the apartment blocks that overlook the Church got a bit of a surprise, but at least they were made aware that today was Palm Sunday!

As for the Annual Church Meeting, it was much better attended than in a number of previous years, and despite the serious financial difficulties that we face, there was a real desire expressed to work together to overcome them. Both our worship and the Annual Church Meeting have certainly helped prepare me to enter Holy Week, and with Jesus, once more walk the way of the cross.

Ordination in Vienna

Rev’d John Barker outside Christ Church, Vienna following his ordination as priest © Ricky Yates

On the evening of Sunday 30th March, I had the privilege of attending and participating in the ordination as priest, of my friend and ministerial colleague, John Barker. The ordination service took place at Christ Church, Vienna and meant that for the first time in my life, I was part of two services, on the same Sunday, in two different countries.

John was originally a licensed Reader in the Diocese of Durham and since his work for the European Commission brought him to continental Europe, he has helped in the Anglican Chaplaincies of Warsaw and Bucharest. I first met John in September 2008, at the Eastern Archdeaconry Synod meeting in Corfu which I attended, a week before moving from Oxfordshire to Prague. At that point, John had just moved from Bucharest to Skopje in . . . → Read More: Ordination in Vienna

Villa Tugendhat, Brno and the novel by Simon Mawer entitled ‘The Glass Room’

Villa Tugendhat © Ricky Yates

Villa Tugendhat in Brno, was designed by the German architect Ludwig Mies van de Rohe and constructed between 1928 -1930 on a hillside slope overlooking the city centre. It was commissioned by the wealthy Jewish industrialist Fritz Tugendhat and his wife Greta and was their home for eight years before the couple, along with their children, were forced to flee to Switzerland following the dismembering of Czechoslovakia brought about by the Munich agreement of September 1938.

An icon of modern architecture, today Villa Tugendhat is considered one of the finest examples of functionalist design anywhere in the world. A revolutionary iron framework allowed Mies to dispense with supporting walls and massive plate glass windows give the extensive living space a wonderful feeling of space and light. The minimalist interior is famous for featuring an onyx wall and for using rare tropical hardwood.

Interior . . . → Read More: Villa Tugendhat, Brno and the novel by Simon Mawer entitled ‘The Glass Room’

Oscar’s 17th Birthday Party

Sherry with Mr Oscar and Šárek © Ricky Yates

On Friday 21st March, Senior Cat Oscar celebrated his seventeenth birthday! Aided by his tin openers, aka Ricky and Sybille, he invited a small number of his human friends, to attend a birthday party held in his honour, the following afternoon.

It was unfortunate that the Hellam family, who have previously looked after Oscar on a number of occasions when Sybille & I have been away, were unable to attend because of illness. However, Oscar’s two adult American friends, Karen and Sherry, were able to be present. Karen always refers to Oscar as ‘her buddy’, whilst Sherry always addresses him as ‘Mr Oscar’. Oscar very much approves of both designations

As was to be expected, most entertainment was provided by Šárek, the ginger kitten we adopted last August, who is rapidly becoming a fully-fledged teenager, with all . . . → Read More: Oscar’s 17th Birthday Party

The Church of St. Kunhuta, Nové Mesto na Morave

The tower of the Church of St. Kunhuta, Nové Mesto na Morave © Ricky Yates

Following worship in Brno last Sunday evening, I stayed overnight with a family who are members of the congregation, in order on the next day, to meet up and have lunch with a Czech-British couple living near Olomouc. After a most enjoyable lunch, I headed back across the Vysocina (Highlands), in order to meet up with a Czech teacher of English, living and working in Žd’ár nad Sázavou, who has been using part of the text of this blog, as teaching material with his students.

Being ahead of myself time-wise for my meeting with the Czech teacher on Monday evening, I stopped off about ten kilometres short of Žd’ár nad Sázavou, to explore the small town of Nové Mesto na Morave. The town’s name literally means ‘New Town in Moravia’. But like many places . . . → Read More: The Church of St. Kunhuta, Nové Mesto na Morave