My Liebster Blogger Award – part two

Liebster AwardAs promised in my first post eight days ago, here are my answers to the last six questions set by my Liebster Blogger Award nominator Emily, the owner of the blog Czechesotans.

6. What drives you crazy?

The addiction that so many people seem to have to their mobile/cell/smart phones. In particular, the number of people I see here in the Czech Republic, who talk on their mobile phones whilst driving, even though it is completely illegal to do so. What drives me even more crazy is that I’ve never yet seen the police stop someone doing so, even though here in Prague, there are always plenty of police around and they seem to stop people quite readily for relatively petty offences.

It is impossible to be in full control of a vehicle if someone is at the same time, using a hand-held mobile phone. Yet I regularly see mothers doing so, with children in their car; truck drivers who carry an even greater responsibility given the size and weight of their vehicles, also doing so; and when travelling along the D1 Prague-Brno motorway, vehicles passing me in breach of the maximum speed limit, with their drivers talking on their phones.

As I’ve previously highlighted on this blog, even when not driving, constantly talking on a mobile phone is highly anti-social. I continue to see, predominantly but not exclusively women, out walking with their children and/or their dogs, yet with their necks bent forty-five degrees whilst they talk away to some friend on the other end of their mobile phone. What message does that send to the children/dogs? Quality time with Mummy?

Just this morning, I saw another example of anti-social mobile phone use. A woman talking on her mobile whilst at the same time, passing her shopping through the supermarket checkout. If I had been the checkout operator, I would just have stopped serving the woman, until she got off her phone! Being a supermarket checkout operator is a mind-numbing enough without being treated to such rudeness by a customer.

Yes – mobile phones are useful but they shouldn’t control our lives and their use should never endanger the lives of others.

7. Where do you do most of your blogging?

This one is relatively easy to answer. Almost exclusively whilst sitting at my desk in my office in the Chaplaincy Flat. Since May 2012, I’ve had a laptop computer which has enabled me to compile text when I’m elsewhere. But in more than two years, I think I’ve only twice successfully compiled and posted a blog post from somewhere other than my office.

8. How do you spend your free time?

This question raises an interesting issue as I don’t have a job with set hours or even a job description. Officially, I hold an office – I am the Anglican Chaplain in the Czech Republic. As I’m subject to canon law, I do have certain responsibilities that I must fulfil, but how I use my time is very much at my discretion.

Therefore, what is work and what is pleasure is frequently blurred. And I often move from one to the other and back again, several times during the day. Whilst I do regularly have to work unsocial hours – evenings and weekends; unlike many others, I can take ‘time-off’ during the day on weekdays.

I am actively encouraged to take one full ‘day-off’ each week which is normally Monday. Today is Monday, and what am I doing? Writing this blog post! So maybe that answers the question :-) I do also like to get out and walk around and explore various parts of Prague, especially the parks. And frequently these walks end by finding somewhere to have ‘a cool glass of something’ ;-)

9. What is something cool you’ve found?

As in my previous answer, I’m adept at quite regularly finding ‘a cool glass of something’. But I don’t think that’s what Emily my nominator, meant :D Quite honestly, as a British male who is now the wrong side of sixty, I don’t think I’m going find anything that’s ‘cool’, in the sense that my thirty-something American female nominator intended :-(

10. If you could switch places with someone for a day, who would it be?

I have two responses to this question. The first is that I don’t really want to switch places with anyone, even for a day. I’m perfectly happy being who I am, where I am. My second reaction is that if I did switch places, I would want to do so for far longer than twenty-four hours, in order to institute radical and permanent change. For example, to take over from Putin and put Russia on a totally different political path, in contrast to the confrontational one that is currently being pursued. That would certainly need plenty more time.

11. What gets your creative juices flowing?

With regard to this blog, it has often been current events and the reaction of other people to them, that has suddenly got my fingers tapping rapidly on my keyboard. The resulting blog posts have also usually attracted plenty of comments. Three examples come to mind.

Back in November 2012, I just had to write about the reactions to the result of the American Presidential Election that I was reading on social media, by right-wing conservative friends back in the USA, of a few of my American friends living here in the Czech Republic. It resulted in my post entitled ‘Two days after President Obama’s re-election‘, in which I challenged some of the absurd things that I was reading.

Earlier this year, the Russian takeover of the Crimea peninsula prompted me to quite rapidly write about ‘The Ukraine crisis as seen from the Czech Republic‘. It is a post that has since received many appreciative comments and unfortunately, continues to remain highly apposite in view of the very sad events of the last few days.

The most recent example was at Easter this year, when over fifty ‘public figures’, (for which read, ‘people full of their own self-importance’), declared that David Cameron referring to the United Kingdom as a Christian country, ‘fosters alienation and division in our society’. In response, I immediately wrote the post entitled, ‘The militant atheists are at it again‘. I can tell you, militant atheists and their pronouncements, very quickly get my creative juices going ;-)

And finally…..

Thank you Emily, for you nomination and making me answer all these questions. And can I add that your own nomination is also highly deserved.

A week of cold showers

Our heating & hot water plant © Ricky Yates

Visitors to the Chaplaincy Flat, when they look out from our main balcony, often ask exactly what is this industrial building, with its very tall chimney. The answer is that it’s a plant that produces hot water and heating for a large number of buildings in the immediate vicinity.

Judging by the utilitarian nature of it’s architecture, the plant clearly dates from the communist era. But it was obviously built with a far greater capacity than was necessary when first constructed. For now, the whole of ‘Rezidence Pobada’ is also supplied with heating and hot water from it. ‘Rezidence Pobada’, where the Chaplaincy Flat is situated, has been developed over the last ten years on the site of . . . → Read More: A week of cold showers

My Liebster Blogger Award – part one

A month ago yesterday, this blog was nominated for another award – A Liebster Blogger Award. This is an award given by fellow bloggers, to show appreciation for other blogs that they enjoy reading and think deserve to be highlighted and receive some praise.

My blog was nominated by Emily aka Writergem, whose own blog Czechesotans, is also about living as an expat in Prague; in her case, from the viewpoint of being an American teaching in an international school here for the past year. In her nomination of my blog she says, ‘Consider yourself educated after reading this one’. I did say in reply that I clearly needed fresh polish for my halo after receiving such praise

As part of the nomination process, the nominator sets a . . . → Read More: My Liebster Blogger Award – part one

Celebrating brave Czechoslovak Airmen and the Official Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen

The ‘Winged Lion’ monument © Ricky Yates

As I mentioned at the beginning of my previous post, I had a most interesting week in advance of my laptop computer lock-out problems. The highlight was attending two interrelated events on the afternoon and early evening of Tuesday 17th June.

The first event was the official unveiling of this monument, entitled ‘The Winged Lion’, by Sir Nicholas Soames MP, grandson of Sir Winston Churchill. It commemorates the nearly two and a half thousand Czechs and Slovaks who escaped from Czechoslovakia after the country was occupied by the Nazis in 1939, and served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.

As this BBC news article explains, the idea for the memorial came . . . → Read More: Celebrating brave Czechoslovak Airmen and the Official Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen

Computers are wonderful – until they stop working

My laptop working again © Ricky Yates

On the evening of Friday 20th June, after a very interesting but busy week about which I hope to write more here in due course, I returned home just after 10 pm and turned on my laptop computer. I wanted to pick up any new email, deal with new comments on this blog, look at the BBC News website to catch up on the day’s news, and visit Facebook.

I duly typed in my password but, instead of my desktop with icons appearing, I was greeted with the message, ‘The user profile service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded’. Several further attempts to logon just resulted in the same message appearing. I was completely locked out of my laptop and . . . → Read More: Computers are wonderful – until they stop working