A winter walk in Ceský Ráj

Hrad Kost/Kost Castle © Ricky Yates

 

 

Last Wednesday, 21st December, I took my ‘day off’ for the week and went for a 12km circular walk through another part of Ceský Ráj. You can see and read about my two previous visits here and here. The day was dry and cold, -3°C according to the ‘Carly’, but unfortunately the afternoon sunshine promised by the BBC online weather forecast, didn’t materialise 🙁

 

I started my walk at Hrad Kost / Kost Castle, built on one of the rocky outcrops which are such a feature of Ceský Ráj. The castle is open to the public between April – October, but not during the winter months. Therefore I was able to park the ‘Carly’ in the castle car park without paying a 50Kc fee 🙂 . . . → Read More: A winter walk in Ceský Ráj

Advent 2016

Advent ring with the first candle lit © Ricky Yates

This year, the season of Advent has been as long as it possibly can be – a full four weeks. In 2017, quite the reverse happens with the Fourth and final Sunday of Advent, also being Christmas Eve!

I have very much appreciated the length of the Advent season this year, for a number of reasons. One slightly selfish reason is the cause of Advent lasting fully four weeks – the result of Christmas Day falling on a Sunday, which is every clergyperson’s delight! No need for services on three successive days, or on three out of four days. Instead, a full week beforehand, to prepare for services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and then an uninterrupted week afterwards, to take as a post-Christmas break 🙂

. . . → Read More: Advent 2016

11th November in the Czech Republic

First World War memorial in Zbraslav © Ricky Yates

Today is Armistice Day, marking the signing of the armistice, ninety-eight years ago, which brought an end to the First World War at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. In the USA, it is known as Veterans Day and is kept as a public holiday.

During the First World War, what is now the Czech Republic was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire which, together with Germany and the Ottoman Empire, formed the eventually defeated Central Powers. The Czechs were a subjugated people, increasingly seeking much greater autonomy or self-rule. As I explained in my previous post, two weeks before the official end of WW1, the independent new nation state of Czechoslovakia was proclaimed.

Yet despite the rise . . . → Read More: 11th November in the Czech Republic

A long weekend of anniversaries and celebrations

Double-flagged tram for Czechoslovak Independence Day © Ricky Yates

Friday 28th October 2016 – was a public holiday here in the Czech Republic, celebrating the ninety-eighth anniversary of the declaration of independence of a country that no longer exists 🙂 In the dying days of World War One, the new nation of Czechoslovakia was declared independent of the Austro-Hungarian Empire on 28th October 1918, by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, who then served as President of the ‘First Republic’, until 1935.

Although the state of Czechoslovakia ceased to exist on 1st January 1993, following the ‘Velvet Divorce’, the public holiday remains! Interestingly, it is no longer kept as a public holiday in Slovakia. Instead, they have double celebrations on 1st January each year, both to mark the New Year and to celebrate the establishment of the separate Slovak state, on . . . → Read More: A long weekend of anniversaries and celebrations

A problem with the appointment process in the Church of England

A view across Prague © Ricky Yates

‘How did you end up in Prague?’, is a question I have quite frequently been asked over the past eight years. My simple answer is always, ‘Because I applied for the job’. I chose to come here – I wasn’t sent.

For the past twenty years or more, nearly every vacant position in the Church of England has been advertised in the Church press. If you wish to apply, you complete a now fairly standard application form and submit it by the closing date. In due course, a short list of candidates is drawn up and those selected are invited for interview. An appointment is then made.

Putting it in simple terms, the Church of England has adopted the normal secular method of filling a vacancy. A . . . → Read More: A problem with the appointment process in the Church of England