I am writing this, sitting in the bar/dining room/lounge of Hotel Konšel, located in the small settlement that bears my name, Rícky v Orlických horách. Yes, after our short, very snowbound visit in early April this year, Ricky has returned to Rícky 🙂
This time, Sybille and I are here, hoping to spend the first eight days of two weeks of my annual leave, enjoying a walking holiday in the Orlické hory. And, if the hotel’s slightly dodgy wifi internet connection had allowed me, I would have posted this on the evening of Wednesday 26th June, as my first ever blogpost not posted from my office in the Chaplaincy Flat in Prague.
We arrived here on the afternoon of Monday 24th June, following a good week in which several positive things occurred.
On Thursday 20th June, TelefonicaO2 finally reconnected our landline phone and internet access at the Chaplaincy Flat, a few hours short of seventeen days from when it ceased to function. To once more have reliable internet access with a reasonable download speed, was a welcome relief for which we are both very thankful. Of course, now we are away from the Chaplaincy Flat, internet connections have once more become a little more intermittent 🙁
The same day, I drove out to Horažd’ovice, to meet up with my good friend Adrian Blank, in order to help me get the ‘Carly’ through its STK, the equivalent of a British MOT Test. It did eventually get through but, at the expense of two new front tyres and some work to re-align the front wheels. Adrian reckons, probably quite rightly, that hitting a few Czech potholes was probably the cause of the problem. But at least the ‘Carly’ is now deemed fit to be driven on Czech roads for another two years.
The third thing of note was our worship and post-services activities last Sunday. Not only was our Sung Eucharist extremely well attended, we also had the privilege of having a guest preacher, Rev’d Dr Peter Walker. Peter and I trained for ordained ministry together at Wycliffe Hall, between 1987-1989. After serving his title in a parish in Kent, Peter has had an academic career, including a spell back at Wycliffe on the teaching staff. He is now Professor of Biblical Studies at Trinity School for Ministry, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. His challenging sermon, which has now been uploaded to our Church website, was widely appreciated by the congregation.
Following worship, many of us migrated to the nearby park on Lannova, a street that lies between the Church and the Vltava River, for our annual summer Picnic-in-the-Park. The picnic is always a good opportunity for fun & fellowship before many in the congregation are often away from Prague for several weeks, visiting family and friends in their home countries. Peter and his wife Georgie were able to join us for the picnic and very much enjoyed meeting and talking to members of the St. Clement’s congregation.
Last week was also notable for some very hot and sticky weather, in stark contrast to all of the rain earlier in the month, which was responsible for the very serious flooding in Prague and elsewhere in the western half of the Czech Republic. Fortunately the weather turned a little cooler at the weekend, but still dry except for a few spots of rain – ideal conditions for our picnic. Ideal weather, so I thought, for our walking holiday commencing the next day.
Unfortunately, Monday 24th June dawned cold, grey and with light rain. And when we set out late that morning on the Prague-Hradec Králové motorway, we drove through a positive downpour! However, just before reaching Rícky some three hours later, the rain stopped, allowing us an enjoyable short circular walk around the somewhat scattered settlement, after we had checked into the hotel.
But that dry couple of hours proved illusory. It was followed by forty-eight hours of continuous rain, meaning a couple of expeditions in the car but no walking in the hills. The rain finally stopped on Wednesday evening, so our walking holiday in the Orlické hory finally began today. Watch this space!