A very hot summer and a visit to the UK

The dry stream bed of Olešnicka © Ricky Yates

I need to start this post with a sincere apology to those who regularly visit and follow my blog, for the very long gap between my post about further progress with the house and garden in early June, and my post about walking above Kanon Labe, published ten days ago. As a result of my blogging inactivity, July 2018 became the first month in the nine-and-a-half years of my blog’s existence, in which I did not publish a post 🙁

My main excuse for my lack of blogging over this summer has been the weather. For the past three months, the Czech Republic, along with much of Central Europe, has experienced a heatwave with daytime temperatures well in excess of 30°C and virtually no rain. These conditions have not been conducive to me sitting down and writing coherently. They have also not been conducive to making much further progress either with the house or the garden.

The photograph on the left shows the course of Olešnicka, the stream that runs through Stará Oleška. As you can see, it is completely dry! The only consolation is that the grass at the side of the stream bed is still green, unlike my front and back lawns which are completely yellow and rock hard 🙁 

Some relief finally arrived two days ago when I was woken at 07.30 by the crash of thunder and a heavy downpour of rain. We then had further rain off-and-on during that day and yesterday. But we still need plenty more! However, what there has been is a most welcome drop in temperature with the day time high today being only 18°C and the forecast saying that it will only rise into the low 20s°C in the coming few days.

This improvement in the weather has made me determined to get my blog going again and start posting regularly here once more. I have plenty of things to write about, but for this post, I’ll confine myself to the week I spent in the UK, Monday 25th June – Monday 2nd July, which at the time, was also experiencing a heatwave.

I flew from Prague to East Midlands Airport (EMA), with Jet2.com, who now regularly fly the route twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. I have to say I was impressed, with both flights leaving on time and arriving early, a considerable improvement on my previous flying experiences with Wizz Air between Prague to Luton.

From Monday night until the morning of Saturday 30th June, I stayed with my son Phillip and daughter-in-law Lisa at their home in Nottingham. And of course, I got to spend time with my granddaughter Pearl 🙂

Phillip with Pearl © Ricky Yates

Here she is with her Dad!

My granddaughter Pearl © Ricky Yates

Whilst this is Granddad’s favourite photograph of his granddaughter, taken during his visit.

Finley & Granddad © Ian Margieson

On the afternoon of Friday 29th June, I also travelled down to Daventry to visit my daughter Christa, son-in-law Ian, and my grandson Finley. Here I am with Finley on his bike. Grateful thanks to Ian for the photograph.

I spent the weekend in Sheffield, in order to attend and take part in the ordination as priest, of my Czech friend Dagmar Wilkinson, whose ordination as deacon I attended on Sunday 2nd July 2017. The ordination service took place in Sheffield Cathedral on the afternoon of Saturday 30th June, presided over by the new Bishop of Sheffield, Rt Rev’d Dr Pete Wilcox.

Standing between Rev’d Frances Eccleston & Rev’d Dagmar Wilkinson © Ricky Yates

Here I am once more, standing in-between two ordained ladies – the newly ordained Dagmar on the right and her training incumbent Rev’d Frances Eccleston on the left. Frances and her husband Steve, kindly hosted me over the weekend as Dagmar had her parents and other friends and relatives staying with her.

Dagmar with her parents © Ricky Yates

Here is Dagmar, standing between her proud parents, following the ordination service.

With Dagmar, following her first celebration of the Eucharist © Ricky Yates

On the morning of Sunday 1st July, I was privileged to be present at the Parish Church of All Saints, Aston cum Aughton, as Dagmar celebrated the Eucharist for the first time. Here she is with me, fully robed!

Following worship, there was an excellent parish lunch, held in the adjoining Church Hall, at the end of which we all got to share in a piece of this cake, especially made by one of the parishioners to mark the occasion.

Celebratory cake © Ricky Yates

4 comments to A very hot summer and a visit to the UK

  • Sounds like such a nice trip back to the UK – what adorable grandchildren! So nice you got to spend some good time with them. Hope all is well with you and that you got through the heatwave okay! Passed through Decin on the train a couple days ago and thought of you – it is so beautiful in that little nook of the country even though many South Bohemians like to roll their eyes at mention of the north. It certainly has its charms, in my opinion!

    • Ricky

      It was a good trip! And yes – my two grandchildren are delightful. Inevitably, with only usually seeing them twice a year, they have each grown & changed so much between visits. Hopefully granddaughter Pearl, along with her parents, will be coming to visit me here in North Bohemia in 2019. She already has her passport.

      As regards the heatwave, I haven’t coped that well with it so I’m most grateful for the current drop in temperature.

      The train journey alongside the Labe/Elbe, between the Czech Republic & Germany is absolutely beautiful. See my photos from above the valley in my previous post. NoBo certainly has its charms but so does SoBo.

  • Sean Mccann

    Hi Ricky,
    As you will have seen during your UK visit the hot dry Summer wasn’t confined to Central Europe. Here in cloudy, misty Ireland we had an unprecedented 8 week heatwave! There was very little evidence of ‘The Emerald isle’ or the ‘Forty shades of Green’ for which we are famous and there wasn’t a ‘soft day’ (Irish slang for anything from a drizzle to a torrential downpour) all Summer. Lawns the length and breadth of the country stopped growing; to the relief of many householders and the dismay of petrol station owners everywhere ;-). There were a couple of large but localised forest fire outbreaks, one on the Slieve Bloom Mountains near where I live which destroyed a couple of thousand hectares of forest and nature reserve but thankfully was a few miles from human habitation. Many urban areas were put on restricted water pressure or other control measures, one area which depends on a spring fed lake is still restricted due to low rainfall amounts.

    All of this was wonderful for the sun worshippers and reluctant gardeners among us but it has been a disastrous year for my farming friends and neighbours who found themselves going from a cold, wet Winter with snow in March and floods in April to desert conditions in early June without any worthwhile period of grass growth in between. Many had to feed what little fodder they could harvest for the coming Winter to animals going hungry on barren fields. One friend of mine remarked that even nature was against the farmers this year!

    You had a busy, but I’m sure happy, visit to your family and friends in the UK with the excitement of seeing your grandchildren and attending the ordination of your friend Dagmar. My friend Caroline, herself a dab hand at baking and decorating cakes, is very impressed with the ‘ordination cake’ created for the parish celebration. She hasn’t been called on to produce a cake for an ordination just yet but she lives in hope! 🙂

    As I write it is a grand ‘soft day’ here in the Midlands with a steady cold rain, a stiff breeze and not a ray of sunshine- about normal for Ireland. Enjoy the cooler days Ricky, God bless.

    • Ricky

      Hello again Sean,

      I was aware, not least from my UK at the end of June-beginning of July, that the Britain & Ireland had also experienced a hot, dry summer. I’m sorry to hear about your forest fires & the problems experienced by your farmers.

      We have still not had much in the way of rain. There is now a trickle in the Olešnicka through the village but water levels are still very low on the Labe/Elbe meaning great restrictions on the passage of freight vessels because of a lack of water depth. My back & front lawns are now somewhat greener but it is more the weeds that have recovered, rather than the grass 🙁

      I’m glad to know your friend Caroline was impressed by Dagmar’s ordination cake. It certainly looked splendid & tasted good too! Apparently the lady who made it, creates cakes for various parish celebrations as her contribution to Church life.