My Liebster Blogger Award – part one

Liebster AwardA month ago yesterday, this blog was nominated for another award โ€“ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

As part of the nomination process, the nominator sets a series of questions that each nominee has to answer in a subsequent post. Emily has set me eleven questions and this post is my attempt to answer the first five of them.


1. If your blog was a song, what would it be and why?

I must admit that I had to think hard and long about this one. Then I suddenly had a flash of inspiration. Why not a hymn? So my answer is, ‘Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation’.

My blog is predominantly about my experience of living and working in Prague and the wider Czech Republic. For the most part, I very much enjoy my life here and I’m very thankful for the opportunity of spending the last eight and a half years of my full-time public ministry as the Anglican Chaplain.

The words of the third verse of the hymn are particularly appropriate:

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee,

surely his goodness and mercy shall daily attend thee:

ponder anew

what the Almighty can do,

if to the end he befriend thee.

There are two other associated reasons for choosing this hymn. It was originally written in German โ€“ Lobe den Herren โ€“ and my wife Sybille is German. And when Sybille and I got married nearly nine years ago, we walked into Church to the congregation singing this hymn, and we made them sing two verses auf Deutsch!

2. What is one thing you reeeeally like about the town where you live?

There are so many things that I like about living in Prague and have previously written all about them on this blog. But if I am only allowed to choose one, then it would have to be public transport. It is efficient, frequent, integrated and incredibly cheap, even more so now I’m deemed to be ‘Senior’ because I’m over sixty ๐Ÿ™‚

PS โ€“ for the benefit of David Hughes and other commenters who spot my very occasional spelling mistakes, the spelling of ‘reeeeally’ in the question above is exactly as Emily posted it on her blog โ€“ and she teaches English ๐Ÿ˜€

3. What are you doing this summer?

I could start this answer by pointing out to my nominator that, unlike teachers in international schools, I don’t get a two month holiday/vacation during July and August ๐Ÿ˜‰ However, it is true that Church life is usually much quieter during these months, especially as this year I do not currently have any weddings to conduct.

The other big difference this summer is, as most followers of my blog already know, since 9th June, Sybille has been on pilgrimage, seeking to walk from Prague to Santiago de Compostela. To her great credit, before setting out, she did what she has been promising to do and completely sorted out all of her papers that were scattered across her desk and in collapsing boxes under her desk. In the week before her departure, my paper shredder worked overtime and I paid several visits to the paper recycling bin ๐Ÿ™‚ ย 

Sybille's empty desk & the clear floor beneath ยฉ Ricky Yates

Sybille’s empty desk & the clear floor beneath ยฉ Ricky Yates

Sybille’s desk is in one corner of our sitting room and with it and the area beneath it being completely clear, it has given me the incentive to try and ‘Summer clean’ the whole flat. The sitting room is already complete, including taking down the curtains, washing, drying and ironing them, before rehanging them once more. Whilst they were down, I cleaned all the windows, inside and out. The increased light and the improved view are most noticeable ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve also washed, dried, ironed and then refitted the covers on both settees; taken down every picture, polishing the glass at the front and removing the cobwebs from the back: taken all the books off three different bookcases, dusted both books and shelves before replacing the books. I then moved every item of furniture to enable me to first vacuum and then wash the wood-laminate floor, section by section. The collection of cobwebs and dead insects under one of the bookcases was a sight to behold! What am I doing this summer? Giving every other room in the Chaplaincy Flat a similar treatment. My office should be very interesting ๐Ÿ™‚

However in August, I do have two weeks of annual leave and I shall spend them walking with Sybille. The exact logistics of how this will happen has been the subject of discussion between the two of us during the past few days. Sybille is deliberately not walking to a set timetable and cannot promise to be at a particular location in just under four weeks time. So I’ve got to decide very soon, where might be the most suitable place to fly to. Currently, this looks like being Geneva. Then a day or two before I set out, we will have to agree exactly where we are going to meet up and I will then plan to make my way from my arrival airport, by public transport, to that agreed location.

There is then also the issue as to where we will stay overnight whilst we are walking together. Sybille has already rightly pointed out that we won’t both fit in her one woman tent ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully we will be walking together in France where there is often good provision of Gรฎtes d’Etape accommodation for walkers. I’m sure we will work something out and you can be sure that there will be a blog post about it!

4. Name a place you’ve travelled that you’d recommend to others and why.

One of the great joys of living at the heart of Central Europe, has been the opportunity it has given us to explore a whole variety of fascinating, new (to both of us) places, many of which I’ve written about here on this blog. As I am only allowed to choose one, then it has to be the Croatian island of Dugi otok, where we spent a delightful ten days in July 2009.

The name ‘Dugi otok’ means ‘Long Island’, highly appropriate as it is forty-five kilometres long but never more than four kilometres wide. It lies a one-and-a-half hour ferry journey from the port city of Zadar and has a resident population of no more than 1,800. You can read more about our time there in this post and the four that follow it.

The beach at Mala Voda ยฉ Ricky Yates

The beach at Mala Voda ยฉ Ricky Yates

Why do I recommend Dugi otok? It has all the facilities for a relaxing summer holiday, but is sufficiently off-the-beaten-track, not to be overrun with visiting tourists. Sitting at an outdoor restaurant table, alongside the harbour in the port of Sali, enjoying a meal, accompanied by a cool glass of something, whilst watching the sun slowly setting, was an experience we enjoyed on many evenings and of which I still have vivid memories. The remote beach at Mala voda on the uninhabited west coast of the island โ€“ very difficult to find a more pleasant spot for sunbathing and enjoying a swim in the warm Adriatic Sea.

Ever since our 2009 visit, we’ve spoken many times about going back to Dugi otok. I suspect we just might in 2015.

5. Who is someone you look up to?

John the Baptist. He lived a simple lifestyle with a rather interesting diet and fashion sense. He wasn’t afraid to be outspoken and challenge hypocrisy, including calling some Jewish religious leaders, ‘a bunch of poisonous snakes’! Showed great humility as he spoke about Jesus and, once Jesus began his public ministry, stepped out of the limelight. Openly criticising the immorality of Herod Antipas cost him his life. What not to admire?

Watch for my next post when I’ll try and answer the other six questions.

14 comments to My Liebster Blogger Award – part one

  • Sean Mccann

    Hi Ricky,
    Congratulations on your award, it is well deserved. Your blog is always informative and interesting, with great insights and your own wonderful take on the subject of the day. Well done and continued success. God bless, Sean.

    • Ricky

      Thank you Sean! And thank you also for being such a faithful & encouraging commenter here.

  • That is Sybille’s desk?! My, how things change… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Congratulations on being given the Liebster Blog award, Ricky. I did enjoy this post and look forward to reading the answers to the other questions. I admire your perseverance in summer-cleaning the whole flat, but don’t envy you having to tackle your study. Mine was always a nightmare…

    • Ricky

      Hello Perpetua! Yes – that is Sybille’s desk, honest! ๐Ÿ˜€ The age of miracles is NOT past!

      Glad you enjoyed the post & be assured, I hope to answer the other six questions in another post, very shortly.

      Summer-cleaning the flat is continuing. Today, the window engineer called for a second time, to fit a new part to our bedroom window which has malfunctioned several times in the past, usually refusing to open properly. In celebration of finally having a fully functioning window, the glass has been cleaned inside & out, and the curtains washed, dried, ironed & re-hung. Numerous cobwebs on the higher echelons of the wall behind and above the curtain rail, have also been removed. However, my study will be the last & by far the longest part of this exercise ๐Ÿ™

  • heather garnett

    Congratulations on your well deserved award. I enjoy your interesting pieces about your life in CZ.

    • Ricky

      Thank you, Heather! Glad to know you enjoy reading my blog posts. I trust your back continues to improve.

  • David Hughes

    Well done on your award, Ricky.

    Thanks for the personal mention as well. Your spelling is pretty good, as a rule. What grates is your sometimes superior attitude to those who try to communicate in what is not their first language. Generally speaking, signage in English in the CR is of a high order. An effort is made and is usually accurate. Of course, it would be boring if you posted every picture you have taken of every sign that was in “correct” English.

    Your love affair with the wrongly-placed comma, however, needs to be questioned.

    • Ricky

      Thank you David – I thought you would enjoy the personal mention! I don’t at all mind having spelling, grammatical or factual errors pointed out to me as I like what I write and publish to be accurate. I was just pre-empting you in this case ๐Ÿ™‚

      The other matter you raise I will return to in a post sometime in the future but it is never my intention to be ‘superior’.

  • Congratulations on the nomination!

    I’ve been meaning to ask about your wife’s progress on her pilgrimage.

  • […] 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, […]

  • Em

    I reeeeeally like your answers, Ricky! John the Baptist is a great pick. ๐Ÿ˜‰ How exciting that you’ll be walking with Sybille; I look forward to reading about it. I’m off to Google Dugi otok now!

    • Ricky

      I enjoyed the questions, Em! And I have now answered your other six questions in a new post.

  • […] I explained in responding to my Liebster Blogger Awarder Emily, answering her Question 3, I’ve spent two weeks of August, walking with my pilgrim wife Sybille. During that time, I […]