On holiday – but in Prague!

The yellow spire of St. Clement's Church seen from Letna Park © Ricky Yates

Once again, I have to start by apologising for not having posted anything here on my blog for over a month. The main reason for this has been a real sense of uncertainty about my situation because of the financial difficulties the Prague Anglican Chaplaincy has been facing. However, things are now looking a good deal more secure, not least due to some generous additional funding being immediately provided by the Intercontinental Church Society (ICS) and the likelihood of further help from one or two other sources.

However, as Sybille’s and my contribution towards keeping costs down, we chose not to attend the ICS Chaplains & families conference which took place in Sussex, UK last week, as the Chaplaincy would have had to meet both the cost of the conference and our travel costs to get there. This decision also meant that our original plan, of spending two weeks of my annual leave in the UK immediately following the conference, also had to change. So instead, after celebrating the Eucharist on Sunday 4th July at St. Clements, I’ve been on a stay-at-home-holiday (vacation to my US readers) here in Prague.

One of the real difficulties of being a clergyman living on-the-job is that it is very difficult to be ‘on holiday at home’ without work inevitably intruding. However, other than answering a variety of emails and fielding a couple of phone calls, I’ve managed pretty well so far. And next week, I am going to the UK, but just for a long weekend – more about this in due course.

These past five days, I’ve set about trying to completely clean our flat, room by room. I don’t just mean running the vacuum cleaner across the floors and giving the furniture a quick wipe with the duster. I mean giving every room a really thorough clean! Therefore I’ve had my stepladder up from the cellar to enable me to reach and dismantle all the light fittings to remove a variety of dead insects and dust. It has also enabled me to clean the tops of wardrobes and the ledges above doorways.

For the first time since they were made and hung in January 2006, I’ve taken down the curtains a room at a time, in order to wash, dry, iron and re-hang them. They now seem several shades lighter, hopefully due to losing dirt rather than colour from the fabric! As I feared, the curtains have also shrunk a little. Fortunately, it is nothing too dramatic and no doubt they’ll drop a little in the next few weeks now they’ve been re-hung.

One very good reason for carrying out this cleaning exercise now is that finally, we are no longer living next to a building site. Our flat was built as part of the first stage of what the developers describe as Residence Podbaba. Ever since we moved here nearly two years ago, the fourth and final stage of the development has been under construction in front and at the side of our apartment block. Cleaning anything, especially the outside of windows or our balconies, was virtually a waste of time as within twenty-four hours, everything would once more be covered in dust from the building site.

About a month ago, the building work finished, paths were laid and the grounds landscaped. Therefore, whilst the curtains have been down, Sybille has been busy cleaning the windows and I’ve washed down all three of our external balconies.

As part of this cleaning exercise, we have also tried to look once more at our possessions, especially things that have gathered dust through lack of use. Have we used this item in the nearly two years we have been here? Are we likely to use it in the coming months? Jesus’ words recorded in Luke 12 v15 have been resonating once again. “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed: life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

Two rooms remain to be tackled as part of this major cleaning exercise – the kitchen and our joint office. The latter is the most cluttered and therefore the most difficult to both clean and sort out. I promise to provide a further progress report in the next few days…….

3 comments to On holiday – but in Prague!

  • I loved your quote……regarding possessions. I am reminded of when I thought we were going back to the States after living in Ireland for 7 years. We shipped all our belongings over to Ireland and then had to ship them back. Before going back, we took a holiday to Greece. Saw opportunities, and stayed. It is 10 years now. OK, what to do with the “possessions” that were costing us an arm and a leg in storage in the USA? Went back and had a huge sale. I must admit, at first it did bother me to see my thngs go, but in the end….they were only “possessions”. And the good stuff (family antiques) went to my children. However, once again we have collected things! I think it is time to listen to Jesus’ words and not have an abundance. ! Thanks for the reminder!!!! And good luck with your own clearing! 🙂

    Karin on Paros in Greece

  • Ricky

    Hi Karin,

    We had our clear out and massive downsizing exercise before moving to Prague. I had lived in the same Rectory (4 bedrooms, 2 studies etc) for over 15 years so you can imagine what had accumulated. My two adult children were finally forced to sort through their old toys, school books etc & decide what they did or didn’t want to keep. Knowing we were moving to a 3 bedroomed flat (one bedroom to be our joint office) meant we had to be quite drastic and only keep what we really needed. No way was I going to pay the cost of putting things in storage in the UK.

    However, as you say, once you settle somewhere, it is very easy to start accumulating things once again. Hence the thinking and actions of the past week.