Easter In East Bohemia

To most of us from an Anglophone background Easter consists of a glut of chocolate eggs, magic bunny rabbits, Easter egg hunts and reruns of “von Ryan’s Express” or “The Greatest Story Ever Told” featuring John Wayne’s epic performance as a Roman centurion muttering the immortal words, “Surely this man was the son of God” or for those more religiously inclined church services celebrating the death and resurrection of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, followed by the aforementioned activities

However in the Czech Republic this is not how Easter is celebrated, granted that even in this most atheist of countries some people do celebrate Easter as a religious feast and attend mass at church but for the large majority, the pagan symbols and celebrations hold more sway much as they do in the UK.

Continue reading “Easter In East Bohemia”

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A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Recently I have started to follow a fellow WordPress user, ALK3R I came across his blog through the Notey site. His page is very interesting and I think full of inspiration I especially like the sections on photography, travel photography in particular. The article about the best drone photography competition is a favourite of mine and really contains some truly exceptional and inspirational images captured by drones from all around the world.I recommend you check it out here.

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(Photo by Mauro Pagliai/SkyPixel)

 

What I Learned This Week 30.01 – 05.02.2017

I have enjoyed very much dipping in and out of Mark Forsyth’s (of The Inky Fool) excellent book “The Horologicon” if you have an interest in obscure and dead terms I advise you to pick up a copy. Over the course of this week it has taught me many new and I must say fascinating words, which although I may not drop into normal conversations it is a pleasure to learn something new. I also have one class of students who like it when I give them three unusual words each week, this book has been kind enough to furnish me with several of them.

As I was cooking a nice piece of salmon this week it massively splattered oil over my trousers as I turned it over, leaving a rather unsightly grease stain just above the knee, which in spite of several washing attempts it stubbornly refused to be removed, it just wouldn’t wash away. It was unwashawayable or to take a term from page 26 of this book, it was illutible. It is really surprising that more words exist to cover situations than perhaps we even knew existed.

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日本庭園

日本庭園 or nihon teien means Japanese garden. In my search for the interesting, inspirational and beauty of life I think these need a mention. As places of such serene peace and stunning beauty that celebrate nature in a way that inspires, calms and lifts us up. During the hectic days when we forget to stop and take in the world around us, perhaps we could at least pause to look at some pictures that demonstrate a human ode to the wonder of nature, be they flowers, rocks and so on. Here is a small collection for you to enjoy I hope it brings you an element of peace and inspiration:

“If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone”

A friend of mine told me today that they are not OK. I do not know what is wrong or what the problem is, I so much would like to help them but they seem to prefer to suffer alone. It is quite a helpless feeling when someone you care for is unhappy so I will post another poem that lifts me up and I hope if they read this some of the words will help them too:

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
 Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
  But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
  Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
  And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
  If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
  And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
  Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
  And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make a heap of all your winnings
  And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
  And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
  To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
  Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
  Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
  If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
  With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
  And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

“Be careful when walking with or near a lady, not to put your foot upon her dress.”

Whilst rummaging around the free books on offer online I happened upon what I think is a real gem of a bygone age. The book in question is “The Gentlemen’s Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness” which is available for free download on Project Gutenberg. The book is written by American Florence Hartley under the pseudonym Cecil B Hartley. It would be considered terribly political incorrect but it was a different time for better or worse and I think that if we can appreciate what would be considered wrong today we should be able to chuckle a little at the ‘ignorance’ of our forebears.

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There re several exerts from this book that are worthy of a mention perhaps I will add some more in a later post but for today I have chosen the passage below from chapter four, Etiquette in the Street. It definitely highlights the attitudes of its time however, I think there is some effort being made towards more tolerant society which sadly even today we are some way off achieving especially with the latest setbacks in the US and the UK.

“A true gentleman never stops to consider what may be the position of any woman whom it is in his power to aid in the street. He will assist an Irish washerwoman with her large basket or bundle over a crossing, or carry over the little charges of a distressed negro nurse, with the same gentle courtesy which he would extend toward the lady who was stepping from her private carriage. The true spirit of chivalry makes the courtesy due to the sex, not to the position of the individual.”