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Sunday, 18 December 2011

pre-Christmas mutterings

I did not intend to start my post in this way, but events, as they say, overtook me.

 Vaclav Havel, a former president of the Czech Republic and a great statesman, died today.


I have some wonderful childhood memories of Christmas, spend usually in my grandmother's house, on the edge of a village, deep in the Czech countryside. These paintings by Josef Lada remind me so much of that place (less the ruins in the background). Yes, there was always snow. I remember the time my parents and I were picked up late in the day from the train station in the next village and driven in a horse drawn sleigh, through a spooky forest, the only light being a reflection from the white snow, and arriving to the warmth of my grandmother's country kitchen, smelling of baking and freshly cut Christmas tree. Memories......

I have always been fortunate to be able to spend Christmas with my family, be it with my Czech family as a child, and later with my own family in England. I have always tried to pass on that little bit of Christmas magic to my own children, and in the last few years to my beautiful grandchildren (although I could never quite manage the horse drawn sleigh here in England).
When my children were away studying, we told them not leave anyone on their own at Christmas time. So there was the time we received a call from our son, a day before Christmas: "mum, there is this girl from Australia, she has nowhere to go for Christmas". So arrived Katherine, with a bottle of Bundaberg and spent the holiday with us.
We have not always been able to be all together. There was that tearful "I miss you" phone call on a frosty Christmas Day from our offspring travelling in Australia. But we just put it down to those "few" beers on the beach :)

But Christmas can also be a difficult time for some people, those without a close family or friends, or those touched by a recent personal tragedy or loss, and feel that Christmas will never be the same again. Hope is a great thing and they say that time is a great healer...
In the words from Slade's Christmas song:

Look to the future now
It's only just begun.

I wish you all a very peaceful and safe run up to Christmas!

I would like also to take this opportunity to thank you all for your friendship and support.

Oh, and talking about friendship.
I have just finished reading a beautiful book "Astrid and Veronika" by Linda Olsson.
It is about two women from different backgrounds, one young and the other old, who form an unlikely friendship and learn each other stories.

Thank you Gudrun for recommending this book on your blog.


  1. We liked Vaclav Havel very much and mourn with the Czech people.
    Radka, your post is again wonderful. You are finding fantastic words to say everything. - To you and your family also a happy and merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and creative New Year. Thank you for your friendship via internet.
    Love from

  2. Yes, Vaclav Havel was a Great Man!I'm sad too.

    Wishing you Merry Christmas with all memories, specially the best ones :)

  3. It is always exciting to read what you are telling us.I think some lines were a little bit for me:-)).
    I am happy that you liked the book.I loved it -- really.
    Love and hugs to you.

  4. Dear Radka,
    Your memories remind me of my childood, it was similar. Your storier are alway worth to be read -
    I wish to you and your family a wonderful, peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year -

  5. Lovely post Radka, Always lovely to read about other countries traditions.
    Enjoy your Christmas with family and whoever turns up.

  6. Very enjoyable post Radka and like you I have always been lucky enough to celebrate Christmas with family and we often had the odd "waif and stray" at our table. Take care.

  7. Another lovely post Radka. I so enjoy reading what you have to say. Your little paintings are so lovely. I too seem to remember the odd 'stray' when the children were young adults - always someone working the holiday shift and family too far away. May the blessings of the season be upon you, and may the world be a better place for all of us in 2012.

  8. Beautiful childhood memories Radka. The Christmas winter wonderland pictures are just delightful. Have a wonderful Christmas and a new year full of blessings. Di.

  9. Radka, your story of your childhood Christmases are so evocative of how we like to think Christmas can be, especially a sleigh ride through the snow. Only in dreams for most of us.

    All good wishes to you for a peaceful and joyful Christmas and hope you will have some rest time to do some of your beautiful stitchery. Anne

  10. Radko,i moje dětské Vánoce jsou malovány panem Ladou,a myslím že jsou to obrázky nejkrásnější.
    Vzpomínám na sněhové závěje,na sáňkování,na nastrojenou maminku u stromečku,a na tatínka s prskavkami v rukou.
    Nyní jsem to já co hlídá radost vnoučátek nad dárky a raduji se z jejich radostí.
    Přeji Tobě i celé Tvé rodině hezké,klidné Vánoce Liba

  11. Hi
    Yes Mr Havel was a man of great importence for Europa. Our forigne minister spoke very high about him. There isn´t so many great statesman nowadays.
    We seems to have had similar childhood with horse drawn sleigs and real Christmas. I´m a bit split for the Christmas nowadays. It seem to me that it is all about money. If we don´t top last years buying the whole country will crack. But the important thing is the family and I don´t give a dam of our BNP :-)
    So I wish you and your famlily a very very nice Christmas


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