Monthly Archives: September 2020

Lying low in Prague

I have been trying to put together a blog for the last week or so; maybe it has been ‘bloggers’ cramp’ or maybe it’s because of the ongoing sameness of our days, but for some reason I have been finding it difficult to get it all down on paper. Today, though, I seem to have a bit more ooof, so here goes.

After all of my complaining during lockdown of having no sport (or anything else for that matter) to watch on TV, I am now getting almost bored of watching tennis (I know, contrary as usual). Our last week in Spain (we returned to Prague over a week ago) included an awful lot of it during what was, really, a ‘Ground Hog’ day pattern – up early each day to do a social and regular media watch, check on emails, and then Jan to run, me to sit on the old bike. Then we had a couple of hours on a fairly deserted beach, before spending the rest of the day working and/or watching tennis/the Tour on the TV followed by whatever wild excitement the evening held (which usually meant watching endless episodes of ‘A Place in the Sun’, which we are now addicted to (and which is made more interesting by proving to us, most days, how much nicer Marbella is than most other places), although we did have a couple of dinners out, and then repeat the next day. Actually our life in Spain (especially when compared to our 100 days in lockdown) has gone back to more or less normal – if it wasn’t for everyone wearing masks and keeping a big distance between each other, and the quietness everywhere, you wouldn’t know any different.

Now we are back in Prague again, having flown in on a very uneventful Ryanair flight as usual, had our regular test (not that there was anyone around to tell us to (and bless all the young Spaniards who flew in with us for being so law-abiding) and then home in time to go out and get some paella for lunch at our local (as a way of pretending that we are still in Spain!… we are weird). And then over the last few days… well more or less the same as Spain! Up early for media and TV watch, on the bike, etc, then instead of the beach a bit more work (or occasional venturing out) and then, guess what, watching tennis again, but this time Paris instead of Rome. Exciting huh? The only difference (apart from the beach, sadly, and, now, the weather!!) is that Jan has spent a few days in court (working!), and having to wear a mask the whole time (so his mood is not at its best), whilst I have been having the occasional meeting and then trying to get my knee sorted out.

When we were kids, I think we believed that (a) doctors go into medicine as it is a ‘vocation’, not for the money (certainly in my family, which had its fair share of them) and (b) that if you went to a doctor and said ‘I have x, y and z wrong with me’, they would say ‘OK, do this and take that’ and it would all be OK. Not so nowadays, it seems. I did some work a while back for a doctor in Spain, who told me that he wanted all of his marketing strategy to focus on patients that wanted surgery as ‘that was where the money was’…hmmm… – and now I am seeing some of this myself. So far, four different orthopaedic surgeons, two (private) telling me I need an operation and the other two, surprise, saying I don’t (but all four saying something slightly different as far as the ongoing management of my knee is concerned!). So, no operation for me for now, at least, and instead I am in and out of physio, doing lots of special exercises at home, and trying to do quite a lot of walking (outside) and biking (inside). Hopefully, who knows, I will be back on court soon… maybe in a bit of a reduced way, but at least hitting a ball (my coach, Vitek, said yesterday that I could even come over and sit on a chair on the court, and then hit some balls from there… !!).

So continuing with tennis: having watched Novak preparing to leave for Italy the other day, I wondered about supporting him from now on, but I just can’t (much to Jan’s annoyance) – it would seem wrong. We are almost (but only ‘almost’) getting used to watching tennis without the crowds, but it is just not the same without Roger or a few of the others (especially Del Potro in my case), although it was good to see Rafa again in Rome (and coming back to the conversation I had with Adam about Novak, and guys over a certain age (I think it was 18) not being seen in such skimpy running/swimming shorts… I couldn’t help thinking whilst watching him that Rafa could get away with it, and whilst it is admirable that Novak is able to go out for a run in such an outfit without any sort of security or fuss, I am not sure that Rafa could… !).

Anyway, now that the whole tennis circus has moved onto Paris, where it is freezing cold and raining (a bit like here!) it is hard to imagine anyone running about in anything near naked – in fact, Azarenka (for those that don’t know, a Belarussian), refused to play yesterday when she first got on court as it was ‘just too cold’… a bit rich, I thought (although she does now live in Florida)! I think I will use the same reason for not trying the sitting on a chair and hitting a ball method any time soon – with my balance, I can only see that ending up in one way.. the chair broken on the floor, me with it, possibly with other broken bones, and no balls in sight, so to speak.

So, onto the Covid situation – sorry. I just can’t help myself, since that is, really, what has been pre-occupying me and most people I know for God knows how long (actually Jan says that this is ALL I talk about at the moment and he maybe right.. some days I bore myself…) But, anyway, Spain – I have to say, it really does get my goat a bit (sorry, not literally) that we have to quarantine or take a test coming back from Malaga (where there are relatively few cases) and into Prague, where the virus seems to be spreading like a rash at the moment. What annoys me even more, though, is when I tell people (which happened a lot this last week) that I have just got back from Spain, and they kind of reel back in horror, since, as yet, I have yet to meet anyone in Spain that has had, or knows someone that has or had it, but since I got back to Prague I seem to hear about people I know pretty much every day.

In Spain, at least where we are, life, as I say, has gone more or less back to normal, everyone knows what the rules are, and nothing much changes. In Prague, let’s face it, the numbers are still relatively low, but there is a feeling that they are getting a bit too high for comfort, with the result that the rules are changing pretty much all the time. However, not everyone thinks that Prague (nor anywhere else) is such a disaster though, and I was interested to see a video from my old friend Dr Martin Stransky, who paints a pretty (to me) clear picture of it all – see the link here in case it is of interest:

The CoV crisis: Imagination vs. facts / MUDr. Martin Jan Stránský

And then there is the UK – well, there is no real point in talking about what the rules are or are not as they vary and change all the time, nor what the numbers look like since the mechanisms for tracking them cannot be trusted. So I am going to gloss over it for now and hope that next time I mention the UK in this blog, it is to say that BJ and his merry men have been ousted… But I doubt it…

So what else is new; not a lot really.. we have been lying low since arriving back in Prague (the weather, the tennis, not keen on being in close contact with too many people, and my having a slight cold (COLD, not covid)), but I have been spending quite a lot of time going over my first 100 blogs as a few people suggested to me that I try to get them published as a ‘book’…. so, quite honestly, with not a lot of other challenges on my hands just now, I thought why not! Watch this space!

PS: you may have noticed that the photos are out of sync here. That is because of the new and ‘improved’ WordPress layout which, right now, is driving me to want to smash my computer and everything installed on it. Which might, therefore, put an end to any book ideas or any other blogs for that matter… better get back to the tennis.

Costa del Crisis!

Strangely, despite Marbella being so quiet, crime seems to be on the up (although bearing in mind that this used to be called the ‘Costa del Crime’, it is nowhere near what it used to be!) – in the last couple of weeks, a hotel and a luxury shopping centre have both been burned down (as yet, the cause is not completely clear, but of course people are speculating…..), there was a shooting outside our lawyer’s offices (two guys on a motorbike, whizzing past and bang, dead on the spot (thankfully it wasn’t actually our lawyer, although sometimes I think it is only a matter of time…!)) and a few other ‘standard bits and pieces’.

Sneaky photo of police, disguised as a selfie!

Last night, too, we went for a quick dinner with our friends (of the paella fame) to our regular Spanish hangout, which is also popular with both the local and national police, and in the middle of our dinner a group of rather glamorous officers from the table next to ours suddenly jumped up, grabbed their stuff and started running for the door with radios cackling (not, though, before one of them stopped to collect the food that was left, boxed it all up and took it with him!) – that turned out to be a call to a road traffic accident where a car had smashed through a window of a jewellers and another car had made off with all the gear. I tell you, it felt like we were living through an episode of Miami Vice!

Miami Vice

All of this is hardly surprising really, since people here are really starting to feel the pain. We have several friends that have lost their jobs and are already struggling, and we hear that the pawnbroker in Marbella is doing a roaring trade (literally.. .my tennis partner (former.. pre my knee!) told me that one of her friends had had to take her car in to pawn…!). It is all very sad, and we can’t help thinking that this will soon be Costa del Crisis, if the tourists don’t start coming again soon.

So today we sat on our beach, socially distancing by about 100 metres since there were only a handful of sunbathers there despite it being a lovely morning, and feeling as if we are in the safest place in the world. I pondered how tough it must be for all the less obvious tourist businesses around us – the guy selling the beds and parasols, who every so often got up to disinfect some of them (presumably as something to do, as there was no sign of any customers), the Africans who were trying to sell their fake designer bags

and scarves with absolutely no chance of a sale, the beach bar with no customers, and even the guy who has been manning the ice-cream kiosk for as long as we have been coming here (and who told us on the first night that we were allowed out after lockdown that he was so happy to be free of his wife, he would be happy to now sit in the kiosk all day and night if he had to, even if there were no sales!!!)… I wonder if he still feels like that! It just seems all wrong, in a town with hardly any infections…

Boys selling bags on the beach

I feel a bit guilty, therefore, to mention one of the other things that I have been thinking about recently, and that is the possibility of buying a Swarovski mask (bearing in mind that last time I mentioned a ‘Covid’ idea for a new business in my blog someone else nicked it) and sure enough, wandering through the posh department store in Puerto Banus, I spotted all sorts of Swarovski crystal variations for sale. Since they cost Euro 30 each and Jan nearly fainted at the idea of my buying one, I didn’t, partly as I have also now heard about a Chanel version that has just come on the market. I had thought to investigate that until I read this morning about a full-on Louis Vuitton face-shield (being advertised on Twitter… seems a bit of a strange place…) on sale for the princely sum of Euro 1,000. Now that, I am afraid, seems a bit off, and in the present circumstances I think it would be very wrong to wear such a thing (if one could even afford it). So I am sticking to my usual for now.

LV face shield

Still on the subject of shopping, I actually got a bit depressed about it all when I was doing a quick reconnaisance with Jan the other day. The thing is that I do find a bit of pleasure in buying clothes, handbags, shoes and so on (yes, I am a woman, we all feel like that), but really, with so little work to do (and what I have being done from home), and so few events or similar taking place (if I could even be bothered to go), what is the point of buying something to ‘dress up in’? It’s difficult to make a case to be honest. So.. on reflection, it may yet have to be a branded mask since that is about the only thing that is going to get any real wear just now!

My wardrobe. Unused!

So what else – I could go on (and on, and on) about the UK but I won’t. I am sad for our lovely Spain. And I feel a bit aggrieved about the CR and the way the media is whipping it all up (Ok, the numbers are going up…. but they are still very low, relatively speaking), with the result that the Czechs (here I go again… apologies if I offend anyone) who do, sometimes, err on the side of hypochondria, are going a bit crazy about testing (it’s funny … most people I know down here are scared of doing the test (not because of the result, but because of the nasty test itself!), whilst the Czechs can’t seem to get enough. We heard today from one of Jan’s colleagues about a mutual friend going to the airport at 4.00 am to try to get a test (as other testing places are so busy) only to find thousands of others had had the same idea. What is that all about?

So we will be heading back shortly, hoping to get a test if there isn’t a queue a mile long of all those that haven’t had one for a week or so, and then we will see what happens. It’s going to be a funny few months I expect….

Flying here, flying there….!

I know it might sound a bit mad, but we are now back in Marbella, having made a last-minute decision to fly here last Tuesday (as I have said before, we are, singlehandedly, trying to keep Ryanair afloat (or ‘in the sky’ if you don’t know what I mean by ‘afloat’ in this case (English being a funny old language). The main reason, really, is that with everything that is going on we cannot really be sure when we will get here again, so rather than planning anything too far ahead, we are just taking our chances when we can (and don’t worry, if there is any sign of us not being able to leave again we will get on the first flight out!).

Talking about flying, I get it why no-one wants to fly from the CR or Spain into the UK at the moment, since every arrival has to go straight into fourteen days’ quarantine, no test (and, frankly, just now, I doubt that anyone really wants to go there anyway…… although…. I can’t help but wonder just how many people actually do go into quarantine, since there seems very little chance that anyone is going to be checked up on)… but that’s the UK.

What I don’t really get is why no-one wants to travel to those countries that require a test (or quarantine) on arrival or return, since the tests are now available in most European airports – that seems to me to be the way forward (i.e. living with the virus) – we, ourselves, are even thinking about getting a season ticket for tests at Prague Airport (OK, joking… but all the while we can fly to and from Spain by taking a test each time we return to Prague, we will continue to go). I know, too, that we are not alone, since just now we have friends in Greece, Italy, Romania and Germany, some of whom will do the same. But for the poor old airlines to even survive, more people have to start realising that flying is pretty safe – an awful lot safer than going to a pub, party or similar… I know that some of you will be thinking ‘oh she would say that’, but in our own experience, the airports are so quiet that keeping a safe distance is easy, everyone wears masks, everywhere is super-clean, and the same, really, applies for the planes. I’m not sure that I would say the same about any other public transport I have been on, nor pubs/restaurants/etc in various jurisdictions. By the way, and still on airlines, I don’t love them all …. I’m still waiting for EUR 385 back from Iberia (ha ha) for my cancelled flight in March. No chance of that, judging by the ‘complaints against Iberia’ FB page that I am on….and they have the cheek to be doing a full-on advertising campaign at the moment!….).

Marbella Old Town

So, anyway, here we are in Marbella again, back into various routines, although not, as usual, without a few dramas (well it wouldn’t be the same without!). The first was a flat tyre on the way from the airport into Marbella (although that is not as dramatic as it sounds – being of a certain age, I used to be able to put my car up on a jack and change its tyre, but that is a skill long-since forgotten as now, of course, there is no need) – so that was something new for us to learn – i.e. how to find a place that can fix a tyre and manage to negotiate it all in Spanish), then when we got to our house we found a flood that ran from our downstairs cloakroom, through our ‘officina’ and into the living room – this required a lot of mopping up (me) and a great deal of swearing (Jan) before we could even unpack, and then making the cloakroom out-of-bounds until we could get the pipe from the loo fixed (no idea how that could actually break while we were gone – unless an extra big cockroach had stood on it (which I don’t even want to think about) or someone had sneaked in and sabotaged us (ditto)).

Marbella Old Town

Then a couple of days ago I managed to trip whilst getting changed out of my swimming gear and into shorts (I seem to do this a lot, but this time was a bad one) and since I wanted to avoid landing on my poor knee, I kind of twisted whilst falling and ended up on my bum instead, which is now even more painful than my knee…. uggggh.

What is very sad is that since we were last here (in August) pretty much everyone has left, and we are now walking around a ghost town – the beaches are completely empty (which is great on one hand, but…) the main town, restaurants and bars are deserted, and depression hangs in the air like a cloud. It is so frustrating, bearing in mind that Marbella and its surroundings have so few infections, and that everyone that is here is so well behaved (masks, social distancing, etc). We really do wonder, now, how some areas are going to survive, and it is no surprise that there are demonstrations in Madrid, more or less as I speak.

Deserted beach (that’s not me though)

Why there aren’t more of those in the UK is beyond me – I can’t help but think that the new rule of only six people being allowed to be together at any one time (although lots of groups of six in restaurants, bars, etc are fine…!) has been brought in in order to make sure that no-one takes to the streets to try and get rid of BJ and his merry men… surely it can only be a matter of time.

Lastly, and on a much more cheerful note. Regular readers of my ramblings will remember that we are constantly on the lookout for Novak Djokovic whilst we are in Marbella (since, ‘they say’ he now lives here) and we even saw him on the beach one day in the summer. So, just a couple of days after watching him being evicted from the US Open (and that was all a bit disappointing and controversial – even I felt sorry for him and I am really not a fan), we were coming from the beach to our car, which we had parked outside the tennis club, and we heard a ball being thwacked and some familiar grunting…. and sure enough, there was Nole, his brother, and training partner, practising away on the main court in readiness for Rome. We watched him for about half an hour (within feet, and all on our own!) and then left, cursing that we didn’t have a camera. Jan, his biggest fan, may never recover!

Novak on the Marbella running track..

Only in the Czech Republic!

Yesterday morning had a proper autumn feel to it which was lovely for my walk on the one hand, but on the other was a bit depressing since we are still only in early September.  Another sign that winter is on its way was that as I set off towards my usual park, I passed a row of cars outside one of the cafes that belonged to some of the country’s top cross country skiers (I worked this out as their names were on each car, not because I know the skiers so well that I recognise them…!) and since I assumed that they must be attending some sort of press conference or something, I felt very katka-1 nostalgic, as it is not so long ago that I worked for two of the top ones and was heavily involved in SkiPark Chuchle – another story for another day.  

The nostalgia soon wore off, though, as I was also reminded of a friend’s birthday party a few years ago that took place in the old Aromi (for those who don’t know, this was one of the best restaurants in Prague, tucked away opposite the park that I often refer to).  Lots of nice people, incredible food, and way too much booze, but one of the real ‘highlights’ was the entertainment – halfway through dinner we were told to put our coats on and make our way out to said park, where we would find a row of chairs set up in the middle of the grass.  Despite a lot of muttering and complaining we did as we were told, and found our way to the chairs where we all sat down – note that this was the middle of winter, freezing cold and very dark, with thick snow on the ground – the only lights being from the street lamps and the stars.   Also note that this wasn’t just any old party, since amongst us were quite a few politicians, the heads of various big companies and a few well-known sports people, so it would have made for a great picture for the tabloids…. particularly when, once all of us had sat down, a spotlight came on and from the gloom arrived about 8 middle-aged men on skies, all naked, who then proceeded to do a ‘dance on skis’ but without music, and then skied back off into the darkness.   Difficult to describe (and sadly I don’t have any photos!) and completely hilarious – particularly the faces of most of us when they first turned up….. one of those (there have been many!) situations where Jan would say (and he can as he is Czech) ‘only in the Czech Republic’…..But, anyway, it made me giggle today!

Walking on, I was reminded of the real estate seminar that I was involved in the other day (passing one of the cute (but closed) little hotels around here, which triggered me off), when a few different people that I hadn’t seen for ages came up to ask me how I was feeling back in Prague and how my leg was.   All very nice, although my initial reaction (on both counts) was ‘how did they know?’….and then it transpired that they had been reading this blog… so a note to myself – be very careful what I say in future!    What we all discussed, of course, (this being the first ‘proper event’ that any of us had been to for months) was how our businesses were faring – the residential real estate boys seemed full of optimism (I wish I could share it….) whilst, needless to say, the hotel/hospitality people were full of doom and gloom.  I am afraid that most of my friends are in the ‘gloom and doom’ camp, although there are some businesses that are doing OK – Jan is busy (lawyers eh?!) with a few matrimonial cases and no doubt some murders soon (I am half joking), Adam (the IT king) says that his company is doing OK, but then most of my sports and restaurant friends are in despair, and us marketing and PR lovies have virtually given up on ever working again… .and that is just in the CR – Spain is a lot worse, and the UK… well don’t even start me.

I did, though, bump into an old friend the other day who owns a lovely boutique hotel, and when I said how concerned I had been for him as presumably he had been closed all summer, he responded ‘oh no, it has been great – I have been selling rooms to friends that want somewhere to go to meet their mistresses’… OK, not everyone will approve of that, but hats off to him for being creative!  (That now reminds me of hats offanother friend, English, who remarked on how many of these sayings I use in my normal speak, and asked whether non-English natives understood them – I argued at the time, but now I realise that he’s right… sorry about that!).

And coming back to sport for a moment – I saw an interview with the manager of Liverpool football club the other day, where the journalist was asking why they were not interested in buying Lionel Messi (I suppose I don’t have to explain who he is…) and he said that they couldn’t afford him.   And then a bit on the news this morning (it is now messiSaturday) that said that he has now decided to ‘put aside his differences and stay at Barcelona’ – from which I suppose one could surmise that Barca had asked him to take a pay cut, he refused and said he was off, and now he has come back with his ‘tail between his legs’ (sorry, there I go again!).  The moral of the story being, of course, that even top footballers are having to take pay cuts at the moment, and even fight to keep their jobs.  Poor petals.  How tough for them.

So finally – yes, it’s now Saturday, and I am finishing this off having just come back from my walk in the park again – a lovely sunny day – before we head out to lunch (and since I didn’t post it before that, I now have a LOT more to add, but that has to wait for next best view from Rigravtime!).   For now, and in view of a couple of comments that I had on my last blog, here I am again with (a) another photo of the view from the park (someone commented that my last photo wasn’t very good and I agreed, since it was pretty cloudy that day), and (b) a photo of a different view, same park, a lot cloudier by the time I took it, where you can maybe just make out two more-or-less nude sunbathers (another comment on my last blog was that surely I was exaggerating by saying that there were ladies sunbathing topless – but honestly I wasn’t! (Only in the Czech Republic again??!).  The difference today, though, was that they were lying nude sunbathingon their fronts, so it would be more correct to say ‘bottomless’ sunbathers (which reminds me of the days before the ‘clothes feds’ started patrolling in Puerto Banus and we would see endless groups of ghastly English girls ambling about dressed only in bikini tops and thongs – and I will say here, as I said then, that I do think if you are going to wear a thong, you need to have spent hours on an exercise bike and have a rock-hard bum to get away with it).   Jan was furious to have missed it all when I got home, but it served him right, since I had suggested that we walk together and he, being a ‘Gold PIM King’ declined.

Actually he is in a bit of a bad mood today as he found out this morning that he has been banned from the ‘Alicante Ladies’ Facebook’ page, where he had made a very rude comment against a very stressed post from someone that had ‘been in the hairdressers watching hairdressersanother customer who was without a mask and was spreading germs all over the sinks, floors and mirrors’ (I, myself, had a good giggle at that as it conjured up all sorts of funny pictures in my head), but, really, some supposedly intelligent people are still so silly about this bloody virus and Jan, being a lawyer, can’t help but point that out!!   Frankly I am surprised that it has taken them so long to ban him.

So that’s it for now.  More from me soon!


Back in Prague and it’s pretty ‘cool’

lovely prague

When I started writing this ‘Covid’ blog, right at the start of the lockdown in Spain (sorry to be repeating myself), I did it partly to cheer myself up and to have something to do, partly to keep our friends and family up-to-date with what we were up to (everyone being worried that we were in Spain, the ‘hotbed’ of the virus) and partly as I thought that it would be nice to have a record of living through a ‘one-off’ experience that we might never go through again.   At the end of that 100 day lockdown, when we first headed back to Prague, therefore, I expected that it would fizzle out (the blog, I mean, not the virus, although I hoped that too!).   Sadly, from the way things are going now, it looks as if I will soon be getting started with ‘Covid-second wave – Part 11’, so here I am with a quick update, before things really get going (well.. I hope they won’t, but I suspect they will).

We’ve been back in Prague (since our last trip to Spain) for just over a week now, and after the 40 degree heat of Marbella, I have to say that it was nice to be able to cool down prague towers 2a bit.  It feels, too, as if we have been quite busy; I’ve been continuing my new trend of taking a walk every morning in lieu of any ‘proper’ exercise, and then, of course, visiting various doctors with my leg (which is an ongoing and very boring story) as well as catching up with friends/clients and doing a bit of work, whilst Jan has been continuing much as usual – running every morning, working, and meeting up with his Czech cronies; all in all, the days just seem to whiz past and everything has seemed to be very ‘normal’…..

‘Normal’, that is, until I headed into the centre last week, really for the first time since the whole thing started, and saw just how many shops have been closed down, the sad state of some of the big hotels (many of which I did some work for at some point… that isn’t empty praguegoing to be happening again any time soon), and the lack of tourists, generally – in Marbella and its surroundings during our last two trips, we were amazed at just how many people there were on the beaches, as well as in the shops and restaurants, but that is definitely not the case in Prague – I suppose that those Europeans that can/are still prepared to travel have preferred to head for the beaches rather than the cities, so despite the CR being one of the least affected by the virus, I can’t help but think that from an economic, long-term point of view, it may yet suffer one of the most (tourism being, at least for Prague, a huge contributor to the country’s GDP).   Clearly the end of the year is going to be key, since the Christmas markets and the fairy-tale city of Prague generally christmas marketsare usually huge tourist magnets… we shall see.

What has surprised us though (me not so happily, Jan delightedly) is just how relaxed everyone in Prague is about the virus at the moment – in Spain, as I have tried to describe on numerous occasions, we would walk along, automatically giving each other a lot of distance, wearing masks most of the time, and even with our friends we would stand a good distance apart (and God forbid anyone going in for a quick peck on the cheek or a hug), plus the shops and supermarkets have hand-wash on all entrances, and, of course, we social distancing on the beachhad our ‘mask feds’ who keep an eye on everything on the beach, including the social distancing that is laid out specially.  Here in Prague, though, it has seemed to be pretty much back to normal – no social distancing to speak of, no masks, no handwashing…. and plenty of kissing and hugging, which is great in a way (especially for Jan, who does love to hug everyone!), but, as we are seeing today with the masks arriving back on public transport, we suspect it is all about to change.

Anyway, moving on for now as I am sure that I will bang on about the Covid situation a lot in the coming weeks: despite my leg (I have now seen four different surgeons and had four different opinions.. but two are similar, so I am going with them (particularly as they err towards the ‘no operation route!’) I am enjoying my morning walks around Prague and seeing so many things that I haven’t noticed before, due, of course, to being either running or driving – actually I am shocked by how blinkered I am usually.  Despite the fact that just about every road around us is being dug up, closed, diverted or whatever (and I can’t decide if that is a good or bad thing… I think I just about veer towards good, since it must make sense to get all of this work done when there are so few people about…) I have managed to do a different route every morning so far, and amused myself quite a lot along the way.

I noticed the sign above this door the other morning, which made me giggle (and I have passed it millions of times without noticing), then one morning (actually the only Hooker roommorning) when it was really hot I walked through one of the nearby parks and saw quite a few young ladies sunbathing topless (I still find that pretty bizarre, since I just feel that these small town parks are a bit too public.  It seems to me a bit like walking topless down the road, which I doubt they would do (although you never know…) – and no, I don’t have any photos for this bit…).   Also in the same park I stopped to take a photo of the amazing view (which I had view from rigerovnoticed before when running, but then I never had my phone with me – and, again, you need to enlarge it), and another in the park near our apartment, where I spotted a statue that has been there for hundreds of years, and which I have run past for a similar amount of time but never seen… and so it goes on! statue

Then, in addition to my walks, I have started a lot of physio and weight training which, after all this time, is ensuring that I am in even more pain than usual each morning, but at least my leg is improving!   I will see how it all goes, but all in all I am feeling a lot better (I say this as a few people have said to me that, reading between the lines of my last blog, they felt that I was not quite myself – which was probably true, and thank you for the nice words – but now I am MUCH BETTER!).   Well enough, in fact, to attend a seminar this morning (a public event with real people… haven”t done one of those for a long time!) and, as you can see, to get writing again!

The seminar and the blog took up most of the day, but I still managed to fit in a couple of hours of watching the Tour de France, before settling down for an evening of US Open tennis…and, really, I can’t even begin to say how fantastic it is to have some sport to watch on the TV again – the cycling is losing nothing from having a reduced number of spectators (at least for the TV watchers, although I understand it is a bit problematic for the teams (plus a couple of riders have already fallen by the wayside, so to speak, with the virus)).  The tennis….well… I don’t know… without spectators, and without Roger or Nadal, it is not quite the same for me, but I will try to get into it (although Jan is loving being able to see his ‘friend’ Nole in action again!)…

Just on Roger, though… those of you that have read my blog for a while now will remember me showing a video of two girls playing tennis on their Italian rooftops, right in the middle of the very worst time of lockdown.   Well… here is a very cheering update (worth a watch, even if you don’t like tennis or Roger – make sure to click on the video called ‘the rooftop match’)!

More from me again soon!