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 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 another 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 Saturday) 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 time!). 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 on 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 another 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!