Friday, 26 February 2010

Driving in Winter, the Czech way

We were comparing notes with fellow Brits the other day about Winter driving - the way everything seems to come to a stop in Britain the moment any amount of snow falls, while here, as on most of the Continent, people just carry on, quite happily: so I thought I'd take a few pics when on the way to the Lake house a couple of days ago (click to enlarge as usual, if you like).
The major roads are of course kept snowless - either by chemical or by mechanical means (mostly both). Snowploughs start out every morning at some ungodly hour (heroically) so that public, and any other major transport is able to carry on as normal. The larger minor roads are usually left chemical-less, they get just ploughed through now and then, and gritted - a bit. The smallest roads, however, are there for the users to just get along the best they can. Of course everyone here drives on Winter tyres; the Czechs do a twice-yearly tyre-changing ritual. But it is all quite safe, and fun - unless you are a maniac driver. They tend to be the ones that pay with their life, alas.
The majority, though, enjoy the adventure. So do I. Almost as fun to do as skiing :-)

Friday, 5 February 2010

Well, this, too, is part of owning a remote cottage...

When you need to literally carve your way to the door, that's what I call a snowfall. And having a house in a remote location means not only an adrenalin-pumping drive along practically non-existent, white-on-white, deep and icy roads, but also having to fight your way towards the house itself :-) But it needs to be done: one needs to check whether pipes have not frozen inside, and whether there isn't too much snow on the roof - else you might come back when the days are warmer only to find plumbing disaster and collapsed eves. So, yes, we did find over a meter of snow in places on the barn roof (the shovel in the picture is 60cm wide) and it meant having to climb up and shovel it off. It turned out to be a lovely exercise, and we enjoyed the feeling of a job done as much as the cup of tea by the open fire inside afterwards. And - thanks to our having left our heating to temper the interior, no plumbing disaster.

Sorry about the quality of photos (phone) but I thought you might enjoy them nevertheless :-)

Monday, 1 February 2010

We've been nominated

This blog as been nominated for The Top 100 International Exchange and Experience Blogs 2010
The final ranking will be decided by popular vote, so we ask you dear reader to vote for us - either by clicking on the link in the left column, or by going to

We're near the bottom of the list, by the way.