So at last the day had arrived when we were to claim our small piece of CZ tradition, we had the keys both to our new cottage and new car. Mother in law was with us as we picked up our shining blue combi adding to the excitement of the day. Apart from the steering wheel feeling like it’s on the wrong side of the vehicle, driving it had an old and familiar feeling. Yes, we were entering a longstanding Czech tradition of owning a cottage out of Prague. Family financial machinations had rumbled down and my wife and I had found a sweet property south-east of Prague. We agreed to the sale in the late autumn and now three months on and it was finally ours.
In spite of the flurry of anticipation, my wife pointedly remarked that she was a hopeless navigator and that she hoped that I had checked the map. A remark that was to haunt me sooner that I expected. We sped down highway E65, enjoying the comparative luxury of our own vehicle, not expecting the road to change until we reached our destination. It did! We overshot the right exit without the slightest hesitation and tried fixing the situation by getting back on the highway and driving back in the right direction. Not so simple, we met the spaghetti like road system of Prague head on and proceeded to turn right, turn left and right again for at least thirty or forty minutes and having asked what seemed like a thousand innocent passers by for directions….. We eventually found the right road. Signs? What signs! The system of roads in Prague is as challenging as the Czech language, except that the majority of Czech people we asked directions of didn’t have a clue. Not the best of starts to our new adventure, still we shelved the memories of frustration, yes, we had breached that point where I had to deal with the fraught frustration of my wife demanding to be taken home, to at last arrive at the cottage.
Our troubles were not over. After squelching through wet slushy snow, we arrived at that sweet, sweet property to find that the winter melt of snow had taken refuge in the walls of our house and was creeping up them with a vigor that denied any sense of fundamental physics. Looks like I have my work cut out for the summer digging trenches and plastering walls. Still, it will be great when it’s done.
As if that wasn’t enough, we get on the highway after a zero alcohol beer and a bite to eat, and I see the temperature gauge is startlingly in the red. No spanners! Sixty kilometers from Prague! And a fraught wife and mother in law to keep happy, fat chance. I threw snow at the engine and beat the car with psychic sticks and stones; somehow it worked with numerous cooling down stops at every petrol station that could be found. Don’t we love it? Wow, was I glad to get back to Prague and douse the smell of oil and stress away in the cheapest carton of Eurowine that was available.
Since then I have become intimately familiar with my thermostat, fan relay switch and a whole bunch of misleading wires and miscellaneous engine parts. Humph!
With the spring and summer in front of us, I wish all the cottaging classes a great season out of Prague! Oh, and don’t forget to check your oil and water before you go.