Letter 11

28/12/2012 17:17

        23rd December 2012


        Dear Catherine,

I am in the cottage in Vysoke by myself.  I will explain later why I am alone.  There is snow outside, which looks pretty, not what we are used to in England. Maybe I will get to do some skiing in the next two weeks.  There is 30 to 40cm of snow on the slopes, just about enough for skiing.  You spent a week here skiing over two years, which I hope you enjoyed.  Maybe when you are older, you will get to go skiing again, as you definitely had the hang of it by the end of your second year.  I am in the Living Room of the cottage, at the table in the corner, I’m sure you must remember it.  There is a glow from the fire and I can feel the heat of it from here, as I write.  I am going to be here alone for at least two days so I thought I would write a few of those letters I promised in October, but haven’t managed because I seem to have had too many other things to do. 

I have been working very hard recently, the main reason being that I love my job and a secondary reason is that I want to keep working at present, even though I am one and a half years past retirement age!  My boss obviously appreciates my efforts as he always supports me and I have kept my job when a lot of others, even younger than me have lost theirs.  Another reason, I suppose I want to work, is that the extra income will hopefully help me to get ‘on my feet’ again, and buy a flat for myself.  For the last nearly four years I have been living in a room in a house where I share a bathroom & kitchen with four others.  They are quite nice, three women, one from Poland, Georgia and Ireland and one man from Portugal.  But it is not ideal, having to queue for the bathroom and it is not exactly private. 

I decided to take two weeks holiday this Christmas, because I haven’t taken holidays since last February and I have a lot of days owing to me which I will lose if I don’t take soon.  Veronica and her husband Jonathan and children Sarah, James & Daniel were due to come here yesterday, the same time as I did, but both Veronica and Sarah were ill and they had to postpone their trip until Friday 28th.  So that is why I am alone.  But I am happy as I love it here.  It is peaceful, with none of the distractions I would have at home and it gives me time to think and of course to write to you.  It is strange that you will not receive or read this letter, but it makes me feel closer to you just writing.  And I hope that someday, you will be able to read them, to get an understanding of how my life is going and my thoughts.

Brendan picked me up at Prague airport and we stopped off to see babicka on the way here.  She is now 93 years old and is mentally active but finds it difficult getting about and she no longer lives here in the cottage as she used when you came here.  The police confiscated her driving licence a few years ago as well, limiting her mobility and now she lives in a granny flat attached to her son’s house.  It was 10.00 at night when we arrived here to unload food for the Christmas break.  The temperature was -2°C inside the cottage and it took a while to warm up after I lit the fire and we went to bed. 

This morning Brendan had to go back to his family in Prague as his youngest daughter, Chloe has diabetes.  She is only three years old and it was only discovered in September.  She has to have the sugar level in her blood checked every three hours and an insulin injection if necessary.  Nobody likes injections, and she, only aged three has to have a number every day and will have to have them for the rest of her life.  I spent the day in the village square doing some shopping, having my lunch in the restaurant and visiting my friends Vlada & Vlasta, remember them, with the big red setter dog, called Pluto.  That dog died but they have a pup from her, now full grown who looks the same but is coloured black.  I walked down to the cemetery where my first wife Marie is buried and lit a candle at the grave stone.  It is another place I like to be, as it is so tranquil and peaceful.  As I stand there thinking of past events in my life, there is almost absolute silence apart from the occasional twittering of a bird.  Usually I can see the mountains in the distance with snow and forests but today that was hidden mostly by the clouds.  It was late in the afternoon and beginning to become dark, making it even more surreal.  It is the closest I have ever been to complete silence.

Now I am back at home, having done some chores, read a bit of my current book, about a girl writing about her life in Dublin, my city.  It is getting late as I am writing this so I will finish up and hopefully continue with some more news for you tomorrow.


        All my love for now,


dad  xxx                                                                           Vysoke, Czech Republic