We have had more lovely visitors, the town is full, I mean really stuffed with Christmas cheer. There are twinkling lights, lovely smells of gluewein and the cinnamon roasted peanuts. The Christmas tree is up in the Old Town Square surrounded by the market with lots of excited children, wrapped up against the cold, munching on trdelnik cooked over charcoal fires. Our visitors left feeling all Christmassy, which is what I was hoping for. We drank the Svařák – hot wine with cherries and prunes, that makes it part of your five-a-day, so healthy! We were chatting to folks from other lands and got on to talking about Christmas stories and then traditional sayings.
I learnt a new proverb, it is not Czech but allegedly Polish and I think it is one that I can often use. Here it is: ‘This is not my circus and those are not my monkeys’ – I can’t wait to throw that one into a conversation back home. I think it is absolutely brilliant and inspired me to investigate a few Czech proverbs.
Many are similar to the traditional English ones, ‘no smoke without fire’ ‘silence is golden’ that sort of thing but there are some which are unfamiliar to me. A particular favourite is ‘He who digs a whole for someone, will fall in it himself’. Of course all Czech proverbs refer to men, women it seems are not worthy of them, or too clever to have them applied. There is another Czech ‘phenomenon’ amongst Czech men and that is that they have a peculiar special talent. The Czech men are very adapt at fixing things, very handy at DIY, broken washing machines, sole coming off your shoe, they will fix it. It has given way to a phase that Czech men have ‘Golden Hands’. At the bottom of any garden, under any staircase you will find a formidable collection of tools and bits that might be useful for fixing things. Now in a society where every man is good at fixing stuff, maybe not even broken stuff, they are of course experts at fixing. Here in the Czech Republic they have an enormous selection of do-it-yourself shops, large and small. This week my darling husband wanted to get a new part for a light that had broken, so off he set on a Thursday evening to the DIY out of town shop near his work. He did not even make it into the carpark, it was jam-packed. That is how much the Czech’s enjoy working with their ‘Golden Hands’.
I had my own “Golden Hands’ experience too. The ignition lock on our car had broken, the car was stuck in the garage, which is a tight squeeze on a good day, you can hardly get the door open enough to slide on in. My darling husband who drives to work every day had discovered the broken ignition and called the company to come and fix it. They thought it would need to be towed away and a new ignition drum inserted, a bit of tooth-whistling and talk of days without a vehicle was had. Then on the designated morning a rather large mechanic with a tow truck arrived. If you are familiar with Harry Potter, he was Hagrid’s cousin. He managed to get the truck into the courtyard near the garage. I gave him the car keys and he fiddled a little bit and started the engine. He grinned and I felt a bit of a fraud, as one would. Clearly the ignition was not broken – anymore! He switched it off and repeated the procedure. It started beautifully – nothing wrong. He locked up the car and closed the garage doors. I was really very impressed with his skills. My Czech is limited so I told him my best phrase ‘Mos Dobre” (Very Good). At this point he took both his greasy hands up to his face and kissed the back of each one – GOLDEN HANDS! That made me smile!