I thought that Dr. Who’s Tardis was blue, but this one was definitely bright orange with the name imprinted on the metal casing, sitting boldly at the bottom of the marble steps leading to the gracious Holland Park mansion where my friend has her apartment. This was my first visit last weekend to a home beyond my family bubble since lockdown. Lunch and a game of socially distanced bridge with new cards and hand sanitiser, played by big opened windows sounded wonderful. I had not reckoned on being met by a Tardis! I wonder if I might borrow it for an outing? Where would a time machine take me?
Having bought a pair of pale apricot Jeggings this week, I found this matching silk chiffon scarf in my collection. It is hand decorated with a delicate tracery of gold and was crafted in Prague by an artisan with the initials G.N. It is very nicely sewn and very feminine. Yes, I think we will have an outing to the Czech Republic. I have no idea how a time machine works, so this is going to be interesting!
I entered the orange box. Last week you will remember from my blog, I was collecting fir cones as fuel for my daughter’s outdoor burner. I should not have thought about that now. The familiar Christmas carol boomed out from the Tardis music system and we were off. No, no! Wrong millennium. I do not want to see the good Duke Wenceslaus of Bohemia wandering barefooted in the snow distributing alms to the poor collecting their winter fuel. Poor Wenceslaus, murdered at only twenty-eight by his wicked brother and then venerated as a martyr and posthumously made King. Which button do I push to get to another time zone? Fast forward a thousand years. That’s a little better. We are now in 1889 in Wenceslaus Square and the Grand Evropa Hotel is being built, a magnificent Art Nouveau building. I step out of the Tardis, but the time still does not match the memory of my own visit to Prague. Please, Tardis, could we fast forward another hundred years? At last, it feels right and I recognise the Cafe Evropa as I remember it in the late 1980’s.
Time for a coffee and cake in its faded grandeur. It felt familiar on my first visit from seeing the film setting of the Titanic dining room based on the Cafe Evropa’s Art Nouveau decor. In fact, I felt I knew a lot of the old streets and buildings. International film makers used Prague as a background for many movies as its mediaeval architecture was unscathed in World War Two. Little had been changed under Communist rule and our visit was just after the Velvet Revolution. I wonder what it is like today, post stag night inexpensive beer extravaganzas and now post Covid? I think I will just retain my initial wonder of Prague Castle, the world’s largest palace seen floodlight at night as we wandered round a street market on the esplanade surrounding the castle. I saw for sale an amazing Court dress, velvet brocade with a crinoline skirt and a calico underskirt with metal hoops to keep its shape. It should have been in a museum and was well within my modest budget, but how to transport it? My husband hurried me along. I managed to buy only a small gaudily painted puppet for a grandchild. We did pay our respects to poor King Wenceslaus whose remains are now venerated in St Vitus Cathedral; I marvelled at the inexpensive, good quality artwork on sale on the streets by struggling artists asking very little, and Charles Bridge was a joy for me with so many craftsmen displaying beautiful wares. Of course, I bought a scarf. So much easier to fit into a suitcase than a crinoline ball gown! I wonder what I would find today on Charles Bridge?
I hear the sound of a toilet flushing. The door of my orange Tardis opens and a workman exits, putting a plastic bottle of hand sanitiser back into his dungaree pocket and picks up his tools to return to work. Down to earth with a thud! These big houses in Holland Park take a long time to decorate and need a portable loo!
I return home to Richmond by more conventional car transport but the orange colour is still in my head. I am sitting at my dining room table working on my iPad, the patio doors open to my small garden. I see this orange colour in my peripheral vision...remember I have AMD and my central vision is impaired. I turn my head and there is a very real orange fox entering my dining room and is now two feet away. Has it not heard of social distancing? It is very bold and stares me out. I yell at it and chase it from the house and out of the garden. I have now sprinkled black pepper on my doormat to discourage future visits and next week my scarf will definitely not be orange! Who needs a Tardis for excitement? 🦊 🦊 🦊
Busy Bee, Scarf Face!
Series 2, Blog 3.