Lost in Bohemia - Part 3

Date Created: 21.07.2014

On the Easter Monday I went with Radka's family to Skupec to be presented to the rest of the family at her grandmother’s. Her aunt and uncle were also there and I was shown around the family farm. This took an hour and a lot of driving as her uncle seems to own half of Bohemia. His grain silos alone can fill 75 large wagons. He has 100 geese, 25,000 chickens and 400 cattle. Despite this there was no milk for the coffee in the farmhouse and anyway I am still a little off the idea of milk after the recent conversation I had with my neighbour.

The building work is going slowly forward and I have two builders working for Radka and I at the moment. I cannot help laughing as one of them looks just like Ronnie Corbett and the other is a perfect copy of old Steptoe.

A week later there was a meeting in the village with the mayor of the town nearby, Touzim. This was to be a public discussion about supplying mains water to the village at a cost of 2,500 crowns per building, about 50 GBP. So, a bargain really!

Anyway the water was be here by the end of July, so the access to the well was invaluable in the meantime. The meeting closed and the mayor asked for a cup of coffee and was told by the host of the meeting, Jarda, that nothing would give him greater pleasure than to make the mayor a coffee. The mayor smiled at this until Jarda said " but we have no water!".

After the meeting I got a panic call from Radka about an impending emergency. Her grandmother has offered to give the B&B some of her old furniture. This is a potential disaster as the furniture is terrible and looks like the worst plastic covered wood furniture from the 1960s. The difficultly was to refuse the offer without causing offence. So the solution was to say that we were very grateful for the offer and then we would need to move her furniture to the B&B rooms whenever she visited the hotel and take it back to the cellar when she went home!

The situation with the well continued to cause problems as Plan B could not cope with the demand and never went ahead. We came up with plan C. We decided to sink a well in the cellar of the building. The old local water supply was back on, but it was patchy, as a stop gap until the new mains were installed.

To top it all, the heating system was not playing ball so we called the repair man, Mr S, the heating engineer. He had to turn off the mains water supply, the stopcock was set in a drain outside and was impossible to reach unless you had 2 metre long arms and so a long stick was used, unfortunately the tap broke and we could not switch the water back on.

Mr S was to fix this but he was ill and could not repair it for a few days. Steptoe was not too pleased at this as he needed water to mix cement and so had to get a pump to get water from another well. We were all getting fed up by now, no water, no heating and slow progress with the repairs.

While this was going on, we managed to finalise the transaction to purchase the remaining shares of the business from my business partner.

As time went on the work continued slowly on the building improvements and we knocked a hole through a wall to access the old part of the cellar and we now had to dig down to create a well. There was still no sign of Mr S and we still had no water.

After a few more days Mr S finally arrived with a labourer to dig another trench around the broken tap. The area around the building was starting to look like The Somme in the First World War, mud, trenches and potholes everywhere.

The water was finally back on and the well in the cellar was finished in a few days. This well actually worked!

It was time to start buying furniture and we visited the equivalent of MFI. I was confused by all the bureaucracy involved in buying a couple of mattresses and beds. First the shop assistant handwrote a bill with all the details and costs. Then we had to go to another desk to pay and were given a printed receipt with the same information on it. We then had to drive around the building to collect the furniture, but first we had to give the receipt to someone in an office and eventually half the furniture arrived as we are then told to drive to another warehouse a couple of kilometres away to collect the rest of the furniture.

The warehouse was operated by Ukraines who did not speak Czech, let alone English. Ukraines were employed as they only got paid 30 crowns an hour (about 60 pence in 2003) so I suppose the pay did not give them a great incentive to learn anything, let alone Czech.

Back at the B&B we tried to assemble the furniture and found that the instructions are the same as IKEA and MFI. i.e. they did not bare more than a passing resemblance to the parts in the box so we had to ignore the instructions completely.

The mattresses were actually too long, I could not believe it!

In a fit of temper a quick "cost benefit analysis" of the situation was undertaken and, being in mind the difficulty in purchasing the mattresses,  I could not imagine the procedure for returns. Out came the Stanley knife and the mattresses then fitted perfectly.

To be continued...

Chris is a UK expat from Formby near Liverpool, based permanently in the Czech Republic and married with two children. He is an independent financial adviser network Opes Fidelio- dealing predominately in pension transfer (fee based) advice and trusts for UK expats.

He lives' near Karlovy Vary out in the country - a town famous for its film festival and the filming of Casino Royale.

Go back to the beginning with Part 1 - Click here

For more please visit his blog at http://christopherlean.weebly.com/

- See more at: http://worldofexpats.com/blogs/lost-bohemia-part-2#sthash.uVctP8aK.dpuf

The next day Radka went to apply for a Makro card. This was a problem and I had to drive to Plzen with all the company documents, including various power of attorneys from my ex-partner. We were eventually, after a big argument, given our Makro cards. As the company register on the internet had not been updated, it seemed our original notarised documents were not enough. I apologised to the assistant for giving them business and vowed never to return.

To be continued...

Chris is a UK expat from Formby near Liverpool, based permanently in the Czech Republic and married with two children. He is an independent financial adviser network Opes Fidelio- dealing predominately in pension transfer (fee based) advice and trusts for UK expats.

He lives' near Karlovy Vary out in the country - a town famous for its film festival and the filming of Casino Royale.

Go back to the beginning with Part 1 - Click here

For more please visit his blog at http://christopherlean.weebly.com/

- See more at: http://worldofexpats.com/blogs/lost-bohemia-part-2#sthash.uVctP8aK.dpuf

 

To be continued...

Chris is a UK expat from Formby near Liverpool, based permanently in the Czech Republic and married with two children. He is an independent financial adviser network Opes Fidelio- dealing predominately in pension transfer (fee based) advice and trusts for UK expats.

He lives' near Karlovy Vary out in the country - a town famous for its film festival and the filming of Casino Royale.

Go back to the beginning with Part 1 - Click here

For more please visit his blog at http://christopherlean.weebly.com/

- See more at: http://worldofexpats.com/blogs/lost-bohemia-part-2#sthash.uVctP8aK.dpuf