Today, Monday the fifteenth of January, the third Monday in the year, is, unofficially, the most depressing day of the year. It’s become known as Blue Monday. Christmas and the New Year celebrations are but a distant memory; the decorations are down; the Christmas market has packed up and left. It’s cold and it’s dull and it’s grey. What’s more, we spent all our money on Christmas presents, booze and fireworks, and are now waiting impatiently for our next pay packet. We’ve given up drinking; we’ve given up smoking; we’ve promised ourselves to exercise regularly. Now we’ve realised this is reality. Spring and Easter are the light at the end of a very long tunnel, and winter hasn’t even started properly yet. I can also announce that last week, the second week of 2018, was literally the most boring week ever, at least for the people of NAR. Nothing happened. Well, not much happened. I know this because I only got one email for toboggan, and no photographs. So thank you Mr Jiří Špalek. On__Monday__ we welcomed in the New Year at NAR in the traditional way, with a glass of bubbly (or not, for those of us who have forsaken the demon drink) while Mr Kaplan said a few words. I have no photograph of this event, but as most of you were there, you can picture it in your mind’s eye. Tom and Jirka went to the pub in the evening – and that’s as exciting as it gets this week! On Tuesday nothing happened. On Wednesday nothing happened. On Thursday nothing happened. On Friday something might have happened, but I don’t know because I wasn’t here. I know that our Zlín student cadre were busy doing their mid-term exams, so I hope they were all successful. Oh, and of course there were the Czech Presidential elections, so I hope you all exercised your democratic right to vote. What about the weekend? As befits the weekend before the most depressing day of the year, nothing happened, except Jirka went to the theatre with his wife for her birthday and to the cinema with his wife and kids. As for me, I ran up Lysa hora on Sunday morning, but as I do this every weekend this is nothing unusual. However, I can report that when I got to the top of the mountain, above the clouds, the sky was blue and life didn’t seem so depressing after all :-). MJC
Tobogan / 26th week
04. 07. 2017 10:21 Jan Šlachta
Welcome to English Toboggan VI a.k.a. Tuesday Toboggan. I’m making no excuses, but I spent most of today travelling back from Berlin, where I spent the weekend without my laptop, so I’m doing this at 23:45 on a Monday night. Don’t expect War and Peace. Monday: The first international PROEBIZ beach volleyball game took place on Masaryk Square with Andy, Juraj, Jan C, Matej and Igor M. Besides this I have no other details other than it was great! Unfortunately there are no photos, but I’m sure they all looked fab! Jirka Š and family moved into his parents’ house for the week as security guards while they were away at a spa. Tuesday: JŠ left Ostrava on 5am for Bratislava, having four meetings during the day and another with a partner in the evening. Wednesday: JŠ had his first teleconference about price. It was very tough, but the result was that we have a big new Slovak client. So, great result! Thursday: JŠ had a busy day (as always) because it was the last day before his holidays. It included a videoconference between various PROEBIZERS where it seems that Petr Donath has either moved to Australia or decided to become a bat: PHOTO. The PROEBIZ PR & Marketing ‘B’ team were in lovely Košice for the WIRE 2017 conference (Week of innovative Regions in Europe) seeking out people of potential interest for eBF and beyond. Several useful contacts were made: PHOTO, PHOTO and PHOTO. Friday: While everybody was wilting in the heat, Danka finally found herself in her element. Adélka missed the last week of school through illness, but they made it there on Friday to pick up her report and celebrated her straight ‘A’s with the traditional nice meal and in the afternoon they went to the Catalan carnival in Ostrava: PHOTO, PHOTO. The weekend: On Saturday, JŠ and family had an enjoyable time watching Ja Padouch 3 (Despicable Me 3) at the cinema. Igor M. spent a brilliant, relaxing and fun weekend in Krakow: PHOTO, PHOTO and PHOTO. As I said at the start, I spent the weekend in Berlin. The part we were staying in was more like Damascus than Germany, but none the worse for that. On Sunday night we went to see Arcade Fire, who were fabulous. The only annoying thing was queuing for 90 minutes to see a concert that lasted less than two hours: PHOTO, PHOTO and video.
Tobogan / 7th week
20. 02. 2017 08:45 Jan Šlachta
Welcome to English Toboggan V. It was a pleasant start to the week for me as I had my English lesson with Danka and Jana at Danka’s flat on Monday morning. This was on account of Adélka being off school sick. Luckily, she wasn’t too ill to be able to take this photo. I was even served English tea with milk, which is the correct way, of course. Jirka and Lukáš had an early morning breakfast meeting in Bratislava on Tuesday with Mr Jaroslav Lexa, then two further two business meetings in Bratislava and then on to Pezinok. Jirka reports that all the meetings were great and the weather was nice and sunny. Meanwhile, Marina and Ljilja were embarking on an adventurous business trip to Croatia. The only navigation aid they had was Google Maps, which seemed very keen to keep them as far away from the main road as possible. Although they were happy to get to know Hungary better, they had actually planned to travel through Austria! Despite these tribulations, they arrived on time for all their meetings. After a day full of adventures with their new best navigational friend and some successful meetings, they felt they had to continue with the tradition of eating pancakes in Galapagos: photo. In the photograph you can also see the woods that their navigator thought was a must-see destination :) On Wednesday evening after work, Honza and Radek scaled Malá Prašivá (706m) to attend a talk at Chata Prašivá by a man who had scaled and then flown by paraglider from the top of K2 (8611m). Honza says that he and Radek had had a similar adventure on their journey from Kohutka, and maybe even worse, on the frozen trail, in the dark, on a sledge… photo, photo and photo. Also on Wednesday after work, Terka went with Igor and Juraj to a "winter" event being held at the Technical University dormitories. Terka says the tram ride was almost as long as it takes by train from Kolín to Prague so she was a bit afraid that at any minute the tram would end up in Prague. However, when the journey ended they were amazingly still in Ostrava. Terka feels sorry for Juraj that he has to make this trek twice every day. Anyway, they felt better after some ice-cold Jägermeister. She says that the event looked nice, and people were snowboarding and skiing, but since there was no snow it seemed more like grass skiing, so she was sorry that they hadn’t entered Igor, who said he preferred summer sports. Even so, they really enjoyed it in the end, and here is the proof: photo. Sometime during the week, I’m not exactly sure when, Igor had his yoga class. He says his instructor was very proud of him. I’m sure she was! I must say, it’s not like any yoga I’ve ever seen before: photo and photo. So, to the weekend… It was a busy weekend for Adélka and Danka. On Friday evening they were at Cooltour to see a children’s dance performance featuring a solo by the daughter of Jirka Zerzoň, and on Saturday Adélka and Nela went to Ostrava Planetarium to see the Astronomical Adventures of Little Red Riding Hood (Astronomické příhody Červené Karkulky): photo. On Saturday Andrea and her family went to Lego exhibition in Gliwice. Andrea says that the adults expected a little more, but Tobiaš was happy enough: photo and photo. Meanwhile, Marina and her husband were enjoying a small snack: photo. Jana spent the weekend snowboarding in Chopok in Slovakia, and says that although her “ass was burning so much that she couldn’t sit down” from constantly falling over, she was slowly getting better and better... photo. Finally, on Sunday morning Jirka and his family went to the Crown Jewels exhibition at Ostrava Museum (Korunovační klenoty v dějinách světa), which reminds me of a story… This exhibition opened last year in December, and it was being opened by the Dutch Ambassador to the Czech Republic. Somehow Erik, the nice old man who was on the door to NAR at eBF was involved in the organisation of the exhibition. Now Erik, who speaks very good English, was talking to me before the opening, and asked me if I wanted to attend. I asked him why. He told me that maybe I could talk to the Dutch Ambassador, because I’m English and the Dutch Ambassador probably doesn’t speak Czech. Yes, but what should I say to him, I asked. Well, Erik told me he had been speaking to Mr Kaplan, and knew that our Dutch colleague Jan Siderius had an issue with the Dutch government, and maybe I could ask the ambassador to intervene with the Dutch government on behalf of Mr Siderius. Unfortunately I was busy that evening. Have a nice week. Malcolm.
Today, after a brief festive break, our office again began to fill up with the smiling faces of rested colleagues. Martin watered the wilting Christmas tree with the words “at least out of compassion”, so hopefully it can still hold on till Twelfth Night. Stay cool in 2018! :)