Friday, 10 April 2009


Too clean, too new to be real...I feel reduced in size, like I'm pulling into a display model...outside and I'm back to reality...panelaks, pebbles and pigeons...the occasional blackbird...trees and shrubs decked out in spring...branches heavy with bright green buds...bushes sprayed yellow or purple...bumblebees make haphazard paths to each...groups of children well and then burst with laughter, screams, chatter...cracks arc through the side walk, traces of a dinosaur that didn't realise it was extinct...but really from countless lighter steps - and the weeds, weeds which remind me of home and weeds which I always confuse with strawberries, though they're not...a long boulevard, good in theory but the uniformity of the buildings is oppressive...a blackbird slaps a worm against the's two-thirty in the afternoon...this bird obviously never heard the old's like a suburban kingdom in here, walled in by the flats...the kids hold court...a bumblebee hovers around a motorbike...can insects be boors too? the edge of the block I can see Prosek, where I was in autumn, watching the trees turn the colour of the I'm here among the green...I've been walking along a giant jigsaw puzzle piece, which I've been looking for for some time.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Depo Hostivař

A month has gone missing. Last week was grey and sodden. Today the sun has burned its way through the last remnants of winter. It feels like we're in the last weeks of spring. The air is warm and dusty. You feel it on the roof of your mouth. I think I've forgotten what warmth was.

Just outside the station are a group of well dressed attractive young women. Before any of them approach me, I catch a whiff of their perfume and automatically deduce what they are: perfume sales reps. One approaches me as I stuff a newspaper and magazine in my bag. I tell her I'm not interested and after a pause add "in anything". I know she's only doing her job, but I can't abide these pushy sales people. I especially can't abide how they wait at the exit of the station like brightly coloured fragrant herons ready to stab some frog just trying to make his way home - or write about Prague Metro Stations.

I follow the path around the bus depot. It passes outside a building with OZM. I try to guess what it could mean. The best I can come up with is obecné zemědělské ministrsvto, which would mean general agricultural ministry, except the Czechs probably wouldn't call it that. (It actually stands for Opravárenská základna metra - Metro Repair Workshop. ED.) (Wait. I don't have an editor. Ed is that you? RYAN) Apart from a canteen there doesn't seem to be much else of interest and it looks like I'll have to go back past the ladies with their perfume.

Except that I was too rash. On the other side of the bus depot is another footpath and it leads on down a road. I stop to survey the train tracks - the "Driver 8" video clip and boxcar fantasies playing in my mind. Those who know me well would say I would never have done that. I would have been too scared. And it's perhaps time to accept they're right.

From here it's just the disappointment of a long straight road. Not far away, I see a building where I used to teach. That must mean the Skalka metro stop is not faraway. Up ahead is road, so I'm sure I will not reach it. I will just follow this block around. Except the road does lead in the direction of Skalka. Two stations again? It seems a bit much. In the distance I see another cross road. I follow it to the end. If it's a cul de sac, I can continue and mazbe zig-zag my way to the station. It ends in a car park, so though I decide to continue on to Skalka, what I see there will have to wait for some other time.

However, I find this remarkable building there tucked away behind renovated factories and warehouses. I just wonder if the slanted floor ever becomes tiresome.

Sorry about the mullets.