My parents aren't internet savvie and would never read this blog if it required them to go online. This is a shame because it looks as though their age and heath will prevent them from ever visiting my Czech home and seeing through their own eyes this lovely country. And so at Christmas I printed out the blog, bound it and gave it to them as a present. Every month they get an update with the latest posts. They have really enjoyed these vicarious journeys to the Czech Republic. And the readership does not stop there, the blog has been lent to various friends.
The feedback so far has been universally positive, not that my parents' friends would criticise I'm sure. One comment that has been made several times – is how much the love I have for this place and the Czechs comes through the blog. I'm glad, that was to some extent my intention. Not that love is blind, I certainly can see the flaws in my second homeland but I hope that even in this I do not judge too harshly.
I really have problems with those travel books and blogs, which treat the locals as something to laugh at or which find fault. I see it sometimes in fellow British ex-pats or visitors, complaining that you can't get marmite in the shops or criticising Czech customer service, making generalisations about things of which they have only limited experience or understanding. We are guests here in another people's country and should behave as such. It betrays a superiority based on ignorance and insularity, which I fear the British are very good at. But I do not doubt that I too am guilty of this on occasion, as I fumble my way towards an understanding of the Czechs (and perhaps of my own nation). I therefore ask those Czechs who read this blog to forgive me when I get it wrong. I rely on your ability to laugh at yourselves, a characteristic which our two nations share.