Having been the anonymous Potok for several years, I decided the time was come when I should come clean about my identity and my background.
My name is Zoe Brooks (Potok is the Czech word for stream or brook) and I am in my fifties. I have had an eclectic career, with one overriding interest - people and one overriding theme - I enjoy setting things up (a sign of my low boredom threshhold).
I went to St Anne's College Oxford (Oxford University) and read history with a bias towards the dark and middle ages. After this I went into the community arts business - working in Covent Garden Piazza, the Puppet Centre in Battersea (South London), this was followed by a year at the Area Museums' Service for South East England, before ending up running a new heritage centre on the site of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. At the Puppet Centre I first started to get involved with Czech culture, in which puppets are highly thought of, and I first met the Czech friend who was eventually to introduce me to South Bohemia.
At Vauxhall I found myself involved in community planning and regeneration, working to help some of the poorest people in London, including the homeless. When I moved from London to the town of my birth in the Cotswolds, I took a job at the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Beauty, where I worked with the wonderful Cotswolds Wardens, whose walks programmes were to influence my Czech tours business. However I was soon drawn back to working with poor communities and was headhunted to run a regeneration programme in East Oxford. Here among other things I was involved in the creation of the Cowley Road Carnival - an enormous community arts event.
But during my time in East Oxford the call of the Czech Republic was growing and so when I ended my post there I came to South Bohemia. I had bought a semi derelict farmhouse in the hills between Cesky Krumlov and the Sumava National Park a few years earlier. Here I started writing - and not just this blog - and later starting a tourism business. I have published a guide book to Cesky Krumlov, see dedicated page and am planning more - I am currently working on a guide to walking in South Bohemia.
I mentioned writing just then. When I was younger I was quite a successful poet - appearing in the Grandchildren of Albion anthology edited by Michael Horovitz. But motherhood and the demands of a full-time career put an end to that. It was only when I came here to the Czech Republic that the writing resumed and long may it continue.