Czechast: Living Between Moravia and England

Leona Merclová

Why and how did a young woman from Brno find her new home in Britain? How does this impact her sense of nationality and identity? Does she feel more British or Czech? That's what I ask Leona Merclová who lives on a canal boat in England and works on a shore bird awarness project.  

As I record this episode, we're experiencing what we call "holomráz" in Czechia — literally translated as "bare-frost." It's characterized by low winter temperatures well below freezing point but with very little or no snow at all. However, looking at the pictures and videos sent by my guest today from England, you might be forgiven for thinking it's spring. You can look them up on the Radio Prague International YouTube channel. I put a short video there where Leona Merclová introduces herself.

Leona Merclová | Photo: Vít Pohanka,  Radio Prague International

"I think if you asked me a year ago, I would have said I feel British. Now, I would say I feel Czech as well. And perhaps more Czech than British. That is how much it changes."

Leona moved to Britain in 2011. She spent a few years in London and studied ecology, there. We talk about her stay in London, why she and her partner decided to move onto a canal boat which is now their home. Leona also talks about her work on a shore bird awarness project, how the Czech support for Ukraine and Israel made her proud of her home country again. And, I am proud to say, how listening to Czechast made her realise that she remains Czech.

Author: Vít Pohanka
run audio


  • Czechast

    Czechast is a regular RPI podcast about Czech and Moravian culture, history, and economy.