Photo: MP Plzeň

In this edition of Magazine: a Persian cat trapped in a Škoda Octavia, a fox in need of a home, long-distance swimming as therapy and the end of public announcement address systems.

Photo: MP Plzeň
Auto mechanics who were asked to fix a Skoda Octavia were in for a surprise. The owner complained he’d had trouble changing gear for the last day or two and when they opened the engine they found the source of the trouble - a Persian cat. The animal was terrified, dehydrated and some of the fur off its back was gone. The animal was taken to a vet and eventually returned to its owner who had been missing it for two days.

Photo: MP Plzeň
A family from Plzen had an even stranger experience: getting regular visits from a fox which refused to go away. The family lives on the outskirts of town and Mrs. Bláhova says that one day the animal suddenly appeared in the kitchen where she was preparing dinner.” At first I thought it was the dog so I didn’t pay much attention but when I looked down and realized it was a fox I started screaming the place down” she recalls. Her husband rushed in and drove the animal out of the house but it continued sitting on the porch until dark and eventually disappeared. It was sighted close by several more times and then last week it went boldly into the family sitting room, made itself comfortable on the couch and refused to go away. The family called pest removal and the fox was captured and taken away. The local vet who inspected it said he thought the animal had been reared by humans and let loose later in life which explains why it keeps seeking out human company and clearly has problems surviving out in the wild. Other families in the area reported they’d seen a fox on their premises and that it had carried off house shoes from porches.

Photo: MP Praha
A Labrador which had gone missing for eight years was unexpectedly returned to its mistress last week, but the joyful reunion was one-sided. The dog failed to recognize its mistress. The police who returned it thanks to an implanted chip then contacted another woman who had reported a lost Labrador and when she turned up the dog went wild with joy. The woman said she had found the dog hurt on the highway eight years ago and had taken it home and healed it. She hadn’t known about the chip and simply kept the dog so it wouldn’t end up in a shelter. The dog’s former owner decided that in view of the dog’s obvious wellbeing in its new home the best thing would be to let things stay as they were.

You know the feeling when you need to cool down and clear your head after a fight? A Czech woman holidaying in Croatia had a flaming row with her friends and maddened with anger waded out into the sea and swam away from them. She swam for over three kilometres in the dark before sighting an island and making her way to shore. Several inhabitants of Pasman island who were having a late night party on the sea shore said they were dumbstruck to see a woman suddenly emerge from the sea. Unbelievably, she was neither hurt not suffering from hypothermia. No wonder that the Croatian authorities put Czechs top of the list of tourists who recklessly risk their lives on holiday.

The huge wax heart at Grabštejn
The huge wax heart made by two young artists from the tens of thousands of candles people lit for Vaclav Havel after the ex-president’s death which was originally exhibited in Prague and later Litomyšl will now travel to Grabštejn chateau in the Liberec region, where it will be on view for several weeks. People who come to admire it often get their picture taken standing inside the heart but those want a more lasting memory may soon have the chance to go for something bigger. The artists have suggested that wedding ceremonies could take place with the bride and groom standing inside the pink and white heart – and tie the knot with the late president’s famous motto “truth and love will prevail” in mind. Although weddings do take place at Grabštejn chateau and this could be done the local authorities are waiting to see if the idea generates interest.

Karel Schwarzenberg and Aung San Suu Kyi,  photo: CTK
Another story related to the late president this week is that of Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg fulfilling the late president’s wish and giving Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi a rose on Mr. Havel’s behalf. Although they never met in person Vaclav Havel supported Aung San Suu Kyi whenever and in whatever way he could and recommended her for the Nobel Peace Prize that she received in 1991. When the Burmese dissident leader turned 60, Mr. Havel wrote an article entitled „A rose for the unfree „ in the Washington Post where he voiced the wish to hand a rose to this extraordinary woman. He never had the chance to do so – it was actually Aung San Suu Kyi who sent him a huge bouquet of roses as a tribute on the day of his funeral. Mr. Havel’s close friends saved one of the yellow roses and had it laid in a glass case for the Czech foreign minister to give Aung San Suu Kyi on his visit to Burma –in memory of the late president.

The old public announcement address systems introduced in the 20th century are gradually being dismantled in towns and villages across the country. Many towns have adopted the practice of sending announcements by e-mail and kept the public announcement system in operation for elderly people without an e-mail address. The quaint announcements about an upcoming village fair, a lost dog or a weekend concert by a popular group - preceded and followed by a bit of music – were a regular part of village life and can occasionally still be heard in places. But the need for austerity has affected even that mode of communication. The announcements are now presented without music for which municipalities had to pay an annual copyright fee to the association of authors and publishers.

For people who like watching catastrophic films about the end of the world - Prague’s Štefanik Observatory is now offering an exhibition that might be of interest. With the help of video-mapping it shows the three most likely scenarios of the destruction of the Earth – a collision of the Earth with another planet, a supernova explosion and the expansion of the sun which will end life on earth. The exhibition was planned for this year in view of the predictions based on the Mayan calendar that the world will end on 21st of December of this year and the popular interest it generated. Czech scientists beg to disagree with the prediction – but they decided to show those interested what the end of the world will most likely look like when it does happen.