This week in Mailbox: the village of Lidice in Central Bohemia, where is the Red River Valley mentioned in a song featured in SoundCzech, a restoration project discussed in Insight Central Europe, and what colour is the red squirrel? Listeners quoted: Elizabeth Funnekotter, Charles Chambers, Dick Derksen, Aloisie Krasny, Paul Kail.
Thanks for tuning in to Mailbox, the programme that airs your views and comments. Thanks for all the mail that has arrived over the week, including your competition answers. Just a reminder that you have until Tuesday to send us your suggestions as to who this month's mystery Czech is - the question will follow in a few minutes.
This short e-mail came from Elizabeth Funnekotter from Canada:
"Just to say that I often enjoy the snippets of Czech life on Radio Prague provided to Canadians by the CBC every morning at 5:15 a.m. for 15 minutes."
It is very good to know that you are listening at that early hour and there are so many of you. We appreciate that very much and we are well aware of that segment of our audience because they are very good writers.
Charles Chambers from Virginia would like to know the following:
"Has the town of Lidice been restored? I remember hearing of its destruction. I don't remember the exact date, and have a feeling that it represented Nazi state sponsored terrorism in its extreme."
Dick Derksen, also from the United States listens to our Czech language programme SoundCzech:
"I was interested about a week ago to hear the song 'The Red River Valley' sung in Czech. The reason is that I live in the Red River valley. The Red River flows from North Dakota, U.S.A., into Manitoba, Canada. It flows north through Manitoba's capital city Winnipeg; it continues north and empties into Lake Winnipeg. On the internet, some say the song has another origin but many more have 'proof' that it refers to the Red River of North Dakota and Manitoba."
Aloisie Krasny, from Sydney, Australia, listened to our Central European co-production Insight Central Europe and she especially enjoyed a report about a castle in Velke Uherce in Central Slovakia which the descendants of its previous owners, the Thonet family, are restoring now.
"This is such an exciting project and has so much sentimental value to the family members. I can relate to this and I can't wait to see the finished product. Another piece of history being restored and placed back on the map after so many years of destruction by an irresponsible regime. Well done to the Thonet family, you are an inspiration!"
"You say that 'the European Red Squirrel ...is quite abundant in parks around the city in both its red and grey varieties'. The Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is found in North America, and has been introduced into the UK. The Eurasian Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is usually red. This species has a range of fur colour including brown, but I have never seen any which are grey. Where did you get this information from?"
The information comes both from Czech encyclopaedias available here at the Czech Radio library and from my own experience. The books say that Sciurus vulgaris or veverka obecna in Czech ranges in colour from ginger to grey to black. One also mentions dark brown in the range. The English version of Wikipedia says that "There are several different coat colour morphs ranging from black to red." I myself have never seen a black squirrel but the greyish ones seem to outnumber the ginger ones in the park in my neighbourhood. It is also known that the young in the same litter can differ in colour.
We have now run out of time but as promised here is the July competition question for one last time:
This month we would like to know the name of the Czech-born psychiatrist and psychologist who was born in Prague in 1931 and is considered to be one of the founders of transpersonal psychology. He devoted his career to exploring altered states of consciousness, first using LSD and later special breathing techniques.
Please send us your answers by Tuesday, July 31st to the usual address, English@radio.cz or Radio Prague, 12099, Prague, Czech Republic. There will be small presents for four of you who answer correctly. Until next week, good-bye.