Nessie sighted on a Czech breakfast table
Recent editions of this programme have been rather full of doom and gloom, as we have approached the Second World War in our archives. So this week we look at something a bit more cheerful. Here is a Scottish visitor to Prague in 1938. After singing the praises of Czechoslovakia, he suddenly changes tone – making a rather curious observation.
“I confess I’ve been a little disappointed to find that many of you still regard the Loch Ness Monster with some doubt and suspicion. Well, I can’t say that I have seen it myself, but I have read so many reports by people who have seen it that I quite believe it exists. So much so, that I have given a new name to the nine-inch undulating roll, which I find on your tables at breakfast by calling it the Loch Ness Monster roll. If you put two of these, end to end, you get a very good outline of the drawings of the monster, which our papers have published. But better still: won’t you come over to Scotland soon, and see the monster in real life, lashing its tail?
“A last word… I would emphasize the most friendly relations, which have always existed between Britain and Czechoslovakia. Since this new state was established in 1918, between the respective governments and peoples there are close ties of mutual respect and good will, and these, I believe, will endure.”
“Here then, is a holiday for many tastes, and I hope this district will open up more and more to English visitors.”
The very opposite was to be the case. Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia was soon to be swept up in the tide of history. Within a few months it had been annexed by Hungary, and in the Second World War most of its Jewish and Romany inhabitants perished in the Holocaust. In 1945 Ruthenia was absorbed into the Soviet Union, and only since the fall of communism have visitors from the west once again been discovering its amazing scenery.
The episode featured today was first broadcast on February 21, 2008.