Astronomers have called off the hunt for a precious meteor. Need a regional costume from Bohemia, Moravia or Silesia? We know where to get it. And, Moravia's most popular majorettes. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
How often do you wake up on a lazy Sunday morning to find a snake in bed with you? Petr Machovec from Hlinsko was having a nice lie-in last Sunday when he felt his forearm being gently tickled. He turned around thinking it was his live-in girlfriend but instead he found he was sharing the bed with a snake. He says it was the most effective wake-up call he's ever had and within moments he was on the phone calling the police. The pest control team reassured him that although it was an impressive specimen the reptile was not poisonous. However no one managed to solve the mystery regarding how it came to be in Petr's bed. Snakes have been known to escape from one flat to another in panelled blocks of flats but all of Petr's neighbours denied having one in their keeping. The snake was donated to the local pet-shop and Petr can return to his lazy Sundays in bed -undisturbed. However it will most likely be a while before he feels really safe in his own bed again.
The most popular majorettes in Moravia are not sleek and leggy 15-year olds. They are a group of grannies from a pensioners' home in Horni Lhota who formed a majorettes club and started practicing six years ago. The youngest among them is 56 but she and the rest of the group say they feel more like eighteen. Their fame has travelled far and wide and no event in Moravia is complete without them. They are happy to perform whatever is requested - a majorette show, dance the can-can or even perform a swimsuit fashion show. They say they've never had so much fun in their lives and see no reason why age should prevent them from doing exactly what they want.
The treasure hunt for a precious meteor is over. The dozens of amateur astronomers or simply curious members of the general public who flocked to Moravia in the hope of finding precious bits of meteor can now take their eyes from the ground and stop trekking through meadows and forests. According to Czech astronomers the meteor which cast a bright glow across the sky on the night of February fourth burnt to ashes before touching the ground. Originally this was not certain. The meteor's appearance in the night sky was documented by dozens of amateur as well as professional cameras -and the race was on between professional astronomers and amateurs as to who would find the precious meteor first. The fact that professional astronomers wouldn't specify which part of Moravia the meteor could have landed in only spurred people on. Even a small meteorite is highly prized by collectors and could be sold for as much as a million crowns. When it entered the earth's atmosphere this particular meteor was the size of a small car - it weighed around 500 kilos and flew through the atmosphere at a speed of 22 kilometres per second. The light it emitted was a thousand times brighter than the moon - but it was also burning up in a blaze of 5000 degree heat. Astronomers have now officially called the hunt off saying that they are certain only ashes could have made it to the ground. Presumably the amateurs will now give up as well - except a few determined souls who may see this as an attempt to throw them off the track. By the way - if you are one of them - they say the hot-spot is in and around the town of Breclav in south Moravia.
The results of a survey just out indicate that 60 percent of Czechs welcome the mild winter weather and hope these climatic conditions will stay - despite knowing the adverse effects of global warming. However climate change is creating some unexpected problems in nature. Bee owners report a big increase in the number of bee-thefts between individual bee colonies. Many bees are uncharacteristically active at this time of year but because nature does not provide any food for them in February they solve the problem by attacking neighbouring bee-hives and looting their food-stock. Owners have to keep a close eye on their hives because if they fail to notice what is happening their entire bee colony could die of hunger.
The Moravian town of Blatnicka in the far east of the country is home to the first ever regional costume shop in the Czech Republic. The shop which produces and sells perfect replicas of Czech, Moravian and Silesian regional costumes was set up a year ago with the help of EU cultural funds. It now does good business selling regional costumes to music and dance ensembles in the Czech Republic as well as to ex-pats and people of Czech descent living in the United States, Canada and Australia. The enterprise started out with four employees and four seamstresses and it has already expanded to seventeen people. There's huge interest in getting these costumes made, says the head of the business Jana Smutna. People sometimes have authentic ones that have been handed down from generation to generation, but either they are too precious to be worn - or they simply no longer fit because today's generation is taller and more athletic. So many of the authentic pieces end up in museums -which is exactly where the seamstresses go to check the smallest details of whichever regional costume they happen to be making. (For more information on this service please go to www.tradiceslovacka.cz)
School uniforms - you know how it goes - kids who have them hate them, those who don't - want them. In the Czech Republic uniforms were never introduced - not even during the communist era and some kids feel they are missing out on something important. A school in Dubi north of Prague recently held a referendum on the issue and the vast majority of students voted in favour of uniforms. The students themselves produced a number of designs and the choice will again be made in a democratic manner - by popular vote. For the time being, the new uniforms will only be worn on special occasions - such as school days and trips abroad. Although some students have said they would be happy to wear them daily, the school management wants to wait and see how they are received before proposing such a big change.
Saved by an echo - a 40 year old Czech man who slipped and fell from a cliff in mountainous terrain was saved by the echo which magnified his calls for help. The man was taking a shortcut along a rocky cliff when he slipped and fell. Luckily his foot got caught in a crevice and he was left hanging 50 meters above ground. Although there was nobody in the vicinity at the time his calls for help were magnified by an echo and a woman who was out in her garden way off heard them and alarmed the local fire brigade. Just shows how lucky you can get even at the worst of times!