An evening with the Ambassador

An evening with the Ambassador

Last night saw a change to my usual reclusive lifestyle. I spent the evening in the city of Presov at a reception for the British Ambassador to Slovakia, His Excellency Andrew Garth. The first part of the evening was a small reception for some local business leaders at the historic Prelika distillery. Ironically, I was invited by a Danish friend, Soren. After a tour of the complex there was a tasting session but I couldn’t drink thanks to the hour-long drive through a blizzard on pitted, snow and truck filled roads to get there and back – the way back was a nightmare. Hardcore scary.

Following the distillery bit, we moved on to Harley’s steak house where Simon, the organiser of the event, had reserved the entire upper floor for a small party of ex-pats. I finally managed to eat some decent steak, and I got to meet some interesting characters. I enjoyed speaking to the Ambassadors’ wife and the poet, James Sutherland-Smith, who knew some of my former college contacts from back in the day. And Jonathon.

Perhaps I should get out and socialize more? It was a lot more relaxed than I’d expected and I actually enjoyed it after I’d overcome my shyness. Tempted as I was, I didn’t bring any Ferrero Roche…

I wish the Ambassador the best of luck in promoting British interests out here in Slovakia.

Czechoslovak revolution 25th anniversary

Czechoslovak revolution 25th anniversary

Today is the 25th anniversary of the end of communism in Slovakia (formerly part of Czechoslovakia).

My wife was a student of psychology at university in Bratislava when the students were told to take to the streets to protest. She was there when their old world ended and capitalism took over. I can’t even begin to imagine how confusing it must have been for them to adapt. I wonder just what percentage of former socialists are happier in their Brave New World and how many reminisce for the much stricter but simpler times of socialism, when money was irrelevent and you were guaranteed a job and a home for life (So long as you obeyed the State). It saddens me that the former socialist countries didn’t try to find their own way afterwards as they had a clean slate to work with. They could have created an entirely new system. I guess the bankers won…