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4D jigsaw of Prague

4D jigsaw of Prague

Today I decided to clean my apartment. So I started yesterday by completing a jigsaw. Once I had finished it I could put it away. A 4D jigsaw of Prague. Needless to say, it took all day and half an hour this morning, But I did it and can now “walk” through Prague at my leisure. Or at least until I pack it up. Given it was a gift to my nine-year-old grandson I might let him look at it first to encourage him to have a go.

So, jigsaw finished I started to tidy up. I started with knitting, needles and wool. Pulled out a cushion that no longer looked any good and painstakingly unravelled the wool to re-knit it. Maybe teddy bears? I also tidied up the knitting needles and sorted them into their various sizes. You can see I was avoiding the hard tidying up. I discovered to my surprise that I have about 10 pairs each of size 10 and 8 knitting needles. Must remember that before I buy anymore.

The wool and knitting needles tidied and sorted, I started on the sewing box, cottons, buttons etc. That sorted I was hungry so I decided to have a sandwich. Since I am trying to clear out my grocery cupboards there wasn’t a large choice to eat. Fortunately, my daughter in law Janis had left me some bread rolls and cheese. To these I added horseradish, beetroot and cheese and a granny smith apple. Not sure what I can scrounge up for dinner. Maybe the freezer has some forgotten leftovers.

Back to cleaning. I moved the last old bookshelf out of the bedroom ready for giving away. Tidied up the remaining books and the top shelf, cleaned the baskets and moved them. Again. With the bookshelf was gone I had some space to hang up a huge portrait of me which had been looming out from between the wrought iron of my bedhead. I eventually found a spot to hang it where it was out of the way and wouldn’t disturb me too much. Then, of course, having hung one painting I started moving the rest. I had enlarged my wardrobe to store my mother’s paintings and wanted to sort them for an exhibition I started moving them around. Two hours later I hadn’t cleaned up but had created a bigger mess with a row of paintings along the bottom of my wall. As I moved some photographs around one fell down on the floor. It was a framed photograph taken of my father in army uniform. I thought it had been taken in France but he looked too young. Perhaps it had been taken during his national service. I pulled the photograph out of the frame (glass still remarkably intact) to examine it more closely.

Turning the photograph over I found not was it dated, it was a postcard which my father had sent to his mother. The postmark was from Eger. I couldn’t tell the year but checking my chronology found Daddy had been in the army between 1929 and 1931. I decided it was probably around 1930 when he was 21. So I was right, it had been taken during his national service, although his army records list him as serving in Trnava in what is now Slovakia.

Eger puzzled me. I thought this was a town in Hungary. I sought Mr Google’s help and sure enough it is a town some 100 kms from the Slovak border in Hungary.

This raised more questions. What was my father doing with the army in Hungary in 1930? I knew he had been there in 1939, escaping the Germans and en route to join the Czech Army in exile in France but 1930? I kept hunting. Had there been some co-operation between Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Were there the 1930’s equivalent of NATO exercises in 1930 to explain the Czech army being in Hungary? I found a book which gave a hint of some treaties between Czechoslovakia and Hungary at the Baillieu library. I printed out the details planning to investigate further.

As I sat there I thought perhaps I could trace the photographer whose name was Adolf Zepf in Dilmbergstrasse No 8 Eger. I again Googled, Adolf Zepf photographer and 1930. Well a whole lot of Zepf’s came up even some here in Australia. I tried the My Ancestry and struck out there. No Adolf Zepf.

Finally I tried a photograph of Eger from the 1930’s and a scene from Eger on an antique postcard site. The reverse showed the full postmark and a 50 krown stamp of President Masaryk. I had totally forgotten that Eger was the German name for Cheb. A town about 153kms from my father’s home village of Plánice, Czechoslovakia. So he wasn’t on ‘NATO” manoeuvres in Hungary, he was 150kms down the road.

Sigh!! And there is still cleaning up to complete.

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