Sunday, 25 June 2017

Tree falling down

A couple of weeks back, a tree fell down at the station. Looks like well have a good amount of wood for the winter also thinking to making some chairs that people might sit in. Tree look as if it had no root system, i guess it had just rotted. This year has been really dry with a couple of days of wind. Was lucky that no-one was hurt by the falling tree, it fell directly onto the main road and had to be cleared by the council. Thank you and thanks to volunteers that cleaned up all the mess and brought these heavy logs onto the platform. 


Restoration of Windows

Over the last weeks I have been spending a lot of time with the windows in the building in conjunction with a local tradesman and volunteers, taking all the layers of old paint off and then re-painting. The most efficient way seems to be to use a heat gun/ with gas bottle in conjunction with a scraper. As the building is a monument, I have limited choices of what colour's I can paint the outside windows, I had a different bunch of blues and also a different bunch of cream colours. I've chosen a blue, it seems to fit well. For every different process with the buiding a new permit is needed from the monument preservation society.

Initially I wanted to apply for funding from the local council to restore the windows, yet the bureaucracy was thick, and it really did not make sense when i have volunteers. As an owner of a monument your able to get 60-70 percent back on what you pay for work & materials from the local council or ministry of culture. The accountability is complicated though, and often has a big element of idocracy to it.  Often i see buildings that are very old, that look perfect, for me this kind of spoils the old buildings atmosphere. Fortunately i have found a local man that was previously a registered  architect working mostly in Prague, he understands materials and the way of old buildings. For now he likes the project and is not so expensive to employ. He's able to show the volunteers how to do the jobs, guide them through any process's and make sure that all is ok.

Bellow are pictures of the restoration of windows we have done so far.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Plaque Restored

Between 2012 and 2015 (before i was here at the station) the plaque that commemorated the life of the station master Václav Hajduk, went missing from the platform. It took about two years of negotiations with different authorities to get the plaque restored to the building. It was strange that the plaque was taken, as it was stone, not metal. Anyway, The Organisation against fascism (CŠBP) that installed the memorial plaque in 1971, were back for a ceremony in conjunction with the major of Zbiroh and representatives from the local historic society last week. Thank you CŠBP for putting the sign back. The platform feels much more comfortable to have the plaque back in place. 

Translation of what is written on the sign.
For the freedom of his country he sacrifised his life in the antifascist resistance. Vaclav Hejduk Station master of Zbiroh Nadrazi born 20.7.1900, arrested 22.12.1943, in-prisoned in Pilsen, Wroclaw, Dresden, missing since 14.2.1945 -people be awake.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Agriculture in Czech

As far as agricultural production goes in Czech, as i understand the story goes something like this in Czech. During the communist times, the agriculture in Czech was centralised and each town or city had co-operative, that controlled the lands. After the communism had finished, the lands were given back to the owners of the lands before the communism started and the co-operatives were privatised into companies. The problem now seems that its not easy to have a small production and get into the "milk chain" for example, the co-operatives have a kind of monopoly still on the collection. There opinion is that its not possible to control the quality of the small farms produce. The only option that a small owner of the land really has around Zbiroh it seems, is to rent the land to the co-operative, who then would use it to produce milk.  At christmas i was in South Tyrol, the system is different. The co-operatives in South Tyrol is owned by the farmers, the amount of production and services the farmer uses of the co-operative, for apple is juice production for example, is what they pay for the use of the co-operaive. I'm not sure what is more effective, yet for sure in South Tyrol they have a lot of diversity in the production and high production. In Czech they don't have much diversity, and the production although it might be high, its got very few players, so the distribution of the rewards from the farming is not so good. I see these kind of situations more and more in Czech. I suggested to the local co-operative that they might start collection for organic produce for small farms and sell the produce in Germany. Most organic farming is done best by people that have smaller farms and a passion for it, the private corporate  ex "co-operatives" I don't think would be able to get that kind of quality. So the regions are really missing out, because of the old system that is still in place. You can find the website for the local co-operaive here in Zbiroh. I don't think they are looking to sell anything to anyone other than the same buyers point since 1990, the site at least looks this way.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Flowers between the tracks

Have just cut the grass in front of the station, I want to see over the next year if I cut the grass in different places, what the effect will be. On different flowers that pop up at different times..I'm told though that a more fertile soil is bad though, as some plants thrive in bad soil. So when you cut the grass, it creates compost. guess this patch work mowing I do will make different things grow, be interesting to see what flowers at what time, evolve. When I arrived at the station. my mum spent 200 pounds on seed from the U.K., of wild flowers, for medows...and we threw it in the middle of the tracks.. maybe it takes some years for all the different things to evolve. It looked like he just sent a bag of grass seed, as it all looked kind of the same, yet my knowledge has got a little better since then.  

Old diesel generator

I was introduced to the man who is called Mr Happy at Bagger, in myto where the compost is made from the trees and things that the local council create. He is the mechanic at this place, anyway, he offered to help me fix this old diesel generator. It's a military one, bought at kolbenova market, Prague a couple of years back for 1000 crowns. It started without a lot of fuss, he said the generator had not been used at all. Just sitting somewhere in czech waiting for the Cold War to escalate into Western Europe. Czech built, he also said that a new generator built today, in 60 years. & Not used, no way in the world would it work.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

immigration for people from Third countries without the capacity to employ commercial legal advice.

My thoughts on the issue.
I feel that if i had paid a commercial lawyer, this problem would not have happened. From my view the situation I was in shows a bigger problem with immigration in Czech. Example. That problem being that immigrants from third countries that can't afford commercial lawyers might be treated in a similar way to me, if they would use a lawyer, from a non-profit organization. If this is true then people who can't afford commercial lawyers from third countries might be using agents to get them here, those agents could potentially be making deals with your administration. If so. I think this situation gives those immigrants brought here by agents living here in Czech far less rights, than those that use commercial lawyers..  My experience tells me this is what is happening, yet i sincerely hope i'm wrong.

I wrote this to the ombudsman office. Using NGO services and the result and consequences for Czech state ministry of interior being the biggest funder of no-profit organisations involved in immigration. Biggest example. SUZ.  Most employers i have met seem directly or at least partly paid for by the ministry interior. 

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Dealing with Czech railways and parking place for the Czech legion train.

Its quite a complicated thing to deal with any aspect of a part state part corporate company here in Czech, like Czech railways and the company that owns the tracks, two separate companies. When i started here at the station, a couple of years back i started to want to buy the land around the station. The land is available and should be sold, as they have no plan for it. After quite a while they put together a proposal, in order for me to continue with the proposal i had to get a special engineer from the railway company to come here and use a special device to find the cables that were that were active, as they did not know.  They said these cables were right in the middle of the lawn. I had to pay the company to have this man arrive here. The strange thing was that I had seen people when i first arrive, take all these copper cables without permission of the railway company. As they had quite good value. The man at the station assured me that active cables were here, and this land is very sensitive. In other words, I'm sorry, you can't buy this land. Anyway, now I find out that the Plzen steam train club is interested to be in charge of a train on these tracks, the Czech legion train is looking at the possibility of parking their train here permanently in 2020. This is great news, as it would be fun to have this great train here. The last time i spoke with this steam train club, I asked them how much it would cost to bring a train here to shoot a film, and they said 100,000 Czech crowns per day. I was little stumped by that price, as the club is a non-profit. Yet then i realised this was my price. Anyway, the steam train club eventually arrived at the station, after saying they might visit for a couple of years. They arrived without a word, on the same day that i wrote this email to the Czech railway company, asking if they had an ombudsman. Bellow is the email. They seemed like nice people, and i was kind of surprised about it all, this amazing train wanting to have its home here at the station. Yet then i got to thinking, if this steam train club is behaving as they have towards me, in conjunction with the railway company, is this such a good thing to have them in charge of a train parked at the station. Maybe all these mistakes are just co-incidences, yet today the line workers were at the new switch board for the electric tracks. They showed me a map, that showed me exactly where the active cables for the station are, they are right next to the track. It was not necessary for the railway companies to have come to my property and for me to pay for this measure. No cables exist bellow 30 year old ones.  I'll do all I can to get this train here, yet I don't think these companies with non-profits are acting under very democratic principles. I'd like the area's around the station, to be public park lands owned by the council for recreation and well being of wild flowers. Yet I'm not sure the local council is much interested in that, would be nice though.

What the legion train writes on the site.

"Our freedom today was bought many victims and heralded by many battles on the beginning stood Czechoslovak legionaries. Discover with us the way to victory!"

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Czech Ministry of interior

The Czech Ministry of Interior is making plans to change the way foreigners from third countries integrate into the Czech republic. Obstacles include the removal of the courts oversight to the ministry interior currently in place, more restrictions on the rights of family members and further restrictions within the labour market. The ministry is not pushing their bill forward with any of the standard legislative process, instead deputy Klučka proposals are seeking to circumnavigate standard interdepartmental discussion on the proposal.

NGOs working closely with migrants in the Czech republic has called on MPs to reject the proposal, explaining that the bill is not in the economic interests of the Czech Republic, goes against the European law and does not take into consideration the constitution. The proposal restricts both the rights of migrants living and working in the Czech Republic, as well as Czech citizens with their family members.

The main objections to deputy Klučka proposals are:

1) Discrimination towards family members of both Czech and EU citizens.

­ Not allowing the employed person to change their reason for being here to that of a family member.


An employed foreigner who becomes pregnant with her husband who legally resides in the Czech Republic and loses her job due to pregnancy, would have to leave the territory of the Czech Republic. (Point A of the proposal) A third country foreigner who has a child with a Czech citizen would not be able to apply for a resident permit after being given a departure order. (Point B)

2) Domestic companies need labour. Creating further obstacles for the migrant worker in a period of economic growth is not in the interest of the Czech republic.


­ Non­payment of road tax would lead to restrictions for the company, announcing the company as an "unreliable employer." Consequently a rejection of current and future employee's application of foreigners. Effectively punishing the foreign workers for the offences of the employers. Reduce the possibility of an employed foreigner to start their own business, increasing it from 2 years to 5 years.

(Point G)

3) Cancelation of the courts surveillance over decisions of the ministry.

­ One of the most serious of all attacks within the proposal (Point I and L) is to take away the independent judicial controls that are currently in place over the courts in the Czech Republic.

Example. A migrant whose application for permanent residence that is rejected will not be able to seek a review through an independent court. The amendments to the law within deputy Klučka proposal on the whole are in conflict with the European law, the European Court of Human Rights and the Czech Constitutional Court. Deputy Klučka proposal limits the possibility of an application for a residence permit, complicates integration for a foreigner already here with their application for a permanent residence and restricts the rights of lawyers and representatives of the rights for foreigners to come to the aid of the foreigner. The third reading of the amendment will take place in the house of commons over the next months. NGO’s are ready to provide comment on all aspects of the proposal.

...I did a re-translation of this document. Shows quite dark direction of Czech ministry of interior towards foreign people, agree? Unfortunately i can't find anywhere where the organisation i did this for would publish it online, maybe because of their association with the ministry of interior, and internal politics with funding they are unable to promote this view. Anyway, so in the end I self publish. Attached are documents I was initially sent and the first translation, I found it so hard to read I wrote it again, i guess they did not ask me to re-do it, so i should not expect them to use it. I don't see how they could have promoted the problem outside the Czech republic effectively with it written in English the way it was.

Jackhammer work


Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Democracy In Czech.

One of the things I really start to notice is that Czech is not a healthy democracy. It seems that the administration is not responsible for their actions, yet an individual in a democracy working within an administration is liable for not following the law. As I understand? The problem seems that both courts and politicians want persecute or prosecute people within the administration that don't follow the rule of law. This creates a situation where, if someone wants to do something, it seems not a question of how to solve the problem through the use of the law. Yet how to work with the administration, to get things done. This gives tremendous power to the politicians, and makes small business very hard, from my view. And what politician wants to loose that power? A new administration might take all that dead wood out of the system, yet with so much corruption already in motion, its not likely, or not? In my situation, applying for grants and subsidies for the stations re-construction, and getting basic things done with the rights that the building has, its best just to avoid the administration. And have a DIY approach. The funds are not distributed in a progressive forward thinking way, its all to do with the kleptocracy here. When people are funded this way for their projects, how do the locals view it? For me, It would be nice to see a real change here in Czech. Yet another one of the problems it seems, is that when Czech people have their rights trodden on, they are worried to protest, as a system full of bent bureaucrats does not much like being told they are bent. Most of these people within the process (those lining their pockets where they can, and exploiting the business through corrupt means) are so full of themselves, that they don't even know they are criminals. In Australia when someone might flaunt their wealth, it might be thought that person innovated to have what they want. In Czech, mostly people think the person stole it. My fear is that 9 times out of 10 they are right. Democracy might be a long time coming to this small eastern european country. Its not much good here, yet not bad enough to leave. 

Saturday, 11 March 2017

life in regional Czech

The first thing often a Czech person tells me when I meet them and they know I'm from Australia. "its my dream to go to Australia", this is followed by the question. "why are you here"? For every Australian resident that you have in Czech, possibly a 100 Czech people in Australia... Contributing, doing a lot of jobs Australian's don't want to do. Why are migrants working in Australia, happier. Wages are better, yet things are also really expensive. Things are more relaxed and not so bureaucratic, and as I understand, laws are followed. I guess its hard to compare the two countries. 

Marginalised people are not put into a worse situation, in Czech it seems they are. Also In Czech, the "bus driver", train employee or postal worker, 9.9 times out of 10, are Czech born. In the UK and in Australia, these jobs are more likely to be migrant workers. It's hard for a migrant coming to the Czech republic from a poorer third country, to get a job in one of these state companies. Maybe a language barrier exists, yet I think its not just this.

Most Czech people in the regional areas work directly or indirectly for large state companies, or the big multi-national ones. In some small towns you only have the pub, very few small business's, and as I understand after the communism big business was given a lot of tax incentives to come here, to create jobs. Yet In the long run this has made it really hard for small business to get a grip, and gradually most of those small business's owners, have been forced to work for bigger companies or retireThe large Czech bank "česká spořitelna" in Zbiroh a couple of months ago closed, its branch office is now a Vietnamese store, selling basic supplies. In the last months i've seen about 5 shop front business's close in Zbiroh, run by local Czech people, mostly it seems because of this new tax, its called the EET Tax, you can read about it at this link. 

Saturday, 4 March 2017

love thy neighbour

Letter to the NPU & Plzen regional council.

I'm having issues with the way that the traffic flows through my property to a council road. When i first came to the station, the council had a no-through traffic sign, attached is a picture of the sign. By the time i had settled on the property, the sign had been removed by the Karez council. When the property was owned by CD, the road was blocked and only bikes and walkers could flow through it. As CD was a government authority, the blocking of the road was never registered with the council. Yet it surely existed and is a part of the heritage of the station, google maps satellite picture proves it, and I have sent this to the Karez council. It allowed cars to park safely in this area.

Anyway.. Excuse this long story.

My problems with this situation started, when i started to renovate one of the flats, the bus driver who lived over the road demanded that he could park his bus on my property and had a paper from the council that his bus could park where it stood, I presented the property tittle map to the police and the bus was not able to park at the station anymore. The bus driver said he would get the property map changed so he could do so and the major of the town would help him do it. Please note, i have no problem with the public traffic parking at the buildings car park, yet a large object like a bus, takes away from the atmosphere of the building.

Also, the council changed the position of where the garbage bins were located, so they were on council land. This means that the big trucks that collect these bins need to drive through my property. This was done with no thought to the historic flow of traffic.

My concern now is that the Karez council will look to get the property map changed so bus's can legally use the station to park, and do as they please. In other words, my thoughts are that the Karez council would like to make my station a bus depot or more active two way road. The Karez council has very little interest in anything to do with tourism. 

Recently i see that the organization that controls the road has been drawing lines on my property, I'm not sure if they are for gas, or for a change in the property map. Yet I feel even to draw lines on my property, they best seek my permission. I spoke to the lady drawing the lines today, and she laughed at me. 

Best situation would be that the road would go back, so locals can walk through the station without fear of traffic.

Please if you could get back to me with your thoughts on any solution and legality of the road-way as it is now. For example. Can i purchase a sign to stop the traffic.

Train driver out of a train station

Its been quite a difficult winter here at the station. One of the tenants who i inherited with the building, decided that the heating system in his flat belonged to him. First he tried to use the heating system to extend his lease, then when that did not work, he took the insured boiler system with him, when his contract expired. It was a strange situation, the local police who i called when he started to take the boiler system out of the flat, said he could take it. Mostly as i understand when these heating installations are made, the tenant gets a reduction in the rent for the cost of the installation. The train driver had manufactured every document he could, to make it appear that the boiler belonged to him. And the police really wanted to believe him, and refused to acknowledge any of my contracts. Anyway, i still wait for the insurance company to give me a new one and make a decision. It did make it any easier that the police refused to give me an incident report, instead giving me a report saying they are investigating if I am the owner. On request of an incident report, they instructed me to go to the civil court. At the same time that the train driver left his flat, the septic tank lid was smashed and the tops of the bee's hives were removed, so all the bee's died. On top of that because the train driver took his boiler system out of that flat, all the pipes froze on that side of the building, so now many of those have to be replaced. Getting a tenant out of a building is not as simple as you might think in the Czech republic, at least for this foreign person.

Reply from March

So after many months, the Zbiroh police finally made the conclusion that the boiler was owned by the train driver using another companies archive, to that of the company I bought the station from. This works best for the company that sold me the property. the police, the train driver. Yet not the property owner. As i said to the Police, what if i had a very big man that worked for me, he took the boiler from that flat and put it in that room and locked it. What would you do then? This maybe explains a little how it works here.

Dear Zbiroh Police,


Excuse this email not being in Czech.

I would like to get to the bottom of this of this situation with theft of property from Karez 71. Building bought from in 2014.

Please note. You have communicated with the wrong the company with regard to ownership of property I bought. You have communicated with . I bought this property from  Document you have written to me, its attached. I don't think these companies have a transparent relationship with each other's documentation.

I have read the letter that I got from the Plzen office. Its attached.

Please read this link about complaints.

The police are demanding that I respond within 5 days to the issue, and it must be in Czech language. I think it's important that the Czech police are compliant with their own complaints page. For people that complain in English. What is worse is that email is bouncing.

Example. The page should say. If you want to complain about Czech police, you must complain in Czech language, if you don't write your message in Czech you will be sent a letter back that you have 5 days to respond to the message in Czech, or you complaint will be  discarded.

Dear Milan Kocourek & Czech Ombudsman office,

I wanted to ask if the Czech police are fault.

Here is the story.

I bought a building from , all my contracts indicated that the property with all its contents within the building belonged to me. When one of my tenants was moving out, he started to remove the boiler system. I called the police, the police arrived and told the man he could take the boiler, even though he could provide no registered proof of purchase. Example. Bank transaction (it was quite a large amount), sale contract dated by the Check point or contract from the seller of the building, or even a contract detailing the installation of the heating system, giving ownership to the tenant.

I complained to the police about this, and they said they would investigate the issue. I needed something for the insurance company. 

Eventually the police investigated the issue, they were unable to get any documentation from the company that sold me the building and the monuments company also need to give permission to remove fixtures (building is a cultural monument). The police contacted another company that had access to this companies records. 

My thoughts were that as soon as the police looked at this issue, they should have told the tenant that if he wanted the objects, he should take it to the courts, as he had no real proof. Also, I would have thought that another company giving details of property of sold, is not within the law. Especially when both companies are run by the state. I thought that was the reason why these companies were made separate, was to stamp out this kind of thing with contracts.

Is this situation democratic? Given the police response, I want get a payout from the insurance company.

I've attached a copy of the police response.