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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

174:The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Two items of interest today (to me anyway).
The first is mildly amusing, the second mildly entertaining.
Some time ago an edict was passed to say that temporary structures on the streets of Moscow would be demolished. This edict is being carried out..
However, many of the old temporary structures are now being replaced by newer, more permanent buildings. So it is still possible to buy almost anything on the street at any hour of the day or night.
The video clip below explains what makes up the United Kingdom and talks about the few residual bits of Empire that we still have left scattered around the globe! I'm sorry the American is speaking so fast. maybe one day I'll record it myself but at a slower speed.

Monday, 9 July 2012

173:UK Study breaks

One of many beautiful buildings in Cambridge.
Now my working schedule has changed to 2 weeks in Russia and 1 week in England I am able to offer one week study breaks in England. Stay (all inclusive) with me and my wife in our house in Cambridgeshire and immerse yourself in the language. Choose the balance of formal tuition and excursions to suit you. We look forward to welcoming you to our house and hospitality.
Book soon before places go!
The mathematical bridge on the lovely river Cam.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

172:Another Russian wedding!

Newly weds do like to take a tour around town being photographed at the various sights (достопримечательности!).
Can anybody explain the definition of a flash mob? Is it supposed to be a spontaneous gathering of people in a place pre-arranged at short notice? Every one I've seen so far looks to be a pre-planned, well-orchestrated, stage-managed, event. Like this one? Don't get me wrong, it's great entertainment, especially if you're there, on the spot, on Sparrow Hills but did this bride and groom really walk into this as a surprise on their wedding day? Somehow I don't think so.

A great video clip, but I will be singing/humming "putting on the Ritz" for the rest of the day!

As an aside, the hot water was coming out brown from my tap this morning. Yukh! Still, at least it will go some way to colouring my grey hair! (N.B. UK серый,седой = grey, US серый,седой = gray)

Monday, 2 July 2012

171:A Russian wedding

I went to a Russian wedding "breakfast" on Saturday - boy do those guys know how to have a good time! I missed the ceremony in the registry office (ЗАГС) as that was on Friday and I was working but I managed along to the reception on Saturday (afternoon, evening, night). Unfortunately I was rendered somewhat hors de combat having been struck by a bout of sciatica (ишиас) early on Saturday morning - nice timing! 
The reception took place at a big leisure complex somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Such places are quite commonplace here as it lets Muscovites escape the city and "commune with nature".  
There was a Master of Ceremonies (тамада) who, together with his wife, did a magnificent job of making things happen in the right place at the right time. There are quite a few differences between Russian weddings and British, the first of which became apparent when all the guests stood outside the building and greeted the newlyweds as they arrived. The guests threw flower petals, the groom's mother presented traditional "bread and salt

and the bride's mother gave them each a glass of champagne. We all moved inside to the "banquet". The starters (закуски) were laid out on the tables together with strategically placed bottles of vodka, white and red wine, champagne, and cola for the faint-hearted. A banquet fit for a king. With a traditional British wedding feast the meal would then proceed from start to finish. The Russian meal has long gaps between the courses whilst dancing and other entertainment ensues. A lot of the guests chose to give money (in an envelope) as a present and there was a kind of letter-box-shaped box into which the envelopes were dropped, after the donors had stood in front of the "top table" and proposed a toast to the newly-weds. I do hope they didn't lose that box - I think they should have hired a security guard!
Some of the other memorable events included: the presence of a caricaturist, and his wife, who had been hired to draw all the guests (free of charge). I include the drawing he did of me - form your own opinion but I think it looks more like my Dad! the Bride and Groom, and all the guests, going for a walk beside the lake to a "special" tree where they a tied a ribbon to the tree, along with all the other ribbons that were there, there was a fire-show at about 11 p.m. where a performer turned up and did amazing things with a couple of sticks that were on fire. I nearly forgot, there was an interesting session where the bride and groom were instructed in the noble art of parenting - see for yourself!
All in all a great time. I didn't get to bed until 0200 on Sunday and then up again for lessons. Life goes on.