link to

My company teaches English face-to-face or over Skype. See my website:

Monday, 27 August 2012

183:Sliding gently (?) into old age

I'm in UK. Went to Wicksteed Park with the family. The video clip shows me on this "little" slide with my daughter and grandchildren. What fun we all had.  You're only as old as you feel!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

182:p****d again!

I'm at Domodedovo airport (again) waiting for my flight back to UK. On the way here I snapped this gentleman occupying three seats on the metro. If only I had the courage to make him occupy just one seat - but I don't. Perhaps because I know I've been there myself, in my younger days of course!
Here are two recent "shares" from Facebook, both of which took my fancy.

This second one translates as "The Russian National Quiddich Team"!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

181:Just walking in the rain

Summer is drawing to a close. I seem to have missed most of it this year and been in Russia when it was hot in UK and in UK when it was hot in Russia. Never mind, such is life. (такова жизнь). I'm looking forward to a few days of Indian Summer (бабье лето).
Mostly people read the weather forecast and take an umbrella with them when necessary. But it is still possible to get caught out. What to do when caught in the rain without an umbrella? I've seen women holding their handbag over their head, I've seen people holding a plastic carrier bag over their head. But this one "takes the biscuit". An ingenious (?) man had fashioned a paper hat for himself and was wearing it. All very well until it gets wet! And, of course, it gets wet quite quickly in the rain. 
I'm always intrigued by the appearance of English-based words into the Russian vocabulary. There seems to be more and more words every day. I was amused to see the word "snacks" on the side of a Russian delivery van.
To finish off, here is a song from the 1950s from a gentleman called Johnnie Ray - "Just walking in the rain".

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

180:Big melons!!

For those of you with a dirty mind who were attracted here by the title, let me  say you have come to the wrong place. This really is about big melons and water melons and what the Russians call torpedoes. Every year, at about this time, impromptu stalls are set up to sell these products, which have been brought in from the South of the country or perhaps from the neighbouring "stan" republics. 
If you've never heard the British National Anthem being played on a series of car horns I recommend you watch the following you tube clip. Very funny.

Monday, 13 August 2012

179:Goodbye to the Olympics

I arrived back in Moscow yesterday morning but feel that no British blog would be complete without a reference to the Olympics. Here is a BBC video of the closing ceremony:
Reading through the comments from some of the media around the world I particularly enjoyed reading the following from the U.S. press:
"This country of 62 million people, roughly the size of Michigan, reminded itself of its uncanny ability to punch above its weight." Nice.
Here is the full text if you want to read it:

And, just because I don't like submitting blogs without any pictures, here is one of the steps to/from my local supermarket. I put a picture on the blog some months ago showing the dire condition of them but, finally, they are being repaired. Has Mr Health and Safety finally arrived in Moscow?

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

178:Peterborough (mine, not yours!)

A quick blog on the move today, I'm waiting for the train to take me North back to Scotland. I've taken a couple of pictures on the mobile phone and used bluetooth to transfer them to the laptop then the free wi-fi in McDonalds to upload them to the blog. Isn't technology wonderful?

Tuesday, 7 August 2012


During my walk in the hills behind Golspie I took a picture of a foxglove (наперстянка)

and was reminded of a story from my days on the Berlin military train. The march down the platform at Marienborn always involved three people: Officer Commanding the train (an officer from the Berlin garrison), Train Conducting Warrant Officer (TCWO) , and duty Russian Interpreter. 
On an interpreter's first day the TCWO liked to test the mettle of the interpreter by asking for phrases to be interpreted that the interpreter might struggle with.
The story goes that one of the TCWOs turned to a newly-arrived interpreter and said "can you ask the Soviet officer if he is aware that you can get digitalis from the common foxglove." The interpreter, thinking on his feet, turned to the Soviet officer and said something along the lines of "такая хорошая погода сегодня" (what good weather we're having today) to which the Soviet officer replied "Да", which was the one word of Russian the TCWO knew. Mission accomplished.
By the way, the word anecdote (анекдот) is a bit of a false friend linguistically. In Russian it usually means a joke of some kind but in English it is more likely to be a short story sometimes, but not always, humorous.

Monday, 6 August 2012

176:The Clearances!

Following on from my last post, about my walk in the hills above Golspie to reach the monument to the 1st Duke of Sutherland

I thought it pertinent to point you in the direction of the Wikipedia article about him.,_1st_Duke_of_Sutherland

He was heavily involved in the Highland Clearances which were were about the forced displacement of people from inland to the coasts and to the colonies during the 18th and 19th Centuries, chiefly in order to graze sheep, which was much more profitable!

Here also, just because I like it (words and music and views), is a Scottish song from You Tube. The words can be found in the following link

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


My first blog for 2 weeks. I blame a shortage of both time and inspiration - in equal measures.
I am in Golspie, a pretty village on the North East coast of Scotland.
I come here every year to visit my mother-in-law (ведьма). One of my first tasks is always to walk in the hills behind Golspie up to the monument to the 1st Duke of Sutherland.

Yesterday the weather was marvellous and there were fabulous views to be had:

but today more typical Scottish weather has set in and, since I am a fair-weather walker, there will be no more walking today.