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Monday, 24 June 2013


Today is the anniversary of when Napoleon began the disastrous French invasion of Russia by crossing the River Niemen with 614,000 men. The year, of course, was 1812.
My first student of the day, who lives not far from here,
and also not far from here,
told me that he had visited the 1812 museum, just outside Red Square, on Saturday. He recommended a visit and one day I will probably go and see for myself.

Today's video clip has to be from Tchaikovskiy's 1812 overture. Enjoy.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

246:Summer in the City

My British Airways plane landed at Domodedovo International at 04.30 on Saturday 15th June. Because the first aero-express train doesn't leave until 06.00 I decided to take a scheduled coach to the nearest metro station (which, appropriately enough, is called Domodedovo). These coaches don't run to a timetable but only go when every last seat has been sold. It is a matter of luck whether you get on when it is almost empty or almost full. 
Anyway, we arrived at the metro stop at about 05.30. Metro stations open at different times in the morning, between 05.30 and 06.00, and this one opens each day at 05.40. I would say there was somewhere in the region of 100 people milling around waiting for the metro to open. Not bad for half past five on a Saturday morning! Mostly, I would suggest, immigrant workers heading into town to start their daily work.
Having got 'home' safely and snatched a few hours sleep, I decided to spend my Saturday having a wander. Here are some pictures taken not only on Saturday but on different days this week as I passed anything that seemed to me to be noteworthy.
St Basil's looked particularly fetching this morning basking in bright sunshine

The old British Embassy. The Ambassador and some Attaches still live there
This is faintly amusing. It is a typical storage area for rubbish the like of which can be found outside many apartment blocks. The funny thing about this one is that on the left there is a sign saying that video cameras are in operation. 
There were countless wedding cars on Bolotnaya (this is the place where sanctioned opposition protests are held. Not today!
This is the view I had of the Kremlin when I worked in Moscow at the old British Embassy 1978-1980
Fountain outside Novokuznetskaya metro

For a video clip today I have chosen "Summer in the city" from the Lovin' Spoonful. It reached Number 1 in the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1966. 

Monday, 17 June 2013

245:Fathers' Day

Yesterday, in UK (and many other countries) it was Fathers' Day. Here is a selection of cards sent to me by my son over the last few years. I hope he doesn't mind me publishing them. It shows that he has inherited my sense of humour - what a lucky lad! :)

To finish off, a video with a cheesy song from from the 1950s - "Oh my papa", sung here by the Everly Brothers. Actually it causes me to remember both my parents. 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

244:Daphne Alice Beatrice Buckley - Rest in Peace

My mum had a fall a couple of weeks ago and fractured a bone in her pelvic girdle (перелом таза). She was taken by ambulance to the local hospital where she was x-rayed and then admitted. 
Over the course of the next 2 weeks she picked up a chest infection and then had problems with her heart.
She was 87 years old and did not respond well to the treatments offered.
On Monday morning the medical team looking after her decided to put her on a protocol called the Liverpool Care Pathway . This meant that active intervention was stopped and mum was allowed to slide slowly and gracefully to the end. She was put into a side ward where she was the only patient and nurses and doctors came in from time to time to make sure she was comfortable and pain free. They also checked that the family members there with her, holding her hand, were coping.
The end came yesterday evening and she passed away peacefully in her sleep.
It is an extremely emotional and harrowing ordeal to watch a close family member slowly dying in front of your eyes and to watch for hours on end. 
Having said that, it does allow time to prepare yourself mentally for the inevitable outcome.
The funeral will take place in the St Thomas a Becket church in Ramsey on Friday 28th June at midday. The 'wake' will be held in Jones' Court, where mum had been living for the last few years. All those who knew mum are invited to attend.
St Thomas Becket, Ramsey, Cambridgeshire.jpg
Rest in Peace mum. We will all miss you. 

Monday, 3 June 2013

243:Around and about (2)

Part 2 of a selection of photos taken in Moscow during the last few weeks.
Somebody enjoying a wee nap outside the entrance to my apartment. Before anybody suggests otherwise let me confirm that it is not me!

You can buy anything in Moscow, provided you know where to look. This kiosk, in one of the pedestrian underpasses near Rizhzkiy station, is selling natural cosmetics from the Dead Sea. At least, that's what it says on the sign. I can offer no guarantees as to the authenticity or efficacy of these cosmetics.

You really do see all sorts of strange things whilst walking around Moscow. This young pair of apparent ne'er-do-wells seem to be washing their clothes in the river.  The river is a dirty brownish colour at the moment. I wouldn't be surprised if the clothes end up dirtier than when they went in.
Here is an example of the difficulties and ambiguities of the English language. Here is an aircraft being serviced as opposed to an aircraft being serviced! (first meaning = обслуживание, second meaning = технический осмотр). I was just struck by the array of specialist vehicles and equipment that approached the plane as soon as it had come to a standstill. Like bees around a honey pot.
Using the word efficacy earlier in the blog reminded me of Lily the Pink. Here it is, for your enjoyment.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

242:Around and about (1)

I'm in UK this week to visit my mum in hospital but managed to take a few pictures last week during my travels around Moscow. Here are three of them. I'll try for another three another day.
Bikes for hire stations are beginning to appear at different places around Moscow. It might have been safer to improve the woefully inadequate network of cycle lanes first but never mind, at least it's a step in the right direction. It will be interesting to see how popular this mode of transport becomes.

Some nice looking accommodation at Yugo Zapadnaya. The more modern residential accommodation looks quite attractive.

Flowers for sale at Paveletskiy. It's not only these blooms that are flourishing but also private enterprise. 

For my video clip today it could only be the push bike song, The 1970 hit song for The Mixtures.