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Friday, 30 August 2013

261: Lenin shot and seriously wounded!

On this day, in 1918, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was shot and seriously wounded by female assassin Fanya Kaplan.
How different the world would be today if she had succeeded in her assassination attempt!

I have written quite a few blogs about the Moscow metro. It really is one of the best and most efficient in the world. During the rush hours trains come into the platform just as the previous one is leaving at the far end. A masterpiece of co-ordination. However, some of the stations have only three escalators. Since they are used by (tens of) thousands of people every day they often have to be maintained. When this happens there is only one going up and one going down. This causes severe bottlenecks as witnessed this week in my local metro station - Timiryazevskaya. It is a non-contact sport (but only just). People shuffle forward and eventually get to the top (or bottom) of the escalator.

Some bright and colourful public service ads are appearing on metro trains. This one says "I love Moscow".

And here, to follow on from my recent photo of a one-man band busking in Inverness, is the Moscow version

Finally, rather than the usual video clip, I will leave you with the following observation which I saw on FB the other day. 

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

260:Farewell to Scotland

A few pictorial observations, just to finish off my recent trip to Scotland.
Busking in Inverness High Street.
The writing on the drum says
"The Bang on Boogie Band"
here is a You Tube clip (if you're really interested!)

Couldn't resist snapping this.
"Haggis adventures",
should you want more wild and sexy
can be found at:

Seagulls at 12 o'clock!
I shudder to think what it does to the paintwork.

The road South, through the Highlands.
As they say in that part of the world: haste ye back. 

I don't know why it flashed into my mind but yesterday evening I was reminded of the old expression used to get young children to go to bed:"up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire". Here is a you tube clip with Vera Lynn, one of our national treasures, singing it in 1936! Any of my readers remember this!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

259: бывший НАТОВЕЦ!

On this day, 24th August, in 1949 NATO came into existence to counter the Soviet military presence in Eastern Europe. Initially the Headquarters was in France but it moved to Belgium in 1951.
Many years later I came along to play my part in helping to keep the peace.
The world has changed dramatically in recent years - come to that, so have I!

In Scotland, earlier this week, my friend and I finally opened the "Soviet" ration packs that we had bought from the Central Army museum in Moscow earlier this year. It was very interesting comparing the contents with our own British ration packs, fondly called compo. There were many similarities.

Two contrasting video clips today, both about soldiers. One says nobody wants to be a hero and the other is based on a true story of heroism in Northern Ireland.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

258: Mr Munro

Last Friday, together with my friend Alisdair, I drove to the Cairngorms and  "conquered" another Munro - my 13th. We walked for 7½ hours and my legs were like jelly for days afterwards.
Munros are Scottish mountains over 3,000 feet high and there are about 280 of them. The list is updated periodically as the measuring of the height of mountains becomes ever more accurate as (satellite) technology evolves.
Aficionados have "bagged" all the Munros but as I only ever manage one, or occasionally two, each year I fear I'm never going to join that elite band.
The Munro we "climbed" (walked up) last week is called, in Gaelic, Mullach Clach a' Bhlair. In English it means simply "summit of the stony plain".
Here are some photos I took on the day:

Today's video clip could only be (Ike and) Tina Turner singing River Deep and Mountain High. Enjoy.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

257:The train journey North

On Tuesday (how can it be Saturday already?) I took the train North. Two trains actually, one from Peterborough to York and another from York to Inverness.
A lovely journey. The first class ticket, bought in advance with my Senior Person's Railcard, was only £65 and the journey included free food (sandwiches) and almost as many G&Ts as I could drink.
The first photograph shows 2 "train spotters". When I spoke to them they insisted they were "railway enthusiasts" (train spotters have a bit of an anorak image). As far as I know this is a peculiarly British pastime where grown men spend all day on a railway station platform taking note of which trains pass through. 

2 out of 3 "railway enthusiasts". The third one was shy and declined to have his picture taken.

This was pulling my first train and was continuing to Edinburgh. It wasn't flying but was fairly zipping along.

If I'd only been a bit quicker off the mark I could have got all of Edinburgh castle in the shot!

If only all train travel was to this fine, bygone, standard

These two pictures are of a train standing in Inverness station heading I know not where.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

256:around and about

The Moscow Summer continues apace, one minute the temperature is in the upper 20s and the next Summer storms are making the torrential rain bounce off the pavements - and off any unprepared teachers caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was caught twice on Monday - once at each end of my metro journey as the storm moved North at the same speed as the train. Had to go home and wring out my socks - well almost everything really.

A few photos snapped on my peregrinations:
I've found the place where they grow hidden microphones!

You might think that 1939 & 1940 are hidden
behind the bushes on the left but no:
in Russia the Great Patriotic War only started in 1941. (After the collapse of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact)
Untold millions perished. They will not be forgotten.

Couldn't resist snapping this when I was out on my run yesterday. I was almost overcome by a desire to stop and lie down on the next bench. But I resisted.

A working wooden church not far from where I live.

Two of my friends, Pauline and Fred, have a birthday today. Couldn't find any songs to dedicate to Pauline but here's one to dedicate to Fred: 'ave a cup of tea!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

255: Iraklii - Part II

I don't know where this week has gone - it has just vanished. Here are another few photos from Iraklii's visit.
After dinner entertainment at Gwen & Clive's house.
Auditioning for the part of William Tell's son!

The end of a falconry display in the grounds of Golspie castle.
It was a hoot!

King's College, Cambridge.
More tourists than you can shake a stick at!

The Science museum in London.
It's a small world these days!

I'm off to see RED 2, in Russian, this afternoon. I enjoyed the first RED and hope RED 2 will be as good. If the trailer is anything to go by, it will be.