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Sunday, 22 December 2013

279: White Square

Went to visit Red White Square yesterday to help get myself in the mood for Christmas & New Year.
Here are a few photos to show how Red Square is looking at the moment all dolled up for the festive season. 

This week was worthy of note. Not only because yesterday (21st December) was the shortest day and we will start to get more daylight, but also because it was the anniversary of Joseph Stalin's birth. Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili was born on 18 December 1879 in Gori, Georgia. Here is what the BBC History page has to say about him. (I mean the hyperlink, not the video)

Friday, 13 December 2013

278 - Turn right at the didgeridoo!

My well-earned break in Malaga is almost at an end. It has been great to slow down the pace of life and simply potter about, tinkering with my I.T. systems (how sad is that!) and going for slow runs along the beach as the waves from the Mediterranean lap against the sand.
Back to Moscow, via Gatwick and Heathrow, tomorrow night. The temperature has ranged from a slightly chilly +9 in the early morning and late evening up to a very pleasant +20 in the afternoon. Sunshine!
Why the strange title? On the way to the hotel room there is a collection of bamboo on display and it reminded me of a didgeridoo - the instrument made famous by Rolf Harris before he too became tainted by the fall-out from being an entertainer in the 60s.

All these people turned out to welcome us to Malaga!

A reminder of President Kennedy's speech in Berlin when he called himself a doughnut! The joys of language!

Note the beggars at the gates.

My video clip is from 1969 and shows Rolf Harris "singing" Jake the peg. Enjoy.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

277: flight delayed, but so what

Anyone who has ever travelled anywhere by train in Russia will be able to identify with these photos. Looking out of the window, there are trees everywhere, mile after mile after mile. This was just on the 45 minute journey from Moscow out to Domodedovo airport but I've been on longer journeys (20 hours+) where trees begin to bore you. Russia could exist for ever making and selling matches!

This next photo is the wintry view through the window of the S7 business lounge at Domodedovo airport. I dithered for ages and ages about treating myself to a card to give me access to business lounges so I can relax before the flight (Domodedovo at the weekend is like Wembley stadium on cup final day). Already I am pleased I decided to "waste" the money because today's flight to UK has been delayed due to a software "glitch" at Swanwick Air Traffic Control centre. Have to take care not to drink too many free beers though - must save myself for the G&T on the plane, and wine with dinner. I've picked a seat right at the back of the 747 jumbo jet and, with luck, perhaps there'll be nobody else there and I can stretch out across several seats. A well-seasoned, and sometimes half-pickled, traveller.

The video clip could only be "leaving on a jet plane"from John Denver. Apologies if I've posted it already. One day, I'll catalogue the photos and videos on the blog. One day!

Word perfect? Marvellous, I haven't drunk too much then! Nice weekend everybody.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

276: Relationship difficulties!

The daughter of my sister (i.e. my niece) has just given birth to a 7lb 5oz girl, who they will call Emily. Congratulations to Sarah, and to Rob of course, as he obviously had some input into the proceedings.
In English I am now a great-uncle. Great.
In Russian I am now a двоюродный grandfather! I shall be having a few conversations with my Russian students over the next day or so in order to try and get my head around that concept.

The temperature here in Moscow is going up and down more often than a tart's drawers. Can I use slang like that on a blog?  Yesterday the temperature was -7 to -10 and every was slippery. I had to walk like David Suchet's Poirrot. Today there has been a big thaw and the temperature has risen to +1. There is slush (слякать) everywhere. Almost needed a boat.
I'm really looking forward to next week when I will be in Malaga and the sun should be shining and the temperature should be in the region of +15. Not enough for a sun tan but enough to lift the spirits.
For my song I have chosen Barbara Streisand singing, of course, Emily. Couldn't find lyrics - sorry.