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Monday, 24 February 2014

289: BOGOFFs

Quite a few people returning from Sochi passing through Domodedovo airport this afternoon. The overall impression seems to be that the games passed off very well and Russia is to be congratulated, not only on winning more medals than any other nation but also on her organisational skills. Молодцы!

Having been refused entry to the S7 business class lounge here at Domodedovo (apparently Priority Pass card holders aren't allowed in between 10.00 and 14.00!!), I decided to take advantage of a flyer that had been handed to me earlier with a BOGOFF (buy one get one free) offer.
Order a cppucino or a ginger cider or a hot chocolate and ice cream and you get the second one free. OK, so I made a pig of myself but I've never been one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Here is the before and after. Both very nice.

Who killed Cock Robin? I said the sparrow, with  my bow and arrow!

Who killed Cock Robin?" "I," said the Sparrow,
"With my bow and arrow, I killed Cock Robin."
"Who saw him die?" "I," said the Fly,
"With my little eye, I saw him die."
"Who caught his blood?" "I," said the Fish,
"With my little dish, I caught his blood."
"Who'll make the shroud?" "I," said the Beetle,
"With my thread and needle, I'll make the shroud."
"Who'll dig his grave?" "I," said the Owl,
"With my pick and shovel, I'll dig his grave."
"Who'll be the parson?" "I," said the Rook,
"With my little book, I'll be the parson."
"Who'll be the clerk?" "I," said the Lark,
"If it's not in the dark, I'll be the clerk."
"Who'll carry the link?" "I," said the Linnet,
"I'll fetch it in a minute, I'll carry the link."
"Who'll be chief mourner?" "I," said the Dove,
"I mourn for my love, I'll be chief mourner."
"Who'll carry the coffin?" "I," said the Kite,
"If it's not through the night, I'll carry the coffin."
"Who'll bear the pall? "We," said the Wren,
"Both the cock and the hen, we'll bear the pall."
"Who'll sing a psalm?" "I," said the Thrush,
"As she sat on a bush, I'll sing a psalm."
"Who'll toll the bell?" "I," said the bull,
"Because I can pull, I'll toll the bell."
All the birds of the air fell a-sighing and a-sobbing,
When they heard the bell toll for poor Cock Robin.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

288: What do you think - I saw a pet mink!

After writing in the last blog that nothing surprises me here in Moscow what happened yesterday but a woman got on the bus I was travelling on and she had a pet mink on a lead!
I had to take a photograph because I'd been out for a few beers with my friend Adam and knew that otherwise I would wake up in the morning and imagine I had dreamt it. Sorry it's a poor quality photo - I'd had a few beers by then. In the photo it doesn't look real but I assure you it was wriggling and squirming and was very much alive.

Two events worthy of note from yesterday's entry on the BBC History on this day site. Firstly, on 15th February 1971 decimal currency was introduced into UK. Our much loved pounds, shillings and pence currency where 12 pennies = 1 shilling and 20 shillings = £1 was scrapped for 100p = £1. No more half-crowns, sixpences, threepenny bits, ha'pennies and farthings. Guineas (21 shillings) are still quoted in the pricing and sale of livestock at auction although the actual transaction is in pounds. I remember the conversion well because just as I was getting used to the new currency I was sent to Cyprus for a 6-month deployment with the United Nations and had to quickly get used to the Cyprus pound.
The other noteworthy event was that on 15th February 1989 the last Soviet soldier left Afghanistan. Won't be long now before the last American soldiers (and the other troops of the multi-national force) leave. I wonder how long before the Taliban are completely back in power.

For my video this morning I include the 1983 film Gorky Park with John Hurt and Lee Marvin. A great film, and there is a link to the mink which you will discover if you watch it.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

287: Houses

Very little surprises me here in Moscow. So when I read about an upside-down house that had been built in VDNKh (The All-Russia Exhibition Centre) I thought I had better go and check it out. Quite amusing, although I thought £6 admission was a bit OTT. Click here for more details (in Russian) and more pictures.

Here is another plug for my late mum's house. I have just reduced the asking price to £120,000. It is being marketed by Thomas Morris in Ramsey.img

Click here for more details

Today's video clip then is of The Animals singing "House of the rising sun". They recorded it in 1964.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

286: Money laundering (отмывание)

Lady luck is smiling down on me. Due to a lesson cancellation this morning I found myself catching up with some ironing. There in the pocket of one of the shirts were five very clean banknotes totalling some 1750 roubles (about £35). I must try not to do that again - probably won't be quite so lucky next time.

I hope the guys in the picture are as lucky. They are repairing the road and there are only two traffic cones between them and oblivion. In UK we would have two miles worth. We usually have too many and Russia too few. We need a happy medium (who remembers Mystic Meg, from our television screens in 1994? Incidentally, she still writes horoscopes for the Sun - or so they tell me.)

If any of my UK readers would be interested in any of the furniture I am in the process of removing from my late mum's house then please click on this link to my website to see photos and make me an offer I can't refuse!

On 3rd February 1959 Buddy Holly was killed in an air crash. Click here for more details. Don McLean immortalized the tragedy with his 1972 hit American Pie