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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

313: When I'm cleaning windows...

Sorry it's been two and a half weeks since the last blog. Deadlines keep appearing with a higher  priority than the blog. Apart from that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to keep coming up with fresh ideas and new pictures that you haven't seen before. Perhaps I need to move to another city/country?
Anyway, here goes with blog number 313.
I wouldn't do the job that these guys are doing for all the tea in china! 

Here are two more pictures of Moscow's monorail system. Pleasant to travel on but yet another reference to China is apposite here. We talk about "a slow boat to China" to describe something that is very slow and takes a long time. The monorail goes from West to East (and back again of course) in the North of Moscow and saves going South then East then North on the metro to get from Timiryazevskiy to VDNKh. It runs fairly frequently during the day but during the evening the trains are few and far between.

Today's video clip has to be George Formby singing "when I'm cleaning windows" and playing his ukulele.I have included two versions, with and without lyrics. It dates from 1936 and was initially banned by the BBC.

Friday, 5 September 2014

312: Prima Donnas

I'm just back from a run - the first one for ages. I'm struck by how very very quickly fitness levels plummet. At the beginning of the year I was running for 2 minutes and walking for 1. I slowly slowly built on that to be able to run (almost) non-stop for over an hour. And now, having not run for a couple of weeks, I'm back to the 2 minutes running and 1 minute walking regime. the "use it or lose it" maxim is just as true in sport as it is in language learning and vocabulary retention.

Why Prima Donna as the title of the blog? It has two meanings: one as the chief female singer in an opera or opera company and two as a temperamental person with an inflated view of their own talent or importance.
I was trying to arrange a lesson for tomorrow with one of my students. He suggested a meeting place  some distance from where I live and I baulked at the travelling involved to get there. (I do enough metro travelling during the week). He has a car and I felt it would be easier for him to drive. For his part he is probably thinking that if he's paying I should dance to his tune. So, a stalemate with no winner. He doesn't get the lesson and I don't get the money.

At Kiev station this morning I saw, and photographed, a collection point for people wanting to donate for "humanitarian aid for Donbass". Whichever "side" you're on in the Ukrainian "Civil War" the real losers, as always, are the local civilian population.

Finally for today, here is a photo of a syringe on the ground beneath a seat at a bus stop I was at yesterday. The first one I've seen in 6 years of travelling around Moscow. I know all big cities in the world have problems with drug addicts but so far, touch wood, it hasn't impacted on me here.

Perhaps then, to finish on a cynical note, a video clip "Lucy in the Sky with diamonds". Lots of people were "high" in the 60s but I wasn't one of them. Interesting to read the comments about whether the song is, or isn't, LSD related. Not much on the internet these days with only one side to a story - people are always prepared to add their own three pennyworth.