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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

106:Mister Dez

Mondays, for me, are busy days. Usually I leave the flat at 0700 and get back at about 2300. This isn't a complaint, I chose this lifestyle. It's just setting the scene.
My briefcase was so heavy yesterday that the handle broke. The briefcase fell to the ground and almost disappeared under the wheels of the bus I had just got off. I guess that could have turned my laptop into an ultra-thin version! Lady luck is still with me.
I shall take the briefcase to be repaired by one of the many local artisans. 
A useful English expression is "flying off the handle". This is used when you are upset about something. Somebody might say to you during an argument: "don't fly off the handle."


On Monday evenings I have a two-hour lesson at one of the local colleges. Four very nice, very talented, young students, aged 18-20. Last night one of them presented me with a packet of washing powder. Let me quickly add that it was not that he was complaining about my personal hygiene or standards of cleanliness, at least I hope not, but rather because of the picture on the front of the packet. It seems I have acquired a new nickname.



Monday, 27 February 2012

105:A cyber-bully has appeared


I went for ages and ages wondering whether anybody was reading my blog. Yes there were statistics citing a significant number of ‘hits’ but these could have been automated “phishing” attempts rather than actual visits from real people. Then slowly one or two of my friends started to add their comments and tell me off-site how much they were enjoying the entries. I now share my blog on FB and my audience has grown even larger. I’m pleased.

Now though, I have my very own cyber-bully! He, and I’m assuming it’s a he, is going his mile peppering my blogs with his own style of “wit”. You carry on, my friend, freedom of speech prevails – here on the internet at least, if not yet in Russia.

I’m reminded of an old Brezhnev-era joke, to counter some of those my cyber-bully is spraying like bullets all over my site:
A Russian and an American are on a train somewhere and start talking. The American said “in America, we have Freedom of Speech. I can stand in front of the White House and shout 'down with Reagan'.” The Russian said “so what. We have Freedom of Speech too. I can stand in front of the Kremlin and shout 'down with Reagan' any time I want.”!

Why have I chosen to write a blog? There are several reasons. Probably the most important for me is to provide an additional learning platform for my students. I decided to use an informal, conversational, style of English to supplement the material I am giving them from course books. I deliberately use lots of set phrases and idioms. I am also keen to highlight some of the many cultural differences between out two great nations. If only to help avoid a faux-pas from either side. Another reason for writing is to keep my UK friends and family abreast of my adventures and experiences here in Russia. From the perspective of our little island Russia might as well be the other side of the world. 

I found today's photo mildly amusing. Compare the colours in Iceland's flag, hanging outside its embassy in Moscow, with the colours on the no parking sign hanging nearby.



Sunday, 26 February 2012

104:A visit to the planetarium







I had been wanting to visit the Moscow planetarium for quite some time. The last twice I turned up the queues were too long for me, such is the popularity of the place. The queues stretched from the entrance right back to the road. This time though, my luck was in. I arrived and bought a ticket straightaway for a performance starting a couple of hours later.
What to do for a few hours? I wandered, aimlessly, around some of the streets of Moscow and quite by chance, perhaps, found myself outside the John Bull pub at Smolenskiy. What should I do but go in and partake of a little light refreshment. After a light snack of nachos and chilli, washed down with a pint of John Bull bitter, I left to go back to the planetarium, suitably refreshed.
Just as I arrived, in good time for the show, horror of horrors, I realised I no longer had my rucksack with me. It contained my laptop, Yota egg, and some stereo headphones. How terrible that would be to lose those things. 
Lady luck was smiling at me yet again. I dashed back to the pub and the rucksack was waiting for me behind the bar. слава Богу! The day was saved.
I got back to the planetarium to see the performance. It was fantastic. I would recommend a trip to a planetarium for those of you who have never been before.

Friday, 24 February 2012

103:The day after the night before

Yet again I'm going to piggy-back off somebody else's blog. My colleague Alex Jude in Omsk has chosen the effects of drinking too much as his theme for the day. This is quite appropriate as I'm sure there will be quite a few sore heads this morning after yesterday's Defenders of the Fatherland celebration. As well as Alex's contribution I offer three photos of my own. The first shows a rocket on display at the Central Army museum here in Moscow. This to illustrate that the Defenders of the Fatherland are still more than capable of defending it with the modern military hardware at their disposal. The gentlemen in the last two photos aren't capable of defending anything.
Alcoholism is a problem here but I would suggest not as much of a problem as it used to be. The overwhelming majority of Russians are now hard-working upright citizens. (Well, the ones I know anyway).








Thursday, 23 February 2012

102:Defender of the Fatherland Day



Another day, another holiday! Not that I'm complaining.
I was going to write a few lines explaining about today's Russian holiday which is now called Defender of the Fatherland day but used to be called Soviet Army Day.
But then I came across this blog which tells you all about this "men's day" holiday much more comprehensively than I ever could.
http://www.transparent.com/russian/defender-of-the-fatherland-day/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=languageblog&utm_content=russian
с праздником! Happy Holiday.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

101:The Artist

I went to the cinema today and saw "Artist". Enjoyed it tremendously and would recommend it. The only trouble is: it is a French film set in the 1920s-1930s about the end of the silent film era. Much of the film was silent, although the voicing was in English. Subtitles were in Russian. Get your head around that!


Here is a trailer for the film:



On the way to the cinema I was amused to see somebody's car about to be towed away to the local pound. It's always funny when it's somebody elses car, but never when it's your own! The Russian word for a tow-away truck is "evacuator".






Tuesday, 21 February 2012

100:Happy anniversary DesInRussia

My one hundredth blog. Any day now and the Man Booker prize team should be in touch to offer me my reward! Perhaps not. My blog is a labour of love. When I'm not plagiarizing from other people's blogs that is. Like today, for example.
Another comprehensive blog from Alex Jude, this time all about sharing and individualism. I agree entirely with what he has written 
http://www.englishinrussia.ru/blog/individualism-and-reciprocity-uk#.T0NFaMIRMAc.facebook
but would like to add a few words of my own to it.
Paying for a meal in a pub/restaurant
There are two ways of doing this - depending on who you are eating with. By far the most common way, and the easiest, is to just split the bill by the number of people attending and each person pays equal shares. Sometimes though people insist on paying only for what they have eaten and drunk and then it becomes a case of itemising every item on the bill and collecting just the right amount of money from each person. OK, so perhaps they haven't eaten as much as person 'A' or drunk as much as person 'B' but they had the chance to and next time perhaps they will eat/drink more than the others. 
Good/bad service
Usually in UK, when people get good service they show their appreciation by tipping the waiting staff. 10% is quite common. When they get bad service they complain and expect a rebate/discount from the bill. This latter concept hasn't reached Russia yet, as far as I know....  





Monday, 20 February 2012

99:mini-adventures

Flying often leads to mini-adventures! And this time was no exception. I had “fun and games” in both directions. Flying into Heathrow on Friday 17th I stupidly left my mum’s duty free cigarettes on the aeroplane. (Too many G&Ts perhaps.) I remembered them as I was heading towards passport control. I couldn’t go back to look for them myself because, most emphatically, the route from aeroplane to “the street” is very definitely a one-way system. So, report to BMI baggage desk airside. They promised to send somebody out to the plane to look in the overhead locker above seat 2D. In the meantime, I went groundside to have another breakfast! There followed a little pillar-to-post run-around but, joy of joys, I was eventually reunited with mum’s cigarettes. Many thanks BMI.
Flying back was no less fraught!
I had checked-in yesterday and printed off a boarding pass. Unfortunately, there was no barcode shown on the boarding pass. That doesn’t matter I said to myself, as soon as I get  to check-in at the airport I will ask for an exit seat and will get a new boarding card. The best laid plans…..  
There was an enormous queue to check-in this morning and, as I had only hand baggage I thought I would go through passports & security and ask for an exit seat once I get airside. But, in this security-conscious day and age it is not possible to clear even the first hurdle without a bar code. The very polite officials suggested I join the back of the queue. Lady luck was looking after me though and I found a very nice lady who took me to the desk where they were selling tickets and they were able to print a boarding card for me –and they gave me an exit seat. Again, many thanks BMI. I went on to clear all the security checks with no further hitches. All’s well that ends well. хороший конец, дела винец.

P.S. It is almost Spring in UK. Snowdrops (подснежники) are popping up everywhere…

But it  is still Winter in Moscow…. Nothing much is popping up at all!


Sunday, 19 February 2012

98:Russian weddings

My friends Liam and Larissa got married in Moscow on Friday. I wish them a long a happy marriage. 
I had been given an invite but unfortunately had to miss it because I am in UK for the weekend. I'm sure it would have been a lovely day for the happy couple. Liam is English and Larissa is Russian so it would have been interesting to see how British and Russian wedding traditions and rites were combined. I understand about 20 of Liam's friends and family came over for the ceremony. The official part of Russian weddings is carried out in a registry office (ЗАГС) rather than a church. In accordance with Russian tradition, there would have been many more (vodka) toasts to the Bride and Groom than is usual in UK. I hope Liam's visitors from UK coped successfully with the extra intake of vodka, all in a good cause of course. 
Liam and Larissa have gone to Suzdal for their honeymoon, a very small and picturesque town on the Golden Ring.
I look forward to seeing the wedding photos when we are all back in Moscow.


Two links today: the first one is from a Russian blogger living in the U.S. who describes the way weddings are carried out in Russia:
http://www.transparent.com/russian/russian-wedding-part-2/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=languageblog&utm_content=russian
and the second from a teacher of English called "Mr Duncan" who has produced a series of videos about learning English. This particular clip is about a wedding in UK:



Friday, 17 February 2012

97:British електрички

These photos, taken this morning on the train from Kings Cross to Huntigndon, are to make my Russian friends jealous.
On the other hand, train journeys are so expensive here. It was less than 100km but cost me £23 for a single (more than 1,000 roubles!). To go that distance, and further, in Russia, on an electrichka, would cost in the region of 100 roubles - a tenth of the cost.
P.S. there were no заяцы on the train, as far as I know. The ticket inspector got on and everybody stayed in their seats and showed their tickets!






Thursday, 16 February 2012

96:Slush (слякоть)

I've just been looking up the Russian for slush in my dictionary because today we're having the first of several thaws. One of the words was слякоть which sounds like slyakot' and another was снеговая каша - snow porridge!




I would suggest it's one of the reasons why some of my Russian friends who have chosen to live in UK have chosen to live in UK! It just gets you down, wading through the stuff wherever you turn.
Talking about UK, I'm off on the big silver bird early tomorrow morning for a weekend at home.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

95:Why Russians don't smile

Today's blog is a bit of a cop out!
I am indebted to my colleague Alex Jude. who is a teacher of English in Omsk, for allowing me to plagiarize his blog. 
It is a great, well I think so anyway, article on why "Westerners" do and Russians don't smile.
I commend it to you.
You can find it at:
http://www.englishinrussia.ru/blog/why-russians-don%E2%80%99t-smile#.TztW-0dmdb8.facebook
His website is at:
www.englishinrussia.ru

On the way home today I saw where a tram had been in a minor collision with a truck. In Russia every accident has to be investigated by the traffic police. This can be quite a lengthy wait, depending on how busy they are at the time. Of course all the trams following the one in the accident had to wait as well. I saw 6 stacked up behind the one directly involved. Doubtless more would slowly back up. Everybody waiting at tram stops in front of the accident would be wondering what had happened to the trams. Poor them. At least the weather has improved significantly.



Tuesday, 14 February 2012

94:Nothing in life is ever easy!

I have been using a laptop computer as a desktop ever since I arrived here just over 3 years ago. It has served me well but is now showing its age (so am I, but to a lesser degree I hope!). I would sooner replace it now than wait until I tried to log on one day and found it had converted itself into an expensive ornament.
So what to replace it with. I thought of a desktop PC rather than another laptop, especially since I already have a monitor here. I thought of buying a small desktop in the UK and carrying it back with me as it would probably be cheaper. But before buying in UK I thought I would have a scout around Savyolovskiy computer market. 


I think I've mentioned before that I have a low tolerance level for shopping. Savyolovskiy computer market is enormous with long rows of nothing but computers. Just as I was about to give up my reconnaissance (I'd been looking for almost 2 whole minutes) something seemed to pull me into a particular shop. There I saw it - my next computer. It was tiny, just a bit bigger than a book, but with all the functionality and power of a much larger computer. The plan is to attach it to the back of my current monitor so there is no bulky laptop screen between me and the students, just a keyboard and mouse, and the monitor off to one side.


 

I arranged with the shop for them to install Windows 7 and MS Office 2010 and I would go back later and collect it.
Job done.
But...
Windows 7 was in Russian and although I could navigate myself around the operating system it was an overhead I could quite easily live without. How to change it to English. A quick Google search revealed that Microsoft have been cunning. Not like them! I had to buy an upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate which has a multi language capability. Rs6,000! To cut a long story short, I went back to the shop today for them to install the upgrade and, if necessary, reinstall Office 2010.
Now the operating system is in English and Office 2010 is in Russian. There will be a period of research while I read up on Microsoft Office language packs and whether I need to buy one or whether there is some magic software "switch" I can use to change the language of the office menus etc to English.
Then the naus of connecting to the internet; connecting via wireless to my Yota Egg will probably be very easy but ideally I would like to connect to my Beeline WAN which may not be so easy. Then install some anti-virus and then all the software I am currently running on this laptop. Is there no end. 
Can I get on with teaching? What a difficult juggling act. I can't drop everything and configure the new computer, it will have to be done around lesson planning and indeed lessons. 
Still, I like a challenge....... and it keeps me off the streets, unless I'm going to and fro between lessons that is.
Hope I haven't bored everyone stupid!
Time for a(nother) beer.
P.S. the mercury is climbing. The temperature is about to revert to something more manageable. -1 is forecast for tomorrow.

Monday, 13 February 2012

93:The truth is out there somewhere...



I know that most of Europe is suffering from the excessively Wintry weather blown to us all the way from Siberia.
It's difficult to get the exact temperature here but it's certainly b****y cold. With all these extra layers of clothing it is necessary to allow extra time to get dressed to go outside. I'm still seeing the occasional foolhardy fellow wandering about with no gloves on. I don't know how they can do it. When I take mine off for a few seconds to take my transport ticket out of my pocket it feels as though my fingers are about to drop off. 




Sunday, 12 February 2012

92:a dead trolleybus

I was on my way to look at some replacement technology yesterday in the huge Savyolovskiy market but suddenly the trolleybus I was travelling in gave a sharp lurch forward, almost throwing many passengers forward out of their seats.
The driver came out of his little cab and told us it was broken! We all had to get off and continue our journey by some other means. Luckily it was only a 5 minute walk to the nearest metro station.
I suppose public transport does break down in UK but I can't say I've ever experienced it.
Oh well, another little adventure.



Friday, 10 February 2012

91:Nothing surprises me here!

I was amused this morning when I saw that my courtesy bus driver was watching a small TV that he had jury-rigged to sit on his dashboard.
The amusement turned to astonishment when he drove off with it still playing and I could see his head keep turning to look at the screen. One eye on the TV and one on the road. At least I'm assuming that part of his brain was monitoring the road and his attention wasn't completely taken up by whatever was showing on the tiny TV. Still, arrived safely at my destination.
замечательно!


Today's photo is of Komsomolskaya metro, after the morning rush hour. The station is under a busy transport hub where three main line stations have their termini. It was opened on 30th January 1952.




If you really want to know more about it (?) then here is a link to the Wikipedia article.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Komsomolskaya_(Koltsevaya_Line)

Thursday, 9 February 2012

90: A day in the life of a peripatetic English teacher in Moscow


A day in the life of a peripatetic teacher of English in Moscow. Be careful of the pronunciation: peripatetic, not “very pathetic”.
This is how today went – it is not untypical.
Up at 05.30 for shower & shave and a leisurely breakfast in front of the computer checking emails, Facebook, and the BBC News to discover what has been happening in the world at large. It is also important to check the weather forecast. The thermometer on the window tells me how cold it is but it also helps to know how strong the wind is going to be.
Out the door at 07.00, having checked that I have the right books, equipment and security passes or passport commensurate with the lessons scheduled for the day. Every Company has their own rules. 
Past the rubbish skip where one or two people are foraging for empty bottles and cans and anything of any worth. A 5 minute walk to the bus stop then 2 stops on the trolley bus to get to the metro station. At the entrance to the metro one or two babushkas are already setting out their “stalls” for the day. One old lady is wrapped up in layers and layers of woollen “blankets” which she hopes to sell during the day. In the photo she looks a bit like an elephant – I didn't mean to catch her bending, it just happened that way. The other lady there is selling home-made cole slaw and such like.


2 metro trains later and I come out at Paveletskaya just to the South of the city centre. On the way out of the station I collect my copy of the free metro newspaper – the same one that is distributed at many underground stations around the world. This one, of course, is in Russian.
A 10-15 minute walk to get to my first lesson which is due to start at 08.00 but almost never does because my student hasn't arrived by then. I go through the first half of the securtiy rigmarole and pass through to the Prime Star cafe where I buy a coffee to drink while I'm waiting for her to arrive. A coffee in Prime Star costs almost £2. Back on the other side of the security area there is another coffee shop, called Coffee Mania, where coffee costs nearer £4. The difference in prices is astonishing.
Once my student arrives we go together to the sixth floor to complete the other half of the security rigmarole. Now, as well being allowed into the building, I am allowed into the company she works for.
This class is a one-to-one. She is a very bright upper-intermediate level student. Halfway into the lesson she asks why the answer to a particular fill-in-the-blank exercise question is in the future perfect continuous and not future perfect simple. Good question, well presented! Rather than fob her off with the first thing that comes into my head I promise to give her the explanation during the next lesson. Make a mental note not to forget to research that particular question, otherwise credibility goes out the window.
Class finishes at 09.30 sharp and I have to get to the East of town for 10.15. a ten minute walk back to the metro station and 2 metro trains to get me to Rimsksaya station ready for the next 10 minute walk. Coming out of the station there are the usual sandwich board wearers and flyer distributors. It doesn't matter that the temperature is about -15, they still need to earn their few roubles. Under the underpass beneath Hammer and Sickle commuter station there is usually at least one beggar and often one accordianist busking. Today, however, there was only one spiv selling SIM cards. I think it was from a fold-up table in case he had to move quickly if the police moved him on or the mafia came for their cut of the profits.
On the other side of the underpass I had to pass several marshrutka taxis sitting with their engines idling polluting the atmosphere, and my lungs, with their cheap diesel emissions.
On to the second lesson. I have been coming here for almost two years and the students and I know each other quite well. One of the newer students to the group decided to bait me today by telling me how Russian people have such a poor opinion of Winston Churchill because he, and Truman, were responsible for starting the Cold War. An interesting slant on history I thought.
After the lesson back across town, almost to where I first started this morning. This time the beggar was on the train. They work their way through the carriages, standing at one end and giving their sob story before moving down the carriage amongst the passengers and then on to the next carriage when the train stops at a station. I would estimate they have one or two successes per carriage. Probably multi-millionaires by now.
I arrived at my next lesson with time to buy a bowl of soup from the building canteen. Cheese soup! Sounds unusual but tasty nevertheless.
This group consists of two deputy directors who are keen to improve their English because they do a lot of foreign travel and English is the International language of business. They are intermediate level but keen to improve. They are a bit like a tag team – one or other of them always seems to be away on business trip. This helps with lesson planning and delivery because what I do with one during one lesson I can do again with the other during the next lesson. Provided, of course, I remember what I've done and with whom!
3½ hours between lesson so time to head home for a very early evening meal and a short power-nap.
17.00 head out for the final lesson of the day. Another upper-intermediate one-to-one. Nice lady, she's off to Japan for the next two weeks so I will have the luxury of two free Tuesday and Thursday evenings. No lesson, no money but sometimes down-time is worth more.
19.30. Lesson finishes, head home. Home at about 20.30 for a well-earned drink and a brief rest before reveille at 05.30 tomorrow.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

89:Russian inventiveness


Russians, when they visit UK, are flummoxed and bamboozled by our system of individual taps for hot and cold water. Here is an inventive way around it. (With thanks to Alex Jude, from whom I stole this photo). (Now there's some old-fashioned English from the days when grammarians and pedants considered it bad form to end a sentence with a preposition). Nowadays I guess we'd say "thanks to Alex, who I stole this photo from. I bow (but only so far, and no further) to our constantly evolving language. 
I'd like to write more but, as so often happens, I've been beaten by the clock.


Monday, 6 February 2012

88:I'm a mole in the SIS!!

What a confession this morning! I am a mole in the SIS and have been for almost a year! 
All is not what you think (because if I really were a mole in the Special Intelligence Service, which I'm not, then this would not be an appropriate platform to "come out").
I sometimes refer to myself as a mole (крот) because I spend so much time on the underground system here in Moscow. I have also visited the once-secret underground nuclear bunker at Taganskaya but that's another story for another day. 
And SIS? A society I have just formed called "Schoolteachers in their Sixties"!


The metro system, as I've mentioned before, is fast and efficient. Which is nice because I often spend a couple of hours a day whizzing from place to place. At the front end of every platform there are two electronic indicators: one of which tells the time of day and the other the time since the last train passed under it. During the rush hour(s) this second indicator often shows times of less than a minute. In fact you can often see a train pulling out of one end of the platform as another one is pulling in at the other. 
The other photo today shows that many of the underpasses that pass under (!) the city are thriving trading areas. You can buy almost anything - except alcohol - from these tiny little booths. In none of them is there room to swing a cat and if I ever had to work in one for any longer than 5 minutes I would lose what little sanity I've got left.






Sunday, 5 February 2012

87:Exercise is good for you

I mentioned recently that I was suffering from a re-occurrence of an old back condition. (i.e. I've got an old back and it's not in good condition! :))
Well, it's mostly better now - I hope. 
I attribute part of the reason for my recovery on an exercise regime devised by The British Chiropractic Association called "Straighten Up UK". 

In the UK, we are becoming a nation of slouch potatoes and poor posture is a common trigger of back pain, along with other normal day to day activities such as housework, DIY, sleeping, sitting at a computer and playing computer games for extended periods of time.

Straighten Up was developed to be a simple, three minute exercise programme for all ages, designed to help strengthen the spine and improve posture.  It is now a popular worldwide programme and, since being launched in the UK, thousands of people have got involved and are already finding that Straighten Up is providing them with some real help.


I've belatedly decided to adopt this exercise regime as my New Year's Resolution. Any bets as to how long it will last?


Today's photo, of me sitting on a bike, was taken in St Petersburg last year when I met up with an old friend who had decided to cycle, with a friend, the entire length of the old iron curtain (железный занавес). He is back in the UK now, considerably enriched by his experience. In the photo, I'm sitting on his bike. 

Saturday, 4 February 2012

86:Putin or Put out

There are quite a few sanctioned election campaign meetings taking place today with many thousands of people taking part. Some are anti-Putin and some are pro-Putin. There are those who might say that the pro-Putin demonstrators are being paid to attend, or otherwise encouraged. Whether they are being paid or not all the demonstrators have my admiration for being out in this weather (-15 to -20). I must have spent an hour in total on the street today and I was more than glad to get back into my warm(ish) flat.




Friday, 3 February 2012

85:That nice Mr Putin

Just when I was wondering what to write about in today's blog, along comes a nice political joke on facebook - thanks Mikhail, you know who you are.

на утро после выборов приходит к Путину секретарь:
- ВВ, у меня две новости, хорошая и плохая. с какой начать?
- Ну, давай с хорошей!
- Вы теперь президент РФ!
- Отлично, а плохая?
- за вас никто не проголосовал..



For those of you who don't speak Russian it reads:
On the morning after the election Putin's secretary comes up to him:
- Mr Putin, I've got good news and bad news. Which do you want first?
- let's start with the good news.
- You are now the President of the Russian Federation!
- Excellent, and the bad news?
- Nobody voted for you...

And to follow that with a photo, and knowing how much Mr Putin likes hunting and displaying his macho image, I give you a picture of a (polar) tiger that I took during a visit to the zoo last weekend. The tiger, of course, was behind glass so the buildings you see, basking in the Winter sun, are reflections and are actually behind me. The poor old tiger was just walking round and round as if he had nothing else to do in the world - which he hasn't.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

84:It ain't 'alf cold mum

Yesterday, as I was "doing my rounds", I glanced up at the thermometer on Rechnoy Vokzal metro station. The temperature was -22. The coldest day of the year here in Moscow. I know that further to the East, in Siberia, it gets much colder, and to the West and South there was unseasonal weather. But I'm in Moscow and writing about what I see and hear and feel here. I didn't feel too cold as I was well wrapped up, although my cheeks were tingling a bit. The trouble is that if I pull a scarf up to cover my face then my breath forms icicles on my moustache. I would consider shaving it off but it's been there more than 40 years! 


Today's photo is of the frost on the inside of a bus I was travelling in yesterday. You will see one window is covered in frost while the window in front of it is comparatively frost free. There are several reasons for this. Firstly there are heaters under some seats but not all. These really chuck out some heat and sitting on these seats often cause your nether regions to be hotter than you might want. Secondly at every bus stop the middle and rear double doors are opened, usually whether passengers are disembarking or not. This quickly brings down the inside temperature of the bus. In the photo you will see some people are still wearing their hats/hoods. Many buses have electronic displays to indicate the next stop and also to indicate the outside and inside temperatures. There is often quite a difference between these two temperatures, despite the doors being opened so often.


The video clip underneath is a play on words (игра слов) of today's blog title. It is a clip from the '70s sitcom "It ain't alf hot mum" about some National Servicemen (from the days, long ago, when we had призывники) somewhere in India or the Far East (from the days, long long ago, when we had an Empire).





Wednesday, 1 February 2012

83:The Red Arrow (красная стрела)

The Red Arrow was a famous train that plied between Moscow and St Petersburg. I say was even though it still runs because the name itself conjures up images from the past - much like our Flying Scotsman. They epitomised comfort and reliability and that little something extra. Relics from a bygone past - I feel that way myself sometimes!


There is at least one metro train decked out in the livery of the Red Arrow to commemorate it's glorious past. I had the good fortune to travel on it yesterday. Like the famous train it is named after it seems to have an extra aura of comfort and respectability.