From the Bolshoi to the ironing it’s been quite a weekend


So if you saw my Facebook you will know I was slightly delayed getting home from England. My 12:25 flight eventually took off at 21:40. No I rarely get delayed so it was probably my turn although I may not have thought that when they told us it would be 6:40, 7:45 or 8:10 you probably don’t want to know what I was thinking then. So I arrive back in Russia at 4:30 and pick up the taxi Judi (bless her) has ordered for me. The train does not start running until 6:00 so this is a godsend.

Sleep until 11:30 so not bad got my quota in. A few admin things during the day but nothing too strenuous as tonight we are off to the “Bolshoi” (pronounced Balshoi) ballet as a treat for Judi’s birthday. I am not specifically a fan of ballet but this is one of those must do items whilst we are here. The place is only one metro stop down so only a 5 minute journey but 20 minutes trying to find the door. The reason is that the actual Bolshoi is being renovated so we are in the “Little Bolshoi” which is interesting as Bolshoi actually means Big. The place is a bit of a throwback and very richly decorated.

A coffee and a glass of wine cost an arm and a leg ($24) so it is not a surprise to see two babushkas drinking water and pulling snacks out of their purses and quite a picnic they are making of it as well. The place is a mix of locals and tourists and whilst the dress code is supposed to be restricted I do see someone in shorts which is a little out of place for a night out at the ballet. Lots of linen suits and flowery dresses so given we have dressed up a little we blend in well.

As for the ballet it was “Spartacus” so not a classic but lots of people energetically jumping around and at 3 hours they must be fit. Making a Roman legion out of 12 dancers was interesting but hey the stage is not that big. There must be someone famous dancing as every time he takes to the stage there is huge whoops and clapping. Anyway two intervals which give us time to wander around drinking some peculiar Russian champagne and looking at the chandeliers. The whole place must have been refurbished as it is pristine and looks charming.

All over we start to make our way home, only one guitarist entertaining the beer drinkers at the local metro but we decide to find some food and end up in a Thai where we are fast becoming regulars. The waitress does not understand English but has the sense to find the same items we order on her Russian version so we actually get what we order. Full we stroll home through the warm evening air. It is still hot and Judi says it will stay this way until mid September.

Sunday is a bit of a lazy day only one foray out to get cash from Citi Bank which is ours. Judi has noticed we get stung by using other banks so we stock up on rubles so we should be good for a few days. We are checking out an Uzbekistani restaurant when two people passing by stop to tell us how good it is. So settled this is where we will eat tonight. Back home so Judi can pack she is off to Kazakhstan in the morning for a few days and she is back one day before I travel to Ireland.  All of which sounds exciting which it is but I still have to do the ironing and buy some milk and clean the cat’s tray. So the ironing gets done whilst I am watching the Formula 1 race in Hungary with Lewis Hamilton winning after someone else lost a wheel. I imagine he was please by the way he was jumping up and down after the race.

One encounter I had in England needs reporting. I was trying to get into London to see some people who want me to do some work for them and the plan was to get the train in from Gerrards Cross then use the underground for the rest of the trip. I manage to park my hire car at the station although the ticket machine was so far away I actually took the car to get a ticket and drove back. At the ticket office I asked for a return to Marylebone and the girl asked if I wanted the “tube” as well (it must be a combination ticket) so I of course not understanding the pricing and zones asked “what’s that” the response was.

The tube it’s like a train but it travels under the ground sir” and this came without a hint of sarcasm or any smiling the girl was genuine in attempting to explain. Given I was in the heart of England and speaking the Queen ’s English not sure what rock she thought I had been living under maybe I am now a stranger in my own land.