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cream-coloured ponies and crisp apple strudels

I haven’t been taking many photos of late, and this is something I need to change. Maybe this coming weekend, I will go out with my trusty camera and take some – I especially want to take a good photo of St Basil’s at night. This photo above, is taken coming out of Red Square, on the opposite side to St Basil’s – the red building on the right is the Historical Museum, while on the left is the continuation of the Kremlin walls. Up ahead is the start of Alexandrovskiy Gardens and the statue of Dostoevsky.

Yesterday was, what seemed to be, an excellent Monday. Mondays are usually absolute rubbish, but yesterday was quite good. Even though my first class was half an hour late turning up, we had a good chat (only one student) and then I trundled off to the office. No cafe stop, as my individual student had cancelled. Lots of photocopying later, I went home. It was so hot and humid – very sticky. In the evening, I had a phone interview for a company in Paris – it seems like a very good place to work, and I think they were, and are, interested in me. They’d like to see me for a ‘proper’ interview in Paris when I pop over there in Sept/Oct. The Paris dream may yet still happen. After that, I rang my parents – it’s been a while since I spoke to them, and it was a nice end to the day. I suggested to my Dad that he might like to come over to Moscow when I leave, so that he can help me move my stuff and so that he can see Moscow for himself – I think it would be great for him to step onto Red Square and see it for himself.

Today is another day, naturally, and it doesn’t seem as hot as yesterday or the weekend, which is a blessing. I have 2 classes today, and in between the two, I might go to the cafe and the bookshop – I feel I deserve it! Besides, I think I need some new books! I finished The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte, and I have to say that I loved it. I read in the notes that when it was first published, it caused something of a small outcry, because it depicts a woman leaving her husband, which must have been frowned upon in those days. A wonderful, wonderful book, nevertheless. After that, I started and finished Murder on the Leviathan by Boris Akunin – very different from the first in the series, The Winter Queen, but still good all the same. What seems to be a classic murder mystery, with the suspects all in one saloon on the ship – quite good. Now I am currently reading By the River Piedra, I sat down and wept by Paulo Coelho. Once again, like all his other books, I am loving it, and will probably finish it in a few days, although I have been trying to listen to more music on the metro.

And so, there we have it.

20 August

This is one of the most beautiful metro stations in Moscow. It’s Arbatskaya metro, near New and Old Arbat Street (where I get most of my books). It’s in the shape of a Soviet Star, and I see it fairly regularly.

Don’t you just hate it when you can’t remember the English language? It’s embarrassing when it happens, but even worse for me being an English teacher! In my final class of the day, towards the end of the class, I lost all sense of English and how to explain words. We were doing financial vocabulary, of which I honestly don’t know much of anyway – so ten minutes before the end of class, I had to call a halt to proceedings – it was useless to continue. I had lost the will to live, and I could see the 2 students were so tired after a long working day.

Talking of better things, I went to the bookshop yesterday 🙂 This was preceded by a visit to my favourite cafe for a pot of fruit tea while reading my book. Yep, I finished By the River Piedra, I sat down and wept and it was a very uplifting read. So, off I trotted to the shop and bought three more books. One, which I have delved into already, and am loving it and nearly finished, is Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. It is a wonderful story, filled with tales of Bath and social ettiquette. I also bought the next in the Erast Fandorin series, Turkish Gambit by Boris Akunin, which promises to be a blinder. The final book I bought was another detective/mystery book by Greg Iles – Third Degree. I have read lots of his before, so I know I shall enjoy it. One time, I must get back down to reading The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky, but it is such a big book to take on the metro, I fear I shall have to read it solely at home. I also need to finish Orlando by Virginia Woolf, so I’m not wanting for books at all! I can’t stop buying them!!!!

There is only one full day left before I have to do this dreaded teacher training. I heard on the grapevine that my boss has postponed his own seminar, due to take place yesterday, until September. This means that I will be the first in the seminar series – not sure if that’s a good thing or not – at least I won’t have anything to live up to. Today I was searching for good activities to do with them. I don’t want it to be a grammar lecture, by all means – they should know this grammar, and I’ll assume that they do – we’ll be doing some different practice activities that should prove fun and useful. I hope. Then we have the pronunciation stuff to do. Oh, it’s gonna be fun!!!

14 September

So, I hauled myself up from my ever-so-slightly-manly-cold sickbed today – I must’ve needed the sleep, because I didn’t get up until past midday. I know, what a waste of a morning, etc etc, but what the heck! I needed it! Still a bit sniffly and coughy, I decided that I needed to go souvenir shopping for my upcoming jaunt back home next Friday – yep, less than a week now! 🙂
After leaving the flat, I took a bracing 15 minute walk to the next metro station up, where I wouldn’t have to change lines. The weather has certainly changed from a week ago – last Sunday, we were basking in temperatures of about 30 degrees, then on Thursday it dropped to about 6 degrees and now it’s about 10 degrees. I think this is where my cold came from – going in and out of cold and hot places all the time, can’t be good for health.
I take a trip to Ploschad Revolutsii, where you can see wonderful bronze statues like the one below.

…and no, that isn’t my hand. Some of the statues are considered lucky if you touch them – with this one, it’s the dog’s nose, and unfortunately, as I was taking the photo, some ignorant person stuck his hand to touch it, and couldn’t wait a few seconds while I got the photo. Humph.

I walked out of the metro system and into Alexandrovskiy Gardens to a little souvenir shop that I saw when I was with Cat. I bought a couple of Matrioshka dolls for my Mum and Nan, and I went on my way towards Red Square. Here, there are lots of little stalls selling dolls and other Russian thingamyjigs. Guess what I bought? More Matrioshka dolls! This time for my 2 cousins, my sister’s partner and my godson. I bought a lot today! Unfortunately, my aunts will have to wait until I come back in December or January for their dolls. I also bought some things for my sister and Dad, but I don’t want to spoil it on here. One of the ladies that I bought dolls from was very kind and gave me a Matrioshka key-ring for free – one of the nicest things that anyone has done for me in Moscow. So, there I was, laden with all these dolls, and I decided to come home. There are still a few things to do before my trip home, such as trying to empty out my bank account here (sounds like I’m leaving for good, but I’m not!!) and to turn them into Euros so it’s easier to put into my British account. Too many things to do….

Now I’m just hoping that this cold thing leaves by Friday….here’s hoping.

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