Thursday, 10 January 2013

Russian and Russia

Well, I come from an era when you just got a degree, any degree, not with a view to a career, but with a view to having a degree. So, having given up my plans to the first female Cliff Richard on account of the fact that Mrs Kidger [Silver Street Primary, Drake's Cross, Birmingham] told me that I [age 7] couldn't sing in tune, I decided [age 10], added and abetted by Mr Parker [also of Silver Street] [who thought I could be the next George Elliot] to be a successful writer.

Later on I completely screwed up A levels [taken some time later at Allerton Grange Compehensive, Leeds]; Miss Buck [my English teacher] took me by neck and shook me [it wouldn't be allowed now]. She said - What are you doing with your life? You could get an A or you could fail. I got an E in English, so I might as well have failed. However, to everyone's surprise [Mr Bush's, mine] I got a D in Russian.

Next thing I know I'm at Liverpool Uni with a 2:2 in Russian [whereas my then life plan was to have a 1st in English]. I was so angry that I vowed to forget every single Russian word that I had ever learnt.

The only good thing that I could see about doing a degree in Russian was that the State paid me to read Anna Karenina and  Crime and Punishment and for the second time, and Fathers and Sons for the fifth.

After some decades I decided that forgetting all the Russian words was stupid, and now I am at Beckett Park, Leeds doing Russian lessons. And in preparation for going on the Trans-Siberian Express next year, I decide to slip in a quick trip to Moscow and co. I met Walt's friend, Lisa who helped me through the complications of the Russian visa world [here's a picture of her posing for wifi outside the ex-Starbucks], and several trips to Gee Street later finally get the stamp in the passport that says yes, you may slip slop around on the black ice that is the Moscow winter street. [And here's some random pics of London].

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