St Petersburg: gangsta grannies, advice unsought and a chance to walk on water

“There exists in St. Petersburg a powerful foe … This foe is no other than the Northern cold … At nine o’clock in the morning… it begins to bestow such powerful and piercing nips on all noses … At an hour when the foreheads of even those who occupy exalted positions ache with the cold, and tears start to their eyes, the poor titular councillors are sometimes quite unprotected. Their only salvation lies in traversing as quickly as possible, in their thin little cloaks, five or six streets, and then warming their feet in the porter’s room, and so thawing all their talents and qualifications for official service, which had become frozen on the way.”

The Overcoat by Nikolai Gogol

DSC_0459Like characters in a winter fairytale, we’d had our fill of mulled wine and turkey, opened our presents, wished our friends and family a Merry Christmas and gone home to pack our passports and winter woolies. Early on the 26th, we made our way to Heathrow to catch our flight to St Petersburg.

When we booked our trip to St Petersburg back in September, I allowed myself to dream of a magical storybook land of romance and wonder, covered in a foot of white, fluffy snow. This, Hubby assured me, was a given. I’d read some of the drama of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin and could picture Gogol’s beloved frost-bitten Petersburg with all it’s delightful Russian characters. Thermal underwear, merino wool socks, earmuffs, proper winter coat and woollen hat at the ready! Continue reading St Petersburg: gangsta grannies, advice unsought and a chance to walk on water

Back to the gym

“The room door opened, and Mrs Waterbrook, who was a large lady – or who wore a large dress: I don’t exactly know which, for I don’t know which was dress and which was lady – came sailing in.”

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Back to the gymI’m sorry to keep coming back to Dickens, but this one was a priceless nugget under a pile of clippings which I have fished out on the auspicious occasion of my return to the gym.

I also love a giggle and thought you might like this description.

For a very good reason, Continue reading Back to the gym