In the Mother Land, Comrade

Crikey O’Reily – it’s been a while since I last posted – I blame a lack of inspiration but I am slowly getting my mojo back.

Before I get into my swing, I would like to congratulate Amy Winehouse for being drug and drink free for two years now – well done Amy !

For those that don’t know, I am currently frequenting the ‘Mother Land’ of St Petersburg (that’s Leningrad for you oldies, or even Petrograd for you very old oldies, or better still St Petersburg for you readers that were around before WWI) and heading for Moscow on the overnight train tomorrow evening.  I am already thinking that I would like to spend more time here as I went for a wander around the city today after sending the bird out to work to earn some dollar, like the pimpernel that I am.

For the gamers amongst you, well that will be Steve, I took the tube today.  The escalator down into the depths had a very communist feel about it.  I know you want me to explain.  It was the stereotypical scene that we have seen in movies for years, but if you are a gamer, you no doubt would have played ‘Call of Duty’ at some point in your life, better still, the ‘World at War’ version.  As I dropped downward on the escalator, I fell into silence.  Silence of course apart from the solid sounding rumble of the escalator punctuated by the sound of someone speaking over the tannoy system.  The tannoy speakers were placed between the opposing  escalators and facing upward to the roof of the tube tunnel that the escalators ran through as they drop hundreds of feet down.  This gave it a clarity that was almost set in stone.  The people coming up, had expressionless faces, much like that of the tube in London.  Maybe all countries have the same effect on you when it comes to tube travel – you have to have a tube face, a bit like a poker face perhaps?

Anyway, it was just like playing a scene from Call of Duty, as I froze on the escalator.  My mind wandered of course, you would expect that.  I was thinking back to the Cold War Era and I could easily feel the potential this place would have had at suppressing an uprising to move away from communism.  I imagined, if I was a spy, planted deeply behind enemy lines here in Leningrad, how I would simply be shitting my pants purely because of this escalator ride.  The sombre silence of it, the drum and drone of the escalator, not too loud but powerful in its drone – left you with the impression that it could carry a tank up it should the mother land require, while the tannoy speakers pumped out continual communist propaganda.

I was also in awe of the amount of monuments, statues and generally spectacular buildings and that got me thinking too.  I guess, when you want a propaganda machine that keeps your people all pulling together, making them remember previous historic battles with thousands of magnificent works is a damn good way to do it.  I also got to thinking that if there were another call to arms of the likes of WWI and WWII, I am left with little doubt that Russia could easily muster another army of equivalent size or larger, whilst the UK and America would have more conscientious objectors than volunteers – because of course, if you are English or American, your country owes you something and you shouldn’t have to work for it, or god forbid, risk your life for it.

Still on a war theme, tomorrow I am going to the war museum.  Our guide drove us past it last night and I just have to get a photo of me with the mobile missile launcher.  I took a look at an old war ship from the turn of the 20th century today, a ship called Aurora.  Quite important if you are Russian but unfortunately for me, none of the scripts had been translated into English so I couldn’t absorb the history. Anyway, for something that was around in 1903 – it was a scary arsed piece of weaponry even if I couldn’t understand what they were waffling about.

I have also been looking for a vintage Russian Infantry Coat complete with emblems, lapels and pins etc.  No joy here, only new ones to be had but I am told Moscow is the place to find those. I did try on some genuine 1997 Russian Navy hats but they were just a tad too small.

Getting toward the end now – let me thank Horley for her inspirational tip-off of a web site called Park Run.  I am now officially training for my first race, at the ripe old age of 43.  The next Saturday morning that I am in England, I will be very competitive as I burst onto the amateur running scene in all my glory.  I am registered and ready to go.

I also need to say nah nah nah nah nah to Susan.  I am certain she will be jealous that I am visiting Russia, because I know it is on her to do list.

I also heard today that my replacement engineer on Timoneer has also quit, he didn’t even make 2 months FFS !!


Have a moan - the beers are on me !!

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