Memories of a Russian winter: Part 1 – the transport system

St Petersburg in the snow
CC image via Flickr – St Isaac’s Cathedral, St Petersburg

A recent conversation reminded me that it’s almost 30 years since I spent a winter in St Petersburg. As a modern languages student in the early 1990s, I was lucky enough to spend six months in newly-minted Russia.

It was a magical time and one that I still recall with great fondness, so I thought I’d relay a few of those memories. These particularly relate to how alien the country felt to a callow British 20-something. I’m starting with how we got around.


Every morning we would have Russian classes, allowing us the afternoon to explore the city – something we did without question.

Although we could walk into the heart of the city, it was close to an hour-long trudge, so the trolleybus was a regular option.

A typical trolleybus that you’d see throughout USSR/Russia in the 80s/90s

But this method of transport wasn’t for the fainthearted. Continue reading “Memories of a Russian winter: Part 1 – the transport system”

Cyclothymia – a little-talked-about condition

As I rapidly approach the end of my fifth decade on Planet Earth, it’s becoming ever rarer for me to find something in common with Radio 1.

So it was with some surprise, when I recently read about Radio 1 DJ Matt Edmondson’s diagnosis of a little-talked about mental health condition, cyclothymia.

Continue reading “Cyclothymia – a little-talked-about condition”

Warning – maintenance in progress

CC photo via flickr: Sean MacEntee

Maintenance. Let’s face it, it’s not a sexy concept, is it? It smacks of drudgery and duty, to me at least, something that you really ‘should’ do, but which often falls by the wayside in place of something more exciting and shiny.

As Kurt Vonnegut wrote in Hocus Pocus

“Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.”

Continue reading “Warning – maintenance in progress”