Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Two sides of a coin

After a tasty breakfast we were collected by our English speaking guide.  It was a relief not to have to worry about explanations nor to talk in a stilted fashion.  She was taking us to a local village and lake.  She was accompanied by a female driver who also spoke a little English.  Bliss. Coincidentally, she was also the hostess for the Australian couple we had last seen in Moscow. 

We drove smoothly along a highway, crossing from Asia into Europe.  She turned onto a track.  Her speed reduced to walking pace to avoid the potholes.  We rocked and rolled, forwards and back, side to side.  You would have paid a fortune for that in  Alton Towers. 

We looked around and noticed that the houses varied from large mansions to little more than wooden shacks.  Our guide explained that in recent years, the more adventurous had gone out and claimed land.  Now they were selling at profit.  

We were invited to visit two homes.  At the first, we toured the garden and the home-built wooden buildings.  The owner had once been a football player.  His injuries prevented him from working. His wife, aged 76, still worked in the city. She came home in the summer at weekends. He had to fend for himself in winter.  So the fruit and vegetables in the garden had to be preserved.  No Tesco deliveries around here. 

The wife wanted us to see her friend's house.  She thought it was better.  Her friend did not work, so had more time to dust and tend her garden. We all clambered into the car while her husband boiled the tates for our lunch.  This property had a mix of old and new elements which made life easier for the inhabitants.   A new brick built stove took centre stage.  This warmed the whole house in winter. Hope hubby took note of that. 

A short drive took us the lake where we admired the view.  None of us were complimentary about the large wall which has been built, surrounding a fake castle.  It looks so out of place here.

Back to the first home for a freshly prepared home salad.  That went down well as did the local spring water.  If my sister is reading this, it was just like the Strwaberry Gardens' water we drank as children.  And yes, there were no after effects. 

Visits over we headed back to town. Those who know me well, may recall I have a large chip on my shoulder - actually a bag of chips - for failing my history O-level.  From the excellent information of today's guide, I now feel competent in entering 'Mastermind'.  My chosen subject - Yekaterinburg! 

We had been told not to return until seven o'clock but if you want to know what fun and games we had the, you will have to persuade me to write a book.  Far too much for one finger typing on an IPod. Xx

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