I’ve Visited Again… Part 1

(«Вновь я посетил…» is a famous poem by Pushkin.)

I’ve just come back from my annual two week visit to Moscow and I have to say it was a visit full of surprises.  These are going to be the subject of my next few blog posts which will cover prices, taxes, advertising, dacha life and mushroom picking. A pot pourri of observations!!!!

I flew by EasyJet and the flight was PACKED which was the first of my surprises. Apparently as from March next year EasyJet are stopping their flights to Moscow. Now with so many people using their service this seems not to make much sense on commercial grounds so all I can think is that this is something to do with EU sanctions and that the overall number of passengers from the West is falling? I hope not. The sanctions aren’t scheduled to be reviewed before next January: I just hope for EasyJet’s (and my sake) the sanctions are lifted …

The second surprise came when we were touching down at Domodedovo airport and the Captain announced that the outside temperature was +25⁰C. Unthinkable! I wasn’t the only one surprised: all my fellow passengers immediately started taking off the coats, hats and gloves they were wearing in anticipation of facing the start of the Russian winter. And this wasn’t freak weather. During my first week it got even hotter, reaching +30⁰C: Russia’s Indian Summer of 2015 is apparently the hottest on record. In fact, according to The Economist (3rd October 2015 issue), July 2015 was the hottest month for the world every recorded. Maybe climate change is already kicking in? That’s what comes of making annual visits: changes are much more noticeable. When you live in a country changes sort of creep up on you unnoticed but they’re much more apparent to annualists like me.

I’ve been discussing this with Rod who alerted me to the controversy  Charlotte Church kicked up on ‘Question Time’ when she linked drought to the war in Syria and the refugee crisis. I have a lot of sympathy for her views. This is the predicted annual precipitation levels in 2050 (National Center for Atmospheric Research; the pic is taken from http://www.wired.com) as modeled for moderate greenhouse gas emission levels. The darker the red the more severe the drought. Studying this, buying a house in Siberia looks to be a smart move!

Climate Change; picture taken from www.wired.com
Climate Change; picture taken from http://www.wired.com

Well, Russia 2015 might be unseasonably warm but autumn is a beautiful season there with the leaves of the trees turning to such enchanting shades of yellow and red, these dappled by that special mellow autumnal sunlight which, I am convinced, only exists in Moscow. It’s a special time, that brief interlude between the end of summer and the time the sun disappears behind the heavy October clouds and winter’s ice-cold hand grips the country. It’s a time of year that always conjures up music in my head (Tchaikovsky’s “Seasons” or his wonderful “The Sweet Slumber” … “Cладкая грёза”) so it’s no surprise that it’s the time of year when I had my heroine in “Ghost Love” meet the love of her life …

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