Friday, 23 March 2012

melting snow, warming grannies

    Russian girls are not afraid to give birth early. They know for sure their moms will do the job! Even high-school pregnant teens do not actually worry. If the time for abortion passed, their parents will take care of their early kids. They will not only give money monthly, but sit with a baby daily. A girl can go to the school, to the University in time, dance at the disco and relax. A flat would be taken from an old great-grandmother for a young couple or a single new mom. If there is no free flat in the family, then a new family live with hers or his parent in a tiny 2-3room flat. Some prefer to rent, but still do it mostly with money from older family members. Less educated a family, less responsibility for a girl. 

    Grandmothers are everywhere in Russia walking, playing with toddlers and meeting little students at school 24/7. Grandma never asked if she doesn't want to take care of daughter's kid. In Russia it's more like a strange law for all - grandpas and grandmas = nannies for free.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

evening in Belgrade

    This post is going to bring to justice those tourists, who wrote several complaining comments about the smallest room called '207 Skadarlija' in a Belgrade hotel 'Le petit Piaf'! I'm serious :)
    Well, I still don't know why did we ask to show us this room. It was really the tinniest on an attic floor of a renewed hotel building. Its only window is the roof window. Its toilet seems absolutely comfortable for Frodo. Its sole air conditioner is portable. Those facts are the most frequent sources of displeasure.
    The picture above shows the view from a desecrated room '207 Skadarlija'. Look at those golden shadows on a chestnut tree. Note a collared dove warbling. Imagine Belgraders dining downstairs in street restaurants, singing songs all night long. Touch a warm and rough ruff. Feel the breeze scent from Danube. Count the first stars while lying on the bed. Notice a light pigeon's claws cracks over your head. Observe the sky after the rain, when a marvelous sky of Belgrade with grandiose clouds is the most unforgettable.
    Name please the loo problems from unhappy visitors once more. Could you?

Saturday, 10 March 2012

'Whiskers, paws and a tail! That's my ID!'

    No one knows when it all started. ID and other documents are everything in Russia, from birth to death you are nothing without it. One can not exchange money, buy a train ticket or send a parcel without an ID check.
    Man on a picture is a scrutineer, sitting in the middle of an expert commission corridor. The commission allows an artist to bring his painting abroad. There is no way one can freely take a pic to the post or on a plane ignoring the commission. But before you do so be sure this man allows you to get inside the commission building! 
    He takes your ID, writes down your name, ID number and the exact minute you went in. He sits for days, wearing a dark suit and chevron on a shoulder, demanding documents from artists. Probably he is a retired KGB clerk or a military man. Don't worry, they will ask your papers one more time, during the expertise! Two times in an hour. 

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

barefoot

    A man in 'ushanka'  (Russian fur cap with ear flaps) standing barefoot in the middle of Moscow snowdrift. Slipper nearby. What could it be? 

    Conditioning to the cold  was very popular in Soviet Union. Cold water plunges in a common backyard were often. A man, wearing swimming trunks and slippers with a tin-pan full of ice-cold water in the middle of winter was not a non-sense. Naked toddlers, jumping into ice-hole together with their young parents seemed normal. All of those facts were parts of a big conditioning to the cold movement.

   Pediatrics believed that kids, grown with some short therapeutic periods of an extremely cold temperatures of water and air become stronger. They even used to organize winter plunges for 4-5 year olds in kindergaden. Nowadays Russians are less obsessed with those theories. Still  we jump to snowdrifts (as our Finnish neighbors) and ice-holes after the sauna and gave a second life to a traditional Epiphany ice-hole swimming. 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

crow's housekeeping


    First day of a spring those too (male and female of Corvus Cornix) came to check their old nest. The next day was for a closer inspection, they checked little branches and removed some snow. Our couple is very accurate and farsighted, normally crows do prepare their nests at the end of March. 
    The nest is not too far from our windows, it's on a fork of an old rowan tree close to a new playground. I'm a bit worried about it, since this spring would be the first one for crow's nest over the kid's heads. Won't they worry about nestlings safety? However the nest is not exactly over the kids area and there is a chance it'll all go well. 
    Can't wait to see little chicks :) 

Thursday, 1 March 2012

fellas

    
    We have a pleasure to see those pals every day - a boy and his spaniel. They are so gay, so cheerful and jumping! I can't stay serious when they play under our windows. This time they were making a snowman... Young trees planted in autumn are too involved :)