Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sleeping like Superman

He seems to have recovered from jumping out of our window fifteen feet down into the street last week (chipped a tooth, scratched his nose), but he's clearly still dreaming of glory.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Sometimes, to give a variety to our amusements, the girls sung to the guitar; and while they thus formed a little concert, my wife and I would stroll down the sloping field, that was embellished with blue bells and centaury, talk of our children with rapture, and enjoy the breze that wafted both health and harmony.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Tikhvin Cemetery, St Petersburg

Nikolai Karamzin (1766-1826), writer.

Mily Balakirev (1837-1910), composer.

Piotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), composer.

Yevgeny Baratynsky (1800-1844), poet.

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881), writer.

Alexander Dargomyzhsky (1813-1869), composer.

Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894), composer, conductor, self-parody.

César Cui (1835-1918), composer.

Alexander Borodin (1833-1887), composer, chemist.

Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881), composer, Ed Griffiths lookalike.

Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857), composer.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), composer.

Bargain of the Holiday

Nikolai Ivanovich Orlov, Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms (Moscow, Meditsina 1965). Slightly worrying is the fact that the gazetteer section has been altered by hand (not, thank goodness, by a number of different hands), so that every now and then you read an entry that has annotation as follows: 'This mushroom is, in fact, NOT EDIBLE'.

Current Favourite Sentences

This artist's impression shows a Cretaceous crocodile that had a scaly armoured body and cat-like features. At 3 inches long it had a similar size to modern cats.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Current Favourite Sentences

He sweetened the soft drink with saccharin and named it Fanta, after the German word for fantasy or imagination. It sold well, especially once food became scarce and buyers began using Fanta as a soup base.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Photos might come in a slightly strange order from our recent Russian holiday, as I took a film camera and a digital one and therefore have photos from as it were days 1-4, 7-13 and 16-18 available now, and the others in a few days. So, here are some pictures from Gatchina, the least-visited and most relaxing of the many palaces of St. Petersburg. Well, the palace is a bit of a dump (as palaces go), but the gardens are lovely.

It is difficult to get a shrew to pose for you, unless (as here) it is dead.

This frog was more obliging.

And this red squirrel was the sciurine equivalent of Angelina Jolie or Tom Cruise: it would have signed autographs if I'd had a pen and it had had opposable thumbs.