A Broad Abroad: Emails to the Big Chief (7)

Back in 2007, when I first started this blog, I wrote a series of posts to my mother; electronic postcards based on a trip to Russia, that would hopefully get home much quicker than the real things, they were called Emails to the Big Chief. They went out in the quiet period immediately after Christmas and were seen by very few people. Now, nine years later, I thought they would bear repeating. In part 1, I talked about driving from Moscow to Kostroma, in part 2, the lack of preparations for my visit , in part 3, about the chalet by the lake , in part 4, about food parcels and feeling like a contestant on reality TV in part 5 about being home alone at night and in part 6 about an all-day training session. Now read on…

Day 7: Put On Your Dancing Shoes…

Everyone passed their final tests today and proudly received their certificates. Ten years ago, we had ransacked one of the warehouses, a real Babushka’s Bazaar, for prizes for each delegate. The guy with the highest marks got a guitar and the top woman got an ironing board. Despite my misgivings, I was assured that she would appreciate this – and they were right.

We finished today with a small party with Boris.

‘Elizabeth’ he said, looking at me over his thick Georgian moustache, ‘have I told you the history of this project and how we got to be where we are today?’ I assured him he had, but it was too late; he’d already launched into the story – again!

One hour later, he presented me with a beautiful gold watch and then sent us into town for a celebratory dinner. He said he wouldn’t come with us in case he got drunk. Seemed to think we would lead him astray.

At the restaurant we were seated next to a table of twenty, a raucous birthday party. Since most of the group was male, we were much in demand as dance partners. There was little time for eating but Russian restaurants are always like that. Dancing to music frequently deafening, drinking and food – in that order. I finally got away at 02:30, aware that I had to hit the road early in the morning.

My experiences in Russia led me to write my debut novel, Gorgito’s Ice Rink, a tale of love, loss and broken promises which was runner up in the 2015 Self-Published Book of the Year Awards. If you would like to read it, you can find links by clicking here.

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