This picture tells many stories. It was taken by my mother in Moscow sometime between 1998 and 2001. I got the Salomon skies set for my birthday, if I am not mistaken.
I’ve always loved winter sports, much more so than the summer ones. The story goes that in 1982 during the Winter Olympics I was mesmerised by the figure skaters. My mother was walking with me in her hands to and fro in the room. The TV set stood at the window. When she walked to it, I’d cry. Once she turned and walked towards the wall, I’d calm down. It finally downed on her that I was watching the TV.
My own attempt at figure skating was rather ill-fated. Shortly after my 7th birthday in December, Father Frost (this is how Santa Claus is called in Russia) visited me and brought me a lovely pair of white skates. Alas, I couldn’t even stand on them or make a step, let alone skate. I used to be really passionate about figure skating, but, having come to England, I somehow lost the interest. I still feel, though, a bit of envy when I see those at ice rinks who effortlessly glide over the ice…
I had skies when I was a kid, but it wasn’t until I went to the Uni that I really got into skiing. Admittedly, I never went to ski on the slopes, and chances are, I’d be screaming like on the roller-coaster, if I did. However, I really love ski walking and a bit of ski running, although I never thought of competing in a skiing marathon. My stamina does have limitations.
On the picture you see me in my native disctrict; my house stood just across the road from this vast terrain of soil. The district was quite industial: to my left is a thermo-electric station; behind me, stretching to the right, would be a number of industrial sites; and farther to the right would be a market and a garbage-burning plant. The winters, however, were amazing, with plenty of snow, and it wasn’t unusual to see people coming from farther corners of the district, carrying their skiing equipment.
Personally, I’d always overlook the industrial “exterior”. As far as I was concerned, this vast terrain of snow was a great place. It was magical, atmospheric, and as I lived on the 5th floor, you’ve got to believe me that the sunsets I used to watch on those winter evenings in my district were really splendid.
In all of my time in England, these were the two things that I really missed: snow and sunsets. You might find this amusing: yes, there really isn’t much snow in England, but surely, there are sunsets! Alas, I haven’t lived above the 1st floor to see them. But who knows? The end of 2008 is only the beginning of 2009…