In September it will have been six years since I came to Britain. In all this time the majority of people I met never thought I came from Russia. When we spoke, they appeared to be very knowledgeable, especially as far as the weather was concerned. They thought Russia was cold and snowy. But as you can see below this couldn’t be further from the truth. I took these photos in September 2001 with a “soapbox” camera, at the place called Dubrovsky. It could be reached by bus from where I lived, it would only take 20 minutes to get there. At the destination there were a few houses, a horticultural institute, a village, and a sanatorium for pneumonia patients, all scattered across a vast territory.
My mother and I went there often when I was a child, and one day when I was 11 or 12 I went there with a friend of mine, a girl we went to school together. I knew that my family wouldn’t be keen, so I planned everything in secret. My ideal plan would see me going “for a walk”, which my parents allowed me to do on my own. My grandma intercepted the plan at the last minute, but she couldn’t stop me, and I don’t remember now, why. My friend and I went to Dubrovsky and spent a day by the river in the sun, eating tomatoes and boiled eggs, watching other people sunbathing and swimming.