I spent today at the ArtPlay creative quarter in Moscow. I had a fantastic photo session in a studio with a photographer. ArtPlay itself is a fantastic place and I hope to have more time to explore it. A brief acquaintance has shown that it’s located in the premises of a former factory and is packed with all sorts of shops, studios, boutiques, and cafés.
This part of town is virtually unknown to me. I followed the YouTube video showing the way to the studio, and on my way I passed the 19th century buildings that could previously house residences but are now usually home to civil service offices. Alas, it was also quite slippery, so I had to take extra care going there and back.
Going to ArtPlay was like visiting Manchester to me. Made of red brick and located close to the railway station, with its plethora of various studios and outlets, it was like an open-air Affleck’s Palace, and all murals and witty inscriptions reminded me of the Northern Quarter. Throw all the Christmassy lights in – and the déjà-vu feeling was almost palpable. More still, the folk who worked there were like the good old Mancunians, complete with green or pink coloured hair, tattoos and piercings, odd clothes and accessories, and the obvious struggle to make ends meet.
I watched it all from both sides: as a person who once belonged to this kind of place and life (except hair dyes, tattoos and piercing) and who now felt transported back into this old experience; and as a person who no longer belonged there, and probably never did, but who had once made an honest effort to live there.
Suddenly ArtPlay came to mean much more than just a clever name…
May evening is cold this year. We haven’t had enough rain, so the leaves are taking time to appear. But sakura is about to blossom.
May in my district in Moscow
May is blossoming slowly this year, and May evening is cold and dry. We haven’t had enough rain, so the leaves are taking time to appear.
I’m going to resurrect my Neighbourhood Cam and Moscow Cam rubrics to get you acquainted with my native places. I will also update some posts where the text was previously lacking, to make them more informative and enjoyable.
The place in the photo (which was actually taken in 2018) is within a 10-minute walk from my house, right opposite the place where I taught English and French for four years. In the vicinity are a few shops, many blocks of flats, a church, and two railway stations.
On May evenings like that in the picture one always wants to slow down. The sunset is about to begin, and, as the evening is cold, the sky is going to turn purple-red. The wind is getting chillier, the cars are few, and so are people. I usually take in this cool air and gaze on the horizon as if it were my personal Waterloo Sunset. I know I am in Paradise here, although it was only recently that my district has become resplendent and posh in some aspects. But I like it this way.
The Russian Seasons calendar go through all 12 months in Moscow, mostly in my neighbourhood.
I was glad to learn that my photo calendars from the previous year was quite popular. I am beginning to add the new ones to my Zazzle store, so please bookmark this post for other artwork. Meanwhile, let me introduce you to the first two 2022 calendars, called “Russian Seasons”.
As you know, I am a keen photographer, and I like to share my photos with you. The Russian Seasons 2022 calendars go through all 12 months in Moscow, mostly in my neighbourhood. There are four months when there is lots of snow; and the long autumn season with a kaleidoscope of colours. There is a blossoming cherry tree and the rich This is a great choice for those who prefer nature to architecture. In another calendar you will see an icy pond in February, pink tulips in May, and a red squirrel in October.
Two Wales calendars feature sweeping landscapes of Denbighshire and Snowdonia. And Roses and Peonies will fill each day of the month with a splash of colour.
Walking in the Biryolyovo Arboretum for the first time in winter brought lots of skiers, children and glorious snowed pine trees
I used to visit the famous Biryulyovo Arboretum in summer but never in spring, autumn or winter. But there’s always a space for a miracle! On January 2nd, 2021 I added some wintry views to my collection of photos! Join my walking in the alley of pines, which I renamed into The Trail of Smiling Pines (by analogy to The Trail of the Lonesome Pine film). I was walking in the Biryulyovo Arboretum from 1.30pm to 5.30pm. The last 2 videos were made at dusk, around 4pm, when I moved from the pine alley to that of deciduous trees. Then I made a very short video of a starting snowfall. It was magical walking in the Biryulyovo Arboretum in winter, and I hope you take time to walk there with me.
I’m sure you’re interested what measures are undertaken in Russia for New Year Night 2021. Restaurants and Red Square close for the night.
I’m sure you’re interested in what safety measures are undertaken in Russia for New Year Night 2021. Here’s a short digest:
shops close at 10pm;
restaurants shut down at 11pm;
ice rinks close at 7pm;
no official street festivities;
New Year fireworks can be watched in the city centre but people have to have hot drinks on them, as no cafes or street vendors work;
underground and public transport work all night;
Red Square in Moscow is shut down for visitors for the night.
New Year in Russia, just as Christmas in the UK, has always been a family holiday. Two or three generations sat down to one table to bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new. With time, youngsters began to get together for huge celebrations at the restaurants and regional hotels. Due to virus, the tradition is back, although some families have to celebrate New Year separately for health reasons. My Instagram friend had a baby this October, and then her parents fell ill. So, she is meeting New Year with her husband and their baby daughter. But their New Year Night 2021 will be truly blissful.
We’ve had some sleet today, and some local folks are setting off fireworks already. I’m off to walk my dogs, and then I plan to go out to snap a few photos of the year 2020 as it is drawing to a close. I’m very happy as I’m on the verge of great changes, and I sincerely wish all of us to find happiness and faith, whatever happens in the world.
As we often say, posting a picture taken by phone: “it doesn’t reflect the true colours”. The sun is setting at this precise moment in Moscow, and the beautiful peachy pastel shades have painted the sky.
I’ve had a very good day, if judged by 3 cones of ice cream that I ate. I wrote and read a lot, and now is the time to slow down and get ready for the night.
The Sunday sunset is the time to reflect on the week ahead, be thankful for the past experience and enjoy the present moment.
There’s little better than to spend a Sunday afternoon in a company of good friends. Years ago I wondered what to do to ensure I spend such lovely time with people whose company I treasure. It took me a decade to find such people but now I’m very happy to have them. So, this Sunday sunset is peaceful and fills my heart with joy.
My school year has finally ended, the A-Levels are done with, and my students are looking forward to their results – and their new adult life. I wish them every happiness on their way.
These days in Russia we recall the 1980 Olympics. I’m doing two voiceover projects, in one of them I’m also a translator, and my text will apparently be used by the German team to produce a German version of an educational course. The French voiceover project involves me as an editor and a voiceover artist; this is a Psychology course for those who wish to overcome stress.
I’ve got enough time now to finish my editorial work, to develop my Yandex.Zen channel, and to do a couple of translation projects. I’ll probably finish a couple of knitting projects, too.
And to share the glimpses of my Moscow life with you, I’ve started the rubric Neighbourhood Cam. My Instagram account is also dedicated to the photos of the place where I was born and currently live. To begin with, here’s today’s Sunday sunset.
Also, if there’s something you want to learn about life in Russia, or Moscow in particular, feel free to ask!
Belated Snowfall in Moscow finally comes down on the city
A late January snowfall in Moscow
There’s a chance that Moscow people will enjoy some proper winter weather soon. The first sign is the snow which is well overdue but is nonetheless welcome. I may try to be funny and say that Britain with the Brexit has waved goodbye to Europe and various European organisations, like PAEC, by sending a heatwave that saw the warmest December and January in all Russian history. But no, things are getting back to normal here, while we’re yet to see what lies ahead for Great Britain.
It’s been awhile since I stopped going to work early in the morning. However, on Saturdays I have to start early, so I’m writing this post on a bus. The ‘pink’ or ‘red’ winter that we are trying to enjoy this year has meant very little snow and very mild temperatures. A very British winter, really. Yet the skies look like spring is literally in the air.