Thursday 25 February 2010

Separated at birth

I've never been slow to comment on how different my brother and I are. Our paths have been very different indeed. And physically we are about as different as you can get...he is tall, powerfully built with straight dark hair and dark skin... I, on the other hand, spent most of my young life with blonde curly hair, and was so slight that if I turned side ways I could slip between the floor boards; height wise I am about 5'8"...which is just about average I am told. I think Grandma in Cyprus picked up the wrong baby at the hospital - although whether it is my brother or me, I have no idea.

So it is worrying that my friends have started to point to an uncanny resmblence between me and ex-Russian President Vladimir Putin. What do you think?

I'm the one without the comb-over if you were wondering.

The matter has been the subject of much debate over the last few days because we are off to Russia: Moscow and St Petersburg - for a holiday at the beginning of April. And as someone who studied Soviet politics at University, I am expected to provide the expert commentary. Evidently. I have pointed out repeatedly that within a matter of months after I left the hallowed corridors of education, the Soviet Union ceased to be, so nobody should expect me to be back Kremlin watching. But that doesn't wash evidently, so I must dig out a few bluffers guides and hope that I can get away with it. Or perhaps my long-lost sibling will meet and greet us all at the airport....

Monday 22 February 2010


Grandma in Cyprus sent me this....she says, "Thought might like to see our tame mantis - she has been living in our shed for about 3 months and last night she laid her eggs. They are in the little white ball in the corner of the picture, that ball should hold about 200 eggs, she appears to be guarding them. They can take up to 3 months to hatch it depends upon the heat of the weather"

How very exciting to be reminded of the exotica that lives with her in Cyprus. Of course I'm not talking about Step-Grandad in Cyprus as he is usually pretty down to earth. But whenever we've gone out there both the boy and (especially I) have enjoyed our David Attenborough moments - green frogs that will occasionally jump on you, and dragon flies that sun bathe next to the pool...we're yet to see the poisonous snakes that will finish you off pretty quickly, but it's only a matter of time. Near the airport (newly built because the old one is on land owned by a Turkish Cypriot) are flocks of flamingo if you arrive at the right time of year.

Of course the sea is full of wonderful creatures...I've swum with a turtle, and we've found octopus, cuttlefish, and all manor of fish we didn't ever find out the name of....

By comparison, our local fare has been Mr Rat, who rumour has it is no more, and a very bold and indeed fat Mr Fox, who felt confident enough to wander across the yard ibn front of the office in the middle of the day....