I am just getting back to a more normal lifestyle after my return from the UK, Europe, and Russia!
Wow, what surprise that turned out to be.
I was completely blown away, not only by the beauty of Saint Petersburg, (which I had seen hundreds of photos of,over the years ) but had failed to appreciate the magnificence until I saw it with my own eyes.
I was incredibly lucky to have had superb weather,in which to travel around and view everything, as well as a most informative Russian guide, an art & history lecturer at the university there.
I could relate many stories of his historical expertise, though his history seemed to end with the reign of Alexander II, and began again with Lenin, in 1920.
I should like to have explored more of the country, and hopefully in the future I may. I certainly was surprised when I went out to Tsarskoe Selo, which was once the main district where the Emperor of Russia and all the Grand Dukes had their summer palaces, and the nobility their dachas by the sea.
Today, it is called Pushkin's village, and a statue in honour of the pet poet of Saint Petersburg graces the public gardens, and the guides are full of his exploits before his untimely death.
It caused me to think about all the Russian writers I knew of and read in my youth. Nikolai Gogol, Ivan Turgenev, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Anton Chekov, Alexander Herzen, and of course Alexander Pushkin.
Tolstoy was always my favourite. War and Peace, Anna Karenina; books I continue to re-read to this day.
I don't remember seeing any of the female Russian writers having their work translated into English. Elena Aprelva, Anna Barina, Anna Dostoyevskaya, Karolina Pavlova, Sophia Tolstoya, Zinaida Volkonskoya, are just some of that band of sisters.
I am sure their work is available, and it would be interesting to read, and see it they have that same slightly mystical, and often depressing theme, between laughter and tears, that is so typical of a lot of their male counterparts.
I am contemplating a book set in Imperial Russia, and hopefully one that will catch the unusual ambience of a country and its people that's not really European, any more than it is Asian.
Ah well, now all I have to do is try and find the time to write!
Spring, my favourite time of the year is just around the corner, and like all the new growth and birth at this time of the year, I feel a story coming on.
Watch this space!!!
Evan G Andrew