It's been two weeks since I sat down to add anything to my blog. I really don't know where the time has gone. What I do know is that it is still b****y freezing out there - 'brass monkeys' as we say in Yorkshire - and there are plenty of their balls rolling around.
When we bought our car last year, one of the main reasons that had always put me off driving in Moscow was driving around in the cold, snow and ice. I needn't have worried. Our little Peugeot - touch-wood - has started on the dot each time at -25 and, after 10 minutes of warm-up plus a bit of de-icing, drives away without a problem and manages the 12km each way down to Yasenevo and back. I have ceased to marvel at French engineering as my family has owned French cars for years and they have always been of superlative quality.
The recent cold snap in the UK and all of the problems there made me ask - 'How do they drive without snow tyres?' I can't imagine driving in the snow and cold without them. The studded tyres are fantastic. They really do make a difference. Goodness knows how many accidents there would be without them. Russian drivers are not the most careful in the world but somehow the cold and snow brings out a more caring and considerate streak in them! They seem to go more slowly and watch the traffic a little bit more. Certainly I haven't seen as many accidents in the last few weeks - although the one in Yasenevo on Friday night wasn't pleasant.
Our church has moved location. At the end of last year we were advised that for a variety of reasons, the theatre auditorium that we had rented for a number of years would be unavailable from January 2010. The elders and a team of willing volunteers therefore began investigating possible locations around the city. After due deliberation, we have begun to use an auditorium at the Library of Foreign Languages. This amazing building is home to a variety of foreign organisations in Moscow, including the British Council, the BBC's Russian Service, the French Cultural Centre and the Dutch Cultural Centre. It is perfect for an international church! As well, the room where we meet is lovely and light and gives beautiful views across Moscow - very different from where we were before. God is good.
Despite all of the difficulties with BA, we have already booked tickets with them again. It's Dad's 60th birthday next month and we are going over to the UK for a few days to celebrate with him and the rest of the family. I can't believe that he is 60. He certainly has never acted his age, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. He and Mum are still taking long cycling holidays, going off adventuring and travelling; they are both actively involved in various choirs; and they are still happily married (this is year 36). He told me recently that the trick is to 'stay young at heart'. Wise words.