Thursday, February 9, 2023

Reverential silence.

Off to the beach. Sophie runs ahead in search of adventure.  Despite those titanium knees she can display a remarkable turn of speed when it suits her. Angus is forgotten and left to trail along behind. For the PONette life is too exciting to be lived at anything other than top speed.

There is nearly an incident at the student cafe.  Another dog arrives. The interloper glares at Sophie . Thankfully, the interloper and its human companion leave before Sophie finishes her shortbread biscuit. 

Yesterday we drove to Dundee to pick up the picture we'd bought last week. The gallery is in an enormous old Victorian station hotel that has seen better days. It optimistically (?) claims to be a 3 star.  A plaque in the entrance hall honours a former guest. The hotel is built on a steep hillside so from the car park the reception is three floors up. All the lifts have signs in English, Ukrainian and Russian saying ' Children must not use the lifts as play areas. Other guests may want to use them. Parents you are responsible !!!! '. I use the stairs. The exotically accented woman at the front desk mixes surliness and disinterest in a fashion that anyone who visited the Soviet Union in the 70's or 80's would instantly recognize. When I ask how to get to the gallery she waves her hands in the direction of a long dark corridor.

At the end of the long dark corridor is a high ceilinged room lit by stained glass windows . It might once have been a ballroom but is now gloomily home to half a dozen large and randomly placed sofas, a variety of threadbare chairs and a  television set. The room is full of young women with children staring attentively at what's on the screen. Zelensky is speaking to parliament in London and his address is being broadcast live. All these young women and children are Ukrainian refugees. There is a strange, almost reverential, silence in the room . Even the toddlers seem to sense it . How odd that extraordinary events can be seen unfolding in our quiet backwater. I move on quickly.

In the gallery a very Scottish etching of a cat on guard over a coastal fishing village. I collect our painting and stow it in the back of the car. Settling into the drivers seat the sound of the Ukrainian national anthem being sung whispers from deep inside the hotel.  Zelensky has finished speaking. Angus quietly gives quiet thanks for the gift of a dull and ordered life.

Back in St Andrews there is always something surprising going on.                                                

Tweet du jour. The new King. One of the comments ' Why is he dressed so weird ?' is a comedy gem  :


WFT Nobby said...

Watching Zelensky perform at Westminster yesterday, I found myself wondering where Ukraine would be today had their leader been a poor communicator and a weaker and less charismatic character.
Do I recall rightly that in the 1985 film 'Letter to Brezhnev' the scenes set in the Soviet Union were filmed in Dundee? Of course, Churchill was MP for the city at one point too, in his long and storied career.
Cheers, Gail.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Not just his words but the lighting that streamed through the windows behind President Z all formed an impression that will live long in memory. The depiction of your visit to this hotel and its occupants help deepen the picture. YAM xx

Tigger's Mum said...

I, the Tigger, fully endorse the choice of picture (if that is indeed your new acquisition). Even my human says it's great.

Travel said...

How lucky we are to live where we live.

Coppa's girl said...

Sophie - mistress of all she surveys. There doesn't seem to be a soul on the beach apart from a certain PON and her master!
I rather like the etching with the cat.

Jake of Florida said...

I did a doubletake when I saw the Al Sharpton announcement as I scrolled through your blog today. For those who may not know him, he is a tireless supporter of civil rights in the US and someone whose eulogies at the funerals of young black men killed after stops by the police for minor traffic violations are heartstopping. The most recent was at the funeral of Tyre Nichols, who died after being brutally beaten by five Memphis policemen. Angus, is he well known in St. Andrews as well?

Angus said...

Jake of Florida - Yes, Al Sharpton is known here. For a small isolated town we get a lot of politicians. 20% or thereabouts of the students here are from the US. A much higher percentage than any other UK or EU university. That Scotch-Irish diaspora is still a thing !

rottrover said...

I heard Rev. Sharpton's remarks at the Tyre Nichols funeral as well. He's still got it! Loved the Twitter link!