Не всё коту масленица January 7, 2006Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
…which translates, rather clumsily, as, “It’s not all Shrovetide for the cat”. (Can someone give me a 1st year secondary school refresher course in punctuation? Full stop after quotation marks or within the buggers? (I’ve always been a within-man myself, but see without more and more often.) Is this something where Brits and Americans differ? Or are rules passé?) Which translates from Russian-English to English-English as, “After Dinner Comes the Reckoning”. And even if it’s the wrong feast, it’s fully appropriate that this proverb should be in Russian. Because the Russian’s got a bee in his bonnet. Now for those of you with limited access to our post-Soviet pals, there’s something you need to bear in mind if you’re going to get involved in a deep liaison with them. Between you and me, they find straightforward, unadulterated old fun a bit of a sin. I don’t mean they’re against it altogether. Au contraire. They can party like the best of them. (I rather like generalising about the inhabitants of the largest country on earth. It’s a perfect reflection of my laziness and simplicity.) But they’re a superstitious old bunch, the Russkies, and the overwhelming majority of Russians, to this day, will have led pretty tough lives. So straightforward, unadulterated, long-lasting fun is a bit of a novelty. And that’s pretty much what we’ve had from late December to this very day. (Imagine, fun with blogging reduced to a starvation portion. It’s possible, boyz and gals.)
But, my oh my, is our Shrovetide well and truly over. The Russian has a good ten days’ worth of guilt at all that fun to expunge. Luckily for him, having had guests for ages provides an easy penance. The flat is utterly filthy. And those dreaded three little syllables – уборка (pronounced uborka) – have wormed their way into his fun-addled brain. And a Russian uborka isn’t a little bit of a rub-round with a duster and doing the washing-up. No, an uborka is the bollocks. It’s unscrewing U-bends and fingering out the amassed filth of the last few months. It’s taking down curtains to get to grips with the months of dust that has gathered nicely and patiently. It’s opening the cassette-decks of a hi-fi to have those rotatey bits wool-free. It is, in short, major cleanage. So far, I’ve managed to get away with the washing-up, putting on and hanging out a wash – thank god we’ve got a washing-machine and I haven’t got to do it by hand, or rather, by foot, in the bath. And we don’t have a bath – and mopping the kitchen floor. But I just know he’s going to come up with an operation of some sort any second now, which is why I’ve slipped away for some emergency bloggery while there’s still the chance, before he’s got that insane, Rasputin-like look in his eye, a sweat up and is on his knees with a bucket of luke-warm, grey, acidic water, guaranteed to take your skin off, and a cloth which is miraculously hidden for the non-uborka days of the year – perhaps in the U-bend – and has clearly seen better days.
Well, I am currently being deafened by the sound of some old-fashioned hoovering and have been set my next task, which is of a pleasantly technical, rather than physical, nature, so shall bid farewell. The post-fun hiatus could be just as long as the fun hiatus. Depends on a highly unpredictable guilt-dirt ratio…