>> Saturday, 1 February 2014
It's been below -20degC for much of the week here, so naturally we are spending a large part of tomorrow outside at a venue a couple of hours from Moscow sledging, troika riding, and huddling round a fire toasting shashlik, hot dogs and marshmallows.
I am looking forward to this.
No, really: I AM.
I do appreciate that for those of you who are based in less chilly climes such activities may sound glamorous and exotic in a Julie Christie in 'Doctor Zhivago' type of way, and to a certain extent you're right. There will be snow. There will be ice. There will even be fur (probably). I expect that for non-drivers there will vodka, and for the kids hot chocolate. Here's hoping there will also be blue skies and sunshine, and glittery surroundings as the light glances off the frozen forests and meadows around us. But let me tell you what else there will be...
There will be dainty footwear; think of what rebels in that frozen world on 'The Empire Strikes Back' wore on their feet and you'll be about right. Actually, that's pretty much how we'll be looking all over. But a lot more bulky (think 'the StayPuffed' marshmallow man in Ghostbusters), because...
...there will multiple layers of clothes; ski socks, under thermals, under jeans, under thick snow pants. There will also be thermal tops, sweaters, additional sweaters, under-coats and padded coats. For the kids there will be balaclavas under their hats - not for the adults, though; we'll just be wearing warm hats, because the men are too tough, and for the ladies, well, have you seen the hat-hair a balaclava gives you?
There will be handwarmers stuffed inside mittens (perfect for those 'I have lobster claws!' impressions we all love. Oh. Just me, then?), under which we will be wearing inner gloves. At least, the kids and the women will be - did I mention the men are (apparently) tough? Although quite how the shashlik and marshmallows are going to be eaten I'm not sure.
And there will be sunglasses. Because not only will these be necessary to deal with the bright sunshine I'm crossing my fingers for, but they add a certain glamour to the waddling penguin look that might otherwise have been missing.
Plus, they provide a barrier to the frozen air, so can stop your eye-lashes from freezing.