Bring Your Passport. Com

View of house and meadow

Getting to Russia.

I’m typing this just a few days before I leave the UK, my visa has already started and I’m still in the UK, that’s not right! I should be sitting at the Russian border waiting for midnight on the day my visa started.

I suppose at this point I should tell you why I am driving
Firstly I don’t like flying, who would? It’s a miserable experience, herded around like cattle, left in holding pens and fed muck. Who, if you had the choice, would use a plane! The best bit about driving is that I can take whatever I can fit in. No twenty or thirty kilo allowance. At the Russian border I am allowed fifty kilos of personal stuff and everything else I have to pay by the kilo, I think it’s about five US dollars per kilo, I’ll let you know later.


Well I am here, sitting in my little wooden house with its two light bulbs and electric kettle, looking out of the window.
It’s twilight and I can see thousands of dandelions just waiting for a breeze to send them drifting though the air, behind them is an old picket fence with another meadow and then the forest and the forest is big. Now and then I catch a glimpse of a bat silhouetted against the dark blue sky.

It could only be more perfect if I had got around to brushing the cobwebs from the window frames but I was quite pleased to see my little spider chum get two mosquitoes for dinner. They are a bit of a pain sometimes but along with the purchase of a kettle I also picked up a little plug-in mozzy killer. At this very moment I can’t see one of the little beasties anywhere.
In fact there are lots of annoying things I cannot see, no TV, no roads or cars, the nearest bit of concrete or tarmac is twenty miles away and that is so bad you could not call it a road, more like a collection of holes at the same height. There are no warning signs, hi-vis jackets, flashing lights, sirens, and no distant hum of a motorway. If I walk 100yrds from my little house through the dandelions, past the haystack and over the little hill by the river I can see nothing that man has made, trees, grass, flowers and the river, only nature.
It is all very different from my home back in Essex.

I have been here a week, (after spending fourteen hours getting through the Russian border) I arrived, half way though a school outing the village had arranged to educate the local kids about bears, wolves and all the other creatures you can see around here if your lucky. Hundreds of children from the entire Tver District running around with painted faces or bear and wolf masks.
In this mass of colour and noise I spotted one by one faces I know. First and most fittingly Professor Valentine Pazhetnov senior sitting on the end of a pagoda surrounded by excited children.
He is the gravitational mass at the centre of the bear project, head of the bio-station for twenty five years, respected scientist, local celebrity, father, grandfather and great grandfather to many people I now know as friends.
I cannot help myself, I have a smile as wide as a Cheshire cat as I make my way though the hordes of children towards another face I know Vladimir Bologov. He is head of the wolf project that I will be working on for the next three months.
After eighteen months it is a great feeling to be back meeting my old and new friends.

The Bio-Station has regular open days/weeks for the local and not so local kids as well as weekends for adults who want to know more about the wildlife of Russia. There is a campsite with a good kitchen and a lake near by as well as a guesthouse for those that don’t like the idea of a tent.

In the press

East Anglian daily Times





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