March 20th, 2002

perky, wolfy

I met a mad Russian on Thursday...

Last Thursday I was feeling pretty rotten after work. I'd had to cancel the morning shift due to extreme train crapness (somehow, one broken-down train at Earlsfield managed to back up everything in and out of Waterloo for a couple of hours. I was already running late and on the train behind the one I needed to be on time for work, but I should have still been able to get in. However, my train then took an hour to get into Waterloo instead of the 26 minutes or so that it usually does. Argh). So I decided to visit the Hays Galleria, an eclectic collection of shops and craft stalls a little way along from London Bridge station - somewhere I'd walked past every day, but never actually visited.

I looked at all of the craft stalls. There were quite a few jewellery designers, which reminded me of the work various people here do. But the stall which drew my eye was filled with Russian dolls. Not many people know that I really like Russian dolls. I think one of my elderly relatives must have had some when I was a small child - I just find them fascinating, the way they stack together, getting smaller and smaller. This stall was absolutely filled with them - cheap ones, well-made ones, traditional brightly-coloured matruska dolls, pre-revolution plain wood dolls, male dolls, sets of 5, 8 and 12. The stallholder, sensing my interest, spent something like half an hour telling me all about the different sorts of Russian doll and all the different symbolisms. He was terribly enthusiastic in an eccentric sort of way, but I liked him.

There were a couple of sets of dolls I was interested in buying, but I didn't have any money (thanks to my bank screwing up again). However he gave me a set of dolls, saying I could pay him later. I was rather touched by this - trust? stupidity? Of course, I always did intend to pay, but today I actually got round to it. Then, when I got home this evening, I took all the dolls out to display them (apparently it's bad luck not to have them all out). I'm so taken with them that I thought I should show them to you:

Pooh bear Russian dolls

What do you think?
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