May was an incredibly busy month for me. I uploaded my dissertation, so it’s official that I finished my studies. I have no idea when I’ll get the results, but that’s that. This month we also had the Coronation and Eurovision! On top of that, we visited three stately homes, taking advantage of our membership to Historic Houses, which expires today.
To start though, let’s look at this screenshot of the belarussian army doing their tank-ballet. Yes, this is what they do. I don’t think I mentioned them before. So, they are doing all sort of weird stuff, a human pyramid at the end of their demonstrations (why would this be useful in the military is beyond me) or a hand-shaking choreographed thing. But this, ballet on top of a tank while other 4 tanks are driving in a square in the background and one has a nice bow on it, this is the best there is. It’s bonkers. The clip with the highlights is here, under 2 minutes, so worth watching.
We’ve been to London for the Coronation. Due to long delays on the tube, we arrived too late to join the procession… or the first TV screen. So we ended up at another one, where we stayed in rain for a couple of hours. We moved to a pub and saw part of it while standing up in the hallway until a few people left and we could get one of the newly freed tables.
I blogged about it, so check it out if you are curious. It was a very special day and also it shows the real support for the monarchy. There were more people for the Coronation than the Jubilee and funeral last year (we’ve been to all, including the Lying in state where we spent 12 hours in line).
Eurovision was held in Liverpool and I was so happy. They did an amazing artwork trail in the city, celebrating Ukraine and the ties with UK. The village had concerts each day from the 5th to the 13th, and so I finally got to see Kalush Orchestra live! Fantastic. I shared more about Eurovision, so, again, do check it out if this is something you are interested in.
As for the acts. Croatia was my all-time favourite! They had a song about putin and russia’s invasion. I just love it! It was interesting to see the results of the votes. I voted for them and the lines were constantly busy and they didn’t get a vote from UK, but they got a lot of votes from the public, from 12 from Slovenia to 1 from Georgia. Other countries that voted for them were: Austria, Serbia, Albania, Ukraine, Germany, Israel, Poland, Switzerland, Iceland,Sweden, Czechia, Finland, Italy, Australia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, and got 3 points from Rest of the World. It is interesting to see that not only Eastern Europe voted for them.
I liked Ukraine’s song, Heart of Steel, and Moldova’s too. I’m biased with Moldova as they sang a song inspired by our shared folklore. It was very emotional to see the singer thanking Ukraine for their fight which means there is peace in Moldova. For those who are not aware, Moldova had russian troops in part of the country. I voted for all 3 countries at Eurovision.
This month I’ve shared 2 recipes on my food blog. The first one is a vegan version of the Coronation Quiche and the second one is for Varenyky, Ukrainian dessert.
As I mentioned, this was the last month of our membership to Historic Houses. I didn’t renew it because I want to go to see more churches, pubs, and museums. It’s very likely we will get this membership again in a few months or next year. We visited this month: Harewood House, of which we could only see about half of the attractions in 3+ hours! It’s huge, so we’ll visit again. We also went to Rode Hall and Meols Hall. Both lovely to see, and a privilege, as these are family homes.
This is the main difference between Historic Houses and National Trust. At Historic Houses the properties are still lived in and open a few days or for a month or so.
1. Good boys waiting at the supermarket for their people to come back. 2. Bee in the garden. 3. Rode Hall. 4. Strawberries, raspberries, and whipped cream. 5. Eurovision. 6. The Coronation. 7. Coronation treat (we got more than 1 bun on the previous day in London). 8. Turkish delight tasting. 9. Dissertation submitted. 10. Eurovision bouquet. 11. Protect the Beats. 12. Soloveiko Songbird Trail, by night. 13. Eurovision treats. 14. Quiet day, so another Eurovision-related pic from the previous day. 15. Reading in bed. 16. Walk. 17. Varenyky. 18. Tomato plants are doing well. 19. Today is NAFO-Day, so I bought a new T-shirt. 20. Rose. 21. Mocktail. 22. Kraken. 23. Harewood House. 24. Tree house (previous day). 25. Cringe Belarusian army tank ballet thingy. 26. Book delivery. 27. My garden. 28. Wild roots. 29. Meols Hall. 30. Gardening. 31. Books in May.
This month I finished 9 books, a mixed bag both in topics and in ratings. Besides the Agatha Christie novel, all the rest were non-fiction. I read 3 books on putin, one by professor Galeotti, another one by journalist Sweeney, and the last one by russian ex-oligarch Khodorkovsky. These were very different, each showing a different view of putin, but similar on russia(ns), which is interesting because I don’t agree with them on the russia(ns) topic. Lastly, Ezrahi’s book is about a classical dancer that was imprisoned by the KGB. Interesting, but I had higher expectations when it comes to the themes covered, too russophile for my liking.
The book on Mortal Monarchs was poorly researched and contained crass historical inaccuracies. The book by Bugan was about a Romanian family and their struggle with the communist repression, with the father being imprisoned (more than once). It is an autobiographical book, as Bugan is the daughter.
Lastly, I read a book about Oxford University and another one on the Brunels, father and son. Both good, the one on Oxford was better in my view. I have another book on Oxford and its archive that I will read next month.
Books I read in May:
The University of Oxford by Laurence Brockliss – 5 stars
We Need to Talk About Putin by Mark Galeotti – 5 stars
Dancing for Stalin by Christina Ezrahi – 3 stars
Mortal Monarchs by Suzie Edge – 1 star
Burying the typewriter by Carmen Bugan – 5 stars
Killer in the Kremlin by John Sweeney – 5 stars
Unfinished Portrait by Agatha Christie – 4 stars
The Russia conundrum by Mikhail Khodorkovsky – 4 stars
The Brunels by Anthony Burton – 4 stars