Gareth Ward » Consul General, St Petersburg

The Consul’s Book of Records – Goodbye St Petersburg

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As a child I loved to read the Guinness Book of Records.  Now I am finishing my current posting as Consul General in St Petersburg, and I can look back on 3 years of representing the UK in Russia.  These are a few of my personal records:   Furthest – 69 degrees North at a gold mine near the town of Pevek on the Chukotka peninsula Coldest – minus 37 degrees … Read more »The Consul’s Book of Records – Goodbye St Petersburg

Fish and chips à la Russe

Meeting with the Murmansk city administration

                  Guest blog by Deputy Consul-General Ben Greenwood What could be more British than fish and chips?  Not much, you might say.  Except, perhaps, when the fish is from Russia. I visited Murmansk recently, together with representatives from the UK fisheries industry. The city, with its plentiful supply of good quality fish like cod and haddock, is a potential market for UK … Read more »Fish and chips à la Russe

Why water matters

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Growing up in a small town I took many things for granted.  Heat, electricity and clean water at home, and fresh air and green parks outside.  I don’t suggest that all British children then had it easy.  But for the standard middle-class family, the shortages and difficulties of the post-war period were just a memory.  I learned to clean my plate, turn out the lights and not drop litter.  But … Read more »Why water matters

The land of my fathers

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For many Russians the words ‘England’ and ‘Britain’ are interchangeable.  That’s fair enough, as I wouldn’t expect the average Brit to have a detailed knowledge of Russian geography or ethnic diversity either.  But dig deeper and the story of the 4 nations of the UK does have some resonance here.  I have written on several occasions about the historical links between Scotland and St Petersburg.  The G8 summit in Northern … Read more »The land of my fathers

If music be the food of love, play on

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I like the Beatles (I know – rather a banal thing to say about the greatest pop stars of last century). But I was out of my depth at a trivia quiz held by the ‘Russia Thanks the Beatles’ charity on George Harrison’s birthday last week. There were Beatles tribute groups from across Russia, including an impressive group of accordion players. And the audience of young and old knew all … Read more »If music be the food of love, play on

One year to go to the Sochi Olympics

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On 7th of February, Russia marks one year to go until the opening of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Based here in Russia, I spent much of 2012 benefiting from the attention paid to the UK as a result of the London 2012 games. I heard countless positive comments about: the well-designed infrastructure; the friendly volunteers; the inclusive approach to Paralympic sport; and the magical atmosphere. This reflected well on … Read more »One year to go to the Sochi Olympics

Where there’s muck there’s brass

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The average Brit produces around half a ton of rubbish a year. Imagine that piling up in the kitchen. I have 2 small children, and even though I try not to be wasteful, I must admit we fill our fair share of bin bags. Of course all that rubbish has to go somewhere – how to ensure it is recycled or made ecologically safe? In the UK there are some … Read more »Where there’s muck there’s brass

Remembrance at the English Church in St Petersburg

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The poignant sound of a bugle, playing the last post, filled the church.  A wreath of poppies lay on the altar.  And then the congregation stood in silence to remember those fallen in war.  This could have been a Remembrance Sunday service in one of many Anglican Churches across the UK.  But this particular service was taking place for the first time in a church which opened its doors to … Read more »Remembrance at the English Church in St Petersburg

Feeding the world from behind the Arctic circle

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I entered the metal cage and descended at increasing speed into the shaft, drilled deep into the ground.  After 300 metres I came to an abrupt stop and found myself staring down a dimly lit passage. A railway track stretched into the distance and I could hear the clanking of machinery.  The marking on the wall read ‘170 metres above sea-level’.  However unusual, this all made sense  – I had … Read more »Feeding the world from behind the Arctic circle

Celebrating Russia’s 1150th birthday

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A guest blog from the Deputy Consul General Ben Greenwood As I stepped off the boat, I was greeted by bearded men dressed in furs, their arms outstretched in welcome.  Women with plaited hair and brightly coloured costumes danced in time to music.  Nearby a shepherd-boy tended to his goats, while an old woman threw some vegetables into a cauldron.   Across the water, I could see the onion-domed towers of … Read more »Celebrating Russia’s 1150th birthday